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Video Game / Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army

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Things forgotten do not simply disappear.

Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha VS The Soulless Army is an Action RPG released in 2006 as part of the Devil Summoner series, a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. The full name of the game in the west is Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha VS The Soulless Army.

Set in The Roaring '20s (or the in-game description "Taisho 20"; note that the Taisho period didn't last that long), you play as a young man who has recently ascended from a summoner-in-training to a fully recognised Devil Summoner, inheriting the name and title of "Raidou Kuzunoha". The Kuzunoha Clan has been protecting the Capital of Japan for centuries, guided by the Herald of Yatagarasu. As Devil Summoners, they are trained to interact with the demons that live in the Dark Realm, a mirror of the real world where demons roam freely. Along with basic combat training, Devil Summoners can subjugate these monsters as familiars and use their powers in battle or daily life.

The main character, now known as Raidou Kuzunoha XIV, is assigned to the Capital under the care of a detective named Shouhei Narumi. One day, their detective agency receives a urgent plea for help from a troubled girl called Kaya. She begs for Raidou to kill her, only to be suddenly swiped off the streets by a troop of odd soldiers in red uniforms. Raidou must now track down Kaya and uncover the mystery behind her request before a terrible disaster befalls Japan.

The Devil Summoner series is notable for being a good bit more light-hearted than most other Shin Megami Tensei games, with numerous funny dialogues and comical scenes. Raidou retains the use of Random Encounters, but sets itself apart from the other games in the Megaten series by featuring a real-time battle system. Raidou can hold his own with a katana, but can also summon one demonic ally to help him. In another deviation from the Megaten norm, you no longer talk to demons to convince them to join your party, but rather you capture them by hitting their weak point and then forcing them into a tube. The same demon fusion system that has been featured since Nocturne remains here. When not battling, you attempt to solve the mysteries brought to the attention of the Narumi Detective Agency; in an interesting twist, you can use your demons to invoke specific emotions within the people you question. For example, invoking "Anger" may cause someone to rashly blurt out a clue that they had been withholding.

A direct sequel, Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon (originally Devil Summoner: Kuzunoha Raidou tai Abaddon Ou), was first released in Japan on October 2008, before being shipped to the US on May 12, 2009. No PAL release dates were announced.

On April 1, 2014, Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army became available on the Playstation Network. Anyone who's missed out on this game can now enjoy it at their leisure.

This game provides examples of:

  • All Myths Are True
  • Alternate History: The Taisho Era only went up to 15 in reality, which sets the game in 1931.
  • Ancient Conspiracy
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Rasputin. Subverted, he's actually from the future and only meant to be able to pass as him, also making him a Ridiculously Human Robot by necessity.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Raidou saves Kaya and protects the Capital, but it's left ambiguous whether or not the events of Shin Megami Tensei I and II will still happen … but it’s actually Subverted however as the original Devil Summoner game reveals that Gouto was arrested and Thorman died from a heart attack, meaning that Raidou’s actions saved the capital AND somehow stopped the apocalypse from happening altogether.
  • Body Horror: The Waden One radio tower sends out specially-prepared radio waves, and when the people of the Capital are exposed to said waves, their negative feelings are dangerously increased, to the point where Hiruko erupt from their backs.
    • But first they transform into mouth-laser blasting zombies of pure rage, with icky red membranes partially covering and streaming from them. Ick.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Training Hall in the Nameless Shrine.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Raiho claims to have watched your last cycle and is so impressed, he wants to fight you... or else he'll delete your save data. Lucky for us, he's just kidding.
  • But Thou Must!: More than once, Raidou is given the choice to side with the villains. The game will either ignore your actual choice, or force you to refuse.
  • City of Adventure: The Capital.
  • Clock Roaches: Rasputin's true nature and objective. He decides to blow off the mission, though.
  • Colon Cancer: Just look at the name.
  • Combination Attack: When a demon has a Combination Art learned, and its morale is maxed, hitting the attack button and guard button simultaneously unleashes the skill.
  • Continuity Snarl: This game and its sequel claim that demons are Invisible to Normals, which is certainly not the case in any other game in the same continuity.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: The Daidouji family curse.
  • Dark World: The Dark Realm, natch.
  • Degraded Boss
  • Demonic Possession: Kaya is possessed by a Kuzunoha of the future, and Major General Munakata is possessed by the tiny demon god-thing, Sukuna-Hikona.
  • Distressed Damsel: Kaya, pushing Designated Victim when you do save her. She's possessed, and then her body is used to fight you multiple times.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: The Dark Capital is essentially a gloomy and overcast version of the regular capital. There are no people on the streets (normally); it's inhabited entirely by demons. Energy barriers called Dragon Gates block paths that are accessible in the normal version of the Capital, and you can only go between the regular Capital and the Dark Capital at certain shrines.
    • The Dark Capital is useful to you in that it is your main source of demons to negotiate with, which gets you allies in battle. Refusing to visit it except strictly as necessary will leave you underpowered and ill-prepared for the challenges you'll face in the game.
    • It's also necessary to the plot; oftentimes those kidnapped by demons wind up in the Dark Capital, and people harassed by demons usually require the problem to be traced back to the location's Dark Capital counterpart. As a Devil Summoner and a private investigator, that usually means it's Raidou's job (and thus, the player's) to do it.
  • End of an Age: The game takes place during the time period when Japan was modernizing furiously into the 20th century, yet hadn't left behind all of the old world. This unique clash is one of the things that make the game's setting so memorable.
  • Enemy Scan: The Herald of Yatagarasu gives you a mystical item that lets you scan enemies at the cost of 10 magnetite. It only works if you've fought the enemy before (and successfully used its weakness) though.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The title of the game does indeed sum up what the main conflict consists of. At first.
  • For Science!: Victor is listed in the manual for "having a jones for learning the secret of life". Apparently this involves Devil Summoners and their familiars, and he helps Raidou out for this reason.
    • In Soul Hackers, Victor has became immortal by drinking vampire blood.
  • Future Slang: The time tourists in the Akarana Corridor speak in a fictional slang reminiscent of Nadsat.
  • Gashadokuro: Appears as a random encounter.
  • The Heartless: The Hiruko.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The MC is given a real name by the player, although most characters will refer to him by his hereditary title/name Raidou.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first fight against the Super Soldiers.
  • Humongous Mecha: Yasomagatsu the Soulless God, which transforms from a battleship
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Raidou can buy specially-prepared sodas at the Shin-Sekai soda joint and are drunk on the spot to give Raidou a temporary boost in stats, item drop rate, increased money drops, or restore a percentage of his HP. And he never has to go for a bathroom break, no matter how many sodas he downs.
  • Important Haircut: Kaya cuts off almost all her hair halfway through the game, mostly so people looking for her won't recognize her. And because she's possessed.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The "Onmyo" class of katana, which is created by fusing four specific demons to Raidou's weapon, in any order. The four demons are somewhat related, but the game never so much as hints that doing so is beneficial.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Raidou's block button can block anything — fire, huge freakin' demon claws, bullets, cannon fire, etc. While the block won't null attacks, it will reduce damage by almost 2/3, and also stop Raidou from being inflicted with status ailments. Practically a necessity for Devil/Hard mode.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Tae "Kichou" Asakura. Like Narumi, she is a normal human. She's just trying to figure out the strange events that are happening around the Capital... and why Raidou is involved.
  • Invisible to Normals: Demons are lurking everywhere, but only Devil Summoners and other spiritually empowered individuals can see and hear them. This is why Narumi has Raidou do most of the dirty work. Also, familiars sent out on solo missions can get into areas Raidou cannot reach.
  • Justified Tutorial: The prologue is basically the protagonist's final test to become a true summoner and Raidou the 14th.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Raidou carries a pistol and a katana, but the pistol's only good for stunning enemies or exposing weaknesses.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: The owner of the Shin-Sekai soda joint takes in cats that are in front of his store. You have to spend enough money there to find out, though.
  • Legacy Character: The 4 great summoners with title Kuzunoha are each examples.
  • Made of Evil: The Soulless God is a giant transforming killing machine powered by the collective hate and fear of an ENTIRE CITY.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Victor. Although he's not evil in the slightest and even is in charge of upgrading Raidou's katana and demon fusion.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: Subverted; Sukuna-Hikona is a tiny little bastard when he reveals he's been manipulating General Munekata all along, but he can still kick your ass.
    • Then about halfway through the story, a Raidou Kuzonoha from the future sneakily possesses Kaya to try and change history - namely, the events of Shin Megami Tensei I and II.
  • Metal Slime: Kudan. They appear very rarely from Chapter 8 on. They are difficult to beat as they absorb gun attacks, can run away on a whim, and the more you exploit their (randomly chosen) weakness, the more likely they are to heal themselves completely. Once you beat one, you can summon it at the Gouma-den, and it's the only demonj that absorbs Gun and resists Almighty, in addtion to having the useful Diarahan and Null Phys skills. Its status as a Metal Slime is based on mythology, where the Kudan is a rare creature that is born, gives a grim prophecy, then immediately dies.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Gouto may only have been reincarnated into a cat, but has some interest in cat toys.
  • Mons (DeMons, to be precise.)
  • Monsters Everywhere: You can be attacked by random encounters at any time, whereever you are in the city. This was changed in the sequel so that you were only attacked in dungeons or the Dark World.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The instruction booklet. It's peppered with 20's era slang, and describes saving your game an awesome moment in itself ("Do not remove the memory card when saving or loading... nothing burns like the glare of an interrupted stenographer.")
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Alice's sidequest is a throwback to the earlier Megaten games, where she was doted upon by Belial and Nebiros—the Scarlet Count and Black Baron, respectively—the two demons needed to take on the quest.
    • Raiho bears a striking resemblance to "Hee-ho-kun" from Shin Megami Tensei if...
    • When he demands you say his name, you can answer "Rai Raiho," a pun on a character from an earlier Devil Summoner game (Rei Reiho). In the English release, Raiho says nobody will get the joke because that game never got released in America.
    • The entire sequence in the Daidouji factory with the floating dolls is taken directly from Persona 2 Eternal Punishment. The strange figure traps the characters in a Kimon Tonku formation, a barrier is placed on the door, and the characters end up in a black-and-white world with gates guarded by a Shikigami.
  • Negate Your Own Sacrifice: At the end, Gouto-Douji (who is cursed with Who Wants to Live Forever?) takes a ride on a missile to make sure it hits its intended target. He even notes his actions won't really kill him (hence why he is back in the sequel).
  • Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters: The Kantou Haguro-gumi.
  • Never Bareheaded: Raidou doesn't even take off his snappy black cap when he's in the bathhouse, which the local yakuza boss calls him out on.
  • New Game Plus: Raidou defaults to Level 1, but he keeps his title/rank (and any extra tubes he earned), any bonuses earned from buying/selling things to Shin-sekai and Konnou-Ya, allows him to fight Raiho-kun and keep his registered demons in the Devil Chart, as well as the option to try the brutal "Devil Difficulty".
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The titular Soulless Army, which is comprised of undead military soldiers trained in swordplay, light and heavy guns, and kung fu kicks.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Gouto, Raidou's talking cat.
  • Optional Boss: Alice, Beelzebub, and Raiho-kun.
  • Origins Episode: Not for a character, but an entire timeline. When combined with certain lines in the original Devil Summoner regarding Gotou and Thorman from Shin Megami Tensei I being removed from the board before their actions could bring about the apocalypse, it's all but outright stated that this game is what creates the Shared Universe of the classic Devil Summoner games, Shin Megami Tensei if, and Persona.
  • Orochi: Appears as a boss, and can be fused once you beat him.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They're genetically augmented Super Soldiers.
  • Parrying Bullets: During part the final battle, Raidou can block cannon fire with just his katana held out in a defensive pose. If it wasn't just so badass, it would be ridiculous.
  • Post-Historical Trauma: Part of the driving force of the Big Bad's plan.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Hiruko, once they've reached Red Cape stage. Sukuna-Hikona, too.
  • Retcon: In-continuity, no less. The aforementioned Beethoven was sent into the past to end the Taisho era at the "proper time", to keep history intact. He pretty much decided to blow off the job though and do his own thing, which may have led to the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona continuities.
  • Retraux: The environments are pre-rendered stillshots. This cuts down on processing power for ease of use, but it's also very reminiscent of Playstation One games that used this exact format (like Resident Evil or Final Fantasy VII).
  • School Uniforms are the New Black: Raidou always wears his school uniform, even when going out and fighting demons. Even in the Yakuza-run bath house, he keeps the hat instead of removing the full uniform.
  • Shop Fodder: Any artifacts you find are only there to be sold to Konnou-Ya Antiques.
  • Shout-Out: Something one boss says, before a battle that takes place during the full moon:
  • Spin Attack: Raidou starts with "Dragon Cyclone", a "hold-type" Charged Attack. It's naturally a little slow and there's usually a window of delay when the attack finishes, but any enemies that connect with it are stunned and knocked away from Raidou. Some Combination Arts, when used, simply imbue the attack with an element + ailment effect, as well as higher damage output.
  • Spirit Advisor: The black cat Gouto, and the Herald of Yatagarasu.
  • Stealth Sequel: And a Stealth Prequel at the same time. The Big Bad is the Raidou of the Shin Megami Tensei II era, who went back to the 1930s to stop the events of Shin Megami Tensei I from taking place in order to save the world. As this requires the Capital's destruction, Raidou XIV can't let this happen.
  • Summon Magic: Raidou pays magnetite in order to call his familiar out of its tube.
  • Super-Soldier: Take a wild guess.
  • Stab the Sky: Call your demon to you in battle while standing still, and Raidou will raise his sword into the air. He makes no such movement while running, though, so he might just have a thing for being flashy.
  • Tsuchigumo and Jorogumo: Tsuchigumo appears in the intro and as a summonable minion.
  • Versus Title
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Akarana Corridor.
  • We Can Rule Together: Munakata pulls this every time you meet him.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Big Bad's plan isn't particularly bad. It just happens to involve the death of thousands in Taisho 20 to save billions down the line.
  • Wham Line: From the Akarana Corridor: "The ambassador has launched the ICBMs!" To the character, the line is meaningless. To a player who has also played Shin Megami Tensei I and II it suddenly makes the villain's motivations abundantly clear. To wit, this game is a prequel to those two, wherein most of humanity is wiped out in nuclear fire, the closest friends and allies constantly turn on each other at the drop of a hat or simply drop like flies, and no matter what you do things just get worse, and worse, and worse. And your actions guarantee that it's going to happen. Well done, hero.
    • Definitely a gutpunch when first encountered, but later games in the series negate the impact of this. Raidou Kuzunoha is confirmed to exist in the same universe as the Persona series, where the apocalypse never happened. So it seems the future did change, though it's not made clear if this is because of Raidou XL's actions, or Raidou XIV's own choices in the next game Vs King Abaddon.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The credit sequence.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Some of the demons speak this way.