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Video Game / Shin Megami Tensei NINE

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The fourth entry in the main Shin Megami Tensei series. It was released for the Xbox in Japan in December 2002.

Taking place during the brief period that the Protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei I is in another world, Shin Megami Tensei NINE focuses on the survivors of the apocalyptic war of 199X as they attempt to rebuild society. The first project is a digital world meant to recreate Tokyo before it was destroyed by missiles: Idea Space.

However, Idea Space experiences glitches known as "Noise" that manifest as demonic entities. Because of the way the Idea Space works, damage inflicted inside will also afflict the user in the real world, so the Noise must be eliminated as a matter of public safety. The Central Administration Bureau has assembled a team of warriors, known as "Debuggers" to fight the Noise.

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One day, the protagonist is visiting Idea Space's recreation of Shibuya when a Legion attacks. A mysterious woman appears and saves Kei Azuma from the Legion, and introduces herself as a Debugger... Kei then becomes a glitch hunter, tracking down and destroying Noise.

Main characters:

  • Kei Azuma: The protagonist whose name and gender the player selects. The protagonist has a younger sister, named Emi, and they live together in slums with their mother Mieko.
  • Baraki and Sumire: Depending on the Hero's gender, their roles will be swapped. If the player is male, Baraki will be the friend he grew up with and Sumire will be a young girl and Emi's classmate.
  • Mubiora and Miranda: Debuggers working for the Central Administration Bureau in Idea Space.
  • Ferris: Secretary General of the Central Administration Bureau, who controls Idea Space.
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  • Tsuzumi: Chief of the Central Administration Bureau in charge of coordinating and deploying the Debuggers.
  • Shiki: A mysterious man in black. He seems to be guiding the Hero to something, but his goals are unknown.
  • Seri: A debugger from the Central Administration Bureau who is the same gender as the protagonist.
  • Naitou: A member of the Ring of Gaea.
  • Maria: An artificial goddess who rules over the Idea Space.


This game provides examples of:

  • After the End: Takes place after the nuclear holocaust that occurred in Shin Megami Tensei I
  • Animated Armor: Eligor and Berith are depicted as this. It's most noticeable during their attack animations, where their hands detach to stab their target, and their death animations, where they collapse in a heap on the ground.
  • Combination Attack: Performed when two characters target the same enemy with the same skill. The result is usually much stronger than the individual attacks would have been.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Desire Disks are this trope. If they are destroyed, the Demons will break free from the Expanse and flood into the Human World to cause an apocalypse.
  • Empty Shell: Known as "Dolls" in-universe. This is the fate of any casualties in a Noise outbreak.
  • Flooded Future World: Most of the game takes place after The Great Flood that occurred in Shin Megami Tensei I
  • God in Human Form:
    • The lady running the flower shop is actually Sophia.
    • Naitou and Shiki turn out to be the angels Raguel and Sariel, respectively
  • Ghost City: By the end of the game, Idea Space is completely deserted
  • Gratuitous English: Most of the non-interactive parts of the battle interface are in English. The quality of said English tends to vary wildly.
  • Hacking Minigame: Whenever the main characters need to hack into something or defend something from other hackers, it takes the form of a surprisingly intricate RTS mini-game.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Demons can be attacked after their HP hits zero. This prevents them from being revived during the fight.
  • Musical Nod: A large portion of the game's soundtrack consists of remixes and Suspiciously Similar Substitutes of songs from Shin Megami Tensei I and II. Some of them, like the Shop theme, even play in similar situations.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics:
    • Demons in RTS maps are represented by their artwork. While some got new designs for this game, others are re-used from past appearances. A particularly interesting example of this is Typhon, whose map icon is a recolored version of Tiamat's artwork from Megami Tensei II.
    • The vaguely scream-like sound effect that was used throughout Persona 2 can be heard in a cutscene.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: A lot changes after Chapter 3. Ten years passed while you were in the Expanse, and in that time, your friend joined the Ring of Gaia, the world has flooded, civilization has moved to a floating city above the water known as True Tokyo, and the Central Administration Bureau has written you off for dead.
  • Oddball in the Series: This game is one of the more... experimental entries in the series.
    • This is the only mainline game to be released on a Microsoft console, and the only game in the entire franchise to be exclusive to one.
    • Dungeon-crawling is mostly relegated to optional mini-dungeons, and even then, they mostly serve as places to recruit demons.
    • Battles are mostly automated — Turns happen on their own, but you can give each party member orders in real time.
    • Basic Attack and Shoot commands are absent. Instead, demons and weapons each have their own skill that serves this purpose.
    • Buffs and debuffs are divided into single- and multi-target spells, are temporary, and usually don't stack.
    • In battle, both sides are controlled by the AI.
    • The protagonist's alignment can shift along both the Law-Neutral-Chaos and Light-Neutral-Dark axes.
    • The protagonist's level and stats are determined by their equipment and held Gemstone instead of experience.
  • People Farms: In Chapter 8, it's revealed that most of humanity perished in The Great Flood. In order to revive and preserve humanity, the Neo Messians headed by androids created a human factory to clone them on a massive scale, using the Desire Energy harvested from Life Ghosts.
  • Powers as Programs:
    • Demons can be converted into Modules that can either boost a stat or teach one of their skills.
    • Central Administration Bureau tries to paint demons as programs and pets called "Navi" when they're really just regular demons on Neo Messian control.
    • Plugins boost a demon's stats and give them a new skill to use during the Hacking Minigame.
  • Resurrection/Death Loop: Since most of humanity perished in flood and in order to revive and preserve humanity, the newly-dubbed Neo-Messians headed by androids, created by the radical Order of the Messiah remnants left behind in the Cathedral, created a human factory to clone humans on a massive scale, using the Desire Energy harvested from Life Ghosts, digital human minds, to keep humanity existing. Too keep humanity in check, the Administration Bureau kills the human population every year on their day of worship to re-clone humanity again without memories to keep them docile. This act includes children like Emi who haven't aged in a decade because of this. All under the belief if they don't human desire will spiral out of control, summon hordes of demons, and cause God to send another flood.
  • Route Boss:
    • In Chapter 5, after hacking the disc Shiki gives you, you're given a choice between going to Roppongi to investigate further and going to Akiba Arena. Choosing the former leads to a fight with Alice, while the latter leads to five boss fights against human opponents, including a rematch against Green Bear, followed by Susano-o.
  • Save-Game Limits: Saving is restricted to Terminals, as well as between-chapter transitions.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Lucifer is trapped in a wall of ice in the Expanse. Depending on the player's choices, he can be freed.
  • Secret A.I. Moves:
    • Since the protagonist is the only playable character who can use Gun skills, all Gun combo skills are relegated to specific fights against groups of human enemies.
    • The last few bosses have special Almighty skills that are exclusive to them:
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character: Two examples, both of which depend on the protagonist's gender.
    • Baraki and Sumire: One is the protagonist's friend who later joins the Ring of Gaea, and the other is a Tagalong Kid pre-Time Skip.
    • Mubiora and Miranda: One is present at Studio Alto when the concert is attacked, and the other is a high-ranking Debugger who recruits the protagonist and their friend.
  • Symmetric Effect: Several passive skills affect the damage output of all combatants in battle:
    • "Time of Madness" and "Time of Merriment" increase physical and magic damage by 50%, respectively.
    • "Time of Rest" and "Time of Requiem" decrease physical and magic damage by 50%, respectively.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: By the game's end, the Law affiliated allies are willing to accept anything from the Central Administration and endless death and cloning if it means maintaining peace and control in the Crapsack World they live it. If you side with Chaos, your only option is to kill them when they try to stop you from bringing down their plans.
  • Variable Mix: The music in the Hacking Minigame consists of three layers, with each one randomly picked from one of seven different variations. It would take many playthroughs to hear all the possible combinations.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: This is the first mainline Shin Megami Tensei game to primarily use 3D models. However, most environments are pre-rendered.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: As usual, it's Game Over if the protagonist dies.
    • Curiously, this also applies to enemies as well. Taking out the "party leader" of a group of enemies automatically ends the fight, no matter how many are left.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Time in the Expanse works this way. Ten years pass in the time it takes the protagonist to go in, rescue a missing Debugger and return to the human world.


 
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4MIX Attack

In Shin Megami Tensei NINE, having multiple party members use the same skill at the same time causes all of them to use a combo. The amount of damage the combo deals increases if more party members are involved.

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Main / CombinationAttack

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