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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Chiaki and Isamu eventually come to form reasons; but are their reasons what they believe is best for the world or just them reacting to the hurt they endured (Isamu withdraws and Chiaki just tries to muscle others out).
    • Given the chance, would Hijiri really have crucified Isamu or the Demi Fiend like Isamu did to him? Isamu claims that he would have, and Hijiri claims that denying anything wouldn't get him anywhere.
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    • Did Hijiri really turn evil when he said he wanted a hand at the Conception, or is he aware of his Fate Worse than Death situation and he wanted to try breaking free of it? Note that his breakdown only comes after he's mentioned that he can see and know everything through the Amala Network. It's possible that some of that "knowledge" was his fate, and if so, then it'd explain why he suddenly took such an interest in forming a Reason. Alternatively, realizing his fate could have made him Go Mad from the Revelation.
    • Yuko displays an attachment to the protagonist that she not only doesn't show to either Isamu or Chiaki, but which appears to go beyond what a proper relationship between a student and teacher should be, but what exactly the nature of that attachment is is never elaborated on. Does she see herself as a Parental Substitute for him? Does she have romantic feelings for him? Or is he just her favorite student? The fact that the Demi-Fiend is a blank slate whose personality and background is vague at best only adds more room for interpretation.
  • Anticlimax Boss:
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    • After the last and most difficult Reason boss Baal Avatar comes the Final Boss, Kagutsuchi. Compared to Baal Avatar, Kagutsuchi doesn't have much in the way of annoying gimmicks and doesn't react much to buffs or debuffs, only relying on damage numbers to pose a threat. Fully buffing and debuffing turns the fight into a cakewalk.
    • Sakahagi. While you fight him right after taking down Girimekhala (the first boss to reflect physical attacks) and given no chance to heal, he only knows second-tier elemental spells and can be easily taken out in one turn. Not helping that you keep all the buffs you have against the preceding demon and Sakahagi doesn't have a lot of MP. While he does pose a mild threat in that he can easily finish you off if you're weak enough from the preceding boss fight, if you survive his first attack, you're more than likely going to be fine.
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    • In a weird way, the True Final Boss, Lucifer. While he's more challenging than Kagutsuchi, getting to him requires going through the Brutal Bonus Level and multiple sadistic Bonus Boss fights, making him feel easy by comparison. You're also likely to have Pierce on the main character by then.
  • Applicability: Some fans have taken a "fuck the system if it's corrupt" idea from the game, since all the Reasons are some shade of grayish-black, the only truly good character is a Demi-Fiend who goes for the Freedom ending, and what's considered the True Ending, the True Demon Ending, involving the Demi-Fiend rendering Kagutsuchi Deader Than Dead, destroying the Cycle Of Death And Rebirth, and marching to beat the crap out of God.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The remaster led to a lot of complaints about both poor performance and barely any changes beyond voice acting and visuals. Atlus not only promised to fix the performance issues, but patched the game to add one of the most requested features that wasn't added at launch: the ability to choose skills demons will inherit in fusion.
    • One of the biggest problems with the True Demon Ending is that it requires the recruiting of Dante. On paper, this is not an issue- Dante is point for point one of the best demons in the game, and is a welcome addition to any party thanks to his incredible damage output. The problem comes from the fact that the True Final Boss requires piercing damage in order to be taken down within a decent time frame... and Dante lacks any way to pierce his physical damage. In the later releases which swapped Dante for Raidou, this was remedied by giving Raidou a skill that causes his physical damage to automatically pierce, which ultimately left Dante in the dust. The HD Remaster finally remedies this by also giving Dante a pierce skill, allowing him to be brought along to the final boss effectively.
  • Awesome Art: The 3D-rendered locales and animated demon models are gorgeous, demonstrating that Atlus was able to pull off the Video Game 3D Leap on the first try and seamlessly translate Kaneko's unique style to the third dimension.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Dante. Some fans find him and his scenes badass, and love his inclusion in the game as both a boss and a recruitable character. Others, however, argue that he doesn't fit in with the game's overall tone and that his actions are immersion-breaking.
  • Best Level Ever: The Labyrinth of Amala and the Diet Building are often cited as the most memorable dungeons in the game, the former for its sheer length and difficulty and the latter for its atmosphere, unique optical illusion gimmick and its bosses (particularly Mot)
  • Breather Boss:
    • Thor's second fight. Sure, he'll start using Dragon Eye when he hits half health, but really, you should be able to drop him from his full 8000 to 5000 fast, and then finish him in one turn.
    • Mara, even though he heals himself to full health on every turn. His strongest attack is Hades Blast, which isn't that bad even though it deals a boatload of damage. You're also forced to fight him during a full Kagutsuchi, thus enabling Bright Might. Bring a few demons that have it, and he'll be dead before he gets a turn.
    • To a much greater extent, Mithra is often considered by players to be the easiest boss of the game (not particularly saying much). The majority of his turns are wasted on Expel or Death spells, which are inaccurate and easily blocked by that point, meaning that even after using Dragon Eye, he'll end up not doing much. He is also quite frail for such a late-game boss, as he can be killed within less than 4 turns with little trouble. The only thing that can (not necessarily) mess you up in this battle is that you'll be unlikely to be immune to Death AND Expel at the same time at this point of the game. And unlike when you unlock him for fusion, Mithra does not reflect Physical attacks when you fight him.
    • Black Rider is one of the easier Fiends due to not having any way to deal with buffs and debuffs and having no other gimmick like Daisoujou and Trumpeter other than being a Flunky Boss. Don't get too complacent though, as he does have Megidolaon.
  • Breather Level: After the sheer hell that is the Fourth Kalpa, with its cursed hallways and absolutely brutal boss, the Fifth Kalpa is very tame in comparison. The first three floors is straightforward and has a lot of low- and mid-level enemies that will give you no problems, and the fourth floor only needs you to have a good combination of demons with the right stats to fully navigate. More than that, you get the opportunity to recruit both Dante/Raidou and the super Pixie, both of whom are incredibly powerful and likely of significantly higher levels than you (and the latter can trivialize the fourth floor's entire gimmick).
  • Broken Base:
    • Hard vs Normal, and which to recommend to new players. Supporters of Hard claim that it's the true way to experience the game, supporters of Normal claim several of Hard's mechanics (most infamously, shop/compendium prices being tripled and being unable to run from any random encounter without Trafuri) are Fake Difficulty and Fake Longevity at best. Debates can become quite heated.
    • Dante vs Raidou. There are numerous debates between players over which character they prefer more, and which fits the game better. With the HD Remaster, it seems Atlus elected to Take a Third Option by including both (Raidou being present by default, with DLC that replaces him with Dante).
    • While many were happy when the HD Remaster was announced, fans are split as to whether or not it's worth the investment. On the one hand, the visual upgrade and addition of voice acting is nice and (after an update) there are a number of quality-of-life features and changes to make the game more newcomer-friendly. On the other hand, the lack of any new content aimed at long-time fans (such as an extra higher difficulty or a new area) and the reported technical issues soured plenty of people. The steep price tag and launch-day dlc ($50 USD for the base game, $70 for the deluxe edition, and that's before the rather messy regional pricing is factored in) were seen as especially galling for a port of a then 17 year old game.note 
    • Fans can't seem to agree on which ending is better: the True Demon ending or the Freedom ending. People who prefer the former find the opportunity to fight God to not only be awesome, but justified and cathartic considering that the Great Will is the one who set up the Conception system in the first place. They also believe that the Freedom ending is worse because simply resetting the world means that the Conception will happen eventually, which means that the Demi-Fiend accomplished nothing. Those that like the latter ending believe that Freedom feels more in line with a Shin Megami Tensei story, being the closest to an actual neutral ending (which are usually considered canon anyway) and that going for the True Demon ending means technically serving Lucifer (thus having no true freedom) and that there is no guarantee that the Chaos faction would even win the final battle. Additionally, Demi-Fiend is not Depowered in the Freedom ending, meaning that he could protect the world every time Kagutsuchi attacks, assuming he lives long enough for its inevitable return.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • "Hijiri is Aleph from Shin Megami Tensei II" is often treated as canonical fact, but this is never directly confirmed within or outside Nocturne. All we know officially is the details of his Fate Worse than Death given within the game.
    • The music track that plays during a number of scripted battle sequences with the iconic "One more god rejected!" line is often referred to as "Fierce Battle" by fans. This is actually a mistranslation. The actual title of the song translates to "Forced Battle."note  Even the Megami Tensei wiki uses the incorrect name.
    • The release of the HD Remaster led to a belief that Raidou was present in the original Japanese release of the game and Dante was his replacement in a case of Dolled-Up Installment in the international version as a marketing strategy. This is the opposite of the truth; the original Japanese release contained neither. Dante was added as part of the Updated Re-release which was the one version released outside of Japan, while Raidou replaced Dante as part of a special third version made to celebrate the release of his second game.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • Virtually everyone seeking the True Demon Ending will outfit the Demi-Fiend with a physical build by the end of the game due to Pierce, necessary to defeating the True Final Boss within a reasonable timeframe, only affecting physical skills.
    • Physical attackers in general are almost surely saddled with Focus, a very cheap spell that multiplies the damage of their next physical attack by 2.5.
    • Daisoujou is a very popular demon due to him not only learning Prayer (a full-heal and status-restoring spell) at a relatively early level, but also innately possessing an MP-draining spell that makes sure that he never runs out of MP, on top of being immune to pretty much every single status ailment in the game. The only obstacle to getting him is defeating him first.
  • Complete Monster: Gozu-Tennoh is the leader of the Mantra Army, an iron-fisted kraterocracy of demons that rule over Ikebukuro in the Vortex World. Waging war against the Assembly of Nihilo, many "enemies" of his regime are made to prove their innocence by fighting to the death in Gladiator Games. Gozu-Tennoh is known for capturing Manikins and forcing them into slave labor or using them as a disposable source of Life Energy, even having an entire prison filled with Manikins to slowly drain them of life. Willingly merging with Chiaki Hayasaka, Gozu-Tennoh enables her to launch a genocidal campaign against the Manikin race and create the Reason of Yosuga, an ideology that, if implemented by Kagutsuchi, would reshape the world into a giant slaughterhouse where people kill each other on a daily basis and those deemed too weak to survive are purged en masse.
  • Crack Pairing: There's quite a lot of Pixie/Demi-Fiend art. This isn't quite as crazy as it sounds, she's the first demon to join you, she's friendly, and will stay by your side till the end, if you let her.
  • Crazy Is Cool: Matador and Hell Biker, both personifications of death that are a matador and a motorcyclist respectively.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Lucifer and the True Demon Demi-Fiend get this a lot. Sure, fighting in the name of free will and stopping the Conception from ever happening again is noble, but you have to remember that you do this by destroying Kagutsuchi, the light of creation. Not only the universe you were born from is now destroyed without any chance of restoration, you potentially doomed billions of universes, more lives than the human mind can count, to slowly die out as Kagutsuchi will never rise again to allow them to be reborn. Just to reinforce the idea, Kagutsuchi isn't just dark during the fight with Lucifer; it's cracked in half. Instead of a phase counter, it's just listed as "Dead". Congratulations, you just permanently destroyed all light and hope for God knows how many. We're sure getting Pierce was worth it.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Matador, with a bit of overlap with Colbert Bump. Prior to the game's Maniax update, Matador was simply a fiend that looks like a skeleton dressed as a matador that is ready for a bullfight. Cue his jarring Wake-Up Call Boss battle and now Matador has become a symbol for the franchise of "Never, EVER think buffs/debuffs are pointless. Always invest in them. They will save your ass from being pounded flat."
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: There are plenty of fans who ship the Demi-fiend with the Pixie who joins his party after the former wakes up in the Vortex World.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Hikawa's got an amazing pajama-esque suit and M-shaped widow's peak.
  • Fountain of Memes: For someone who only shows up for a single boss fight outside of fusion, Matador has a surprising amount of memes:
    • "I challenge you to a duel!" Despite the fact that there's more to the sentence, this is all that shows up in the one textbox, but with a comma replacing the exclamation point. Pictures of Matador saying this is a fandom joke of things getting serious.
    • "I swear, by my sword and capote, that I will once again prove victorious!" A rather spectacular Pre Ass Kicking One Liner that is one of the last lines before the fight properly begins.
    • Red Capote - One of his unique skills and the skill that defines the fight, which maxes out Matador's hit/evasion rate. As this was the first mainline game to be released in the West and the first game to use the Press Turn system, Matador is widely considered to be the boss for teaching players how to properly use buffs and debuffs thanks to this skill.
    • As a sub-meme of the above, variants of "Get the buffs ready" or "use buffs idiot" are dispensed as advice for the SMT series as a whole (sincere or otherwise), especially if Matador has been mentioned.
    • "Where do I find Matador?" Upon the PC release of the HD Remaster (which bundled every version of the game together), many newcomers unwittingly picked the original version of the game which, among other things, lacked the fiend battles. Cue confusion when this infamously difficult boss was nowhere to be seen.
  • Fridge Brilliance
    • During the Third Kalpa of the Labyrinth of Amala while Dante is in there, the place is noticably devoid of demons to face. One might put it to Developers' Foresight so as you wouldn't be distracted when fighting against Dante, but think about it: Dante has been all over those floors of the Third Kalpa! It makes sense as to why there's no demons lurking there, he killed them already! Which is quite a feat given the hordes you face in game. Naturally, once Dante leaves after you defeat him, the demons are suddenly back in those floors.
    • The Freedom Ending is a bit odd in that it's said multiple times in the game that a Demon cannot conceive a Reason and thus cannot play a part in making a new world. You either have to side with one of the Reason holders, choose to keep the Vortex World active, or destroy it altogether. However, this is only in the terms of a "new" world. You can still try forcing Kagutsuchi to bring back the "old" world.
  • Game-Breaker: See the main page for details.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In Japan, it was apparently derided for being very different from previous main series games. In Western territories, however, it's the mainline Shin Megami Tensei equivalent to Final Fantasy VII in that it defined the fandom, and it's fondly remembered for being the Trojan Horse that initially brought in fans of the mainline, non-Persona entries from Western territories.
  • Goddamned Boss: If you come prepared and don't have Focus, Pierce, and Freikugel, Noah. Aurora causes the fight to drag on longer than it has to. If you're unprepared or don't know the pattern of his weaknesses, he delves into That One Boss territory.
  • Heartwarming Moments:
    • If you keep your Pixie that you had from the very beginning of the game and take her all the way to the Fifth Kalpa of the Amala Dungeon, your loyalty will be rewarded with a level 80 Pixie with extremely high stats and knows high-tier skills like Maziodyne, Samarecarm and Megidolaon.
    • The Freedom Route for the most part. The Demi-fiend was originally human in the first place living a normal life until the Conception came, and suddenly he's tasked with changing the world by the forces above him while his friends go crazy. Going in this route implies he has no desire of changing it, would rather have his old world and his friends back the way they were despite their flaws, and thus decides to undo everything that transpired. And it works in the end. Everything is returned to him at once without any catches, and Yuko thanks him for restoring the world while deciding to live for real. And in case the Conception happens again, the Demi-Fiend is implied to retain some residual power should the time come.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate also features Dante from the Devil May Cry series.note 
    • As of 2019, Dante has returned to the franchise in Shin Megami Tensei Liberation: Dx2, as part of a cross promotion between that game and Devil May Cry 5.
    • When the reveal for the HD Remaster showed Raidou, many made jokes on how the Dante meme would no longer be applicable. It would later be revealed that Dante was coming back via paid DLC, rendering it all moot.
  • Les Yay: Fun fact, having a female demon use Seduce (high chance of recruiting male demons when used by a female demon) or wooing (high chance of recruiting female demons when used by a male demon) has a normal outcome like a regular conversation skill, while a male demon using either on another male disgusts the target and results in a guaranteed fail. One would imagine that female demons are a bit more comfortable about being hit on by someone of the same sex than male demons.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: The Merciful difficulty added in the HD remaster has garnered the reception that it goes way too far in trying to make the game more approachable for new players.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Lucifer orchestrates events to ensure the Player Character becomes the commander of his demon army. Turning him into a Demifiend after the Conception, Lucifer manipulates the protagonist into investigating the Amala Labyrinth, hoping to make him fight other powerful Friends to test his strength before sending a feared demon hunter after them. If the Demifiend chooses to break the cycle of the Conception, Lucifer congratulates him, before testing his power in a personal battle. When the Demifiend survives the fight, Lucifer graciously accepts him as the commander of his demon army and rejoices at the thought of beginning the war with what he calls the "Real Enemy". Ever gracious, if the Demifiend chooses any other route than breaking the cycle, Lucifer discretely steps aside and leaves the story, out of respect for his freewill. Manipulative to the core yet gracious and stylish, Lucifer proves himself to be one of the franchise's most dangerous and intelligent plotters.
  • Mainstream Obscurity: While Nocturne helped usher Megaten into western audiences alongside Persona 3, it didn't end up becoming a Cash Cow Franchise thanks to Persona becoming the More Popular Spin-Off with the further releases of Persona 4 and 5. Instead, the three things people know about the game are the Demi-Fiend's somewhat iconic design, there is a song that yells "One More God Rejected!" and that it features Dante from Devil May Cry. While Featuring Dante from Devil May Cry transcended into a legendary meme amongst gamers and shitposters, enough time has past for many using the meme to forget what game Dante was being even featured in. The HD remaster however did recall attention to the game when it was streamed in front of a mass audience during a Nintendo Mini Direct.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • If Matador challenges you to a duel, get your buffs ready because he is dead serious.
    • Mot only spams Beast Eye on rare occasions, yet it's generally the first thing to come up when talking about the boss fight with him.
    • The Demi-fiend himself. His actions on the True Demon route and in Digital Devil Saga has amazed enough of the fanbase that, whenever questions of who the strongest SMT protagonist is come up, his only competition is Aleph. Considering that the Demi-Fiend can become The Anti-Christ in the True Demon Ending while Aleph is A Clone Jesus and seems to lean law in his appearance in IV Apocalypse, it takes Order Versus Chaos to a new level.
  • Memetic Mutation: Other than the numerous memes spawned from Matador, we have these:
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The sound of the Demi-fiends punches hitting their target is beautifully satisfying.
  • Narm:
    • Listen to Daisoujou when he uses a physical attack. White Rider using God's Bow is also pretty Narmy.
    • Whenever Trumpeter speaks.
    • Every time Black Rider uses a spell. "(click click click) Heeeeee!"
    • Mother Harlot has a rather terrifying introduction, culminating in a Jump Scare when she turns around and reveals her Skull for a Head... and then she goes clack clack clack with her teeth in a pretty ridiculous fashion.
    • Whenever Shiva does anything. Idle animation: dancing and jerking around like a mannequin on crack. Launching a spell: twitters like an angry bird. Doing a physical attack: "WHEEEEEEUUUU!"
    • He's less ridiculous than Shiva, but Vishnu's weird moan whenever he casts a spell is pretty darn Narmy itself.
  • Newer Than They Think:
    • The Fiends have existed since Shin Megami Tensei I, and are usually represented by the Revelation Fiends (the Riders, Mother Harlot, and Trumpeter). They actually didn't debut until this game, with the Super Famicom games using a more varied roster that included the first three non-cameo Fiends in this game. The exception is Pale Rider, who was one of the original three Fiends along with Daisoujou, the second Fiend in this game, and David. The roster for every future game would follow this game's, with the six Revelation Fiends accompanied by three or four others.
    • While it's relatively common knowledge among MegaTen fans that the version of Nocturne released overseas (the "Maniax" version) added Dante from the Devil May Cry series, it's less widely known that said version also added in the iconic fiend battles, the Labyrinth of Amala, and the True Demon Ending. This actually proved to be a problem when the PC release of HD Remaster bundled every version of the game together and made the original version the default one (many newcomers simply picked "New Game" at the start without realizing this option lacked said content).
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: A minor example, but you'll notice that one of the review blurbs on the back of the English release (the one that calls it the "RPG for the GTA generation") mentions that "if anyone pays attention to its content, it might cause a little controversy". That seems quite like something one would cut out to avoid bad press.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • The Third Kalpa chase with Dante/Raidou can be insanely nerve-wracking, as not only can they run as fast as the Demi-fiend, but they will occasionally shoot at him to slow him down. If the Demi-fiend gets caught by them, they will perform a move that has a high chance of instantly killing either Demi-fiend or one of his demons and then either flee or lock the player in an unescapable fight. Even worse is if you hear their boss theme playing, but have no idea where they are.
    • The Fiends. They are all avatars of death that can come after you in what can often feel like the most random times and places, and often inconveniently far from a Terminal. The White Rider in particular will deliberately attack you in front of any large Terminal, meaning he won't even let you save beforehand!
  • Porting Disaster:
    • The PAL port of the game has numerous freezing glitches when played at 50hz. The solution is to play it at 60hz, but even then it can freeze during the True Demon Ending.
    • The HD Remaster suffers from frequent and severe framerate drops despite framerate being locked at 30 across all versions, long load times, and lightning and animation glitches as well as a small but general "sluggishness" to the gamenote . The PC version meanwhile has its own problems with crashes or just refusing to start, in addition to only offering 3 options of rendering resolutionnote , as opposed to simply rendering at the window or screen size.
  • Sacred Cow: Criticising anything about this game around die-hard SMT fans tends to end badly.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • White Rider's spawn point is in front of every major Terminal after reaching Asakusa and completing the Second Kalpa.note  Pray that you'll be able to escape or beat him in one go...
    • Beast Eye/Dragon Eye, or any other move that grants the opponent free press turns. Mostly because it's one of the few things in the game that is blatant that The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, with them using a move that is unavailable to the player, that costs only 1 MP, and sometimes even abusing it to outright win. And worse, depending on the enemy and the moves they use, it can be impossible to counter with demons that can nullify attacks.
    • While exacerbated by starting the game on Hard Mode, this page has a comprehensive list.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Nocturne's jump to full 3D was a turning point for truly modernizing the franchise in ways that can be hard to appreciate. This was the first game in the series to completely do away with Magnatite, which meant you no longer had to count your steps to keep your summoned demons. Speaking of summons, the COMP conceit that had been a prior series staple is done away with here, which removed layers of submenus that were infamously frustrating to bring up in the SNES titles. With that gone, you now have a much simpler and intuitive UI, with an auto-updating minimap that's always onscreen with more detailed landmarks. To say nothing of a simple, precise camera and directional controls in true third-person (no more getting lost in first-person hallways).
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: With the game's challenge not being enough for some people, fans have gone out of their way to create a Hardtype mod for the truly masochistic players. It both adds some new content and re-balances fights to really racket up challenge.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The boss fight with Matador, known by fans everywhere as the "buff and debuff, or die horribly" boss.
    • The very last shot of the True Demon Ending, where the Demi-Fiend begins to march forward in the darkness, leading the Legions of Hell into battle against God. Fittingly, it's used as the title screen.
    • The CG of the world being destroyed and its remains twisting into the Vortex, followed by a Magatama forcibly shoved into your eye in first-person view, not an hour in. This drives home the bleak atmosphere of the game that sets itself apart even from other Shin Megami Tensei titles. Here, there's not even a world of humanity left to struggle for survival, your friends and teacher are gone, the remaining humans can be counted on one hand, and you're now a demon on your own. Good luck.
    • The HD Remaster (with its updated translation and addition of voice acting) made the scene with Mara particularly memorable due to the flurry of inappropriate jokes. It's often held up as the best thing about the remaster.
  • That One Achievement: "The Depths of Damnation" and "Master of Misfortune" essentially mandate a large amount of Level Grinding — the former involves maxing out all of the Demi-fiend's base stats, while the latter involves mastering all Magatama. You'll need to grind to level 191 and 115 at minimum for these respectively, when you can beat the game near level 80. The former can be shortcut with use of Incense, though this also needs lucking out with the Lucky Ticket raffles at the shops to get the right Incense, too.
  • That One Attack:
    • Beast Eye and Dragon Eye. After consuming the turn, the enemy gains two or four half Press Turns, respectively. This leads to the enemies (generally bosses, too) proceeding to attack you up to five times in a row. Daisoujou and Hell Biker also have Startle and Hell Throttle, respectively, that are the same but give three Turns.
    • Matador's Red Capote will automatically max out his hit/evasion rate and is one of the main reasons he's the game's Wake-Up Call Boss.
    • Aciel loves to use Sol Niger, a guaranteed HP to 1 for your party. Since he's got two Press Turns, he'll use the other one to attack right afterwards, instantly killing anyone he targets. Bear in mind that at this point, nothing barring rare Attack Mirrors or the expensive Tetrakarn can make the Demi-fiend immune to phys.
    • Trumpeter's Holy Melody and Evil Melody. The former fully heals whoever has the lowest percentage of HP, while the latter would kill him. While when he uses it is predictable, it's also unavoidable. In addition, while Holy Melody can fully heal Trumpeter to effectively reset the fight, Evil Melody will never target him.
    • Bael's Bane from Baal Avatar is a Curse-type skill that can turn a party member into a fly, dramatically reducing their stats and rendering them weak to Expel. There is no cure other than dying and being revived. If this attack hits the Demi-fiend, he's screwed, and you wouldn't think to impart Null Curse onto him unless planning far in advance.
    • Root of Evil from Lucifer is a Random Effect Spell where three (out of six) possible outcomes turn it into a Percent Damage Attack, taking away 50%, 70%, or 90% of any one party member's current HP; the remaining three can inflict random ailments. He's also likely to follow up with an unblockable attack afterwards that can kill that party member rightaway. If you're fighting him on Hard Mode, Root of Evil is also guaranteed to erase your buffs as well, so you'll have to spend more time building them back up or fall into a downward spiral you can't recover easily from.
    • Lucifer's deadliest attack is, of all things, his normal attack. It's unavoidable, is almighty so you can't negate it, and has an abnormally high critical rate. If the A.I. Roulette rolls unfavorably against you he can land many critical hits in a row to pummel a party member of his choice into the ground, especially while you're just recovering from his previous slew of attacks.
  • That One Boss:
    • Matador. With the right strategy, he's not too difficult, but he's the first boss in the game that you won't be able to beat without fusing a party specifically to counter him. And even if you do he's still a pain in the ass, replenishing his Evasion faster than you can drain it.
    • Mot. He can use Beast Eye, but plenty of other bosses can, too. Unlike them, however, Mot isn't designed to do anything specific with Beast Eye - it's just a regular move to him, unlike most other times you run into it or Dragon Eye, so if you're unlucky he will chain Beast Eyes for a long string of Press Turns. Mot can also combine spamming Beast Eye with Makakaja and Megidolaon, meaning he can wipe out your team without you getting a single move.
    • Dante (and Raidou, for that matter) have a very well-rounded skill set, between a personal Dekunda to erase your debuffs, Provoke to lower your defenses, a party-wide unavoidable physical attack, and a single-target physical attack with a very high crit rate. They also have no weaknesses, Contractual Boss Immunity, and resist all damage. In the rematch in the Third Kalpa they bust out their entire arsenal, pulling out their own versions of Maziodyne and Mazandyne, an almighty physical attack that can instakill, and a party-wide almighty attack. There's no easy way to perfectly defend against them.
  • That One Level:
    • The Labyrinth of Amala is essentially a Brutal Bonus Level. While the Shady Brokers will sell you powerful custom demons, the loot is amazing, and contains cutscenes that flesh out a large chunk of the plot, even the mandatory parts will put you through the wringer constantly and remind you it's particularly hard to assemble a powerful team capable of resisting continuous assaults (many back attacks, particularly) at the beginning.
      • The cursed hallway in the Second Kalpa can be accessed as early as level 30-40, but it is filled with level 65+ demons, all while the hallway halves your HP every few steps and there's no way to prevent it. To get out you have to go back through the hallway, though thankfully there are several shortcuts so you don't have to go the whole circuit. The good news is that you can safely ignore this section until you dispel the curse in the Fourth Kalpa, rendering it mostly safe. However, going through it early and surviving will net you a massive 250,000 Macca, enough to fund your Compendium fees for almost the rest of the game.
      • The upper floor of the Third Kalpa halts your progress with stat check doors, and if you fail to open some of them they will warp you to a different part of the map. You'll need a total of 25 Strength, 25 Magic, and 20 Luck to fully explore the area for its treasure, but the necessary doors for progress don't require such high stats. The lower floors are where Dante or Raidou confront and chase you around, and getting caught gives them a turn to smack your party around before returning you to the start of the floor and resetting any switches you've pushed.
      • The Fourth Kalpa disables your mini-map for most of its second floor, and its central spot is a warp that changes destination based on the current Kagutsuchi Phase. Your ultimate goal is to get to Beelzebub, and the room prior to him is pretty large and drains your HP every few steps while random encounters are still active.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Within the Labyrinth of Amala is another sidequest: the Amala Grave Run, which challenges the player to beat 24 of the main story bosses within a certain amount of Press Turns. Even with endgame stats, these fights are tough to do within the turn limits, but two in particular stand out:
      • The Moirae Sisters must be defeated in four Press Turns, which translates to a single full turn. The only way this is feasible is by having an entire party with endgame all-targeting Physical skills such as Hades Blast and Deathbound and hoping they get critical hits, making the fight entirely dependent on RNG.
      • While Ahriman and Noah have very generous Press Turn requirements (especially if you have Pierce and Freikugel in Noah's case), Baal Avatar must be defeated in fourteen Press Turns, which translates to a mere three and a half full turns. This is only possible if you kill her before she summons the Hallels, which in turn requires buffing and debuffing - which costs valuable turns - so you can deplete more than half of her HP in one go. This is normally surprisingly easy to pull off, but the strict time limit requires a much stricter balancing act of getting the buffs and debuffs set and dealing enough damage so that you're able to finish her off when you're ready.
    • Puzzle Boy, a young Manikin that makes you play a minigame of 20 increasingly difficult puzzles if you want to obtain all the Magatama in the game. He's practically required as the Magatama he gives you teaches the Demi-fiend all the second tier healing abilities, and is necessary if you want a shot at getting the secret 25th Magatama. Hope you're good at complicated block puzzles (or barring that, can slavishly reproduce all the steps in a detailed walkthrough), as you have to complete all 20 levels in one go.
      • This proved so frustrating in fact, that the Hardtype hack changes it so you can just buy it in the shop. Yes, even a hack made to ramp up the difficulty thought it was unreasonable.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: With the HD remaster getting voice acting added, a lot of the demon voice-lines and grunts were changed to a fresh set. Suffice to say, many fans were not impressed with the new ones, feeling that they lack the impact and character of the old ones. Thor, Daisoujou and Metatron are commonly sited as those hit by this the worst.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Fans of Dante and Devil May Cry point out that it would be not in line for him to follow the Demi-Fiend into the true demon ending given his character and that within the game itself he's suspicious of the Old Man's actions and motives that relate to Demi-Fiend. This is largely due to Dante's main role in the story ending by that point, with him just being another party member, with the belief there was a missed opportunity for him to speak up or turn against the Demi-Fiend if he went with the true demon ending.
    • For Raidou Kuzunoha fans... basically the same as Dante.
  • Tough Act to Follow: This game does an excellent job of making the Video Game 3D Leap, is known for its relentless challenge, has perhaps the widest variety of endings/routes of any game in the series, and is the last game produced by series creator Cozy Okada.note  Subsequent games have difficulty living up to the gold standard that Nocturne set.
  • Ugly Cute: Although we never get a very good look at them in game, the Magatama are pretty cute for parasitic spirit bugs.
  • Vindicated by History: Might be hard to believe today, but when the game was first released it actually wasn't all that well received from fans with many finding it way too different from past entries. The game didn't receive full recognition until the updated Maniax edition, and over time the game got more and more traction until it got the franchise cornerstone status it enjoys today.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Ongyo-ki. As long as you keep hitting the real one, he'll do very little besides buff himself. He even does this after the effects are maxed out.
    • Chiaki and Isamu. Seeing how strong their school friend has become, you'd think they'd consider coming with you. Even if they recognized the Demi-Fiend has changed, given how horrific the new world is, they're not exactly in a position to be picky. Especially the case for Chiaki, who you encounter early on before she or Isamu have found their Reasons, she could've avoided a lot of hardship if she hadn't decided to go it alone.
  • Woobie Species: The Manikins. They are so weak and unable to defend themselves that all demons scornfully look at them as nothing more than easy prey, with the Mantra in particular imprisoning them en masse as easily exploitable sources of slave labor and Magatsuhi. Though they are eventually able to make a home for themselves at Asakusa, they are ruthlessly slaughtered by the Yosuga, who come to claim the massive amounts of Magatsuhi in their holy ground for themselves. The worst part is that even if Chiaki didn't kill them, they were doomed regardless. Manikins cannot conceive a Reason, meaning all their efforts to create a new world for themselves were never going to succeed and they were going to all die out no matter what world was made. Manikins seem to only exist to suffer.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: While it is revealed that Yuko was manipulated by Hikawa into being a vessel for siphoning magatsuhi and later a sacrifice, it doesn't change the fact that she knowingly and willingly helped to initiate the Conception, which killed off seven billion people. Yet the Demi-Fiend still tries to save her.

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