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  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": If you've never played this game, but have heard of it, chances are you only know about the Labyrinth of Amala and the True Demon Ending. Barely any other part of the story is well-known, and even among the game' fanbase the endings besides TDE are largely forgotten. This is because, as hinted at in the Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy entry: Everyone develops into a rampaging asshole and even God and Lucifer aren't any better; so players end up pursuing the true demon route to get the most out of the game content wise and to slaughter them all.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Kagutsuchi. If you Buff and Debuff to maximum, he's mostly a joke, especially compared to the rather brutal battle that precedes him.
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    • Sakahagi. Sure, you fight him right after taking down Girimekhala (the first boss to reflect physical attacks) and given no chance to heal, but he only knows second-tier elemental spells and can be easily taken out in one turn by this point in the game.
      • What makes that battle an even bigger joke is that you keep all the buffs you have against the preceding demon and Sakahagi doesn't have a lot of MP. Use Mana or Life Drain on him and he becomes even more worthless. Also doubles as Too Dumb to Live considering the guy could have just run away and make his schemes another day.
      • He does pose a mild threat in that he can easily finish you off if you're weak enough from the preceding boss fight. Especially if there's any elemental weaknesses in your party. But 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. Which he's more challenging than Kagutsuchi, getting to him requires going through the Brutal Bonus Level and multiple sadistic Bonus Boss fights, so he can't help but feel easy by comparison. You're also likely to have Pierce on the main character by then.
  • 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 it's sheer length and difficulty and the latter for it's atmosphere, unique optical illusion gimmick and it's bosses (particularly Mot)
  • Breather Boss: Thor the second time. 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.
      • Taunt + Tetrakarn = Dead Mara.
    • 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 can't be immune to Death AND Expel at the same time at this point of the game (though your demons certainly can). 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.
  • 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 Awesome: Matador and Hell Biker, both personifications of death that are a matador and a motorcyclist respectively.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Everyone's a dickmunch in Nocturne. God, your former friends, the villains, the 'nice' reporter who decides he's going to be evil more-or-less out of nowhere, EVERYONE. Suddenly the True Demon Ending's not lookin' so bad, is it?
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The way Metatron swings his arm to perform his regular attack may resemble a Nazi salute to some.
  • 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 an entire multiverse and killing more people than the human mind can possibly count. Just to reinforce how destructive you've become, 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 in existence. I'm sure getting Pierce was worth it. This got worse when the creators themselves made SMT IV's Bad Ending into pretty much the exact same thing and people still didn't get 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."
  • 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. Among other things, it's the image for Atlus's That One Boss page.
    • 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" occur often when talking about the Press Turn system, and if the phrase is brought up, Matador is almost always mentioned.
      • Matador's hard lesson in the strength of buffs and debuffs has also led to a common line of advice regarding SMT, sincere or not, being "use buffs retard".
  • 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.
  • 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 maxed out stats and having learned Maziodyne, Samarecarm and Megidoalon. Have fun.
    • 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 force the Final Boss Kagutsuchi 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate also features Dante from the Devil May Cry series.note 
  • Ho 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) can work on other female demons, while a male demon using either on another male disgusts the target and results in a guaranteed fail.
    • It doesn't work so much as it doesn't not work. A female demon's chances of recruiting another female demon using Seduce are exactly the same as if trying to negotiate normally. One would imagine that female demons are a bit more comfortable about being hit on by someone of the same sex than male demons.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Lucifer orchestrates events to ensure The Protagonist becomes the commander of his demon army. Turning him into a Demi-fiend 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 Demi-fiend chooses to break the cycle of the Conception, Lucifer congratulates him, before testing his power in a personal battle. When the Demi-fiend 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 Demi-fiend 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.
  • 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.
  • Memetic Mutation: Other than the numerous memes spawned from Matador, we have these:
    • "Featuring Dante from the Devil May Cry series!" is often used in photoshops of game covers in order to mock the European cover's blatant attempt at cashing in Wolverine Publicity.
    • Mot's Drama, which refers to whenever Mot spams Beast Eye and pairs it with enough Makakajas and Megidolaons to wipe you out in one turn. Became an Ascended Meme in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, where one of the DLC regular enemies is a Mot with Guardian's Eye, Makakaja, and Antichthon.
    • "One more god rejected", a line from the Fierce Battle theme and often shows up when talking about the game.
    • Especially on Reddit, replying "cturne" to people saying "no".
  • 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. Heeeeee!
    • 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.
    • Whenever certain types of demons try to speak with either all caps or erratic capitalizations and ellipses. Due to the lack of any effective scary effects coupled with such dialogue when speaking to them, they completely fail to come off as scary and fearsome.
    Specter boss: Me eAT yOU! aNd MaGaTSuhi ToO! Me EaT YOu, tOooOooOoO!! note 
    Mizuchi prison warden: YOU THINK YOU CAN BEAT ME? NOT A CHANCE! I'LL TEAR YOU APART! [attacks] YOU THINK I'M AN ORDINARY MIZUCHI? YOU'RE WRONG!! I'M GONNA TORTURE YOU! HAHAHAHAHA!!
  • 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.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: While Nocturne is beloved by the fanbase for many reasons ranging from gameplay, atmosphere, and music; the story tends to not be one of said reasons. This is generally held to be due to the games minimalist approach. Not helping matters is that the game has a serious case of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy, making it hard to get attached to anyone aside from your own demons. To its credit it does raise some very real and interesting questions, but it's hard for much of it to stick when everyone has less than pleasant character issues, traits and ideologies.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Playing the game on the True Demon Path or the Freedom Path is considered a pretty good distillation of Friedrich Nietzsche's entire philosophy. The transcendence comes either way: TD has you destroying the old order and challenging the one who created it all, while Freedom has you take a good long look at everyone else's philosophies and stick a middle finger at them.
  • Stop Having Fun, Guys: There's nothing wrong with completing this game and being good at it, but a number of people who hold this game in high regard seem to sneer at anyone who expresses frustration and accusations of unfairness over it.
  • 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.
    • 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, the Trumpeter can use Holy Melody on himself, but can't use Evil Melody. Interestingly enough, the same applies when Trumpeter learns it in your party...and Evil Melody only costs 1 MP...
  • That One Boss:
    • Matador, who gets the honor of being pictured in the Atlus That One Boss page. 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. Mot can also combine spamming Beast Eye with Makakaja and Megidolaon, meaning he can wipe out your team without you getting a single move.
  • That One Level: That fucking cursed hallway in the Second Kalpa. Your HP gets cut in half every 5 or so steps, there are level 60+ demons that always seem to get through Repel. 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 lower levels of the Third Kalpa definitely count, too. You have to run around and flip switches while being shot at by Dante. Get caught by him, and he knocks your party around and sends you back to the beginning. In the second part, not only are the switches in mazes of invisible walls, Dante resets them after he catches you. The top level's not easy, either; it's a gigantic maze filled with one-way doors, and some of them teleport you if a certain stat isn't high enough. The only way to be sure that you won't get thrown all over the map is to have all your stats at 25 or higher, which would require absurd amounts of grinding at this point.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • The Labyrinth of Amala in its entirety. While the Shady Brokers will sell you demons with Game-Breaker skills, 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 optional Grave Run is especially tough, even with the endgame stats.
    • 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, and you have to complete all 20 levels in one go, or barring that, can slavishly reproduce steps in a walkthrough.
      • 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.
  • 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.
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