Shin Megami Tensei II (真・女神転生II) is a video game and direct sequel to Shin Megami Tensei for the Super Famicom released on March 18, 1994 in Japan. It was later remade for PlayStation in 2002, and then for Game Boy Advance in 2003. It is a console role-playing game and part of the Megaten series. Similar to most games in the series, the player is able to persuade demons to join the main characters battle party.
The SNES version of Shin Megami Tensei 2 was fan-translated in English by Aeon Genesis in 2004. An official English translation has yet to be announced.
The gameplay is similar to Shin Megami Tensei with a few changed aspects. First, the automap screen can be called with the press of the R button.
A new system of "magic succession" was introduced in the Demon Fusion system, the trademark system of the game series. The spells of the demons used for the fusion can be passed on to the outcoming demon, which can even allow the weakest demon to possess the most powerful spell in the game.
Other changes include,
- Several of the demons' alignments were changed from LAW/CHAOS to NEUTRAL, in order to increase the diversity of the player's party.
- Party can be divided into front-row and back-row, but only affects the amount of damage it can receive or inflict.
- Player can now choose which spells and special attacks its demons can use, except they will now cost the demons' hit point or magic point.
- Important items and gems are stored in separate item slots.
- All of the demons' data can now be stored and viewed (there was a limit in the previous version).
- In the previous version, the player only encountered one kind of demon at a time, but in this game the player may encounter two separate kinds of demons.
- A casino was introduced, where player can play games with coins purchased by money and trade them with special items only obtainable in casinos.
- Several new spells were introduced, such as NECROMA, where you can revive a dead demon as an undead.
At the end of Shin Megami Tensei, the protagonist decided to create a world where both Law and Chaos would exist equally, and people would have the freedom to choose and believe whatever they wished. Fifty years later, the world was plagued by disasters and over time, the air became unbreathable. Because of this, people flocked to an encapsulated city built by those who preach the Messian religion. That city was called Tokyo Millennium.
This game follows the story of Hawk, a battler in the Valhalla district of Tokyo Millennium. The citizens of Valhalla compete in a tournament in hopes of gaining citizenship in the Center district, which is out of the reach of demons.
Hawk fights in the tournament and wins. He gains citizenship in the Center district and has a personal meeting with the Bishop of the Messian religion. During the meeting, he is told that he is actually the Messiah, who will one day save mankind from the current bleak world and bring about a paradise called the "Thousand Year Kingdom".
Hawk, whose true name is revealed to be Aleph, is sent on missions from the Center to eradicate demons and prepare the world for the Thousand Year Kingdom. Yet while he travels across Tokyo Millennium, he witnesses first-hand the atrocities the Center inflicts on the people and must decide whether to follow his pre-determined destiny or fight against it in the hope of creating something better.
The Thousand Year Kingdom
The creation of the Thousand Year Kingdom is the focal point of the game's storyline. According to the Center, it would be a paradise of God that would exist for a thousand years, created by a chosen one called the Messiah. However, during the course of the game it is revealed that only the chosen few whom the Center deemed worthy would be allowed to live in the Thousand Year Kingdom; everyone else would be abandoned and left to die. The Center was designed as a prototype of what the Thousand Year Kingdom would be like: those who survive in the gruelling Colosseum battles are allowed to live in the luxurious safety of the Center, while everyone else must live in the demon-infested slums surrounding it. The luxury of the Center comes at the cost of freedom, as those who live inside must adhere to the strict laws of the Center while those outside can do whatever they desire.
If the player follows the Law alignment of the game by recruiting Lawful-aligned demons, making decisions consistent with a Lawful outlook on life and completing the objectives of the Center, then Aleph succeeds in becoming the True Messiah and creates the Thousand Year Kingdom by using Eden—a vast spaceship hidden inside Tokyo Millennium—to leave the Earth for a new home planet.
If the player follows the Neutral or Chaos alignments, then Aleph is dubbed a false Messiah and commits the "ultimate sin" by destroying YHWH (representing not the specific Judeo-Christian God, but the source of all gods), who had created everything in such a way that the world would be subjugated under him forever.
Each of the main characters can be named by the player; what is given here are the default names.
The silent player character and protagonist of the game. He was found wandering in the streets of Valhalla by a retired fighter named Okamato. As he possessed no memory or identity, he was named Hawk by Okamato and trained to fight in the Colosseum on behalf of Okamato's gym. After becoming the Champion, he is sent to the Center where he learns that his true name is Aleph and he is destined to be the Messiah: the one who will save humanity and create the Thousand Year Kingdom of God. He occasionally has strange flashbacks where he sees the other characters suspended in test tubes and is asked to give them names.
It is eventually revealed that Aleph is a creation of the Center, created as their own Messiah when all faith in the coming of the real Messiah faded. Unlike the other creations of the Center, he was a genetically enhanced embryo implanted into and born to a human woman and then force-grown to ten years old. That woman was Hiroko, making her Aleph's biological mother.
Depending on the actions of the player, Aleph creates the Thousand Year Kingdom, destroys the Center to create a world overrun with demons, or destroys both factions with the intent of creating a paradise for Mankind with his own power; without relying on gods or demons.
Aleph is named after the first letter in the Hebrew language, Aleph (א).
The main female character of the game. She is a Temple Knight of the Center who accompanies Aleph on his missions across Tokyo Millennium. At the start of the game she disobeys the Center by travelling to Valhalla to find a lost boy and track down a missing scientist called Hanada. After Beth is killed she joins Aleph as his main female companion.
It is later revealed that, unknown to her, she is Aleph's biological mother and had artificial memories of being a Temple Knight implanted into her to hide the truth. Her father is Mekata, the Center scientist who worked on the Messiah project and was forced to use his daughter as the test subject, eventually leading to his rebellion against the Messiah project.
She stays by Aleph's side for the rest of the game in all alignment paths.
The second main female character of the game. She is also a Temple Knight of the Center and is assigned to Aleph as his partner to help him in his missions. Like Yuriko in Shin Megami Tensei, she pledges to be by Aleph's side forever, but is sadly killed by Daleth when she jumps in front of a deathblow meant for Aleph. Like the other main characters she was a creation of the Center, designed to be Aleph's "eternal partner".
Her soul can be found in Chesed after defeating Abaddon, and her final act is to offer Aleph the last of her strength, increasing his ability scores.
Beth is named after the second letter in the Hebrew language, Bet (ב).
A young man who lives in the forest of Arcadia, and seems to know Aleph from some place. He seems to know a lot about the purpose of Arcadia, the Center and Tokyo Millennium. It is revealed that Gimmel was created by the Center to be the Messiah of the Virtual World, which was designed as a testing ground for the technology of the Thousand Year Kingdom.
Gimmel is named after the third letter in the Hebrew language, Gimmel (ג).
A young man who first meets proclaiming himself to be the true Messiah and challenging Aleph to several fights to prove himself, emerging as a recurring antagonist. It's revealed later in the game that he is one of the creations of the Center, designed for the role of the "Anti-Messiah". His purpose was to be defeated at the hands of the true Messiah in order to increase the charisma of the latter in the eyes of the populace.
He survives in the Neutral and Chaos alignment path, and is last seen offering his encouragement to Aleph on his way to the Underworld to defeat Kuzuryuu.
Daleth is named after the fourth letter in the Hebrew language, Dalet (ד).
A member of the Temple Knights alongside Hiroko. At the beginning of the game he is firmly aligned with the Center and is a commanding officer for Aleph, but when he witnesses the tragedies that the Center inflicts upon the people of Tokyo Millennium and discovers the true nature of the Thousand Year Kingdom, he rebels and dedicates himself to spreading the truth about the Center's machinations. He is revealed to be another one of the Center's creations, designed to be Aleph's bodyguard.
Later it is revealed that he is actually an incarnation of Satan, an instrument of YHWH's will sent to judge all creatures on Earth; both men and demons alike. He fuses with his other half (Set) and transforms into his true form.
In the Neutral and Chaos alignment paths, he attempts to use the Megiddo Arc (a powerful laser weapon within Eden) to destroy all life on the planet as his judgement. He is killed by Aleph before he can carry out his plans, and his death prompts the appearance of YHWH. In the Law alignment path he joins forces with Aleph and Hiroko to defeat YHWH after it wipe out humanity on Earth. Afterwards, having killed his creator, he crumbles to dust.
Zain is named after the seventh letter in the Hebrew language, Zain (ז).
- Director Kazuma Kaneko: "...there are many mysterious common motifs, like the flood legend in mythology...One way of thinking is that there was one myhology in the ancient past, and then the races moved...However, the basis is the same, even though there are differences in the myths..And when I thought about what mythology served as a basis, I concluded that it was the Old Testament. Which means YHWH, the god the Old Testament, is the basis for all of the gods around the world, from a folklorist's standpoint."
- Megami Tensei Wiki
- Shin Megami Tensei II Official website(JP)
- 'Shin Megami Tensei II' at MobyGames
- GameFAQs for Super Nintendo Entertainment System
- GameFAQs for PlayStation
- GameFAQs for Game Boy Advance