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File:SMTNocturne2 6941.jpg

Call it what you will--A revelation from God, or a curse of the demon king. The fact remains that our world came to an end. A heretic called upon an unearthly light, and devastation ensued. Chaos crawled out of the depths of the ocean, from the black abyss. Death upon death...nothing but death in this barren land. Who can we pray to? There are only demons and fiends here... A voice in the dark beguiles me. "Truth is a mystery, unraveled by the candles' flames".
—From the Journal of a Man who Wandered into Another World

The third main-series game in the Shin Megami Tensei JRPG series, and the first since Shin Megami Tensei II in 1994. It was released in Japan in February 2003, in America in October 2004 and in Europe in July 2005, for the Play Station 2.

Tokyo, 20XX. You and two of your high school classmates have gone to visit your sick teacher in hospital, only to find that the building is eerily deserted. The search for your teacher leads you down into the basement of the hospital, where you find evidence of sinister occult experimentation and a mysterious man who is none too happy about your intrusion. Just as he's about to have you killed, you are rescued by the intervention of your teacher, who convinces the man to let you live and takes you to the roof. There, you witness the Conception: the destruction of the old world and its transformation into an embryonic state- the Vortex World- to prepare for its eventual rebirth. Tokyo becomes a spherical world populated by demons and the wandering spirits of those who died during the Conception, with a glowing sphere suspended in its center. You have survived... but during the Conception you encountered a mysterious young boy who forcefully implanted you with a creature called a Magatama, transforming your body into that of a demon.

Waking up in the hospital with your new demonic body, your struggle for survival in this new, hostile world slowly becomes a battle to determine what form the new world will take. On one side is the Assembly of Nihilo, who wish to create a world of complete stillness and peace, devoid of emotion. Opposing them is the Mantra, a powerful gang who believe in ruling by strength, passion and fear.

As the legendary Demi-Fiend, you have the power to decide the fate of the Vortex World. Will you side with one of the emerging armies to help make their idea of a perfect world a reality? Or will you destroy them all and take the power of creation into your own two hands?

The game is largely a dungeon crawler, as you make your way across the ruins of Tokyo looking for answers and your missing friends. Gone are the cyberpunk elements of the previous Shin Megami Tensei games; as your character is a demon you have no need to use a computer to translate and summon. Your party is made up of the main character and the demons that you have recruited to your cause. By talking to demons, you can convince them to give you money, items or to join your party. Most will demand money and items as a bribe before they will listen to you, but some will also pose a philosophical question that you must answer to their satisfaction.

As demons level up extremely slowly, the quickest way to maintain a strong team is to fuse your demons together at the Cathedral of Shadows, creating entirely new demons with new powers and some inherited from their previous forms. A handful of demons will also evolve once they have reached a certain level. The Main Character develops by equipping different Magatama, each of which has a set of abilities that will be learned upon leveling up. An additional degree of difficulty is added by the fact that your character can only know eight skills at any one time, and must forget moves to learn new ones; once they are forgotten, they are Lost Forever.

Battles are conducted with the Press Turn system, where at the start of each round you receive a number of actions equal to the number of characters in your battle party. A normal action consumes one Press Icon, but inflicting a critical hit or attacking the enemy's weakness only consumes half a Press Icon. Thus, by attacking the enemy's weaknesses you maximize the number of turns you get in one round. Unfortunately, attacking an enemy with an element that it is strong against- or missing entirely- consumes two Press Icons, and if the enemy repels or absorbs the attack you lose all your Press Icons. This also applies in reverse; the enemy can attack your weak points to win additional actions for itself and loses actions if you defend yourself correctly. This battle system would go on to be used in Digital Devil Saga and in a scaled-down form- the "One More" system- in Persona 3 and Persona 4.

In January 2004 the game received a Updated Rerelease in Japan known as Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Maniax. It balanced a few of the game mechanics, added in a massive optional dungeon (and a new ending and Final Boss if you complete it) and featured Dante of Devil May Cry fame as a Guest Fighter. Considering that you are a demon and Dante is a demon hunter, you don't exactly meet on good terms. Fortunately, it was this version that was localized and released in the West. In PAL territories it was known as Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call due to copyright reasons. A second Updated Rerelease named Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Maniax Chronicle Edition came free with Japanese copies of Raidou Kuzunoha VS King Abaddon, replacing Dante with Raidou.

This game is a must-buy for any RPG enthusiast looking for a greater challenge than your average game and change from traditional fantasy settings. From the ruins of Vortex World Tokyo to the eclectic demon designs and the awesome rock/techno music of Shoji Meguro, there's just no other game like it.

Tropes used in Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne include:
  • Abandoned Hospital: The Shinjuku Hygienic Hospital.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Great Underpass of Ginza.
  • After the End: It doesn't get much more "endy" than the world turning into a giant egg.
  • The Alcoholic: Loki. Wastes the entire game not doing much in Nyx's Lounge. This, interestingly, foreshadows what happens to the key you need to get from him to access the last layer of the Labyrinth: he sold it for booze money.
  • Alien Geometries: Many. The Labyrinth of Amala's warp points between each Kalpa, and the Twelve Meters of Eternity in the Fourth Kalpa.
  • All Myths Are True
  • Always Accurate Attack: Buffs and debuffs.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Several. The battle against Samael (you fight him in a warped version of the Diet Building stained glass room, which keeps spinning impossibly on an invisible axis) really stands out, though.
    • The Fiend dimension to which you keep getting sucked to also counts, a red, barren strip of land under an eternally raging sky.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Lampshaded; one shopkeeper who acts this way implies he's actually straight, but is frequently Mistaken for Gay.
  • Ambiguously Human: The Manakins. They are made from compound human souls and emotions, and because the Conception killed all the humans except for the Demi-Fiend, Yuko, Chiaki, Isamu, Hikawa, and Hijiri, they are more or less the Vortex World's equivalent to humanity. They have flesh and blood just like true humans, but are also made from the earth, the substance that gives life the easiest.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Beat the game and you get the option to change your outfit at the start of a new cycle. Your choice influences your starting stats.
  • The Antichrist: What Lucifer wants you to become. Should you take the True Demon Ending, it happens.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Many players were surprised to find the battle against Lucifer in the True Demon Route very underwhelming, especially when compared to the some of other nightmare-inducing Bonus Bosses of the franchise (Digital Devil Saga's Demi-fiend, anyone?). The only "trick" for the fight is to keep the skill 'pierce', which you will gain from beating the Fifth Kalpa and use the game-breaking combination of Debilitate + Focus + Freikugel. Although to be fair, it's more of a True Final Boss than a Bonus Boss, as you're required to win this fight to beat the game for the True Demon Ending. And even though he's not as strong as some Bonus Bosses in the Shin Megami Tensei series, he's still considered the hardest boss in Nocturne.
    • Kagutsuchi can be this. If you Buff and Debuff to maximum, he's mostly a joke, especially compared to the rather brutal battle that precedes him.
    • 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.
  • Apocalypse How: Class X at the beginning with the Conception. Class Z at the end of the True Demon Ending.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Magatama, the Deathstones, Amala technology...
  • Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: Both bosses at Kabukicho Prison, Mizuchi and Black Frost. Both eventually lose the extra mass.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Dante. At the point where you get him, pretty much all you can use him for is the fights against Metatron and Lucifer. And he lacks the Pierce skill which is practically required to beat the latter. On top of this, he can't be used in fusion and you can't use the Compendium to get him back in a New Game+. This pretty much made him useless in comparison with Raidou, his Suspiciously Similar Substitute who has better stats and learns Pierce.
  • Badass: Although many qualify, the Demi-fiend takes the cake. Especially if you beat the Amala Labyrinth. To elaborate, this quest requires him to beat the crap out of the incarnations of Death (all ten of them, including certified badasses such as Dante or Raidou Kuzunoha the XIVth in the Chronicle Edition), go (literally) into the depths of hell itself through one of the largest, most grueling dungeons known to players, beat both Lucifer's Dragon Beelzebub and God's Metatron, be appointed the leader of hell's army in the final battle against God after proving his worth and last but not least, he punches out Kagutsuchi into oblivion to boot.
  • Barrier Change Boss: Noah. His weakness is changed through Aurora, and his weakness becomes the opposite of what he casts next, so if he casts Agidyne, he's weak to (or to be more precise, doesn't reflect) Bufu spells. He follows a specific pattern.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For - The power to remake the world comes at a price.
  • Beneath the Earth: The subterranean locations. Hope you stocked on Light Balls.
  • Big Bad: Hikawa, Chiaki and Isamu, and in the True Demon Ending God becomes this. Oddly enough, the Final Boss isn't this.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The religious texts of the newly born world will definitely be leaving out a few choice details where the creation myth is concerned. Also, two of the Reasons are portrayed as having some good points to them, while Chiaki and Sakahagi, both following the same philosophy, are the only characters ever canonically referred to as "evil".
  • Body Horror: Many, many instances. Chiaki and Isamu's mutations are only the beginning. Fridge Horror kicks Fusion Errors into this.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Black Frost. Not content with incorporating hee-s Verbal Tics in hee-s speech, he goes into full Large Ham mode when confronted, ho.
  • Bootstrapped Leitmotif: In Chronicle Edition, Raidou is stuck with the themes created for Dante in the Maniax version, which are remixes of themes from the Devil May Cry series.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Fairy demons at Yoyogi Park under the control of Sakahagi.
  • Breath Weapon: Fire, Ice and Fog Breath. Only the first two deal actual elemental damage, though.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Jyoji Hijiri. The man has complete access to the Akashic Records and knows more about what's going on than anyone else and could probably curb stomp the Demi-fiend with what he's learned. But he never reveals much and doesn't seem to realize he could create his own Reason. Justified, since God cursed him. When he finally realizes that he could create his own Reason he dies again.
  • Canon Name: The Main Character is called Naoki Kashima in the radio plays based on the game.
  • Character-Magnetic Team
  • Collector of the Strange - The Collector Manikin likes to collect human-made knick-knacks.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Mostly averted, but Noah is highly resistant to almighty attacks. And will change his immunities every turn.
    • Some random encounters have Beast Eye. Sound tough? Good, because some of the recruitable ones have Dragon Eye and will use it every fucking turn.
    • Baal Avatar if any of your party members doesn't have Void Curse in some form. She will always target them first with Bael's Bane, which turns them into a fly - a status ailment that can't be cured by any means (except dying) and renders them utterly useless. Note that only she has the ability to do this.
    • Mot sometimes chain-casts "Dragon Eye" while spamming Megidolaon and Makakaja, over and over and over. And then you die.
  • Continuity Nod: Plenty in the Bonus Dungeon. The uber pixie appears in the bonus bosses of Digital Devil Saga, which is against the Nocturne player character, Persona 3 and Persona 4.
  • Council of Angels: Who end up siding with Yosuga.
  • Creepy Child: The Young Boy (aka Louis Cypher)
  • Crossover Cosmology
  • Cursed with Awesome / Blessed with Suck: If you end up cursed by the Magatama, you will suffer random status effects (but mostly hitting your own side). However, if you enter the Cathedral of Shadows while cursed, the curse will change several fusion options so the results wind up of the darker races (Fiends, Fouls, Fallens, etc.). The results will also tend to inherit better skills.
  • Cute Bruiser: Pixie, if you keep her with you all along and finally take her to the room only she can open on the Fifth Kalpa.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Virtually all of the female denizens of the Vortex World, except Datsue-Ba, Kali, and Mother Harlot.
  • Dark Is Not Evil
  • Dark World: Downplaying with the Mirage dimension in Kabukicho Prison. Visually, the lighting and mist actually make it less creepy than real one even if it's upside-down. Then you found how empty rooms in real world are torture chambers to drain Magatsuhi from Manikins in this side.
    • Another, smaller example is the World of Shadows in the Red Temple. Which is necessary to traverse in order to reach the floor above.
  • Dead All Along: Hijiri.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Some bosses can be summoned only after you have defeated them.
    • More "subjugation" than "friendship", though.
  • Degraded Boss: Almost every sub-boss becomes a regular enemy not soon after; a large part of the difficulty of a sub-boss battle is that the Enemy Scan move doesn't work.
  • Demonic Possession: Aradia, a goddess from an Alternate Universe, possesses Ms. Takao halfway through the game.
  • De-Power: Subverted in the Freedom ending. Judging from Lucifer's words, the main character is still very much powerful despite losing his tattoos. He says to stay strong for the upcoming day where he'll have to fight again.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If you go to the Third Kalpa chamber and talk to Black Frost with a full roster, he will remain waiting until you come back with an open spot for him. If you already have a Black Frost, though, he will get annoyed and leave.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the True Demon ending, the Demi-Fiend not only kills Kagutsuchi, essentially an avatar of God, but simultaneously annihilates every Kagutsuchi in every vortex world effectively ending the cycle of creation and destruction and then goes out to top himself by succeeding Lucifer as the General of the Legions of Hell and goes to wage war against God himself. He doesn't just punch out Cthulhu. He has the power to ensure Cthulhu will never get back up again.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: The Obelisk. It's huge, the puzzles are tricky (even the bosses are a puzzle in a way), you finally get to rescue Yuko, finishing it will turn off the Nightmare System...oh, yeah, and then there's all the stuff after it.
  • Disc One Nuke: Fog Breath, which can be learned from the second Magatama at a low level (Lv.21), and basically acts as a double-strength Sukunda that hits all enemies and never misses. Extremely worth the high MP cost, this skill is useful for the entire game. Can also apply to Tornado + Force Boost.
    • Or Daisoujou, if you manage to beat and fuse it. It has an almost-Game Breaker skill which allows it to drain HP and SP out of the opponent which drains more SP than it costs, is immune to ailments, has a very high magic stat; the best healing spell in the game which not only heals your party to full HP, it also cures status ailments. The icing on the cake is that the drain skill mentioned above is considered a magic attack, meaning that it can be buffed and an opponent's defense against it de-buffed. Put two and two together and you have a demon that fills its own SP to full and sucks the opponent dry in no time WHILE healing everyone. Needless to say, this demon stays in parties for a long time.
    • Dark Might. Available as soon as you leave the hospital as one of Jack Frost's starting skills. Can turn any boss that isn't resistant to physical attacks in a complete joke, as long as your entire party has the skill and you time the battle accordingly. Bright Might works just as well, but appears slightly later.
  • Doppelganger Spin: Ongyo-Ki. You can figure out the real one by fighting him during a Full Moon and looking for the shadow. This only upgrades him from "impossible" to "extremely hard", though.
    • Well, until you realize he only uses physical attacks and buff spells, which can be countered rather easily.
  • The Dragon: Three in the Amala Labyrinth, one on each of the last three Kalpas.
    • The player himself will become this to Isamu or Hikawa if you ally with them sending you to focus on remaking the world while they hold down the fort. Hikawa even puts his former Dragon Samael at your command if you join with him.
      • The player also becomes the Dragon for Lucifer in the True Demon Ending.
    • Thor to Gozu-Tennoh, and later Chiaki if you didn't take that spot already.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: A human dreams of the Conception before it happens. He thinks aliens from Jupiter did it.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Freedom ending.
  • Eldritch Location: All of the Vortex World. Particularly interesting examples are the Diet Building, the Obelisk / Tower of Kagutsuchi and the Labyrinth of Amala, though the Assembly of Nihilo's Shiodome base, Kabukicho Prison and to a much lesser extent the Mantra HQ also qualify.
  • Empty Shell: The Reason Of Shijima is to turn everyone into this.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Within the first hour, no less.
  • End of the World Special: The whole story is to get to this if you don't follow Lucifer, anyhow.
  • Mr. Fanservice: It is worth noting that the Main Character ends up spending 95% of the game completely shirtless. A significant number of Norse gods also seem to like showing off quite a bit of toned physique.
    • And then there's Dante, who gets special mention for having a crotch shot before jumping off a very tall building.
  • Eternal Recurrence: The way it's supposed to work. The wheel's broken in the Demon and True Demon endings.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The only true humans that remain after the conception is Yuko, Chiaki, Isamu, Hikawa, Hijiri or not in Hijiri's case and the protagonist (and even then only partly). Everyone else? If they aren't turned into pure Magatsuhi, they either get reincarnated into Manakins, the Vortex World equivalent of humans, who suffer from muscle spasms and are unable to make their own Reasons unlike real humans, or they get reincarnated into Souls, the Vortex World equivalent to ghosts, who are mostly friendly but are still unable to do much, being intangible spirits.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The Amala Drums.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Every faction ends up trying to one-up each other.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Fiends are near-impossibly hammy. Matador's battle quote sums it best:

 Matador: "I swear, by my sword and capote, that once again I shall prove victorious!"

  • Evil Makeover: The Main Character. Later, Chiaki and Isamu.
  • Evil Versus Evil
  • Evolutionary Levels: Some demons will, contrary to the series' normal expectations, ascend into superior forms. The result of doing this are stronger demons you never get the chance to recruit or even see. The only way to know if a demon can evolve is training it so it gains a level, at which point the game will inform you of the changes.
  • Eye Scream: In the cutscene in which the Demi-fiend receives the first magatama, it burrows into his body via his eye-socket.
  • The Fair Folk: A Pixie is the first demon that joins your cause. Later you visit a construction park that has been completely taken over by Fairy demons.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Jyoji Hijiri's fate (speculated to be a result of his brief dabbling in deicide) is to be doomed to an endless cycle of torment, death and rebirth without hope of reincarnation into a better existence. It's implied that God will do the same thing- or worse- to the main character in the True Demon ending if He gets his hands on him.
    • It's also applied that it will happen in the Freedom ending where the Great Will will come after the main character one day for returning the world back to normal. He gets to keep his power for when this happens.
  • Fight Woosh
  • Fisher King: The Reasons.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Divine Shot, Spiral Viper, Freikugel.
    • Also Metatron's Fire of Sinai attack has him shoot lasers from his eyes.
  • Foreshadowing: If you notice, the "press start button" screen mirrors one of the ending sequences.
  • Game Within a Game: The Block Puzzle game in Asakusa. Prepare some aspirin.
  • Gateless Ghetto
  • Global Currency: Macca
  • Global Currency Exception: Rag's Gem Shop.
  • God Is Evil: His endless cycle of creating and destroying Earth is more or less genocide to billions and billions of humans. Notably, this is among the last times God is portrayed as card-carryingly evil or overly lawful in MegaTen; his portrayals in games after this are a bit more sympathetic and understandable.
    • Not so much as understandable as more obscure. Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey doesn't pull any punches on God's portrayal but he doesn't get as many hits since he is not mentioned directly, and only appears as the Demiurge.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: According to her backstory, this is what brought Aradia into the Vortex World. More accurately, Aradia was created by the prayers of a coven of witches, and genuinely wanted to bring them salvation. Due to the mechanics of the trope in Shin Megami Tensei worlds, however, she was far too weak to do that and instead wound up as an empty voice in a dying Universe where the Conception had failed to start; small gods in her situation are called "false gods" by the Lady in Black. The Lady also notes that false gods are technically forbidden, and what they do to stave off deletion - invade worlds during their Conceptions and entice others into including them into the new world so they will become "real" in that new reality. Aradia herself is noted to be the False Goddess of Freedom and the Goddess of Falsehood.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The Spectre.
  • Good Is Boring: Played with. As per SMT tradition, the real intent is to make you think honestly what would your choices be.
    • Not tomention that if you play a good boy and ignore Lucifer's offer to enter the Labyrinth, you will miss out on the chance to know the truth about the whole ordeal, including the nature of the Conception and God's goals.
  • Good Is Dumb: Recruited demons always join as the lowest level possible, making them forget skills they possessed normally; bosses fused have a fraction of the HP they normally have.
    • Additionally there are several skills like Dragon Eye that you can never use.
  • Groundhog Peggy Sue: Played with Hijiri. He gets to live, over and over and over... but he NEVER gets to win.
  • Hero of Another Story: Hee-ho. He keeps popping up across you in his quest for power, first as a shopkeeper in Shibuya, then visiting the Mantra HQ, and finally at Kabukicho Prison, where he gets his wish. His story joins with yours for a moment for the Black Frost battle, then he loses and you get separated again, and later you can join for good in the Third Kalpa.
  • Hollow World: With Tokyo at the center metaphorically and a sun in the center literally.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: You have to fight them as part of the Amala subquest.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Louis Cypher (in both of his forms), the Lady in Black, the Demi-Fiend himself, Dante, Aradia and eventually, Chiaki and Isamu,as part of their devolution into the Conception gods.
  • Hypocrite: Isamu. The world he intends to create is based on doing everything by yourself and not relying on others, but he never does anything but ask for help from others.
    • Hikawa too. For a guy supposedly interested in creating a world of stillness and silence, he sure stirs up a lot of chaos and disorder.(e.g. causing The Conception, stirring up and participating in a war between the Mantra and his own followers, the riot at Yoyogi Park, etc.)
  • Incoming Ham: "The flames of the Candelabrum beckon me to the battlefield!"
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: The normal battle and boss battle themes contain vocals in the background that pretty much sound like demons screeching gibberish. However, the actual lyrics connect very closely to the plot of the game.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Masakados magatama. Subverts some elements in that, this being MegaTen, it is pretty damn useful even as late as you get it. With it on, you become The Juggernaut stoppable only by a barrage of Almighty attacks.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: And hopefully you don't mind it, because you will see it a lot.
    • Shin Megami Tensei: where getting sent to Heaven is the worst possible thing that can happen to you.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Played straight in the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. Inverted in the optional dungeon.
  • I Work Alone: The Reason of Musubi is to apply this to the entire Universe. As in, you and you alone are responsible for your corner of the cosmos, free to do as you wish without being able to interfere with others.
  • Jive Turkey: Comes as a magatama-imparted skill. Allows you to talk to Foul, Wilder and Haunt demons, who normally are The Unintelligible.
  • Kangaroo Court: The Mantra Army Court. Where you prove you're innocent by punching out the judges.
  • Light Is Not Good: Most of the Angel races align themselves with Yosuga, the most blatantly evil of the Reasons. It's almost a Mythology Gag that the angels side with a Might Makes Right philosophy and the demons side with the World of Silence side, when in previous games it's been the exact opposite.
    • And then we have horrors as Amaterasu's Godly Light. Yay, 80% of everyone's HP just vanished in a single blow! Not satisfied? How about Kagutsuchi's Vast Light and Infinite Light? Metatron's Fire of Sinai? Radiance for the top angels? Thunderclap?
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Played with. Magical attacks are actually less effective at high levels due to the damage formula used.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Get Taken for Granite and there's a chance of this happening if you take a hit. Take a Force attack and this happens without fail.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Chiaki insists on doing everything by herself. Result: later on she literally becomes a freak.
  • Lost Forever: Miss anything in the Shiodome portion of the Assembly of Nihilo and you never get a chance to go back for it.
  • Louis Cypher: Aka, the Young Boy and the Old Man.
  • Magikarp Power: The pixie you meet in the medical centre at the start of the game takes a level in badass if she's still in your party when you visit the fifth kalpa of the labyrinth.
  • Make My Monster Grow: The Spectre will absorb his brethen and inflate himself to giant size in the first fight against him.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Several, but the Diet Building really stands out.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Aradia. She lures Yuko with promises of giving her the power to remake the world and uses her as a pawn in a bid to become real in the new world birthed from the Conception; while supportive, she's not overtly concerned about her well-being and will often use her as an underling without explaining her the exact idea as to why she can't get a Reason from her. You could say Isamu tries to be one - if you're actually listening to his very poorly thought out The Reason You Suck Speeches.
  • Marathon Boss: Noah, unless you have the skill Pierce and Freikugel, the one combination he can't defend himself successfully against.
  • Meaningful Name: Aradia, goddess of falsehood, isn't really a god at all.
  • Might Makes Right: The entire point of the Reason of Yosuga. Like the others, they plan to spread their philosophy to the universe through Kagutsuchi.
  • Mind Screw: There's plenty of it. One of the most prominent examples is the cutscene where Chiaki reveals her intentions at the Mantra HQ. When did everything become white? Why is she sitting on a desk that definitely wasn't there before? Is this just a hallucination? Yes.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: When Mot disguises himself as a statue, this is how you pick him out from the real statues. (He doesn't create a reflection; the real ones do.)
  • Monumental Damage: The ruins of Shibuya's Scramble is one of the first locations visited during the game.
  • Multiple Endings: There are six, depending on what sort of world you want to create. It's unusual, since usually there are only three different endings in the series, one for Law, Chaos, and Balance. The new worlds created don't really resemble the paradise either YHVH or Lucifer strive to create in earlier games, instead:
    • A world of total freedom and isolation.
    • A world where the weak are slaughtered and the strong rule.
    • A world of unchanging stillness and silence.
    • Bring back the old world.
    • Try to create your own world, but fail, leaving the Vortex World unchanged, or possibly like the Vortex World the way it is intentionally.
    • Destroy the world even worse and become the new Demon King and lead the forces of darkness to battle God.
  • Musical Nod: When you enter the Cathedral of Shadows during a new Kagutsuchi with series mascot Cerberus in your party, and the music changes to the one used in Shin Megami Tensei I. You can also do this with Orthrus in the party.
    • The (very underused) Amala Network battle theme is quite close to the battle theme from the first game as well (particularly the PS 1 version).
    • The music used in Ginza was used in towns in Shin Megami Tensei I. Beelzebub's and Metatron's introduction themes are also the chaos and law themes of the same game.
    • The Puzzle Boy music was originally used as the world map music before the missiles hit in Shin Megami Tensei I. The Fiends battle theme also comes from SMTI.
    • The terminal theme is the same as Shin Megami Tensei II's terminals.
  • Musical Spoiler: If you're in the Third Kalpa of the Labyrinth and Dante's theme starts playing, it means he's about to catch you.
  • Mythology Gag: You get 65535 experience points after beating Lucifer. This was the maximum amount of XP you could earn per battle in Shin Megami Tensei II because of the variable type that was used in the game.
    • Dante uses the same coin when playing Heads or Tails that he did in Devil May Cry 2, meaning if you pick heads, you always win the gamble.
    • In Digital Devil Saga, the last boss has an Amala Drum on its forehead. Given it's an avatar of God, it could spawn orchards of Epileptic Trees by itself.
      • Not really since Schrodinger himself says that the God worshipped in DDS is a different God after you beat Satan.
      • And exactly what is an entirely foreign God doing with an Amala Drum, hmm?
    • Baal Avatar looks just like the Bolontiku...
    • Watch carefully the background during the fight against Mara; there's a small altar with four dolls there. It's the same altar Mekata attempted to use to open a gate to the Abyss in Shin Megami Tensei II.
    • The Super Pixie you can get is summoned by the Bonus Bosses in Personas 3 and 4.
  • New Game+: Lets you keep your Demon Compendium, gives you a new choice of wardrobe for the first part of the game and lets you select a "first person" view for that authentic MegaTen experience.
    • It also allows you to get an extra press-turn for the demi-fiend if you complete a certain sidequest in your previous playthrough. Needless to say, this is very important for people who are interested in tackling hard more.
  • Nice Hat: Isamu. Even his GOD wears it!
    • Not only that, it's even lampshaded in-universe where one of the manikins talks about Isamu for a bit and finishes off with "....That hat bugs me".
    • Hijiri has one, but almost never puts it on his head.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: The Assembly of Nihilo. It's even in the name.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's a MegaTen game. OF COURSE IT'S HARD!
    • As if to press home the point, the game describes its "Hard" difficulty setting as "A level of difficulty suitable for one seeking the thrill of death".
      • Those playing in hard mode occasionally die to the TUTORIAL battle. Heck, I've seen people die in the TUTORIAL on normal mode.
    • Just for comparison, here's a summary of the dungeons.
  • Number of the Beast: The final floor of the Tower of Kagutsuchi is the 666th floor. Beelzebub is given this number in HP when fused, per Mega Ten tradition. And then there's the Tomb of Yomi in the Labyrinth of Amala's 666th basement.
  • Oh Crap: "The flames of the Candelabrum of Sovereignty are flickering wildly..."
    • "You feel the presence of a terrifying demon...Will you stay here?"
    • Dante's theme whenever he chases you through the Third Kalpa.
      • Lucifer's true form.
  • One Hundred Percent Completion: If you fill up the Compendium with every demon available, you will get a MASSIVE summoning discount.
  • One-Winged Angel: The three Reason bosses. The most notable of them is Baal Avatar, who is both aligned with the angels and has one large wing.
    • Before these, Chiaki and Isamu both undergo transformations to power themselves up.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Slightly subverted as the three main Reasons don't cleanly fall under "Law" or "Chaos".
    • Taken into a broader context (i.e. the other ending possibilities), the three main Reasons fall under "Law."
  • Ordinary High School Student: The Main Character, Chiaki, and Isamu. This doesn't last, though.
  • Optional Party Member: Dante will offer to join your party in the Fifth Kalpa for 1 macca or half of your macca. It depends on a coin flip... except if you've played Devil May Cry 2 and know that he uses a double-sided coin.
    • Also Black Frost after beating him at the prison, and Samael in the final tower if you are allied with Hikawa. Although they can also be fused elsewhere these two will join you on the spot free of charge at a high level regardless if you could fuse them at that point, provided there is a spot for them in the roster.
    • It should be noted that you actually need to recruit Dante at some point if you want the summoning discount, and it's possible to fuse both Samael and Black Frost as soon as you beat them. So Dante's optional unless you want the full compendium. Also, if you go for the True Demon Ending (and if you go to the Fifth Kalpa, you probably are doing just that), then Dante becomes useless against Lucifer since he can't get Pierce. And no, once you hire him, you're stuck with him till the end of the game.
  • Perfect Run Final Boss: Lucifer, who you fight if you complete the Labyrinth of Amala.
  • Planet Heck: The Labyrinth of Amala. Even better, it becomes progressively more so, from the nice-looking First Kalpa to the Magatsuhi-leaking Fifth Kalpa.
  • Punny Name + Bilingual Bonus: Futomimi's name means "Fat Ears", referring to how he seems to touch the top of his ear as he prophesises.
    • Sakahagi, on the other hand, refers to an execution method in which the victim was completely flayed, referencing his MO.
  • The Purge: Within the Mantra Army, as Thor kicked out Ongyo-Ki, Fuu-Ki, Sui-Ki and Kin-Ki.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Spectre, though Matador can also count force immunity and accuracy buffs/dodge debuffs. The Trumpeter is more of a puzzle game than a fight, considering his attack pattern.
    • You might say the Moirae Sisters puzzle/fight at the Obelisk also counts. Defeat them all in a single go with the Kagutsuchi Phase blocks.
  • Point of No Return: Once you enter the final dungeon or finish the Labyrinth of Amala, your ending is set in stone.
  • Power of the Void: Ahriman is the God of the Void.
  • Power Tattoo: Inverted; from what can be inferred from the Freedom ending, the Demi-fiend's tattoos are a side-effect of his power.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The entire game becomes one if you choose the True Demon route.
  • Psychologist Teacher: Yuko appears to be the perfect teacher: smart, strong, wise and confident. Unfortunately, she suffers from crippling self-doubt and gets easily manipulated by both Hikawa and Aradia.
    • She also naively thinks Aradia will give her a Reason. Problem? Conception gods don't give Reasons. As in at all. She's the one who has to develop the inner philosophy to create the Reason, but her own self-confidence issues prevent her from doing so, and she is crushed when Hikawa humiliates her at the Diet Building and lampshades how she has been doing nothing but run away from one thing or another and being used as Aradia's patsy. She has a Heroic BSOD there and is vaporized shortly after.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: The "True Demon" ending.
  • Red Right Hand: Chiaki after her Evil Makeover.
  • Screw Destiny: The Freedom, Demon and True Demon endings.
  • Self-Destructive Charge: Several enemies have suicidal explosive abilities. Leaving them to the brink of health will lead them to prefer killing themselves and blowing up as many of your team as they can instead of waiting patiently to die.
  • Shout-Out: Many of the bosses and songs from the Labyrinth of Amala subquest are from previous Shin Megami Tensei games. Having Kerberos or Orthus in your party changes the BGM of the Cathedral of Shadows to the Jakyo Manor BGMs from Shin Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei II respectively. Also, a hidden debug mode reveals that the developers may have originally planned to include a cameo by Lisa Silverman of Persona 2: Innocent Sin fame.
    • The Fiend "Hell Biker" is an obvious Shout Out to Ghost Rider. He's a biker with a skull for a face and flaming wheels on his motorcycle. His original name was yet another shout out; it was "Hell's Angel."
    • The Lisa Silverman thing was confirmed in recently released alpha screenshots of SMT III, though she was evidently removed fairly early in development (her art style isn't even the same as the rest of the game).
      • This wasn't intended to be a cameo. It was just a tech demo. Note that there's also a screenshot of Sid Davis, from the very first Devil Summoner game, too.
    • The Shinjuku Hospital may be one to the location of their headquarters.
  • Signature Move: Fiends love their special moves. Other than them, a handful of demons also have at least one of these.
  • Sinister Geometry: There are many structures throughout the Vortex World that don't appear to have been built by human hands at all; they're just wrong, covered in Tron Lines and have no furniture or apparent functionality at all.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The final boss music is techno. You'd expect something more orchestral or grandiose considering that you're fighting an avatar of God, though it does serve to underscore just how alien Kagutsuchi is to the world.
    • The techno music is actually quite appropriate for a giant disco ball.
  • Social Darwinist: Chiaki.
  • Statistically Speaking: Averted, for the most part. Almost any locked door in the game can be unlocked after a certain stat gets to be high enough. You actually are required to if you want to get all 24 Magatama, as there's one behind a door that requires a base of 25 strength to open.
  • Status Buff: The -kaja series of spells (Tarukaja, Makakaja, Rakukaja, Sukukaja) and to a lesser extend Dekunda.
    • Status Buff Dispel / Status Debuff: Tarunda, War Cry, Sukunda, Fog Breath, Rakunda, Taunt, Debilitate and to a lesser extent Dekaja. It is also very important: while War Cry and Fog Breath will knock the enemy's fighting capacity and accuracy and evasion by two levels, respectively, Taunt will lower their defense by two levels and raise their attack power by two.
      • To elaborate: Dekunda and Dekaja removes all -nda and -kaja effects on your party and the enemies, respectively. While you can't buff/debuff using them, they are useful for removing multiple de/buffs (stacked and/or various).
  • Sticky Fingers: In the Labyrinth of Amala, there are these two ghosts that heal you for an exceedingly modest fee. They drug you, kick you back to the Kalpa entrance and take a whole lot of your money.
  • Summoning Ritual: Both the Cathedral of Shadows and the ritual chamber in Shibuya.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: The twin ghosts in the Labyrinth. Trust them at your peril.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Raidou Kuzunoha the 14th in the Chronicle Edition is identical to Dante of the Maniacs version in pretty much every way, with one major improvement: he learns the pierce skill that Dante's lack of restricted him to Awesome but Impractical territory.
    • Not to mention his slightly-improved versions of Dante's attacks with new animations and better stats. Although the fact that he has pierce is indeed a huge bonus, as it was the lack of it that made Dante near-useless in everyone's eyes.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: No. While it is possible to convince monsters to drop the attack, if the attempt fails by any reason, you will lose the Press Turn.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: You can convince monsters to help you (or just leave you alone) by talking to them.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: The Amala Drums. Other examples include several parts of the Fourth Kalpa and the final stretch in the Tower of Kagutsuchi.
    • Fiends can also pull you into an Alternate Dimension for Boss Battles through some sort of teleportation magic.
  • There Can Be Only One
  • To Hell and Back: Constantly! Feel free to feel Like a Badass Out of Hell! EXTRA Badass after reaching the deepest part!
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Played straight in spirit, but literally inverted, in this case. Tokyo has been folded up until it is on the inside of a sphere, so it's not the center of the universe, but rather the edge of it. This has an interesting effect late in the game: if you gain the favor of Masakado, the guardian spirit of Tokyo, you're basically being blessed by the universe itself, which is why his magatama makes you practically invincible.
  • Touched by Vorlons: The whole game is a mere test by Lucifer. It literally didn't matter what the hell the Demi-Fiend did with the power he'd been granted - Lucifer got the Magatama's combat data either way. Once the product was tested and its effectiveness vouched for, it was just a matter of time until he found a willing accomplice. The True Demon ending, at worst, was just a mathematical inevitability - a half-expected bonus.
  • Trauma Inn - The Fount of Healing.
  • Turns Red: Usually, when bosses start spamming Dragon Eye, you know they're almost dead.
  • Two-Headed Coin: Dante's makes an appearance in his Cameo.
  • Underground Level: All of the Metro stations.
  • Updated Rerelease: Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Maniax
    • The limited edition of Devil Summoner: Raidō Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon includes a new version of Nocturne, in which Raidou replaces Dante.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Averted. You're cruising for a bruising if you don't use buffs and debuffs during boss fights.
    • Averted to the point that the most (arguably) useful spell Fog Breath, which reduces all enemies' accuracy by half can be learned at level 21, from the second magatama.
    • Against some of the four horsemen of Apocalypse, using petrification against their helpers will make the fight much easier.
    • If you manage to freeze or shock your opponent, every hit becomes a Critical, earning bonus turns. It's even better if you manage to do it on a boss like Aciel.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Tower of Kagutsuchi.
  • Vicious Cycle: The Conception itself.
  • Void Between the Worlds: Seen as the Lady in Black explains the Conception. Worlds die in it, and worlds are born from it...
  • Waiting Puzzle: The old man in the Fourth Kalpa. Instead of immediately answering his question as he poses it, wait for three minutes and then answer "Yes".
  • Wake Up Call Boss: Matador again. Up to this point, none of the bosses are too much trouble if you play smart and target elemental weaknesses. Then comes Matador, to whom you will lose several times if it's your first time through. (Hint: you will need Sukukaja, Sukunda or Fog Breath.)
  • We Cannot Go on Without You: It's Game Over the moment the Demi Fiend dies.
  • Win Your Freedom: The Mantra Army court.
  • The Worf Effect: If you follow the Musubi Ending, you can see Isamu and Noah slowly dying on the floor. Isamu then remarks that he never knew Chiaki could be so strong.
  • World of Ham: After the conception, demons fully embrace the ham.
  • World of Silence: Hikawa's Reason of Shijima seeks this. Unusually, the normally-chaotic demons love the idea as it means everyone will be just like God, in essence triggering an universal Enlightenment.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: Combine Nintendo Hard with the sometimes long distances between save points and the tendency to get used to certain types of enemies, it's quite possible to frustratingly die like a chump just by having the wrong magatama equipped or the wrong demon in your party when you get to a new game level with different adversaries. Many players have sad stories of ignorance or hubris lamenting a particularly painful Game Over.
  • Ye Olde Butchered English
  • You Are Not Alone: Lucifer grants you his protection for choosing his path, and offers you his blessings.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Practically the poster child.