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Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers is the second game in the Shin Megami Tensei spinoff series Devil Summoner.
The story is set Twenty Minutes Into the Future in a place called Amami City, where every home has a networked computer and the Internet is tightly controlled by the government. You and your Playful Hacker friends have discovered a virtual city called Paradigm-X hidden in the network, created by the Algol Software Corporation. However, something is seriously wrong with this program... as you find out when it attempts to suck out your soul. Fortunately, you are saved from the impending de-soulification by a mysterious figure called Redman who tells you that you have several souls trapped inside you, and that if you wish to solve the mystery of Paradigm-X you must experience the last moments of those souls' mortal lives.
The main characters are:
- The Hero: A nameless Heroic Mime. A skilled computer hacker and martial artist. He cannot use magic, but has a talent for Devil Summoning. His weapon of choice is a multi-purpose gun/computer called a COMP, which does everything from summoning devils to shooting up bad guys.
- Hitomi: The Hero's best friend. A shy schoolgirl who is skilled at hacking but lacks self-confidence. She accompanies you for the first part of the game until she is possessed by...
- Nemissa: A female devil who decides to take up residence in Hitomi's body. She is brash, mischievous and has a penchant for black leather. She's also one of the best magic users in the game.
- Spooky: Leader of the Spookies, the Playful Hacker gang that the Hero and Hitomi belong to. A mature guy who bears more than a passing resemblance to one Fox Mulder.
- The Spookies (Lunch, Six and Yuichi): The other members of the Spookies, they mostly provide back-up and support for the Hero.
- Vision Quest Characters: The souls of these characters rest in the body of the Hero, and he must relive their final moments to piece together the puzzle of Paradigm-X.
- Urabe: A devil summoner and former employee of Algol Software Corporation who resigned in disgust to their questionable practices. His Vision Quest provides a password you need to unlock some hidden features on your COMP.
- Suda: An accomplished Dark Summoner and member of the mysterious Phantom Society, which seems to be connected to the Paradigm-X plot. However, he has started to doubt the goals of the group and is reconsidering his membership.
- Naomi: An experienced devil hunter. She cannot summon devils, but more than makes up for this with her sheer levels of kickassitude.
The usual Shin Megami Tensei components are here: devil fusion, elemental weaknesses/strengths, conversing with monsters to convince them to join your cause and an incredibly dark storyline. An important part of Devil Summoner is Loyalty. Devils gain Loyalty if you command them to use moves that their personality type prefers (eg: physical, magic, etc.) and lose Loyalty if you tell them to use a move that they hate. A Devil with high Loyalty is more likely to obey you and even make a Diving Save. A Devil with low Loyalty will routinely ignore your commands and may even leave the party. (Yes, it's as annoying as it sounds.) The only Devil that isn't subject to this is Zeed, an artificial devil who will always have complete loyalty to you and grows not by traditional fusion, but by "stealing" the stats and abilities of devils that you sacrifice to it.
So far, Soul Hackers has never been released outside of Japan, though a fan translation is in the works from the same people who translated Persona 2: Innocent Sin. However, an enhanced 3DS port was announced recently, which will include full voice acting, updated art, and other extra features. And considering that Atlus has localized practically every Shin Megami Tensei game since Nocturne...
Soul Hackers provides examples of:
- A God Am I: Kadokura
- And Now for Someone Completely Different
- And the Fandom Rejoiced: The game is being ported to the 3DS. Which means that Western players now have a high chance of playing the game officially.
- Another Mans Terror: The Vision Quests.
- Artificial Human: More like artificial devil: Zeed. Also, Nemissa is eventually revealed to be an artificial devil too.
- Big Red Devil: Azazel though he wears a blue outfit.
- Bonus Boss: Heaploads, most of whom are cameos from Shin Megami Tensei II.
- Brainwashed: What happens to people caught by Paradigm-X. Including Yuichi.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Nishi.
- Dead Little Sister: Six has one. He accidentally killed her, and Paradigm-X uses his guilt to trap him.
- Demonic Possession: Hitomi by Nemissa. Later, and more tragically, Spooky by Satanael.
- Evil Costume Switch: Nemissa takes Hitomi to a clothes shop and buys a whole new wardrobe of black leather. Hitomi is not pleased.
- Evil Counterpart: Dark Summoners, devil summoners who work for the Phantom Society.
- Evil Is Sexy: Nemissa.
- Expy: Want to know what Fox Mulder's nickname was in The X-Files? "Spooky" Mulder.
- Fallen Angel: Satanael, Azazel, Shemhaza all play a role in the story. Specifically the Grigori as a whole are a part of the Phantom Society. A summoner attempts to summon Kokabel earlier in the story as well. It doesn't summon him.
- Femme Fatale: Nemissa.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Nemissa, during the ending.
- Heroic Mime
- The Illuminati: The Phantom Society. It's been controlled by the Fallen Angels of the Grigori since ancient times.
- Improbable Weapon User: Apparently you can stick a devil-summoning computer on anything. COMP variations include guns, guitars, saxophones and brass knuckles.
- Inside a Computer System
- Laser-Guided Amnesia
- Name's the Same: Masahiro Sakurai aka Spooky shares his name with Masahiro Sakurai.
- No Export for You: Though with the announcement of the 3DS port, this may not be the case anymore.
- Obviously Evil: Nishi.
- Our Souls Are Different
- Phlebotinum Rebel: Nemissa was created to aid the Phantom Society. Unfortunately for them, her program gets stolen by Urabe before they could put her to use. Thus she has no memories and thus no loyalty to the Phantom Society, and by the time they catch up to her she's found more than enough reasons not to go along with them.
- She was actually created from a piece of Manitou in order to be a backup plan to destroy it should it ever be freed.
- Powers That Be: The Phantom Society.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Naomi although the player only controls her for a minor segment.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Manitou while not evil is influenced by the humans around it. So it was sealed away to prevent it from being influenced by humans.
- Sharing a Body: Hitomi and Nemissa, though the latter has more control since she has the more forceful personality.
- Spirit Advisor: Red Man.
- Split Personality Takeover: An accidental example: Nemissa spends a little too long in Hitomi's body, causing the original's soul to start to fade away.
- Swiss Army Weapon: The COMP. Its versatility only increases as you find new expansion cards for it.