Part 1: Introduction
Copypasted from http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy....ten/megaten.htm
"Megami Tensei began as a novel by Aya Nishitani. The story was about a young computer genius named Nakajima who had tapped into the world of demons through the use of computers - hence the subtitle "Digital Devil Story". Naturally, things go horribly wrong when he summons the evil fiend Loki into the real world, and it's up to Nakajima to right the wrongs he created. Namcot bought the video game rights and turned it into a role playing game for the Famicom. Its sequel, aptly named Megami Tensei 2, created a completely original story but kept the same unique gameplay systems. Once Shin Megami Tensei came out for the Super Famicom (having switched publishers from Namcot to Atlus), the series exploded into an underground phenomenon.
"Megami Tensei" translates to "Reincarnation of the Goddess" B this is because the female protagonist in the original story was the reincarnation of the Japanese creation deity Izanami. The title is open to interpretation in all subsequent games, but almost all of them contain females in strong roles. When the series came in the 16-era, it was named "Shin Megami Tensei", which has stuck ever since. Literally this means "Reincarnation of the True Goddess" - however, the Japanese often use "shin" (a symbol which means "true") to show an evolution of some kind. (Other examples of this includes "Shin Sangoku Musou", known as Dynasty Warriors 2; Shin Contra, known as Contra Shattered Soldier; and Shin Samurai Spirits, or Samurai Shodown 2.) It's roughly equivalent to the English word "super", which was stuck in front of practically every Super Nintendo sequel back in the day.
Taking a departure from most Japanese console RPGs, which usually borrow the overhead perspective of Dragon Quest, Megami Tensei bases itself off of American computer RPGs like Dungeon Keeper, featuring a first person perspective as your character movs through huge, maze-like dungeons. While this aspect may be off-putting to many people (and more recent games have adopted the traditional third-person viewpoint), the series shouldn't be dismissed outright for being a bit different. Besides, all of the games feature automapping functions, so you don't feel too helplessly lost. In between the first person stages (usually known as "3D dungeons") are overhead maps where you move to different areas (dubbed the "2D field".)
Despite the advancements of the series over the years, the core gameplay has remained consistent. Megami Tensei is particularly unique in the way you assemble your party. Your main character is usually a human and unable to use magic. While your secondary human compatriots often have the use of spells, the only way to find new allies is to recruit your enemies. Building a huge demon army is an absolute necessity to get anywhere, as Megami Tensei places extraordinary importance in utilizing elemental strengths and weaknesses, much more so than the typical RPGs. Nearly every opponent in the game can be engaged in conversation, and if you manage to convince them of your sincerity, they'll join your party. This is quite bizarre, in both concept and execution - finding the right responses to appease various demons is often a result in trial and error - but it=s an interesting deviation from the norm. Oftentimes conversation is an also important strategy for staying alive - sometimes your opponents will leave you alone, or give you items if you have the right team members. All monsters are powered by a force called "Magnetite", which is earned after battles. Summoning too many monsters into battle will drain this quickly, so finding a balance is an absolute necessity."
Shin Megami Tensei is (as the article said), very different from the more common Dragon Quest/ Final Fantasy style console RPG, the series is also unforgiving and hard, especially if one does not make an efficient use of the enemies' weaknesses, and the constant drain of Magnetite is another factor that one must consider when making a party (having too many demons and running out of magnetite in a huge maze is a very, very bad thing).
Unfortunately, I could not manage to make the text in the intro readable. Will post a transcript of what is written after posting the images.
'EL ELOHIM ELOHO ELOHIM SEBAOTH'
'ELION EIECH ADIER EIECH ADONAI'
'JAH SADAI TETRAGRAMMATON SADAI'
'AGIOS O THOS ISCHIROS ATHANATOS'
Let's start this, shall we?
A wavy red and pink hall.
A wall with a flickering head suddenly appears!
Oh yeah, no default names.
Unless one obeys, we cannot see more of the game!
The name selection screen. What would be an appropriate name for the hero?