The Let's Play Archive

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga

by Dragonatrix

Part 4: Manipura


Before we go deal with Gale's scheme, we might as well get some information from the information distributing machine. Not much but hey it's something.

About demons.

Everything born of God holds the informational possibility of demons. The "Virus" is merely a trigger. Do you wish to know more?
About Karma.

The more demons hunted and devoured, the more Karma gained. Karma is the source of strength. Do you wish to know more?
About devouring.

All things contain traces of this information construct, but humans and demons require great energy. The only way to preserve the information of one's existence is to devour one's enemies. Do you wish to know more?
About Solar Noise.

Hunting is also affected by fluctuation of "Solar Noise." Do you wish to know more?

So, that's all the Karma Temple has for us. Some interesting bits in there, but nothing overly crucial. Nothing about the conflict itself, just more to do with the new demon powers.

...No, for the conflict, there's a random dude back at Muladhara who has some... very abridged information on it.


Again, might as well just go through the lot.

About the Tribes.

"The Embryon" is one such group. We all follow you, sir. Anything else, sir?
About the Junkyard.

It is divided into seven areas: Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishudha, Anja, and Sahasrara. Anything else, sir?
About the war.

The triumphant group will be allowed into Nirvana. Anything else, sir?
I see.

Alright, that's enough of that. There's nothing else to do here or elsewhere, so let's head on out and put Gale's plan into motion.

Jinana and the Maribel


So this time around, we're visiting the Maribel at Manipura. The third primary tantric chakra, its name means the "City of Gems" and it primarily deals with a sense of belonging, personal power, success, will and the ego.

Like all chakras, it has an animal associated with it (most of them are just Also This Is A Thing). In this case it's the ram which is only noteworthy because that is also Agni's personal vehicle.

Oh, and the regular ol' grunts from the Maribel are watching us the entire time we're here. I guess this is just so we don't try something but it's amazing they didn't try to gun us down on sight.

Oh well, let's just get this over with so we can focus on the important stuff.

How else could you have made it this far?
So, then... You're the same as us.


Not just me. Nearly all of us have changed. Soon, everyone in the Junkyard will be this way.

What's "cursed?" Who is this "god?"

What is "sad?"
I'm not sure... You just... seemed that way.
Many of us have died due to this unexplained power. If my reaction is "sad," then yes, I am sad.


Okay, that's enough fun discussing these weird new emotion things. Let's get down to brass tax.

One fade to black later...


Wait, Jinana!
The Tribe is hungry.


Honestly, this set up seems to benefit Jinana either way. Either we prove that we're stronger than her, so she gets temporary protection from someone better... or we get slaughtered by her weak flunkies and she gets to assimilate the remaining Embryons which now also includes the former Vanguards.


Now we can run around Manipura for real. Like with when we went to Svadhistana, this place is wonderfully light on cutscenes so we can focus on the important stuff.

We'll start off by running all the way to the far, far, far east. So far you'd have no reason to expect there to be anything over here.

It just leads to a small area with a Revival Gem in it. On all accounts, it does seem like this place should have random encounters in it but thankfully it doesn't.

Nothing else in the outer area of the base, so let's dive on in and go track down Jinana.

Hunting Field

To the surprise of probably no one, Manipura proper does count as our second dungeon.

Unlike with the Vanguard's Base, we get random fights from the very beginning. No free respites this time around.

So, those two doors dead ahead? The one on the right leads to a Vendor (the one at Swadhisthana's more convenient still) and the left is a small area with our requisite Large Karma Terminal to make warping out easy.

There's... hm. There's also this door we can't open yet. Maybe it's a shortcut if we wanna backtrack later or something.

Hunting ~ Compulsion

Oh well, for now here's a tutorial that's given as a random encounter for some reason.

Micro Nova's a special skill we can only get in this specific way. We'll cover it in a minute, but for now "tutorials!"

First, we hit the Ghoul with a Tera or Agi. Doesn't matter which since its weak to both. Get lucky enough and those blue line circles will appear above its head indicating its terrified of us now.

Follow it up with a Devour, and we deal actual proper damage with it. Since this also finished it off, Serph eats the dude whole and gets more Atma out of it.

...Well, he would were it not for this. When you eat an enemy demon, there is a chance of this happening. Stomachaches are a pain, for two reasons.

1. They have a chance of making you skip that character's turn. Always happens when you don't want it to.
2. Might just be my shit real luck, but these always seem to happen at the end of a fight where you can't heal them.

Finish a fight with a Stomachache still intact, and whoops. No AP for you!

It's a balancing mechanic, but its a dumb and annoying one. It's even pointless when you start grinding AP for real but we'll get to that later.

For now, we do a rarity and head to the Vendor. This lets us buy a few Dis-Aches; more than enough for the rest of our stay at Manipura anyway.

Aside from the Ghouls that are tougher than the tutorial ones, the enemies here are mostly identical to Svadhisthana for now. No Myo-Ruous or Alps or the like, but the tougher stuff like this guy or Empusas are still hanging around.

That's better. Serph just got a giant boost to his AP from eating the giant chickenman. No fights between the tutorial one here and this one either.

Hunting Field

Alright, so we'll now go all the way north and see... a locked gate with a 05 on it. No way of opening it from here either.

(The small alley behind us just has a couple Dis-Poisons in it.)

Backtrack a little, and this time we'll make note that there is a path we just ran straight past without much of a care.


Y'know what? It's only a couple Pretas. They'll do.

So, combo attacks a bit more special. They require 2 or all 3 party members to have certain skills set. Mostly these are just ways of getting certain spells a bit earlier than usual (like with Mabufu).

In a few, very specific, cases they give us unique spells we can't get elsewhere. Micro Nova is one of those. It takes 5 MP from everyone and uses all of our turns in one go.

Worth it, though, when we blast everything for pretty decent Almighty damage. It's only really useful in fights like this one or a bunch of Empusas, since the damage isn't stellar (that's Heat's fault for having crap Magic though).

Hunting Field

We'll head off towards that door in the distance now; on the way there, there's a turn that leads onwards.

Worth getting the optional stuff here though. Gold containers like this one are going to be even more commonplace at this point, since it contains...

A cell. Cells are special items with one use: we sell them, and after gaining certain amounts of Macca from them we can buy more things from the Vendor (to open up everything, you need to gain 1.99 million from selling Cells... so that's gonna take a while).

Speaking of which, on the way back there Serph mastered his Mantra. I know I said I wouldn't post these for the most part, but this one's a special case.

With that done, he now has mastered 3 Mantras of 1-star difficulty. This opens up two more further down the tree. Yaksa and Angel are the starts of the Death and Expel elemental lines, respectively.

They're also where we get stat buffs and debuffs. Much more worthwhile for that.

So, Cells! We can sell the Error one for around a minimum of 3600.

Oh, minimum? Right. We can get more for this but first we need to finally pay attention to something.

That gauge in the top-left corner measures the current amount of Solar Noise. It counts up from 0 to 8, and then cycles back down. Thing is, it doesn't move on its own accord; it changes as we move around.

Which is why Svadhisthana's vendor is useful as hell. Area right by the entrance with no random encounters to deal with? Perfect for selling Cells and buying stuff.

At MAX noise (8), the Error Cell now sells for 4800 macca. 1200 more isn't much now, but it does add-up over time and even here it lets us pick up either a more expensive Mantra or more cheap ones than we could before.

Solar Noise also does some other things that we'll cover as they come up.

So, back on the main path in Manipura now.

Very near where we doubled back, there's the first gate we can get through. And that "!" on the map?

Yeah, that's how we can get through the gate. Most of them are right next to it, which helps keep things moving.

No, we don't have Jinana right away. Be nice, but we're not that lucky.

...Huh. They turned tail and ran before we got a fight with, uh, whoever it was.

So, we'll follow the path ahead the little way it goes and then make a detour. Up some stairs that are completely optional (skipping them brings us straight to Gate 2), we'll take this ladder up to the roofs.

This leads us to a new Cell which... I don't know why this one comes after the Error Cell. It sells for less macca.

Double back to the ladder, and head a little further north now. There's a pair of doors here, but we'll go through this one first.

It doesn't just lead to a new demon, but the Blob here is a mild nuisance.

We can deal with it without much issue, but its gimmick is weird. It starts with 9 MP, and loves to use MP Thief. This gives it enough MP to cast Teradyne. Thankfully, no one is weak to Earth and its Magic is so bad it can't even really hurt Heat much.

On the other hand, it can cast Dormina which tries to put the entire party to sleep. Regardless of whether that succeeds or not, if it tries it first then it runs out of MP to use MP Thief with.

Still a nuisance, though.

Anyway, the real reason to come here is because there's a Blue Wall here. We'd normally have to come back later, but we picked up the key at the very first opportunity so we can just waltz in.

This leads to a couple rooms where we can pick up some neat new items.

First is the Wild Card. Holding onto this for a moment when we really need it, since it deals Almighty damage to every enemy. It's more effective than Micro Nova but we only have one of 'em.

Further in, we can find another new Noise. Not much else to this one.

Oh and there's a Yellow Wall that's easier to see on our way back out. Gonna be back for that one much later.

The other door also leads to an optional area, but its arguably one that's more useful right now.

Her ass is delicious...
I'm going to savor her legs.

Like before, there's two areas. First one has a Brave Ration in it, which just heals 150 HP to one person.

I say "just" but that's more than we have right now, and nearly a quarter of our absolute max possible.

Through a different door, there's this weird guy who thinks he can take us.

He's just a Cockatrice, but at least there's a bit of a twist with this one.

Namely, he is actually weaker than a regular random Cockatrice.

He very swiftly gets dealt with, and we can pick up a new bullet. It's a good thing this was here, because it will be very useful very soon.

It's four times more powerful than a normal bullet, has a chance of inflicting Freeze and is going on Serph for, um, thematic reasons.

So, we'll double back to go to Gate 02 now. Hit the switch next to it, do whatever we need to at the small Karma Terminal and move on.

Like before, we can "feel a presence" behind the door. I imagine it'll be a repeat of last time and thus be completely empty on the other side.

Naturally, then, it's not. Obviously, right?

Hunting ~ Compulsion

So, the Yaka in the middle is kind of a new demon but its more interested in buffs than anything else. Likes setting up Void Fires but that's more for its cohorts benefit than his own, since he's immune to Fire by default.

Naturally, then, they're also weak to Ice spells.

Good fodder for feasting on, though. Weak, relatively low HP but gives decent-ish Atma compared to what we're used to.

Hunting Field

With those down, we're about halfway through Manipura now.

There's still not too much to particularly worry about from the dungeon itself. More occasional detours that lead to nothing or nowhere, but not too many.

This one just leads to another Active Cell, though. Arguably not worth it, but hey free money.

Backtrack to that door we just ignored on the minimap. It leads to a small corridor with a door at the other end. We actually do need to come through here, but there's a Blue Wall we'll head past first.

On the way to our prize, Serph hits level 10 which gives a minor bonus. This lets Serph set two more skills; more than enough for what we need it for right now.

The main reward back here is a Great Chakra though.

Since we can see Gate 03 from here, the opposite also holds true. If we didn't have the key, we'd be able to see the Chakra but not reach it yet.

Back on the main path again, we come to another ladder. We don't know it yet, but this detour is mandatory.

We can run into Nozuchis at this point. They're weak to Electricity, but we haven't got any of that at the moment.

Weirdly, they cast Matera and Tera on their own turns pretty often.

And yet they have no Earth resistance of their own. Instead, they drain Force.

This path just leads to the switch needed to open Gate 03. There's an item pot up here with some Chakra Drops too, but eh. We have plenty of 'em already.

Loop around to Gate 03 now, we get the same generic message as usual.

Like before, there IS a fight here. Unlike before, this fight is potentially a little tricky.

Hunting ~ Surprise Raid

This fight is sort of a tutorial too. This one just demonstrates that we can fight in our Human forms too. Most of the time this isn't that helpful. There are a handful of exceptions, but they're just that. Exceptions.

Thankfully, these guys are weak to Gun elemental attacks. Unsurprisingly, our guns all deal Gun elemental damage. Convenient!

Heat's gun is the only one that's particularly different right now since it hits every enemy at once. His bullets aren't as good as Serph's here, though, and he deals slightly less damage to compensate for his gun's ability to shoot everything too.

Argilla's are even more disappointing.

You might think, then, that having Argilla transform back to Prithivi is the right thing to do here. After all, it ups her damage potential right?

Um... no. Machas have the mid-level Force spell. This is quite a predicament.

Thankfully the game seems to have a hatecrush on Serph and just throws it at him. Still, 37 damage to neutral resistance says bad things for if it hits Argilla.

...And now it gets worse. They have Makakaja, which is problematic.

It only buffs the entire enemy teams Magic stat. And can be stacked upto four times.

Two of them, and Zanma deals nearly half of Serph's max HP in one go. This would oneshot Argilla if it hit her.

Hunting Field

Other than that, they have no real tricks up their sleeves and its just essentially a slugfest. Thankfully, there's a Life Terminal immediately after them.

Anyway, due east from the Life Terminal here we can head on up the stairs to advance or stick around on this floor a bit more.

Down here, we can find... a friggin' Devil Cell. These things are the worst Cells (but are few and far between); at their highest value they sell for 1200. Active Cells, the second worst, sell for 1600. At minimum. Mostly obtained as drops from Machas, but not worth the hassle.

Man, that's annoying now I feel the desire to run around slicing things to bits for a while. Good thing this door directly opposite the room we just came from has...

Just the thing. Field Hunts are special areas that are really, really good for grinding right now. But, appropriately enough, could prove hard to manage right now.

Manipura Field Hunt


The way they work is pretty simple. We run around as Varuna and slice these weird purple balls of energy under a time limit. These things follow a pattern in each field hunt and aren't really that hard to manage.

Once we get through all of that, a Mitama appears at the end of the course and we get to fight that.

Hunting ~ Rare Devil

Each Mitama has fixed stats, and Ara Mitamas here are the easiest/weakest. They have 300 HP and are weak solely to Ice spells. Nullify most everything else.

...They've also got a fucking ton of magic defense.

Fortunately, they scare pretty easily so it's not hard to get Devour to deal proper damage to them. Even with 70+ damage a pop, they don't go down easy though. They can buff their physical defence, and their magic, which makes things quite annoying.

Plus if you don't kill them quick enough, they do this. Rare demons, regardless of the source, really love running away! So, yeah, we didn't get anything this time around. Mostly putting that down to me being a forgetful moron though.


Thankfully, the field hunts appear on the map in a different colour after you find them. This is a pretty great thing that makes repeating them convenient, and you can repeat them. After 5 full solar cycles while you're in the same area, they become reaccessible. Annoyingly, it counts them a bit different to how you think; a cycle for this case does not start until the Solar Noise hits minimum. It then carries on until it returns to minimum; so if you enter at 1/8 counting up, you've got a lot of runnning to do before it even starts to count.

Either way, here's a tip: you don't get random battles inside the field hunt areas.

But, eh, can grind them out later if I really feel like it. For now, let's just carry on. We do have to find Jinana in this place after all.

There's a couple rooms right up the stairs but there's not much in here that's particularly worthwhile. Odd Morsels are a double-edged sword; they heal a fair bit of HP but in return inflict ailments. Not worth it.

The Revival Gem in the same room is very nice, though.

Little bit further ahead on the main path, we come to a ladder leading back down. On the roof opposite, we can see a golden item container that we can't get to just yet. I haven't missed anything, and there's no opportunity to double back for it either.

The path down here is very straight forward and leads to that guy around the corner. Good time to heal up, I think. Kinda wish Argilla'd already mastered her current Mantra but no dice.

Big Battle ~ Prelude

She granted us permission to devour you, if possible. This is odd. How was I unable to devour you?

Oh, and this guy's not alone.

No, we're already surrounded. This mostly just makes this take a bit longer.

Mini-Boss: Demon Gyu-Ki

Hunting ~ Compulsion

First part of this fight is pretty simple. It's just three Yakas. Nothing particularly frightening.

Take them out, five more jump in. Again, still not really an issue. These eight are all exactly the same as the normal ones we can fight in random battles.

They make for a good lunch break, though.

The real problem is this guy who comes after the 8th Yaka gets dropped.

He does all of one thing, but he does it every single turn in this fight. He's our first enemy that gets 2 actions and he uses one to Power Charge.

And then he hits you absurdly hard with a Body Rush. If he crits, and he can very easily crit these, you'll probably die. He then uses his third action to just continue the pattern, for all the difference it doesn't make.

Thankfully, he doesn't have that much HP and he has a weakness to Earth spells. Rather handy that.

Although even with that, it is possible for things to go wrong here.

...Like so. Heat, you just ruined everything jesus christ.

Um, never mind. Getting a crit immediately after missing isn't quite the same as getting two regular hits in a row, unfortunately. At least it functionally replenishes the turns we missed before.

Not worth much AP, but the Karma is nice and he even replenished the Dis-Ache we had to use on Argilla. How considerate!


Hunting Field

Well, to be honest... I'm in danger, now... So, um... HEELP MEEE!!

Moving on, we can get the switch to Gate 05. This isn't particularly useful for leaving from here (there's a small Karma terminal around the corner), but it is getting back quickly. It's actually kind of necessary especially compared to somewhere like Swadhisthana. This place is quite large, sprawling and windy in comparison.

Before we head to our real destination, though, we'll head a bit further west and head through this door a little out of the way.

It just leads to a Chakra Pot, but that's a 150MP restore and it functions basically identically to a Great Chakra right now. Only difference is that it can only be used on one person instead of the whole party.

Nothing else here worth doing, so let's flip that gate switch and... run back to the Vendor real quick to sell off these Cells before I forget.

In doing so, we can now buy two new items. Hurray!

Muscle Drinks are pretty cool. They heal you like normal healing items, but they also give you a minor boost to your max HP for that fight. Nothing overly amazing, and less useful later, but it could help for trickier fights.

Spyglass is just Analyze but in item form. You buy it once, and you're done. Analyze is now permanently worthless because the Spyglass is infinite-use.

Of course, if you can read this you don't need it. Just use the MegaTen wiki or GameFAQs or something. Gives you the same information, only better. Except for bosses where it gives you more information.

Money in-hand, new items available but unbought because I am a cheapskate horder need it for Mantras right now, let's finally head on through Gate 04.

The Laziest Name

Sonic Wave

Hey, we found you. We didn't die either. I guess we win this little game!

Well, uh, we didn't come to fight her but I guess she doesn't mind fighting us. Or at least having her weird, silent lackey there do it.

His "thing" is meant to be that he's really good with knives. In a place that mostly used guns before, but now uses demons.

I have no idea how he survived this long.

So, his name is Bat. He's our next boss fight.

Guess what his Atma Avatar is. Go on. Guess.

I've been dying for a snack. Come here.

Figured it out yet? Because you're about to find out.

...Yeah, no surprises there. Let's just ruin his day and move on

Boss: Asura Camazotz

Big Battle

Camazotz here is a Mayan deity, for a nice change of pace. They're monsters that were around in the underworld of Xibalba and plagued some twins. His name is K'iche' (yes, that's how its really spelt; it's a Mayan language) for... "death bat". I'm pretty sure this is peak laziness right here.

Anyway, Camazotz in-game just has absurd Magic, so we don't hurt him much with spells. At least not yet. He doesn't actually resist any elements; he's just that resilient. It's totally possible to have an element-boost passive by now. That'd push this up from 6 to an amazing 8!

Physicals, in comparison, ruin his day pretty effectively. So, sticking to those then.

Oh, and he doesn't use his great Magic for anything but defense. He has no offensive spells, so we can cast Tarunda to neuter him somewhat.

All of his attacks are physicals, so this deals with them nicely. We can even cast this three more times to reduce it further and there is nothing he can do about it.

He's a very nice step-up from Hayagriva because we can't just sit here and nullify his only real means of attack. He's also kind of a bastard in comparison because...

He can inflict Panic. Panic is basically this game's version of a more standard Confusion ailment. There's a chance that Heat will now just do whatever he feels like. Try and run, attack other party members, revert to human...

Fortunately, Patra or Panacaeas will cure it up immediately.

108 damage on the second boss, as a crit, isn't too shabby. That's ~1/6th of his max HP in one go (he has 670 for what its worth).

Bat's main gimmick is that he quite likes to use Rage, which is an annoying move. It is one of an ilk that is known to make Nocturne players very, very angry.

It gives him two more actions right now. For free. No questions asked. And there is no way to stop it.

Thankfully, Bat doesn't use this to its full evil potential.

Instead, he just follows it up by using Spiral Edge which is not that fancy.

It hits everyone for middling physical damage. Whatever.

He also usually (but not quite always) follows it up with his gimmicky technique. It's basically a defensive action that gives him an absurd defence boost... and an Earth weakness.

We'll take advantage of that second bit, then. Hitting him with an Earth spell immediately breaks it too.

Oh and he sometimes casts HP Thief. It deals Almighty damage and, like the name implies...

Drains some HP. Not enough to warrant worrying about.

Sometimes when he uses Rage, he follows that Spiral Edge up with a regular physical attack but not very often. All in all, not too tough a fight either.

He's a good step-up from Hayagriva, but that's setting the bar rather low. At least Camazotz has the decency to have his main attacks not be straight up rendered worthless immediately.

At least not without spending far too long grinding.

He gives a lot of Karma though. No AP strangely...

Oh, Serph stops Agni from eating him. Okay, that explains that then.

Don't stop me.


What's Your Name

Why do you not kill Bat?

Why...? I don't want to.

Your name... tell me.


Oh, around now Bat gets thrown on the ground like the chump he is.

He's kinda right here, but only from sheer coincidence really.

If I had more power...
I am the one in charge here. Go tend to your wounds.
We thank you, Jinana.

Follow me.


So, yeah. Bat's quite the sore loser. And is more'n a bit mad at us showing him up, and then getting told off by Jinana. Possibly the not being eaten thing too.

Next time, we'll be checking out whatever it is Jinana's showing us and I guess doing something about the Solids?