- Turn type: Player turn/enemy turn
- Maps: Medium to large. There is terrain that gives bonuses.
- Character Customization:You can combine monsters to get new ones.
- Character Development: Standard XP level system for the two humans, an 8-tier system for the monsters.
- Party Size: I don’t remember what the max size is.
- Equipment: You can equip 6 things at a time, I believe.
- Game Flow: There is an overworld map and some stages are optional. You can replay indoor dungeon/cave stages.
- Saving: In battle only.
- Death: Permanent.
I played this game some years ago so I’m not going to play it again because it’s rather long. This is one of the games in the long-running Megami Tensei franchise. They adapted the system to an SRPG style, and while it’s rough in some areas, I liked it overall.
The story is awful. I assume there was some backstory given in the instructions, but beyond that the game has almost no plot — to the point where it almost fails the criteria I have that these games have to have a developing plot.
The gameplay is much better, though. As in other MT games, the main character can convince demons to join the team. These can be levelled up (max 8) and then combined with other demons, and they will bring over the skills they learned. This allows you to get some customized demons. The demons come in 8 varieties, and each variety has a different compability (in attack/defense) with other types. This means you can’t just rely on a few powerful demons, but you have to have a somewhat varied party to deal with the monsters you encounter.
I remember the game being fairly hard at points, because you would get swarmed by monsters, and it was very hard to stop them from surrounding or ganging up on particular characters. One thing that made it a bit easier is that losing a demon is not always terrible because you can convince new demons that might be more powerful than the one you lost. Like all the early MT games, the demon recruiting is basically random.
If you’re a MT and retro game fan I would recommend at least trying this — a patch has just recently come out for the game. I’ve heard that Majin Tensei 2 is much better and fixes a lot of the problems this game had. We’ll see when I get there, and it may be that with MT2 out there it’s not worth playing this one.