'EL ELOHIM ELOHO ELOHIM SEBAOTH
'ELION EIECH ADIER EIECH ADONAI
'JAH SADAI TETRAGRAMMATON SADAI
'AGIOS O THEOS ISCHIROS ATHANATOS
If somehow made it this far without contacting the local authorities and aren't up on series history, you're probably wondering what that's all about.
Ask Dr. Steven sometime.
If you like your monster summoning games to stay simple, clean-cut, and free of the occult, you might want to stop here.
If you care to step into the darker side of the genre, then carry on.
There's a metric ton of educational software you can use to brush up on Devil Summoning 101.
Consult your local occult retailer for availability.
The Origins - SNES
(Technically Megami Tensei on the NES, but let's keep it Atlus, if I may.)
PS1 - Next Generation
The core games that started it all, known for sadistic first person dungeons, gun and/or melee combat, and a whole ton of demons. The original Megami Tensei games on the NES focused on two characters and a horde of demons. The Shin Megami Tensei games expanded on this to allow for branching paths, a more varied cast, and (much) higher stakes; namely saving the world from global apocalypse.
Both SMT 1 & 2 have been fantranslated.
If you'd rather not endure the innumerable hours beating these games would take and would rather just experience the story, you're in luck; I did it for you.
Let's Plays, c/o yours truly
Shin Megami Tensei
Shin Megami Tensei II
As for If, it's never been fan-translated, but you can find some helpful guides if you know where to look.
GBA and/or DS - the low cost, high profit route
The second series of SMT games branched out a lot from the core titles; leading to the Persona games(which is easily SMT's most popular offshoot now), the Devil Summoner titles(also available on the Saturn), and of course, remakes of the original SMT games, as well as the gaiden/sidestory(and precursor to Persona), SMT 'If...' .
Persona 1 started out as basically another first-person dungeon crawler,
but thankfully P2 switched it up a bit.
Still, if you're feeling sadistic, P1 is available both as the (hilariously translated) PS1 version and the PSP remake.
As good as P2 is, the crown jewel of this era is considered by most to be...
Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers
The above title is being fan-translated by the same lunatics who brought you Innocent Sin in English, so stay tuned for that.
Rest assured, it'll be worth it.
PS2 - The Golden Age
Quite a few SMT games are available on the go, some more niche than others.
Very few people have played this cute little gem. It's SMT Pokemon, basically, but with turn based RPG party combat. You could do worse for a starter.
Or, if you prefer, turn-based strategic combat:
With plenty of characters everyone loves that aren't horribly designed at all!
Maybe some old-school dungeon crawling?
Strange Journey is a massive homage to SMT 1 & 2, though the head designer Kazuma Kaneko himself has said it's essentially SMT IV. Make of that what you will.
Sadistic maps for everyone!
You're bound to make plenty of new friends.
He just likes playing hard to get.
If you don't own this console, you're probably missing out on the best titles.
A little of everything.
The third Shin Megami Tensei game, localized without the III to minimize confusion, considered by most(myself included) to be the best SMT game of them all.
The third Devil Summoner game, detailing the adventures of Raidou Kuzunoha, ace Devil Summoning Detective, and the first real-time SMT action-RPG. Notable for having the most sadistic 'hard' mode in any game ever. The sequel is much better from a gameplay perspective, while the original has the better plot; subjectively speaking.
On the plus side, Raidou happens to know the best fusioner around.
And of course, one of the more successful and excellent stand-alone offshoot titles:
Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner basically runs on SMT III's engine, but is a totally different beast.
Think Final Fantasy X's skill system + Nocturne's Press Turn + cannibalism + Hinduism with ambient guitar music and there you go.
There were a couple Persona games on the PS2 as well. I hear they're kinda popular.
Last and not least, the PSP's been getting SMT love too:
We heard you like female protagonists, so of course that means pink interface!
And of course, the forthcoming Persona 2 remake:
[strike]Maya[/strike] Tatsuya's back with a vengeance.
There's a pretty awesome quest creation mode that lets you make your own [strike]fanfiction[/strike] adventures! With a really awesome hostess.
Keep rockin', Soejima.
Glad you asked!
I guess the D
urvival trend isn't dead yet.
At least the cast is classier this time around.
No word on a US release yet, but let's be realistic, and of course: