REVIEW: Revelations: The Demon Slayer

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Now, if there’s one thing I’ve taken an interest in this past year, it’s Shin Megami Tensei.  Persona 3 is by far one of the best games I’ve ever played, and from there I went back to explore the plentiful entries in the series.  Even though only a small percentage has actually been released in English, there’s still a lot to like.  Now, since my tastes run more towards the esoteric, I sought out the origins of the series in English.  Jack Bros for the Virtual Boy was actually the first game released in English, but this was second, followed by Revelations: Persona.  P1 is a true tragedy as far as being a playable game that is fun (the best localization in the world won’t save that game), but this Game Boy Color game was surprisingly awesome.

This was part of a series of SMT games called “Last Bible.”  This series differs from the usual SMT fare by being based more in traditional JRPG plot types rather than the sci-fi, futuristic, schoolkid setting of some of the other games.  You’re a hero wielding a sword, and you go from town to town collecting two other party members (another guy with a sword, and a wizard-y girl that can talk to animals) and eventually figuring out why monsters are attacking people.

The plot is something about the Gaia Masters being corrupted, except the Gaia Masters are blaming all this monsters-attacking-people-business on another guy.  Who says it’s the Gaia Masters, but still seems like kind of an evil guy.  The plot isn’t all that important, and I wasn’t really following it with all that much interest.  It comes up only every once in ahwile, with most of your dungeon run missions being along the lines of “go to the town, someone is in trouble, pull them out of the local trouble spot for a reward.”  Quite frankly, for a game this simple, that’s all the plot I need.

Along the way, you do the normal SMT thing of recruiting the demons you fight.  This is done with a somewhat arbitrary question system.  You fight enough demons that it wouldn’t be too hard to try all possible combinations until you recruit them.  But it is HARD to get the right answer combination to recruit demons, and since they can’t level up, you’ll need to trade them out frequently, ie recruit more demons in the next area.  If you have weak demons, or no demons, in your party, you will be mercilessly slaughtered until you grind to an insane high level.  It behooves you to use the rather useful walkthrough on GameFaqs that gives you all the right answer combinations for each monster.  I was far less offended by the demon recruitment system in this game, a GBC game aimed at kids, than I was in P1, an epic PS1 RPG aimed at adults.  P1 is a poor game in general, though.

Where was I?  Demon Slayer?  Oh yeah.  Pretty simple game.  It makes for a great old-school RPG if that’s what you’re in the mood for.  Very solid on all fronts, and as difficult as it was to recruit demons, I actually liked customizing my party a lot, and I had fun collecting enough money for the armor and stuff for my human party members.  Re-animating the bones for the ultimate party at the end of the game was also pretty epic.  There is a fusion system in this game, but you don’t really ever need to use it (unless, maybe, you aren’t using that demon recruitment walkthrough, in which case you would need to combine the demons into stronger ones, I guess).

Go out there and slay some demons, friend, if that’s what you’re into.

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