Shin Megami Tensei: if... is a side story to the Shin Megami Tensei series for the Super Famicom, released in Japan in 1994. It served as the inspiration for the Persona series, laying the groundwork for the Persona system and having the plot take place mostly in a high school.
A gaiden to Shin Megami Tensei where you play with a group of high school students taken to the netherworld. It seems to have been loosely inspired by the 1968 film if...., which is about hazing in a British public school that turns surreal by the end of the movie.
In Shin Megami Tensei: if... the story is about Ideo Hazama, a poor and abused boy who goes to Karukozaka High School. In order to get vengeance on his peers he performs a ceremony in the gym that transports his high school into the Expanse, where he has somehow become powerful enough to become Deity Emperor. Back at the school, chaos erupts and causes panic around the majority of the people trapped there.
The player assumes the role a nameless male or female student, who armed themselves with defensive equipment and COMP. They investigate the realms of the Expanse which are based on five of the seven Deadly Sins, and finally face off against Hazama. In their quest, the player will be accompanied by fellow students and demons recruited through either negotiation or from the process of fusion, or via the Jakyou.
There are four possible paths in the game, but unlike the previous games, they are not decided by the Alignment system. Instead, right in the beginning of the game the player must choose one of the four main characters as a companion to investigate the mysterious events and the Expanse. Each main character has a defined path and once one has been chosen, the player is locked on that path. Yumi, Reiko, and Charlie visit the worlds based off the deadly sins (Yumi and Reiko visit the same worlds, Charlie visits a few different ones), while Akira puts the player in an entirely different setting. Akira's path is much more difficult and, instead of being segmented among worlds, is composed by just one huge tower very similar to Persona 3's Tartarus. This path focuses much more heavily on the 'Dungeon Crawler' aspect of the game.
Each of the worlds raise a few philosophical questions about the nature and consequences of the deadly sins, but the game presents these conflicts in a non-theological manner.
- Tamaki Uchida/Nameless Male: The main character that the player can name.
- Reiko Akanezawa: A blood relative to Hazama.
- Yumi Shirakawa: A classmate of Tamaki.
- Shinji "Charlie" Kuroi: A student of the school once suspected of robbery.
- Ideo Hazama: A vengeful student who proclaims himself the new ruler of the Expanse.
- Akira Miyamoto: A special secret character only available on a second playthrough.
In the PlayStation version, the player gets bonuses for having saves from other Atlus games on their memory card:
|Megami Ibunroku Persona||Partner learns Sabatoma|
|Persona 2: Innocent Sin||Partner learns Necroma|
|Persona 2: Eternal Punishment||Partner learns Recarmdra|
|Thousand Arms||Partner learns Tarukaja|
|Growlanser||Partner learns Makakaja|
|アイシア||Partner learns Sukukaja|
|Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers||Humans gain Vi +3,|
all demon allies gain +25% Max HP
|Shin Megami Tensei||Humans gain +2 to all stats|
|Shin Megami Tensei II||All demon allies gain +1 to all stats|
|峠ＭＡＸ 最速ドリフトマスター||Protagonist gains Ag +5|
|峠ＭＡＸ２||Partner gains Ag +5|
|Kartia: The Word of Fate||Party gains In +5|
|Devil Children (PS)||Skull Bullets x10|
- The 50th Anniversary Pack (in celebration of the School in the game) was a deluxe edition of the game that included things like a pen and a school handbook.
- Despite the fact that the player can decide the gender and name of the protagonist, according to Persona, the canon main character is a girl named Tamaki Uchida.
- According to Persona series director Katsura Hashino, if... provided the basis for the creation of the series, carrying over its high school setting and focus on adolescent troubles.
- It is possible that if... and the Persona series exist within the same continuity. The Snow Queen Quest in Megami Ibunroku Persona is structured very similarly to this game, and Charlie acts as a proto-Eikichi, while Hazama seems to be a proto-Jun from Persona 2: Innocent Sin and some students with the same uniforms as the characters, appear in Persona 1 and 2. In addition, the female protagonist Tamaki appears in Persona 1 and 2.
- The main characters of Shin Megami Tensei will show up as Majin (Fiend clan), and some can even become the player's Guardians.
- Megidola and the -dyne level of magic first show up in this game.
- The teacher Yawata, before giving to the protagonist the COMP, says he saw a kid with a husky dog with a COMP, so he tried to make one himself. That kid could have been the Protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei I with Pascal.
- The PSP edition of Persona 2: Innocent Sin includes optional missions in Karukozaka High School, in which Maya and friends are sent there upon Nameless' request to figure out the mystery of the human heart. Aside from the science teacher, Otsuki-sensei, none of the cast of the original game return (as like Tamaki, they would have graduated by then). The plot of the mission involves a student named Haruo Weyland, a former acquaintance of Eikichi Mishina, stealing people's Personas so he can see their thoughts and write new songs.
- Dr. Otsuki is also mentioned in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, as an easter egg. If the player visits the Shinjuku Medical Center during the later parts of the game, they will find an NPC who mentions "Dr. Otsuki" and states that "there's no scientific proof that he has ever been in that hospital". Otsuki is well known for constantly saying "there's no scientific proof that...".
- The title "if..." is a reference to the 1968 British drama If... staring Malcolm Mcdowell.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE, a replica of Karukozaka High School Bag can be obtained through Fortune Cards. Its description said that it was carried by students of Karukozaka High School in Shinjuku before the Great Cataclysm.
- Like Shin Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei II, the SNES version is being translated by Aeon Genesis, although it is unknown when the project will be completed.
Shin Megami Tensei: if...
|Hazama's Chapter - Manga - Kahn|
|Playable||Tamaki Uchida - Yumi Shirakawa - Shinji Kuroi - Reiko Akanezawa - Akira Miyamoto - Amon - Ideo Hazama|
|Non-playable||Nova - Akiko - Otsuki - Chefei - The Emperor - Lucifer|
|General||Karukozaka High School - River Styx|
|Expanse||World of Pride - Gluttony - Sloth - Envy - Wrath - Greed - Land of Nomos - Inner World|
|Terminology||Guardian - Expanse - Moon Phase System - Sword fusion|
|Lists||Guardians - Demons - Bosses (Hazama's Chapter) - Skills - Items|