Shin Megami Tensei II is the second installment in the Shin Megami Tensei series. It was released for the Super Famicom on March 18, 1994 in Japan. It was later remade for the PlayStation in 2002, and then for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. It is a role-playing video game that, similar to most of the games in the series, encourages the player to persuade demons to join the main characters battle party.
The following is an introductory timeline to the game, as found in the original manual for the Super Famicom version of Shin Megami Tensei II (credits go to Kage no Tenshi Re-Miel for great part of the translation):
'The Great Tokyo Flood' - After the rebuilding of Tokyo, a tectonic plate movement of massive proportions causes the ocean to rush into Tokyo and decimate the area around it. Even after the waters receded, the suburbs of Tokyo remained submerged.
'Rise of the Messian Church' - Through political maneuvers, the Messian Church takes over the government and converts it to a theocracy.
'Gaean Revolt' - Angry and opposed to the Messian rise to power, several groups of Gaeans start numerous riots, but they are all quickly quelled by the Temple Knights.
'Completion of the Center' - Using a huge amount of funding, a massive structure named "Center" is built on the former site of the Basilica. The plan to create a municipal government called "Millennium" is also announced.
'Demonoids developed' - In order to ensure a source of labor, artificial life forms called "Demonoids" are developed.
'Millenium nearly completed' - Facilities designed to accommodate the people like Valhalla and the Factory (a production/industrial area) are designed and nearly complete. Entertainment facilities like Casinos are also built.
'Environmental Contamination' - Through global warming, radioactive contamination, and the deterioration of the ozone layer, most of the world outside of Tokyo Millennium is rendered uninhabitable. Large numbers of people from around the world flock to Millennium, as its environment is entirely self-contained.
'Temple Knights become Special Police Forces' - After putting an end to several Gaean demonstrations and revolts, the Temple Knights are evaluated by the Center and are promoted to Elite status. They are declared the official police force of the city. Their increase in power tightens the control the Center has on the rest of the city even more.
'Present day, present time' - The megalopolis that was once called Tokyo...many are the names and the shapes that it took throughout its long history...but it survived. And even in this day, it lives on...as "Tokyo Millennium"; the city of the messiah faith. The faith which gathered under its wings the hearts and minds of millions who cry out for the advent of the Messiah.
Back in the beginning, it was being built to turn the dream of the Thousand Year Kingdom into a reality, but neither God nor the Messiah appeared within its walls.
And then, time went. And very soon, some of its citizens became much more equal than others...
- At the helm of Millennium, is the governing body know as Center.
- Under direct authority of the Center are the Temple Knights, an elite military group which serves the function of a police force.
- The elite of Millennium are the First Rank Citizens, who are given the right to live in the Center freely.
- There are those who are permitted the ownership of an Arm Terminal. Those are considered the Second Rank Citizens.
- And last come those who are merely recognized as residents of Tokyo Millenium. Those are considered the Common Rank Citizens.
One of the particularly prosperous districts of Millenium is the Valhalla Area, famous for the cruel sport of arena fighting, practiced there to this day. Men fight each other, risking their lives to thrill the blood-thirsty crowds. Recently, a new fighter named "Hawk" blazed onto the scene like a comet: the audience gapes at his prowess, the crowd goes wild over his unbroken string of victories, but no one knows who he is or where he came from...
...Not even Hawk himself.
- Aleph: A man with no name or memory. A washed up fighter named Okamoto finds Aleph fighting demons, takes him under his care, renames him Hawk, and trains him to become the best gladiator in Valhalla. Alas, "Hawk"'s career is cut short when he receives a message from the Center - he is actually the Messiah, whose true name is Aleph, and whose destiny is to save the world and lead everyone to paradise. He is named after the first letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.
- Hiroko: The main female character of the game. She is a Temple Knight of the Center who accompanies Aleph on his missions across Tokyo Millennium. At the start of the game she disobeys the Center by traveling to Valhalla to find a lost boy and track down a missing scientist called Hanada. She is the main heroine of the game.
- Beth: Described by her creators as belonging to Aleph, she is the second main female character of the game. She is also a Temple Knight of the Center and is assigned to Aleph as his partner to help him in his missions. Like Yuriko in Shin Megami Tensei, she pledges to be by Aleph's side forever. Like the other main characters she was a creation of the Center, designed to be Aleph's "eternal partner". She is named after the second letter of the Hebrew Alphabet, Bet. She is the second heroine of the game. She was designed to resemble The Heroine, with blue as her primary color due to being the Messians' heroine.
- Zayin: Described by his creators as the one who "has the greatest power", he is a member of the Temple Knights alongside Hiroko. At the beginning of the game he is firmly aligned with the Center and is a commanding officer for Aleph, but when he witnesses the tragedies that the Center inflicts upon the people of Tokyo Millennium and discovers the true nature of the Thousand Year Kingdom, he rebels and dedicates himself to spreading the truth about the Center's machinations. He is revealed to be another one of the Center's creations, designed to be Aleph's bodyguard, though YHVH has even greater plans in store for him. He is named after the seventh letter of the Hebrew Alphabet, Zain/Zayin, which is the Hebrew equivalent of the letter Z.
- Daleth: Described by his creators as "resembling [Aleph] quite a bit", and of "[having] power [nearly] identical to [him]", Daleth is a young man who appears as a recurring antagonist, proclaiming himself to be the true Messiah and challenging Aleph to several fights to prove himself. He is revealed to be a creation of the Center, designed for the role of the "Anti-Messiah". His purpose was to be defeated at the hands of the true Messiah in order to increase the charisma of the latter in the eyes of the populace. He is named after the fourth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet, Dalet. He was designed to resemble The Hero.
- Gimmel: Described by his creators as "exceptionally intelligent", he is a young man who lives in the forest of Arcadia, and seems to know Aleph from some place. He seems to know a lot about the purpose of Arcadia, the Center and Tokyo Millennium. It is revealed that Gimmel was created by the Center to be the Messiah of the Virtual World, which was designed as a testing ground for the technology of the Thousand Year Kingdom. He is named after the third letter of the Hebrew Alphabet, Gimel.
- Okamoto: The owner of a fighting gym in the main town of Valhalla, and the man responsible for saving Aleph, while in an amnesiac state (presumed to be induced by his recent escape from Millennium's headquarters), from being killed by an horde of demons. After seeing how he defended himself, however, Okamoto took him under his wing, naming him Hawk, and training him to be a Gladiator, in order for both of them to achieve enough money to leave Valhalla, and gain Center, and make a better life for themselves. Judging by comments made by other NPCs about him, Okamoto seems to have something of a gambling problem (spending all the money he and "Hawk" make on the casino); also, he is always borrowing money from someone. He is, however, freed of all his debts after Aleph is titled Champion of the Colosseum, and Haneda's gym is left under his management, where it gains great popularity.
- Haneda: Okamoto's rival in the fighting gym business, famous for owning the biggest Gym in all of Valhalla, who in the past "produced several warriors who went on to become champion". He seems to develop some kind of interest in Aleph: both in his capabilities as a fighter, and for the fact that he is "pretty cute", "just [his] type" (he is implied to be homosexual). He trained many fighters, Red Bear being one of them. After Aleph's victory in the Colosseum tournament final battle, his higly-equipped gym is left under Okamoto's management.
- Red Bear: Haneda's trainee, and one of the two finalists, along with Aleph, in the Colosseum tournament. In a Dungeon Match, he and Aleph are both put in a maze, filled with demons and all sorts of weapons and equipment that they can attain; the purpose of the event is for both fighters to get to the center of the maze, where a battlefield awaits where a winner will finally be decided. In the end, Aleph, even while afflicted with flashbacks that reduced his fighting abilities, emerges victorious, killing Red Bear in battle. With his last words, he express his great wish of being titled Champion, not for the glory, but just to be able to leave Valhalla and go live peacefully in the Center. He appears later in the game as a departed soul in the Chesed area of the Expanse.
- Madam: The governess of Valhalla. She is introduced as a person of great power, having the habit of summoning to her mansion the Champions of the Colosseum's tournaments, in order to congratulate them. When Aleph first meets her, she is depicted only through television messages, so her real whereabouts are unknown. She demonstrates great pride in the city that she helped to build, saying that peace flourishes there, as it is in Valhalla that ordinary people can dwell, free from the Center's strictness (from whom she shows animosity).
- Hanada: One of the two scientists, the other being Mekata, who was responsible for the creation of the artificial Templar Knights (Aleph, Beth, Gimmel, Zayin and Daleth). After orchestrating an explosion in the Center, he escaped, along with Mekata, but at an unknown point, probably because of their sharply different objectives, they parted ways. Hanada then started to work under Madam, being responsible for summoning demons that were used in the Coliseum to do battle. Feeling that the perfection of his research was being restrained by this, he escapes once again, now to the slums of Valhalla, where he planned to open a portal to the Abyss. After Aleph and Hiroko found him, he was murdered by a Mercurius that he himself summoned. It is later revealed that his portal opening failed due to him using an incorrect doll in the ritual.
- The Center's Bishop: The one in command of the Center, a privileged section of Tokyo Millennium, whose control mainly belongs to the members of the Order of Messiah. His powers in the political matters of the city seems to be only below that of the four senate elders. He is the one who introduces Aleph to his role as the supposed Messiah, and to Beth, sending the two of them in various missions for the benefit of the Center, where their true values and corrupted set of morals is revealed to both Aleph and Zayin.
- Mekata: One of the two scientists, the other being Hanada, who was responsible for the creation of the artificial Templar Knights (Aleph, Beth, Gimmel, Zayin and Daleth). After orchestrating an explosion in the Center, he escaped, along with Hanada, but at an unknown point, probably because of their sharply different objectives, they parted ways. The Center's Bishop treats him as a dangerous fugitive of law, but in reality, as Aleph later discovered, he is a reasonable man who holds deep sorrows for his involvement in the Messiah Project. After requesting a secret meeting with Aleph in the slums of Valhalla, he tells him that he must first rescue Hiroko (who was taken prisoner by the Center) before telling him exactly who he is and why his memory was erased. When the time for the answers came, however, Aleph and Hiroko discovered that he, along with all of Valhalla, was swallowed up by a gargantuan demon named Abaddon, sent by the Center to erase him along with the people of Valhalla.
- Puck: A demon who is a member of the Yousei race (and thus, a fairy). He lives in the Shinjuku area of the Underworld, and is infamously known for his love of pranks. He seems to be friends with Daleth, and is the responsible for the production of the "Infidelilly Sap", a love potion used by him in one of his last schemes against Aleph. When feeling menaced, he hides on an abandoned wharehouse not far away from Shinjuku which is, not unexpectedly, filled with various traps. Judging from the way his fellow people talks about him, he's not a bad guy, just a harmless jokester.
- Hanoun: A demon who is a member of the Yousei race (and thus, a fairy). She is a blonde and timid girl who owns a drug shop in the Shinjuku area of the Underworld. She is a friend of Daleth who nurtures a secret passion for him; the non-reciprocal aspect of her love, however, is finally erased the moment Daleth sees her after being stricken with the effects of Puck's "Infidelilly Sap", which makes him fall deeply in love with her. After this, the couple happily live with each other in Shinjuku.
- Oberon: The ruler of Shinjuku, and the king of the fairy race. He is a well respected and benevolent figure, who kindly helps Aleph in breaking the spell that had afflicted Hiroko when they visited Shinjuku, demanding from him a sample of Puck's "Infidelilly Sap" for him to do so.
- Mutant Elder: He is the leader of the mutant community who resides in the Roppongi area of the Underworld. The mutants are a group of humans who were grotesquely disfigured by the toxic radiation that affected the surface of the Earth after the nuclear war. They were sealed under the earth by the construction of Tokyo Millennium above them, being cast out by the Center, when they were forced to forever live out of the reach of the sunlight. According to the Elder, what the mutants most desire is not to be accepted, or reparation for the acts of the Center; the only thing they demand is to be able to see the sun again, along with the rebirth of the city of Tokyo, now buried and forgotten, just like them.
- Hiruko: A loyal servant of the powerful guardian of Tokyo, Taira no Masakado, and a member of the Amatsukami clan of Japanese gods. In the past, he foolishly betrayed the Amatsukami, providing the ways for the Kunitsukami, at the time aligned with YHVH, to defeat and imprison them in the Underworld, where he now dwells. Hiruko begs Aleph and Hiroko retrieve his master's body parts, which were torn asunder when he tried to mediate the conflict between the two opposing groups, and were taken away by the Kunitsukami not long after they were equally cast away by the same god who they had joined with before.
- Amaterasu: The sun goddess in Japanese lore, and the representative of the Amatsukami clan. She, along with her brethren, was made prisoner in a sealed cave far in the depths of the Underworld, due to the sad outcome of her people's war against the Kunitsukami. She was rescued by Aleph and Hiroko, who then she deeply thanked before retiring, along with Hiruko, to the Diamond Realm (a celestial plane where she and the rest of the Amatsukami intended to recover from their wounds).
- Masakado: The mighty deity who is responsible for the protection of the metropolis of Tokyo. When he tried to intervene in the quarrel between the gods of Japan, he was shred to pieces, and his body parts taken away by the Kunitsukami, while his soul itself was preserved in the hands of his minion, Hiruko. When, through the use of the Cathedral of Shadows, he was revived, he unsealed the grotto where the Amatsukami were being held; thanking Aleph for his help by granting him his weapon, a powerful katana, and the Sun Pillar, one of the ancient artifacts needed to open a portal to the Expanse.
- Siren: A demon girl of the Youchou race who used to live in the Expanse, where she met and fallen in love with a human named Petersen. One day, however, she was kidnapped from her home by the Messians and was imprisoned in the very top floor of the watchtower situated in the middle of the Factory district, so that her mourning melodies would be used to enthrall and hypnotize the laborers there, keeping them indifferent to the inhuman conditions they were toiling under, while mindlessly working till utter exhaustion and death. When Aleph managed to defeat the guardian of the tower, a powerful demon called Belphegor, and reunited her with Petersen in her cell, her torment finally ended, and she returned back to the Expanse, along with her lover.
- Petersen: A human who was initially enslaved by Siren's song, till both of them fallen in love with each other. But, due to the fact that he would grow old and pass away while his lover would never age, Petersen cast aside his human body, in order to become a spirit that wanders through the Expane, all to forever be alongside Siren. After hearing his sad story, Aleph brought him to Tokyo Millennium through a portal, and reunited him with Siren, who was being held prisoner in the watchtower of the Factory so that her music would cast a spell in the laborers there, keeping them working for the Center against their wills. Thanking Aleph for his help and kindness, he went back to the Expanse, together with his long lost love.
- The Four Elders: Four mysterious hooded individuals who are the true masterminds working behind the curtains of the Center. They are the Bishop's superiors, mentioned quite early in the game, but whose inhuman nature is only revealed far later, when a wrathful Zayin rebels against them (and is, in response, turned into a stone slab). When Aleph and Hiroko proceeds to rescue him, they uncover their true identities as, in fact, archangels of God all along: Michael, Raphael, and Uriel. The three of them engage in a furious battle against the heroes, but are defeated and killed by them. Later, through Gabriel, the fourth and last Elder, they discover that the archangels were commanded by God to look after the management of Tokyo Millennium, being instructed by him to wait for the savior that he would one day send to them. However, under their control, the government of the city became so irreversibly corrupted, turned into nothing more than a tool to control and enslave humanity, that it simply could not shelter a Messiah of the true God as to lead the people. Unable to wait any longer, the archangels tried to fabricate their own Messiah, a pursuit that lead them astray from the will of God, who abandoned them in turn.
- The Fake YHVH: The raw faith of the Elders was so monstrously strong, and their minds so hopelessly twisted, that the three archangels managed to give life to a "false God", a fake YHVH. However, due to being only the product of the Center's Elders distorted sense of faith, his powers were incomparably inferior to the original's, and as such, he was destroyed, along with the archangels, by Aleph in an arduous combat, but not before cursing them with all his might before finally disintegrating for good (a trait that, ironically, he shared with the real God, which shows that they were not so different in terms of personality after all). Albeit with some slight notable ascetic differences, he displays exactly the same appearance of the real thing.
The gameplay is similar to Shin Megami Tensei with a few changed aspects. First, the automap screen can be called with the press of the R button.
A new system of "magic inheritance" was introduced in the Demon Fusion system, the trademark system of the series. The spells of the demons used for the fusion can be passed on to the fusion product, which can allow even the weakest demon to possess more powerful spells from later in the game - each demon with less than 6 skills can inherit one type of Attack spells plus support skills.
Other changes include:
- Several of the demons' Alignments were changed from Law/Chaos to Neutral, in order to increase the diversity of the player's party.
- The party can be divided into front-row and back-row, but only affects the amount of damage it can receive or inflict.
- The player can now choose which spells and special attacks its demons can use, except they now cost demons hit points or magic points.
- Important items and gems are stored in separate item slots.
- Holding 9 of a single type of gem now grants a stat boost, different for each gem.
- All of the demons' data can now be stored and viewed (there was a limit in the previous game).
- In Shin Megami Tensei, the player only encountered one kind of demon at a time, but in this game the player may encounter two separate kinds of demons.
- A casino was introduced, where the player can play games with coins purchased by money and trade them with special items only obtainable in casinos.
- Several new spells were introduced, such as NECROMA, where the player can revive a dead demon as an undead.
- In a part of the game there's an NPC called Mr. Thriller dancing in a club with another bunch of undead demons (Bodyconians, zombies, Man Eaters, etc.). Mr. Thriller is a cameo of Michael Jackson, wearing the garments he used in his music video for his song Thriller.
- A three-part non-serialized manga adaptation was released in ASCII Comics' monthly magazine, drawn by Chiaki Ogishima, who was publishing the Shin Megami Tensei: Tokyo Revelation manga around the same time.
- The game was designed with "Law" as its theme. 
Shin Megami Tensei II
|Playable Characters||Aleph/Hawk - Hiroko - Beth - Cerberus - Lucifer - Satan|
|Non-Playable Characters||Okamoto - Gimmel - Zayin - Stephen - Haneda - Daleth - Red Bear - Madam - Hanada - The Center's Bishop - The Four Elders - Mekata - Puck - Hanoun - Mutant Elder - Hiruko - Taira no Masakado - Siren - Petersen - Michael - Raphael - Uriel - Gabriel - Fake YHVH - Seth - Virocana - Ozawa - Gotou - Gemori - Astaroth (Ishtar / Ashtar) - Kuzuryu - YHVH|
|Locations||Tokyo Millennium - Underworld - Expanse - Eden - Diamond Realm - River Styx|
|Terminology||Millennium Kingdom - Great Cataclysm - Order of Messiah - Ring of Gaea - Terminal - Sword fusion - Identification Program - Summon Doll - Seven Pillars of Solomon - Sabbath - Abaddon's Innards - Megiddo Arc|
|Content||Demons - Bosses - Skills - Items|