Shin Megami Tensei: if... is a side story to the Shin Megami Tensei series for the Super Famicom, released in Japan in 1994. As the name suggests, it is a "what if" scenario where the events of Shin Megami Tensei didn't happen. This game served as the inspiration for the Persona series, laying the groundwork for the Persona system and featuring a high school setting.
Ideo Hazama, a student of Karukozaka High School who is bullied by his peers, performs an occult ceremony in the school's gym in order to obtain power and get his revenge. As a result, Hazama managed to become the Expanse's ruler under the alias of Deity Emperor and transport the whole school there. The protagonist is one of the school's students who decides to explore the Expanse in hopes of going back home.
However, the Expanse is crawling with dangerous and powerful demons. Shortly before the school was sent to the Expanse, a copy of the Demon Summoning Program was uploaded into the school's network. With the help of the president of the school's computer club, the protagonist installs the program into a COMP custom-made by one of the teachers. With this, the protagonist can summon and negotiate with the demons that inhabit the Expanse.
At the beginning of the game, the protagonist must choose a partner to accompany them in their journey from a group of four students: Yumi Shirakawa, Shinji Kuroi, Reiko Akanezawa, or Akira Miyamoto. Each partner has a defined route and once one has been chosen, the protagonist is locked on that path. The first three options visit multiple worlds based on most of the Seven Deadly Sins while Akira's route explores a massive tower called Land of Nomos.
In this route, Shinji and the protagonist are only preoccupied with going back home and honestly don't care about the fate of the other students. As they are not a threat to Hazama's plan, there's no final boss battle and Hazama sends Shinji and the protagonist back to the human world at the end of game.
Yumi and the protagonist want to stop Hazama and save the school. After much hardship, they defeat Hazama and everything goes back to normal.
Mostly identical to Yumi's Route, Reiko's continues for one extra dungeon after Hazama's defeat, exploring his past and why he decided to get revenge. At the end, Reiko decides to stay behind with Hazama's spirit while the protagonist and the school are sent back to the human world safely.
Only avaiable in a New Game Plus. Akira and the protagonist try to return to the human world via a manhole connected to the Land of Nomus. As they try to run away, Hazama appears before them saying that escaping is forbidden and attacking them with demons. Akira is severely injured and on the verge of death but is saved by fusing himself with the demon Amon. The now half-demonic Akira has Amon's memories and tells the protagonist that Hazama used the Demon Sumonning Program to fight his way to the top of the tower and obtain the powers of the Deity Emperor, sealing Amon in the process. After defeating Hazama, Akira tells the protagonist that he and Amon are now one and the same and so he has no place in the world of humans. The protagonist is then sent back while the school and the other students remain in the Expanse.
- Protagonist: The game's protagonist whose gender can be chosen by the player.
- Reiko Akanezawa: An honor student and Hazama's half-sister.
- Yumi Shirakawa: The protagonist's kindhearted classmate.
- Shinji "Charlie" Kuroi: A self-centered student with a criminal record.
- Ideo Hazama: A vengeful student who proclaims himself the new ruler of the Expanse.
- Akira Miyamoto: A silent lone wolf student.
The PlayStation remake features the following:
- Updated graphics and smoother movement in the first-person 3D dungeons.
- It's possible to choose the game's difficulty setting: Normal or Easy. "Normal" is the same as the Super Famicom version while "Easy" has the following features:
- The player will automatically go up and down a floor when entering a room with stairs, instead of having to manually answer "yes" to the prompt "would you like to use the stairs?".
- When walking over a square in a dungeon where a NPC is, the player will only be forced to talk to them once. Talking to them again to review info is optional unless there is new dialogue which will automatically prompt a new conversation.
- Bonuses are granted for having save data from other Atlus games on a Memory Card. This feature only works on save data of Japanese copies of those games. These bonuses can be obtained by talking to the Memory Card Checker on the World of Sloth B3F. The bonuses are:
|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 Black Book & Red Book||Skull Bullets x10|
- if... is the first game in the entire Megami Tensei franchise to feature a protagonist whose gender can be chosen by the player as well as the first game to feature a canonical female protagonist.
- Shin Megami Tensei: if... is considered by Atlus to be a part of the main Shin Megami Tensei series, although it's not a numbered entry due to its premise.
- The 50th Anniversary Pack (in celebration of the in-game school) was a deluxe edition of the game that included things like a pen and a school handbook.
- Shin Megami Tensei: if... is set in the same continuity as the Persona and Devil Summoner series.
- 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.
- The main characters of Shin Megami Tensei appear in this game as Fiends and Guardians.
- Megidola and the -dyne level of magic made their first appearance in this game.
- The title "if..." is a reference to the 1968 British drama starring . The same font is used for both titles.
- Limited Edition copies of the PlayStation remake came with a DVD containing info and special interviews about Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.
- 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.
- Official Japanese site for the PlayStation remake (Internet Archive)
- Official Japanese site for the Virtual Console release
- Japanese PSOne Classic
Shin Megami Tensei: if...
|Hazama's Chapter - Manga - Kahn - Novel|
|Playable||Tamaki Uchida - Yumi Shirakawa - Shinji Kuroi - Reiko Akanezawa - Akira Miyamoto - Amon - Ideo Hazama|
|Non-playable||Nova - Akiko Yano - Ryuichi Sakamoto - Kayama - Katsuhiko Sato - 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|