Devil Children Black Book & Red Book are the first two games in the Devil Children series. Black Book and Red Book were released for the Game Boy Color on November 17, 2000. The games were developed alongside the Shin Megami Tensei: DeviChil anime, though they were released around a month after the airing of the first episode. Two years later, a remake for the PlayStation platform was released.
The story takes place in July of the year 2000. A mysterious black substance whose components cannot be examined has appeared out of nowhere and covered the skies all over the world, blocking the sunlight and making temperatures plummet. This, combined with multiple natural disasters and an influenza pandemic has led to many riots from recently-formed doomsday cults and leaves the world's governments at the risk of a new world war.
The game starts at the Harajuku district of Tokyo, which is currently experiencing snow in the middle of summer thanks to a temperature of -4°C (24,8°F). The main characters of the game are Setsuna Kai and Mirai Kaname, both orphans. Setsuna lives in an apartment with his younger brother Nagahisa Kai and Mirai is their next-door neighbor. For some time prior to the beginning of the game, both Setsuna and Mirai have been having dreams of a mysterious man telling them to gather keys and meet him at the depths of the Dark Palace.
One the morning of July 9th, a mysterious parcel was delivered to Setsuna's house. Shortly afterwards, a group of Petit Frosts shows up, trying to take the parcel and also kidnap Nagahisa. As Nagahisa is taken away by the demons, Setsuna opens the parcel and finds a gun-shaped object and a horn-shaped object inside. Setsuna uses the magical gun known as a Devil Riser and summons Cool, a Cerberus, who pledges loyalty to Setsuna. After defeating the demons, Setsuna runs outside looking for Nagahisa. After talking to many different people, Setsuna meets a young boy named Zett Takajō. Zett tells Setsuna that Nagahisa was taken to the Expanse and reveals that the horn-shaped object that was inside the parcel is called a Messiah Horn, which allows people to travel to the Expanse. With Zett's help, Setsuna decides to head to the Expanse and look for Nagahisa.
One day later, Mirai runs into a boy named Yūki in the school corridor. Yūki appears to recognize Mirai and leaves a small box with her before running away. A boy named Souta appears looking for Yūki and tries to take the box away from Mirai after he saw she had it. During their struggle, Souta recognizes a jewel Mirai had with her as a "Messiah Eye" and steals it. Mirai runs after Souta since the jewel was a memento from her mother and finds Yūki on the rooftop. Souta appears and reveals himself as a Ratatoskr before trying to attack Mirai with magic, though Yūki jumps in the way and seemingly dies. In order to protect herself, Mirai uses the Devil Riser inside the bag to summon Veil, a Gryphon. After defeating Souta, Mirai runs into Zett, who tells her that her father is somewhere in the Expanse. Mirai decides to head there and look for her father.
- Setsuna Kai: The protagonist of the Black Book
- Cool: A Cerberus who serves as Setsuna's demon companion
- Mirai Kaname: The protagonist of the Red Book
- Veil: A Griffon who serves as Mirai's demon companion
- Nagahisa Kai: Setsuna's younger brother who is kidnapped by Petit Frosts
In areas where there are random encounters, the protagonist can ride their demon partner which grants them a faster walking speed at the cost of increasing the enemy encounter rate. While riding, Cool can jump ledges, walk on lava, and cross certain obstacles or walls by digging tunnels underground. Veil, on the other hand, can fly which allows her to cross cliffs and water as well as ignore special types of terrain such as slippery ice, though she can't fly over lava and will still fall through holes in the ground. Because of that, certain parts of the game may be easier or harder to progress depending on the version being played. Furthermore, certain areas and even treasure chests may even be inaccessible because of that. In some locations, there are blue and pink doors close to each other. Only Setsuna can open the blue doors, and only Mirai can open the pink ones.
Some demons can only be found in one version but can still be acquired in the other one via trading. Also, while Mute-race demons can only be created through Fusion accidents in Black Book, they appear as normal enemies in Red Book. In regards to demon fusion, Black Book uses a system similar to other games in the Megami Tensei franchise while Red Book's focuses on strengthening demons by using other demons in a way similar to Element and Mitama fusion.
The PlayStation remake features the following:
- The two games are present in the same disc, with the player choosing between Black Book or Red Book before moving to the title screen.
- It's possible to connect two save files in the same PlayStation in order to perform battles, fusions, or trading demons. Those features are equivalent to connecting two Game Boy Colors via link cable in the original.
- Three different save slots, while the original only had one.
- Updated graphics and sprites faithful to the Game Boy Color version.
- In the Game Boy Color version, the protagonist would always walk slowly. In order to move faster, they could run in regular areas and ride their demon partners in areas with random encounters. In the PlayStation remake the protagonist will always walk at running speed in areas without enemies and the slower speed from the original is only seen in places where it's possible to encounter wild demons.
- Voice acting for some scenes with the same voice actors from the DeviChil anime.
- There is, however, no option to adjust the volume of the background music and the voiced lines separately, meaning that the voice acting may be hard to hear sometimes.
- A new opening cutscene, based on the anime.
- The game's script, which was formerly composed entirely of hiragana and katakana, has now kanji characters.
- Despite that, kanji is still not available when naming the protagonist.
- The Petit Frosts sent to kidnap Nagahisa were changed into Jack Frosts.
- Twenty new demons were added:
|Bakemogura||Kami wo Kure||A Bao A Qu||Nautilus|
|Kiyohime||Jersey Devil||Cyborg Deka||Zenki Goki|
|Abe no Seimei||Paramecium King||Excalibur||Taikoubou|
|Black Book only||Red Book only|
- Official Japanese site for Black Book and Red Book (Internet Archive)
- Official Japanese site for Black Book and Red Book PlayStation version (Internet Archive)
- Black Book Japanese Virtual Console
- Red Book Japanese Virtual Console
- Black Book & Red Book Japanese PSOne Classic