"...Ordinary daily life...
...Each day, always the same...Of young men and women, lost in the Expanse..."
...Our youth, slipping away...
What if... all that was taken away?
What if... our school was drawn into another world?
...This is the story...
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.
As of now, the game has never received any official translation by Atlus Co, Ltd. The Super Famicom version was fan-translated in English by the rom-hacking group Aeon Genesis on October 25, 2018.
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 computer 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 "Charlie" 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 known as Tower of Confinement.
In this route, Charlie 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, he sends the two of them back to the human world after the final battle, but the school and all other students remain trapped there forever. The school's disappearance is blamed on an explosion caused by a gas leak. Charlie and the protagonist try to go back to their normal lives, but spend the rest of their days in fear that Hazama will one day come to the human world and try to conquer it.
Yumi and the protagonist want to stop Hazama and save the school. After much hardship, they defeat Hazama and the school building, as well as all living students, is safely returned to the human world. Life goes back to normal as all students try to forget what happened.
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.
In the Super Famicom version, this route is only available if the game's cartridge has a save file in which final dungeon is unlocked (or, in Charlie's case, right before the fight with Hazama). In the PlayStation port, it is instead available in a New Game Plus.
Akira and the protagonist try to escape the school via a secret manhole, but end up trapped in the Tower of Confinement. Hazama appears before them saying that escaping is forbidden and starts 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 Summoning 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 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 port features the following:
- Updated graphics and smoother movement in the first-person 3D dungeons.
- Each slot of the inventory can now store 99 copies of the same item instead of only 9.
- 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.
- Weapons can now "rank up" and become stronger after repeated use in battle, indicated by a roman numeral next to the weapon's name. All weapons start at I and the maximum rank is III.
- The Megido Fire, Peacemaker, and Brahmastra guns don't need bullets to be used.
- 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|
|Eithéa||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 gaiden 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 made its first appearance in this game.
- The title "if..." is a reference to the 1968 British drama if... starring Malcolm McDowell. 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 the then upcoming Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.
- Like Shin Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei II, the Super Famicom version has been translated by Aeon Genesis, released October 25th, 2018.
- Official Japanese site for the PlayStation port (Internet Archive)
- Official Japanese site for the Virtual Console release
- PSOne Classic official page
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 - Zurvan|
|General||Karukozaka High School - River Styx|
|Expanse||World of Pride - Gluttony - Sloth - Envy - Wrath - Greed - Tower of Confinement - Inner World|
|Terminology||Guardian - Expanse - Moon Phase System - Sword fusion|
|Lists||Guardians - Demons - Bosses (Hazama's Chapter) - Skills - Items|