Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers

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Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers
SoulHackersUS.jpg
North American cover art of the updated port for the Nintendo 3DS
Developer(s) Atlus
Publisher(s) Atlus
Artist(s) Kazuma Kaneko
Composer(s) Shōji Meguro
Toshiko Tasaki
Tsukasa Masuko
Series Megami Tensei (main)
Devil Summoner (sub-series)
Platform(s) Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Nintendo 3DS
Release date(s) Saturn
  • JP November 13, 1997
PlayStation
  • JP April 8, 1999
Nintendo 3DS
  • EU September 20, 2013[4]
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution CD-ROM (2 discs), Nintendo Game Card (3DS)

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, known in Japan as Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers (Japanese: デビルサマナー ソウル ハッカーズ Hepburn: Debiru Samanā Sōru Hakkāzu?) is a Japanese role-playing video game and the second game in the Devil Summoner franchise, which is part of the larger Megami Tensei series of video games.

The game was originally released for the Sega Saturn in 1997, later released in a slightly enhanced version for the PlayStation in 1999. Although no previous versions of Soul Hackers had ever received an official localization in North America or Europe, a localized 3DS version was released on April 16, 2013.[5]

Gameplay[edit]

Demon loyalty and relationship with characters: Demons possess some form of loyalty, which represents their trusting relationship with their summoner. As loyalty increases, so does that demon's attack (or magic) power.[6] However, if a summoner's relationship with a demon is low enough, that demon may disobey orders or even leave the party.

Selection of partner's magic type: Nemissa's magic type is determined early on in the game, depending on how the player answers Hitomi's questions. The three types of magic she can learn are fire magic, ice magic and lightning magic. It is possible to change the type of magic she knows later in the game.

Additional demon species: Three new species of demon have been added to the game. Unlike "heroes", the lunar phase plays a part in their union conditions.

Software installation: By installing new software onto the COMP, various features can be added to it:

  • Enemy Sonar: causes a coloured glow to appear around demons, indicating their difficulty - green demons are weak, while red demons are significantly stronger.
  • Scanning Zero: the normally invisible "dark zone" appears on the map.
  • Backup: allows the player to save while still inside a dungeon.
  • Neo Clear: adds details of surrounding areas to the map.
  • Adult Moon: allows the player to converse at any time with demons that can normally only be summoned during a full moon.
  • Frost Panel: a Jack Frost skin appears on the party's status screen.

COMP fusion: Demons can now be fused using the protagonist's mobile COMP. Because of this, it is possible to fuse demons even inside dungeons. Unlike a normal fusion, however, only two demons can be fused at once, and there is a high chance of "accidents" occurring.

PocketStation support: Demons can be downloaded to a "PocketStation" to be grown and played with, similar to a Tamagotchi.

Casino: A casino has been added to the interior of Paradigm X. Prizes there are usually rare items, or equipment that is difficult to obtain.

Extra dungeon: In the Sega Saturn version, if the player sent off the postcard enclosed in the "Demon Compendium Vol. 2" and was not chosen in the draw, they could not unlock the extra dungeon, even once all other conditions to do so were cleared.

Additional scenario: In the Sega Saturn version Spooky suffered a violent death; however, on a New Game Plus of the PlayStation and 3DS versions, his death can be prevented if certain conditions are met.

Added event: A new event has been added to the protagonist and other characters' hideout in the PlayStation version. In it, it is discovered that Lunch is good at cooking, and Naomi hates Rei Reihō's TV shows.

Digest Mode: Story events can be viewed in this mode after loading saved data.

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

Amami City: A city specified as an environmental model for urban redevelopment in the government's urban policy. Originally nothing more than a small town, it was transformed into a high-tech, information-oriented city by the redevelopment. PCs are freely available to all citizens, with incredibly high-speed connections; ID cards are issued to all residents of the city and the government has started to introduce electronic money. The city's design and geography bears a close resemblance to the commercial and residential districts of Kaihin-Makurai, Chiba City.

Paradigm X: A virtual 3-D city, operated for the citizens of Amami City. The main server is inside the Argon Company building, and users can access Paradigm X through the network. While inside Paradigm X it is possible to communicate with other users, and actually shop at realistic stores as though they were really there. The first time a user logs in, the operation is explained to them by a messenger of "Captain Paradigm". The city is still in testing phase, however, and the only way in is to be selected by lottery.

"Spookies": A group of hackers, formed in Amami City by Masahiro Sakurai. Its six members are "Spooky", "Lunch", the protagonist, "Hitomi", "Yu-ichi" and "Six". The group's hideout is a trailer owned by Sakurai. PCs were loaded onto the trailer so that they could be moved to a safe location in case of an emergency. The Spookies logo, a ghost wearing sunglasses, is painted onto one side of the trailer. Sakurai purchased the trailer using a loan, but has still not finished paying it off.

Argon Company: An IT company that plays a large role in the urban policy. The company simultaneously supplies both Argon Software and Argon Spirit Manufacture. In Amami City, an environmental model city, everything is controlled by a network of computers. The protagonist belongs to a group of Amami-based hackers, known as the "Spookies". The group is based in a trailer hideout, owned by the leader, where they attempt to hack into the virtual city known as "Paradigm X" using a gun-like computer, also owned by the leader. No ordinary computer, however, it is called a "COMP", capable of utilizing the Demon Summoning Program (since it is shaped like a gun, it is called a "GUMP"). After removing the protection on the GUMP a strange incident occurs, and a demon calling herself "Nemissa" appears from inside it. Centering around Nemissa and the GUMP, the protagonist and other characters become embroiled in a struggle with others, called "summoners", that involves the entirety of Amami City.

Characters[edit]

Main Characters[edit]

Protagonist (主人公 Shujinkō?) (no default name) The protagonist of the game, who is named by the player. The character is a silent protagonist, the only dialogue from the character is from pre-set choices selected by the player. The protagonist is an 18 year old male, with short hair and green clothes.

Hitomi Tono (遠野 瞳 Tōno Hitomi?) A childhood friend of the protagonist, who is also 18 years old. Raised by her father, she has a serious nature. She is a relative of Professor Azuma, who appeared in Devil Summoner. She is voiced by Minako Kotobuki in the Japanese 3DS version, and Cassandra Morris in the English version.[7]

Nemissa (ネミッサ?) A female devil that suffers from amnesia. She is characterised by her flashy silver hair, and is the protagonist's partner, key to the work the group is doing. Because she has no physical body herself, she inhabits Hitomi's body. The instant Nemissa's soul takes control Hitomi's hair turns silver, and returns to its natural brown once Hitomi is back in control. Nemissa is selfish at first, but through getting to know others she begins to care for other people, and eventually learns to know pain and emotions. Nemissa's attributes and skills are decided by how the player answers Hitomi's questions at the beginning of the game. She is voiced by Minako Kotobuki in the Japanese 3DS version, and Laura Bailey in the English version.[7]

Masahiro Sakurai (桜井 雅宏 Sakurai Masahiro?) A resourceful hacker, and leader of Spookies. 25 years old. Known as "Spooky" due to his position in the group. He always wears a wrinkled suit, and since he is such a heavy smoker he looks much older than he really is. He has a strong inferiority complex. He is voiced by Kazuya Nakai in the Japanese 3DS version, and Liam O'Brien in the English version.[7]

Junnosuke Kitagawa (北川 潤之介 Kitagawa Junnosuke?) Member of Spookies. 19 years old, he is nicknamed "Lunch" (ランチ?). He has dreadlocks, and specializes in hacking and modifying hardware. He is calm and takes things one step at a time. He doesn't speak much of his family, lacking composure when he reflects on them, and feels animosity towards his mother's death. He is voiced by Wataru Takagi in the Japanese 3DS version, and Todd Haberkorn in the English version.[7]

Shingo Sako (迫 真悟 Sako Shingo?) Spookies member, nicknamed "Six". A gun maniac, his nickname is derived from "six shooter". At 17 years old, he is the youngest member of Spookies. Can take equipment from the collection early on in the game. As a child, he pushed his older sister Erika down the stairs as a prank, which killed her. He still carries deep emotional wounds from this incident. He enjoys watching horror films. He is voiced by Daisuke Ono in the Japanese 3DS version, and Sam Riegel in the English version.[7]

Yūichi Haga (芳賀 佑一 Haga Yūichi?) 18 years old, known simply as "Yūichi". Because he grew up in a wealthy family, he has a childlike and innocent nature. Even though he is a year younger than Yūichi, Six still treats him like a child most of the time. As the only one in the group without a handle, he is quick to point that his name is "cooler" than any online nickname. He is voiced by Yuki Kaji in the Japanese 3DS version, and Yuri Lowenthal in the English version.[7]

Nishi (西?) Vice-president of the government. General manager of urban development in Amami City. Executive of the Phantom Society. His true identity is High-Demon Azazel. He is voiced by Shozo Sasaki in the Japanese 3DS port.[7]

Kadokura (門倉?) Young president of the Argon Software company. General manager of "Paradigm X" development. Apparently had an argument with Masahiro Sakurai, but the details are unknown. Modeled on Bill Gates. He is voiced by Issei Futamata in the Japanese 3DS port.[7]

Finnegan (フィネガン?) Proud to serve as a summoner to the mysterious Phantom Society. A former boxer, his COMP uses brass knuckles-type weapons. One of the organization's top summoners, he has frequent encounters with the protagonist. Self-confident and skilled, he is popular but has many enemies. He is voiced by Fumihiko Tachiki in the Japanese 3DS port, and Kirk Thornton in the English version.[7]

Yuda Singh (ユダ・シング?) Summoner of the Phantom Society. Uses a saxophone-type COMP. A highly proud Gurkha, he works as a summoner to send money home to his family. Questions the significance of his own existence, so he follows the organization's instructions and fights. He is voiced by Isshin Chiba in the Japanese 3DS port, and Spike Spencer in the English version.[7]

Naomi (ナオミ?) A free woman employed by the Phantom Society. An orphan, she was born in Hong Kong. She can use unique summoning magic without the use of a COMP. Because of this, it is not completely guaranteed that a summon will understand and obey her. She is voiced by Yumi Toma in the Japanese 3DS port and Erin Fitzgerald in the English version.[7]

Carol J (キャロルJ?) Summoner of the Phantom Society. To summon demons, he "plays" a guitar-like COMP. Since he is a low-level summoner, high-level demons he summons will sometimes take over his body completely. Often has confrontations with the protagonist. In the PlayStation version, after he quits as a summoner he appears throughout the city. He is voiced by Junichi Suwabe in the Japanese 3DS port.[7]

Mayōne (マヨーネ?) Female summoner of the Phantom Society. Summons demons using a parasol-like COMP. Very proud. All of her clothes are made in Italy. She is voiced by Yumi Toma in the Japanese 3DS port, and Michelle Ruff in the English version.[7]

Returning Characters[edit]

Protagonist (主人公 Protagonist?) The protagonist from Devil Summoner who is currently possessing the body of Kyouji Kuzunoha, he is a member of the Kuzunohas and a sworn enemy of the Phantom Society. He first appears after the Protagonist and Nemissa defeat the demons Finnegan summoned to kill them. He shows up occasionally throughout the rest of the game, aiding the party whenever possible as he continues to search for his partner, Rei Reiho. He also appears as the Ultimate Boss in the game's post-game Extra Dungeon.

Rei Reiho (麗鈴 舫 Reiho Rei?) The secondary protagonist from Devil Summoner, Rei Reiho is a member of the Kuzunohas and a sworn enemy of the Phantom Society. She first appears in the second Vision Quest involving Judah Singh. She meets the protagonist in the Auto Plant, and helps out the group during their times of need throughout the rest of the game. Due to her time with the protagonist in Devil Summoner (who inhabits the body of her partner, Kyouji Kuzunoha), she is able to notice that Hitomi has two souls to residing within her. She is voiced by Yuka Komatsu in the 3DS port.

Other Characters[edit]

Raidou Kuzunoha the XIV (十四代目 葛葉ライドウ Kuzunoha Raidou the XIV?) A 3DS exclusive character, Raidou Kuzunoha is the protagonist from Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army and Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon. He appears appears alongside Gouto-Douji as a bonus bosses in the EX dungeon, after defeating "Kyouji Kuzonoha" (the Protagonist from Devil Summoner). Raidou is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita in the Japanese 3DS port and Nolan North in the english version.[8]

Raido Kuzunoha the XIV (十四代目 葛葉ライドウ Kuzunoha Raido the XIV?)

A 3DS exclusive character, Raido Kuzunoha the XIV is the alternate version of Raidou Kuzunoha the XIV, and is from an another dimension. His appearance is the same as Raidou, but his face possesses scars which are across his left cheek and his right eye; and, unlike Raidou, he isn't a silent protagonist, speaking like a normal character. He appears appears alongside Gouto-Douji as a bonus bosses in the EX dungeon, after defeating "Kyouji Kuzonoha" (the Protagonist from Devil Summoner). Raido is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita in the Japanese 3DS port and Nolan North in the english version.[9]

Development[edit]

Both the original Saturn version and PlayStation port were never officially released in English. When the PlayStation version was released, Atlus USA was considering bringing Soul Hackers to North America, but they were denied by Sony Computer Entertainment America.[10]

3DS version[edit]

On April 24, 2012, Famitsu confirmed that an updated 3DS port of Soul Hackers would be released in Japan on August 30, 2012. Various enhancements include improved loading times, additional battle animations, 30 all new demons, new characters, full voice acting, and a new opening video (although the original opening is included).[2][11]

Reception[edit]

The game has been generally well-received by critics, with the 3DS version receiving a 74/100 average out of 46 reviews on review aggregator Metacritic, [12] and a 75.92% ranking based on 30 reviews at aggregator GameRankings.[13] It was rated 7.8 out of 10 by IGN reviewer Jeremy Parish, who called the visuals "dated" and the interface "clunky", but summarized it as "a solid RPG by any measure, with a cool story and challenging dungeon-diving adventures to keep players on their toes."[14] Dave Riley from Anime News Network gave it B's in all categories, characterizing its plot and visual style as "obviously 90s" and calling the game "sometimes cool... sometimes exasperating... sometimes hilarious".[15]

Famitsu magazine scored the PlayStation version of the game a 35 out of 40.[16]

In other media[edit]

"Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers Demon Compendium Vol. 2" was released for the Sega Saturn on December 23, 1997. A version of the compendium was sold with "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner", but this version contains the full Soul Hackers compendium. Information about each demon is relayed in both audio and visual format, like a "sound novel", in a CG library. Some of the game's soundtrack is also included. There is no PlayStation version in existence.

"Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers Intruder" was a mobile phone application released in 2007. It was released as supplementary material of the 1997 Sega RPG. Six months after the events of "Soul Hackers", the Spookies members are reunited after a new enemy appears.

Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers: A comic version of the game, released in shōjo manga magazine "Mystery DX" (ceased publication in 2003). It was converted into a book in March 1999. There were originally scheduled to be three volumes, but due to publication issues only two were ever released. The main character is Arata Tsukamoto (塚本 新 Tsukamoto Arata?), a cousin of Hitomi. He lost his family in an accident when he was a child.

Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers - Decent on the City of Death: A novelization of the game, by author Osamu Makino. It was published in January 1998 by Aspect.

Devil Summoners: Nightmare of the Butterfly: A novelization of the game, by author Shinya Kasai. It was published in paperback in January 1999 by Famitsu.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.siliconera.com/2013/04/25/nis-america-to-publish-devil-summoner-soul-hackers-in-europe/
  2. ^ a b "Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers Remake Coming To 3DS With Full Voice Acting". Siliconera. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Atlus USA (16 April 2013). "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers: Launch Trailer - YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-05-25-shin-megami-tensei-devil-summoner-soul-hackers-dated-for-europe-this-september
  5. ^ Atlus USA (19 March 2013). "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers: Gameplay Trailer - YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers Interview On The Missing MegaTen Game". Siliconera. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Behind The Voice Actors - Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Romano, Sal (7 August 2012). "Raidou Kuzunoha appears in 3DS Devil Summoner - Gematsu". Gematsu. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Romano, Sal (7 August 2012). "Raidou Kuzunoha appears in 3DS Devil Summoner - Gematsu". Gematsu. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers - Sega Saturn/Sony Playstation (1997)". Retrieved February 4, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Scenes From Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers' New Opening Movie". Siliconera. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers for 3DS Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers for 3DS - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  14. ^ Parish, Jeremy (16 April 2013). "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers Review - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Riley, Dave (16 April 2013). "Shin Megami Tensei: Soul Hackers - Game Review - Anime News Network". Anime News Network. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  16. ^ プレイステーション - デビルサマナーソウルハッカーズ. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.8. 30 June 2006.

External links[edit]