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File:DigitalDevilSaga.jpg

 Rend...

Slaughter...

Devour your enemies!

There is no other way to survive. You cannot escape your hunger, Warriors of Purgatory!

A Spin-Off of the Shin Megami Tensei JRPG series, divided into two parts. Developed by Atlus, the first game was released in Japan in 2004 with the second following in 2005.

All is not well in the realm of the Junkyard, a wartorn land living under blackened skies and perpetual rain. An endless war is being fought between six Tribes struggling for dominance over the Junkyard. The Karma Temple, a neutral party that moderates the war, has decreed that the Tribe who defeats all the others to control every sector of the Junkyard shall be awarded the ultimate prize: the right to ascend to Nirvana, a mythical paradise free of war or strife.

The Embryon Tribe, led by the calm and silent Serph, is locked in a stalemate with the nearby Vanguards Tribe. During one of their skirmishes, they encounter a mysterious egg-shaped relic that neither side can identify. A transmission from the Karma Temple orders both sides to destroy it. Before they can act, the relic explodes, sending out beams of light that pierce the bodies of the combatants and transform them into bloodthirsty demons. Regaining their senses and awakening to a bloodbath, Serph and the Embryon investigate the crater left by the relic and discover a young girl with black hair and no identifying Tag Ring.

Soon afterwards, the Karma Temple issue a new decree: that the Tribes must use their new-found demonic power- known as "Atma"- to break the stalemate of the Junkyard and devour their competition. They also add a new condition: that the winning Tribe must capture and present the black-haired girl to the Karma Temple in order to be allowed into Nirvana. But demonic strength was not the only thing granted to the inhabitants of the Junkyard; they have also awakened a new power called "emotion".

The members of the Embryon are:

The second game follows directly from the events of the first. The Embryon have triumphed and ascended to Nirvana. However, what they find there is not paradise, but a new hell in which the rays of a blackened sun have turned the entire population of the world into stone statues. The only survivors are those who live underground or under the thumb of the Karma Society. To make things worse, Sera is their prisoner and Heat has turned Sixth Ranger Traitor on you. Fortunately, two new members join the Embryon:

The two games are mostly dungeon crawlers with bits of plot driving the action in-between. The combat system marks the return of the Press Turn system from Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. Each character can set up to eight skills, and unlike Nocturne any skill that has been learned is retained permanently. Skills are learned by buying "Mantra" from Karma Terminals and earning enough Atma Points to complete them. By learning one Mantra, advanced Mantra of that type are unlocked. Hunt skills can be used to greatly increase the amount of Atma Points harvested from an enemy at the risk of developing a stomachache and gaining none.

A save game from Digital Devil Saga can be carried over to Digital Devil Saga 2 to gain additional bonuses.

The character sheet can be found here

Tropes used in Digital Devil Saga include:


  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer - Admittedly DDS1 at least doesn't need to give any reasons as to why they shouldn't be huge, since the entire world is a virtual reality, but the ones in DDS2 make no sense.
  • After the End - In DDS2, we find out that most of humanity was killed off five years ago, when God started turning everyone human who was touched by the sun into stone. The Junkyard also seems to be built on the ruins of a dead civilization, although that turns out to be false.
  • A God Am I - Serph Sheffield's master plan was to gain God's power, but hoo boy did that backfire. Horribly.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance - Serph, when he discovers that his prior incarnation was an asshole.
  • Apocalypse How - The events of the series are kicked into motion by a Planetary-scale Civilization Disruption. Brahma attempts a Planetary/Physical Annihilation Apocalypse in Digital Devil Saga 2.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit - No, we never get any rationale for why you can only have three people in your party. Presumably the remaining two plus whatever hang-ons you currently have are hanging in the back, scarfing the leftovers.
  • Arc Words - In the first game, "I am Colonel Beck." Pretty much explains exactly what the hell is going on.
  • Artificial Human - Everyone in the Junkyard.
  • Bag of Spilling - Between the first and second games. Justified in that the Embryon are transformed from computer data into real, flesh and bone bodies.
  • Barrier Change Boss - Abaddon in the second game.
  • Blessed with Suck - The Atma virus grants one the power to morph into a powerful demon, capable of using magic and physical feats. The price one pays is that one must devour other people and demons, but one can never be fully satiated. If a person goes for a prolonged period of time without feeding, he/she becomes a demon permanently, insane and attacks anything and anyone.
  • Bonus Boss - Several. Killing the ones in the first game nets you a bonus in the sequel. The first game's strongest enemy, the Demi-fiend (from Nocturne), is probably the hardest Bonus Boss ever to appear in a RPG, although a Game FAQs poster called Red Star found a weakness that makes the fight easier. "Easier", in this case, means that after you've managed to do enough Level Grinding and farming of randomly dropped stat boosting items to hit the statistic caps, you might actually be able to win the fight on your third try instead of your thirtieth. Satan, in the second game, manages to be almost as difficult.
    • To add insult to injury on an extremely hard fight, the battle music is the regular Nocturne battle theme, meaning you are nothing more than a random encounter to him.
      • This is further exemplified by the set of demons he uses and his attacks. Javelin Rain, Heat Wave, Xeros-Beat and the absolute overkill that is Gaea's Rage are actually MEDIOCRE attacks in Nocturne. If he WAS actually concerned about you, he'd be using high-level demons like Metatron, Shiva, Daishoujou and Beelzebub, as well as whipping out attacks like Spiral Viper, Deadly Fury, and Freikugel. Even with maxed out stats he would have wiped the floor with you if he actually WAS trying, even without Death Flies.
      • The one sure thing we can take away from all this is that in Mega Ten, Anyone Can Die.
  • Boss Rush: One sidequest pits you against the 4 archangels in an abandoned research facility. The last fight in the quest has you fight Uriel, Raphael and Gabriel again before you face Michael.
  • Boring but Practical - Hunt skills. They do double damage (quad if you land a critical hit) on frightened enemies and are not affected by null/repel physical.
  • Cannibalism Superpower
  • Character Development - Quite visible throughout both games, but most especially in the first. The characters start off emotional blank slates, awaken to a single powerful emotion, and develop from there. Argilla goes from initial horror and disgust about her situation to grudging acceptance to eventually being quite at peace with herself. Gale takes the longest to emotionally awaken since he's a calm tactician, but by the end he's grown far beyond what he once was.

 Cielo: What happened to "I do not comprehend?" [Gale's Spock catchphrase]

Gale: Some things cannot be comprehended, only felt.

  • Chest Monster - Besides the regular kind there is also one door in the second game that looks like a Save Room, but is actually a trap set by the enemies. Instead of a save point you find an unavoidable battle against 2 waves of baddies... Did I mention that you were probably half dead at this point to begin with?
    • It's not as deceptive as you think--it's the only other door in the room it's found in.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder - Bat, who manages to be a major Jerkass while constantly changing loyalties. He eventually gets what he deserves, though.
  • Curtains Match the Window - Everyone in the junkyard. Actually a plot point, as their eyes only start matching their brightly-coloured hair after their emotions awaken. Before that, they're all a uniform flat gray.
    • Which leads to fridge brilliance. Serph's eyes AND hair are both grey. He has no real emotions since Sera didn't know his personality.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max - Cielo's "plot lasers", which never actually appear as a useable move outside of cutscenes. He even Lampshades it during the Very Definitely Final Dungeon of the second game.
  • Dark Reprise - The music when fighting Heat and some other bosses in Digital Devil Saga 2 is called Hunting - Betrayal, which is a reprise of the regular battle theme from the first game.
  • Demonic Possession - This happens when the personality of the Atma Avatar overpowers the personality of the human. Examples include Beelzebub, Metatron, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Michael and Satan. Especially heart-wrenching in the case of Metatron because the human who transforms into Metatron was desperately searching for his girlfriend and tried to fight Metatron's influence unsuccessfully.
  • Did Not Get the Girl - Heat. The real Heat O'Brien even gets shot in the back and dies due to this.
  • Do Androids Dream? - in the second game
  • Domed Hometown - Most of the second game takes place in a complex under a dome. They need the dome because something happened to the Sun and its light now turns people to stone.
  • Doomed Hometown - The entire world in the first game.
  • The Dragon - Varin Omega in the first game, Meganada in the second.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Eleventh-Hour Ranger: Heat
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower - In the sequel, Serph and Sera merge on their journey to the Sun, becoming the androgynous being, Seraph. Keeping with Hindu overtones, Seraph's demon form is Ardhanarishvara, or Ardha for short.
  • Evil Feels Good - Somewhat. Heat's expression when he transforms the first time.
  • False Memories - A horrific part of the Demonic Possession above. A lot of Shout Outs to Shin Megami Tensei II confirm it.
  • Five-Man Band - Zig Zagged. Serph and Argilla are definite, but the rest switch between the other three positions.
  • Foreshadowing - The story of the two princes and princess in the amusement park in the first game, particularly the scrambled parts that call into doubt the real motivations of the "Good Prince" and "Evil Prince." In their previous lives, Heat was the only one who genuinely cared about Sera, while Serph and the others were just manipulating her.
  • Funetik Aksent - Cielo, whenever he says anything too Rastafarian.
    • Justified because the person he was based off of was a child from the Caribbean that Sera met during the initial experiments.
  • Gainax Ending: Both games, although the beginning of the second game explains what happened in the ending of first one.
  • Game Breaker - The Null Attack skill nulls everything except Almighty attacks. This makes you effectively invincible for 90% of the game as only the last two dungeons have random encounters that make use of almighty attacks and none of the storyline bosses use almighty as their main form of attack. It won't help you against the bonus bosses though since they just love their powerful unique almighty attacks and the Demi-Fiend will rip you to shreds on his first turn if you dare to have immunities equipped.
  • God: Technically, Brahman
  • God Is Evil: Brahman isn't evil, he's just really, really pissed off at humanity.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The Tribhvana.

 Skeleton: I'm sure you've already figured out that you're boned...

Skeleton: Tired of falling yet? Aww, I'm just ribbin' ya.

  • I Need You Stronger: Roland reveals in the first game that the tribes of the Junkyard were forced to kill each other and ascend to Nirvana because the winning tribe's data would be copied and programmed into microchips.
  • Kill'Em All - Twice! Nothing is left of the Junkyard at the end of the first game, and, by the end of the second, every last member of the Embryon is dead--the last dungeon is inside the sun, after everyone's been killed! Good thing reincarnation is a very real thing in this particular series...
  • La Résistance - The Underground City residents in the sequel. They call themselves the "Lokapala" (Guardians of the Gods)
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: The fact that the first game is in a computer is pretty blatant by the name of the upcoming cellphone prequel Test Server.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Cielo and Null Sleep. In the first game, Cielo's absymal stats and weakness to ailment attacks make him The Load. Null Sleep is a skill that causes you to automatically dodge any attack, but only if you're under the Sleep ailment: a skill so conditional that it's a waste of a skill slot. The two intersect if you choose to fight Bonus Boss Demi-Fiend, where Null Sleep is required to avoid defeat and Cielo's weakness makes him the best candidate to use it.
  • Level Grinding - Has a minor form, Skill Grinding. Certain dungeons are made easier if the party has the right skills equipped, and you may have to grind to get them. The Karma Temple at the end of the first Digital Devil Saga requires certain skills to avoid the combination death the random encounters throw at you.
  • Lip Lock: Even though the voice actors are very experienced in voicing foreign animation, the dialogue has as much awkward pauses and speed variations as other examples in this page; the care put into the lip matching with the Japanese dialogue certainly doesn't help. It's less noticeable when the characters are in their demon forms, but the rest of the time.... yeah.
  • Luck-Based Mission - Beating each game's ultimate Bonus Boss takes a good deal of luck, even at level 99 and maxed stats. Ironically, the Bonus Boss in the first game is easier if you have a low Luck stat in one character (Cielo).
  • Magical Native American - The Wolves Tribe.
  • Manipulative Bastard - Serph Sheffield from the second game is the epitome of this trope.
  • Meaningful Name - Pretty much everyone, though some are more obvious (Angel, Gale, Heat, Serph) than others (Argilla is Italian for "clay," and Cielo is Spanish for "sky").
    • Doubly so for Serph. Not only is his name pronounced like "surf" (his affinity is with water/ice), see the spoiler for The Messiah below for a second meaning.
    • "Bat" in the first game is the name of the human whose demon form is Camazotz, a giant bat. This probably sounded a little cooler and less literal to the developers since English wasn't their primary language.
    • Subverted for Seraph who isn't associated with Expel-type attacks.
  • The Messiah - Sera. Even more so after she fuses with Serph to become the not-so-subtly-named Seraph.
  • Mysterious Waif - Sera.
  • Mythology Gag: In the second game, the four angel bonus bosses talk about building a thousand year old kingdom, and think that their God was the one who turned humans into stone statues - just like in Shin Megami Tensei II.
  • Naked on Arrival - Sera - twice.
  • Nintendo Hard - Although the games are relatively easy compared to many other Megaten games, they're still harder than most JRPGs. (On the other hand, the two Bonus Bosses noted above are insane even by Megaten standards.)
  • Oh Crap - Mick the Slug.
    • Might happen for the player when the Security sytem core activates the apply named genocide mode.
    • An in-universe example, the scientists' and Madame's reactions to God absorbing the Earth's data.
  • One Game for the Price of Two - The two games each contain only half the story, and are not intended to stand alone. Fortunately, each volume contains enough content and the thematic division is strong enough that it doesn't seem like a mere Revenue Enhancing Device. Taken together, you're pretty sure to get some 140+ hours out of the games.
    • There are also a significant number of changes to the gameplay system: a new character advancement system and the ability to equip Rings, to name two. Oh, and Cielo is no longer The Load.
  • Optional Party Member - Heat can be recruited for the final dungeon in Digital Devil Saga 2 if you have fulfilled certain prerequisites over both games.
  • Order Versus Chaos - Margot Cuvier versus Jenna Angel, respectively.
  • Painful Transformation - When the Junkyard inhabitants go berserk after being infected with Atma at the beginning.
  • Personality Powers - Most notably between Serph (ice) and Heat (fire). The fact that they oppose each other on Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors is not coincidental. Most important in-game relationships play with Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors at least a little.
    • Half-subverted in that teaching a character mantras from his opposing element is actually more effective, as attack spells and resist spells tend to come bundled.
  • Petal Power: The physical special ability, "Sakura Rage".
  • Pigeonholed Voice Actor - Crispin Freeman provides the voice of Heat, and Steve Blum is the voice of Gale in the games' US release.
    • Also, Yuri Lowenthal is Serph and Schrodinger, Dave Wittenberg is Cielo, Amanda Winn-Lee is Argilla and Wendee Lee is Sera. Pretty much all of them are seasoned Mega Ten voices, most notably Yuri and Dave.
  • Played for Drama - A lot of the things you take for granted because DDS is a videogame; for instance, the Junkyard's complete lack of backstory form plot elements.
  • Pop Quiz - Hosted by Jack Frost in Digital Devil Saga 2; there's a Bragging Rights Reward in it for you if you answer all one hundred questions correctly and beat a Bonus Boss.
  • Previous Player Character Cameo: See Bonus Boss, above.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad - Subverted. You fight the Tribhvana a few times, and each time, they run off. Then you run into one of them alone... with blood dripping out of his mouth, patting his stomach ominously. Turns out he killed and ate the other two members to gain their powers.
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: Heat has a few of this. "I'll tear you apart, you fat freak!"
    • Occasionally, your party members will get one before taking on some enemies.
    • Angel gets an epic one when some Karma Society soldiers attempt to arrest her for treason.
  • Power Tattoo - The ability to transform into a demon is marked through a tattoo on the user's skin. In the picture above, Serph's is on his left cheek, Argilla's is above her breasts. These glow when the user transforms.
    • Pity the woman who has her tattoo on her butt cheek.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni - Heat and Serph respectively, although Serph being a Heroic Mime makes his personality mostly implied. Their Personality Powers support this.
  • Reincarnation - Almost every member of the Junkyard was once a person in the real world. It's arguable as to whether most of your main party members are reincarnations, or newly created souls modeled after formerly living people in the real world. Made even more confusing by Lupa, whose real-life analogue was Fred's dad and the former leader of Lokapala, who died after the Junkyard was apparently created. How would Sera have even known about him, anyway?
    • What happens to the Embryon at the end, though the game leaves it deliberately unclear as to why. It could be that Seraph's enlightenment was incomplete because se still wished to be with hir comrades. It could be that Seraph's enlightenment encompasses reincarnating back onto Earth in the tradition of the bodhisatvas, who renounce enlightenment until they have managed to assist everyone else in achieving enlightenment as well. It could be that Sera and Serph had to return, since they never managed to reach Enlightenment as individuals; only their composite Seraph does.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter - Nasty effects aside, it's hard not to admit that the bat form looks really cute, especially when compared to the rest of the game.
  • Science Is Bad
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale - Averted. If you know your metric prefixes, you know that 945.56 zettabytes per second is a huge amount of data transferred per unit time. For comparison, Wikipedia says that the rate of data generation worldwide is about one zettabyte per year. In DDS, everything is made of data, so when that much data from Earth is uploaded to the Sun, the results are... not good.
  • Shoot the Dog - Quite a few, but most notably Jinana and literally Lupa.
  • Shout-Out -If you talk to the prisoners in the Human Resources prison/factory one of them says "If you devour me I'll become more powerful than your digestive system can ever imagine"
  • Skirt Over Slacks - Both Argilla and Sera wear shorts under their skirts. They are soldiers, after all.
  • Schrodingers Cat - Literally; there's a cat named Schrodinger who is apparently Seraph from the future, helping guide his past self to enlightenment. Or something
  • Sentai: The Embryon are often seen as this. Particularly, Power Rangers RPM, with Serph to Scott, Heat to Dillon, Gale to Flynn, Cielo to Ziggy, and Argilla to Summer.
  • Smug Snake - Bat in the first game.
  • So Long and Thanks For All the Gear - Inverted, characters who leave will master their currently equipped skills if they leave the party, no matter how long it would normally take.
  • Something Completely Different - Most of the Shin Megami Tensei series is about collecting demons (or in the case of the Persona series, collecting Personas). Digital Devil Saga bucks the trend by having your protagonists be demons themselves, and instead of collecting enemies to get new abilities, you simply destroy them to level up. It's oddly much more like a conventional console RPG in this manner (though the subject matter is anything but conventional).
  • Social Darwinist - Jenna Angel
  • Statistically Speaking: Heat leans to higher strength, and is able to throw around people single handedly and break stone walls in a single punch (while untransformed) in cutscenes.
    • The Worf Effect: One boss shrugs off a blow to the face from Heat and then grabs his fist.
    • Though in one scene he claims he is stronger than Serph, even if Serphs strength stats is higher.
  • Superpower Lottery - The Atma Virus grants you the ability to turn into a demon but you have no control over what demon form you get. Results range from gigantic nigh-invulnerable golden dragons to pathetic amorphous blobs.
  • Taken for Granite - Sunlight turns every normal human to stone in the sequel. Very few humans escaped petrification and those so affected are irreversibly dead, due to them being turned into extremely crumbly statues. Yes, it's just as creepy as it sounds.
  • Terrible Trio - The Tribhvana in Digital Devil Saga 2.
  • The End of the World as We Know It - The Junkyard ends in the first one, and they end up in the half-dead real world and have to save it once Sera accidentally convinces God to end that too
  • The Four Gods - Bonus Bosses in the first game, along with Huang Long.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness - The Karma Temple in the original game, and the Karma Society in the sequel.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon - In the first game, the Karma Temple. In the second, The Sun. Both of these are absurdly long and easily dwarf the final dungeon of these game's direct predecessors, Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. Hell, they may even be longer than the entire rest of their respective games.
  • There Will Be Cake: Nirvana
    • The Cake Is a Lie: Nirvana exists, but it's far from the paradise the Embryon imagined.
  • Tomato in the Mirror
  • Took a Level In Badass - Cielo in the second game. His weakness to ailments was toned down, making him much more useful, and he gets some pretty great scenes such as taking down three fighter jets with his body. Of course, it's a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Sera too. When Serph is presumed dead, she literally becomes his Distaff Counterpart and assumes leadership of the Embryon, until Serph returns.
  • True Companions
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: In the second game there is a bonus minigame where one can play through 3 shmup levels with Cielo featuring Beelzebub as the final boss.
  • Villainous Breakdown - Jenna has one when Gale accuses her of betraying David's ideals.
    • Madame when she finds out her actions were responsible for endangering the world.
  • Waif Prophet - Sera
  • What Is This Thing You Call Love? - The members of the Embryon (particularly Heat) struggle to make sense of why they feel anger, remorse, and affection towards themselves and each other after gaining their Atma.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Presumably Jinana and Lupa are reincarnated, but it's left pretty uncertain as to just exactly what happened.
  • What The Hell Villain - Close to the end of DDS2, Gale, who is created from the solar data of Jenna's former lover David, calls Jenna on her actions, reminding Jenna of the promises Jenna made to David to help mankind. Jenna does not take this well.
  • Whip It Good - Argilla's avatar, Prithivi.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity - The Demon Virus tends to have this effect on people.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds - Sera. Accidentally.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy - Serph qualifies only for hair and looks;the human from whom he was created on the other hand...
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair - In an interesting take on this trope, everyone in the Junkyard has an improbable hair colour except for Sera, whose black hair is utterly alien to the inhabitants – it's even Lampshaded near the start of the first game, when the various Tribes are ordered to locate "the black-haired girl". Those who are living in the real world, such as Roland and Fred, have more realistic hair colours.
  • Younger Than They Look: Sera suffers from Rapid Aging as a result of the repeated use of her "Cyber Shaman" powers. This gets to the point she cannot survive for too long without the sustaining fluids from the EGG.
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