In the gay old days of NES gaming, this is one of those rarities. A classic
in the making, the Digital Devil Story II was nothing like child play. The
backdrop was bleak enough - the world as we knew it was destroyed in a nuclear
war. Demons were unleashed to earth, mankind survive in underground trenches.
The BGMs were nothing that you'd call cute, the landscape was barren. The
main hero is a young boy who has released a demon (which claims to be an
angelic figure) that was sealed in the digital realms.
And this leads to the most crucial element that sets this game apart from
others. Moral ambiguity - In
DDS2 you are not the righteous. You always deal with the demons (an 'encounter'
with enemy always has an option of talking to them), you recruite, control
and summon them, in order
to get where you want. Whether your action is right or not, is of no concern.
This is made more true in latter DDS2 games beginning with Shin
Megami Tensei, where you can literally join the ranks of Lucifer.
I don't know about games today, but back in the 80s and early 90s, with
games like Mario dominating the market, this was pretty wild. :)
DDS2 (with its precursor DDS) pushed the envelope, raised the bars - and
forever changed the history of console games and those who encountered it.
If it were not so extremely radical in its ideas, it could've been more
of a mainstream hit than the FF or DQ series.
And then came the downside. Like other NES RPGs, the graphics and gameplay
of DDS2 was designed to the minimum. There is simply too much data - most
of which of monsters - that needs to be crammed into the little cartridge.
The gaming process takes a little bit of guts, willingness to get tortured.
In fact, I can tell you right now *not* to play this game, but play its
sequels on better platforms. You can even find the same game in the SNES
remake. This game is now reserved to those who actually grew up with it
and feel the urge to revisit them.
Ray, June 2005