Fan translation group Aeon Genesis has released a translation for Shin Megami Tensei If..., marking the first time the SNES RPG is playable in English. A translation project six years in the making, Shin Megami Tensei If... is Aeon Genesis's third Megami Tensei fan translation, and also their last. The independent team also worked on translations of Shin Megami Tensei I and II. The translation patch is available for download at Aeon Genesis's website, or at other fan translation repositories.
Shin Megami Tensei If... can be considered a precursor to the modern Persona games, even as they may not share much mechanically. Borrowing the same first-person dungeon crawling from other Megami Tensei games, Shin Megami Tensei If does away with the grandiose "good vs. evil" stories, instead focusing on high schoolers brought to a different dimension by one of their classmates. Here, you'll explore the halls of your high school, fighting and recruiting demons along the way, as well as forming your party out of fellow students. If also incorporates a "spiritual guardian" system that comes into play when you or your party members die, with the guardian changing upon each successive death. Certain characters also reappear in early Persona games, in addition to some dungeon similarities.
Shin Megami Tensei If... is also the third spinoff game released on the SNES, as it was preceded by the Majin Tensei and Last Bible games. Majin Tensei is a strategy RPG series set in futuristic Tokyo after the planet suffered a series of devastating wars. Visually, Majin Tensei is similar to the Famicom Wars series, which is still getting translations to this day. Majin Tensei arguably could have influenced the later DS/3DS Devil Survivor games, though Devil Survivor is about moving parties of summoners and demons around a map. A translation is currently in the works for Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis by a team of longtime fan translators, with no release date, yet announced.
Last Bible, on the other hand, takes Megami Tensei to a more feudal setting and makes it more kid-friendly. There are six different Last Bible games, released for the Game Boy, the Game Gear, the SNES, and mobile phones, all at different points in time. The Last Bible games are closer to Dragon Quest than actual Shin Megami Tensei games, only borrowing monster designs and conversations from the Megami Tensei series. Still, numerous fan translations of the Last Bible games exist, with four out of the five easily playable games getting translations. If you're new to the Megami Tensei series, or just interested in the uniquely Japanese intersection of mythology and apocalypse, there's now one more option for you out there.
Are you going to try out this fan translation? What has been your favorite spin-off of Megami Tensei? Have you played this game before, if so do you recommend it?