DemiKids: Shin Megami Tensei – Light Version & Dark Version


Review by · December 4, 2004

Pokéclone: A game that uses a collecting mechanism whereby the player spends most of his/her game time attempting to amass a full collection of objects, generally of the living, breathing, fighting variety. Such is my definition for a word that, quite frankly, does not exist but is somehow fitting nonetheless. I classify DemiKids (DK), which comes in two flavors, Light and Dark, (I played the Light version), as just such a Pokeclone. The general premise of DK is quite similar to that of many games that came before it, such as Pokémon, Dragon Warrior Monsters, and many, many others. I enjoyed it to some extent, but to tell the truth, it is getting to the point where no matter how many new gimmicks are added to the fray, the whole concept is beginning to wear a little thin.

DK starts out with an interesting concept. You are an ordinary schoolboy who suddenly becomes aware that he is a “Demi Kid,” and therefore has the power to train and command Demons who will fight for him as he attempts to save the world. You have seen this concept before. You walk around in, thankfully, somewhat interesting environments, attempting to acquire the assistance of demons that you must randomly fight. Once you run into a fight, you are given the opportunity to “recruit.” In order to recruit you must choose a method, for example “Friendly,” or “Diplomacy.” Supposedly, depending on the demon, the right form of recruitment method, combined with the right demon of yours doing the recruiting, should result in a favorable response.

Sadly, though I tried many different combinations, I found that nothing truly worked 100% of the time. First off, the choice of recruiting questions seems entirely random. Secondly, I found that no particular demon had a better chance than any other to perform a successful recruitment. Therefore, in the end, I just resorted to using the same demon of mine every time because it had the “nicest” sounding response. Therefore, my “friendly” or “humorous” suggestions managed to persuade quite a few demons to join my cause, but I never really had the desire to complete my collection.

Now that I had this nice big assortment of demons, what to do with all of them? Why, mix them and match them in a huge hotpot of demon combinations, of course! DK adds some interesting concepts to the mix, in that there is no real leveling-up of your critters. Instead, the game forces you to combine them in order to create different, more powerful critters. Theoretically, you could continue to join demons until you had the most powerful demon available, but the game keeps you in check by limiting the maximum level of the demon you can command to just slightly higher than your current experience level (only the main “Demi Kid” gains levels.)

DK throws even more variety into the mix by allowing you to merge demons in more than one way. There is the generic “mix one demon with another,” which is what I used during most of the game. It allows you to create more and more powerful minions gradually, which you can use to kick much booty. The second way you can merge is by combining demons with different items. In this way, much like with Pokémon’s TMs, you can give a beast a certain ability. Finally, you can combine differing relics together to create powerful zombie type creatures that can eventually become even more powerful.

All this is well and good and makes for quite a bit of variety, but you can only get so excited about mixing and matching the entire game. It also gets very boring when you cannot really get attached to any of your fighting machines. You use them for a little while, then it’s back to the melting pot to create a more powerful demon.

The rest of the game works very generically. There are maps you stroll around in while running into random encounters and collecting treasure. There are bosses to fight. There are towns to explore and NPCs to talk to. Everything you would expect from a very boring, very cliché RPG is present in DK. The whole thing feels like a monster raising game that has a bland RPG stapled to it without any blending or smoothing over to make a fun playing experience.

Sadly, the entire game could have done with some blending to ensure a more playable game. The plot is incredibly trite and hackneyed despite an interesting concept. The whole essence of time travel is brought into play, but when the world looks EXACTLY the same no matter what time it is, who cares? The characters have boring, un-original dialogue, and you will feel absolutely no connection to them whatsoever. Characters will come and go, bad guys will do bad guy things, you won’t care, you will just continue to trudge through the game, desperate to finish.

Graphically the game doesn’t look too bad. It definitely has the whole “Megaten” feel to it, although the whole game feels as though it were made for 10 year olds (due to the toned down “dark” environments and the youngish anime characters). The menu screens are nice enough, and the demon models are fairly original. The staples are definitely present, but there is also a nice variety of original creations, and a lot of the demons actually look as though they could do some damage. Overall, the graphical nature of DK is one of the only high points of the game.

Musically, DK did not really draw me in. Sometimes I would listen to it, sometimes I would not. The music doesn’t really bother me, and it doesn’t really get redundant, so it’s not necessarily bad. The background music changes as you move through different areas, so it was nice to hear a bit of variety. The music seems fitting enough; nothing really felt out of place. The soundtrack certainly won’t win any awards, but it did a fairly decent job of adding some background noise to the action.

All in all, DK is exactly what you would think it is; a slightly demonic version of Pokémon. You catch critters, you train them, and you move forward in a boring storyline. I found it to be a decent diversion, but at some point in the game I felt as though there were much better ways for me to be wasting my time. I was truly glad when I watched the closing credits roll, and while there is something of a “new game +” feature, I highly doubt that anyone would really want to use it. The only way I would really recommend this game is to those who have too much time on their hands, those who SERIOUSLY enjoy collecting stuff (i.e. masochists), or those who haven’t been completely turned off by the whole “collect ’em all” craze by now. While DK is a rather solid effort at this particular craze, you can definitely find better ways to spend your time and your hard-earned money.

Overall Score 75
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Lee Babin

Lee Babin

Lee was part of RPGFan's reviews team from 2004-2007. During his tenure, Lee bolstered our review offerings by lending his unique voice and critique of the world of RPGs. Being a critic can be tough work sometimes, but his steadfast work helped maintain the quality of reviews RPGFan is known for.