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Shin Megami Tensei if... (SNES)

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Title Screen

Shin Megami Tensei if...

Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus
Platform: SNES
Released in JP: October 28, 1994

MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
SoundtestIcon.png This game has a hidden sound test.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

One of the lesser-known titles in the series, Shin Megami Tensei if... uses the same engine as the previous two games. Taking loose inspiration from a 1960s British drama, the game takes place in and around a high school that gets summoned into the Abyss by a bullied student, who naturally becomes the Demon God Emperor of the whole shebang. It's up to the player to court up a demon army and take the fight to him!

So basically, it's Persona 0.

Revisional Differences

To do:
Document any other revisional differences in the game itself.

Two different revisions of the game ROM are known to exist. Revision 1 (or "Version 1.1") was burned onto an EPROM which originally contained Kirby Bowl. As a result, unused regions of the ROM are filled with leftover data, code and text from Kirby Bowl, including the text from the debug mode, several chunks of level data, and probably other assorted leftovers.

Debug Mode

Utilizing the Pro Action Replay (PAR) code 7E0E2010 allows for the activation of Debug Mode. This will add various debugging-related functions. Just as the engine of if... is very similar to the SMT2 engine, so are the Debug features.

RAM Check

A function is added to the COMP, allowing to operate a Boolean Flag Editor not unlike those found in Shin Megami Tensei and the Majin Tensei games.

To do:
Test the flags for their potential effect.

Out of the flags that were tested, the flag at CE enables the player to unlock Domain of Envy upon entering Chamber of Seals. The flags from 24 to 2A unlock the gates themselves.

RAM Check also contains a plethora of additional functions. Depending on which button is held down on Controller 2 whilst selecting RAM Check in the menu with Controller 1, different functions are accessed:

Button Function Notes
A Item Adder What it says. Select an item with Up and Down and add it to the Inventory by pressing A on Controller 1. Pressing B closes the menu.
B Macca/MAG Modifier Add or subtract Macca or Magnetite carried. Up and Down on Controller 1 changes the Macca, Left and Right the Magnetite. Holding down Y and a directional button increases/decreases by a factor of 2000, holding X while doing so increases/decreases by a factor of 5000.
X Alignment Change Change your alignment value with the D-Pad on Controller 1. The game is nice enough to even tell you when your value sufficiently changes to count as the according alignment. Oddly, looking at the status screen of the characters seems to revert the alignment.
Y Status ailment Change Change the status of a team member. Up and Down on Controller 1 selects the status, abbreviated with 2 letters such as DE for death, PO for poison, BA for bat, etc.; Left and Right changes the target. 0 is the hero, 1 is the partner, if any is present, 2-14 represents the demons in your stock/party. Good for getting Guardians easily.
L Partner Choser Lets you choose your partner. Oddly, though, you can only pick Charlie, Yumi, or neither. You can't have both of them, however. Annoyingly, the names for the characters aren't displayed on this. Mayhaps a leftover bit of code from SMT II and not fully utilized in if....

Interestingly, swapping one partner for another carries the Guardian they have, if any, over.

R Partner Skill Adder Seems to let you add skills to the partner currently in your party. Up and Down on Controller 1 selects the skills. The second number can be changed with Left and Right, going from 0 to 63, but it's not been determined what exactly it seems to do. Extra skills CAN theoretically be added, but since no human partner normally has access to the "Extra" command, there's no real point to it.
L + R simultaneously Gem Adder Adds a truckload of Gems to your inventory. Some Gems have high default numbers that are being added (somewhere around 64), others are at 0. Select a Gem with the D-Pad on Controller 1, press A to add more of it. There seems to be no way to SUBTRACT Gems from the inventory here. B, as usual, has you leave the menu.
Select Backup RAM Changer Far as can be figured, this is an in-game hex editor for the SRAM of the game. "Scroll" through the SRAM with the D-Pad on Controller 1, switch to editing mode with A and, perhaps as a failsafe against doing something stupid, press and hold A again and then use the D-Pad to change the selected byte.
Up Sound Test Adds Sound Test. Overscan might cover the hexadecimal number on the upper left some, like the guardian point numbers underneath the Moon and alignment display. (Deactivating the RAM Check cheatcode while in Sound Test makes the Sound Test number legible.)

D-Pad on Controller 1 is used for changing between tracks. A plays the selected sound/music. Some music tracks might take an unusual long while to load, whilst others (probably deleted or unimplemented tracks, i.e. A8) freeze the game completely.

Right Background & Sprite Test Lets you look at the various backgrounds that are not a physical part of the 3D dungeons, as well as the game's various sprites. Select a number with the D-Pad on Controller 1, change the background with A and summon a sprite with X. Scrollable backgrounds (like certain boss rooms) can have their scrolling induced by pressing Y. Be careful that there is a LOT more sprites in this game than there is prerendered backgrounds, nonexistent backgrounds may well crash the game. Seems to use the Cathedral of Shadows and Professor Otsuki an awful lot, perhaps as dummies.
Down Demon Adder Select from the 254 demons available to (theoretically) join your party.

Select a Demon with Up or Down on the D-Pad of Controller 1, select which slot for it to take (from 0-11, representing your total demon stock, able to overwrite demon party members) with Left or Right. A to add the demon, B to close the menu.

Left Stat Point Adder Loads up the Level Up routine for the protagonist, acting as if you gained one level. Only works on the protagonist, however.

Alignment and Other Data Display

The character's alignment is displayed in hexadecimal under the Moon Phase. Default value when starting up the game is 80. It is not determined what the two digits after the alignment value mean. Below this are two six-digit sets of hexadecimal numbers, one for the protagonist and one for the partner. These are exact hexadecimal outputs of the Guardian gauge of both characters.

Auto-Win Combat

If the L or R buttons are held down while a turn of combat starts, all enemies are immediately wiped out.

(Near) Invincibility

While in Debug Mode, the Protagonist cannot be killed by loss of HP; his HP will return to their maximum amount the moment they hit 0. However, instant-death attacks like Mudo still work.

Background Style Change

In a 3D Map, using Controller 2, hold down Start and press L or R to cycle through the various background styles for these areas (presets of walls, floors and ceilings).

Combat Information Display

Several hexadecimal numbers are displayed during battle at the bottom of the display window, relating to damage calculation. Damage calculated may differ from what is displayed in the text box, as an attack never deals more damage than the target has HP, in spite of the calculations.

Additionally, a new hidden mechanic is revealed - weapon proficiency. The more kills with a certain weapon, the more likely the proficiency is to rise for the character with the equipped weapon. This has a slight effect on damage dealt. This mechanic is displayed in the Debug Battle information display, as well.

Position Change and Animation Test

Incorrectly rendered location.

Holding Start on Controller 2 and then pressing Start on Controller 1 inside a 3D Map accesses further debug controls.

On top, two coordinates are displayed, X and Y. The entire game actually takes place on a single gigantic map. X coordinates reach from 00 to 7F, Y coordinates from 00 to 3F. Up and Down on Controller 1 change the Y coordinates, Left and Right the X coordinates.

There are parts of the map that are not shown in regular gameplay and therefore are rendered incorrectly. An example of this can be found at 02 0B coordinates, where the game renders one-sided doors in a weird way. Attempting to enter incorrectly-rendered space results in the player visiting the location like they're supposed to in regular play, although from a different side of the door.

Additionally, this menu allows for Battle animation testing. Pressing L or R cycles through the animations, while A plays them. Holding B while cycling through coordinates or animations will move forward by 16 instead of 1. Pressing Start will resume regular gameplay and teleport the player to the selected coordinates. The background music and walls will not change after the player presses Start.

Unlike SMT2, the coordinates are always displayed while Debug Mode is active. Visually, the difference between position change mode and regular play is that the facing direction (N/E/S/W) is added next to the coordinates when editing mode is active.

Enemy Summoning

The above Animation Testing has a secondary function. First, select an animation number. It doesn't matter if the animation is being played. Press Start to return to regular play. Now hold Start and press X on Controller 2. This will summon eight demons with the same ID as the number you selected.

You can also spawn two enemy groups of one each. Select an animation number as above. Then press X on Controller 1 to activate two-enemy-group-mode (confirmation sound is heard). Now if you select a second demon ID from the animation list and press Start, then press Start and X on Controller 2, you'll be faced with two demons at once.

You can resume single-enemy-mode from these test-spawns by pressing X on Controller 1 again while selecting animations. You will hear the cancel sound effect as way of confirmation.

Everything past 0134 bears a potential for bugs as the enemy demon index does not reach to this point, but the animation index does. Thus, Glitch demons might occur. (And thus, you might run into nonsense as demons bearing names for themselves and their species derived from the item, spell or conversation indices. Many of these glitch demons utilize sprites for Sword Fusion and can potentially break the sound engine or the running game itself.)

Level Up Cancel

You can cancel the Level Up screen by pressing Start without distributing any points.

Moon Phase Changer

Press the Automap-button (default L) on Controller 2 to change the Moon Phase to the next step. This function has such high priority, for some reason, that it works even when doing ANYTHING else, including while activating the Partner Choser or Gem Adder functions or changing backgrounds, all functions that require the L button by default.

Guaranteed Rare Guardian

When a human character is dead and in the process of receiving a new Guardian, hold A on Controller 2. The Guardian will 100% be one of the rare Fiend-type Guardians. This works on both the Protagonist and the partner, even though in regular gameplay, the rare Guardians are restricted to the Protagonist and even then, only on a Full Moon with a 1-in-256 chance of it even happening at all.

Glitch Name for Partner

Likely an unintended "function", when pressing Start and Down on Controller 2, a sound like continuously scrolling through an unseen menu is heard. Next time the Partner's name is drawn on-screen, it will come out as jumbled nonsense like Dodogogozozo (ドドゴゴゾゾ).

Unused Music

A seemingly unused music track which transitions into the "demon appears" theme can be found using the above-mentioned Sound Test, numbered A7.