The original Shin Megami Tensei title, released on October 30th 1992. Heavily inspired by Wizardry and clones, Shin Megami Tensei features a 3D first person view, where players must navigate complex dungeons while dealing with onslaughts brutal enemies. Loosly based around the Megami Tensei series of Role Playing games, which are in turn based on the popular Japanese Novel, Shin Megami Tensei is often considered the be the ground-breaking point on the series, and is the first officially developed and published Atlus title.
Set in modern day Japan, Shin Megami Tensei follows the story of the Main Character, and a few of his friends. Setting and plot is separated into 3 distinct time periods, as an apocalyptic demon outbreak consumes Tokyo. Shin Megami Tensei also introduces the Alignment system that the series is known for, in which players are given a variety of choices and dialogue options which may lead to 3 distinct endings, each which feature different moments of gameplay. Alignments are separated into the areas: Law, Chaos, and Neutrality. Shin Megami Tensei emphasizes each ending to their own degree, and leaves each morally loose, which combats any perceptions of good/bad endings. Alignments also effect which party members you can obtain and use, and at many times with make the game more difficult if you are dealing with friendly characters of the opposite alignment.
Combat takes place in the first person view, and is turned based with Stat factors defining the flow of the fight. Players are able to recruit enemy demons via a mechanic called "Negotiation", in which you are given the opportunity to talk to a demon in an attempt to get it on good terms. The player party can hold up to 6 active members, which include both human and demons. Demon companions can not level up or grow stronger, but instead can be fused with another demon to create a new one. This mechanic promotes the negotiation mechanics, and gives players the opportunity to proceed without heavy grinding/leveling. Demons however, cost 2 pieces of Currency in which the game puts great emphasis on: Macca, and Magnetite. Macca is the generally currency for 2/3rds of the game, and is used to purchase items, heal, and even summon demons into the active party. Magnetite on the other hand is currency that is drained as you move, based on the level of any demons you have in the active party, which gives the player reason to use a lower level demon, or none at all.
The original Shin Megami Tensei has been ported to a variety of systems, including PSOne, GBA, Mega CD, PC Engine, iOS, and Android, but had never received an official English translation until March 18, 2014 for iOS.