One of the first spin-off games of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise proper, If... Perhaps feels more akin to the game proper then some recent installments. (Cut: Too snarky?) Groundbreaking not only for the franchise as whole, but also in laying the roots for Atlus' Persona franchise, If... Allows you to choose your character's gender (Cut: Fucking' Finally. Wait, why isn't this present in SMT IV again???) and power up yourself through the strengthening of your demon ally... Usually, through death, which comes frequently to the unwary. Too many deaths will lead to a final death however, and and a weaker inner-demon.
In addition something of a visual novel, If... Allows the player to choose which of their classmates to assist in the investigation of what has happened to their school, lodging it in a realm between realms filled with demons. Each character has a significantly different route, allowing for re-playability in the form of different stories, which mesh well with trying out different playstyles and befriending different demon allies. The worry and fear of your students and the school staff as the situation degenerates is used for both comedy and horror, and the situation feels not unlike a classic (Cut: J-?)horror movie in that respect.
Perhaps the most polished of the SNES/Super Famicom releases, If... Reuses most of their assets and design, but tends to have fixed the few flaws that SMT II retained. Though focused on a smaller 'scale' then the epic plot-lines of the main series proper, If... Is nevertheless very effective in using that scale to examine the stories it wants to tell, and the themes that follow. Though it is difficult, another difference between it and the main-line games is that If... Could be considered more easy, or at least more beginner-friendly in some manners, and more dangerous to veterans in another, as knowing when to die and 'upgrade' your inner-demon is a tactic in and of itself.
Though unreleased in an international package If... has been released not only for the Super Famicom, but the PSOne, the PC, and the Wii Virtual Console.