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I have long praised the Persona 2 duology for being the first earlier JRPGs in the series that showed the potential of what could come later. This was apparent in the characters, relationships, and even the featured dark storyline. Part of the intensely dark nature of the storyline comes from none other than Nyarlathotep. Yes, believe it or not, a Lovecraftian horror creature is in the Persona series, as you will see in this Nyarlathotep Persona guide.
In the Persona series, Nyarlathotep is one of the more horrifying demons or creatures — whatever you want to call it. I remember first facing off against him in the PSP remake of Innocent Sin and how wild that was. Unfortunately, his appearance in the series pretty much ended with Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. But I have the lowdown on all of this and more in this Nyarlathotep Persona guide.
Bottom Line Up Front
The spoiler warning is now in effect! Nyarlathotep is one of the earlier demons and Personas that appears in the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona franchises. He is based on one of the classic Lovecraftian horrors. He is the final boss of all three of the original Persona games.
He is the mastermind behind the trilogy, engaged in a fight to see if he or Philemon is right about the true nature of humanity. Unfortunately, after that, he doesn’t appear in the Persona series again and has been dormant as a creature in both series for a long time now.
Nyarlathotep Persona Overview
I have long praised the Persona series on our site for its breadth of colorful characters and personalities. When the Persona series takes a brilliant cast and marries it nicely with a well-written plot, that is when the games are at their finest. And also why I rank some games, like Persona 3, over others as the best at this.
The original trilogy of Persona games is well worth your attention if you are a Persona fan due to the initial steps of this. You can see the progression throughout the titles, slowing growing and getting to the point that we currently see in the modern trilogy of 3D Persona titles.
I will admit the original Persona is pretty meh in terms of story and characters, with only Maki being the saving grace. The two Persona 2 games are where the story and cast really ramped up to be more on par with what we expect today.
Part of this comes from the mastermind behind everything. Spoilers will now happen quite loosely for the rest of this guide, so here is your fair warning for everything that comes next. The mastermind behind the entire initial trilogy of Persona games is none other than Nyarlathotep.
Yes, I am fully aware that the name of this Lovecraftian horror creature is quite hard to say. This is what happens when Atlus opts for inspiration for its demons outside of the usual avenues. Honestly, if you ever learn Japanese, try saying this name in the Persona games’ native language.
I might have only been studying for three years or so now, so I am not the best judge. Still, Nyarlathotep’s name in Japanese is definitely the most complex word I’ve seen in the language thus far. His challenging nature doesn’t just have to do with pronunciation, either, as he is quite a difficult boss in the Persona games, too.
Nyarlathotep comes from the darker side of literature so expect some intriguing designs, too. His first appearance was in 1994 with the release of Shin Megami Tensei II on the SNES. Long before he would be a staple in the first trilogy of Persona games, he made his debut here.
In this version, the appearance of Nyarlathotep is rather simplistic, likely due to the restrictions of the home console at the time. He appears like a standard demon with red wings and purple skin. He has strange spiky yellow hair that almost looks like something out of an anime.
The only genuinely creepy part about this character is that it has no face at all. But even that is only somewhat creepy. Now, he has a ton of appearances throughout the Persona 2 games due to his ever-changing nature. The first is when he is part of Joker from Innocent Sin.
This is my favorite look for him as he appears like a sleeker version of Slenderman with a blue and white aesthetic going on. The little details like the bloody tears from one eye and whatever is going on with his heart are super cool and almost futuristic demon-like.
Great Father is what you can picture in our screenshot above. This one is a mass of humans from the story that have been mushed together into this demonic Lovecraftian nightmare. But it is also strangely artistic in a way? I could see someone make a model of this and win an award.
He also has a few appearances in Eternal Punishment, but these are primarily of his raw nature in that game. They show a more Lovecraftian style that is entirely unlike anything else that Atlus has ever done before or since.
He is like a slimy black and green goo monster that has multiple appendages and little holes throughout the body. There is a strange horror nature to this creature and its various forms that I appreciate. Still, it doesn’t give off the Persona vibes we are used to.
Nyarlathotep is one of the few Persona characters out there that are actually based on the H.P. Lovecraft stories. The famous eldritch horrors that the brilliant author came up with are monstrous entities that threaten the very existence and sanity of humans everywhere.
Nyarlathotep, in particular, is one of the more unique horrors in the Lovecraftian genre. Unlike his fellow Old Ones, he has a different style and way of doing things. That is his name, but he goes by many titles throughout the novels, such as The Crawling Chaos and The Faceless God.
What is interesting about these titles is that some of the forms Nyarlathotep has in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment is mainly based around these forms. They are named after them and reference the different aspects of the otherworldly creature.
In many ways, Nyarlathotep is one of the world’s Old Ones in that he is awake, unlike his companions. This means that he plays an active role in the events of humanity, tormenting people and driving them to insanity with a sick gleeful nature.
He is considered one of the evilest of the Lovecraftian horrors. He is at the heart of much of the conflict with his intelligent and flexible nature. He is known for his ability to transform himself into many different forms, which is referenced in the Persona series with his numerous boss versions.
Of course, it is presumed that the Nyarlathotep in the Persona series is pretty much one and the same as his Lovecraftian version. This makes it exceptionally fascinating and unique since little of that mythos is included in the Atlus games.
Suppose you want to see a bit of Lovecraft in your Persona JRPG goodness. In that case, you will need to check out Nyarlathotep’s leading events in the first three Persona games. He isn’t really present in the latter three games (that we know of), so this leaves that original trilogy as his playground.
In the first Persona title, Nyarlathotep plays a much more background role. All we know in this game is that the city in the game is being tormented by the appearance of Personas and demons all around. It turns out, though, that Nyarlathotep is behind much of it, being the final boss that you face as the Persona for Takahisa Kandori.
At the time, it didn’t seem like much as that was simply his Persona, but there was more to the story than that. In Persona 2: Innocent Sin, Nyarlathotep is behind everything that happens in the game, from the rumors to Joker’s deception to the literal return of Hitler himself from World War II.
He is revealed to be the true mastermind behind the events of Innocent Sin and even the first Persona as the final boss there. He returns once more in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, where he is even the mastermind behind that alternate universe, too.
In this game, he manipulates a different set of people to create the New World Order and further spreads rumors once more. In the end, he is confronted by the main characters again, including Tatsuya Suou and Maya Amano, but is defeated again.
With this, he retreats and loses in the battle against Philemon that is at the heart of the first three Persona games. He believed that he could destroy humanity and drive it to madness, but he ultimately fails. However, the god Nyarlathotep still exists and lies in wait, possibly to return someday.
Though Nyarlathotep plays such a significant role in three of the Persona titles, this is not where he actually started his Atlus journey. He was first available in the Shin Megami Tensei series. Here are all of the featured games that The Faceless God has been part of:
- Shin Megami Tensei II: His debut in the SMT series and Atlus games as a whole
- Shin Megami Tensei if
- Persona 2: Innocent Sin
- Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
- SMT Nine
- Devil Survivor
- SMT Imagine
- Devil Survivor 2
- SMT Liberation Dx2
As you can see, his appearances in the games are relatively minimal at best. He was only in a few Persona games and a few SMT titles. And even when it comes to the SMT games he is in, many of them are spin-off titles or mobile games that are not part of the core series other than II and maybe IF.
As such, I think it is high time that Nyarlathotep returns significantly to the Atlus JRPGs. Hopefully, that will happen in the near future.
How to Acquire in SMT Games
As with the Shin Megami Tensei series, there are a few methods by which a player can acquire a specific Persona. This is the same with Nyarlathotep, as different methods depending on the game he was in.
Depending on the game, it was possible to simply summon him, such as in the case of the SMT Liberation Dx2 mobile game, which is actually quite good. One of the best mobile games I’ve ever played, honestly. In other games, he was a fusion you had to acquire through specific methods.
And then there was SMT Imagine, the MMO, where you had to defeat his boss form to obtain a special item that would then grant you the opportunity to unlock the ability to add him to your party. On a side note, I miss that MMO since I only had a small window to check it out for the first time before it shut down, unfortunately.
How to Acquire in the Persona Series
On the other hand, the Persona series was a little bit different. To be clear, Nyarlathotep was only playable in the first three Persona titles. Despite being the main antagonist of those games, yes, you can somehow gain control of one of his many forms and use it in battle to your liking.
In the first Persona game, he is a demon that you can fuse for in the Velvet Room. This continued in the other games with the ability to fuse for him. What is intriguing about fusing Nyarlathotep is that you would receive one of his other forms to add to your party instead of the version that you face in battle as the main boss. This further shows the flexible nature of the creepy character.
Persona 2: Innocent Sin Boss Battle Guide
The final boss of the entire Persona 2: Innocent Sin ends up being Nyarlathotep himself. Revealed as the mastermind, players must take him on to finish the game. As the final boss, what you should first know is that he is level 65 when you face off against him.
In general, it is okay to be at the same level as the boss, but you are going to have a rough time this way. What I recommend is to grind as much as you possibly can in the final dungeon, Xibalba, before taking on Nyarlathotep. I would recommend being at least level 70, if possible, to make this fight be relatively straightforward.
He has some immunities to light, dark, and a couple of other elements that you need to worry about. These aren’t super useful anyways in this game, so that shouldn’t be a problem. He has three primary abilities that he uses in the fight, and each of them is pretty powerful.
First off, he has Firestorm, which will deal heavy fire damage to your entire party. It is crucial that you are able to resist fire so that this attack doesn’t get out of hand. Megidolaon is his other heavy hitter, but this is almighty damage, so you will just have to take it directly and recover when possible.
The main issue with this boss fight comes from his ability, Despairing Dream. With this one, he will make you take damage from your SP rather than your HP. This results in you possibly not being able to use any of your skills.
The key here is to have as many items as possible before going into this final fight. That way, you can still recover when necessary. If you can avoid the SP trap, this fight is even easier than the one before it with the Persona 2: Fuhrer.
Eternal Punishment Boss Battle Guide
Once again, players can take on Nyarlathotep as one of the final bosses in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. When you face him in his Crawling Chaos form, this is him in his purest design yet. He is also rather difficult to take down due to the insanely powerful skills that he has up his, err, tentacles.
First off, it is worth noting that he is level 77 when you face him in battle in this game. I recommend being that level at the very least when you take him on if not level 80. I will admit that it is difficult to reach that level, though, without some intense grinding in the game.
Believe it or not, he actually has two weaknesses in this game. When you face off against him, I recommend using as many wind and water skills as you possibly can. They will deal double the damage to him. Avoid using dark and all that, though, as he is immune to it again.
Once again, he only has three primary abilities that he will use. Still, they are even more powerful than his form in the previous game. Megidolaon will deal that heavy almighty damage once more, while Shadow Kill will do the same to your entire team but with throw damage this time.
However, the worst of the bunch is Unperishable Black. This will cut your team’s HP in half instantly. This won’t kill you, but letting this through and then one of his other abilities, and you could have an instant wipe right there.
Admittedly, this is one of the more straightforward fights, though. He doesn’t have special gimmicks like last time, so you just need to heal up as soon as you can every single time he halves your health. This will ensure that you can last long enough to get through this grueling battle and finish him off for good.
Will Nyarlathotep Return in Persona 6?
What you may be wondering is whether or not Nyarlathotep is in the latter three Persona games. Unfortunately, he is not Persona 3-5 in any capacity that I can see. You can’t even just recruit him like you could in the first three games.
This is unfortunate since there isn’t enough love for the Lovecraftian horror in the Persona series. That is why I am hoping that this will change in the near future. I could totally envision Atlus going back to its roots with the next Persona title.
After all, the developer has now done two different trilogies, with each one being relatively similar to one another in mechanics and the like. That is why I expect Persona 6 to be a significant departure in a way. I could see a darker and more mature game that is about insanity or the like.
I would love for this to be the return of Nyarlathotep, at least as a Persona that you can recruit and perhaps some other eldritch horrors at the same time. Heck, it would be so amazing to finally see what Atlus’ take on Cthulhu would be like. Here’s hoping that this happens.
Question: Who is Nyarlathotep’s Persona?
Answer: Well, Nyarlathotep doesn’t have a Persona because he is a Persona. That said, there are some Persona users who have used the god in the past. These include the Fuhrer from World War II and Kandori from Persona 1.
Question: Who is the antagonist of Persona 1?
Answer: Kandori is the final antagonist of Persona 1, but the problem is that he isn’t exactly the main enemy of that game. Instead, it is his Persona, Nyarlathotep, that we later find out is behind everything in the first game of the series.
Question: What is Nyarlathotep the god of?
Answer: Nyarlathotep is the god of many things in the Lovecraftian lore. In general, though, the ones that you need to know about include that he is the god of deception and manipulation. This means that he has countless forms that he uses to mess with his targets.
Nyarlathotep is one of the lesser-known demons in the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona series. I only know him from being the mastermind of the Persona 2 titles. I will admit that I have never acquired him as a party member in any of the games that he is available in, including the SMT Liberation Dx2 mobile game. This is a darn shame that needs to change.
A huge part of the problem comes from the fact that Atlus has not exactly made Nyarlathotep a readily available character in the games. As I mentioned earlier, it is high time that the Lovecraftian god makes a return to the series in a significant fashion. I would even love to see other eldritch creatures make a debut in the series at the same time. Give us a creepier and more intriguing Persona 6, Atlus!