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Devil May Cry is a game for the Playstation 2 (with versions for other home formats quite likely to follow) developed by Capcom. It was designed (or directed, or whatever the currently fashionable term is) by Shinji Mikami, creator of the Resident Evil (Biohazard in Japan) series. The game was initially intended to be a fourth installment in that series, but was substantially redesigned to allow the developers to try some new ideas (presumably that wouldn't have fit into the Biohazard style and storyline).

The game is an action-adventure where the protagonist, a man named Dante, has to fight various supernatural assailants on a mission to save the world from a demonic invasion. Dante is half-demon himself, and can use his super powers as the game progresses. In mortal form, he is armed with guns and a sword, allowing for lots of different moves. In technical terms, the game is a step up from the Resident Evil series, with crisp fully 3D backdrops and detailed character models. It still isn't the prettiest of games however.

In a nutshell, the game is Castlevania in 3D, using Resident Evil's game mechanics. That's a gross oversimplification, I'm sure.

Warning: Contains Game and Plotline spoliers!


Let’s Rock Baby!


Released in 2001 (CAPCOM)
Platform:
Sony PlayStation 2
Genre: Action Adventure slash ‘em up!
ELSPA Rating: 15+
Other Information: 1 Player; 420KB minimum required to save

With amazing style Devil May Cry creates a world of demons and evil. As a player you are gifted with all the things you wish other games gave you. You have power, gymnastic ability, a sword, a demonic alter ego and infinite ammo. On the surface it doesn’t seem like this will work as a game, how can any enemy the creators can throw at you challenge a character given such advantages? … simpleDevil May Cry sucks you into a nightmarish demon world where reality becomes twisted and only by skilfully using the character’s abilities can you survive. It’s hard to believe that this game started its life in development as the next Resident Evil title.

Plot overview
You play as Dante, half human, half demon (Son of the legendary dark knight Sparda) who has pledged to eliminate all demons for killing his mother. He runs a business (Called ‘Devil May Cry’) where he works as a hired gun to destroy demons. A demonic woman called Trish falls from the sky and leads Dante to an island to seek and destroy Mundus, Lord of the underworld. Things get more complicated with the appearance of Dante’s brother and when you find out that Trish has been created to lure you into Mundus’ evil grasp. Dante must do battle to save his own life, defeat Mundus and save Trish

Gameplay
The plot of the game is weak. However the gameplay more than makes up for its lack of storyline. Dante walks, talks, fights and moves with style. The game flows amazingly well and part of the beauty of it is that it only takes a few minutes before you are smoothly slashing through creatures of hell and filling them with lead. The key to this fluidity is the combat system which I will discuss in detail in a later section. In addition to combat, Dante moves very well around the levels. He can wall jump, grab ledges and even suspend himself in the air for a short time using bursts of handgun fire. These actions coming with the instinctive control setup give the feeling that you are controlling an organic character and not just pulling the strings of a puppet. The game is split into missions, and although in many paces you can walk around entire sections of the map which you have ‘completed’, the missions give you a drive to each individual section. The mission objectives are given to you at the start and follow on logically from what you had to do in the last mission. For example if in the last mission you had to find a particular object, the aim of the next mission would be to use the object in some way.
At the end of each mission you are given a ranking from ‘S’ to ‘D’. These are based on several factors incuding the style rankings you were awarded (See combat section), Completion time, items used and Red orbs collected. You can save at the beginning of each new mission and anywhere where you find a divinity statue.

Combat System
Imagine being able to smoothly interchange between ‘hands on’ sword combat and gunplay. Devil May Cry allows you to do just that. You select two weapons, a ‘Devil Arm’ weapon (A Sword, or in the case of Ifrit a set of gauntlets but I will refer to them generically as sword) and a gun (Dante starts with his custom handguns ‘Ebony and Ivory’). By using the Devil Arm attack button you can hit the enemies with your sword, tapping the button with different timing will allow you to perform different combos and moves on the enemies, as will holding the analogue stick in different directions. Then you can instantaneously pull out your guns and start blasting away without the limitation of ammo. This allows for amazing interplay between the two. One of the most satisfying things to do is to do an uppercut slash with you sword sending the enemy into the air, them pull out your guns and hold them in the air with a hail of bullets.

But that’s not all!… During combat your ‘devil gauge’ will build up. Once it has hit a certain level you will be able to transform into the demon with which your devil arm weapon is possessed (This is called Devil Trigger mode). When you transform into Alistor you become a lightning demon and Ifrit is a flaming demon. As a demon you obtain certain advantages such as speed or power, but also you gain the ability to perform extra moves and attacks which you have purchased with your red orbs.

Orb System
During the game you collect different types of orbs. Green orbs give you health; Blue orbs give you extra space on your health bar; Purple orbs give extra space in your devil gauge; Yellow orbs are a ‘continue’ and Red orbs allow you to buy items and powers. Red orbs are collected when you kill an enemy and you can trade them at the end of each level or at a divinity statue. They can be traded for special items (Like orbs or health health items) or for ‘Devil Arm’ abilities which can only be used when that Devil arm is equipped and some which can only be used in devil trigger mode. The abilities are both stylish and useful. Air Hike for example allows Dante to double jump in mid air so long as he has Alistor equipped and Inferno allows Dante to create a shockwave of flames around him so long as he is in ‘devil trigger mode’ with Ifrit.

Graphics
Much of the style and feel to this game relies on its graphics. Dante’s coat moves realistically, the enemies are well designed and the animation gives the characters a real feeling of organic movement. Dante can shoot in one direction whilst moving in another and the graphical glitches are either none existent or you don’t spot them in the furious action. The scenery is amazingly detailed, the architecture is gothic and the backgrounds are superbly drawn. All these elements add to the style of the game. The graphics also play a heavy part in the game when the demon and the human world are beginning to merge. The Same locations are changed subtly, it may just be lighting, but it gives you a very uneasy feeling in the latter stages of the game. Another graphical feature I think I should mention are the animations when you select a weapon. Again they add a certain amount of style to the game, and I think it is these touches which give it the polished look as opposed to the sloppy appearance some games have in comparison.

Sound
The music ranges from organ music in the cathedral area to adrenaline pumping almost ‘rock’ music when you are engaging enemies. It adds a great deal to the game and I advise you turn up the volume whilst playing! In addition the sound effects are quite satisfying with crunches and crashes when destroying enemies!


Enemy Breakdown

Marionettes- These deadly puppets wield a variety of weapons from throwing blades to shotguns. They will attack in large numbers and although are easy to take out in small groups they can overwhelm you if you are not careful.

Sin Scissors/Scythe- Evil witch like spirits which brandish either huge scissors or a scythe. They have a small physical presence (Their face) which you can attack.

Death Scissors/Scythe- Similar to the sins, but have the head of a goat skull. The scissors will trap you in a force cage until you defeat it. Again attack the head, they are quite powerful!

Shadow- Cat like creature which can change its shape to attack you. It is surrounded by magic to deflect sword attacks so shoot it until its core is exposed and then move in for the kill!

Beelzebub- Bug like creatures, more annoying than dangerous!

Phantom- A Huge lava scorpion. He has many attacks ranging from a fireball to lava columns, attack his exposed top surface, as his exoskeleton is hard!

Kyklops- Slow rock throwing spiders. They are quite tough but as long as you stay out of their line of attack you should be ok.

Nelo Angelo- Very powerful dark knight (You will find more out about him as you play). He fights in a very similar style to Dante and you will meet him at several points through the game. Beware of his powerful glowing sword attack and the energy balls he will fire at you.

Blade- Lizard like creatures clad in armour which will attack in groups. They can be quite strong and will slash at you with claws. Be careful as they move fast and once they have you in a corner can be difficult to escape from.

Griffon- A Giant demonic eagle. He commands electrical energy so avoid the bolts! You will meet him at several points through the game.

Sargasso- Huge floating skulls… umm… kill them!

Nobody- If possible do not engage more than one of these at a time. They get bigger when you destroy their mask and sap your devil gauge energy. Also watch out for the toxins their body produces!

Fetish- Similar to a marionette but has fire attacks and is fairly tough.

Frost- Similar to blade but has the power of ice. They can encase themselves in sharp cages of ice so be careful. Try and keep your distance and run in for quick but brutal attacks!

Nightmare- Where to begin! He is a nightmare! A large blob like creature, he will attack you with projectiles when you have activated the force field to restrain him. If the force field is not activated he can absorb you into a nightmare world where you must defeat other creatures to escape!

Plasma- Evil Electrical demons which can change their form to imitate the shapes and behaviour of their opponents.

Devil Arms Breakdown

Force Edge – Dante’s basic sword with no devil trigger attacks

Alastor – Demonically possessed sword. This allows Dante to move with lightening speed and fly when in devil trigger mode. Some of the best special attacks for it include the round trip (Literally throw he sword as a boomerang and continue to fight while it is slaying enemies) and air raid (In devil trigger mode you can fly around and blast enemies with lightening!)

Ifrit – A flaming Gauntlet which gives Dante huge strength to pummel the enemies and the ability to use flame attacks! The best special attacks are rolling blaze (Every time Dante jumps he is surrounded by flame!) and Inferno (In devil trigger mode Dante can force himself to the ground and create a shockwave of fire around him!).

Sparda – Dante’s father’s sword. It has no devil trigger gauge in the normal game (It does in the final stages) but is extremely powerful!

Guns Breakdown

Ebony and Ivory – Dante’s custom twin handguns which fire ammunition at amazing rates and never require re-loading!

Shotgun – Very powerful double-barrelled shotgun, good for destroying fetishes!

NeedlegunRapid fire machine gun used for the first-person perspective under water section of the game

Grenadegun – Slow firing, but very destructive, I only ever use this occasionally

Nightmare BetaDemonic gun which consumes your devil trigger gauge but can be very powerful!

In my opinion DMC is on of the finest games that the PS2 has to offer!

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