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Devil May Cry is a Stylish Action Hack and Slash game developed by Capcom and originally released for the PlayStation 2 in 2001. One of several projects that spun off from attempting to develop Resident Evil 4, it is notable for codifying many tropes used for 3D Stylish Action games, and for being the first original project worked on by Hideki Kamiya.

Taking place in the modern day, an infamous demon hunter known as Dante is approached by a mysterious woman named Trish, who informs him that Mundus, the lord of the Demon World, is attempting to invade the human realm, and the place to stop him is an abandoned castle on Mallet Island. Dante, as the only known surviving son of the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda, is the only one who stands a chance.

Gameplay consists of exploring the castle and its various environs in a style that resembles 3D Metroidvania, while the combat uses timing-based melee combos and ranged gun attacks to battle the hordes of demons infesting the place — getting graded on how stylish you fight in combat and rewarded with more currency depending on your performance. Dante is equipped with a sword and two pistols named Ebony and Ivory to start off with, but acquires more weapons over the course of the game. Occasionally, puzzles must be solved in order to move on, and there is an emphasis on Metroidvania-esque backtracking to previous locations to unlock new paths forward.

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Aside from the main game, there are also supplementary materials and spin-offs for the first Devil May Cry, such as a Light Novel prequel released on 2002, and a 2004 Comic Book series published by a Canadian publisher Dreamwave Productions that is (loosely) based on the game's story.

This game is also a part of the Devil May Cry HD Collection featuring upgraded resolutions of HD 720p (for PS3 and Xbox 360) or HD 1080p (for PS4 and Xbox One) and other optimizations. Achievements and Trophies were also added.

This is the game that started the Devil May Cry series. The success of the game convinced Capcom to develop a sequel, and Devil May Cry 2 arrived in 2003.


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Tropes for the game and its spin-offs include:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Sparda Devil Trigger, which only works against Mundus and nowhere else. Without cheating, of course.
  • Ability Required to Proceed: In Mission 9, one gate can only be opened by striking a torch on fire using Ifrit.
  • Adaptation Distillation: One can somewhat call it this way from a translation perspective in regards to the prequel novel, as several lines present in the original Japanese aren't used in Tokyopop's versions.
  • Adaptation Expansion: In the comic adaptation, Mundus is openly baffled at why Sparda betrayed the Demon World for humanity and even assumes it was out of lust for one human woman.
  • Airborne Mook:
    • The Sargasso are floating demon skulls that hover above the ground and bite Dante when he gets close.
    • Sin Scissors and Death Scissors are cloaked demons that freely fly around the area. They can also phase through walls.
    • Plasmas are Shapeshifting demons whose original form resembles a bat. Their main strategy is to stay out of Dante's reach by flying above him while bombarding the hero with electric blasts.
  • All Swords Are the Same:
    • The Force Edge, Alastor and Sparda are downplayed examples. They share some similar attacks even if they differ in their appearance and damage output, but they still have some unique mechanics to spice things up. The starting weapon Force Edge has few basic combos, Alastor retains them but adds more purchasable combos and its Devil Trigger allows Dante to fly. And then in the late-game, the Force Edge gains some plot-relevance as it transforms into the Sparda, which adapts Alastor's combos and can further transform into other weapon types depending on the attack.
    • The Yamato katana is a straightforward example. It's only available when the "Legendary Dark Knight" costume is equipped, but it functions identically to the Alastor.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Before battling Mundus, he and Dante end up in a universe Mundus conjured up, where you then proceed to shoot fireballs at him.
  • Anachronic Order: Though it was the first game released, this is actually the second game in the timeline, following Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening.
  • Antepiece: As soon as you enter the castle, your first objective is to sacrifice 45 Red Orbs to open a red sealed door. The task is simple enough as there are exactly 45 Red Orbs in that room (not counting the hundred awarded if you manage to balance on top of the knight statue's halberd). Later red sealed doors would require you to sacrifice hundreds of Red Orbs which have to be farmed first by defeating nearby demons if you don't have enough to spare.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In Mission 3, Dante's health is slowly drained when he's in the underwater section below the collapsed bridge. Fortunately, the last Sargasso killed in that area will always drop a large Green Orb to help you recover all your lost health no matter how many times you want to retry that fight. You can revisit this section in later missions, but the game will still retain this feature to help you recover.
    • Just like the underwater section of Mission 3, the Guiding Light item in Mission 7 slowly depletes Dante's health until it serves its purpose. The enemies have a high chance of spawning Green Orbs upon death, allowing Dante to recover.
    • During the first-person underwater diving sections, the Needlegun fires its projectiles at the center of the screen by default or if there are no enemies around. When there are enemies on the screen, the projectiles will adjust in order to hit the nearest target, just like an auto-aim feature.
    • The Nightmare fights make you face off against all the previous bosses, and they will drop Green Orbs to help you recover for the main Nightmare fight. And when you fight the nightmare version of Nelo Angelo, you fight his phase two form instead of his far more difficult phase three form.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The Frost demons' claws are said to be at below absolute zero temperature. This might be trying to imply that they're supernaturally cold, but it still sounds like a defiance of physics. In the Kelvin Scale, nothing can be colder than absolute zero.
  • Attack Its Weak Point:
    • Phantom could only be hurt by strikes to the face and back.
    • Nightmare has a weakpoint that you have to expose by first solidifying it, then smashing the glowing core.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Sparda sword. While a sword that can turn into a scythe is stupidly sweet, and the sword deals the kind of damage Alastor can only reach during Devil Trigger, the lack of Devil Trigger on it leaves you significantly better off using Alastor or Ifrit. At least, until the final battle, where it proves worthy of its name.
  • Awful Truth: Dante doesn't take the revelation of Trish working for Mundus all along rather well.
  • Backtracking: There are some sections in Mallet Island that require backtracking, but those were the well-done variants that change something in the environment and/or open a path to a new area.
  • Bag of Spilling: Dante starts out with a room full of swords impaling demon heads on his wall, but only takes Force Edge with him, despite this game taking place after 3 where he acquired several Devil Arms.
  • Best Served Cold: Dante's goal is to keep killing demons until he "hits the jackpot" and finds the one who killed his mom. When he finally confronts Mundus, the demon in question and gets the finishing shot on him, he seals the deal by declaring "Jackpot!" This is one of the earliest plot points in the series that heavily imply revenge as one of Dante's motivations in slaying demons.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Dante is unable to kill Mundus and only succeeds in banishing him back to the Underworld with Trish's help, with Mundus swearing he'll return. Dante also finds out Nelo Angelo is his Not Quite Dead brother, Vergil, after he kills him. On the plus side, Dante has a new demon hunting partner in Trish, and the two promise that if Mundus ever does return, they'll be ready.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In:
    • When the Alastor flies and stabs Dante, it also falls on its pointy end, pinning him down to the floor.
    • The Sin Scissors demons have a death animation wherein their weapons land on their bladed ends after falling.
  • Blade Run: The Shadow demons will sometimes attack by extending a long spike from their body, which then stays out for a few moments. While it's out, Dante can optionally jump and stand on it to shoot at the Shadow's now-exposed core, potentially reducing it to critical health right away if you're quick enough.
  • Blood Magic: When you kill monsters, you collect their crystallized blood and offer it to the nebulous God of Time to upgrade your powers.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: The demon world near the end resembles the insides of a living being, complete with pulsating walls and a beating heart!
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Nightmare first appears as a completely invulnerable pool of black goo which swallows Dante up if he touches it. Wherever it is found, there will always be blue circles and switches in the arena to keep it solid and make it turn to a more dangerous, yet vulnerable form. As mentioned in its Enemy File, these are justified; the same embossed circles allow it to be restrained and controlled in the first place, ensuring that it will do what its maker wanted. Therefore, charging them to solidify it is a necessary drawback.
  • Boss-Only Level: Mission 22 only contains the epic boss battle against Mundus which is divided into two phases.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Completing the "Dante Must Die" difficulty unlocks a "Super Costume" for Dante, which grants unlimited Devil Trigger meter.
    • Beating the last of 12 Secret Missions offers you a Bangle of Time. Equipping it changes Devil Trigger to make it stop time, though it doesn't work on bosses and it's obtained so late in the game you only really get to use it during New Game+.
  • Brick Joke: When Trish brings up Dante's backstory during the prologue (specifically the fact that he lost a mother and a brother to evil), Dante mentions that he's doing the Demon Slaying job so that he would eventually hit the jackpot. Mid-way through the story, Dante expresses his desire to kill Mundus, the demon that killed his mother and brother. His line just before landing the finishing shot against Mundus? "Jackpot!"
  • Bullet Hell: The first phase of the fight against Mundus in Mission 22 is a fast-paced rail shooter where Dante flies toward Mundus while evading a lot of projectiles being thrown at him.
  • Camera Screw:
    • The game frequently changes the camera angle mid-jump, which makes some boss battles or platforming sections harder than intended. The key to your survival is that the game doesn't realign your controls until you land, so you need not jerk the controller around. The third fight with Griffon is nearly unwinnable on higher difficulties because of this.
    • The Fixed Camera angles can be confusing depending on where they are placed, but usually, the camera faces the door where you just came from, so you have to walk several steps further when you enter a room before knowing what you're about to deal with.
    • Some fights against gigantic bosses are made more challenging because of the camera angles, especially when you're locked-on. For example, the camera would look down when you fall off the platform during the second phase of Mundus's fight.
  • Camp: The dialogue is hammy, the action defies physics, and the very concept of the game is Rule of Cool. This didn't extend that much to the first sequel, but returned to its full glory for the second sequel and has been a cornerstone of the series since.
  • Cash Gate: Some doors require a certain amount of red orbs to open. The first instance is downplayed as it requires 45 Red Orbs, but later sealed doors require hundreds.
  • Chaos Architecture: The Castle changes its layout when you return late in the game.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The biplane encountered in the first mission (christened Carnival according to Viewtiful Joe). It is later used to make your escape from Mallet Island. Nobody knows how or why it was here to begin with, or why it's suspended by strings along with some marionettes, but who cares; it crashes through the ceiling in perfect working condition when everything is crashing down and the player is meant to think that Dante and Trish are screwed.
    • You could inspect some conspicuous objects early on, but Dante would ignore them because he doesn't need them yet. For example, the Staff of Hermes can be found in Mission 3, but it's only used in the late game when he returns to the castle.
    • It's odd for Dante's Amulet to be listed as an inventory item for a majority of your playthrough even if the game doesn't tell you its actual purpose or where it's supposed to be used (unlike other key items that disappear after they've been used in your exploration). It's actually plot-relevant as Nelo Angelo suspiciously backs off after seeing it, and it transforms the Force Edge into its awakened form, the Sparda.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The Devil Trigger runes change color depending on which Devil Arm is equipped.
  • Colour-Coded Timestop: When the Bangle of Time stops enemies in their tracks, the game receives a reversed color filter.
  • Combined Energy Attack: Trish super-charges Dante with her power to help him blow Mundus out of the water.
  • Continuing is Painful: When you use an item, it's used for good, and if you die, you will have to do the sequence (or the entire level) again without recovering the items you already used, which would force you to go back and load a save file. On the other hand, if you have any Yellow Orbs, you are forced to use one when you die, as opposed to having an option to deny, and being able to quit, retry and go shopping as later games would allow. Then again, The game does all it can to discourage constant use of items.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Near the finale, it appears as though Dante and Trish don't have any means of escape as Mallet Island is about to collapse; they're in an underground sewer after all. But for some reason, the biplane found on the castle's ground level crashes down right on their spot, serving as their getaway vehicle.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The souls of the dead envelop most of the area in Mundus' core in flame, and only by standing on large rocks can you protect yourself. Luckily for you, the flames don't actually radiate heat; you're fine as long as you're touching ground.
  • Crucified Hero Shot:
    • Dante, when impaled by Alastor.
    • Trish when held captive by Mundus.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Going from 1 to later entries was awkward, as the first game had vastly different controls from the ones codified later; notably, jump was assigned to Triangle and melee attacks were done with the Circle button. Thankfully, the HD Collection remaps the controls of 1 to make them similar to the other games, though that in itself can be an example if you got used to the original control scheme and then decided to give the HD port a go.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Dante uses his demonic powers for good. Ditto with Sparda (after he woke up to justice) and Trish (after her Heel–Face Turn).
  • Dash Attack: The Stinger move has Dante dashing forward to impale any enemy in front of him with Alastor or Sparda.
  • Deathly Unmasking: Dante's final battle with Nelo Angelo kicks off with the boss magically removing his horned helmet, revealing that except for his Glowing Eyes of Doom, he's a dead ringer for Dante himself. The battle ends with Nelo Angelo suffering apparently fatal injuries and exploding into light, leaving behind only the other half of the amulet Dante inherited from his mother; revealing further that the Black Knight was actually Dante's brother Vergil.
  • Degraded Boss: Played with. Phantom, Griffon, and Nelo Angelo are bosses you fight multiple times, and each gains new attacks and abilities in between fights. But after you've killed them, the other boss Nightmare can absorb you and force you to fight a weaker illusionary form of one of the prior bosses.
  • Dem Bones: Sargasso is a lesser demon that resembles a human skull. Its only attack is to try to bite Dante.
  • Demon Slaying: Dante is a demon hunter, though this game explains that he took on the job because he hoped that one day he would be able to find and slay the devil who took his mother away from him.
  • Deus ex Machina: Trish suddenly being revived in time to save and help Dante during his final battle against Mundus. They never mention this plot point again.
  • Developers' Foresight: On a New Game+ playthrough, Mission 2 no longer plays the cutscene where Dante gets stabbed by the Alastor before he acquires it. After all, he has already acquired it on the first playthrough and it permanently stays with him onto the next ones, so there's no reason for him to be stabbed by the sword in its cutscene again.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Two puzzles involve fire-breathing T-Rex skeletons that are called dragons.
  • Double Jump: Justified; the Air Hike ability allows Dante to perform the second jump by momentarily creating a magic platform under his feet and leaping off that. In fact, that ability is locked to Alastor; equipping Ifrit renders you unable to do it, as well as the Sparda sword at the end of the game at least, until its true power is unleashed against Mundus.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: As the very first installment in the Devil May Cry series, there are many aspects that would be changed, reworked or phased out in the future games, to the point where this game has its own dedicated page for such examples.
  • Easily Forgiven: Dante doesn't hesitate to forgive Trish twice in two occasions:
    • She is a recipient of this in her Establishing Character Moment. She crashes into Dante's office on a motorbike, proceeds to beat him up, throws his sword through him, electrocutes him, then throws her motorbike at him! Directly after this sequence of events however, he brushes it off and takes up her job offer like what happened before was no big deal.
    • At first, Dante is furious with her because she's working for Mundus, but he lets it go and sheds tears over her literally-dead body.
  • Easy Level Trick: The Light and Mirrors Puzzle in Mission 17 ends with a tricky platforming section wherein the platforms are only visible when the lightning strikes in the background, and the static camera angles make it difficult for you to jump. You could do it the normal way, or you could just accumulate enough Devil Trigger gauge and activate Alastor's Air Raid to fly across to the objective.
  • Eldritch Abomination: When compared to most demons in the series, the Nobodies are horrifying on another level; being four-legged Humanoid Abominations with three explosive eyes on their torso and a large red hand for attacking.
  • Eldritch Location: The castle's layout changes when Dante revisits it after acquiring the Wheel of Destiny. The entire building is so dark, some doors disappear (which Dante points out), the giant statue in the hall disappears, new paths open up, and more dangerous demons lurk around compared to your first visit.
  • Energy Weapon: Nightmare-Beta, which fires a series of lasers that bounce around the room and consumes Devil Trigger energy to fully utilize its charged shots.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first cutscene does a good job of introducing Dante and Trish. She just barges to his shop while riding a motorcycle, beats him up, impales him and electrocutes him. Dante's response? He jokes to the woman who drove a motorcycle through his front door, points a sword when she looks like she can be hostile but doesn't use it, laughs off being impaled and electrocuted, sends the same motorcycle flying with bullets, and calmly takes the sword out of his chest.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Mundus tried to capitalize on Eva's beauty by making Trish in her image in an almost successful attempt at baiting Dante (he appears to be drawn to Trish solely on the basis of her resemblance to his departed mother, but nothing comes to pass).
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Devil May Cry opens in Dante's shop at night, and the rest of the game seems to take place over a single night, with the first level at dusk and Dante and Trish escaping as the sun rises.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: Happens when Dante first acquires Alastor, as the sword impaled him to the ground but he got back up moments later.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Mundus' Core contains a whole lot of "the souls of the dead", which manifest as periodic bursts of flame that damage you if you don't have a bunch of solid rock to protect you. In other words, time your jumps or get burned.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: There are three elemental-themed bosses; Phantom for fire, Griffon for lightning, and Nightmare for ice.
  • Firing One-Handed: Dante fires the Shotgun this way.
  • First-Episode Twist: Near the end of the prologue, Trish removes her sunglasses and looks back at Dante. The camera then quickly focuses on Eva's portrait, revealing that this mysterious woman looks just like Dante's mother.
  • Flash Step:
    • Nelo Angelo has this ability, but this is undermined both by the blue flames that signify his flight path as well as the fact that he rarely uses it to his advantage.
    • Frosts possess a similar ability which involves the disassembly of their bodies at the molecular level, quickly moving across the room using the moisture in the air as a medium, and then reforming somewhere else.
  • Flavor Text: Dante has some hilarious observations regarding his surroundings in Mallet Island if you take the time to check everything. He even wonders why he's taking the time to bother.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • As soon as you enter the first main hall of Mallet Island's castle, a three-eyed humanoid statue of the god worshiped by the castle is on display. Later on, when Dante returns to the castle after acquiring the Wheel of Destiny, the statue appears to have vanished. Considering who Dante has come to stop in the first place, it's not hard to realize just who it's depicting later on; the player was only lacking the context as to why it disappeared. When Dante finally meets Mundus, the latter is shown as a living giant three-eyed humanoid statue.
    • Nelo Angelo appears for the first time as a reflection of Dante walking out from a magical mirror, hinting at their similarity. Nelo Angelo is also forced to retreat after seeing Dante's Amulet, and it's revealed later on that Nelo Angelo has a similar amulet, confirming his identity as Dante's brother Vergil.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The Amulet (including its Perfect Amulet version) appears in Dante's item inventory menu for most of the playthrough, ditto for the Sparda sword in the Devil Arms menu after it transforms since Mission 17. But when Dante leaves both items near Trish's body to honor her apparent death, they will also disappear from their respective inventory menus.
  • Gameplay Grading: Your combos are graded from D (Dull) to S (Stylish). After level completion you'll also get a letter grade. This would begin a tradition of scoring you on the fly in future games, although the names of each grade would change with every game.
  • Giant Spider:
    • Phantom is a giant magma arachnid.
    • Although they have no relation to Phantom, the Kyklops are earth-covered spiders which are smaller than the magma arachnid, but are still bigger than a human being.
  • The Goomba: The Marionettes, with their only special ability being to tie you to strings, which is fairly easy to escape from.
  • Goomba Springboard: "Kick Jump" (jumping off enemies' heads, even in mid-air) is a mechanic for the series that is officially codified from this game, allowing advanced gimmicks such as "Jump Cancel" where you can keep yourself in the air for extended amounts of time.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Dante's "Flock off, feather face!" to Griffon. It is more likely that this was done for the pun, as Dante is indeed talking to a giant bird, rather than any form of censorship.
  • Ground Punch: The Inferno ability, along with all its offshoots (Volcano, Shocking!) have Dante smash the ground with his fist to create either a wave of lava, a blast of Hard Light, or a heavy shockwave. He also does a similar pose if you switch from Alastor to Ifrit.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Secret Missions need some effort or a walkthrough to find since they aren't easily indicated by cues. For example, Secret Mission 1 is accessed by returning to an underwater section after you've just made some significant progress past a certain point.
    • The game doesn't tell you the controls for the rail shooter sequence during the first phase of Mundus's fight in Mission 22 and the biplane escape sequence in Mission 23, so you're most likely going to figure them out on your own. This can lead to some confusion or a Damn You, Muscle Memory! issue because the vertical movement controls in those sections are actually reversed. During said section of Mission 22, it's also possible for the player to not realize that the jump button makes Dante dash quickly in a given direction.
  • Hands-Free Handlamp: After Dante acquires the Luminite, he projects a source-less beam of light in front of him whenever he's in a dark area.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Sparda; acording to the intro crawl, he "woke up to justice", and then proceeded to kick Mundus's ass and seal him away.
    • By the end of the game, Trish has turned on her master as well, saving Dante's life in the process.
  • Hellfire: Ifrit is stated to be projecting this.
  • The Hero Doesn't Kill the Villainess: Even before she pulls a High-Heel–Face Turn, Dante refuses to kill Trish after discovering her treachery because she looks like his mother. The only other two demons whom Dante doesn't kill are Griffon and Mundus. Mundus is too powerful for Dante to kill and Dante has to settle for simply sending him back to the demon world, while Griffon is killed by Mundus for failing to kill Dante.
  • His Story Repeats Itself: Dante - who lost his mother Eva as a child - nearly lost Trish as well, who is basically a demonic lookalike of her.
  • Idiosyncratic Combo Levels: This game's Stylish Ranks are: "Dull", "Cool!", "Bravo!", " Absolute!" and "Stylish!"
  • Idle Animation: Dante has a different animation for whatever firearm he has equipped. With Ebony & Ivory, he would twirl them and put them away, whereas when equipped with the Shotgun, Grenadegun, or Nightmare-Beta, he would put one hand in his pocket while he would rest his weapon arm on his shoulder.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens a lot in this game. In the first cutscene, Trish impales Dante on his own sword, Force Edge. In the first proper level, Alastor flies straight through Dante's chest as well, awakening his Devil Trigger. Phantom also meets his end this way after falling through a ceiling and landing on a statue's spear in the main hall of the castle, while Griffon is also pinned to a sacrificial pentagram by a giant pointy rock. Dante getting impaled would go on to be a bit of a Running Gag in the series.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: Dante's Ebony & Ivory handguns have the phrase "FOR TONY REDGRAVE BY .45 ART WARKS" etched on their slides (best seen in most of the guns' illustrations and concept arts), when the latter half of the phrase should've said "BY .45 ART WORKS". Rather than just ignore it then let the fans quibble over the little things, or take the opportunity to fix it outright, the team instead ran with it and created an In-Universe justification. Thus, the quirky spelling is rendered canon for a long time ever since the novel accompanying the first game. Nell Goldstein, the gunsmith who crafted Ebony & Ivory, makes this spelling goof frequently; even the sign outside her aforementioned shop spells the word "work" incorrectly and Dante calls her out for being a bad speller. It's only until Devil May Cry 5 when the spelling has been finally corrected, leading to another retcon.
  • Interface Spoiler: The HD Collection introduced an Achievement System for the first three Devil May Cry games, but these also include unhidden spoilers such as the names of the bosses, or the existence of unlockables and extras such as additional weapons or alternate playable characters.
  • It's Okay to Cry: After helping Dante defeat Mundus, Trish shares a hug with him and is surprised to find herself shedding tears of joy. This is the first time Dante says "Devils Never Cry" and tells her that there is nothing wrong with her showing emotion like a human.
  • Invisible Wall: Mission 22 begins in a temple surrounded by columns and a white light enveloping the outside environment. The space between the columns actually have invisible walls that you can even "kick jump" on when there's nothing for Dante to bounce off from.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The lightning sword Alastor is balanced in speed, range, and power. It's also the first unlockable weapon that has Devil Trigger, making it stronger than the starting weapon Force Edge, but weaker than Ifrit in terms of raw damage output.
  • Just Following Orders: This is what Trish tried to tell Dante of her betrayal before he cuts her off with "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: Doors sometimes become locked with magical barriers, requiring you to kill all the demons in the room before proceeding.
  • Lag Cancel:
    • Normally, Dante sheathes his sword after a combo, but wiggling the analog stick after a slash allows him to skip the sheathe animation and execute another combo.
    • Moving just a fraction while using the shotgun cancels its reloading time, and jumping or rolling cancels the (longer) reload time on the Grenadegun.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: A variation - if the player's health is reduced to 0 from above a certain threshold, they survive with a sliver of health. You can tell if Dante is hurt enough to disable the mechanic by the entire health bar turning red.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: Shows up in Mission 17 where Dante has to redirect a light ray into a specific spot and obtain the Quicksilver.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Sparda Sword lacks DT (until Dante battles Mundus), but makes up for it in raw power. Its damage surpasses that of Alastor’s DT, but it’s not as versatile as the other Devil Arms barring Force Edge.
  • Limit Break: In Mission 22, Dante acquires a Devil Trigger form that resembles his father Sparda. During the first phase of the boss fight against Mundus, pressing the Devil Trigger button allows Dante to summon a demonic dragon that breaks through Mundus's defenses, but each summon attempt consumes all of Dante's DT runes.
  • Living Drawing: The first Sin Scissors demon encountered comes off from a painting of a dark hooded Grim Reaper-esque being.
  • Living Structure Monster: The sealed doors would attack Dante if you got too close, but otherwise left you alone until you got rid of them by solving a puzzle and/or killing some enemies.
  • Logical Weakness: The Frost demons receive more damage from the fire-elemental Ifrit Devil Arm.
  • Lost in Translation: The name "Nelo Angelo" is mistranslated: it is supposed to mean "Black Angel" in Italian, but thanks to the problem the Japanese have with R's and L's, the letter got switched up, thus his name would accurately be Nero Angelo. The kicker of it all? In the game's Japanese manual, it's spelled — IN ENGLISH — "Nero Angelo". The whole deal with the "Nelo Angelo vs. Nero Angelo" translation ended up causing even more confusion when Devil May Cry 4 was still in development and announced to have a protagonist named Nero.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Compared to the other games in the series, this is exclusive to DMC1 with the fatalities enemies could use on Dante. Getting killed while you're within the "critical" point of your lifebar could result in a variety of deaths depending on the enemy.
  • Marionette Motion: Appropriately enough, the Marionettes move this way, and they even still have strings on their limbs.
  • Masked Villains, Unmasked Heroes: The main hero Dante never wears a mask. During the game, he fights a demon named Nelo Angelo who is dressed from head to toe in armor and is one of Mundus's servants. In their third and final battle, Nelo Angelo's helmet is knocked off, revealing him to be Dante's twin brother Vergil who served as one of the villains in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening.
  • Mercy Mode: If you get a D rank in the first mission, you are offered the choice to switch to Easy Mode.
  • Minimalist Cast: There are only four major characters: Dante, Trish, Vergil/Nelo Angelo (who doesn't even have dialogue lines aside from a flashback scene) and Mundus. Phantom and Griffon are bosses with little plot significance and only a few dialogue lines, and other than them, there are no regular Non Player Characters outside of the enemies.
  • Mighty Glacier: The pair of flame gauntlets, Ifrit, is slow but powerful. This makes it ideal for 1 or 2 opponents, especially against bosses. While definitely more powerful than Alastor, it lacks the variety in range, even with all the upgrades in ranged attacks.
  • Mirror World: The strange mirror where Nelo Angelo emerges from is revisited as a gateway in a later mission when Dante seeks the Philosopher's Stone. The mirror world is a more horrifying version of the real one, with a bloody color palette, tilted camera angles, and the entire screen also becomes distorted as everything slowly moves like a ripple in a water. It's also the place where you are introduced to the Nobodies, strong horrifying demons that can throw their eyeballs at you. Dante also notices that any object there is just an illusion because the Divinity Statue doesn't do anything.
  • Morph Weapon: The Sparda weapon (the ultimate form of the Force Edge) works like this, changing from a sword, to a spear, to a sickle, depending on your moves.
  • Mundane Utility: There are items that resemble weapons (Staff of Judgment, Death Sentence, Trident, Pair of Lances) but are only used to unlock doors.
  • Mythology Upgrade: Alastor is a sword found impaled into a statue of the Judge of Death. In demonology, Alastor is the name given to the supreme arbiter of the court of Hell, or alternately, Hell's chief Executioner. Furthermore, Alastor is a Greek term for "avenger", notably both a title given to Zeus and the name of a man executed by Zeus, which would explain the lightning attacks in the game.
  • New Game+: Beating the game allows you to replay it on higher difficulty levels with all the upgrades you've obtained during your previous playthrough, though this game has a notable exception or odd implementation. In here, a New Game+ with Easy Automatic mode means that only another Easy Automatic game could be played afterward, something that later DMC games do not suffer from.
  • Non-Combat EXP: An interesting variant; there are certain points in the scenery you can jump onto that will reward you with Red Orbs. These often, though not always, actually give more orbs than smashing breakable objects.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Can be done to some enemies by hitting them in a specific way: Sin Scissors can be killed in a single shotgun blast by shooting their masks point blank right after they attack, and Blades can be killed with a single downwards air attack on their back after being knocked down from behind. Both of them give some extra Red Orbs before the ones they normally drop after their death animation to show the player they did it correctly... as if the Blades flailing around on the ground spraying blood everywhere wasn't enough of an indication.
    • It's also possible to do this on a boss fight during Mission 8. If the player lures Phantom to jump and land on the glass platform five times, it would break, making him fall and be skewered with a large spike.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Like all action game protagonists, Dante has the skills to shred through hordes of enemies with little effort.
    • According to the backstory, Sparda single-handedly fought off the unrestrained forces of Hell, taking this trope Up to Eleven.
  • Open-Door Opening: One of the first things that happen in the game is Trish breaking in Dante's office by driving her bike through his door.
  • Orphaned Series: The spin-off comic by Dreamwave was abandoned due to the company folding.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The lesser demons are Always Chaotic Evil, but the higher devils, such as Sparda and Trish don't necessarily follow that trope. They may occasionally do a Heel–Face Turn because of that, as shown in this game.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Devils are pretty much referred to as having "no souls" at all to speak of.
  • Panthera Awesome: Shadow, the Lion Gatekeeper. It takes the form of a shadowy big-cat, though its death animation make it look more like a large nekomata once its aura is gone. Dante encounters more of its kind as he explores Mallet Island.
  • Parrying Bullets: A T-Rex skeleton in Mission 17 has to be destroyed by deflecting its fireballs back at it. You can also do this against Phantom's single fireball, or Mundus's light projectiles in his second phase.
  • Perverse Puppet: The Marionettes are puppets that resemble the castle's former inhabitants and have been possessed by evil spirits.
  • Philosopher's Stone: This is a late-game key item that allows Dante to access the portal to the Underworld.
  • Pinball Projectile: The Nightmare-Beta. Charge it up, and let a huge volley of penetrating laser shots recoil around the room like crazy.
  • Planet Heck: The endgame levels take place in the Demon World.
  • Player Nudge:
    • You backtrack to the coliseum's entrance several times, each going through specific paths where you must obtain separate key items. For some reason, the ground lights up trails of blue flames that point you to where you should go next.
    • Almost all puzzles in this game have an accompanying tablet nearby explaining what you need to do in order to progress. Sometimes, interacting with a conspicuous object itself will also give away a hint. Such clues vary from to time; some are cryptic in nature, some mention a required specific key item, while others outright tell you that Dante can solve the puzzle by smacking something with his weapon. The section with the T-Rex skeleton in Mission 17 is a notably hilarious example wherein the game makes you think twice after you allow Dante to be hit by a fireball.
  • The Prophecy: Mundus's downfall has been prophesized as mentioned by a book in the castle's library, although he's referred to as "Pluto", one of his many aliases.
    There's a word left by a notable prophet when he visited this castle. It states, "Pluto shall come on the promised date and separate heaven and earth. One with black wings of treachery shall come and stand in Pluto's way."
  • Point of No Return: Once you leave the castle, the drawbridge you lowered will automatically raise back up, meaning any secret missions or blue orb fragments you failed to find are now out of your reach, since the castle's layout changes completely after you return.
  • Portal Picture: There are several strategically-placed paintings that serve as gateways floating in the air when you return to the castle. Pretty convenient, as several doors have disappeared.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Nearly every enemy bio points out that the demons are used to fighting knights or other demons with swords and bows, thus Dante's guns give him a massive edge because they have no idea what they're working against, even before taking into account said guns have infinite ammo because of Dante's devil power.
  • Power Fist: Ifrit takes form of flaming gauntlets.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: Albeit in a limited way; you can switch between the Alastor sword and the Ifrit gauntlets by clicking the right analog stick, but it has a fairly lengthy startup animation.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Dante gives one out to Trish in when he learns she's working for Mundus.
    Dante: Don't come any closer you Devil! You may look like my mother but you're nowhere close to her. You have no soul! You have the face but you'll never have her fire!
  • Recurring Boss: Every boss is fought at least thrice. They flee after their first two encounters, then are finally defeated or killed in the third. The Final Boss Mundus is a bit different as he comes back in a weaker form after Dante already beat him up twice, and his fights happen one after the other. Nelo Angelo's fights are spaced out evenly along the plot, while Phantom, Griffon and Nightmare each have their three fights in relatively short (though not immediate) succession. In each of its three fights, Nightmare also has an attack which forces you to fight a weaker "shadow" version of one of the previously-defeated Phantom, Griffon and Nelo Angelo (allowing them to be fought more than thrice in total) in order to deal massive damage to Nightmare itself.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Believing Trish to be dead, Dante leaves behind the Perfect Amulet on her chest and the Sparda near her body while giving symbolism for each item; the Perfect Amulet represents his mother Eva, while the Sparda sword represents his father, the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda whom the sword is named after.
    Dante: This was my mother's. Now I'm giving it to you.
    Dante: My father's also here now. Rest... in Peace."
  • Timed Mission:
    • Mission 5, where you are given three minutes to reach a specific door before the Melancholy Soul expires.
    • Mission 23, where you must escape from Mallet Island before the collapse of the Demon World destroys it.
  • Title Drop: In the game manual, an anecdote of Enzo Ferino describes what Dante does for a living and how scary a Death Glare Dante can pull off to even make the devil cry.
    Enzo: "Rumor says blue blood may be flowing in that guy's body. I tell ya, if he glares at a guy, even The Devil may cry."
  • Schizo Tech: Apart from Dante's choice of weapons (a demonic claymore alongside modern handguns) evoking the Rule of Cool, the main setting itself displays this trope via the medieval castle on Mallet Island having lifts.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: No matter which of the two color-coded Emblem Shield doors you go through, the Luminite and Pair of Spears key items will always spawn on the first path you choose, while the Nightmare-Beta gun will spawn on the second path.
  • Second Hour Superpower: Dante gains the Devil Trigger ability after acquiring his first Devil Arm, Alastor.
  • Shear Menace: The Sin Scissors and Death Scissors demons attack by trying to slice and snip Dante with gigantic pairs of scissors. According to the former's enemy file, they use those scissors as mediums to appear in the human world.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • Trish has lightning powers.
    • The Alastor is a lightning-elemental sword that can be used by Dante. It also allows him to channel lightning out of his hands while in Devil Trigger form.
    • Plasmas are Shapeshifting demons made out of electricity. Naturally, they take reduced damage from the lightning sword Alastor.
    • Griffon is a giant Thunderbird with the ability to manipulate electricity.
    • One of the powers Mundus uses the most is electrical manipulation, being able to summon barrages of lightning in his battle against Dante or unleashing a powerful stream of electricity to kill Griffon.
  • Shoryuken: One of Ifrit's moves is very close to this in terms of animation and utility.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Dante's character is based from the eponymous hero of Space Adventure Cobra, and the Nightmare-Beta gun is meant to resemble the Psychogun.
    • In line with the series' recurring trend of naming its characters from The Divine Comedy, Dante's name is obviously taken from the writer and main character, Dante Alighieri. Trish's name is derived from Beatrice, Dante's lover and guide through Heaven. Apart from being named after the historical poet Virgil (Dante's guide through Hell and Purgatory), Vergil's identity as Nelo Angelo / Black Angel is also named after the Black Angel that appears in Canto XXVII to assert Hell's claim over a soul.
  • Skyward Scream: Dante does this as he holds Trish's body and screams upward as the camera also pans to the ceiling.
    Dante: I should have been the one to fill your dark soul with LIIIIIIIGHT!
  • Sprint Shoes: Equipping Alastor and activating Devil Trigger increases Dante's movement speed.
  • Stab the Sky:
    • Dante raises the Alastor above his head just after he acquires it. The sword then channels a blue lightning strike from above.
    • Dante also raises the Force Edge as the Perfect Amulet transforms it into the Sparda.
  • Standard Power Up Pose: Switching into Alastor makes Dante extend his arms and look up in this manner.
  • Super Mode: Devil Trigger unleashes Dante's true potential, amplifying his strength and agility and giving him new abilities, such as flying and firing lightning bolts.
  • Suspiciously Cracked Wall: There are few walls that have holes and cracks on them. They also emit light to let you know that they're breakable and there's something behind them.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Force Edge is Dante's initial weapon, which seemed weaker than Alastor at first, until the Perfect Amulet awakened its true form as the Sparda sword, which is then used as Dante's trump card in beating Mundus's first two forms.
  • Sword Plant:
    • After Dante pulls the Force Edge that Trish throws at his chest in the prologue, he plants it on the ground point-first.
    • Dante also leaves the Sparda in this manner to honor Trish's apparent death.
  • Taking the Bullet: Late in the game, Trish pulls a Heel–Face Turn and shields Dante from Mundus' attack with her own body.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
  • Updated Re Release: The Devil May Cry HD Collection is a compilation of DMC1, DMC2 and DMC3:SE, featuring upgraded resolutions of HD 720p (for PS3 and Xbox 360) or HD 1080p (for PS4 and Xbox One) and other optimizations. Achievements and Trophies were also added.
  • Use Their Own Weapon Against Them: In Trish's first scene, she impales Dante with Force Edge, the sword his father gave to him, before trying to finish him off by throwing her motorcycle at him. This being Dante, he shrugs it off and blasts the bike with his guns.
  • Wall Jump: In the form of a "kick jump" that acts as a double jump, allowing Dante to bound off of walls to reach higher platforms before he obtains Air Hike, the "proper" double jump.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Mission 17: Parted Memento. Dante fights Nelo Angelo for the final time, but it isn't until after he kills Nelo Angelo that Dante realizes the black knight was his brother, Vergil, who he thought was dead for years. Oh, and unbeknownst to Dante at that time, somewhere else, a cutscene reveals Trish is actually working for Mundus.
    • Mission 20: Showdown With Nightmare. Dante thought that Trish is a Damsel in Distress who's cornered by Nightmare, but learns that she's actually working for Mundus. Despite this, Dante still saves her as she reminds him of his mother. This act prompted a change within Trish now that Mundus sees her as a failure.
  • Womb Level: The Underworld has the appearance of the innards of a giant creature, complete with a giant beating heart, moving vessels that Dante can walk through like passageways, and worms that attempt to latch onto him.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning:
    • Trish uses yellow lightning.
    • Dante's Alastor sword emits blue lightning.
    • The Plasma demons are made out of blue lightning and electricity.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Griffon faced a rather brutal dishonorable discharge at the hands of Mundus, which displeases Dante. Mundus even says this phrase word-for-word.
    • Mundus also dismisses Trish as a failure after she failed to kill Dante during the latter's battle with Nightmare. Fortunately, she gets better and helps Dante when he's busy fighting Mundus.
  • You Remind Me of X: Shortly before their deaths, Phantom and Griffon note that Dante reminds them of Sparda. The demon hunter than proclaims himself to be the Dark Knight's son.

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