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Video Game / Devil May Cry

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You're the man who lost a mother and a brother to evil twenty years ago, the son of the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda, Mr. Dante.

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.

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 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.

Tropes for the game and its spin-offs include:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Sparda Devil Trigger and its abilities are only usable in the two-part fight against Mundus and nowhere else (without cheating the game using tools, of course). And even if the game lets you start a New Game Plus playthrough with the Sparda sword, you'll have to wait until said Mundus fight in the near-end to access its Devil Trigger again.
  • Ability Required to Proceed: In Mission 9, one gate can only be opened by striking a torch on fire using Ifrit.
  • Action Horror: The game was a invoked Divorced Installment of the Resident Evil series that was made into its own game series because the developers thought it was too action-heavy to be a mainline RE title, and it takes place in a dark, Haunted Castle that at times feels claustrophobic, with the looming presence of Mundus felt in every hallway and area.
  • 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.
  • A.K.A.-47: The "Grenadegun" grenade launcher resembles the Milkor MGL.
  • 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.
  • All There in the Manual: The interview section from Dreamwave Production's DMC1 comic provides additional trivia, symbolism, or context behind certain concepts. For example, Director Hideki Kamiya named Dante's handguns "Ebony & Ivory" as a reference to the piano keys (Dante's smooth and skillful gun shooting is likened to a musician playing his piano). The guns being black and white together represent Dante's half-human, half-devil nature.
  • 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.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: At the end of the game, you plunge into the Underworld, and it has much of the expected tropes such as Fire and Brimstone Hell and Evil Is Visceral, complete with a giant beating heart and the implication of the whole place being a living organism. You then pass through the final door to confront Mundus, and you are greeted with a bright, clean, stark hallway, lined with pillars and generally looking like a copy of some ancient Greek temple, leading up to a stunningly crafted statue that is in fact, Mundus himself. The sheer beauty and deliberate, skilled architecture of the area may surprise players after trudging through blood and lava, but it also hints that this place is more eldritch than what came before.
  • Atrocious Arthropods:
    • Beezlebubs are insects that have grown to enormous proportions as a result of possession by demons. Blue Beelzebubs resemble flies and can spit out maggots that stop you from using guns, while green Beelzebubs resemble mantises.
    • Phantom is a massive spider/scorpion demon who serves as one of the bosses in the game.
    • The Kyklops are lesser demon enemies that resemble the aforementioned Phantom.
  • 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.
  • Beating A Dead Player: This is used to a limited degree, but it's responsible for why Dante has many death animations. If you get down to a sliver of health and then get hit by certain particular enemy attacks, instead of just fading to black, you're treated to a cutscene of the enemy tearing you apart in some creative fashion. This happens under normal combat circumstances as well, because enemies can still attack you just after you're already down.
  • BFG: Dante can obtain the Grenadegun, a revolver-style grenade launcher to play with, along with an Energy Weapon called Nightmare-Beta which covers his entire forearm.
  • 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!" Apart from the game's Tagline making it obvious, this dialogue sequence 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.
  • Black Bug Room: After being temporarily swallowed by Nightmare, Dante retreats into his black bug room where he fights off various monsters from his past, at least according to Nightmare's in-game enemy file.
    "When you are surrounded in its gel like form, you will be teleported into an evil dimension. You must destroy the evil spirits that rule the dimension. The evil is a reflection of Dante's trauma that rests in his subconscious."
  • 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 Plus.
  • 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!"
  • Bring It: Dante can taunt his enemies by pressing R2, making a beckoning hand gesture. If the button is held long enough, he'll use both hands and it will double the Devil Trigger recovery benefit.
  • 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.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: When you return to the surface in Mission 14, a waterfall near the Divinity Statue will draw your attention as it contains a Holy Water pickup underneath. You can enter the short passage behind the waterfall, but this is actually a circular path that leads you back to the starting point of the area.
  • Chaos Architecture: The Castle changes its layout when you return late in the game.
  • Character in the Logo: The game has the silhouette of Trish in the logo, best shown in the boot-up cutscene where her pose transitions into the silhouette. It is also a Visual Title Drop of the eponymous devil-hunting company of Dante.
  • 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.
  • Companion Cube: Downplayed with the Ebony & Ivory during the prologue. Dante calls his handguns "guys" before he shoots the motorcycle thrown at him by Trish, but he doesn't call them as such again for the rest of the game.
    Dante: Haha... time to go to work guys!
  • Content Warnings: The game always opens with a warning about the explicit violence and gore... then Trish shows up and destroys that warning screen.
  • 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.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Searching around and interacting with specific objects in Mallet Island will reveal small details regarding the abandoned island's long dead inhabitants and their cultish worship of Big Bad Mundus. None of it ever amounts to anything significant in terms of gameplay, and some fans believe it to be a holdover from the game's early development history as a Resident Evil title. Dante himself will occasionally, humorously lampshade that none of the island's history has any bearing on his quest.
  • 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.
    • Kick 13 is the lock-on forward attack of Ifrit. Though it's normally just a short-ranged single roundhouse kick, its Devil Trigger version is a combo of punches and kicks that cover more distance towards the target.
  • Dead Guy on Display: In the underground hallways of Mission 14, a skeleton is purposely impaled into a wall of spikes. Interacting with it reveals that one of its arms functions as a lever that opens the nearby elevator's door.
  • 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.
  • Descriptively-Named Species: According to their Enemy File, the "Nobodies" were intentionally labeled as such because of their low-level intelligence.
  • 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.
  • Developer's Foresight:
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Two puzzles involve fire-breathing T-Rex skeletons that are called dragons.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Air Raid attack deals a significant amount of damage per hit, and can be purchased as soon as you obtain the Alastor on Mission 2. Then early on at the start of Mission 4, Dante is pursued by Phantom in a hallway. You can either run away to another room to avoid fighting the boss, or spam the Air Raid attack if you have already purchased it. Defeating Phantom there will usually yield a lot of Red Orbs at that point in the game, which opens up a Save Scumming exploit. You can save then quit the game, reload, and repeat the process until you can eventually have all of Alastor's stills, improved Vitality and Devil Trigger gauges before you even leave the castle.
  • Diving Save: Dante pulls one to save Trish from falling debris in the aftermath of Nightmare's defeat.
  • 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.
  • Down the Drain: Dante has to go through the underground sections of Mallet Island's castle at some points. Early on from Mission 6, he has to traverse a maze-like waterway system, and it's where he first encounters the Death Scissors. Near the end-game, Dante falls through this same sewer area, where he has to fight Mundus for the last time.
  • Drinking Contest: The light novel spin-off material has a vodka drinking contest between Dante and Gilver, which Dante wins. The Bobby's Cellar bar also has a rule which involves the loser (the one who passes out first) paying the drinks.
  • 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.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: If you use a Vital Star or Yellow Orb anytime during the first three missions, or die three times, you are offered Easy Automatic Mode. Choosing this mode locks you into this difficulty, you cannot unlock anything other than New Game Plus, and even then you're stuck in the Easy Automatic difficulty on your subsequent playthroughs for that file. The only way to get out of it is to start an entirely new save file. You also miss out on fighting some monsters, as Shadows, Frosts, and Fetishes don't spawn in Easy Automatic Mode.
  • 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).
  • Expressive Health Bar: When Dante's health gets particularly low, the health bar ornamentation turns red. This serves as an indication that Last Chance Hit Point is no longer in effect.
  • 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.
  • Fake Difficulty: The constantly changing camera angles combined with controls changing with them results in a lot of enemies attacking off-screen and/or Dante to accidentally run into an attack.
  • Fantastic Light Source: Luminite is an Underworld mineral that undergoes changes in the human world and starts emitting white light indefinitely. Dante collects a chunk and uses it as a source of light in the dark areas of Mallet Island.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: For the first phase of the Final Boss fight, Mundus takes Dante to a space-like void, then they fight airborne in a dark, stormy sky. The next phase takes place in a hellish landscape. The setting change is only temporary though, as Dante and Mundus return to Mallet Island after those fights.
  • 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.
  • Floating Platforms: Mission 17: Parted Memento makes you traverse a series of invisible floating platforms, presumably made of some kind of magical energy, to obtain the Quicksilver item needed to unlock the last room and proceed to the Boss Fight. These magical platforms are only visible when the lightning flashes from the storm outside temporarily illuminate them.
  • 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.
  • Gangplank Galleon: There is such a level in Missions 12 and 13. In the former, Dante must activate the pirate ship and obtain the "Fire of Saint Elmo". The second boss battle with Griffon also takes place here. In the latter mission, the ship will sink. The skeleton of the ship's captain can also be found sitting inside his cabin in the underwater sections.
  • 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, which doubles as an intentional pun as Dante is talking to a giant bird.
  • Ground Punch: The Inferno ability of Ifrit has Dante smash the ground with his fist to create a wave of lava. 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.
  • Hard Mode Mook: An enemy called the Fetish will appear on any difficulty higher than Easy Automatic. They first appear in the ninth mission "New Strength" as a stronger variant of the Marionette enemy, while on higher difficulties they appear as early as the first mission, "Curse of the Bloody Puppets".
  • Harpoon Gun: The Needlegun fires harpoons up to bursts of six. Entering the underwater sections with it causes an Unexpected Gameplay Change to a First-Person Shooter since it's the only weapon you could use there. Unlike the other firearms, it can't be equipped in the non-underwater areas.
  • Haunted Castle: The game mostly takes place inside the ancient castle of Mallet Island (a.k.a. Mundus's castle). Dante's not spooked easily, but the place is filled with eerie contraptions and horrific demons. The backstory and lore indicate that it used to have proper occupants as well, but now it's taken over by evil spirits.
  • 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. Its hellfire is also given a significance in both lore and gameplay. A description for the Frost demons claims that, while impervious to volcanic fire, they're susceptible to higher levels of incendiary, justifying why they receive more damage from the Ifrit gauntlets.
  • 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 will twirl them and put them away. When equipped with the Shotgun, Grenadegun, or Nightmare-Beta, he wo;; put one hand in his pocket and 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.
  • Infinite Flashlight: Dante collects a nugget of Luminite as a makeshift lantern. The light never fades, which is helpful in later levels after the sun has set or when you have to delve underground, and doesn't get in the way since Dante doesn't exactly hold it by hand.
  • 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 and its Before the Nightmare novel when the spelling has been finally corrected, leading to another retcon which explains Nell's son, Rock Goldstein, was the one who made the "Art Warks" misspelling when he was still young, yet Nell kept it to honor him.
  • 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 telling Dante to justify 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.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition:
    • Dante's main melee weapons are Alastor, a lightning-enchanted sword, and Ifrit, a set of gauntlets that make his punches do fire damage.
    • Two of the major bosses in the game are Phantom, a Giant Spider that bleeds lava and breathes fire, and Griffon, an enormous bird of prey that can manipulate lightning. Phantom and Griffon are the first two of Mundus's servants to die, even before the other servant, Nightmare, appears to complete the game's Fire, Ice, Lightning trio of bosses.
  • 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.
  • Lodged Blade Removal:
    • Trish impales Dante with the Force Edge, upon which he stands up, chides her, pulls the sword out of his chest and throws it to the ground.
    • Later, the sword Alastor stabs itself through Dante and pins him to the ground. Dante just pulls himself off the sword.
  • 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.
  • Magikarp Power: Force Edge is the weakest weapon in the game, having a rather limited moveset and lacking a Devil Trigger. Uniting it with the Perfect Amulet transforms into the far more powerful Sparda sword which is vital in the final battle against Mundus.
  • 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.
  • Metroidvania: DMC1 shares a lot of similarities with 3-D Castlevania games in terms of level design, due to being primarily set inside a gothic castle, featuring lots of backtracking and puzzles, items or power-ups opening up new paths or locked doors, dedicated map interfaces for each area/floor, and having you fight monsters and demons during your adventure.
  • 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 flame gauntlets, Ifrit, are slow but powerful. This makes it ideal for 1 or 2 opponents, especially against bosses. While definitely more powerful than Alastor, they lack 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.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Mundus taking Trish hostage after her failure in killing Dante finally causes her to completely turn on him and start genuinely helping Dante instead.
  • Monster Compendium: This game contains elaborate monster descriptions (called "Enemy Files") which grow more detailed as you fight them, recording every attack they use against you.
  • Mook Debut Cutscene: This game has a gimmick wherein the enemies' attack at the end of their introductory cutscene actually transitions into an immediate attack in-game that damages Dante if he doesn't dodge.
  • 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.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight:
    • The Ifrit gauntlets can easily break through Nelo Angelo's defensive stance using his zweihander.
    • Played straight when Nelo Angelo knocked the Force Edge out of Dante's hand using close-quarters combat, then quickly triumphs over him using further punches and a kick.
  • New Game Plus: 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.
  • No Cutscene Inventory Inertia: Dante almost always wields his Alastor on his back in cutscenes, even though stronger weapons are mandatory and much more likely to be wielded most of the time. The exception is, if you should switch out Alastor for Force Edge before Phantom's first appearance, the latter will be seen on his back in the cutscene.
  • No-Damage Run: In the HD Collection, you can earn the "Untouchable" achievement if you clear a mission without taking damage.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • There's a giant statue of a male, three-eyed angel facing the entrance of Mallet Island's castle. Examining it prompts Dante to speculate that it depicts the God that the Castellans worship. Later, after the castle becomes dimly-lit, it disappears. Guess what Mundus looks like once we finally see him? The same statue, but now on a different place. This creates the retroactive implication that the statue is alive and has been watching Dante in the beginning.
    • After the lights go out in Mallet Island's castle, its entire geography changes. The Luminite serves as your main light source, but it's still limited because you can't see more than a few feet in front of you, and the ambience doesn't help either. The game subverts this trope by letting some enemies ambush you in the dark; the Plasmas are introduced by attacking Dante in the dimly-lit castle, and some Marionette-type demons await you in the tight hallways. Then again, this is a Hack and Slash game starring a badass Half-Human Hybrid packing more than enough to take on anything thrown at him, so the fear factor isn't that strong.
    • Yet another example when Mallet Island's castle becomes dark on your return to it; the arena where Dante first met Phantom seemingly became empty, but the game hints that there's something you must do there because of the existence of some switches. Interacting with the strange puddle on the floor reveals that it's actually Nightmare, the Blob Monster servant of Mundus.
  • 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.
  • Nostalgic Music Box: The Total Results screen after the credits has a pretty nostalgic music box version of Eva's theme, titled "Pillow Talk", playing in the background.
  • 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. And right before you actually play Mission 1, Dante opens a huge gate as he and Trish arrive at Mallet Island.
  • Opening Monologue: The game opens with the narrator's monologue explaining Sparda's rebellion against the Underworld.
    Narrator: Two millenniums ago, there was a war. Between the human world and the other... the Underworld. But somebody from the Underworld woke up to justice, and stood up against this legion, alone. His name was Sparda. Later, he quietly reigned the human world, and continued to preserve harmony, until his death. He became a legend. The Legendary Dark Knight, Sparda.
  • 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 and the Fetishes are lesser demons that inhabit puppets to exist in a physical state. The Marionettes inhabit human-made marionettes dressed in medieval-style clothing and fight with scythes, knives, darts, and sometimes even shotguns. The Fetishes inhabit demon-made dolls, breathe fire, and are stronger than the Marionettes.
  • 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.
  • Pull Yourself Down the Spear: Dante is impaled by Alastor. On recovering from the shock, he pulls himself down the blade, shoves the hilt through his chest, and then claims the sword for his own.
  • Puzzle Reset: During the Canyon of Mist puzzle segment in Mission 10, if you missed a step while following the ball of light or went to the wrong path, moving to the edge of the area will take you back to the canyon's entrance. You'll then be notified that something went wrong, so you'll have to start over again.
  • 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.
  • Rejected Apology: After the third Nightmare fight, Trish, who now regrets betraying Dante, attempts to approach and talk to him, but Dante reacts by pointing a gun at her and tell her off, leaving her behind with her guilt. Fortunately subverted in the end when Dante forgives her after she helps him defeat Mundus.
  • 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."
    • According to a motion artist's words in the 3142 Graphic Arts artbook, Mundus's crumbling second form is meant to show how pitiful he is by that point in the finale.
  • Sadistic Choice: Mundus gives this threat when Dante notices Trish being hostaged by the demon king.
    Mundus: "Don't even think about it. Blink, she dies."
  • Say My Name: Happens a lot between Trish and Dante, mostly during the last few missions.
  • Scenery Censor: Subverted. Dante has a sword which appears to cover a poster of an apparently topless woman; he takes it off, and strategically blocks the view of it, but right before the "camera" changes angles, it is revealed that the woman's breasts were covered (by stars, but still). Later games in the series mysteriously include a bra on the same poster.
  • 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.
  • Scissors Cuts Rock: The Frosts are elite ice demons created by Mundus to be his shock troops. Their ice is colder than absolute zero, and no ordinary flame from the mortal world can melt it, not even volcanic fire. Only Hellfire like the flames of Ifrit can significantly harm them.
  • Second Hour Superpower: Dante gains the Devil Trigger ability after acquiring his first Devil Arm, Alastor.
  • Sequel Hook: Dante didn't exactly kill Mundus; he just sealed the Demon Emperor back to the Underworld, with the latter even making a vow to return and rule the human world someday. Dante acknowledges this twice, first in a joking manner, and second when he and Trish escape the crumbling island via the biplane.
    Dante: Let's not forget though, the Underworld's evil is still alive. They will someday return!
    Trish: There's no need to worry, right? 'Cuz the world has the Legendary Dark Knight Dante... and his sidekick!
  • Sequence Breaking: The normal flow of Mission 9 requires you to traverse a path and obtain Ifrit so that you could light up a torch and open a gate. On the way to Ifrit, you fight a bunch of Blades, Marionettes, and then the first boss battle against Griffon before you backtrack to said gate. This sequence is mandatory on your first playthrough, but because Dante's weapons are carried over in a New Game Plus, it's possible to skip a huge chunk of this mission (including the first Griffon fight) on subsequent playthroughs by striking the torch with Ifrit as soon as you reach the coliseum's entrance.
  • Serpent Staff: The two-snake Caduceus appears as a key item named "Staff of Hermes" which allows Dante to open portals around the castle during his return trip near the endgame.
  • Shaping Your Attacks: When equipped with the Sparda sword, Dante can fire a massive energy blast in the form of a dragon. This move consumes the Devil Trigger Gauge and its power depends on how much the gauge was filled when used.
  • 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.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook:
    • Fetish demons are equipped with two small, round sawblades that they also use like shields.
    • The Blades are also equipped with small round shields that can deflect some attacks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • In the HD Collection, defeating Mundus earns you "The Devil Went Down To..." achievement. It's just one word away from mentioning the song "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" by Charlie Daniels.
    • In the HD Collection, finishing the game without using any Yellow Orbs earns you "The Devil Made Me Do It" achievement, referencing a phrase from The Flip Wilson Show.
  • Silence, You Fool!: Dante utters this near the end as a form of Shut Up, Hannibal! to Demon Emperor Mundus when the latter just insulted Dante's deceased mother, Eva.
    Dante: Why my mother?
    Mundus: That useless being? If you need a mother, I can create it as many as you want. Just like, I created Trish.
    Dante: SILENCE!
  • 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!
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Midway through the game, you'll venture across hallways with spikes on the walls and floors retracting on specific intervals. These are made more difficult by the moving conyevor-like platform that aims to push you back to the start, and/or the demons that spawn to attack you while you're busy dodging the spikes.
  • Speak of the Devil: Mundus is the ruler of the underworld and the Big Bad of the game. When Griffon is defeated by Dante for the third time, Griffon shouts his master's name to request for a boost of power. Mundus immediately appears in the scene, as indicated by his signature three red eyes, and followed by ominous dark clouds. Unfortunately, Mundus instead deems Griffon unworthy and kills him for his failure in defeating Dante, and then leaves right after doing that.
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Super-Tough Thing: The "Red/Blue devices" (Basically, switches in the form of a pedestal with an intricate circular object layered in its surface) can only be activated by Dante's only means of interacting with the environment: attacking it. They won't break even if you use his strongest attack, though they'll activate faster if you do that.
  • 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.
  • Taught by Experience: Bestiary files are kept on every enemy encountered, including descriptions of their attacks and abilities. For every new attack and gimmick you witness, another section is added, usually with an explanation on how to stop/avoid it. Oh, and by the way, there are files on bosses too... except the FinalBoss.
  • Temporary Platform: If you return to the bridge you crossed to claim the Pride of Lion at the start of Mission 3, it's risen from the ocean (having collapsed as you crossed it), but in pieces. These pieces fall as you jump on them, and don't respawn unless you fall into the ocean (which makes you repeat the fight from Mission 2, then boots you back to the start of the bridge). You can either jump across both ways without retracing steps, or cross once, claim the Blue Orb Fragment, and leap into the sea for a quick way back.
  • Theme Song Reveal: Sparda's theme, "Super Public Enemy", was made very similar to Nelo Angelo's themes, ("Super") "Ultra Violet", to imply their relationship as father and son. Inverted in the sense that you don't even get to play as Sparda and hear his own theme (via the Legendary Dark Knight costume) until after you beat the game on Hard Mode. But even then, this means you have to play though the story twice just to experience this trope in-game, as the Wham Episode should have revealed the connection already.
  • There Was a Door: Trish introduces herself to Dante by riding a motorcycle through the entrance of his shop, damaging a portion of it. This ends up being taken in stride by the incredibly relaxed demon hunter.
    Dante: Whoa! Slow down, babe!
  • 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:
    • Aside from the series title sharing its name with Dante's demon-hunting business/shop, "Devil May Cry" also serves as the protagonist devil hunter's first reply to his customers' phone calls, as heard in the prologue cutscene:
      Dante: Devil May Cry... Sorry we closed at nine. Again no password, I can't seem to get any more business.
    • 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."
  • Unlockable Difficulty Levels: Apart from the series' recurring trend of unlocking the next difficulty mode upon clearing the previous one, this game also unlocks an "Easy Automatic" mode if you use specific recovery/revival times in the first missions.
  • 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.
  • Visual Title Drop: After the narrator tells the story of Sparda, the game starts with a blonde girl falling from the sky at night and later walking into "Devil May Cry", the devil-hunting company of Dante, in the only shining sign of the town with that name (which is also the logo of the game).
  • Voice of the Legion: Players initiating a new game from the title screen will be greeted by a growling male and chanting female voice uttering "DEVIL MAY CRY" in unison.
  • 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.
  • Weapon Tombstone: Dante plants the Sword of Sparda in Trish's memory after he believes she is dead. When she returns, he allows her to keep the weapon.
  • 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.
  • What the Hell Are You?: When Phantom meets Dante:
    Phantom: You, you're not just any ordinary human. What are you?
    [Dante says nothing, but Phantom briefly sees an image of Sparda in Dante's place]
    Phantom: The legendary Sparda!? It can't be...
    Dante: Close. I'm his son!
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The manual of DMC1 is the only source in the entire franchise where it was ever mentioned Dante is American, but in which specific state and city his office is located is never mentioned. Likewise, the fact that Dante is supposed to be American is never mentioned anywhere again in the following sequels and adaptations, possibly throwing a wrench on his supposed nationality as well. Further complicating this, Hideki Kamiya stated in an interview that the original profile for the character listed Dante as "A British man, stylish, doesn't smoke."
  • Whispering Ghosts: As you run around the halls of the Mallet Island manor, you'll suddenly hear a rash of whispering voices.
  • Woman Scorned: Gender inverted and later subverted when Dante learns that Trish, his guide to Mallet Island, is really working for Mundus and sends Nightmare to attack him in Mission 20. After its defeat, Dante saves her life but still does not take it well and he vows to kill her if they cross paths again. Trish had a significant change of heart after hearing this and decides to return the favor by betraying Mundus instead. She's Easily Forgiven by Dante and they become partners in the demon-slaying business ever since.
  • 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 Killed My Father: As hinted in the game's Tagline and mentioned in a conversation from the prologue, revenge against his mother's killer serves as Dante's motivator in Demon Slaying. Dante eventually learns and confirms Mundus was the one who murdered his mother and brother (although he also realizes his brother Vergil was actually still around at the time as Nelo Angelo), so when Dante confronts Mundus in the Final Boss battle, he says this line:
    Dante: Why my mother?
  • You Remind Me of X: Shortly before their deaths, Phantom and Griffon note that Dante reminds them of Sparda. The demon hunter then proclaims himself to be the Dark Knight's son.