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Video Game / Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening

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"This party's gettin' crazy! Let's rock!"
Dante: "So this is what they call a heartwarming family reunion, eh?"
Vergil: "...You got that right."

Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening is a Stylish Action Hack and Slash video game for the PlayStation 2, developed and published by Capcom in 2005. The game is the second Numbered Sequel in the Devil May Cry series after 2003's Devil May Cry 2, and is often considered one of the greatest games of all time.

Several years before the events of Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 2, a young and arrogant Dante is visited by a strange man named Arkham, who informs him that Dante's brother is looking for him. A great tower named Temen-ni-gru suddenly rises out of the ground soon after, unleashing hordes of demons upon the city. Dante, always ready for a fight, sets off to conquer the tower, encountering swarms of demons, monstrous bosses, a gun-toting lady who refuses to give him her name, and the mysterious Arkham himself, all coming to a final confrontation with his estranged twin brother Vergil.


Gameplay is a more advanced form of the combat from the previous games; Dante is able to wield a great number of both melee and ranged weapons, beginning with his trusty sword Rebellion and dual pistols Ebony and Ivory, and can execute dozens of moves to stylishly eliminate enemies. He also has access to a number of Styles that allow him to focus on certain aspects of his technique, such as evasive maneuvers or extra attacks.

Later in 2005, Capcom announced that they would release a "Special Edition" of the game that added more features and content — most notably the ability to play as Vergil. This Special Edition was released in early 2006.

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.


In February 2020, the game was ported over to the Nintendo Switch. However, rather than being a straight port like its predecessors, the Switch version of Devil May Cry 3 added new gameplay features under the exclusive "Freestyle" mode like Real-Time Style Switching and the Irregular Full Custom Weapon Switching, features that wouldn't be introduced until 4 and 5, as well as the addition of Local Co-Op Bloody Palace with Dante and Vergil, a first ever for the series.

This game was followed up by Devil May Cry 4 in 2008.

This game contains examples of:

  • Action Bomb: Hell Wraths carry organic bombs, which they detonate after receiving sufficient damage. The explosion deals heavy damage to both the player and other enemies, including the Wrath itself, who inevitably dies.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Every time you purchase an item, the price goes up. After five or so buys the price will freeze though.
  • Airborne Mook:
    • Bloodgoyles are flying enemies that come to life when blood touches one of their statues in Temen-ni-gru. They generally stalk Dante from up above, swooping down occasionally to attack.
    • The Fallen enemies are angelic-looking headaches that love to fly just out of reach and swing their explosive javelins around. A good taunt might persuade them to come within bashing distance, however.
  • Alien Blood: Some of the demons are made of and bleed sand.
  • Almost Kiss: Lady turns her head the other way when Dante seems to lean in for a kiss after their heart-to-heart. She probably wasn't very inclined to kiss a guy who just beat her in combat.
  • Alternate Character Reading: Vergil's katana, Yamato, is officially spelled as 閻魔刀 (meaning "Sword of the Enma") but is a homophone of 大和 (an old name for Japan, meaning "great harmony"), symbolizing his traditionalist view as opposed to Dante's Rebellion sword.
  • Already Undone for You: For most of the game, Dante tries to reach Vergil and Arkham who are already at the top of the tower, yet all obstacles and puzzles are untouched. Vergil and especially Arkham seem to know a great deal more about the Temen-ni-gru than Dante however, so it's possible that they found their own, safer way around.
  • Always Identical Twins: Dante and Vergil are twin brothers, distinguished only by their respective colour schemes (red for Dante, Blue for Vergil) and their different hair styles.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: In the finale, you fight [a blob-shaped Arkham in some kind of shallow pool of various shades of purple and pink with a lot of black spots thrown in (Said black spots are the eyes and mouths in the faces of the souls of the damned that make up the pool). The exploding dolphin things he summons as backups are also writhing in technicolor energy.
  • Anachronic Order: Though it was the third game released, Dante’s Awakening is actually the first in the timeline, focusing on Dante’s origins.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Since Dante's health gauge is slowly depleted because of the Haywire Neo-Generator, all enemies in Mission 12 drop Green Orbs to help him recover until the generator serves its purpose.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Lady. She is desperately trying to stop her father's schemes, but her blood is the final key he needs to break Sparda's seal and open the gates to the demon world because she's a descendant of the original maiden Sparda sacrificed to seal it in the first place.
  • Armed Legs: Vergil, and later Dante, obtain these as parts of the Beowulf Devil Arm.
  • Art Shift: The high-quality illustrations in this game look very different from the actual models used for the gameplay and cutscenes. At least the first and second games used the same style for the covers and models.
  • Artistic License – Physics: While the series does its level best to ignore physics completely, it does at one point toss a lampshade on the fact that Dante is too cool for the laws of motion. The description of Spiral's "trick shot" ability states that Dante ricochets the bullet off multiple surfaces to increase its speed, meaning he knows a local supplier of non-conservation-of-energy bullets.
  • Attack Its Weak Point:
    • The Gigapede's most vulnerable part is its head.
    • Attacking Beowulf's eyes causes him to flinch and be stunned for a short while.
    • Cerberus' heads are the most prominent parts of his body; but his front legs are also vulnerable and attacking them can cause him to collapse allowing you do massive damage. Each individual head can also be completely destroyed with enough damage and doing so locks out one of his attacks.
    • The Leviathan's Heart is basically an entire boss consisting of this, the heart and lungs you beat down being the weak point of the much larger Leviathan.
  • Audible Sharpness: Dante and Vergil are particularly fond of this trope, the slightest movements of Rebellion and Yamato before the twins' fight producing this high-pitched sound for dramatic effect.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Nevan sure is awesome, but ridiculously difficult to use effectively since its attacks are much less straightforward than all other Devil Arms, summoning bats that home in on enemies and doing singular AOE attacks instead of having combo strings you smack them with. It is also complex and rather unclear in terms of holding and releasing buttons.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Dante and Vergil at the conclusion of Mission 19.
    (Dante draws Ebony and Ivory to finish off Arkham but has Ebony swatted away. Vergil catches it.)
    Vergil: I'll try it your way for once.
    Dante: Remember what we used to say?
    (They assume the position and stack their guns on top of each other)
    (In unison): JACKPOT! *BANG*
  • Backtracking: Temen-ni-gru's lower levels apply this, but those were the well-done "environment change" versions of the trope.
  • Badass Biker: Lady's first appearance is on a motorcycle, and she proceeds to blow some demons away via the exhaust pipe as she leaves the scene.
  • Badass Boast: "Taste the Blood" and "Suffer" fit, by way of I Shall Taunt You.
  • Barehanded Blade Block:
    • Inverted by Dante after Vergil trounces him in their first duel; his Devil Trigger awakens and he throws a fierce punch at Vergil, which Vergil blocks with Yamato's edge.
    • Played straight by Jester when Vergil attempts to attack him.
    • In the final chapter, performed by both Dante and Vergil to each other simultaneously (leaving both with bleeding hands).
  • Battle in the Rain: The first Vergil battle has the twins fight on top of Temen-ni-gru while it's raining.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Inverted in the final fight, where Vergil picks up Sparda's other broadsword to use against the one Dante inherited.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The relationship between Dante and Lady.
    Dante: I'm beginning to think I've got rotten luck with women.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Agni and Rudra, a pair of serrated scimitars that he can combine into a Double Weapon for certain attacks.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Dante finally triumphs over Vergil, but is unable to save him from plunging into the abyss of the Demon World or from his own ambitions of power. Lady finally works up the courage to proclaim herself free of the name Mary and shoots her own father, avenging one parent by killing the other. (A conclusion made even more bittersweet in DMC5 when it's revealed this action haunted Lady for the rest of her life.) If you kill a hundred enemies during the credits, you get a cutscene where Vergil appears in the Demon World, with three glowing red eyes arranged like Mundus leering over him, before Vergil rushes into battle, screaming. If you've played the first game, you know how that battle ends poorly for him.
  • BFG: Kalina Ann, Lady's trademark rocket launcher, is nearly as long as she is tall.
  • Big Bad: In a curious application, Arkham is the villain who manipulated all the other characters to suit his own ambitions... but he cedes the actual Final Boss position to Vergil.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In:
    • In the climatic fight against Vergil, the Rebellion stabs the ground after it flies off from Dante's hand.
    • Agni and Rudra fall on their pointy ends after they are defeated by Dante.
  • Blade Brake: Lady uses the bayonet on her rocket launcher to keep herself falling off the tower at one point.
  • Bleed 'em and Weep: Happens in the intro of Mission 20. As Arkham falls from Hell to the top of the Temen-ni-gru tower, he is approached by Lady. He tries to talk her out of killing him, but she goes ahead and shoots him dead. Then she stumbles back and starts laughing and crying, in one of the saddest moments of the game. She's killed entire armies of demons up to this point, but it's still a shock to kill her father.
  • Blob Monster: Arkham is transformed into a hideous, amorphous blob when the powers of Sparda overwhelm him.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: Dante's Royal Guard style can block anything if properly done, including spikes, explosions, and electrified floors. Use it wrong, and Dante will take damage and the guard will be broken.
  • Blood Knight: Technically killing demons is his job, but Dante does seem to enjoy his work a little more than normal.
    Dante: Well, bring it on! I love this! This is what I live for! I'm absolutely crazy about it!
  • Book-Ends: The game begins and ends with Dante in his office, using the force of a kick to knock the phone into his hands so he can answer a call.
  • Boss Banter: Vergil taunts Dante a lot during their battles.
    "You are not worthy as my opponent."
    "Now I'm a little motivated!"
  • Boss Rush: Mission 18 consists of refights against every previous boss except Vergil and Lady. You're able to proceed and finish the level after defeating a few (any arrangement that ends up creating a ring on the monolith that you appear in front of after defeating anyone), but defeating them all rewards you with a Blue Orb Fragment.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Though she is often shown reloading in previous cutscenes, Lady plays this straight during Mission 16 when Dante picks a fight with her. Dante, of course, never has to reload during gameplay, but after shots of his shotgun does have to eject the empty casings at least. Most of the time.
  • Brick Joke:
    • 3 follows up on the "Jackpot!" brick from 1, with Vergil getting in on the action as he and Dante deal the killshot. The subtext is that Dante and Vergil started out in the demon slaying business together, and "Jackpot!" was something they liked to say.
    • After the Car Fu segment, Dante discards the handlebars of Lady's bike. One of the Game Clear artworks you can unlock is her holding them giving Dante a Death Glare while he walks away casually.
  • Bullet Catch:
    • Vergil's spinning Yamato move allows him to catch bullets mid-air and launch them back at Dante like a makeshift sling.
    • Dante catches one of Lady's bullets with his teeth and then spits it out.
  • Bullet Dancing: Jester loves this, especially during that time when he introduced himself. Dante shoots at Jester's feet when he's becoming annoying. The clown then breaks into the Charleston as he dodges the bullets. In the bonus boss fights against Jester, he does this whenever you attempt to shoot him, though after a few shots he's tired out and left wide open for some sword hits.
  • Button Mashing: "Crazy combos" are activated by button mashing during the execution of certain moves. All of them are variations of "hit it half-a-dozen times per second."
  • Cain and Abel: Dante chose to go with his human heritage, Vergil with his demonic, and the two never met peacefully again.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Vergil uses Beowulf's power to create gauntlets, bringing to mind that Nelo Angelo knocked Dante's sword out of his hands and almost defeated him with his hand-to-hand skills.
    • When the second fight with Vergil gets to its halfway point, Vergil does Dante's old weapon switch animation when pulling out Yamato.
    • At the end, when Lady sees Dante, she asks him if he is crying and he says, "Devils never cry," reminiscent of the words at the end of 1 and 2.
  • Cape Wings: Dante's Devil Trigger form with either Nevan or Rebellion does this with his coat.
  • Car Fu: Dante uses Lady's motorbike to drive up Temen-ni-gru's outer wall, falls towards it for a short distance, and then is besieged in midair by Blood-goyles. So he beats all of them up with the motorbike which explodes shortly after he lands, leaving only the handlebars.
  • Catch and Return: Vergil does this in a cutscene. That is, he catches and returns bullets, with his sword.
  • Charged Attack: The 'Hold' type, where Dante in his Gunslinger mode can charge his guns for extra damage. Beowulf in the tradition of fist-type Devil Arms can do this as well.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Lady, who goes toe-to-toe with hundreds of demons with nothing but a lot of guns.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Damned Chessmen are a common threat throughout the tower. In Mission 18, you finally square off with the entire chess board, king included.
    • The bells you see strewn throughout Temen-ni-gru. They are later involved in the ritual used to open the gate to the underworld.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Swordmaster is a style for those who like using Devil Arms. Sacrificing ranged damage for pure, brutal swordplay, hitting the Style button will allow you to perform a Devil Arm move, and can change up how a weapon functions. Leveling it up unlocks more moves.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Dante wears red. Vergil wears blue. Thus, you can tell them apart when it's raining and their hairstyles are the same.
  • Color Coded Timestop: When the Quicksilver Style brings enemies to a screeching halt, everything except for Dante has a reversed color filter.
  • Combat Tentacles: Soul Eaters (those luminous tentacled Personal Space Invaders) have these. Disturbingly enough, they always attack from behind, giggling and screaming, and when they snatch Dante up to drain his gauge, it looks rather wrong.
  • Combination Attack:
    • Dante and Vergil hack away at Arkham, then repeat with each other's swords, and then blast the hell out of him with a Wave-Motion Gun attack from Ebony & Ivory.
    • Dante can do this himself once he gets the Doppelganger style since the other copy would mimick his moves.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Boss Vergil stays in Devil Trigger mode far longer than player Vergil ever can, especially on harder difficulties. And once you knock him below half health, it lasts even longer.
  • Conflict Killer: The animosity between Dante, Vergil and Lady is toned down once Arkham's true intentions are revealed, as they all consider killing him to be the top priority. The conflict between Dante and Vergil picks up immediately after he is killed, as the latter still seeks the power of Sparda.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu:
    • In the final fight against Arkham, Dante fights him until he's down to half health. Then Vergil shows up, and suddenly you can't use the Devil Trigger or your style moves. This is because the game creates Vergil using the basic mechanics of the Doppelganger style. Since the style requires Devil Trigger to create the Shadow, the player can't use it during the fight. After beating Arkham, Dante and Vergil fight each other, and can once again use their Devil Triggers and style attacks.
    • The Agni and Rudra boss fight is a justified example: when one of the brothers is defeated, the survivor grabs the loser's sword and starts Dual Wielding, gaining access to a few combo attacks.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: This game is set before DMC1, yet the controls are significantly more elaborate in here, leaving Dante — by comparison — positively arthritic in the original.
  • Counter-Attack: Used with Royal Guard to completely nullify damage taken and drastically increase damage dealt.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Where you have to kill as many demons as possible as a timer winds down while the credits roll. If you kill 100 enemies before the end, you are rewarded with a secret scene where Vergil faces off against Mundus.
  • Creepy Centipedes: Gigapede, a demonic-like centipede that doesn't so much as flies to around certain parts of Temen-ni-gru as crawls through the air.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Doppelganger is the last style obtained by Dante over the course of the game, and summons a doppelganger of Dante on command to fight with him. While the extra Dante takes a load off your back (and even unlocks a 2-player mode), it forces you to use him frequently, causing it to become a hindrance in boss fights where dodging, enhanced swordplay, better ranged combat, or blocking would work better.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Dante, when impaled on his own sword by Vergil.
  • Cryptic Conversation: While it's not quite a conversation, Vergil's "might controls everything" speech kickstarted a whole bunch of interpretations.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Though the demon was already weak and blind from its battle with Dante, it's still impressive how Vergil manages to slay Beowulf in exactly one slash. He then proceeds to punch apart the demon's corpse.
  • Cutscene Incompetence:
    • Even if you beat Vergil on top of that tower without getting hit once, the cutscene makes it look like you were losing the whole time, with Dante panting and barely keeping up while Vergil calmly deflects most of his attacks. Then Vergil stabs Dante through the guts with his own sword.
    • In cutscenes, Dante never uses other equipment apart from the default Rebellion and Ebony and Ivory. Even if there are cutscenes wherein Dante demonstrates a new Devil Arm after acquiring them, they never appear again in other segments. Likewise, Dante and Vergil never use Devil Trigger in cutscenes except for the one where Dante acquires his.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Dante pulls off several moves and killshots in cutscenes that are nigh-impossible in gameplay (though there is one cutscene move that he can actually do in normal gameplay, surfing on downed enemies). Special mention goes to the various cutscenes where he travels down or up the side of Temen-ni-gru, usually slicing and shooting apart hordes of demons with tons of flashy moves that he can't quite pull off when you're controlling him (and that's not even mentioning the motorcycle).
    • Cutscenes turn the Yamato's Absurdly Sharp Blade factor up to eleven, making it seem like everything else dies of being in the same room with it even without showing a direct contact with the blade. This is demonstrated by Vergil when he jumps on the head of Beowulf, then after slowly sheathing his katana, the demon's face is sliced in half. There's also that time when Vergil lined up bullets from Dante's handguns, then tossed them back at him.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Switch between DMC1 and DMC3. 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 latter lets you remap the controls to your liking. Better yet, try going from 3 back to 1. Again thankfully, the HD collection remaps the controls of 1 to make them similar to the other games.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Dante and Vergil's parents were murdered by demons, while Lady has a supreme asshole of a father who murdered her mother and used her in a horrible plan to open the Hell Gate that Sparda closed.
  • Death by Origin Story: Kalina Ann, is killed by her husband in a ritual that was intended to give him demonic powers. Her daughter, Lady, became an Action Girl for the specific purpose of avenging her and ridding the world of all demons.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack:
    • The Royal Release is one risky Counter-Attack. With the proper timing, Dante can unleash a powerful punch. Mistime it otherwise, and it will just be a regular Release. Missing this attack completely can also make him briefly vulnerable to whiff punishes.
    • The Devil Trigger explosion qualifies too. If simply used, it's a teeny burst that mildly inconveniences enemies. If charged up fully, with a maxed-out DT gauge, it will One-Hit Kill every minor enemy in the game. However, using it this way leaves you with only a few seconds of Devil Trigger time, so you better hope you got them all.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • After an entire game of butting heads, Dante and Lady finally come to terms with each other after he beats her in proper combat.
    • Dante must defeat the Devil Arms as guardians of the tower before he can use them as weapons. Agni and Rudra in particular are very enthusiastic about this trope, practically begging Dante to take them with him after their defeat.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • The Hell Vanguard, the boss of Mission 2, reappears as a mere Elite Mook later on. Even if it loses a dedicated lifebar, it does gain a potential Devil Trigger ability.
    • Gigapede, while also losing the lifebar and one of its attacks (due to the cramped hallways it attacks you in), is otherwise not degraded; it just feels like it is because, again due to the location it attacks you in, it's inevitable that you will Attack Its Weak Point if you decide to fight it.
  • Denser and Wackier: While the game as a whole is darker than 1 and 2, Dante himself begins to showcase his now-trademark irreverent sense of humor in this game, likely as a response to 2 where he was constantly dead-serious. Compared to 1, where he mostly had a few one-liners, 3 features scenes such as Dante fighting off demons shirtless while eating pizza, riding a missile like it was a skateboard, and using a motorcycle like a set of nunchucks to fight demons while riding up the side of a tower.
  • Diegetic Switch: "Dante's Office (7 Hells Battle)" starts playing from Dante's jukebox and then becomes the battle music for the first mission.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Royal Guard. If you do manage to pull it off, though, it looks amazing. Using RG to cancel Spiral and Kalina Ann is also difficult but rewarding to master. To elaborate, the style lets you completely nullify damage by pressing block at the right instant, just as an attack hits you. This also boosts style rating, Devil Trigger energy, and lets you save power for monstrous counter-atttacks, but you'll have to memorise enemy attack cues and patterns to get the timing right.
    • Nevan seems all but useless at first, but when you actually master it, it will kick a lot of butt.
  • Difficulty by Region: The game is infamous for this. The Japanese release wasn't easy to begin with, but the initial Western release took the Japanese Hard mode and labeled it as the Normal mode.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Vergil doesn't view guns as weapons of a true warrior. He instead uses his Summoned Swords.
  • Doomed Hometown: Dante wrecks his shop with a sneeze in the second mission and it can't be accessed again for the rest of the game. Played for laughs, especially since the shop's been torn to hell by the previous mission and the sneeze is just the last straw.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: When Dante uses his Doppelganger style, he can create a single duplicate of himself. The duplicate will mirror Dante's movements and attacks, but the player can choose to increase the lag between the command inputs and the duplicate's response — or a second player can take control instead.
  • Double Entendre: Jester calling Temen-ni-gru a "thick shaft that causes women to shudder."
  • Double Jump: Air Hike makes its return, but it must be bought on three separate weapons for 20,000 Red Orbs each and isn't available at all for Cerberus or Nevan.
  • Driving Up a Wall: Dante drives a motorcycle up the side of Temen-ni-gru. On the way up he's attacked by a swarm of flying demons, so he fights them off in midair using said motorcycle as a club.
  • Dual Boss: Agni and Rudra are twin demons that are adept at fighting together. Defeating one of them before the other gives the remaining boss a power-up.
  • Dual Wielding: Dante and Vergil know how to fight with two swords simultaneously. The former does so with Agni and Rudra, and the latter with Yamato and Force Edge.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This is the first game with Styles, which work differently here than in later titles. In 3, only one Style can be used during a level and skills are acquired through grinding for experience. In 4 and 5, Styles can be switched during missions and skills can be bought before missions or at Divinity Statues. The Switch version adds Style Switching, which works similarly to 4 and 5, but keeps the original level grinding system.
  • Easier Than Easy: Heaven or Hell is really not as hard as it sounds. As long as you use your guns, it pretty much becomes "Press Shoot to Win mode."
  • Easter Egg: There is a two-player co-op mode, albeit under strict conditions: a second player can press Start on a spare controller whenever Dante uses the Doppelganger technique to control Dante's shadow. The same trick can also be used to control Vergil during the battle against Arkham.
  • Elemental Powers: All over the place with the Devil Arms, ranging from ice (Cerberus), to fire/wind (Agni & Rudra), to thunder (Nevan) and light (Beowulf).
  • Enemy Mine: Dante and Vergil put aside their hatred for each other and join forces in the final battle against Arkham.
  • Energy Weapon: Artemis shoots out lasers.
  • Establishing Character Moment: This game manages another one for the younger Dante in its first cutscene, just before the fighting starts — with multiple demons' scythes shoved through his torso and one of his handguns in easy reach... Dante grabs the slice of pizza right next to said handgun instead. He's that unconcerned about the demons and the various scythe blades in his body.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Devil May Cry 3 has first few missions seemingly taking place as the sun sets, the action in Temen-ni-gru happening at night, and the end credits during the following morning.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Dante leaves Leviathan's body by bursting out of its eye.
    • Beowulf had his left eye sliced out by Sparda in the past. Dante takes care of the right one after their battle.
  • Fallen Angel: The Fallen, which look like angelic creatures but have a disturbing demon face.
  • Fanservice:
    • Dante's primary outfit leaves his chiseled chest bared for all to see. One of his unlockable costumes goes even further and makes him shirtless.
    • The character artist specifically states in the Note of Naught artbook that coatless Vergil "was designed to give our women users huge nosebleeds."
    • Lady is a very attractive young woman who wears violet spats and so the camera makes sure you get a lot of looks at her legs and butt.
    • Nevan. The type of demon she is justifies this, but still, she says stuff like "Sugarrr", makes orgasmic sounds when she takes a hit, and kisses Dante to replenish her health.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: After Vergil stabs him, Dante does this. He promptly gets stabbed again with his own sword.
  • Finishing Move: Wild Stomp, a Gunslinger move that has Dante stomp on a downed foe and riddle them with bullets from Ebony and Ivory.
  • Flaming Sword: Agni is a fiery sword wielded alongside the wind sword Rudra.
  • Flash Step: The various "Trick" techniques by Vergil and "Air Trick" by Dante after maxing out Trickster Style. Vergil occasionally takes this to Teleport Spam levels in the second and third boss battles with him.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the opening narration, Lady mentions how her father used to tell her stories of Sparda's exploits. It turns out that said father, Arkham, is obsessed with obtaining Sparda's power to rule as a god.
    • The weird face-ball thing that Jester spawns has a red eye and a scarred face just like Arkham. And, for that matter, Jester's own heterochromia hints at his relation to Lady.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The introductory cutscene to every Mission incorporates the Mission number somewhere, often very briefly such as the 9 on a fallen 9mm shell case or a 20 in the clouds above the level. Looking at the stills for each cutscene in Theater mode will most likely reveal all of these instances.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Due to a (highly possible) memory leak issue, playing the game for an extensive amount of time could result in a Vergil player data leaking into all of Dante's save data, corrupting them almost entirely. All of Dante's Devil Arms and Style upgrades are gone (with the game incorrectly giving him Darkslayer Style, which is exclusive to Vergil), he is stuck T-Posing, and depending on how far you got with him on repeat playthroughs, then Dante's mission progress will be all messed up. The only way to counter this is to reset the game entirely in between missions if you want to continue or switch characters. Thankfully, this has been fixed for the Nintendo Switch version.
    • The PlayStation 3 release of the game also has, for unknown reasons, Kalina Ann's grapple not working most of the time, as well as the fact that the game will randomly crash on menus and cutscenes, forcing a hard reset of the console itself.
  • Game Mod: Apart from the various cosmetic mods, there's a Style Switching Mod for which gives you the ability to switch styles on the fly DMC4-style and makes the questionable PC port of this game run better. The Nintendo Switch port incorporates an official Style Switching feature into gameplay, as well as the ability to swap through all weapons on the fly with the right control stick. The option to play with the original fixed loadout for your style and weapons is also available.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A minor example. During the ending cutscene, Dante gives Lady her rocket launcher back. But then we have playable credits, where — if Dante had the rocket launcher equipped during the Final Boss — he can still use it. Despite Lady visibly wielding it alongside him.
  • Gangsta Style: How Dante holds Ebony & Ivory when firing and strafing. Also when he executes the Honeycomb Fire move, which somehow enables him to shoot faster.
  • Gate Guardian:
    • Cerberus is the guardian of the entrance of the Temen-ni-gru who prevents humans from getting in.
    • Agni & Rudra guard a specific door inside Temen-ni-gru to prevent further progress of anyone who got past Cerberus.
  • Giant Spiders: The Arachne are giant spiders with humanoid features. They were souls of female humans who transformed into monsters upon entering the netherworld.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Beowulf has a single glowing red eye which becomes more evident as he Turns Red.
  • A God Am I: Arkham, whose megalomania was so great that having his ass handed to him by both Dante and Vergil combined was not enough to shatter his delusion of invincibility, and he dies demanding to know why what he did was so wrong.
  • Go for the Eye: The other eye on Beowulf is his weak spot, as Sparda had permanently taken off the other years ago.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Vergil's slicked-back 'do is there to differentiate him from his twin, complete with two cutscenes showing him slicking it back after it gets messed up.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Lady has the scar over the bridge of her nose, while Arkham has the disfigured side of his face, which is actually seen moving along that side in a few cutscenes.
  • Goomba Springboard: "Jump Cancel" (jumping off enemies' heads, even in mid-air) is a mechanic for the series that is officially codified from this game, allowing you to keep yourself in the air for extended amounts of time. There's also a Secret Mission centered around this
  • Gun Fu: Dante's Gunslinger style and Lady's entire arsenal emphasize their proficiency with firearms. The two have a fight against each other in a cutscene that's basically Gun Kata.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Dante and Vergil are half-demon by Sparda's blood and half-human by Eva's.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Vergil will always canonically win the first fight against him, no matter how well the player does.
  • Healing Factor: Dante and Vergil take tons of damage that would kill normal human beings (notably, Lady shoots Dante in the face four or five times over the course of the story), yet shrug it off like it's nothing. This also comes into play during actual gameplay, where activating Devil Trigger slowly heals them.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Vergil decides to fight alongside Dante to defeat Arkham, who had manipulated them both to gain the power of their father Sparda. Immediately after the villain is defeated however, Vergil goes right back to fighting to the death with Dante over that same power.
  • Hellgate: Temen-ni-gru is more of a Helltower, but it is still a link between the Demon World with the Human World.
  • Hellhound: Cerberus is giant three-headed demon who looks like a dog, though in a twist he's associated with ice rather than fire.
  • Hellish Horse: Geryon is a demonic horse with limited control over the flow of time.
  • How We Got Here: The game's opening cutscene shows Dante and Vergil dueling at the top of Temen-ni-gru, with Vergil winning by apparently killing Dante. The first seven levels lead up to that point.
  • I Call It "Vera": While almost every weapon in the series has a proper name, Kalina Ann, Lady's rocket launcher, is special for being named after her murdered mother.
  • Idiosyncratic Combo Levels: This game's Stylish Ranks are: "Dope!", "Crazy!", "Blast!", "Alright!", "Sweet!", "SShowtime!!" and "SSStylish!!!". DMC3 is the one that started the inclusion SS and SSS ranks through the next games.
  • Idle Animation: Dante would scratch his head in annoyance, cross his arms, and tap his foot impatiently.
  • I'll Kill You!: Beowulf says this both times when he Turns Red.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Dante gets approximately eight scythe blades through his body in the first cutscene. He's not really bothered that much by them.
    • After their first duel, Vergil manages to stab Dante through the chest with both his own Yamato and Dante's own Rebellion.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: After Lady is beaten, she shoots several more times at Dante but is wide off the mark, probably as a result of having just been exhausted.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Alongside the fairly standard giant swords and demonic gauntlets, there is Cerberus, a three-pronged nunchuk made of ice, and Nevan, a literal electric guitar that summons bats and lightning.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Amongst many examples that could be given, in the intro, Dante both flips a billard table over and proceeds to shoot the cue ball, initiating an aerial game of pool to take place which knocks out a couple of demons when the balls hit their heads. At a later point, he also deflects bullets by shooting them out of their trajectory path, and there is one cutscene where he propels Rebellion through the air by shooting its pommel. This also becomes a gameplay mechanic during the battle with Lady, where Dante can block her pistol shots by shooting them out of the air with Ebony & Ivory.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Nevan, the scythe-equipped electric guitar... which sees more use in combat as a guitar than a scythe, shooting bats, sound waves, and electricity.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The game's cutscenes were filmed using motion capture, and if you find the behind-the-scenes videos of the recording sessions, you'll find that the actors (particularly Reuben Langdon for Dante) look very much like their characters.
  • "Instant Death" Radius:
    • Vergil with his Spiral Swords (only on Dante Must Die) difficulty), will lay on the hurt if you let Dante get hit by them.
    • Inverted with Beowulf, whose feathers of light will punish you for staying too far.
  • Instrument of Murder: Nevan, a guitar that shoots lightning, controls bats, plays loud enough to kill demons, and turns into a scythe.
  • Ironic Hell: As represented by all of the 7 Hells jailers:
    • Pride: Being the most basic jailer, Pride awaits the prideful, whose minds get full of themselves and think they are invincible.
    • Envy: Because they stand out with Leviathan's fluids as jailers not of sand, Hell Envies prey on the envious of how their hell is "unique" than the others, being in the stinking and infernal bowels of a hell beast.
    • Wrath: Carrying a bomb, they blow up the wrathful to show the consequences and chain reactions of violence and anger.
    • Lust: With great speed, they chase after the lustful, who lust and chase after what they can instinctively indulge themselves with.
    • Gluttony: Their blowing breath are meant to keep the gluttonous away from comfort and indulgence.
    • Sloth: They are able to teleport to catch up with the slothful, who do not improve themselves.
    • Greed: Because Pride, Lust, and Gluttony are root sins for Greed, Hell Greeds summon fellow jailers to help keep the greedy in place. Their massive coffin pillars are also wide range deterrents to sweep away the greedy, which implies that they make up a massive portion of hell.
  • Is That What He Told You?: Inverted. Vergil uses this line on Lady after she confronts him in Mission 13 over Arkham supposedly being possessed.
  • It Was a Gift: Yamato and Rebellion to Vergil and Dante, passed down by Sparda. Their amulets, on the other hand, were passed down by Eva.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dante begins the game as a cocky and arrogant self-centered jerk clearly only in it to show up his brother. While his demeanor doesn't change hugely by the time things hit the fan, it becomes clear that his reason for fighting changed to something far nobler.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Envies are functionally identical to the most basic Prides except for their nigh-immunity to launches and knockbacks.
  • The Lady's Favour: Lady handing Kalina Ann to Dante with the request that he "free" her father is this minus the romance angle.
  • Lag Cancel:
    • Moving just a fraction while using the shotgun cancels its reloading time, and jumping or rolling cancels the (longer) reload time on the Grenade Launcher.
    • Cancelling short hops and rolls into the guarding animation of the Royal Guard style is a very effective defensive tactic.
  • Life Drain: One of Nevan's attacks when she gets low on health is to rush Dante and attempt to give him a Kiss of Death.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: Shows up in several levels, with Dante having to destroy certain mirrors in addition to moving them around.
  • Light Is Not Good: Beowulf and the Fallen enemies are light-elemental and have angelic themes, but they're actually demons.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Beowulf is a towering behemoth who is surprisingly agile and loves to beat you down with nothing more than his claws.
    • The Quicksilver style causes Dante to slow time to a crawl, allowing you to beat on your foes with utmost impunity. The sheer usability of the style, combined with its relatively easier-to-sustain cost - constant drain of the DT Gauge - means that Dante can spam this all he wants, and experiment with new strategies.
  • Logical Weakness: A mechanic unique to this game is that almost all of the bosses and even a few enemy types are weak to the elements used by Dante's weapons; if they are hit by attacks from said weapons, they take more damage - usually indicated by a visual cue pertaining towards their weakness.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Gunslinger is a crowd-controlling style that uses ranged weaponry. While the lack of any up-close-and-personal moves is a weakness, the sheer power your guns have more than makes up for it. Using the style requires a good sense of surrounding, as all the style focuses around using your guns to hit multiple opponents. Leveling it up unlocks even more solutions for enemies ganging up on you.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Kalina Ann's "Hysteric" move sprays a cluster of missiles.
  • Made of Iron: Both the Sons of Sparda have a massive Healing Factor to explain this, but Lady also manages to shrug off some serious damage (most notably being stabbed in the leg with her rocket launcher's enormous bayonet and twisted around) despite being entirely human. When you fight her as a boss, she's just as durable as any of the demon bosses.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Pretty much the entire tower of Temen-ni-gru, which was basically built to be as demonic as possible. But the most appropriate example is in one of the hallways. You thought those wall-saw-blades were annoying during fights when they were on the walls?.
  • Marathon Boss: Vergil at the end of 3 is this, at least the first time. If you don't deal him enough damage when his guard is open (which is not often), they will be nullified quickly since he heals when in Devil Trigger. Of course, he is even less open when his health is low.
  • Meaningful Name: Yamato and Rebellion, the keepsake swords of Vergil and Dante. The former is a Japanese term referring to the people and traditional nationalistic spirit of Japan, and in the past to the nation itself. It fits with Vergil's aesthetic and commitment to tradition and power, while the latter is more representative of Dante's resistance to said commitment.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Between Dante, Vergil, and Lady after Mission 13, until Arkham shows up and forces them all to work together.
  • Mercy Mode: Once you die three times, you unlock Easy mode.
  • Metal Scream: The cutscene for gaining Nevan (which makes a lot of sense, really) along with the music of "Taste The Blood"
    "The flinch in your eyes calls your bluff! Feel free to die when you've had enough!"
    "Useless cause is breaking your back! Your life will end when you attack!"
    "Make your move, make your stand, make the win, like you can!"
    "See the war, see me rule, see the mirror, you'll see a fool!"
  • Minimalist Cast: Discounting the bosses, who are fought once and killed with very little impact on the story, there are only four major characters in total: Dante, Vergil, Lady and Arkham.
  • Mirror Boss:
    • Though Vergil's Yamato moveset shares no similarities with Dante's Rebellion, the two battle on perfectly equal ground regardless. In the second duel, Vergil does use moves with Beowulf that Dante can use when he picks up the gauntlets later. In the third duel, Vergil wields Force Edge alongside his Yamato, which allows him to pull off, at the very least, a Helm Breaker-to-Stinger combo very similar to Dante's moves.
    • The Doppelganger boss is a living shadow that takes Dante's form and can mimic the hero's sword attacks and Trickster skills.
  • More Dakka: Upgrading the Gunslinger style lets you shoot faster in general, plus you can use Kalina Ann's Hysteric move. Also, the Artemis has multi-target-lock.
  • Morph Weapon: Nevan, the electric guitar Devil Arm, can morph into a sickle when swung.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Slow. Motion. Pizza. Eating. As well the most epic instance of putting on a coat ever.
  • Mundane Utility: The Steel Soul is said to contain the brave soul of an immortal and invincible hero. Its in-game purpose? To open ONE door.
  • Nemesis Weapon: Dante's sword Rebellion and Vergil's katana Yamato used to belong to their father, Sparda. The two twins are bitter enemies.
  • Nintendo Hard: The initial Western release removed the Easy mode and the other difficulties all ranked down in name to compensate; so Normal mode was actually the Hard mode from the Eastern release. When the Special Edition was released later, the difficulties were kept the same as the Japanese release. As the Western "Hard" difficulty had no analogous equivalent in the Japanese version, it was given the new title "Very Hard" in Special Edition.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Jester, introduced as a nuisance to Dante, is later revealed to be Arkham and the masterminded behind the Mêlée à Trois between Dante, Vergil, and Lady.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Lady falls several dozen stories, then is caught by the ankle with no ill effect.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Dante and Vergil have bright blue eyes. They are part demon and have powers attributed to their demonic heritage.
  • Offhand Backhand:
    • Dante does this in many forms in his intro. Some notable ones include kicking a mook that is being dragged with him because said mook's scythe is stuck in him and another blade by cutting down a ceiling fan onto the mooks below using a scythe blade lodged in his chest. All that and he's just walking over to his jukebox.
    • Vergil pulls an incredibly badass one of these on a Hell Vanguard, delivering an inhumanly fast Diagonal Cut with Yamato.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting:
    • The second and third battles with Vergil feature battle music that ends in a foreboding chant.
    • Also, the song "Stage Music 9 (Demon World) by Tetsuya Shibata begins with nothing but such chanting.
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: In Heaven or Hell mode, everyone dies in one hit - the player, enemies, even bosses.
  • One to Million to One: Nevan teleports across her room/battle arena by dissolving into bats.
  • One-Winged Angel: In addition to Devil Trigger as usual, Arkham initially manages to take on a form identical to Sparda at his full power... before the power corrupts him and he becomes a giant blob monster instead.
  • Our Souls Are Different:
    • The souls of defeated demons turn into Devil Arms/combat Styles for use by whoever gets them.
    • In DMC1, devils are pretty much referred to as having no souls at all to speak of. The same concept is said about humans that "become devils" in 3.
  • Painful Transformation: Dante howls in pain during his first chronological Devil Trigger usage, but never does so again during subsequent uses.
  • Palette Swap: Vergil fights a red copy of himself in 3: Special Edition, instead of Dante.
  • Parrying Bullets: Dante usually prefers to block enemy fire by shooting it, but Vergil can deflect bullets by spinning his katana.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Dante to his jukebox in the beginning, although he does leave a dent in it. Later, he needs to operate a machine to open the cage containing the next plot coupon. The machine's key is actually an ornamental spear. So he stabs the machine with the spear and, when nothing happens, kicks it. It works.
  • Planet Heck: The endgame levels are set in the Demon World.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Each weapon that Dante obtains (with the exception of Beowulf, which to be fair is just armored gauntlets and boots) is introduced by him playing around with it in a manner that shows he is incredibly skilled with it, from masterfully pulling off sick spins with Cerberus to skillful slashes with Agni & Rudra and managing to pull off a quick one-man show with Nevan. Supplemental materials state that this is one of Dante's canon superpowers. Upon coming in contact with a tool or weapon, he is instantly able to wield said object with absolute mastery. Even in ways it wasn't intended for.
  • Power at a Price: The Haywire Neo-Generator locks Dante in Devil Trigger mode for the majority of Mission 12, but at the cost of slowly depleting his HP.
  • Power Fist: Beowulf, when slain, relinquishes light-empowered gauntlets and boots.
  • The Power of Rock: Nevan's Devil Arm is an electric guitar which Dante can play to summon bloodthirsty bats.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The Super costumes grant infinite Devil Trigger (with the exception of Devil Trigger explosions, which does use up the gauge) and are acquired by beating Dante Must Die mode. Then there's the Legendary Dark Knight/Sparda version, which removes even that limitation on Devil Trigger explosions.
  • Rank Inflation: Style rank combos don't cap out at S; they cap out at SSS.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: The "Hyper Fist" move of the Beowulf Devil Arm throws blinding-fast punches at enemies.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: This has technically always been part of the series, but this entry allows Dante to swap between two specifically-chosen Devil Arms and firearms, truly amping up the possible style combinations.
  • Recurring Boss: Vergil is battled three times throughout the game, each marking a convenient end of an "act" of the story.
  • Recurring Riff: Bits of "Devils Never Cry", the main theme, tend to work their way into music for battles or cutscenes involving Vergil.
  • Reduced to Dust: Most of the demon mooks dissolve into sand upon defeat, particularly the Hell types.
  • Retcon:
    • In 1, Trish remarks that Dante "lost a mother and brother to evil twenty years ago." This has Dante encounter his brother a decade or so after Eva's death, and Vergil's status as an antagonist is very questionable.
    • Dante's speech to Trish in 1 implies that he and Vergil never actually knew Sparda, and all the twins had to go by were the stories Eva would tell them of him. Vergil apparently reminds Dante of Sparda, but the kind of guy that Vergil is just makes that comparison mind-boggling.
      Dante: My mother always used to tell me that my father was a man who fought for the weak. He had courage and a righteous heart.
    • The name "Devil May Cry" came from Enzo Ferino's testimony in the handbook (in reference to Dante: "He glares at a guy, and even the devil may cry!") but this game changed it to the Title Drop by Lady ("Even a devil may cry when he loses a loved one").
    • In 1, Trish was the first to know about Dante's quest for revenge. In the manga for the third game, the Mad Hatter and White Rabbit (and by extension, Arkham) knew as well.
    • In DMC1, Force Edge was originally a memento handed down to Dante by his father. DMC2 changed the sword to Rebellion and Force Edge was stuck in the Demon World in DMC3 until Dante takes it back with him in the end.
  • Sadly Mythtaken:
    • Beowulf, a human folk hero from Denmark/Germanic myth, is reimagined as a giant vaguely lion-looking light demon with four wings, a scorpion tail, claws and talons, akin to Pazuzu or even some physical depictions of Beowulf's greatest nemesis Grendel.
    • Cerberus, known for being the three-headed attack dog of the Underworld in Classical Mythology, is an ice elemental, making him more of a Mythology Upgrade to his Divine Comedy counterpart.
    • Geryon, in Greek mythology, was a hideous giant that looked like three men fused into one. In Dante's Inferno, he is a serpent-like creature with wings and a human face. There's never been a depiction of him as a horse, though the Greek version was a horse owner, so it's not entirely without precedence.
    • Agni and Rudra are no longer the Hindu gods of fire and the storm respectively, but instead sentient scimitars wielded by headless brutes. While Rudra in Hindu mythology does have a secondary rubric in storms (and thus connected to winds), his primary shtick is as an archer. The Hindu god of wind is Vayu.
  • Sand In My Eyes: In the game's final cutscene before the credits, Dante starts to cry over the loss of his brother. When Lady notices, he quickly replies that "It's only the rain."
  • Schizo Tech: Temen-ni-Gru displays the "clockpunk" variant of Steampunk very well, having elevators and monorail trams despite having been built two millennia ago and not touched until its unsealing in the present day; then again, it was built by demons.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: Sparda's power, symbolized by the Force Edge sword, has been locked deep in the Demon World. Acquiring it is both Vergil and Arkham's main objective.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Lady ends up killing Arkham at the beginning of Mission 20.
  • Sequel Escalation: Prequel, technically, but the moves are flashier, the controls are better, and the stakes are sky-high.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: Agni and Rudra take the form of handsaw-like blades when defeated.
  • Seven Deadly Sins:
    • The game's most common enemies are called Hell, followed by the name of a sin: Hell Prides, Hell Wraths, Hell Envies, etc.
    • The demon guardians are all related to a separate sin themselves through expression of their personality or powers. Cerberus: Pride, Agni & Rudra: Greed, Leviathan: Gluttony, Nevan: Lust, Beowulf: Wrath, Geryon: Sloth, and Doppelganger: Envy.
  • Sex Is Violence: The boss battle with Nevan. The pre-fight cutscene looks more like a prostitute propositioning a john in a brothel, she taunts Dante by calling him "sugar", makes noises that sound like she's climaxing whenever she takes a hit, can replenish her health by kissing Dante and after being defeated compliments him while he holds her in a lover's embrace.
  • Shared Unusual Trait: Lady and Arkham have heterochromia, which indicates that they're related, and that relation pretty much is why she is even there. Similarly, Jester and the moon face in his boss fights also having heterochromia foreshadows his relationship to Arkham. The moon face even has similar burn scars to Arkham.
  • Shielded Core Boss:
    • Cerberus is covered in ice armor over his body that needs to broken through to attack his body parts, which he'll restore after at least one ice covering is fully destroyed with some time.
    • Leviathan's Heartcore is encased in a hard shell that opens up for a short time when one of two adjacent organs is destroyed and before it regenerates.
    • Nevan has an electrical shield that drops when all of the bats surrounding her are destroyed. And then you must instantly attack her at least once or else she'll immediately regenerate the shield to full.
  • Shirtless Scene: The first mission has Dante fight without his jacket. This outfit can be unlocked later on.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Kalina Ann is atrocious about this. Its rockets explode automatically after a short ways from Dante even if there's nothing to hit!
  • Shoryuken: One of Beowulf's moves is named Rising Dragon. Curiously, though, Dante only shouts "Rising Dragon!" for a different move.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The achievement in the HD version for defeating Arkham is "Asylum"; it's possible that the character was originally named after said asylum. Additionally, Jester was originally going to be named after The Joker.
    • The series' Theme Naming borrows heavily from The Divine Comedy.
      • Dante - Writer and main character of The Divine Comedy.
      • Vergil - Dante's guide through Hell and Purgatory that was based on a real Roman poet Publius Vergilius Maro.
      • Lady/Mary - Refers to the Catholic Madonna ("Our Lady" in Italian), otherwise known as the Virgin Mary.
  • Sibling Team: Dante and Vergil against Arkham in the second half of the penultimate Boss Battle of 3. It doesn't last for long...
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Lampshaded by Dante. He's getting sick of it.
    Dante: Why do I gotta take the heat for my father?
  • Soft Reboot: This was the first game to be fully directed under Hideaki Itsuno's watch, and as such, it features plot points that contradict or retcon those from DMC1, most notably the revisioning of Vergil's character.
  • Spam Attack: Crazy Combos — some of Dante's weapons allow him to rapidly pummel a foe with high-speed attacks instead of the normal finisher.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: Vergil will deflect Dante's bullets with Yamato if he's not being distracted.
  • Sprint Shoes: Dante's Devil Trigger has alternate forms and buffs depending on the currently-equipped weapon. While both Rebellion and Cerberus increase Dante's movement speed in Devil Trigger, Cerberus provides a faster boost than the former.
  • Stance System: Dante's Styles, chosen at the beginning of missions or swapped out at Divinity Statues.
  • Standard Power-Up Pose: When Dante enters his Devil Trigger form, he tends to strike a pose like this.
  • Start of Darkness: A decade before for Vergil, with the game showing how it turns out.
  • Sticks to the Back:
    • Vergil almost averts this entirely, as he always carries Yamato's scabbard in his left hand, but then he has to go and pick up Force Edge in the final battle, which does this.
    • Though Dante's weapons have a habit of doing this in the series, there are actually some straps on his default costume that look as if they manage to hold weapons like Rebellion and Cerberus.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Arkham almost states the trope word for word as he walks off to deal with Lady at the beginning of Mission 4.
    "A storm is approaching."
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Obviously with Dante and Vergil as they are identical twins, but this becomes really noticeable when Vergil is caught in the rain and his hair is slicked down just like Dante's.
    • If the Legendary Dark Knight costumes are any indication, Dante and Vergil inherit their similar looks from their father Sparda.
  • Super Mode: Devil Trigger, which Dante and Vergil both have, recovers their health and boosts their defense and attack power.
  • Sword Beam: Rebellion's Drive move sends these out.
  • Sword Sparks: Most often when Dante and Vergil clash. In the first battle, the brothers lock swords so hard that not only do sparks fly, their weapons start glowing red-hot from the sheer friction being produced.
  • Teleport Spam: Vergil is a fan of this in the second and third battles with him. He really starts pulling out these stops when low on health in the third battle.
  • That Man Is Dead: In the game's final chapter, Arkham demands "Mary" to help him. Lady responds by proclaiming that Mary died long ago, and her name is now Lady, followed by emptying her entire gunload on her father.
  • Theme Naming: The Seven Hells are named after each of the seven deadly sins.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Dante cuts off Beowulf's remaining eye by throwing the Rebellion right at his face.
  • Title Drop: "Devil May Cry" is the name of Dante's demon-hunting business, but though Dante has a habit of dropping the phrase "Devils never cry" Once an Episode, it's not until the end of this game where Lady tells Dante in response to that, "Even a devil may cry when he loses a loved one." Chronologically, this would be the phrase's first appearance.
  • Trying Not to Cry:
    • After Lady shoots and kills Arkham, she breaks down into tears. Before the cutscene ends, she notes that she was not expecting to cry this hard and tries to recover.
    • Dante sheds a single tear during the final cutscene before the credits, but stops himself from showing any further display of emotions because Lady is watching him.
  • Turns Red:
    • Cerberus literally turns red when you attack more than one of his heads at once or his health drops low enough, becoming stunned less often and attacking more frequently.
    • Agni or Rudra become more vicious once the other twin has been slain, attacking with both swords.
    • Nevan's bat shield requires more hits to be destroyed when she gets low on health. She also gains access to a kiss attack that heals her.
    • Beowulf gets faster and uses light-based attacks once his health has been whittled.
    • During the final fight against Vergil, bringing his HP down to a certain threshold would make his Devil Trigger form last longer than usual.
  • The Unfought: Before the final battle with him, Arkham appears taking on the form of a fully-powered up Sparda, but before the battle actually commences, he loses control and morphs into a Blob Monster. The Sparda form is never fought.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • In the form of a "Special Edition" that renamed the difficulties, added the Bloody Palace gauntlet mode, a Turbo mode that sped the game up, three successive boss battles with Jester, and Vergil as a playable character.
    • 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.
    • Taken a step further with the Nintendo Switch port, which adds a Free Style mode that allows Dante to freely swap between Styles and gives full, unlimited switching between every single gun and Devil Arm in the game. This version also adds unrestricted, local 2-player co-op in the Bloody Palace, with one player as Dante and the other as Vergil.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: This game started the trend of obtaining weapons and/or powers based from defeated bosses. In Dante's case, it's either an afterthought, or the boss willingly offers their power after acknowledging him as a worthy opponent. On the other other hand, Vergil intentionally steals Beowulf's power after killing him.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Through most of the game, Vergil acts as an Aloof Big Brother and Evil Twin to Dante, remaining menacing and softspoken even as he shoves a katana into Dante's gut. He then tries to open the portal to the Demon World with the Perfect Amulet and his own blood. When that fails since Lady's blood is also needed, something Arkham left out on purpose, Vergil's composure cracks.
      Vergil: Why isn't this working?!
    • Likewise, Arkham after he's defeated by Dante and Vergil and left severely wounded. He comes across his daughter, Lady, and rants about he should have the power of a demon and that what Sparda did was no different from his actions (namely, sacrificing a human woman. However, Sparda did it out of reluctance since he loved his sacrifice, and she went with it willingly and it was for the good of mankind. Arkham did it purely for his own selfish ends). He begs Lady to help him, and she responds (much to his shock) by putting a bullet in his head.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • Cerberus, the game's first proper boss battle after the Hell Vanguard, is no pushover, as he's fought at the end of Mission 3, when the player has limited health, little to no upgrades/items, and no Devil Trigger yet. Worse yet, recklessly attacking Cerberus will cause him to activate his Turns Red phase early, which can easily tear an early-game player apart.
    • If Cerberus didn't send the message, Agni & Rudra will as they're the game's first Dual Boss, fought at the end of Mission 5 when a player likely still has limited health, little upgrades, and still no Devil Trigger, and once one of them is beaten the other whips out an even stronger moveset via Dual Wielding, making it clear this where the game stops holding your hand.
  • Wham Episode: Mission 13. Jester is Arkham, and he's been playing everybody like a violin from the beginning. He steps in after Dante and Vergil are too weak from their prior battle to stop him, using their blood and Lady's to undo the final seal needed to open the portal to the Underworld so he can claim Sparda's power for himself.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: Hell Wraths. Stay too close to them after damaging them enough and they'll explode.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Damned Chessmen all team up in Mission 18, overseen by a king piece that is difficult to defeat with everything else swarming around it, but if you do so will take out the whole set.
  • The Worf Effect: The Hell Vanguard is fought as a boss by Dante. But when that very same Vanguard shows up in Vergil's first appearance, he just kills the demon in one cut.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Dante has two: first to Lady, serving to show his own Character Development that she brought out of him; second to Vergil, to show the culmination of this development, and just how serious he's being right now.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Vergil attempts to dispatch Arkham once the door to the final lock has been opened. Unfortunately for him, Arkham anticipated this and used it to his advantage to manipulate Lady and catch Vergil off-guard later.
  • You Remind Me of X: Nevan comments how Dante reminds her of Sparda, but more in the flirting fashion.
  • Your Head Asplode: Happens to Cerberus whenever you damage one of his heads enough. The death of one head prevents him from using a specific attack, but destroying all three is required to kill the demon.

Alternative Title(s): Devil May Cry 3


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