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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.

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 techniques, such as evasive maneuvers, defensive maneuvers, or extra attacks with his melee and ranged weapons.

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.

Aside from the main game, there are also supplementary materials and spin-offs for Devil May Cry 3, such as a two-volume Manga prequel published in 2005, and a 2007 pachislot machine that uses the in-game assets.


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 and its spin-offs contain examples of:

  • Ability Required to Proceed: In Mission 14, a white-flamed Combat Adjudicator blocks your way to the main path, ensuring the player to pick up and use the Beowulf nearby to destroy it.
  • Achievement Mockery:
    • The game has a mild example of this on the completion screen for Easy difficulty.
      Prequel doesn't mean you can be a newbie.
    • While the game compliments players for SS ranking all missions on Normal and Hard, Very Hard (Special Edition) and Dante Must Die instead reward them with biting remarks:
      Very Hard: All this, and you didn't break the controller!
      Dante Must Die: Man, you need to get out more.
  • 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.
  • Action Insurance Gag: When the demon attack on the city destroys Dante's shop at the start of the game, he taunts the involved demons by shouting "I hope you all have enough to cover all of this!"
  • 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.
  • Air-Dashing: Dante's Trickster Style grants him the ability to perform a dash in the air. This is manifested as a red, circular incantation that he bounces off of.
  • Airborne Mook:
    • Blood-goyles 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.
  • All Myths Are True: The legend of Sparda became an In-Universe tale. As Lady narrates it in the prologue, she originally thought that it was just a story told by her father, then she realized that the legend is actually true when she personally met the two sons of Sparda.
  • 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 identical twin brothers, distinguished only by their respective colour schemes (red for Dante, blue for Vergil) and their different hair styles.
    • Agni and Rudra are twin living demon swords that have identical designs, including their headless bodies. They are also color-coded; Agni is orange-themed while Rudra is turquoise-themed, fitting for their respective fire and wind powers.
  • 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.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: For some reason, the Tokyopop translation of the manga has Dante drinking beer instead of tomato juice. Apparently, a fondness for tomato juice is too quirky a trait for Dante to have.
  • Anachronic Order: Though it was the third game released, Dante’s Awakening is actually the first in the timeline, focusing on Dante’s origins.
  • Animated Armor: The Dullahans are animated armor sets with buzzsaw-edged shields.
  • 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.
  • Armed Legs: Vergil, and later Dante, obtain these as parts of the Beowulf Devil Arm alongside a pair of Power Fists.
  • Art Shift: The high-quality character illustrations in this game look very different from the actual models used for the gameplay and cutscenes. At least the first game used the same style for the covers and models.
  • Artistic License – Physics: While the series does its best to ignore physics completely, it does at one point mention how Dante is too cool for the law of conservation of momentum. The description of Spiral's "Reflector" skill states that Dante ricochets the bullet off nearby surfaces to increase its speed and deal maximum damage, even if collisions of that kind should've reduced the kinetic energy.
  • 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's weapons are particularly fond of this trope; the slightest movements of Rebellion and Yamato before the twins' fight produce high-pitched sounds for dramatic effect. It's jarring for Rebellion because it isn't drawn from a sheath unlike Yamato.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Nevan is surely awesome, but ridiculously difficult to use effectively since its attacks are less straightforward or slower than all other Devil Arms; summoning bats that home in on enemies and doing singular Area of Effect attacks instead of having combo strings you smack them with. It is also complex and rather unclear in terms of holding and releasing buttons, and most of its attacks involve moving the left stick in a precise direction (not just forth or back as with other weapons). In the middle of a fight, Dante's position is usually compromised if he's surrounded while charging Nevan, yet constantly moving around makes inputting controls quite tricky.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
    • Lady and Dante have a back-to-back shooting moment against the demons that surround them in the opening cutscene of Mission 9.
    • Dante and Vergil pull this one against a huge blob-shaped Arkham at the conclusion of Mission 19. As Dante's Ebony is swatted, Vergil catches it and they do a synchronized, flashy gun-spinning sequence ending with the two back-to-back, with Vergil holding Ebony sideways over Dante's Ivory, forming a 90-degree angle and tossing off a one-liner as they blast their enemy.
      (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 variants that change something in the environment and/or open a path to a new area.
  • Badass Boast: "Taste the Blood" and "Suffer" fit, by way of I Shall Taunt You.
  • Balance Buff: The properties of Dante's Stinger are mixed from the best parts of its previous versions; it has the fast dashing thrust animation and long distance from 1, combined with the heavy knockback from 2. It's a huge step up over the slower and clunky version from the previous game.
  • Barehanded Blade Block:
    • Inverted by Vergil after he trounces Dante in their first duel; Dante's Devil Trigger awakens and he throws a fierce punch at Vergil, which Vergil blocks with Yamato's edge, causing Dante's hand to bleed as the latter attempts to move the Yamato away.
    • Played straight by Jester clapping his hands to catch the Yamato when Vergil attempts to attack him.
    • In the opening cutscene of Mission 20, Vergil attempts to deliver a vertical downward slash to Dante via the Force Edge. In retaliation, Dante pulls the same attack with Rebellion, and the twins simultaneously catch each other's swords with their off hands. Granted, those hands bleed profusely, but these are the sons of Sparda.
  • Battle in the Rain: The first Dante vs. Vergil battle has the twins fight on top of Temen-ni-gru while it's raining. In true over-the-top form present in the series, the rain serves as a handy visual of how fast the Sons of Sparda are; their blades are moving so quickly they are creating a dry bubble around the two as their swords swat away every individual raindrop.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Inverted in the final fight, where Vergil picks up the Force Edge, Sparda's other broadsword, to use against Dante who mostly fights using a broadsword, particularly the Rebellion which he inherited from Sparda. In the actual boss battle, Vergil starts fighting almost exactly like Dante, going from a Glass Cannon to a full-fledged Perfect-Play A.I., but the cutscenes make it evident that Dante was far superior with broadswords.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: This game introduces Lady as a potential love interest for Dante, but their relationship starts off vitriolic because she initially doesn't trust him due to his demonic nature. When Arkham has been dealt with in the end, they become business partners in demon-slaying, but not an Official Couple.
    Dante: I'm beginning to think I've got rotten luck with women.
  • Belly Mouth: The Fallen normally appear to be angels with six wings; two on their back, outstretched, two covering (or acting as) their legs, and two acting as arms, the latter wings hold a divine sword and act as a shield, protecting the Fallen from attacks. You can break their shield-wings to reveal a grotesque belly mouth, which, aside from looking pretty horrifying, also serves as the angel's weak spot.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Agni and Rudra, a pair of serrated scimitars that Dante 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:
    • Dante can acquire the colossal Lahti L-39 anti-tank rifle called Spiral. Although it deals significant damage, it has a slow firing rate and a noticeable recoil.
    • Kalina Ann, Lady's trademark rocket launcher with a rather large bayonet attached to it, is nearly as long as she is tall. She temporarily gives it to Dante after their fight, hoping that it could help him defeat Arkham.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: In a curious application, Arkham and Vergil only joined forces to Out Gambit each other, but Arkham is the villain who manipulated all the other characters to suit his own ambitions to open the portal to Hell and then get rid of anyone who can stop him from getting Sparda's power. Unfortunately for him, he cedes the actual Final Boss position to Vergil.
  • Bizarrchitecture: In the Netherworld, the Lost Souls Nirvana is a pristine white version of M.C. Escher's Relativity stairways. You get to walk up, down and sideways to find gateways leading to the boss battles.
  • 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 when their respective demons are damaged enough and after they are defeated by Dante.
    • In the final battle, the Force Edge falls on its pointy end twice; first when it lands from the portal, and second when it's knocked off from Vergil's hand in the aftermath.
  • 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.
    Lady: Here I thought I wasn't gonna cry.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage:
    • Dante's Royal Block skill can negate anything if properly done, including explosions, traps, and giant demons clawing at him. Mistimed blocks can break, causing Dante to take damage.
    • The Fallen can use their wings as shields to negate your attacks, but they can still be broken if damaged enough times.
  • Blood Magic: Arkham used the blood of Dante, Vergil, and Lady to open up the portal to the demon world. He needs this because the portal was sealed by Sparda (Dante and Vergil's father) using his own blood and the blood of a mortal priestess, Lady's ancestor.
  • Bookends: 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 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; she is never seen reloading her Kalina Ann rocket launcher.
    • Dante never has to reload during gameplay, but after firing shots from his shotgun, the trope is subverted as he does have to eject the empty casings at least most of the time.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Completing the Very Hard difficulty or Bloody Palace mode unlocks the standard "Super Costume" for your character. It grants unlimited Devil Trigger meter, but certain abilities that ordinarily consume the DT gauge still drain it regardless.
    • In the Special Edition, completing the "Must Die" difficulty gives Dante and Vergil additional Super Costumes that have more benefits than their standard Super Costumes, such as health regeneration and unlimited usage of DT-reliant abilities.
  • 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 unlockable Game Clear artworks shows her holding them, giving Dante a Death Glare while he casually walks away.
    • In the first mission, Dante is pissed at the demons who wrecked his shop, and one of his reasons include the fact that he hasn't named his shop yet. In the epilogue, Dante finally decided for a name, "Devil May Cry".
  • 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 doing this as a parody, especially when he introduced himself. Dante shoots at Jester's feet when he's becoming annoying, then the clown breaks into the Charleston as he dodges the bullets. In his boss fights, Jester does this whenever you attempt to shoot him, though after a few shots, he's tired out and left wide open for some melee hits.
  • Button Mashing: "Crazy Combos" are activated by button mashing during the execution of certain moves. All of them are variations of hitting the button repeatedly as fast as possible. This isn't so much the "spray-and-pray" button mashing as it is just hitting one button rapidly to execute a secret move. Exactly how fast you need to mash to trigger the move is determined by your current Style ranking.
  • Cain and Abel: Starting from this game, the sibling rivalry theme is primarily focused on Dante and Vergil's differences in regards to which side of their nature they embraced. Dante chose to go with his human heritage, Vergil with his demonic side, 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.
    • Vergil still holds onto his amulet even as he dives into the Underworld. In the first game, said amulet is the reason why Dante recognized Nelo Angelo as his brother Vergil.
    • 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.
  • Camera Screw:
    • 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.
    • There are some sections where the camera is so far away your character becomes a little figure almost indistinguishable from the similarly-colored objects in the environment, or is hidden by a foreground object. Fortunately, moving your character around reveals their position or shifts the camera to a nearer perspective.
    • The Advancing Wall of Doom sections with the Gigapedes have their camera facing the thing that's chasing you from behind, which makes it a bit hard to anticipate the path ahead.
    • Some fights against gigantic bosses are made more challenging because of the camera angles, especially when you're locked-on. For example, the camera might not properly show Cerberus when he charges forward.
  • Cape Wings: Dante's Devil Trigger form with either Nevan or Rebellion turns his coat into wings.
  • 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 shows the ability to block bullets by spinning the Yamato really fast. In a cutscene, he also catches the bullets with his katana and lays them down on the ground before knocking them right back to Dante.
  • Charged Attack: For the "Hold" type:
    • Dante can charge his guns for extra damage while in Gunslinger Style.
    • In the tradition of gauntlet-type Devil Arms, most of Beowulf's basic combos can be held to deal more damage.
    • Certain attacks (e.g. Round Trip, Drive, Judgement Cut) require you to hold a button to perform them.
    • Nevan's primary gimmick consists of holding down the button to summon more electric bats or launch stronger variants of its attacks.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Soul of Steel key item is first found inside a cage. In a later mission, you lift the cage and obtain said key item to walk across a chasm.
    • Some statues resembling human-sized chess pieces are suspiciously scattered in the early parts of Temen-ni-gru, albeit inanimate at first. Then you realize later on that they're Damned Chessmen, a common threat throughout the tower, and in Mission 18, you finally square off with the entire chess board, king included.
    • Dante and Vergil's halves of the Perfect Amulet are used to undo the seal of the tower.
    • The bells you see strewn throughout Temen-ni-gru 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 at close range. Sacrificing most ranged options for pure, brutal swordplay or melee attacks, hitting the Style button will allow you to perform a move tailored to the Devil Arm, 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.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • The three paths in the Chamber of Echoes all have differently-colored doors to help you a bit when you have to backtrack to this area.
    • The Combat Adjudicators have color-coded flames that help you determine which specific weapon are they vulnerable to.
  • Colour-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 (the luminous tentacled Personal Space Invaders) have these. Disturbingly enough, they always attack from behind, giggling and screaming, and when they snatch Dante up with their tentacles to drain his Devil Trigger Gauge, it looks like something else.
  • Combination Attack: In the penultimate mission, 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.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Boss Vergil stays in Devil Trigger mode far longer than playable Vergil ever can, especially on harder difficulty modes. 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. When Arkham becomes a monster in the penultimate mission, the brothers team up in one of the franchise's many awesome moments just to defeat him. Vergil also lampshades it when he arrives. Immediately afterwards, the brothers go back to dueling each other over the power of Sparda stored in the Force Edge.
    Dante: Look at you... making a big dramatic entrance and stealing my spotlight.
    Vergil: Well, you don't possibly believe that he deserves to be our main event, now do you?
  • 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: Being a prequel, DMC3 has some details that connect to the first game:
    • When starting a fresh playthrough, the Yellow Orb from DMC1 can be selected as the player's preferred revival item instead of its Gold Orb counterpart that was introduced since DMC2.
    • When Arkham visits Dante's shop in the beginning, Dante assumes he wants to use the bathroom and tells him "the toilet's in the back." He makes the same assumption about Trish when she storms the shop in the first game, several years later.
    • Hell Vanguards have the same creepy laughter as the Sin Scissor demons from DMC1. This is easily noticeable in a certain room that you have to backtrack and one of them spawns in; the demon will appear while this familiar sound effect plays.
    • Vergil's Summoned Swords are the same weapons that he used as Nelo Angelo in the first game. In here, he breaks them out as well during his boss fight on Dante Must Die mode. Nelo Angelo can also Flash Step, which makes sense because Vergil can do it too via his "Trick" technique. Finally, the bonus post-credits scene shows an exhausted Vergil facing off against Mundus, which would subtly explain how he ends up becoming Nelo Angelo against his will.
    • After fighting Vergil in the Underworld, Dante took the Force Edge to his shop. The old context from the first game (the Force Edge was originally handed down by Sparda) got retconned in the process, but this new scene still justifies why he is in possession of that sword in DMC1. The post-credits scene also shows Dante in his DMC1 outfit, and Eva's portrait is clearly visible in his desk, both referencing the prologue cutscene of the first game.
    • In the bonus post-credits scene, Mundus makes a cameo appearance via his three glowing red eyes which are the same ones that signify his early appearances in DMC1.
    • Vergil has an unlockable costume that shows him with nasty-looking scars all over his face, which are the results of his corruption as Nelo Angelo.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In the stylish motorcycle riding cutscene of Mission 14, Dante just happens to be at the right place and the right time when he spots Lady's motorcycle about to fall off near the base of the tower's exterior. If he was a few moments late, that motorcycle would've fallen among the rubble on the street.
  • Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: This game is set before DMC1, yet the controls, combos, mechanics and weapons are significantly more elaborate in here, leaving Dante — by comparison — positively arthritic in the original.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: After Dante bursts forth from Leviathan's eye and lands on a higher floor of the tower, the nearby pillar has a "Welcome" text and Jester's portrait below it, both written and drawn in blood. The camera also focuses on it for a while during that cutscene.
  • 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 at least 100 enemies before the end, you are rewarded with a secret scene where Vergil faces off against Mundus.
  • 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 the clone frequently while relying on the non-specialized movesets, causing it to become a hindrance in boss fights where faster dodging, enhanced swordplay, better ranged combat, or blocking would work better.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Dante, when impaled on his own sword by Vergil.
  • Crystal Skull: A door leading to the top of Temen-ni-gru requires two of these to open; one is already in its pillar, while the other has to be found in a certain room.
  • 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 the 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 mostly 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 or aren't used for combat. Likewise, Dante and Vergil never use Devil Trigger in most 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). In the prologue, he shrugs off horrific injuries to kill his enemies with the pieces of their own weapons embedded in his body. After defeating Cerberus, he casually dodges and surfs on a rocket fired by Lady. 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 his feat of using the motorcycle as a melee weapon).
    • 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 game 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 mother was murdered by demons, while their father Sparda disappeared and died from unrevealed circumstances.
    • 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 when he beats her in proper combat.
    • Dante must defeat the Devil Arms in their original forms 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 first one encountered serves as the Warm-Up Boss of Mission 2. More of its kind reappear later on, but are relegated to mere Mini Bosses or Elite Mooks. Even if the rest lose a dedicated boss lifebar, they can still gain a potential Devil Trigger ability under specific circumstances, or in the Must Die difficulty mode.
    • 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 Royal Guard to cancel Spiral and Kalina Ann is also difficult but rewarding to master. 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.
    • With precise timing, you can deflect some of the bosses' attacks (such as the Gigapede's orbs and Beowulf's cages) with a melee weapon. This tactic deals significant damage to the bosses but it can obviously backfire on you when mistimed.
    • The Nintendo Switch port's Freestyle Mode and unrestricted weapon switching ramp up the learning curve for Dante, just like his iterations from the later games. These additions require some dexterity to master, but they open up more combos and possibilities. With enough practice, Dante can decimate bosses faster compared to the older DMC3 ports.
  • 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.
  • Doomed Hometown: Dante wrecks his shop with a sneeze in the second mission, making it impossible to go back inside for the rest of the game. Played for laughs given its ridiculousness, especially since the shop's been torn to hell by the fight with the invading demons from the previous mission, and the sneeze is just the last straw.
  • Door to Before: In Mission 8, obtaining a key item opens one of Leviathan's intestines that leads you back to its stomach, the starting point of the mission.
  • 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 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.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Played with in the manga. Dante's amulet is very important to the plot, and when the chain holding it breaks, his efforts at a quick fix don't work out very well.
  • 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 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 in the franchise with Styles, but the system works differently here than in later titles. In 3, only one Style can be used during a mission and new skills are acquired through levels and grinding for experience points. 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 hidden two-player co-op mode, albeit under strict conditions; a second player can press Start on a spare controller to control Dante's shadow clone whenever Dante uses his Doppelganger Style. The same trick can also be used to control Vergil during the twins' 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).
  • Elevator Action Sequence: There are elevator fights with an emphasis on speed. Mooks drop down from above, and if you don't knock them off or kill them quickly enough, the elevator will falter and send you back down to the bottom of the shaft. It's the main challenge of Secret Mission 4, but the Hell Prides are in their Devil Trigger state by that point.
  • 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.
  • Environmental Symbolism: Dante's first battle with Vergil is on the top of the Temen-ni-gru tower in the moonlight and rain. It's obvious since the sun isn't rising any time soon and the rain isn't stopping either, Dante won't be winning. Their second fight is in a much grimmer and dingier area because neither is going to win. Their final battle in a river of the Underworld is completely climactic (Orchestra and Latin music is playing in the background too) as the losing twin Vergil decides to dive down from atop the "waterfall".
  • 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.
    • Vergil's very first appearance has him silence Arkham who hams up about the Temen-ni-gru, showing his serious nature and how much he just gets straight to the point. Right after, when the Hell Vanguard that Dante previously likely had trouble with shows up on the top of the tower, Vergil easily kills it with just one strike without even looking at it coming from behind him, showing how big the initial gap in power is between Dante and Vergil.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Devil May Cry 3 has the 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. In the present, Dante takes out the right eye 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. The first mission makes him fight without his jacket, but one of his unlockable costumes goes even further and makes him shirtless all throughout the game.
    • 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.
    • After Vergil stabs him, Arkham does this, causing Lady to speak with him in his supposed final moments when she just found him previously unconscious on the floor.
  • 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 of Vergil and the "Air Trick" of Dante (after maxing Trickster Style) allow them to teleport at short distances. Vergil occasionally takes this to Teleport Spam levels in the second and third boss battles with him.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls:
    • The Hell Vanguard makes a bell-toll sound whenever it uses one of its teleportation-based attacks.
    • The suspicious-looking bells hanging on top of Temen-ni-gru ring loudly when Arkham finally opens the gate to the Demon World.
  • Foregone Conclusion: In the bonus post-credits scene, Vergil tries to take on Mundus alone. If you've played the first game, you'll know that it will end badly for Vergil and he will become Nelo Angelo.
  • 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. For that matter, Jester's own heterochromia hints at his relation to Lady.
  • Franchise Codifier: The Devil May Cry series has always focused on Stylish Action from the beginning, but since the first two games have a lot of Early Installment Weirdness, it's only until Devil May Cry 3 where the series showed significant consistency. Subsequent games would all derive from the gameplay design, mechanics and features of this game; from having 20 numbered missions, the Stylish Ranks capping at SSS, an expansive main menu, a gallery, Real-Time Weapon Change for both ranged and melee weapons, Stance System, recurring combo animations, and even simple HUD elements such as the gauges being segmented into bars. Story-wise, it also set the foundation for Dante and Vergil's characterizations that are followed by the next games within the main continuity, even if it had to retcon some plot points from the first game.
  • 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. Some are fairly obvious, such as the corpses of the demons killed by Lady's bike exhaust in Mission 3 forming the number 3, or Mission 5's intro fading out on a spray of blood shaped like a 5. Looking at the stills for each cutscene in the Demo Digest theater feature 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 Dark Slayer 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. The game will also 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 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 (known as Freestyle Mode), 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 returns the Kalina Ann rocket launcher to Lady. But then we have the playable credits; if Dante had the rocket launcher equipped during the Final Boss battle, 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.
    • Vergil, who usually doesn't use guns, does this with the Ebony handgun when he and Dante momentarily team up to finish off Arkham.
  • 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 Mook: Although all Arachne are giant spiders, their green variants are larger than their standard blue-and-white variants. A single Green Arachne can tower over the playable character when it lifts up its upper body for an attack.
  • Giant Spider: The Arachne are giant spiders with humanoid features. They were souls of female humans who transformed into monsters upon entering the netherworld.
  • 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.
  • The Goomba: The Hell Prides, fodder demons that are introduced by wrecking Dante's shop in the first mission, but are actually the weakest among the seven Hell types.
  • Goomba Springboard: The ability to jump off enemies' heads already existed in the first game as "Kick Jump". Although the implementation is the same, and the ability is still tied to the Wall Jump mechanic just like in 1, this game officially named it as "Enemy Step". There's also a Secret Mission centered around this.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Kalina Ann has a Gunslinger move that impales and grapples the enemy with its bayonet.
  • 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 entering a non-conspicuous door in the road leading to the Temen-ni-gru's entrance.
  • 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.
  • 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 that opens a portal between the Demon World and the Human World.
  • 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 introduced SS and SSS ranks which are carried over in the next games.
  • Idle Animation: Dante would scratch his head in annoyance, cross his arms, and tap his foot impatiently.
  • I Know Your True Name: The manga says that a demon's name is so important to him that by taking it away, the creature can be sealed for eternity.
  • 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.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Although clothes repairing themselves has been a thing in the series, 3 plays with this trope when Dante disgustedly glares at Lady for shooting holes in his coat. The holes are not present once gameplay resumes, though.
  • 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: Dante when using 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 notice that the voice actors (particularly Reuben Langdon for Dante) look very much like their assigned 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?: A variation. Vergil questions and mocks Lady after she confronts him in Mission 13 over her father Arkham supposedly being manipulated by "a Devil named Vergil" when he murdered her mother Kalina Ann, tricking Lady into going after Vergil to get revenge.
    Lady: You forced him into this!
    Vergil: Is that what you think? Foolish girl.
  • It's Okay to Cry: After his brother Vergil lets himself fall into the Demon Realm, Dante tries to pretend it doesn't bother him and pretends his tears are the rain in his eyes. His friend Lady quickly figures it out and assures him that "even a devil may cry when they've lost a loved one".
  • 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.
    • Lady starts off as a jerkass, with bad first impressions to Dante and all, such as shooting his face when he just rescued her from falling, and fighting him simply because he's a half-demon. Over time, Lady had a Character Development after Arkham has been dealt with, becomes one of Dante's trusted allies, and acts more carefree than before.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Arachne are vulnerable to fire, making Agni & Rudra the best Devil Arm against them.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook:
    • Hell Wraths shrug off and are impervious to most melee attacks, encouraging the player to use ranged attacks, projectiles and firearms to damage them.
    • Hell Envies are functionally identical to the most basic Hell Prides except for their nigh-immunity to launches and knockbacks.
    • If they are still in their "blood" forms, striking the Blood-goyles with melee attacks will just cause them to split and multiply. The "proper" way to damage them is to petrify them with ranged attacks, then only afterwards can they be damaged with melee attacks while they are in "stone" form.
  • The Lady's Favour: Lady handing Kalina Ann to Dante with the request that he "free" her father is a platonic variant of this.
  • Lag Cancel:
    • You can cancel the after-shot lag of the Spiral rifle and Kalina Ann rocket launcher by either switching to Ebony & Ivory immediately afterwards or properly timing a Royal Guard pose.
    • Cancelling short hops and rolls into the guarding animation of the Royal Guard style is a very effective defensive tactic.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: Shows up in several levels, wherein you have to destroy certain unnecessary mirrors in addition to moving a ray of light around the appropriate ones.
  • 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.
  • Literal Metaphor: Vergil's attempt at unsealing Temen-ni-gru fails and he assumes that he needs more of a Sparda descendant's blood, specifically his brother Dante's. Upon realizing this plan, Dante mentions that his brother literally "wants a piece of [him]" to summarize things up.
    Vergil: Why not? After all we share the same blood... I'll just use more of yours to undo daddy's little spell.
    Dante: So, you want a piece of me, literally. Okay bro, come and get it. If you can.
  • Living Structure Monster: The sealed doors would attack Dante or Vergil if you got too close, but otherwise left you alone until you got rid of them by solving a puzzle and/or killing some enemies.
  • Logical Weakness: 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 the appropriate weapon(s), they take more damage - usually indicated by an element-based 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.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The entire tower of Temen-ni-gru was basically built to be as demonic as possible, justifying the prevalence of traps, and doors locking you with ambushes. The most appropriate examples are in the hallways; if you thought those wall-saw-blades were annoying during fights, expect to see a lot of them in puzzles and platforming sections as well.
  • Marathon Level: This game's iteration of the Bloody Palace mode is mostly similar to that of DMC2 in terms of their mechanics. There are 10,000 levels here, but you can skip up to 100 levels at a time by choosing harder fights.
  • 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: Immediately after Dante acquires Nevan as a literal electric guitar, he channels The Power of Rock, does a metal scream, then follows it up by screaming the lyrics of "Taste The Blood" as its music plays during his performance.
    "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, both characters can activate a Devil Trigger state, and Vergil performs moves with Beowulf that Dante can also do 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 with the Rebellion.
    • Doppelganger takes on Dante's form, initially adopting his Devil Trigger state and mimicking his attacks with the Rebellion and Beowulf Devil Arms as well as his Trickster Style, but resembling his normal state when exposed to the light.
  • Monster and the Maiden: A variation with Dante and Lady. The former is half-demon while the latter is fully human. Both are on the heroic side but are antagonistic towards each other for most of the story due to Lady's prejudice towards demons. The climax shows them fighting demons side by side after both undergo Character Development and come to see each other as allies if not friends.
  • 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: The first cutscenes have dramatic flair over simple acts, serving as Dante's Establishing Character Moment. For example, Dante sits on his chair and answers a phone call with style by using the force of a kick. He then eats a pizza in slow motion during battle with demons and while scythes are sticking out of his body. He also does the most epic instance of putting on a coat ever by throwing it up, then catching and wearing it immediately at the same time.
  • Mundane Utility: The Soul of Steel 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.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: In the first game, the Yamato is only available when playing with the "Legendary Dark Knight" costume, and although the lore on its description mentions that it has "will and the power to divide and wipe out the darkness", it functions identically to the Alastor. In this game, Vergil uses it to enhance his Iaijutsu moves, he can create slashes from afar by quickly unsheathing it (Judgement Cut), and its Devil Arms File mentions that its blade can cut through anything.
  • 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.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • The Leviathan's Womb Level is basically a throwback to the Mission 22 Underworld level from DMC1; both are made up of fleshy and organic structures including a giant beating heart, large vessels serving as passageways, flesh doors that must be struck to open, and a lot of platforming. This area also contains living doors that are opened and closed by moving "tusks", behaving just like a completely identical door that you have to backtrack in the first game.
    • The Netherworld in Mission 19 contains mirror portals that have the same appearance and functionality as the late-game mirror portals that appear in the castle from the first game. Backtracking is involved again, and you also need to find an item that lets you activate a portal leading to the final sections of that area, just like how a late-game DMC1 mission played out.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…:
    • Lady falls several dozen stories, then is caught by the ankle with no ill effect.
    • Arkham falls back from the portal in the sky to the top floor of Temen-ni-gru, but he's still alive despite that. Lady killed him with her gun instead.
  • Now That's Using Your Teeth!: Lady shoots Dante in the head, but his Healing Factor lets him survive. While he's complaining about how much that hurt, she tries to shoot him again, but this time, he catches the bullet with his teeth.
  • Number of the Beast: In the HD Collection and Nintendo Switch versions, you earn the "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" achievement for passing the 666th floor of the Bloody Palace mode.
  • 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.
    • The song "Stage Music 9 (Demon World)" by Tetsuya Shibata begins with nothing but such chanting.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: This game introduced the "Heaven or Hell" difficulty mode to the series. In it, everyone dies in one hit - the player, enemies, and even bosses.
  • One-Liner, Name... One-Liner: Vergil says this after winning against Dante in their first fight:
    Vergil: Foolishness, Dante. Foolishness.
  • One-Winged Angel: In addition to Devil Trigger transforming Dante and Vergil into their demonic forms 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.
  • Open-Door Opening: Mission 1 ends with Dante kicking his office door open to go outside, Mission 2 begins with said door flying outward from the impact with Dante walking out shortly after it.
  • Orphaned Series: The prequel manga prematurely ended due to the artist quitting before Volume 3.
  • Our Souls Are Different:
    • The souls of defeated demons turn into Devil Arms/combat Styles for use by whoever gets them, but it's never known what exactly happens to a human soul once their bodies are destroyed.
    • 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.
  • Palette Swap: Vergil fights a red copy of himself in the Special Edition.
  • Parrying Bullets:
    • Dante usually prefers to block enemy fire by shooting it, but Vergil can deflect bullets by spinning his katana.
    • Dante and Vergil both slice up the rocket fired by Lady's Kalina Ann when she steps in between their duel.
    • The Enigmas' projectiles can be shattered by well-timed melee attacks.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: You receive a lot of experience points for your Styles whenever you defeat a boss. This makes Mission 18 the best place to level grind because it's a stage where you fight most of the previous bosses.
  • 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. When nothing happens, he kicks it and it works. In the Special Edition, playable Vergil also does the same thing in the latter example because the same animation of Dante is reused when Vergil also interacts with the machine.
  • Pinball Projectile:
    • In a cutscene, Dante hurls a pool table into the air, then shoots the white ball. This causes the white ball to rebound off every single other ball, which then hit and kill a Mook each.
    • The special Gunslinger attacks for Spiral lets Dante ricochet the bullets on what seems to be thin air around a certain area.
  • Planet Heck: The endgame levels are set in the Demon World.
  • Portmanteau: The Blood-goyle demons' name is a mash-up of "Blood" and "Gargoyle".
  • 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 that can be used by Vergil and Dante.
  • The Power of Rock: Nevan's Devil Arm form is a weaponized, literal electric guitar which Dante can play to summon bloodthirsty bats and electricity every time he shreds on it.
  • Pun: Upon meeting the horse demon Geryon, Dante immediately brings up a horse-related wordplay.
    Dante: Talk about Horse Power.
  • 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: Unlike the previous games, your Style rank don't cap out at S; they now cap out at SSS. This gets carried over to the next games in the franchise.
  • 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 in a more dynamic and freeform way, truly amping up the possible style combinations. The Nintendo Switch port implemented a "Freestyle Mode" which emulates the unrestricted real-time weapon and gun switching of the later games.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Vergil gives one out to his brother Dante after stabbing him and defeating him in their first battle.
    Vergil: Foolishness, Dante, foolishness. Might controls everything. And without strength, you cannot protect anything. Let alone yourself.
  • Recurring Riff: Bits of "Devils Never Cry", the main theme, tend to work their way into music for battles involving Vergil, and into some dramatic cutscenes.
  • Reduced to Dust: Most of the demon mooks dissolve into sand upon defeat, particularly the Hell types.
  • Replay Mode: The Special Edition features a Demo Digest mode where the player can replay the cutscenes of completed levels. Ever since, this became a staple feature of the next games in the franchise.
  • Retcon: This game retconned most major plot points introduced in the first Devil May Cry game and its prequel novel:
    • In 1, Force Edge was originally a memento handed down to Dante by his father. 2 changed the sword to Rebellion and Force Edge was stuck in the Demon World in 3 until Dante takes it back with him in the end.
    • In 1, Trish remarks that Dante "lost a mother and brother to evil twenty years ago." This game's story has Dante encounter his brother a decade or so after Eva's death, and Vergil's status as an antagonist is very questionable. Kamiya's concept was that Vergil was kidnapped when Eva was killed, which explains why Dante didn't recognize Nelo Angelo in 1; why would he connect an evil demon trying to kill him with a little kid who was never anything but a good boy? The memory the amulet triggered was one of his most recent of Vergil. The author of the first novel decided to ignore this and make Vergil free, evil, and badass, meaning that Dante should have had more recent, not just memories but good memories of him since they were temporary partners. Then 3 decided to copy the first novel's Vergil and the second novel's plot.
    • Vergil was never referred to as Dante's twin by the script of 1. Instead, that game just calls him Dante's "brother". Any in-game mentions of Dante and Vergil being twins started from 3.
    • 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 this game, the Mad Hatter and White Rabbit (and by extension, Arkham) knew as well.
  • Riddle of the Sphinx: Used in the Trial of Wisdom, where you are supposed to walk through the doorway with the right number of glowing eyes (in the context of the game's riddle, the glowing eyes are allusions to legs). Picking the wrong doorway leads to a fight against several demons and causes a Puzzle Reset.
    Your wisdom will be put to the test in the chamber ahead. Use your lifetime experience: from the crawling infant; to the man standing tall; and finally to the old man leaning on his cane.
  • Rival Final Boss: Near the end, Dante and Vergil defeated the Big Bad together, then promptly turn their swords on each other to duke it out over who inherits their father's power.
  • 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."
  • Scenery as You Go: Just as you enter the Demon Realm, you might expect a jumping puzzle... and then the oblong Floating Platforms slam together to form a path as you approach.
  • 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.
  • Second Hour Superpower: Dante acquires his Devil Trigger ability after his first battle with Vergil, where he's defeated and impaled with his own sword, Rebellion.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Lady ends up killing her father Arkham at the beginning of Mission 20 in order to avenge her mother's death.
  • 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 serrated scimitars 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 blood-related, and that relation is why she is even there in the plot. Similarly, Jester and the moon-like face object in his boss fights also having heterochromia foreshadows his identity as Arkham. The "moon face" even has similar burn scars like 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 Heart is encased in a hard shell that opens up for a short time when one of two adjacent organs is destroyed. The other organs recover quickly and you are also constantly swarmed by mooks that make it difficult for you to directly attack the heart.
    • 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 game begins with Dante shirtless and just coming out of the shower. He remains shirtless for the first mission, and you can later unlock an alternate costume that lets you play the entire game with this character model.
  • Shoot the Medic First: The Bishop Chessmen can heal their fellow chessmen, so better flail on them first and fast since they can also spit out lightning and create a localized explosion.
  • 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:
    • Arkham's name is a reference to the fictional town Arkham Massachussets from the works of H. P. Lovecraft.
    • Jester is an expy of The Joker from the Batman franchise. A convention also revealed that Jester was named "Joker" when the game was still in development. The re-releases of the game eventually added more Batman and Joker references surrounding Jester and Arkham - The Jester boss fights in the Special Edition include a voice clip where he refers to himself as "Joker" instead of Jester. In the HD Collection, the achievement for defeating Arkham is titled "Asylum", referencing the Arkham Asylum which is more commonly associated with the word "Arkham" in pop culture.
    • 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.
    • The manga has a "dungeon" that is practically a nightmarish version of Alice in Wonderland, as well as characters named Alice and Mad Hatter.
    • The beginning of Arkham's speech at the end of Mission 15 is based on part of the poem "Au Lecteur" note  by French poet Charles Baudelaire.
  • Shows Damage: Damaging the Damned Chessmen enough times causes a part of their model to break, such as a Pawn piece's sword tip disappearing.
  • Sibling Team: In the second half of the penultimate Boss Battle, Dante and Vergil put aside their differences and subject Arkham to the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle. Unfortunately, it doesn't last for long; the brothers fight each other again after defeating Arkham.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Beowulf was sealed by Sparda 2000 years ago. When Dante arrives, Beowulf recognizes him as Sparda's son by his scent and goes on a rampage. It's lampshaded by Dante as he's getting sick of it.
    Dante: Why do I gotta take the heat for my father?
  • Soft Reboot: This is the first game in the franchise to be fully directed under Hideaki Itsuno's watch, and given its nature as a prequel, it features plot points that contradict or retcon those from DMC1 (directed by Hideki Kamiya), 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 repeated attacks instead of the normal finisher.
  • Spoiler Opening: The intro to the HD Collection spoils key plot points for each game, 3 in particular is spoiled the most, as it shows Arkham taking the form of Sparda, Vergil's supposed suicide, and even has Dante's final line from the game.
  • 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.
  • Stab the Scorpion: In the opening cutscene of Mission 9, Dante points his handgun to Lady while they were having a conversation. The camera then adjusts itself to reveal several demons surrounding them, and Dante was actually aiming at one of them all along. Lady moves her head out of Dante's gun and she returns the favor by shooting another demon behind him. The two then briefly go back to back while shooting some more.
  • Stab the Sky: Dante briefly raises Agni and Rudra above his head just after he acquired them in their scimitar forms.
  • 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.
  • The Stinger: Killing at least 100 demons during the Creative Closing Credits unlocks a bonus scene which shows Vergil in the Demon World about to challenge Mundus, the Big Bad of the first game and the demon king whom Sparda previously sealed.
    Vergil: It would be fun to fight with the Prince of Darkness. If my father did it, I should be able to do it too!
  • A Storm Is Coming: Arkham says this almost word-for-word as he walks off to deal with Lady at the beginning of Mission 4.
    Arkham: 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.
  • Suspiciously Cracked Wall:
    • In the puzzle room containing the statues crying Tears of Blood, one wall has a crack with an odd white light in its center, indicating that it can be broken.
    • There's a notable moment where you enter a room that doesn't seem to have anything in it, but there's a glowing crack in front of you. Turns out that there's a wall almost immediately in front of the door that you destroy to carry on.
  • Swipe Your Blade Off: Vergil does this quite a few times with his sword, Yamato. In the climax, he does it intentionally to spread his blood on a mechanism after cutting his palm in an attempt to undo the Blood Magic spell that Sparda cast on Temen-ni-gru.
  • Sword Beam: Rebellion's Drive move sends these out.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement:
    • The Rebellion revived Dante and allowed him to enter his Devil Trigger state.
    • The Force Edge allowed Arkham to temporarily assume Sparda's form before the power corrupted him into a hideous blob monster. Dante and Vergil fought over it with the former emerging as the victor.
  • Sword Sparks: Happens 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 produced friction.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Arkham manages to use his status as Lady's father to manipulate her into moving into the place he needs her. He tries it again before the final battle when he's kicked out of the demon world by not being able to handle Sparda's power. He's near death at this point, so he loses and lets it slip that he saw absolutely nothing wrong with killing his wife to become part-demon. Lady finally has enough. At the same time as the latter scene, Dante obviously feels similar about Vergil since the two are brothers. He doesn't feel good about having to fight him, but has to due to Vergil's ambitions being dangerous towards humanity. He even cries for a moment thinking about Vergil's fate when he meets back up with Lady in the epilogue.
  • Take My Hand!: Happens in the cutscene after Dante finally defeats his brother Vergil. As the portal to the demon world closes and Temen-ni-gru begins collapsing, Vergil chooses to stay in the demon world "where the battle took place". He allows himself to fall off the top of the waterfall where they fought. Dante attempts this trope, but is cut by Vergil's blade one last time as his brother falls into oblivion.
  • Tears of Blood: One of the puzzles makes you force three statues to cry blood.
  • 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.
    • Level up your Swordmaster Style enough and Dante will unlock the "Sword Pierce" skill which lets him throw his sword and stick it into an enemy for a few seconds before returning to him, doing damage while it's in contact.
  • Throw the Sheath Away: It isn't focused on, but it is noticeable that Vergil disregards his sheath while running at Mundus at the end of the bonus post-credits scene. Despite his brave words, it's easy to interpret that he is well aware of how insane this challenge is and how unlikely he is to make it out alive. With this game serving as a prequel game to the first one, it serves as a Foregone Conclusion of him losing the fight and being enslaved as Nelo Angelo.
  • 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 first time the phrase is mentioned.
  • The Tower: The majority of the game takes place in a massive demonic tower named Temen-ni-gru, which suddenly rose up in the middle of a city. In addition, the challenge levels take place in an ever-ascending version of the same tower. In a bit of a discussion regarding the tower's etymology, Arkham also explains that Temen-ni-gru means "The foundation that brought out fear".
  • Trying Not to Cry:
    • After Lady shoots and kills her father Arkham, she breaks down into tears. Before the cutscene ends, she notes that she was not expecting to cry 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:
    • If you try to take on more than one head at a time, Cerberus will literally turn red and you will have a serious problem on your hands, as his attacks become faster, more aggressive, and gain more devastating properties, while he becomes stunned less often. Woe betide if you manage to trigger this near the beginning of the battle, although this will also occur when his health gets low enough.
    • Agni or Rudra become more vicious once the other twin has been slain, attacking with both swords and gaining new moves in the process.
    • Nevan's offensive and defensive capabilities are directly linked to her health; she summons more bats and lightning bolts in the same move, and her 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 moves aggressively 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.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • In the form of a "Special Edition" that renamed the difficulty modes, added the Bloody Palace arena mode, a Turbo mode that speeds 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 his 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.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Mission 17 has a jumping puzzle that requires you to get on top of cubes that move around and rotate, a Platform Hell segment not seen anywhere else in the game, made more difficult by the cubes' small size in relation to the playable character's model.
  • Use Their Own Weapon Against Them: Dante and Vergil's first battle concludes with Vergil stabbing Dante with his own sword Rebellion. However, not only does Dante survive as usual, it unlocks his Devil Trigger.
  • 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.
  • Wham Shot: The ending cutscene of Mission 11. Arkham's book is left flipping its pages on the ground, and his body is nowhere to be found when he was previously assumed to be dead after Vergil stabbed him.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: Hell Wraths. Stay too close to them after damaging them enough and they'll explode.
  • Wing Shield: The Fallen use their wings to cover their weak spots and negate some hits, though these can break if damaged enough times.
  • 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. This should let you know that he's not one to be messed with.
    • The Abyss are faster and more aggressive elite variants of the scythe-wielding Hell-type fodder demons. In Vergil's campaign from the Special Edition, he just effortlessly defeats a crowd of them during his opening cutscene.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Jester/Arkham's entire plan hinged on guiding Dante, Vergil and Lady up the tower and keeping them at each other's throats; that way, when it came time to make his move, they'd be too exhausted to stop him.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning:
    • The demon Nevan has white and purple-colored lightning powers.
    • Dante's Devil Trigger form emits lightning sparks around him just like a Battle Aura, and their colors vary depending on which Devil Arm is equipped.
    • The Haywire Neo-Generator emits black lightning sparks around Dante in Mission 12.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Devil May Cry 3


Duel atop the Temen-Ni-Gru

The Sons of Sparda confront each other during a storm, fighting to intensely they create a pocket free of rain.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / BattleInTheRain

Media sources: