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"This party's gettin' crazy! Let's rock!"

"You've heard of it, haven't you? The Legend of Sparda? When I was young, my father would tell me stories about it. Long ago, in ancient times, a demon rebelled against his own kind for the sake of the human race. With his sword, he shut the portal to the demonic realm, and sealed the evil entities off of our human world. But since he was a demon himself, his power was also trapped on the other side. I've never believed it. I always thought it was just a child's fairy tale. But I discovered that this so-called legend wasn't a myth at all. Sparda existed. How do I know? Well... I met the sons of Sparda... Both of them. Although the same blood of their father flowed through their veins, the two battled each other fiercely like arch-enemies. It seemed as if they derived some sort of twisted pleasure from this brotherly fighting. But in the end... only one was left standing."
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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.

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

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

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


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This game contains examples of:

  • Action Bomb: Hell Wraths.
  • Action Girl: Lady is every bit as capable at demon-slaying as Dante is, despite being a normal human.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Every time you purchase an item, the price goes up. After five or so buys, the price will freeze.
  • Affably Evil: Agni & Rudra are quite friendly, even though as guardians of Temen-ni-gru, it is their duty to kill all trespassers.
  • Airborne Mook: Bloodgoyles.
  • Almost Kiss: Lady turns her head. She probably wasn't very inclined to kiss a guy who just beat her in combat.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Vergil.
  • 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.
  • Always Identical Twins: Dante and Vergil.
  • Anachronic Order: Though it was the third game released, Dante’s Awakening is actually the first in the timeline, focusing on Dante’s origins.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Vergil Mode in the Updated Re-release. He plays surprisingly different from Dante, considering their blood relationship.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Nearly everyone involved.
  • Armed Legs: Vergil - and then Dante later - wields these with the Beowulf Devil Arm.
  • Art Shift: The high-quality illustrations in this game looks very different from the actual models used for the gameplay and cutscenes. At least the first and second games used the same style for the covers and models.
  • Artistic License – Physics: While the series does its level best to ignore physics completely, it does at one point toss a lampshade on the fact that Dante is too cool for the laws of motion. The description of Spiral's "trick shot" ability states that Dante ricochets the bullet off multiple surfaces to increase its speed, meaning he knows a local supplier of non-conservation-of-energy bullets.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Beowulf's eyes and Cerberus' heads.
  • Audible Sharpness: Dante and Vergil are particularly fond of this trope, the slightest movements of Rebellion and Yamato before the twins' fight producing this high-pitched sound for dramatic effect.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Nevan sure is awesome, but ridiculously difficult to use, mainly because most of its attacks involve moving the left stick in a precise direction (not just forth or back as with other weapons). Since Dante's position constantly changes, that makes things quite tricky. It is also complex and rather unclear in terms of holding and releasing buttons.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Lady and Dante, as well as Dante and Vergil at the conclusion of mission 19.
    (Dante draws Ebony and Ivory to finish off Arkham but has Ebony swatted away. Vergil catches it.)
    Vergil: I'll try it your way for once.
    Dante: Remember what we used to say?
    (They assume the position and stack their guns on top of each other)
    (In unison): JACKPOT! *BANG*
  • Badass Biker: Lady's first appearance is on a motorcycle, and she proceeds to blow some demons away via the exhaust pipe as she leaves the scene.
  • Badass Boast: "Taste the Blood" and "Suffer" fit, by way of I Shall Taunt You.
  • Badass Longcoat: Dante and Vergil.
  • Badass Normal: Lady, who makes her way in the world of demon-slaying through judicious application of Gun Fu.
  • Bald of Evil: Arkham.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Done three times:
    • Inverted by Dante after Vergil trounces him in their first duel; his Devil Trigger awakens and he throws a fierce punch at Vergil, which Vergil blocks with Yamato's edge.
    • Played completely straight by Jester when Vergil attempts to attack him.
    • Finally, performed by both Dante and Vergil to each other simultaneously (leaving both with bleeding hands).
  • Battle in the Rain: The first Vergil battle.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Inverted in the final fight, where Vergil picks up Sparda's other broadsword to use against the one Dante inherited.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The relationship between Dante and Lady. Granted, they didn't become the Official Couple, but which has so far for Dante?
    Dante: I'm beginning to think I've got rotten luck with women.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Agni and Rudra, a pair of serrated scimitars that he can combine into a Double Weapon for certain attacks.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Dante finally triumphs over Vergil, but is unable to save him from plunging into the abyss of the Demon World or from his own ambitions of power. Lady finally works up the courage to proclaim herself free of the name Mary and shoots her own father, avenging one parent by killing the other. 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 turns out.
  • BFG: Kalina Ann and Spiral.
  • Big Bad: In a curious application, Arkham is the villain with the evilest ambitions...but he cedes the actual Final Boss position to Vergil.
  • Bishōnen: Dante is a very pretty man, and his default costume shows off his 90%-naked torso. Vergil, with his slicked-back hair, is no slouch either.
  • Black Blood: Some of the demons are made of and bleed sand.
  • Blade Brake: Lady with her bayonet.
  • Blob Monster: Arkham, when the powers of Sparda overwhelm him.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: Dante's Royal Guard style can block anything if properly done, including spikes, explosions, and electrified floors. Use it wrong, and Dante will take damage and the guard will be broken.
  • Blood Knight: Technically it's his job, but Dante does seem to enjoy his work a little more than normal.
    Dante: Well, bring it on! I love this! This is what I live for! I'm absolutely crazy about it!
  • Book-Ends: The game begins and ends with Dante in his office, using the force of a kick to knock the phone into his hands so he can answer a call.
  • Boss Banter: Vergil taunts Dante a lot during their battles.
    "You are not worthy as my opponent."
    "Now I'm a little motivated!"
    "Scum!"
  • 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.
  • 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. Which adds a ton of subtext to the use in the first game, considering Dante is saying it to the guy who possessed and caused the death of his brother...
    • After the Car Fu segment, Dante discards the handlebars of Lady's bike. One of the Game Clear artworks you can unlock is her holding them giving Dante a Death Glare while he walks away casually.
  • Bullet Catch: Vergil's Yamato-spinny move.
    • Dante catches one of Lady's bullets with his teeth and then spits it out.
  • Bullet Dancing: Inverted when Dante uses it against the villainous Jester. Parodied when Jester starts doing the Charleston.
    • In the bonus boss fights against Jester, he does this whenever you attempt to shoot him, though after a few shots he's tired out and left wide open for some sword hits.
  • Button Mashing: "Crazy combos" are activated by button mashing during the execution of certain moves. All of them are variations of "hit it two dozen times per second."
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Averted - Vergil's soundbite prior to Devil Trigger signifies the usage of a move, not the DT itself that can be done wordlessly, plus Dante and Playable Vergil don't say anything while DTing either.
    • Played straight with Vergil's pre-(Super) Devil Trigger soundbite ("You're going down", for those wondering) in Mission 20, in that he never DTs without saying it.
  • Cain and Abel: Dante chose to go with his human heritage, Vergil with his demonic, and the two never met peacefully again.
  • Call-Forward: There are many calls to the original game.
    • Vergil uses Beowulf's power to create gauntlets, bringing to mind that Nelo Angelo knocked Dante's sword out of his hands and almost defeated him with his hand-to-hand skills.
    • When the second fight with Vergil gets to its halfway point, Vergil does Dante's old weapon switch animation when pulling out Yamato.
    • At the end, when Lady sees Dante, she asks him if he is crying and he says, "Devils never cry," reminiscent of the words at the end of 1 and 2.
  • Cape Wings: Dante's Devil Trigger with Nevan does this with his coat.
  • Captain Obvious: Jester.
    Jester: You're not going to shoot me, are you? If you do, I'll die, you know.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Arkham.
  • Car Fu: Dante uses Lady's motorbike to drive up Temen-ni-gru's outer wall, falls towards it for a short distance, and then is besieged in midair by Blood-goyles. So he beats all of them up with the motorbike, which explodes shortly after he lands, leaving only the handlebars.
  • Catch and Return: Vergil does this in a cutscene. That is, he catches and returns bullets, With his sword.
  • Charged Attack: The 'Hold' type, where Dante in his Gunslinger mode can charge his guns for extra damage.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Lady, who goes toe-to-toe with hundreds of demons with nothing but a lot of guns.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Damned Chessmen are a common threat throughout the tower. In Mission 18, you finally square off with the entire chess board, king included.
    • The bells you see strewn throughout Temen-ni-gru. They later are involved in the ritual used to open the gate to the underworld.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Swordmaster is a style for those who like using Devil Arms. Sacrificing ranged damage for pure, brutal swordplay, Swordmaster users are not to be trifled with. Hitting the Style button will allow you to perform a Devil Arm move, and can change up how a weapon functions. Leveling it up unlocks more moves.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Dante wears red. Vergil wears blue. Thus, you can tell them apart when it's raining and their hairstyles are the same.
  • Combat Tentacles: Soul Eaters (luminous tentacled Personal Space Invaders). Disturbingly enough, they always attack from behind, giggling and screaming, and when they snatch Dante up to drain his DT, it looks rather wrong.
  • Combination Attack: Dante and Vergil hack away at Arkham, then repeat with each other's swords, and then blast the hell out of him with a Wave Motion Gun attack from Ebony & Ivory.
  • Competitive Balance: Whether it’s comparing the different ways Dante can deal out the hurt with his various weapons or styles or just comparing him to other playable characters. Actual tournaments have been held around getting the best score in 3.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Boss Vergil stays in Devil Trigger mode far longer than player Vergil ever can, especially on harder difficulties. And once you knock him below half health, it lasts even longer.
  • Conflict Killer: Arkham. The conflict picks up immediately after the awesome Rivals Team Up.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu:
    • The fight against Arkham, in a uniquely straightforward example — 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. After beating Arkham, Dante and Vergil fight each other, and can once again use their Devil Triggers and style attacks.
    • During that fight, 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. However, there's still no in-game justification for it.
    • 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: 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.
  • Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: 3 is set before 1, yet the controls are significantly more elaborate in 3, leaving Dante — by comparison — positively arthritic in the original.
  • Counter Attack: Used with Royal Guard to completely nullify damage taken and drastically increase damage dealt.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Where you have to kill as many demons as possible as a timer winds down while the credits roll. If you kill 100 enemies before the end, you'll see a secret scene.
  • Creepy Centipedes: Gigapede, a demonic-like centipede that doesn't so much as flies to around certain parts of Temen-ni-gru as crawls through the air.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Doppelganger is the last style obtained by Dante over the course of the game, and summons a doppelganger of Dante on command to fight with him. While the extra Dante takes a load off your back (and even unlocks a 2-player mode!), it forces you to use him frequently, causing it to become a hindrance in boss fights where dodging, enhanced swordplay, better ranged combat, or blocking would work better.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Dante, when impaled on his own sword by Vergil.
  • Cryptic Conversation: While it's not quite a conversation, Vergil's "might controls everything" speech (quoted at the top of his section on the Characters sheet) kickstarted a whole bunch of Alternative Character Interpretation.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Though the demon was already weak and blind from its battle with Dante, it's still impressive how Vergil manages to slay Beowulf in exactly one slash. He then proceeds to punch apart the demon's corpse.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Even if you beat Vergil on top of that tower without getting hit once, the cutscene makes it look like you were losing the whole time, with Dante panting and barely keeping up while Vergil calmly deflects most of his attacks. Then Vergil stabs Dante through the guts with his own sword.
    • Dante never uses equipment other than the default Rebellion and Ebony and Ivory in cutscenes, save the ones in which they are acquired and the one example with Cerberus. Likewise, Dante and Vergil never use Devil Trigger in cutscenes save 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 he actually can do in normal gameplay, surfing on downed enemies). Special mention goes to the various cutscenes where he travels down or up the side of Temen-ni-gru, usually slicing and shooting apart hordes of demons with tons of flashy moves that he can't quite pull off when you're controlling him (and that's not even mentioning the motorcycle).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Dante and Vergil's parents were murdered by demons, while Lady has a supreme asshole of a father who murdered her mother and used her in a horrible plan to open the Hell Gate that Sparda closed.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Seen in a rather painful way.
  • Death by Origin Story: Lady's mother, Kalina Ann.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: The Royal Release is ridiculously hard to time, but has the potential to be the strongest attack in the game.
    • The Devil Trigger explosion qualifies too. If simply used, it's a teeny burst that mildly inconveniences enemies. If charged up fully, with a maxed-out DT gauge, it will One-Hit Kill every minor enemy in the game. However, using it this way leaves you with only a few seconds of Devil Trigger time, so you better hope you got them all.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After an entire game of butting heads, Dante and Lady finally come to terms with each other after he beats her in proper combat.
    • Dante must defeat the Devil Arms 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.
  • Degraded Boss: Hell's Vanguard, the boss of Mission 2, reappears as merely a strong mook later and loses the lifebar, though it does gain potential Devil Trigger ability.
    • Gigapede, while also losing the lifebar and one of its attacks (due to the cramped hallways it attacks you in), is otherwise not degraded; it just feels like it is because, again due to the location it attacks you in, it's inevitable that you will Attack Its Weak Point if you decide to fight it.
  • Denser and Wackier: While the game as a whole is probably darker than 1 and 2, Dante himself really begins to showcase his now-trademark irreverent sense of humor in this game, likely as a response to 2 where he was constantly dead-serious. Compared to 1, where he mostly had a few one-liners, 3 features scenes such as Dante fighting off demons shirtless while eating pizza, riding a missile like it was a skateboard, and using a motorcycle like a set of nunchucks to fight demons while riding up the side of a tower.
  • Diegetic Switch: "Dante's Office (7 Hells Battle)" starts playing from Dante's jukebox and then becomes the battle music for the first mission.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Royal Guard. If you do manage to pull it off, though, it looks amazing. Using RG to cancel Spiral and Kalina Ann is also difficult but rewarding to master.
    • To elaborate, the style lets you completely nullify damage by pressing block at the right instant, just as an attack hits you. This also boosts style rating, Devil Trigger energy, and lets you save power for monstrous counter-atttacks, but you'll have to memorise enemy attack cues and patterns to get the timing right.
    • Nevan seems all but useless at first, but when you actually master it, it will kick a lot of butt.
  • Difficulty by Region: Was infamous for this. The Japanese release wasn't easy to begin with, but the initial Western release took the Japanese Hard mode and made it the Normal mode.
  • Difficulty Spike: The most difficult in the entire series.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Vergil. He instead uses his Summoned Swords, which function exactly like a gun.
  • Doomed Hometown: Dante wrecks his shop with a sneeze in the second mission and it can't be accessed again for the rest of the game. Played for laughs, especially since the shop's been torn to hell by the previous mission and the sneeze is just the last straw.
  • Double Entendre: Jester calling Temen-ni-gru a "thick shaft that causes women to shudder."
  • Double Jump: Air Hike makes its return, but frustratingly, it must be bought on three separate weapons for 20,000 Red Orbs each and isn't available at all for Cerberus or Nevan.
  • Dual Boss: Agni and Rudra.
  • Dual Wielding: Dante with Agni and Rudra, and Vergil with Yamato and Force Edge.
  • Easier Than Easy: Heaven or Hell is really not as hard as it sounds. As long as you use your guns, it pretty much becomes "Press Shoot to Win mode."
  • Easter Egg: There is a two-player co-op mode, albeit under strict conditions: a second player can press Start on a spare controller whenever Dante uses the Doppelganger technique to control Dante's shadow. The same trick can also be used to control Vergil during the battle against Arkham.
  • Elemental Powers: All over the place with the Devil Arms, ranging from ice (Cerberus) and fire/wind (Agni & Rudra) to thunder (Nevan) and light (Beowulf).
  • Enemy Mine: Dante and Vergil against Arkham.
  • Energy Weapon: Artemis that shoots out lasers.
  • Establishing Character Moment: This game manages another one for the younger Dante in its first cutscene, just before the fighting starts — with multiple demons' scythes shoved through his torso and one of his handguns in easy reach... Dante grabs the slice of pizza right next to said handgun instead. He's that unconcerned about the demons and the various scythe blades in his body.
  • Evil Plan: Jester/Arkham's entire plan.
  • Evil Twin: Vergil.
  • Eye Scream: The way Dante leaves Leviathan's body.
    • Beowulf had his left eye sliced out by Sparda in the past. Dante takes care of the right one after their battle.
  • Fallen Angel: The Fallen, of course.
  • Fanservice: The developers seem to have recognized their sizable female fanbase as of 3, as shirtless Dante being an unlockable most definitely qualifies.
    • The character artist specifically states in the Note of Naught artbook that coatless Vergil "was designed to give our women users huge nosebleeds."
    • Nevan. The type of demon she is justifies this, but still. "Sugarrr."
  • Fingerless Gloves: on both Dante and Vergil.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: After Vergil stabs him, Dante does this. He promptly gets stabbed again. With his own sword.
  • Finishing Move: Wild Stomp, a Gunslinger move that has Dante stomp on a downed foe and riddle them with bullets from Ebony and Ivory.
  • Flaming Sword: Agni, wielded with the wind sword Rudra (fun fact: properly applying wind to fire makes the fire bigger).
  • Flash Step: The various "Trick" techniques by Vergil and "Air Trick" by Dante after maxing out Trickster Style. Vergil occassionaly takes this to Teleport Spam levels in the second and third boss battles with him.
  • Foreshadowing: The weird face-ball thing that Jester spawns. The right side of its face has a red eye and a scarred face just like Arkham. And, for that matter, Jester's own heterochromia.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The introductory cutscene to every Mission incorporates the Mission number somewhere, often very briefly such as the 9 on a fallen 9mm shell case or a 20 in the clouds above the level. Looking at the stills for each cutscene in Theater mode will most likely reveal all of these instances.
  • Game Mod: Most notably, the Style Switching Mod that allows you to switch styles on the fly as you can do in 4. There were attempts to fix the original Porting Disaster of a PC version, but the release of the HD Collection in 2018 nullified the need for it.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A minor example. During the ending cutscene, Dante gives Lady her rocket launcher back. But then we have playable credits, where — if Dante had the rocket launcher equipped during the Final Boss — he can still use it. Despite Lady visibly wielding it alongside him.
  • Gangsta Style: How Dante holds Ebony & Ivory when firing and strafing. Also when he executes the Honeycomb Fire move, which somehow enables him to shoot faster.
  • Gate Guardian: Cerberus is the guardian of the entrance of the Temen-ni-gru who prevents humans from getting in. Agni & Rudra guard a specific door inside Temen-ni-gru to prevent further progress of anyone who got past Cerberus.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Beowulf.
  • A God Am I: Arkham, whose megalomania was so great that having his ass handed to him by both Dante and Vergil combined was not enough to shatter his delusion of invincibility, and he dies demanding to know why what he did was so wrong.
  • Godiva Hair: Nevan.
  • Go for the Eye: The other eye on Beowulf, as Sparda had permanently taken off the other years ago.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Vergil's slicked-back 'do, complete with two cutscenes showing him slicking it back after it gets messed up.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Lady has the scar over the bridge of her nose, while Arkham has the disfigured side of his face, which is actually seen moving along that side in a few cutscenes.
  • Goomba Springboard: This is a mechanic, officially codified as of this game as allowing you to perform jump cancels and having a Secret Mission centered around it.
  • Gun Fu: Exemplified in Dante's Gunslinger style and Lady's entire arsenal.
  • The Gunslinger: Again, Dante's Gunslinger style, as well as Lady.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Dante and Vergil are demon by Sparda's blood and human by Eva's.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Vergil! Dante! It Makes Sense in Context.
  • 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 he 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 still opened a link to the Demon World with the Human World.
  • Hellhound: Cerberus.
  • Hellish Horse: Geryon.
  • Hero Killer: As per their in game description, Abysses. Along with lurking in realms far beyond hell, these Superpowered Mooks are nasty combinations of the best strengths of the 7 Hells jailers: they can counter when knocked back, lunge forward like Hell Lusts, can fling off their scythe blades to attack from afar, have a teleporting scythe throwing aerial attack, and come in groups, demanding some Nintendo Hard defying reflexes and dexterity. They are even put in the climatic Demon World Gimmick Level stages, making the trek through a defining experience of hellish.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge/Rocket Ride: Surfing on a rocket. Plus the scene where Dante basically playfights with Lady, spinning through the air while she shoots at him, hitting only his coat.
  • 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, and the first seven levels lead up to that point.
  • Human Mom Nonhuman Dad: Eva's the human and Sparda's the demon for Dante and Vergil.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: This is true throughout the whole series, but especially blatant here. While Vergil's sword(s) are always present, and Lady has a pistol, a machine-gun, a crossbow thingymajig, and even a rocket launcher all clearly visible on her body... we also have Dante, who can carry three swords, giant three-sided nunchaku, a scythe-guitar, huge gauntlets and greaves, two pistols, a shotgun, a demonic laser gun, an anti-tank rifle, and a rocket launcher (Lady's, as mentioned)... on his back? Inside his coat? In his pants pockets? It's worth noting that Beowulf and Artemis will show on Dante's avatar at all times if he has them equipped, but supposedly he's got them on his person at all times, since he tends to whip out Rebellion in cutscenes whether or not you have it equipped.
  • 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.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Vergil (playing piercing-ice straight).
  • I Let You Win: Jester in 3: SE.
  • I'll Kill You!: Beowulf says this both times he Turns Red.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Dante gets approximately eight scythe blades through his body in the first cutscene. He's not really bothered that much by them.
    • After their first duel, Vergil manages to stab Dante through the chest with both his own Yamato and Dante's own Rebellion.
  • Immune to Bullets: Used lightly in 3, but otherwise heavily subverted. In fact, inverted at least twice.
    • Played straight during two of Lady's cutscenes with Dante, the first him getting shot in the head twice, and the second to the stomach, right before his fight with Lady.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: After Lady is beaten, she shoots several more times at Dante but is wide off the mark, probably as a result of having just been defeated in combat.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Alongside the fairly standard giant swords and demonic gauntlets, there is Cerberus, a three-pronged nunchuk made of ice, and Nevan, a literal electric guitar that summons bats and lightning.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Amongst many examples that could be given, in the intro, Dante both flips a billard table over and proceeds to shoot the cue ball, initiating an aerial game of pool to take place which knocks out a couple of demons when the balls hit their heads. At a later point, he also deflects bullets by shooting them out of their trajectory path, and there is one cutscene where he propels Rebellion through the air by shooting its pommel. This also becomes a gameplay mechanic during the battle with Lady, where Dante can block her pistol shots by shooting them out of the air with Ebony & Ivory.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Nevan, the scythe-equipped electric guitar... which sees more use in combat as a guitar than a scythe, shooting bats, sound waves, and electricity.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The game's cutscenes were filmed using motion capture, and if you find the behind-the-scenes videos of the recording sessions, you'll find that the actors (particularly Reuben Langdon for Dante) look very much like their characters.
  • "Instant Death" Radius:
    • Vergil with Spiral Swords, (un)fortunately only on DMD, 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.
    • You can damage enemies when you activate the Devil Trigger, but this is less of an instant death radius and more of an instant minor annoyance with very little knockback radius. However, this technique can be charged so that the resulting explosion deals considerable damage. At max charge, it IS an "Instant Death" Radius for most non-boss non-Devil Triggered enemies.
  • Instrument of Murder: Nevan, a guitar that shoots lightning, controls bats, plays loud enough to kill demons, and turns into a scythe. No, we can't emphasize that enough.
  • Ironic Hell: As represented by all of the 7 Hells jailers:
    • Pride: Being the most basic jailer, Pride awaits the prideful, whose minds get full of themselves and think they are invincible.
    • Envy: Because they stand out with Leviathan's fluids as jailers not of sand, Hell Envies prey on the envious of how their hell is "unique" than the others, being in the stinking and infernal bowels of a hell beast.
    • Wrath: Carrying a bomb, they blow up the wrathful to show the consequences and chain reactions of violence and anger.
    • Lust: With great speed, they chase after the lustful, who lust and chase after what they can instinctively indulge themselves with.
    • Gluttony: Their blowing breath are meant to keep the gluttonous away from comfort and indulgence.
    • Sloth: They are able to teleport to catch up with the slothful, who do not improve themselves.
    • Greed: Because Pride, Lust, and Gluttony are root sins for Greed, Hell Greeds summon fellow jailers to help keep the greedy in place. Their massive coffin pillars are also wide range deterrents to sweep away the greedy, which implies that they make up a massive portion of hell.
  • Is That What He Told You?: Inverted. Vergil uses this line on Lady after she confronts him in Mission 13 over Arkham's being possessed.
  • It Was a Gift: Yamato and Rebellion to Vergil and Dante, passed down by Sparda. Their amulets, on the other hand, were passed down by Eva.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dante begins the game as a cocky and arrogant self-centered jerk clearly only in it to show up his brother. While his demeanor doesn't change hugely by the time things hit the fan, it becomes clear that his reason for fighting changed to something far nobler.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Yamato.
  • Keystone Army: Averted. Dante And Lady spend an untold amount of time mopping up all the demons left after the Big Bad is defeated and the gate to hell is sealed up again.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Envies are functionally identical to the most basic Prides except for their nigh-immunity to launches and knockbacks.
  • The Lady's Favour: Lady handing Kalina Ann to Dante with the request that he "free" her father is this minus, y'know, the whole love interest thing.
  • Large Ham: Dante acts like a cocky sonofagun almost constantly during the story and relentlessly mocks or mouths off to giant terrifying monsters. In the opening cutscene, Dante isn't fighting so much as playing with his enemies.
  • Life Drain: Nevan is quite fond of this in her final phase.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: In order to make story progress as well the extra goodie.
  • Light Is Not Good: Beowulf and the Fallen enemies are light-elemental.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Quicksilver style causes Dante to slow time to a crawl, allowing you to beat on your foes with utmost impunity. The sheer usability of the style, combined with its relatively easier-to-sustain cost - constant drain of the DT Gauge - means that Dante can spam this all he wants, and experiment with new strategies.
  • Logical Weakness: A mechanic unique to this game is that almost all of the bosses and even a few enemy types are weak to the elements used by Dante's weapons; if they are hit by attacks from said weapons, they take more damage - usually indicated by a visual cue pertaining towards their weakness.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Gunslinger is a crowd-controlling style that uses ranged weaponry. While the lack of any up-close-and-personal moves is a weakness, the sheer power your guns have more than makes up for it. Using the style requires a good sense of surrounding, as all the style focuses around using your guns to hit multiple opponents. Leveling it up unlocks even more solutions for enemies ganging up on you.
  • Made of Iron: Both the Sons of Sparda have a massive Healing Factor to explain this, but Lady also manages to shrug off some serious damage (most notably being stabbed in the leg with her rocket launcher's enormous bayonet) despite being entirely human.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Pretty much the entire tower of Temen-ni-gru, which was basically built to be as demonic as possible. But the most appropriate example is in one of the hallways. You thought those wall-saw-blades were annoying during fights when they were on the walls? Heh.
  • Marathon Boss: Vergil at the end of 3 is this, at least the first time. If you don't deal him enough damage when his guard is open (which is not often), they will be nullified quickly since he heals when in Devil Trigger. Of course, he is even less open when his health is low. And that's in Normal mode; in Dante Must Die, let's just say he's an endless nightmare.
  • 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, until Arkham shows up and forces them all to work together.
  • Mercy Mode: Once you die three times, you unlock Easy mode.
  • Metal Scream: The cutscene for gaining Nevan (which makes a lot of sense, really) along with the game's theme song "Devils Never Cry."
    "Serving justice that dwells in me!"
    "Lifeless corpses as far as the eye can SEE!!!"
  • Minimalist Cast: Discounting the bosses, who are fought once and killed with very little impact on the story, there are only four characters in total: Dante, Vergil, Lady and Arkham.
  • Mirror Boss: Though Vergil's Yamato moveset shares no similarities with Dante's Rebellion, the two battle on perfectly equal ground regardless. In the second duel, Vergil does use moves with Beowulf that Dante can use when he picks up the gauntlets later. In the third duel, Vergil wields Force Edge alongside his Yamato, which allows him to pull off, at the very least, a Helm Breaker-to-Stinger combo very similar to Dante's moves.
    • There's also the literal Doppelganger boss.
  • More Dakka: Upgrading the Gunslinger style lets you shoot faster in general, plus you can use Kalina Ann's mini Macross Missile Massacre. Also the Artemis has multi-target-lock.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Slow. Motion. Pizza. Eating. As well the most epic instance of putting on a coat ever.
  • Nemesis Weapon: Dante's sword Rebellion and Vergil's katana Yamato used to belong to their father, Sparda. The two twins are bitter enemies.
  • Nintendo Hard: The initial Western release actually removed the Easy mode and the other difficulties all ranked down in name to compensate; so Normal mode was actually the Hard mode from the Eastern release. When the Special Edition was released later, the difficulties were kept the same as the Japanese release. As the Western "Hard" difficulty had no analogous equivalent in the Japanese version, it was given the new title "Very Hard" in Special Edition.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Jester; he is later revealed to be Arkham and masterminded the Mêlée à Trois between Dante, Vergil, and Lady.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Lady falls several dozen stories, then is caught by the ankle with no ill effect.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Dante and Vergil have bright blue eyes. They are part demon and have powers attributed to their demonic heritage.
  • Offhand Backhand: The "shoot in two different directions simultaneously" variant.
    • Vergil does one to the Hell Vanguard that Dante defeated to dispatch it.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The BGM for the second and third Vergil fights.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: In Heaven or Hell mode, everyone dies in one hit - the player, enemies, even bosses.
  • One to Million to One: Nevan teleports across her room (read: battle arena) by dissolving into bats.
  • One-Winged Angel: In addition to Devil Trigger as usual, Arkham initially manages to take on a form identical to Sparda at his full power...before the power corrupts him and he becomes a giant blob monster instead.
  • Our Souls Are Different: The souls of defeated demons turn into Devil Arms/combat Styles for use by whoever gets them.
  • Painful Transformation: Limited; Dante howls in pain during his first chronological Devil Trigger usage, but never does so again during subsequent uses.
    • During one of the later cutscenes, Temen-ni-gru starts moving, morphing Dante in and out of his Devil Trigger form repeatedly. He looks around, apparently more interested in falling dust and the tower's shaking than his own changing body.
  • Palette Swap: Vergil fights a red copy of himself in 3: Special Edition, instead of Dante.
  • Parrying Bullets: Dante usually prefers to block enemy fire by shooting it, but Vergil can deflect bullets by spinning his katana.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Dante to his jukebox in the beginning, although he does leave a dent in it. Later, he needs to operate a machine to open the cage containing the next plot coupon. The machine's key is actually an ornamental spear. So he stabs the machine with the spear and, when nothing happens, kicks it. It works.
  • Planet Heck: The endgame levels are set in the Demon World.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Dante and Vergil.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Each weapon that Dante obtains (with the exception of Beowulf, which to be fair is just armored gauntlets and boots) is introduced by him playing around with it in a manner that shows he is incredibly skilled with it, from masterfully pulling off sick spins with Cerberus to skillful slashes with Agni & Rudra and managing to pull off a quick one-man show with Nevan.
  • Power Fist: Beowulf, when slain, relinquishes light-empowered gauntlets and boots.
  • The Power of Rock: Nevan.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The Super costumes grant infinite Devil Trigger (with the exception of Devil Trigger explosions, which does use up the gauge) and are acquired by beating Dante Must Die mode. Then there's the Legendary Dark Knight/Sparda version, which removes even that limitation on Devil Trigger explosions.
  • Rank Inflation: Style rank combos don't cap out at S; they cap out at SSS.
  • Razor Wind: Dante's Drive and Vergil's Judgement Cut.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: This has technically always been part of the series, but this entry allows Dante to swap between two specifically-chosen Devil Arms and firearms, truly amping up the possible style combinations.
  • Recurring Boss: Vergil is battled three times throughout the game, each marking a convenient end of an "act" of the story.
  • Recurring Riff: Bits of "Devils Never Cry", the main theme, tend to work their way into music for battles or cutscenes involving Vergil.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Dante and Vergil, naturally.
    • There's also the literal example of Agni and Rudra, two talkative demon swords wielded by headless demon bodies, one red and one blue, though they both seemed the same.
  • Reduced to Dust: Most of the demon mooks dissolves into sand upon defeat, particularly the Hell types.
  • Retcon: This game changes a few details that 1 supposedly explained.
    • In 1, Trish remarks that Dante "lost a mother and brother to evil twenty years ago." This has Dante encounter his brother a decade or so after Eva's death, and Vergil's status as an antagonist is very questionable.
    • Dante's speech to Trish in 1 implies that he and Vergil never actually knew Sparda, and all the twins had to go by were the stories Eva would tell them of him. Vergil apparently reminds Dante of Sparda, but the kind of guy that Vergil is just makes that comparison mind-boggling.
      Dante: My mother always used to tell me that my father was a man who fought for the weak. He had courage and a righteous heart.
    • The name "Devil May Cry" came from Enzo Ferino's testimony in the handbook (in reference to Dante: "He glares at a guy, and even the devil may cry!") but this game changed it to the Title Drop by Lady ("Even a devil may cry when he loses a loved one").
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Hello, towering light demon Beowulf.
    • Hey look, the guard dog of the Underworld is... an ice elemental?
    • Also, 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.
    • The sad thing is, the character design for Beowulf is nearly perfect... for another demon entirely. Four wings? Scorpion tail? Claws and talons? Lion-like face? Beowulf, aside from his light powers, is a nearly perfect depiction of the demon Pazuzu.
  • Sand In My Eyes: "It's only the rain."
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: Sparda's power.
  • Secret A.I. Moves: Vergil has these.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Lady.
  • Sequel Escalation: Prequel, technically, but the moves are flashier, the controls are better, and the stakes are literally sky-high.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: Agni and Rudra.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Hell Prides, Hell Wraths, Hell Envies, etc.
  • Shared Unusual Trait: Lady and Arkham have heterochromia, which indicates that they're related, and that relation pretty much is why she is even there.
  • Shielded Core Boss: Leviathan's Heartcore is encased in a hard shell that opens up for a short time when one of two adjacent organs is destroyed and before it regenerates.
    • Nevan has an electrical shield that drops when all of the bats surrounding her are destroyed. And then you must instantly attack her at least once or else she'll immediately regenerate the shield to full.
  • Shirtless Scene: The first mission, as well as the Coatless costume.
  • 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 literally named Rising Dragon. Curiously, though, Dante only shouts "Rising Dragon!" for a different move.
  • Shout-Out: The achievement in the HD version for defeating Arkham is "Asylum"; it's possible that the character was originally named after said asylum. Additionally, Jester was originally going to be named after The Joker.
  • Sibling Team: Dante and Vergil against Arkham in the second half of the penultimate Boss Battle of 3. It doesn't last for long...
    • However, it's implied that the two were like this (well, minus the ass-kicking) before they drifted apart.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Lampshaded by Dante. He's getting sick of it.
    Dante: Why do I gotta take the heat for my father?
  • Spam Attack: Crazy Combos — some of Dante's weapons allow him to rapidly pummel a foe.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: One of Vergil's moves.
  • Stance System: Dante's Styles, chosen at the beginning of missions or swapped out at Divinity Statues.
  • Standard Power-Up Pose: Dante entering his Super Mode tends to strike a pose like this.
  • Start of Darkness: A decade before for Vergil, with the game showing how it turns out.
  • Steam Punk: Clockpunk for Temen-ni-Gru.
  • 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 Stoic: Vergil, though he does snap on occasion.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Arkham almost states the trope word for word as he walks off to deal with Lady at the beginning of Mission 4. "A storm is approaching."
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Obviously, as Dante and Vergil are 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.
  • Sword Beam: Rebellion's Drive move sends these out.
  • Sword Sparks: Most often when Dante and Vergil clash.
  • Tears of Blood: One of the puzzles.
  • Teleport Spam: Vergil is a fan of this in the second and third battles with him. He really starts pulling out these stops when low on health in the third battle.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Lady.
  • That Man Is Dead: Lady rejecting her previous name of Mary.
  • Theme Naming: The Seven Hells, although the semblance is spotty at best.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Dante and Vergil.
  • Title Drop: "Devil May Cry" is the name of Dante's demon-hunting business, but though Dante has a habit of dropping the phrase "Devils never cry" Once an Episode, it's not until the end of this game where Lady tells Dante in response to that, "Even a devil may cry when he loses a loved one." Chronologically, this would be the phrase's first appearance.
  • Trying Not to Cry: Played straight with Lady after she shoots and kills Arkham. Also done with Dante.
  • Turns Red: Most bosses pull this, most notably Cerberus literally turning red.
  • The Unfought: Before the final battle with him, Arkham appears taking on the form of a fully-powered up Sparda, but before the battle actually commences, he loses control and morphs into a Blob Monster. The Sparda form is never fought.
  • Updated Re-release: In the form of a "Special Edition," that renamed the difficulties, added the Bloody Palace gauntlet and a Turbo mode that sped the game up, added three successive boss battles with Jester, and added Vergil as a playable character.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: This game started the trend of Dante obtaining weapons based off of bosses he defeats.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Cerberus, as the game's first proper boss battle, is no pushover.
  • Wham Episode: Mission 13. Jester is Arkham, and he's been playing everybody like a violin from the beginning. He steps in after Dante and Vergil are too weak from their prior battle to stop him, using their blood and Lady's to undo the final seal needed to open the portal to the Underworld so he can claim Sparda's power for himself.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: Hell Wraths. Stay too close to them after damaging them enough and they'll explode.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Damned Chessmen all team up in Mission 18, overseen by a king piece that is difficult to defeat with everything else swarming around it, but if you do so will take out the whole set.
  • The Worf Effect: Upon his first appearance, Vergil kills the Hell Vanguard that was just a boss in one cut.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Dante has two: first to Lady, serving to show his own Character Development she brought out of him; second to Vergil, to shown the culmination of this development, and just how serious he's being right now.
  • Worthy Opponent: Vergil.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Vergil dispatches Arkham once the door to the final lock has been opened.
  • You Remind Me of X: Nevan comments how Dante reminds her of Sparda, but more in the flirting fashion.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: Kalina Ann has such a move in Gunslinger style.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Dante against Vergil. Yes, they are twins, but conversations and in-game information seems to indicate Dante is the younger twin.
  • Your Head Asplode: Happens to Cerberus whenever you damage one of his heads enough.

Alternative Title(s): Devil May Cry 3

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