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"This party's getting crazy! Let's rock!"
Dante
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Devil May Cry is a Stylish Action Hack and Slash Video Game Franchise created by Hideki Kamiya, and developed and published by Capcom in 2001. Originally intended to be the fourth installment in Capcom's Resident Evil series, Devil May Cry has been noted as the Trope Codifier for modern 3D Hack and Slash Stylish Action games.

Taking place in the modern day, the games revolve around Dante, the Anti-Hero Half-Human Hybrid Demon Slaying son of an Ascended Demon named Sparda. Thousands of years ago, Sparda sealed away his fellow demons and freed the human world from their control. However, Sparda eventually died, leaving behind a human wife named Eva and two halfbreed twins named Dante and Vergil. Without Sparda to protect them, Eva is soon murdered, Vergil becomes an Anti-Villain obsessed with power, and Dante decides to work as a demon-hunting sword-for-hire so he can find the demons responsible for tearing apart his family and give them their just desserts. And make a great deal of money, of course.

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Gameplay focuses on using mixtures of Hack and Slash, Launcher Moves, Ground Pounds, Dash Attacks, Video Game Dashing, Double Jumps, Super Modes, and Stance Systems to create stylish, fast-paced Combos. Onus is placed on the player's skill with their moveset, and their ability to alternate between different weapons and moves. However, Adventure Game elements such as puzzle-solving and exploration are also featured.

Compare to Ninja Gaiden, the God of War Series and Hideki Kamiya's PlatinumGames spiritual successor, Bayonetta. Not to be confused with Run–D.M.C. or Detroit Metal City.

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Main games

Other works


This page is gettin' crazy! Let's list examples!

Note: Each game in the series now has its own page, as does the anime. If a trope or an example of one only applies to one game in the series, or only to the anime, put it on that page.

     Tropes applying across all media 
  • Absolute Cleavage: Gloria, and to a lesser extent Trish and Lady.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Every time a sword is used in a cutscene, it tends to do things that no real sword could possibly do.
  • Action Girl: Trish, Lucia, and Lady are all capable of demon slaying as much as Dante is. Beryl in the second novel also qualifies.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Every time you purchase an item, the price goes up. After five or so buys, the price will freeze.
  • Adaptation Distillation: One can somewhat call it this way from a translation perspective in regards to the first two novels, as several lines present in the original Japanese aren't used in Tokyopop's versions.
  • Airborne Mook: Bat-form Plasmas in 1. Puias and Flambats in 2. Bloodgoyles in 3, Mephistos and Fausts in 4. Pathos (and the shielded version thereof) in DmC.
  • Almost Kiss: Dante and Lady in 3, Nero and Kyrie in 4.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield:
    • 1: Before battling Mundus, he and Dante end up in a universe Mundus conjured up, where you then proceed to shoot fireballs at him.
    • Many Bloody Palace stages tend to be this, with strange light shows going on under the floor or nebulae flying by.
  • Anachronic Order: Placed in chronological order: Manga 3 -> 3 -> 1 -> anime -> Novel 2 -> 2 -> 4 - > Novel 5 -> 5. The original confirmation of 5 taking place after 2 was courtesy of French gaming site ActuGaming's interview with director Hideaki Itsuno, and 5 producer Matthew Walker's responding tweet to a fan's question. However, Capcom TV later streamed a quick summary video that put 2 before 4, causing much confusion until Walker confirmed it on Twitter.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The series invokes this in later games. In Mission 15 of 2, the enemies become weaker each time you are unable to beat them in two minutes. In 3, dying a few times on normal mode unlocks easy mode; in 4, choosing "continue" a few times in a chapter automatically handicaps the enemy.
  • Arrange Mode: Starting from the third game, there's the "Heaven and Hell" mode where both you and the enemies are One Hit Point Wonders.
  • Armed Legs: Dante wields these with his Beowulf Devil Arm in 3. It returns in the form of Gilgamesh in 4 and Balrog in 5.
  • Armor Is Useless: Dante and Nero's weapons cut like butter through enemies in armor, as only enemies with magical barriers or demonic weapons of their own can defend against Devil Arms.
  • Artifact Title: In the first game "Dante Must Die" made sense, the only playable character was Dante. In the second game the mode was retitled depending on who you were playing as (so there was a "Dante Must Die" mode and a "Lucia Must Die" mode depending on which protagonist you were playing as). In the original release of the third game this still made sense (once again Dante was the only playable protagonist) but after that it falls into Artifact Title territory as in the Special Edition Vergil becomes playable but the mode continues to be named "Dante Must Die". 4 also has Dante Must Die despite the fact you don't even start off playing as Dante.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: A lot of the moves for the gauntlets-type Devil Arms (Ifrit, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Balrog); Cerberus in 3, which is a tripartite nunchaku instead of a traditional two-part nunchaku; and King Cerberus's three forms of tripartite nunchaku, bo staff, and three-section staff in 5.
  • 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.
    • In 1 it also says that the Frost enemies are at below absolute zero temperature. This might be trying to imply that they're supernaturally cold, but it still sounds like a failure of logic, or at least physics.
  • Ascended Demon: Sparda, a powerful demon who turned on his masters and became a champion of the human world.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The Always Chaotic Evil Demon World lives by this rule.
    Vergil: Might controls everything.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Beowulf's eyes, Cerberus' heads, Phantom's face...
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Mundus in 1 and the False Savior in 4.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Sparda sword back in 1. While a sword that can turn into a scythe is stupidly sweet, the lack of a Devil Trigger leaves you significantly better off using Alastor or Ifrit. At least, until the final battle, where it proves worthy of its name.
      • Sparda does the extra damage Alastor does during Devil Trigger; nothing to write home about at first, but as you ramp the difficulty up towards "Dante Must Die", actual Devil Trigger abilities become progressively more useless, and melee attacks become your primary source of damage.
    • Real Impact and Twister-Tempest most of the time in 3, some Buster moves while fighting crowds in 4.
      • Real Impact's position is somewhat reversed in 4 with the Distorted Real Impact; if timed properly, it becomes THE boss-killing move of the game.
    • Showdown in 4 is extremely efficient — but has a short range, takes several seconds to charge, and whiffs if the target moves away during charging, so you'd better know what you're doing when you use it.
    • Nevan in 3 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.
  • Awesomeness Meter: Combat is graded based on a number of factors, including variations within combos, number of hits, and damage taken.
  • Backtracking: In 4 — and how! Nearly every reviewer called it out. Basically, Dante's part consists of doing everything Nero did in reverse order.
    • That was exacerbated by the fact the initial run with Nero had some backtracking in and of itself.
    • There was backtracking in the other installments as well (Mallet Island for 1, the Uroboros building in 2, and the Temen-ni-gru's lower levels in 3), but those were the well-done "environment change" versions of the trope.
  • Badass Biker: Trish, Lady, and Dante.
  • Badass Boast: Nero's battle theme, "The Time Has Come," is this trope.
    "I'll tell you now, I'm the one to survive / You'll never break my faith or my stride / I'll have you choke on your own demise, / I make the Angels scream, and the Devil cry!"
  • Badass Crew: Dante, Trish, and Lady.
  • Badass Family: Sparda, Vergil, Dante, and Nero, who is Vergil's son.
  • Badass Longcoat: Dante, Vergil, and Nero.
  • Badass Normal: Lady. Beryl from the second novel, and Nico in 5.
  • Bag of Spilling: Dante starts out with a room full of swords impaling demon heads on his wall, but only takes Force Edge with him in 1. After that, he seldom needs anything besides his guns Ebony and Ivory, and his sword Rebellion.
  • Beam Spam:
    • Multilock. Admittedly not all that impressive.
    • To a degree, the Nightmare-Beta from 1. Charge it up, and let a huge volley of penetrating laser shots recoil around the room like crazy. (Does it count as Beam Spam if it's just the same beams over and over?)
  • BFG: Kalina Ann, Spiral, the Grenade Launcher, the Stinger, and several Pandora forms.
  • BFS: All the starter weapons of the sword-wielding major characters, with specific examples below.
    • Nero DT spirit's Yamato.
    • The standard swords of Nero and Dante are almost their own height in length.
    • Among the enemies, we have Nelo Angelo's sword, Berial's warblade, and Bolverk's spear. Yes, spear. Despite being a blade on a stick, it has a very long, large blade. Oh, and Dante's Vendetta and Merciless swords from 2. Some of them even ARE huge swords.
  • Big Bad: Mundus, being King of Hell, is indubitably the Biggest Bad of all. However, the other titles have featured human (or demi-human) villains. Lampshaded in the second novel, where Chen declares that "I should announce my presence like the big bad boss that I am!"
  • Bishōnen: Dante is a very pretty man, and even takes on Hunk status in 4 and 5. Vergil and Nero also qualify.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Pretty much all the games end this way in some form or another.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: Throughout the course of the series.
  • Black Blood:
    • Some of the demons in 3, which are made of and bleed sand.
    • In 4, only half-humans bleed red, while organic demons have blue, green, or orange blood instead.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: Swords always land pointy end in, no matter how big or unbalanced they seem.
  • Blade Across The Shoulder: Dante with Rebellion. Nero also occasionally does this with Red Queen.
  • Blade Run:
    • The Shadow enemies in the first game will sometimes attack by extending long spikes from their body, which then stay out for a few moments. While they're out, the player can stand on them, as seen here at around 1:50.
    • Nero does it literally on the sword that was originally attached to a statue of Sparda when he first battles Dante in the early cutscenes of 4. Sadly, no gameplay usage.
  • Blob Monster: Nightmare and Mundus' true form in 1, Argosax the Chaos in 2, Arkham in 3.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage:
    • Dante has his Royal Guard skill that can block anything if properly done, including explosions, electrified floors, and 100ft tall statues drop kicking him. Use it wrong, and Dante will take damage and the guard will be broken.
    • Nero from the fourth game can block attacks by meeting them with his Power Fist, the Devil Bringer. This is capable of blocking all sorts of attacks, giant spears, massive demons, and even punches from the False Savior.
    • Many enemies, from bosses to mooks, can put up a defensive stance and stop attacks cold. Some of the heavier attacks can go around these.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Dante's leading ladies in the first three games, with the blonde Trish in 1, redheaded Lucia in 2, and brown-haired Lady in 3.
  • Blood Magic: When you kill monsters, you collect their crystallized blood and offer it to the nebulous God of Time to upgrade your powers.
  • Bloody Murder: Enemies shooting blood bullets.
  • Blown Across the Room: Many, many enemies can do this to Dante, starting with Phantom in the first game.
  • Boss Banter: Nearly every boss, especially Vergil in 3.
    "You are not worthy as my opponent."
    "Now... I'm motivated!"
    "You...! TRASH!"
  • Boss Rush:
    • 3 and 4 each have one level devoted entirely to this.
    • 1 has this in the form of diving into Nightmare to fight shadow versions of previous bosses in order to do massive damage to Nightmare itself. 2 also has a psuedo-boss rush in the form of Argosax the Chaos.
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • Dante can run out of ammo but his weapons refill automatically given time. According to 1's game manual, one of his demonic powers creates more bullets in his guns.
    • While Lady and Nero have shown impressive reloading skills, Lady plays this straight during Mission 16 of 3 when Dante picks a fight with her. Nero subverts this in 4's gameplay, as he can shoot as long as he wants but if he stops (don't do anything else) Nero will finish with what is apparently a quick reload. Zigzagged on Nero in 5.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Completing the highest "Dante Must Die" difficulty in the first, third, and fourth games unlocks a "Super Costume" for Dante or the other playable characters, which grants unlimited energy for the Devil Trigger Super Mode. In this case, the game is still hard, even for a maxed-out character.
    • Beating the last of 15 Secret Missions in the first game offers you a Bangle of Time. Equipping it changes Devil Trigger to stop time, though it doesn't work on bosses and it's obtained so late in the game you only really get to use it during New Game+.
  • Bring My Red Jacket: Dante wears a big red Badass Longcoat and gets swords through him a lot.
  • Call-Back: In 2, Dante comforts a teary-eyed, distressed Lucia at endgame by telling her "Devils never cry." This not only parallels his words to Trish in the final portions of the first game, but Lucia herself parallels Trish's origins as an Artificial Demon created by the game's Big Bad. She's good from the start, unlike Trish, but wonders if her parentage and status as a demon means she'll turn on the humans.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Averted in 1 and 2, where Dante only makes war cries. Subverted in 3; he shouts "Rising Dragon" during Real Impact, yet doesn't spare a coherent line for the real Rising Dragon. Played straight in a couple of cases in 4, but still, it's usually taunts and warcries.
    • However, while nobody usually calls the attack's actual name, both protagonists and some bosses always shout certain phrases before some attacks. Nevan is particularly guilty of this.
  • Camera Screw: The series frequently changes the camera angle mid-jump. The key to your survival is that the game doesn't realign your controls until you land, so you need not jerk the controller around.
    • The third fight with Griffon in 1 is nearly unwinnable on higher difficulties thanks to this.
    • 2's camera is particularly bad. You'll often find yourself shooting away at enemies the camera seems to have no intention of showing you.
  • Camp: The dialogue is hammy, the action defies physics, and the very concept of the game is Rule of Cool.
  • 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 demons. 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 in 3. That is, he catches and returns bullets, With his sword.
    • In the battle with Credo in 4, the spears that the boss throws can be caught with the Devil Bringer and then thrown right back at him.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Jackpot!" Usually said right before defeating the Big Bad of the game.
    • "Let's rock, baby!"
  • Chaos Architecture: Despite being supposedly the same building, Dante's shop has multiple and drastic redesigns through the games and the animated series. Notably in the first and second games, it is contained in a single small room while in later works it is more spacious and has stairs leading to a second floor.
  • Charged Attack: The 'Hold' type, where Dante and Nero can charge their guns for extra damage.
  • Charge Meter: A visual charge via various weapons, usually performed by the "hold down button" input and seen through effects, like Nero's Devil Bringer changing colors depending on the level of charge obtained. Pandora and Red Queen's Exceed system have actual meters in 4.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Lady, and Nero (later subverted).
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Damned Chessmen in 3.
    • A straighter example would be the biplane encountered in the first mission of the first game (christened Carnival according to Viewtiful Joe). It is later used to make your escape from Mallet Island. Nobody knows how or why it was here to begin with but, who cares.
    • Dante's lucky coin in 2 is used in a Fake MacGuffin Batman Gambit to fool Arius.
    • The bells you see strewn throughout Temen-ni-gru in 3. They later are involved in the ritual used to open the gate to the underworld.
    • The Yamato from 3 resurfaces as a major plot point in 4.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Mundus, Possessed Arius, the False Savior.
  • The Collector of the Strange: Dante's massive collection of demon skulls.
  • Colour-Coded Timestop: Reversed colors in the first and third game, grayscale in the fourth.
  • Combination Attack/Combined Energy Attack:
    • Trish super-charges Dante with her power to blow Mundus out of the water in 1.
    • Dante and Vergil in 3 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 and 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, this shows up in one form or another in each game.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • Boss Vergil stays in Devil Trigger mode far longer than player Vergil ever could in 3, especially on harder difficulties. And once you knock him below half health, it lasts even longer.
    • Boss Dante in 4 is infinitely superior to any version the player has ever had access to, if only because of computerized accuracy.
  • Continuing Is Painful: To an extent. The thing is, when you use an item, it's used for good: if you die, you will have to do the sequence (or the entire level) again without the items you already used, which may force you to go back to the loading screen. Then again, the game does all it can to discourage light use of items, so if a passage or boss is hard, a more clever method is to try and get as far as possible without using them at first.
  • Continuity Nod: When Arkham visits Dante's shop in 3, 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: Notable in 3 and 4 where you have to kill as many demons as possible as a timer winds down while the credits roll. 4 has the added difficulty where Nero - you, the player - can't let a single Scarecrow touch Kyrie in order to see an extra ending.
  • Crossover: In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne (or at least the Updated Re-release that became the US and PAL versions), 2!Dante is fought in 2 boss battles (both optional, but to skip the first one, you have to permanently lock yourself out of the Bonus Dungeon). He also appears as a playable character in the PS2 verison of Viewtiful Joe. Word of God states the various non-native games he has been in already is the reason he is not in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.
    • This is also coupled with Executive Meddling (since Hideki Kamiya left Capcom, it's been the new director of the series who believes that Dante has been used far too much). However, our prayers have finally been answered: Dante (and Trish) are in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (with Vergil later added to the roster in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3)! YEAH!
    • Dante was a playable character in both Project X Zone games, Lady was a support character in the first game, and Vergil paired with Dante in the second game.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Dante loves this when getting impaled.
    • Nero also gets some.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Vergil versus Beowulf in 3.
    • Dante vs. everyone in 2.
    • And most fights in TAS usually end in one single strike from Dante, to the point that he expresses disappointment over it at one point.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Dante simply cannot die in cutscenes. At all. Although he does come across as careless and incompetent at times, see immediately above.
    • Also, Yamato in 3 and 4. Cutscenes make it seem everything dies of being in the same room with it.
    • Dante's handguns seem to have the odd ability to be able to kill pretty much everything he shoots with them in one blast. Compare to gameplay, where your same guns deal slightly more damage than throwing a large pebble.
    • 4 in particular may be the worst offender of this trope in video game history. While you can certainly pull of some decently badass looking moves in-game, the kind of stuff that both player characters, Dante especially, do in cutscenes is jaw-droppingly ridiculous. The zenith is after beating a rather difficult boss as Dante, immediately afterwards five more of his kind come through the hell gate. Dante then manages to obtain the Pandora, and proceeds to effortlessly wreck all 4 of the boss's friends with a lethal combination of Pandora's abilities. Try replicating THIS in-game. Granted, all of those functions are available, but are in no way that powerful, that easy to pull off (a couple even fall into Awesome, but Impractical territory), that easy to control, or simply that flashy.
      • And if that doesn't do it for you, how about making another boss explode with a single pistol shot, the weakest attack in the game no matter how many times you try and upgrade it?
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Switch between 1 and 3. Thankfully the latter lets you remap the controls to your liking. Better yet, try going from 3 back to 1. Again thankfully, the HD collection remaps the controls of 1 to make them similar to the other games.
  • Damsel in Distress: Most girls in this franchise are quite capable of taking care of themselves, but then 4 gave us Kyrie, whose entire raison d'être is to be saved by Nero.
    • 2 has Lucia, who is perfectly capable in-game, but has to be rescued by Dante from explosions in cinematics twice. She also doesn't accomplish much without Dante, being captured by Arius and staying behind while he enters the portal to Hell. She does, however, kill Arius when he returns as a demon, so Lucia probably steers closer to Badass in Distress.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Dante and Vergil have the entire business with Mundus killing both of their parents with demon attacks, 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.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Dante uses his demonic powers for good.
  • Deadly Lunge: The Stinger move and its variants, though some enemies have their own versions too.
  • Death By A Thousand Cuts: Million Stab.
  • Death by Origin Story: Kalina Ann, motivating Lady to go for revenge.
    • Eva, although canon is decidedly unspecific on how she died, the prequel manga for 3 at least hints at a demon attack.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: The Royal Release in 3 and 4. In a sneaky way, the Devil Trigger itself in 3. 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. In 4, Nero can also use his Devil Bringer to reverse some powerful enemy attacks instead of dodging them. For example, knocking back the combined sphere attack from a Bianco Angelo and Alto Angelos, throwing Credo's spear back, or grabbing Sanctus while he is charging you.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Between Dante and Lady, as well as Nero.
    • 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.
    • Also Dante and Trish in the first game. After Nightmare's third and final death, that is.
  • Degraded Boss: 3's Hell's Vanguard, while losing the lifebar, gains potential Devil Trigger ability. Double inverted with Frosts from 1.
    • Gigapede from 3, 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.
  • Dem Bones: Sargassoes from 1 and 2.
  • Demon of Human Origin: Beginning with 2, this has become one of the main goals of every Big Bad and always for the sake of more power.
    • In 4, it's revealed that the Order of the Sword's chief alchemist, Agnus has been experimenting with turning humans into false-angelic demon knights with Credo and the Alto Angelos being the successful results. He's even converted himself into a demon and we see Sanctus go through the "Ascension Ceremony" in-game.
  • Demon Slaying: Dante's stock in trade, and the primary point of the series.
  • Devil, but No God: Not in the strictest sense. A powerful demon is largely behind everything, but no Big Good is opposing him. Gods such as the God of Time are mentioned, and in that case how Dante and Nero upgrades their abilities. Otherwise, none of them play a major part in the story. While the enemy files for 3 states that the Fallen enemies are fallen angels, that could be justified as being seen from humans' perspective, warped over the ages. God is clearly significantly less interested in the world than the devil, though. Unless he's just letting Dante and Nero do all the heavy work...
  • Die, Chair! Die!: Typically a way to pick up a few extra red orbs.
  • 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.
      • Same with Lucifer in 4. Beginner points are basically kick out a lot of blades with Pin-Up, then use Bondage to impale and then Ecstasy to finish.
    • Changing styles mid-combo in 4. It requires a bit of dexterity (going from analog stick to D-Pad) but when pulled off right you can extend combos (Swordmaster's Aerial Rave -> Dark Slayer's Aerial combo in midair) and compensate for holes in Dante's style made by the larger places you have to fight in (Air Trick -> ground fighting -> Swordmaster's Dance Macabre).
    • Instant Revving with Nero in 4 (EX-ACT and later MAX-ACT). Revving up the Red Queen allows you to dish more damage and change the properties of some of your attacks. You can stand still and rev up the sword by tapping the Rev button a couple of times (up to a maximum of three levels) that charge up the next attack you do. However, purchase the EX-ACT upgrade and you can rev your sword as you slash it by pressing the Rev button as your sword makes contact with an enemy. This adds a single level instantaneously and can be done with every sword attack Nero has, provided you have the timing down. Later on, you can purchase the MAX-ACT upgrade, which requires even more precise timing (maybe...one or two frames of tolerance), but doing so will instantly grant you all three rev levels in a single go.
    • Using enemies as platforms to reboot aerial combos (also known as "jump cancel") requires a very precise timing, but allows you to stay in the air indefinitely once you master it.
  • Double Entendre: Jester callsTemen-ni-gru a "thick shaft that causes women to shudder" in 3.
    • Every single word pertaining to the Devil Arm Lucifer in 4. Every single line of Dante's dialogue immediately after acquiring it, and the names for every one of its attacks.
  • Double Jump: Justified; anybody with the Air Hike ability (either naturally or granted by a Devil Arm) performs the second jump by creating a magic platform under their feet and leaping off that.
    • Taken one step further by Dante's Devil Trigger form in 4 to enable a triple jump.
  • Down the Drain: The ship level in 1.
    • Also in 2, but Lucia only.
  • Dual Wielding: Lucia with all her weapons, Dante with Agni and Rudra, Vergil with Yamato and Force Edge. Nero sort of does this with Yamato and Red Queen for his moves Maximum Bet and Showdown, but only when Triggered.
  • Easter Egg: Did you know 3 has 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.
    • Some of the extra costumes count as well. For example, beating 2 on Dante Must Die difficulty unlocks Dante's original outfit from 1, complete with the Force Edge in place of Rebellion. Additionally, most of Dante's sound files are switched from that of Matthew Kaminsky to Drew Coombs, his original VA from 1.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Played straight in most difficulties, but averted with "Dante Must Die" or "Heaven and Hell."
  • Elemental Powers: All over the place with the Devil Arms, ranging from fire, to ice, to thunder, to light. Also the demons themselves, which are often stated to use determinated elements in order to appear in a solid form.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Sparda Devil Trigger in 1, which only works against Mundus and nowhere else. Without cheating, of course. Also Yamato and Dark Slayer in 4, except they can be used elsewhere and aren't especially overpowered.
  • End Game Results Screen: At least each game in the series does this.
  • Energy Weapon: Nightmare-Beta in 1, Artemis in 3, and PF398 Revenge (the laser cannon) in 4.
  • Essence Drop: May be the Trope Codifier for modern action games. Demonic blood comes in three flavours: red (currency), green (health), and white (Devil Trigger gauge).
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Trish again.
  • Excuse Plot: Actually averted, despite the great possibility to go in this direction (as the protagonist is a fearless badass and the whole point of the game is to be as stylish as possible, both of which would move product without any need for further exposition). There's a pretty well-woven tapestry of backstory and even some supplementary material for this series. Granted, the first game had few cutscenes and not much interesting dialogue and nobody can remember the story of 2 (or whether it even had one). 3 and beyond, however, have more dialogue and character development.
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: According to Morrison in 5, most people consider demons and the supernatural nothing but legends and he himself didn't believe in the occult at first. This is despite the fact that, in this universe, several cities have come under siege by demonic entities. A radio broadcast in 5 also has survivors traumatically screaming that the invaders in Red Grave City are demons, with disbelief.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Almost every game in the series:
    • Devil May Cry opens in Dante's shop at night, and the rest of the game seems to take place over a single night, with the first level at dusk and Dante and Trish escaping as the sun rises.
    • Devil May Cry 3 is similar, with the first few missions seeming to take place as the sun sets, the action in Temen-ni-gru happening at night, and the end credits during the follow morning.
    • 4 is a bit more vague, but seems to take place over a couple days - the game starts at daytime, the first boss is fought at night, daytime returns at the halfway point, night returns for the second trip through Fortuna Castle, and the final boss and credits sequence is during the sunset.
    • Besides the prologue taking place a month before the main events of the game, the main portion of 5 takes place over only about 11 hours from 5AM to 4PM, helpfully illustrated by the Title In present at the start of every mission. The sun appears to be setting during the credits sequence.
    • The only exceptions are 2, which is too vague and unclear to draw a proper conclusion on the timeframe, and DmC, which has explicit resting periods between levels and seems to take place over a few weeks.
  • Fanservice: The Powers That Be seem to have recognized their sizable female fanbase as of 3, as shirtless Dante being an unlockable most definitely qualifies. While all of the ladies' outfits spanning the series are fanservicey as hell, Gloria's... fighting style... in 4 really takes the cake. And that's not even mentioning that Lucifer acquisition scene with Dante.
    • Speaking of 3, 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."
    • Trish and Lady both seem to have received a Fanservice Pack in 4.
  • Fight Magnet: Dante always attracts demon-related trouble due to his job as a demon hunter and due to his reputation as the Son of Sparda.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Regular fingerless gloves for Dante and Vergil in 3 and Lady in 5, no-thumb-and-index-finger gloves in 4 for Dante, and only the left hand for Nero and only the right hand for V in 5.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: Happens when Dante first acquires Alastor.
    • Also happens in 3 after Vergil stabs him. He promptly gets stabbed again. With his own sword.
  • Finishing Move: Wild Stomp in 3.
    • 4 has Nero's Buster moves against bosses; they won't necessarily finish the boss off, but they tend to do a lot of damage, and they definitely look like finishing moves.
  • Firing One-Handed: Dante using the shotgun, Nightmare Beta, and Artemis. Often chalked up to his superhuman strength.
    • Nero firing Blue Rose with one hand — the only time he uses both is when you're firing a Charge Shot in 4 or using the Tomboy Breaker in 5. If the size of Blue Rose's caliber is of any indication in comparison to real life firearms in that same range, the closest possibly the Smith & Wesson Model 500 revolver, it would smash into a regular human's face if the other hand wasn't used to brace for recoil.
  • Flaming Sword: Agni in 3, wielded with the wind sword Rudra (fun fact: properly applying wind to fire makes the fire bigger). Red Queen in 4 becomes something like this when revved up, and there's also Berial's sword, naturally.
  • Flanderization: Dante started out in 1 as a Disney Anti-Hero (a Knight In Sour Armor). He posed as a mercenary and was picky about which jobs he took, but he would only refuse if the job lacked demons of any sort, taking the mission regardless of how much he got paid as long as demons were involved. Despite the wisecracking personality he had, he knew when to serious the hell up if it meant saving the world. Dante in 1 was kind enough to offer mercy to Griffon and Trish despite both of them wanting him dead (and it pays off on Trish's end; she joins him). Despite The Animated Series happening a short time after 1, they basically inverted his character as he is much more money-minded than demon-minded and prone to Out of Character and hypocritical moments, such as calling Modeus "pathetic" for wanting to avenge his dead brother. His debt to various people we've barely heard of are played up to uncomfortable laughs, and he's suddenly grown some Destructive Savior tendencies along with it. The later games just make him a Jerkass.
    • A bonus picture of 3 has Lady holding up the handlebar of her destroyed bike, with Dante shrugging in the distance. While it's understandable that she would want to be paid back for it, like the "debt" point, it's overplayed. Her later appearances end up having to do with either money Dante owes her for her bike, or money Dante owes in general.
    • Trish's Heel–Face Turn in the first game was remarked on by Mundus as being "sudden" ("Failure is one thing, but taking on an odd behavior like that..."). Later games have her as extremely impulsive and moody for no reason.
    • Characterization Marches On: These personality traits first surfaced in The Animated Series and subsequently stuck for 4.
      • Until 4, however, this could have been justified as Dante mellowing out over time. He makes the expected leap from Jerkass to Jerk with a Heart of Gold over the course of 3, which would naturally bring him up to the more Knight In Sour Armor portrayal of 1. As stated before, however, 4 more or less Jossed this.
      • It could just be that he's riding high on the fact that he's likely surpassed even his father's strength at this point, and that's brought back a lot of his cocky jerkish behavior from back in 3. If you wanted to be morbid and aren't one of the many fans who ignore the second game entirely, you could explain the absence of Lady and Trish as something bad happening to them and him blaming himself and becoming sober and serious for that game, although 5 (which is set after 4) shows them both alive and well, Jossing that as well.
  • Flash Step: The various "Trick" techniques by Vergil and "Air Trick" by Dante after maxing Trickter Style. Vergil occassionaly takes this to Teleport Spam levels in the second and third boss battles with him.
    • Nelo Angelo (being Vergil and all) has the same ability, but this is undermined both by the blue flames that signify his flight path as well as the fact that he rarely uses it to his advantage. Frosts, ice demons that appear in 1 and 4, possess a similar ability which involves the disassembly of their bodies at the molecular level, quickly moving across the room using the moisture in the air as a medium, and then reforming somewhere else.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Those with a careful eye will be able to spot Dante perched casually atop one of the nearby buildings during Nero's opening fight with the Scarecrows — slow-motion is all but required at first due to the fact that it only seen as the camera follows Nero's high-speed aerial acrobatics. Dante also shows up near the end of the prologue, just as Director Hideaki Itsuno's credit disappears.
    • The introductory cutscene to every Mission in 3 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: 3 and 4 have a pretty active modding scene which is mainly cosmetic outside of the notable Style Switching Mod for 3 which gives you the ability to switch styles on the fly DMC4 style and makes the questionable port of 3 run better.
  • Gameplay Grading: Your combos are graded from D (Dull) to SSS (SSStylish).
    • After level completion you'll also get a letter grade.
    • The names for the grades are different for every game.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A minor example in 3. 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.
    • A bigger example in 4 is when you replay Dante's missions. He sets out to the Opera House to retrieve Yamato despite already wielding it.
  • Gangsta Style: How Dante holds Ebony and Ivory when firing and strafing.
  • Giant Spider: Phantom. Giant Magma Scorpion-Spider to be more precise. Still doesn't stop Dante from insulting it. Also his smaller brothers, the Kyklops and in 3 the Arachne.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Despair Embodied in 2. Also 75% of the bosses, to be honest.
    • Special mention to Phantom's appearance in 2. There's no build up to it, only a cut scene depicting him falling from a the sky. Dante doesn't even make any comment about it, despite having killed him some time before in the first game.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Beowulf in 3 and Sparda.
  • A God Am I: Occurs twice — first with Arkham in 3, 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 second with Sanctus of the Order of the Sword, who sought to create an artificial God and unify with it to reign over a new utopia purged of chaos.
  • Goomba Springboard: A minigame was made out of this mechanic in 3. You can buy the ability to do this in 4.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: "Flock off, featherface!" in 1. It's also worth noting that later installments don't do this; 3, 4, and the anime in particular have their share of cursing. Nero even gets called out for using harsh language at one point.
    • The "Flock off, featherface!" line could have just been a pun. Griffon was a bird demon, after all...
  • Go Through Me: The details are vague, but it's implied by the 3 prequel manga and through Dante's dialogue as he cries over Trish's apparent death in 1 that Eva did this in order to allow a young Dante to hide when demons attacked their home.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Part of the Devil Bringer's functions in 4. Kalina Ann has a bayonet that can be fired to do this in 3.
  • Ground Punch: The Inferno ability, along with all its offshoots (Volcano, Shocking!) have Dante smash the ground with his fist to create either a wave of lava, a blast of Hard Light, or a heavy shockwave.
  • Gun Fu: Dante, Nero, Trish, and Lady.
  • Guns Akimbo: Dante, Trish, and Lady.
  • Guns Are Useless: In most of the games, shooting an enemy does about as much damage as spitting on them. 2 is the only exception, as it ramped up the damage of guns and made it possible for them to stunlock opponents - and then revealed why this had been the case for so much of the series, as it meant hammering the shoot button handled basically everything. 3 rebalanced it a bit to make it possible to get through the game with guns, but not monotonous or easy.
  • The Gunslinger: Just about every heroic character who carries firearms.
  • Guns and Gunplay Tropes: Pretty much all of them are featured in this series at one point or another.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Dante and Vergil are demon by Sparda's blood and human by Eva's.
  • Harder Than Hard: "Dante Must Die."
    • Hell or Hell mode in 4. To fully explain: Heaven Or Hell mode is where you die in one hit, but so does every enemy, including bosses. In Hell or Hell mode, guess what dies in one hit and what doesn't.
      • Somewhat compensated, since the default power of enemies and bosses is that of the "Son of Sparda" mode (aka Bloody Palace difficulty), and by the time you get it, you must have passed the game on "Dante Must Die" difficulty, which grants you infinite Devil Trigger gauge upon completion, making this mode a continuous Curb-Stomp Battle. Of course, since the endless DT is a selectable before choosing the mission, and it is indeed broken, the game decreases your final mission score conveninently (the maximum score attainable to you while on infinite DT mode is "D"). Passing this mode without infinite DT, however, is much more of a challenge.
  • Hand Cannon: Ebony and Ivory are fitted with massive ported compensators that more than put them in this ballpark, while Blue Rose in 4 is a carbine-sized double-barrel revolver.
  • Healing Factor: Dante and Vergil. Nero in DT, at least in cutscenes.
  • Heart Container: Blue Orbs, both full (usually bought from the God of Time) and Fragments (the usual reward for Secret Missions, also found in gameplay). Purple Orbs serve the same purpose for the Devil Trigger meter, though without Fragments and almost exclusively bought.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Sparda; he "woke up to justice", and then proceeded to kick Mundus's ass and seal him away.
  • Hellfire: Ifrit from 1 is described as projecting this.
    • Furiataurus from 2 seems to be covered in it and bleeds lava when attacked.
    • Berial from 4 too, him being the "Conqueror of the Fire Hell."
  • Hellgate: Temen-ni-gru in 3 is more of a Helltower, but it still opened a link to the Demon World with the Human World, while there are Hellgates gets destroyed in 4.
  • Hellhound: Cerberus in 3, of course. The Basilisks in 4 would also count, being a cross between a dog and a gun.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Don't worry, that last part was fixed. And Eva's just hiding in the amulet, according to Viewtiful Joe. Her expy, Nell's death in the first novel was a Heroic Sacrifice, meaning that Eva pulled one since Vergil caused her death specifically to remind Dante of Eva's.
  • High-Class Glass: Sparda's monocle.
  • Hollywood Healing: Subverted with Lady.
  • Homage: Quite a few, including callbacks to past Capcom games, starting with Dante's uppercut moves resembling the Shoryuken from Street Fighter and Nero's Devil Triggered Buster against the Alto Angelos being identical to Zangief's Ultra Final Atomic Buster.
    • To add a few more: Hyper Fist is the Hokuto Hyakuretsu Ken from Fist of the North Star, Killer Bee/Starfall is Akuma's Tenma Kujinkyaku from Street Fighter, and Volcano appears to be Akuma's Kongo Koretsu Zan from Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.
    • Rising Dragon (as said above) is the Shoryuken with bits of the Shinryuken added in, Divine Dragon resembles the Shinryuken even more, and Tornado is the Shinkuu Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku. All of these come from Street Fighter.
    • These two videos showcase some more coincidences/similarities.
    • There are even allusions to some of SNK's fighters.
  • Human Mom Nonhuman Dad: Eva's the human and Sparda's the demon for the twins, and Vergil's the half-demon father to Nero.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Dante, the half-devil demon hunter.
    • Same applies to Trish (full demon) and Nero (quarter-demon), as well as Vergil from 4:SE.
  • Hybrid Power: Sid in TAS, Agnus in 4, and Urizen in 5 wonder why Dante is stronger than they are, despite all three claiming a difference in power - Sid had absorbed Abigail's power before being defeated, whereas Agnus claims that Dante is "not human", and Urizen had gotten a recent power boost. While Dante never gives Agnus a completely straight answer, it pretty much boils down that although Dante has the power of demons, it's also because he has the soul of a human that makes him more powerful, which can easily be applied to Nero as well and Vergil later on in 5. Director Hideki Kamiya of 1 has tweeted that it's because humans have heart, which demons lack, as well that Dante chooses to live as a human.
    Dante to Sid: "It's about souls. ... Basically, here's the story, Sid. Someone like you who's let a soul rot can't measure up by just getting some power, not to someone with a real soul. That's not how it works down here."
    Dante to Agnus: "You surrendered your humanity. It's that simple."
    Dante to Urizen: "It's not about loss... Strength is a choice! Fighting like hell to protect what matters! You threw away everything you ever had! No wonder you have no true power!"
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Both played straight and subverted, especially within 3. 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 have Dante, who can carry three swords, giant three-part 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. Where do they go?
  • I Call It "Vera"/Named Weapons: Played straight with Kalina Ann, Lady naming her bazooka after her murdered mother. The majority of the equippable weaponry for the playable characters all have names, from Ebony & Ivory and Rebellion for Dante, to Blue Rose and Red Queen for Nero. However, most of the weapons for both Dante and Lucia in 2 averts the Named Weapons trope, going with descriptors like Submachine Guns and Throwing Daggers.
  • Idle Animation: First game, Dante had a different animation for whatever firearm he had equipped. With Ebony and Ivory, he would twirl them and put them away, whereas when equipped with the shotgun, grenade launcher, or Nightmare-Beta, he would put one hand in his pocket while he would rest his weapon arm on his shoulder.
    • In 3, Dante would scratch his head in annoyance, cross his arms, and tap his foot impatiently.
    • In 4, Nero would inspect his arm. Dante actually has two animations: looking around with his hands on his hips, then stretching out an arm while still looking around. The other is a little funnier — it looks like he might have dozed off standing up with his arms crossed.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Dante gets impaled by Trish with Force Edge not soon after her crashing into Devil May Cry. Alastor stabs Dante, unlocking the use of Devil Trigger in-game. Phantom meets his end this way after falling through a ceiling and landing on a statue's spear. Griffon is also pinned to a sacrificial pentagram by a giant pointy rock.
    • There seems to be a Running Gag of Dante getting impaled at least once per game. In 1 it's Alastor, in 3 Vergil stabs him twice, and in 4 he gets impaled and pinned to a statue of Sparda in the game's opening by Nero.
    • Nero getting stabbed the first time by a lance and then a demonic living sword before awakening his Devil Trigger, much like Uncle Dante.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Dante, Vergil, and Nero. All of their moves requires super-human strength, reflexes, a lot of practice, and heat resistence in Nero's case for Red Queen, that no normal human can pull off.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: They regenerate from damage! Played with when Dante disgustedly glares at Lady for shooting holes in his coat in 3.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: There are a couple of weapons that are just cool. Others are impossibly awesome.
    • From 4: Blue Rose is a two-barrel revolver, Red Queen is a petrol-powered BFS, Gilgamesh is literally organic metal that forms gauntlets and boots with spurs, Pandora's forms (other than suitcase) and Lucifer are just impossible to describe.
    • Nevan deserves mention from 3. See Instrument of Murder for details.
    • No nunchuks are as cool as large-size three-sided ones like Cerberus that can spout ice in 3.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Amongst many examples that could be given, in 3, Dante both flips a billard table over and proceeds to shoot the white ball, initiating an aerial game of pool to take place which knocks out a couple of demons when the balls hit their heads, AND, at a later point, he also deflects bullets by shooting them out of their trajectory path.
    • Dante can block Lady's pistol shots by shooting them out of the air with Ebony and Ivory when you fight her in 3. Nero does the same to Dante in the tutorial for 4.
    • Dante later repeats the trick when getting Echidna's attention in 4, replacing the billiard balls with seeds. And shoving Yamato into the heart of the False Savior by shooting it with 8 bullets that stack up one right behind the last.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Cerberus has an unusual configuration for a three-section nunchaku. Then there's Nevan, the scythe-equipped electric guitar... which sees more use in combat as a guitar than a scythe. (And shoots bats, sound waves, and electricity.)
    • Well, given that Cerberus's form is clearly meant to represent his three heads and Nevan may be a Leanashe/Dearg-Due/Dearg-Dul, this could be justified. Could.
    • Pandora. Regardless of how awesome all of its forms are, let's face it: You're blasting stuff to pieces with a suitcase.
  • Inescapable Ambush: And if you try to run, the barricade will smack you away.
    • Disappointingly absent in 4. The smack-you-away part, not the inescapable part.
  • In Harm's Way: A meta example as the player is tasked with taking a more high-risk, high-reward approach to combat due to the Style rank. There are ways to go about battles without putting yourself in a lot of danger (like by using firearms from a distance or by relying on aerial combos to keep you above the action on the ground) but these will result in a weak Style rating since repetitiveness is punished. So the only way to keep the Style meter cranked up is by getting right into the mix, varying your assault to get a higher ranking, all while running the risk of taking a blind-side attack that will deplete the Style rank you're fighting so hard for.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: For 3, an unknown stuntman named Reuben Langdon was brought in to do mocap for Dante. Whether they planned it that way or not, he's now Dante's official voice actor as well. Daniel Southworth as Vergil also in 3 and Johnny Yong Bosch as Nero in 4.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: A sort-of retconned version - concept art for Ebony and Ivory in the first game had "FOR TONY REDGRAVE, BY .45 ART WARKS" written on the slides. When presented with the perfect opportunity to fix that with the novel, they instead ran with it, where even the sign outside the aforementioned shop spells the word "work" incorrectly, and Dante makes fun of the owner for being a bad speller.
  • Invisible to Normals: Although no one seems to care about Temen-ni-gru in 3, Dante runs a demon-hunting business.
    • Possibly not with Temen-ni-gru. Poke around the urban areas wrecked by the tower and demons and you get Resident Evil-styled text descriptions telling you about how everyone around has been hideously killed by the demons in ways you shouldn't think about. There is, thus, no one around to notice immediately after the tower emerges, and one might hypothesize that the National Guard/JSDF is surrounding the base of it, unseen, by the end.
  • I Shall Taunt You/Taunt Button: It refills Devil Trigger orbs and raises the Style meter. Both Nero and Dante have "Come on!", though while spoken in different fashions, the function is the same.
  • It Was a Gift: Yamato and Rebellion to Vergil and Dante, passed down by Sparda. Then it's Yamato to Dante to Nero, with Dante letting Nero keep the sword when Nero tries to return it to its "rightful" owner. Also the amulets to the twins from Eva.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nero moreso than Dante. Lady has shades of this as well. Although all three do mellow out a bit.
  • Jumped at the Call: ...But only if it shows up in person. Dante picks up the phone in 3, blows whoever is calling him off, hangs up, and then instantly goes to Temen-ni-gru when Arkham shows up in person. For all we know, that was Arkham himself calling on the phone.
    • If it was, he would have been on a mobile phone just outside the door, considering he walked in about five seconds after Dante put the phone down.
    • Then again, Arkham or whoever was calling might not have simply had the password for Devil May Cry's services. Dante might be a handyman, but only for demon-related jobs.
  • "Just Frame" Bonus: All of the games in the series have this to some extent.
    • The most common example having the player delay one attack somewhere in the basic combo, which completely changes the rest of the combo. DmC: Devil May Cry helps players time the delay by having Dante's sword shine at the point the next attack should be.
    • Some charged attacks have a small window in which letting go of the attack button right as the attack hits max charge results in either a more powerful or faster attack, such as Dante's Drive or Vergil's Judgement Cut.
    • Nero's optimal playstyle revolves entirely around this. Normally, the Red Queen's Exceed attacks need to be revved up, which is a lengthy process, but if the player presses the rev button at specific points in any attack, the Red Queen instantly gets one Exceed charge. One upgrade allows players to get all three Exceed charges at once, but has an even tighter timing window than the normal version.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Yamato.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: Doors sometimes become locked with magical barriers, requiring you to kill all the demons in the room before proceeding.
  • 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 in 3.
    • Gender flipped in 2, where Dante bequeaths his lucky coin to Lucia before heading into Demon World to face Argosax.
  • Lag Cancel: Better known as "Jump Cancel", it allows you to bounce off an enemy while both of you are airborne in order to repeat an action that can normally only be done once in a single jump. This is technically "unofficial" (since Enemy Hike is really meant as a tool to change your direction in the air when near an enemy) but Capcom has never removed it (back when it was originally known as "Shotgun Hiking" in the first game) and by Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition, they are actively acknowledging its existence for the first time.
    • The long cooldown at the end of many of Vergil's attacks (specifically, ones where he sheathes his sword) in Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition can be cancelled with a Summoned Swords teleport, with the downside of also cancelling the Concentration Gauge boost that occurs when the sword clicks fully into the sheath at the end of the animation.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Plenty.
  • Large Ham: Dante to a T. Acts like a cocky sonofagun almost constantly during the story. Especially clear in the opening cutscenes of 3 and 4, where Dante isn't fighting so much as playing with his enemies.
  • The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: Dante in cutscenes.
    • Dante has a healing factor to help him, and when the fights get serious, he can be agile enough not to suffer a hit in the first place.
  • Leap and Fire: Notable aversion.
    • To a certain extent in 3.
  • Life Drain: Agnus' specialty in 4. You can see (and hear) these attacks from a mile away, but if you're too busy fighting the mooks he sends at you, they can catch you off guard. Nevan from 3 is also quite fond of this.
  • Light Is Not Good: Mundus' appearance in 1, Beowulf and the Fallen from 3, and the Order of the Sword from 4.
  • Light Novel: Three novels with events that precede games 1, 2, and 5 respectively (although the first novel got booted out of canon because of 3), while two more are actually a two-part novelization of 4.
  • Lighter and Softer: Not in terms of story or subject matter, but visually, 4 features a much brighter color palette for its foes and environments than 3 (plus 1 and 2), which takes place almost exclusively in a gothic tower.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Dante, Vergil, Nero. Trish might be a literal example, although she also has Super Strength. And then there is Beowulf in 3, a towering behemoth who is surprisingly agile and loves to beat you down with nothing more than his claws.
  • Limit Break: Devil Trigger.
  • Locked Door: All over 1 and 2. Some simple puzzles in 3. By the way, don't go near the locked doors, they'll turn into a giant hand and grab your soul away from you.
  • Lost in Translation: Nelo Angelo is the single greatest cause of fan argument for this whole series. Among the reasons why that aren't spoilerriffic, his name is mistranslated: it is supposed to mean "Black Angel" in Italian, but thanks to the problem the Japanese have with R's and L's, the letter got switched up: thus his name would, accurately, be Nero Angelo (for once the R is actually supposed to be there), which is what caused controversy all over when 4 was in the works with its protagonist, who was also named Nero.
    • The "R to L and vice-versa" problem occurs in the more usual fashion with Berial. As always, the name is (almost certainly) supposed to be "Belial", but the Japanese are apparently incapable of getting that right/the translation team never catches it.
      • The kicker of it all regarding Nelo Angelo? In the game's Japanese manual, it's spelled — IN ENGLISH — "Nero Angelo."
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Pandora's Box missile platform mode, mini version with Kalina Ann's Hysteric.
  • Mad Scientist: Agnus from 4, Arius and his company from 2, Chen from the second novel.
  • Made of Iron: Both the Sons of Sparda have a massive Healing Factor to explain this, but Lady manages to shrug off some serious damage despite being entirely human.
    • Pretty much everything in the world. HOW many hits with a BFS does it take to kill most enemies?
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Nelo Angelo in 1, Jester in 3 (if his face isn't a part of his anatomy).
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Sparda and Vergil. Dante's lack of this has been theorised by some as symbolic of their estrangement, which may make his case a Defied Trope.
    • He still apparently has the money for Impossibly Cool Clothes, a set of very nice custom made guns, a castle-like office building, and (if you look at the scenery in his office) what appears to be several thousand dollars worth of music equipment.
  • Manly Tears: Both Dante and Nero has had their moments of crying. The franchise has the title for a reason.
  • Meaningful Name: Yamato and Rebellion, the keepsake swords of Vergil and Dante. The former is 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.
    • Many of the characters are named after characters from The Divine Comedy. The fact that the twins are named Dante and Vergil should've been your first clue.
    • Trish is taken from Beatrice of the same poem.
    • Even Lady is taken from the poem. Lady as in Madonna (same thing in Italian), as another name for the Virgin Mary (as in Lady's real name).
    • Ditto with Lucia, a martyr who aided Dante on his quest, arguably mirroring Lucia's relationship to Dante in 2.
    • By the time you've reached 4 and they named one hero after a Roman emperor, however, it's fairly obvious they're just picking names they like. Nero Angelo is Italian for "Black Angel" so it is meaningful, since Nelo Angelo is Vergil, a half-demon. Dante and Vergil are obviously meaningful (in The Divine Comedy, Dante descends into hell with Vergil as his guide; the twins' lives are vaguely similar) and Mundus, which means "world", is rather fitting for the name of a being that can conjure up entire universes.
    • Earlier than 4. By the time you've reached 3 and realized the "foundation that brought out fear" shares its name with the Great Ziggurat of Ur, you know they're just picking names out of a hat. Or that Dante lives in Iraq. (Which, coincidentally enough, the city in 3, as seen from atop of the Temen-ni-gru, is surrounded by a vast, erm, desert...)
    • Nero's name was explained in the novel's afterword as just being something the author picked because they thought it was cool. In-story, he was named that after being found in a black blanket.
    • Plus Credo, Agnus, Sanctus, Kyrie, and Gloria from 4 are all named after the different parts of the Roman Catholic "Ordinary of the Mass."
      • Their naming actually makes a bit of sense. Nero was a Roman Emperor well known for persecution of Christians, and the Order, with whom he is in conflict with, are all named after elements of the church. Also, all of the aforementioned characters that use demonic power have names that are Latin words, as opposed to the odd man (well, woman) out, Kyrie, which is a Greek word.
    • Eva is named after Eve (Eva is the Latinate form of Eve).
    • In the case of a song having a meaningful name, the track that plays over 4's ending, "La Vita Nuova," takes its name from the collection of Courtly Love poetry written by the historical Dante. This works on a number of levels: first, the song plays over the start of Nero and Kyrie's new life together; second, Kyrie's acceptance of Nero as he is marks the signing and sealing of their love in a way that the Dante of the poems could not attain; third, as was common in Courtly Love poetry, the love being celebrated brings the protagonist closer to the divine.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Between Dante, Vergil, and Lady in 3, until Arkham shows up and forces the Sons of Sparda to work together. Between the player characters, the Order of the Sword, and the demons in 4.
  • Mercy Mode: In 1 and 3, you are offered the choice to switch to Easy Mode under certain conditions of poor play, getting a D rank in the first mission and dying three times respectively.
  • Mini-Boss: Hell Vanguards, Shadows, and Blitzes.
  • Mirror Boss: A new one every game.
    • Maybe barring 2. The closest you have there are Bolverk and The Despair Embodied, who take a few cues from Nelo Angelo (moreso the former).
  • Money for Nothing: Averted in the first three games because red orbs could purchase moves in addition to items, so you had to run a balancing act between buying items or saving for new moves, but played straight in the fourth game (red orbs only purchase items, which are of variable importance depending on one's skill, while Proud Souls will purchase new skills).
  • Monster Arena: Bloody Palace from 2 and onwards.
  • Mook Bouncer: As part of a boss fight.
    • Nightmare is a warp boss in 1, where it's a double-edged sword: if Dante gets sucked in by Nightmare, he's sent to another dimension to fight an earlier — but weaker — boss. However, when he defeats the weaker boss, a good chunk of damage is dealt to Nightmare when Dante escapes.
    • The Faults in 4 appear under your feet and, if you don't react fast enough, teleport you to an underground room full of Chimera Assaults, before forcing you to do the fight you were engaged in all over again. Thankfully it's easy to avoid.
  • Mook Chivalry: Breached variously; Enigmas from 3 are probably the definitive example.
    • Frosts in 4 also love to do combined attacks. As well as Angelos when they are led by an Alto.
  • Mook Debut Cutscene: Nearly every single enemy in the series has a special introduction.
  • More Dakka: Upgrading the Gunslinger style in 3 lets you shoot faster in general, plus you can use Kalina Ann's mini Macross Missile Massacre. Also the Artemis has multi-target-lock.
    • The cutscene where Dante acquires Pandora in 4. First a minigun, then a triple-barrel rocket launcher, culminating in what is basically a floating, one-man munitions repository. Dante decides not to continue on to the next form after that.
  • Morph Weapon: The Sparda and Pandora's Box.
  • Mundane Utility: Sometimes the items you acquire do basic things like, opening a door or dispel a barrier have a little over-dramatic description... for example, in 3 you get to use the Steel Soul (containing the brave soul of an immortal and invincible hero)... to open ONE single door. And so on...
  • Mythology Upgrade: When the games aren't screwing mythology up, they're doing this. Cerberus's ice powers in 3, for instance.
    • In Cerberus' case, it might make sense if you remember that in The Divine Comedy, Cerberus is the keeper of the Gluttony sinners, who are tormented by hailstorms. So... hail... ice... it might make sense.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Dante, Vergil, and Nero.
    • Sanctus Diabolica.
  • Nerf: The Devil Trigger offers special abilities and attacks in 1 and 2; it is all but useless in 3.
    • Not entirely. The increased footspeed, increased offensive power, increased resistance to flinching, and Healing Factor are still quite useful. On top of that, special abilities still do exist with certain Devil Arms (i.e. Air Raid with Nevan).
    • Reversed in 4. For example, Dante gains Air Hike by default (thus meaning that buying Air Hike gives DT!ed Dante a second Air Hike) and the properties of some of his moves are changed (Stinger is now a multi-hitting, drilling stab that goes through enemies, Kick-13 has extra hits added, comes out faster, and ends with a Genocide Cutter).
    • The Styles were nerfed in 4 as a price for being able to switch them on the fly.
  • Nemesis Weapon: Dante's sword Rebellion and Vergil's katana Yamato used to belong to their father, Sparda. The two twins are bitter enemies.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Subverted: Vergil pulls out Yamato after he finds that using Beowulf alone isn't stopping Dante from kicking his ass. Beowulf and Ifrit may deal the most damage in gameplay, but Dante never uses them in cutscenes.
  • New Game+: Almost compulsory for the higher difficulty levels; in fact, one of the most difficult Self Imposed Challenges is to play Dante Must Die! mode without using this.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Dullahans from the front, Doppelganger in the dark, Doppleganger Style, Just Guard, Devil Trigger Majin Form (Desperation Devil Trigger) in 2.
  • Nintendo Hard: The franchise is known for this — in fact, one of the reasons people dislike the second game so much is that the game is a damn sight easier than its predecessor.
    • Special note should be made of the initial Western release of DMC3, as the release saw the Easy mode removed and the other difficulties all down ranked 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.
  • No-Damage Run: Compulsory for Special Bonus in 1 and SS in 3.
  • Non-Linear Sequel: 3 comes before 1 before 2 before 4 before 5. DmC was originally a prequel to 3 before it eventually became a reboot.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Jester. Also Dante from the point of view of the demons, who regard him as a foolish human based on his appearance... until he wipes the floor with them.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Lady, in 3. Dante himself averts this trope; he jumps off a tower just to get to the bottom. In gameplay, there are a couple places where you can jump from obscenely high places and land normally.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Dante, Vergil, and Nero all have bright blue eyes. All three are part demon and have powers attributed to their demonic heritage.
  • Oedipus Complex: Subverted with Dante, who is never explicitly stated to be seeking to outdo his father, and is shown to be slightly disturbed by Trish's resemblance to his mother (specifically in the anime).
  • Offhand Backhand: The shoot in two different directions simultaneously variant.
    • Would the introduction of the Alto Angelus in 4 count? Dude doesn't even stop walking to kill the two Assaults that rush him.
    • 3: Dante's intro in bladed and ceiling fan flavors.
    • Vergil in 3, to the boss of Mission 2.
    • Dante and Vergil delivers a simultaneous one to Nero at the finale of 5.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The BGM for the second and third Vergil fights in 3. There's even more of that on 4's soundtrack. It's also present quite a bit in 2, primarily in levels, cutscenes, and boss battles during the latter half of the game.
  • Once an Episode: Dante is impaled on his own sword at least once in every installment, barring 2.
    • Breaking glass ceilings either by Dante or by some other reccuring character.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: In Heaven or Hell mode from 3 on, everyone dies in one hit - the player, enemies, even bosses. Hell or Hell in 4, on the other hand, only makes you this.
  • One-Hit Kill: Can be done to some enemies in the first game by hitting them in a specific way: Sin Scissors can be killed in a single shotgun blast by shooting their masks point blank right after they attack and Blades can be killed with a single downwards air attack on their back after being knocked down from behind. Both of them give some extra Red Orbs before the ones they normally drop after their death animation to show the player they did it correctly... as if the Blades flailing around on the ground spraying blood everywhere wasn't enough of an indication.
    • A Buster-counterattack against the ball of energy an Alto and several Bianco Angelos shoots (if in formation) at Nero in 4 can easilly net a SSS rank when timed properly (especially true if the Alto is weak or doesn't have a high enough vitality).
    • Shadows in the first game can be killed without exposing the core. With proper timing, Dante can jump on its head when it morphs into a spear. The monster's defenses are lowered - and Dante can fill the creature with lead, which will usually force it to jump to its red state.
  • One-Man Army: Like all action game protagonists, Dante fits. However, according to the backstory, Sparda single-handedly fought off the unrestrained forces of Hell, taking this trope Up to Eleven.
  • One-Winged Angel: Devil Triggers, Arkham, the members of the Order of the Sword — one of whom becomes a literal One Winged Angel... unless that shield is a wing? Hard to tell.
    • It is. However, this still applies, both because his in-game title is "The One-Winged Dark Knight" and because he only has the one wing left after losing the shield to Nero.
  • Only One Name: We're never given anyone's last name, though Fanfics like to use "Sparda" for Dante and Vergil.
  • Opposites Theme Naming: Trish's twin handguns are named Luce and Umbra ("Light" and "Shadow" in Italian) and are appropriately colored. Dante's handguns are named "Ebony" and "Ivory."
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Fallen in 3 are implied to be Fallen Angels, and the Bianco/Alto Angelos in 4 are artificial demons created by Agnus to look like angelic knights, but they basically prettier-looking demons that may have given the misconception to the existence of "angels" in-universe.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The lesser demons are Always Chaotic Evil, while higher devils are not. They may occasionally do a Heel–Face Turn because of that.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Done to a head-scratching degree in this series. In 3, 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 1, devils are pretty much referred to as having no souls at all to speak of, and the same is said about humans that "become devils" in 3 and 4. Anyone expecting 4 to be consistent with 3, though, is going to get very confused at Echidna, Bael, Dagon, and Berial not turning into Devil Arms after being beaten. Needless to say, 2 is out of the question.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Part of the problem with the second game, when compared to the first. The fact that it was mediocre and forgettable didn't help either, though.
  • Parental Abandonment: Dante and Vergil (Eva died while Sparda disappeared when they were young), Lady (her father Arkham killed her mother for power), and Nero (never knew his parents until he learns that Vergil's his father in 5).
  • 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 3, although he does leave a dent in it. Nero to a drawbridge control console in 4, albeit unintentionally as he was surprised that it actually worked, despite the console sparking and exploding after he shot at it.
    • Dante needs to operate a machine to open the cage containing the next plot coupon in 3. 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.
  • Perfect-Play A.I.: Vergil, as well as Dante in the rematch in 4.
  • Planet Heck: The first three games have near-endgame levels set in the Demon World.
  • Playable Epilogue: In 3 and 4.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: It would be believable for Dante to know how to play guitar. How to spout lightning and bats from said guitar in 3? Not so much, but who cares, it's awesome.
  • Power Fist: Ifrit in 1, Beowulf in 3, Gilgamesh in 4, Balrog in 5. As noted above, the latter three combine this with Armed Legs.
  • The Power of Love: Alongside Hybrid Power, it's a recurring theme throughout DMC that humanity's capacity for love can make them stronger than demons, exemplified in 4 (Nero's love to Kyrie) and 5 (Nero's love to his uncle Dante and father Vergil.
  • Practical Taunt: Taunting restores your Devil Trigger gauge and your Style gauge. Sometimes, it can be the difference between an SS combo and an SSS combo.
    • Vergil and Trish in 4 SE have taunts that do damage to enemies right in front of them.
  • Progressively Prettier: Lady, from 3 to 4 to 5.
  • Punched Across the Room: Usually via Stinger.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The Super LDK/Sparda costumes from 3, acquired by beating DMD.
    • Also in 4, the costume is still the same as default but with infinite DT, magic for Dante and Exceed for Nero. Makes even the hardest difficulty modes (with the exception of "Heaven or Hell" and "Hell or Hell") nearly a breeze.
  • Rank Inflation: Style rank combos
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Kick13, Hyper Fist, and some of Nero's Busters.
  • Rated M for Manly: Dante and Vergil are both extremely badass, and the series is all about Demon Slaying in stylish-as-hell fashion.
  • Razor Wind: Drive and Judgement Cut.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: Starting with 2 you could switch between your firearms on the fly but it would take until 3 for Dante to also be able to swap between his Devil Arms and truly amp up the possible style combinations. Technically being able to switch between firearms and melee weapons has been there since the start and is an integral part of the experience.
  • Recurring Riff: Happens quite a few times from game-to-game. Bits of "Devils Never Cry", the main theme of 3, tend to work their way into music for battles or cutscenes involving Vergil in 3. "Dance With Devils", the intro of 2, has its octave changed to serve as "Evil Tower" (the theme of the battle with Nefasturris) while its guitar riff and Ominous Latin Chanting respectively are featured in "Shoot The Works" (Dante's second battle theme) and "Cry For The Moon" (Arius' boss theme). Dante's battle theme in 4 is a remix of "Lock & Load", his second battle theme in the original game. "Out of Darkness" is used as a shop theme and is played during cutscenes involving both Nero and Kyrie.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: At the end of the original, Mundus apparently kills Trish. Dante's eyes start glowing red, he stops cracking wise, and gains the Sparda Devil Trigger.
    • Nero in 4 during his first Devil Trigger.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Dante & Vergil is the main example, although Dante and Nero could also count.
    • Dante/Nero is at least a partial inversion. Nero, wearing blue, is the one prone to emotional outbursts, though he is still pretty levelheaded. Dante, wearing red, is the mysterious and somewhat more stoic one, though he still keeps his brand of wacky. He spends a boss fight getting Nero to cool off. Dante arguably becomes more Red during his own section of the game, though not by much.
    • There's also the literal example of Agni and Rudra in 3, two talkative demon swords wielded by headless demon bodies, one red and one blue, though they both seemed the same.
  • Retcon: Mostly caused to 1 by 3.
    • In 4, Lady (who appeared in 3) works in the Devil May Cry business. But in 1, supposed to happen between 3 and 4, Dante clearly works alone and there is no mention of another partner besides Trish even at the end.
    • 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.
    • Trish remarks that Dante "lost a mother and brother to evil twenty years ago." 3 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: 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.
    • 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" comes from Enzo Ferino's testimony in the handbook (in reference to Dante: "He glares at a guy, and even the devil may cry!") and later was changed to the Title Drop by Lady ("Even a devil may cry when he loses a loved one").
      • The reason for "Devil Never Cry" returning back to "Devil May Cry" was because of Trish asking Dante to do so in volume 1 of the audio drama CD, prior to her meeting Lady in episode 4 of the anime. Trish wanted to travel around the world by herself, and "Devil Never Cry" meant that they owned the shop together, to which Dante agrees.
    • In 1, Trish was the first to know about Dante's quest for revenge. In the manga for the third game, the Mad Hatter and White Rabbit (and by extension, Arkham) knew as well.
    • A timeline variation. The order of events in the series went from 3, 1, the anime, 4, 2 and finally 5. However, an official trailer on the history of Devil May Cry now has 4 coming after 2.
  • Reverse Grip: Nero's launch move High Roller uses this, compared to Dante and Vergil's standard grip for High Time. Dante also switches to reverse grip for the Drive shockwave.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Breaking background objects for orbs. Interesting, a very slight subversion in 4: In the first fight against Berial, the houses in the area yield health orbs after being destroyed — however, as the orbs will disappear later, it's probably best to ensure you don't lead him in the direction of all the houses and cause them to be all gone too quickly. So, don't jump to letting him smash everything.
    • Averted in 5. Smashing stuff up just leaves you with a bunch of smashed stuff. Orbs either exist out in the open or in caches, never inside background objects (which makes sense; why would a chair have crystallized demon blood in it?).
  • Roboteching: Pandora's Box missile platform, also Kalina Ann's Hysteric.
  • Rocket Jump: As opposed to a regular double-jump, Lady in 4 's Updated Re-release fires her Kalina Ann downwards for that extra lift.
  • Rule of Cool: Serves as the physics engine for the universe, it seems. Also applies at a meta-level, as Hideki Kamiya was inspired to include the juggle mechanic in the original game due to a bug that caused enemies to float in the early versions of Onimusha: Warlords. Several of the cutscenes are impractically over-the-top purely for raw awesome factor (Dante fighting demons by swinging a motorcycle around, anyone?).
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Hello, towering light demon Beowulf.
    • Hey look, the guard dog of the Underworld is... an ice elemental?
    • Echidna more closely resembles her Greek counterpart, but what does that have to do with Gilgamesh?
    • The sad thing is, the character design for Beowulf is nearly perfect... for another demon entirely. Four wings? Check. Scorpion tail? Check. Claws and talons? Check. Lion-like face? Check. Beowulf, aside from his light powers, is a nearly perfect depiction of the demon Pazuzu.
    • The Basilisks from 4 are straight up Hellhounds rather than anything from Greek Mythology.
    • 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.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Inverted in 4, played straight in 3.
  • Satan: Mundus. Who is not (nor is he related to) Lucifer in any way, as that's a completely different weapon.
  • Schizo Tech: Mallet in 1, Temen-ni-gru in 3.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Mundus in 1 and Argosax in 2.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Players can choose to either stick with just the default equipment and not bother with new Devil Arms in Dante's case.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Blatant between 1 and 2. Also happens between 3 and 4, although in this case it's more that the Western release of 3 was infamously difficult.
  • Sequel Escalation: Kick13, Drive, and the You Will Not Evade Me moves all experience this.
  • Shock and Awe: Trish. The Alastor sword and Nevan.
  • Shoryuken: Several of Dante and Nero's attacks are essentially this, particularly Dante's attacks with Gilgamesh and Ifrit.
  • Shout-Out: Almost everyone to The Divine Comedy. Various other sources get referenced along the way.
    • Dante's character is based off of the eponymous hero of Space Adventure Cobra, and the Nightmare gun is meant to resemble the Psychogun.
    • The manga has a "dungeon" that is practically a nightmarish version of Alice in Wonderland.
    • The achievement in Devil May Cry 3 HD 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.
    • As above, 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.
      • Trish - Derived from Beatrice, Dante's lover and guide through Heaven.
      • Lucia - Taken from Saint Lucia (Lucia in Latin), a Christian martyr who acts as an intermediate and instructs Virgil to lead Dante through Hell and Purgatory.
      • Lady/Mary - Refers to the Catholic Madonna ("Our Lady" in Italian), otherwise known as the Virgin Mary.
    • 4 has some shout outs to Street Fighter.
      • Street Fighter's Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors system is in full force for when Nero and Dante fight each other for real.
      • If you try to throw Dante when he is using either the Gunslinger or Swordmaster style, your throw attempt will backfire due to Dante quickly attacking you. This is similar to how punches beat throws in Street Fighter.
      • If you try to slash or shoot Dante when he is in the Royal Guard style, he will block or parry your attack. This is like how blocks beat punches in Street Fighter. However, he becomes vulnerable to being thrown with a Buster or Air Buster. This is like throws beat blocks in Street Fighter.
      • Dante can parry attacks in the Royal Guard style somewhat similarly to Street Fighter III. In Devil May Cry 4, the same sound for a successful parry that is played for a parry in Street Fighter III is played when you successfully parry an attack.
      • Lady and Trish get a few attacks from Magoichi and Kasuga from Sengoku Basara.
  • Shielded Core Boss: To name a few:
    • Leviathan's Heart, from 3, 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, also from 3, 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.
    • Subverted by Jokatgulm in 2. You can bypass hacking away at her tentacles and instead go straight for her head, but that merely makes the fight more difficult.
    • During both fights against Sanctus in 4, he is protected by a force field that you must destroy to damage him.
  • Shields Are Useless: Averted by all the playable characters for the same reason that Armor Is Useless. Subverted by a whole mess of baddies, most of them more difficult enemies to defeat (Frosts, Fallen Ones, Assaults...)
  • Shrouded in Myth: Sparda. The only things known both within the story and by players is that: A) he used to be Mundus's right-hand devil, B) rebelled against Mundus two thousand years prior to 1 and 3 before sealing both worlds away from each other, C) probably spent some time with the Vie de Marli clan and on Fortuna, and D) had Dante and Vergil with Eva before disappearing from their lives, and that's it.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Dante and Vergil, constantly. It's natural for such a diametrical pair. As Dante says before fighting him in Mission 19 in 5, as far as he can remember, they've always fought. Even when they're trapped in the Underworld undertaking the grand task of cutting the Qliphoth at its roots and demons are liable to jump in and try to kill them at any time, they'll take the time to duel each other yet again.
  • Silence, You Fool!: Several villains, including Berial.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Several devil bosses have major grudges against Sparda for siding with humanity, and they take it out on Dante. Lampshaded by Dante in 3, who got sick of it.
    Dante: "Why do I gotta take the heat for my father?"
  • Spam Attack: Crazy Combos in 3.
    • Also, Million Stab.
  • Spiritual Successor: It's a Japanese action game series with many nods to American action cinema. Twin sons fight over their inexplicably missing father's legacy.
  • Sprint Shoes: Stinger especially.
    • Fun fact: if you use Stinger and jump off a cliff, you jump insanely far.
    • 4 has an ability that both Nero and Dante can buy which increases their running speed after a short time.
  • Stance System: Dante's Styles in 3, 4, and 5. Moreso in 4 and 5, where he can switch between them, even mid-combo.
  • Standard Power-Up Pose: Dante entering his Super Mode tends to strike a pose like this. The exception is 4, where he just holds his arm up and snaps his fingers.
  • Sticks to the Back: Practically everyone with a sword.
    • Averted by Vergil in 3, who always carries his katana, Yamato, in its sheath at his side. In his final boss appearance, though, he plays this straight with Force Edge.
    • Averted in 2's prequel novel, with one illustration in which the leather belt/harness Dante's wearing across his chest (in official game art, at that) holds Rebellion on his back.
    • Also averted in 3, where Dante wears a harness with holsters for his guns and the back of his trenchcoat has a strap for holding in Rebellion. Played straight with all his other weapons or when using most of the other costumes, though.
  • The Stoic: Vergil, though he does snap on occasion.
    • For reasons unknown to everyone, Dante was this in 2. Funnily enough, the game's back cover notes that he was supposed to have even more of a trash talking attitude there.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Sparda, Dante, Vergil, and Nero.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Dante. Vergil. Sparda, natch.
  • Super Mode: Devil Trigger.
  • Super Speed: Time Bangle, Chrono Heart, Quicksilver.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Kalina Ann, Pandora's Box, Sparda.
  • Sword Beam: Drive (for Dante) in 3 and 4, and Maximum Bet (for Nero) in 4.
  • Sword Sparks: Almost anytime when a blade clashes against each other.
  • Teased with Awesome: Attaining Gilgamesh, Pandora, Lucifer and Yamato a short time before switching from Dante back to Nero in 4. Luckily, there's New Game+ and Bloody Palace mode.
    • Sparda Devil Trigger.
  • Teleport Spam: Blitz from 4. To a lesser extent, Vergil in 3.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Averted. Dante cares little about wanting to know about Sparda (to the point where Lady knows more of the legends than he does), and Nero has yet to know who his father is to even ask.
  • Theme Naming: The Seven Hells from 3, although the semblance is spotty at best. Also, five of the important characters draw their names from The Divine Comedy, and the Order of the Sword have a Christian hymn theme going.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Dante and Vergil.
  • Threatening Sharks: It's hard to tell what those things Arkham summons are. They're a little like dolphins, except they're apparently trying to grin-and-tackle you to death.
    • Same thing can apply to the Cutlass enemies found in 4. They're invulnerable when they're swimming through the floor/walls/ceiling in the tunnels, and the only way to get them is when they're leaping to attack you or forcing them out via strong attacks like Stinger or Charge Shot.
  • Title Drop: "Wanna know the name?" in 3.
    • At the beginning of 3, Dante complains that the demons wrecked his shop - and he hadn't even named it yet. At the end of the game, Lady tells Dante that "Even a devil may cry when he loses a loved one." Chronologically, this would be the phrase's first appearance.
    • The first game does it in the game manual, in an anecdote of one of Dante's former fixers, Enzo, describing what Dante does for a living and how scary a Death Glare Dante can pull off to even "make the devil cry."
  • Tron Lines: Beowulf in 3 has 'em.
    • So does Nelo Angelo in 1.
  • Turns Red: Phantom and most 3 bosses; most 4 bosses as well - Cerberus and Bael/Dagon literally Turn Red.
    • Shadows from 1 in the literal sense. They then go right to Taking You with Me. The same can be applied to Blitz in 4.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The space-shooter fight against Mundus near the end of 1, and the biplane flight section at the very end.
  • The Unfought: Credo in human form.
    • Also Arkham in his human form or Sparda form. One might make a point that you fight him as Jester, but the spinning leg kick/roundhouse Arkham uses to send everyone flying indicates they'd fight very differently.
  • Updated Re-release: Both 3 and 4 were given "Special Editions" that added new playable characters among other features.
  • Urban Fantasy: It's only hinted at in 3 and TAS, but played completely straight with 5.
  • Vague Age: Protagonists and antagonists alike.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Started in 3, continued in 4 and 5. Nero has a lesser version of this, but Dante (and Vergil while he was alive) can turn the spirits of defeated enemies into weapons. This is the implied origin of Ifrit and Alastor from 1, presumably thanks to Sparda.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    Vergil in 3: "Why isn't this working?!"
    • Arius from 2 has an amazingly hamtastic one that completely destroys any credibility he had as villain beforehand (which, mission-wise, was only four levels ago).
    Arius (before Dante fights him, after he discovered that Dante set him up by switching the Medalgia with his coin): "Wheeeooooooooo!"
    Arius (post-defeat): "Oooh...! No... My dream... my life... I was meant to be the KEEEEEEEEEEEEENG of this world...!"
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Phantom in 1, Cerberus in 3.
  • Wall Jump: Prior to getting Air Hike, the player can jump walls to reach higher levels.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Despite the repeated note that humans are capable of being just as evil as demons (if not worse), Dante is rarely seen killing humans while he brutally finishes off hundreds of often equally sentient demons. Though many times he's stated he's willing to let them live if they simply stopped and ran off home.
  • World of Badass: You know you're dealing with a World of Badass when even the humans are Made of Iron.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: In 3. Dante has two: First one 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.
    • Nero, in 4, has two as well. First one, in Mission 7, is a variant in the latter example because Nero is just declaring his motivation aloud for the first time: he decided on it before the game started. The second one is given after he defeats Sanctus, telling him what he lacks, and how he's nothing like Sparda, but he, instead, is, because he has someone to love.
  • World of Ham: And some of us love it for it.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Some of the attacks.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Dante against Vergil. Yes, they are twins, but conversations and in-game information seems to indicate Dante is the younger twin, which is finally confirmed at various points in 5.
  • You Remind Me of X: In the first game, Dante reminds every boss he faces of Sparda. And in the third, he reminds Nevan of Sparda.
    • Normally, the player would automatically assume it's Sparda when Berial notes that Nero reminds him of someone in 4, but according to the novelization it's Dante.
      Berial: "As... as I suspected, that is demonic po-!"
      Nero: "I'm not a demon. I'm a human. Don't lump me in with you."
      Berial: "I see... Neither demon, nor human... So that is the case. You, too, are the same as him..."
      Nero: "Him? Who are you talking about?"
    • After the first duel in 4, Deadly Fortune has Dante muse about Nero having the same look in his eyes as Vergil did.
  • Your Soul Is Mine:
    • Soul Eaters in 3, naturally.
    • Technically what Dante does to a lot of bosses.

     Other media 
  • 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.
  • Bandaged Face: In the first prequel novel, Gilver aka Vergil.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Dante in the first prequel novel, verging on split personality syndrome, going by "Tony Redgrave". Justified because he's basically in deep denial: Vergil keeps trying to give obvious hints and Dante refuses to pick up on them until Vergil pulls all the stops by causing Nell to die the way Eva did.
  • The Movie: Apparently, and apparently based on DmC, but due to DmC's... contentious presence in the franchise, it's unknown if it'll be used.
  • Orphaned Series: The 1 comic by Dreamwave due to the company folding, and 3's prequel manga due to the artist quitting before volume 3.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Dante in the first prequel novel, apparently due to Eva's death.

We are falling
The night is calling
Tears inside me
Calm me down...
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