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by Capcom

DMC02-01.jpg (4798 bytes)There’s just something incredibly cool about Devil May Cry. Once scheduled to be a chapter in the aging Resident Evil series, Devil May Cry was reconceptualized, reworked, and reborn to revitalize the 3D ‘survival horror’ genre. Rest assured, Devil May Cry shames the Resident Evil lineup in virtually everyway imaginable.

DMC06-01.jpg (5512 bytes)DMC’s hero, Dante, is the half-human, half-demon descendant of the legendary knight Sparda who defeated evil and saved the world. Now Dante must confront the evil that has returned to destroy the world. Whatever. The point is, Dante can do a bad-ass back flip, whip out his dual fisted handguns, bounce off of a wall, blow away five demons, hit the ground and immediately bust into a smooth roll while taking out his supercharged sword--and begin to massacre screaming demons, scattering chunks and various pieces across the terrain. It’s cool, and Dante’s superb combat acrobatics are a refreshing change from the jerky, immobile combat system found in the Resident Evil series. The mobility and simple joy of combat in Devil May Cry is also vastly superior to Onimusha’s excellent fighting system. DMC combines the excitement of a 2D action platformer with the brilliance of a 3D adventure game

DMC08-01.jpg (5888 bytes)Much like the Onimusha and the REs, Devil May Cry uses a fixed camera. I like the style this brings to the game. It allows for creative perspective, cinematic brilliance, and variety. The only drawback being the occasional awkward angle can make jumping difficult. This isn’t a huge issue, and it’s a good trade off in any event; the graphics in DMC are vibrant, colorful, well-designed and just plain cool. Enemies range from killer puppets to gruesome gigantic spiders. While the variety of monsters could have been better, the quality of foes and sheer number of baddies to vanquish more than make up for it.

DMC10-01.jpg (6223 bytes)DMC is divided into distinct missions as opposed to a continuous narrative like the oft mentioned REs. This isn’t a bad way to go, but it was hardly necessary since the missions are linked in a direct linear line. It does give the game a unique feel, and it highlights the arcade action, finger-twitching component of the game. As you progress through the levels, you defeat various demons and boss characters. Each one releases a number of red orbs once vanquished. At the end of each level, and at some points within levels, you may spend red orbs to buy new combat moves for Dante, which is absolutely essential to progressing in the game. Red orbs can also be used to buy special items that do things such as increase the Devil Power gauge or refill health. This component gives DMC a bit of RPG spice—much more so than the similar system in Onimusha because Dante is actually increasing stats and acquiring new abilities.

DMC07-01.jpg (6630 bytes)When the going gets tough—the rule not the exception—Dante can kick it into overdrive by invoking his devil power. The Devil Power gauge is essentially a magic bar. It represents the amount of time that Dante can spend in the supercharged state that gives him greater attacks, resistance to damage, the ability to heal slightly, and increased mobility.

DMC01-01.jpg (6843 bytes)Other than the superb combat system, gameplay moves along in a fairly predictable fashion. In typical survivor horror fashion, there are keys to find and "puzzles" to solve: "This door won’t open. A rusty key might help./ You found the rusty key. Will you take the rusty key ?/ Will you use the rusty key? You used the rusty key." Now as much fun as DMC is, that’s a sorry excuse for a puzzle; it’s not entirely the developer’s fault I guess. It’s the industry standard, but I say it’s time for a change. First of all, we should start using the right word. These are not puzzles; they’re tasks: "Go get the sacred lion’s head to open this door" is not a puzzle, despite what developers would have us believe. Still, task based games are not entirely bad, but the occasional puzzle or mystery to solve would be nice.

DMC09-01.jpg (6881 bytes)While DMC doesn’t take cognitive brilliance, it does require solid tactical thinking and muscular thumbs. DMC is a difficult game. Monsters are powerful and plentiful, and some of the boss characters are outrageously tough to beat. If you die on the first few levels DMC will give you the choice to switch to Easy Automatic mode. This allows you to hold down the fire button instead of pushing the button every time you want to fire. It also reduces the power of the monsters you face and gives you increased stats and abilities. On the downside, once in this mode you can never switch back. You also can’t unlock any of the special bonuses in Easy Automatic mode. When you beat DMC you start over at the beginning with all the ability increases and items that you finished the game with. This means if you can just squeak by the first time through you can whoop some behind on the second trip through; this makes it easier to unlock all the goodies. What’s more, DMC is such a joy to play that expecting several trips through is more than reasonable. Unfortunately, even after beating the game in Easy Automatic mode, you still cannot switch back. This is unfortunate because DMC is so difficult that the easy mode would have made a nice starting point before going on to try the tougher levels with increased items and stats. Perhaps the nicest part of easy mode is the automatic fire. Successful combat requires copious amounts of button pushing, and the auto fire is a godsend for aching thumbs—an option for autofire in normal and difficult modes would have made a significant difference to me, and it would have been very much appreciated.

DMC04-01.jpg (7848 bytes)I guess one can’t complain too much about trivial matters, and DMC is extraordinarily fun. I just really have a soft spot in my heart for beating the crap out of things with a sword while also shooting them until they explode. This is easily my favorite game thus far on the PS2. If you enjoyed either Onimusha: Warlords, or any of the Resident Evil’s then Devil May Cry is a must play. Likewise, fans of action/combat games will also find DMC rewarding. There’s just no substitute for vanquishing evil in style.

Jeff Luther   (11/13/2001)


Ups: Amazing graphics; guns and swords; interesting gameplay elements; good replay value.

Downs: Fairly brief; silly puzzles.

Platform: Sony PlayStation 2