I want to do something different. We at J1 Studios usually review current or upcoming game titles but let’s take a moment to look back at a popular franchise. This series has become the game against which other 3-D action games are measured, with comparisons in reviews of games including “God of War”, “Chaos Legion”, and “Blood Will Tell.”
With Ninja Theory’s reboot of the Capcom series due out in half a year, let’s take a look back at just how Devil May Cry and its sword-swinging, gun-toting, demon hunting Devil Hunter got started. Devil May Cry was born from the Resident Evil series. After the completion of Resident Evil 2, preliminary work began in 1998 on a title for the Playstation 2. Hideki Kamiya headed the project under the name “Team Little Devil” after series creator Shinji Mikami handed it over. The intention was for Kamiya to begin work on Resident Evil 4 but during the development stage Mikami noticed that the game was moving out of the Resident Evil mold. Rather than scrap the project, he decided to develop a new series and asked Kamiya to redesign the game from scratch and change it to a new franchise. Hideki Kamiya didn’t bite at first, but after some coaxing from Mikami he relented and agreed. And one of the most popular franchises in gaming came into the light.The character Dante was modeled after the main protagonist in the Japanese manga “Space Adventure Cobra” who was known for always being cool under pressure not matter how dangerous the situation was. Given the direction Devil May Cry was going, this seemed to be the perfect fit for Dante. One has to have a ‘no fear’ attitude when hunting demons. When we think of Devil May Cry and Dante, automatically you think red trench coat, which has become his prominent feature more so than his white hair or the massive sword on his back. But early on in his design, Dante was outfitted with a tight-fitting vest. His signature coat was not added until the very end of the development process. If you take at Dante while playing, you can see that the back of his coat is a couple shades darker than the sleeves. Though it became a stand-alone series, Devil May Cry did not stray too far from its Resident Evil roots. It retained the puzzle solving and exploration of its survival horror origins; however, these are downplayed with the emphasis placed on action. Hideki Kamiya removed the puzzles that can interfere with the action and instead uses them to aid progression through the game. One example of this was when Dante collected the Trident after defeating Phantom and used it to active a mechanism that allowed him to travel outside the castle. Another item found later would allow him back inside. While on the subject, remember the Coliseum and how you had to search for a set of items to gain access inside. This was a pure example of how puzzle solving was set aside from the action. Yes, there were enemies to fight; however, finding the items did not cross with fighting the devils. You took out the devils and you continued on to get your items. Another aspect that set Devil May Cry apart from Resident Evil, mainly for me, was the elimination of the need to reload your gun or keep bullets in reserve. This took away from the action in RE. You had to pause the game and manually reload your gun. If you allow the character to auto-reload, they were vulnerable to attack which was sometimes costly. Playing RE, this can be a nuisance. Devil May Cry took care of that, giving players access to endless gunfire and the added bonus of maneuverability while firing your weapons. Here’s something that couldn’t be done with Leon or Jill—shooting while jumping. Taking a page from Tomb Raider, Dante was given the ability to fire his handguns and shotgun while airborne. Devil May Cry’s other innovation was a Style Meter and ranking system that encouraged players to attack more often. However, the best feature in the game is definitely the Devil Trigger. Once activated, Dante gained more power and speed, and he recovered vitality, thus eliminating the need to, once again, pause the game and use healing herbs (hoping you have them, otherwise, you were screwed) to treat your injuries. Now Dante does has the Vitality Star to heal, but if you use Devil Trigger with the added fact that enemies oftentimes drop Green Orbs upon defeat then there really would not be a need to access your inventory except maybe during a boss battle. The battles in Devil May Cry were intense and frenzied at times. The Marionette demons overwhelmed Dante with sheer numbers while other devils, such as Shadow or Frost, use their speed and maneuverability. Squaring off against the King of the Underworld’s demon generals was something I never experienced before in a game. Looking back at the first time I battled Phantom in the Cathedral, I remembered how difficult it was because it’s not an open area. There are the structures of this place that, at times, obscured your view of your target and you had to maneuver around to get a clear shot him. The battles with Nightmare gave you the sense claustrophobia because of the tight confines you face it in. And the battles with Griffin and Nelo Angelo were just intense.
Well I hope you all enjoyed this little trip down memory lane, experienced players. For you new gamers, consider this a look in the past at one of many games that have revolutionized the action genre of gaming. However, player, this is not the end. In the meantime, share your DMC experiences or experiences with another title. Who knows? I just might have something to say about it. Until then…
See you on the next level!
Just for old time’s sake.