Music Mondays scales Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening.
Devil May Cry HD Collection
Genres: Action, Adventure
If you asked me to name the best action series in video game history there is a good chance I’d say Devil May Cry. God of War might have a claim, and Bayonetta 2 will probably make a strong case, but Dante’s impact on hack ‘n’ slash is impossible to deny. It is strange to think that we owe so much to a failed attempt at making Resident Evil 4. It is even stranger that, in an influential franchise spanning 5 iterations, there is really only one entry that I’d recommend without hesitation.
Devil May Cry 3 lets you know it means business right out of the gate. The track “Dante’s Office 7 Hells Battle” turns the tutorial battle into a blood-pumping clash that feels more like a climactic late-game encounter. I entered my first play-through of Dante’s Awakening cautiously, having been quite badly burned by the laughable second game. But once I started body-surfing Hell Pride demons across the office floor, it was clear that the sense of fun from the original was back.
It is interesting to note that DMC 3 actually uses two separate battle themes. The songs are dubbed “Battle-1 (Battle Music 1)” and “Battle-2 (Battle Music 2)” on the official soundtrack, but they are far better known as “Taste the Blood” (below) and “Divine Hate.” “Battle-1″ plays during most encounters from Mission 2 to Mission 13, while “Battle-2″ plays from Mission 14 to Mission 19. We have Shawn “Shootie HG” McPherson from Hostile Groove to thank for the lyrics and vocals of both pieces, but music itself is composed by Tetsuya Shibata (Power Stone, Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes).
These two collaborated on the vast majority of the game’s defining songs. Most of the standout music pieces are boss themes, which is unsurprising for a Hideki Kamiya (Viewtiful Joe, Ōkami) project. Highlights include “Cerberus Battle (Suffer)” and all of the BGM from the Vergil encounters. It’s easy to see how the official OST managed to fill 3 whole CDs.
Of course, no examination of the Dante’s Awakening soundtrack would be complete without mentioning “Devils Never Cry.” The theme song plays in its entirety during the end credits, but it also functions as a leitmotif throughout the whole game. Pieces of its melody can be found in the save point/shop music, as well as during the unforgettable cutscene that sees Dante running down the side of Temen-ni-gru. It’s an incredibly effective piece that ties the whole experience up in a nice, thematic bow.
We can sit here and argue all day about Capcom and the Ninja Theory reboot, but I prefer to focus on the positive. Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening is a landmark for its genre and a surprisingly rare example of the heavy metal game soundtrack done right. No one can take that away from us.
Music Mondays is a weekly column by Austin Yorski and Robert Heck dedicated to discussing the most interesting audio experiences in electronic interactive media. Tune in every week for more original game soundtracks that you need to hear. Feel free to disagree with, add to, or question everything. I welcome your feedback.
In 2001, Capcom surprised the gaming world with something much different than its marquee titles like Street Fighter and Mega Man. The Japanese-based titan introduced the history of the legendary demon knight Sparda, the one hell spawn that sided with humanity to stop the demon world from breaking through the boundaries of reality and seizing earth for their own. While he was forced to seal the link between worlds on the demon side, he did not leave his legacy to die there, as he bore two children. One of those half-breeds is Dante, the white haired, foul mouthed protagonist of the Devil May Cry series.
Now, 11 years later, Capcom has released these three games into one pack in the Devil May Cry HD Collection. While the stories have not changed, Capcom has refined the visual aspect of these games to a much higher standard, but is this compilation piece worthy of the series’ unprecedented success?
|PROS||Devil May Cry 1, Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition|
|CONS||Devil May Cry 2|
|WTF?!||No Option for Regular Edition on DMC3?|
In the original Devil May Cry, Dante, hell-born hero and proprietor of the titular demon hunting business, must see to the foiling of the revival of Mundus, demon lord supreme, on the abandoned land of Mallet Island. This introduces the game’s unorthodox style of devil arms, weaponry of demonic background, as well as ensorcelled modern day firearms like dual pistols and shotguns that will never run out of ammunition. Gameplay to the DMC series has, and will always be, about killing demons and looking as stylish as possible while doing it. Vertical wall running, leapfrogging over an enemy and shooting the back of its head with a shotgun in mid air, and keeping airborne enemies juggled with your pistols after a sword combo are the least that you can do to score points and collect souls to upgrade your abilities.
While the game steeps itself deeply in things purely arcane and sets the background in a ruined fortress island of a time a hundred years past, Dante still reminds the major players (yourself included) of the era that they take part in, and that Dante is the real deal, even though he wants to keep his family heritage strictly low profile. The HD upgrade that the collection bestows is apparent for sure, sharpening the detail of the background, foreground and enemies, and upgrading the audio quality.
In Devil May Cry 2, our hero for hire finds himself dealing with a CEO of a major monopoly that has been practicing the dark arts for decades and plans to use his army of corrupted war machines and frenzied hell beasts to let chaos loose upon the major cities of the world. DMC2 proved to be the bastard of the trilogy, trying to go for an even bleaker feel than its predecessor. Even with the high definition upgrade for the HD collection, it still feels like the title is knee deep in the PlayStation era, but the major problem with DMC2 was that the gameplay. While similar, it was different enough that it made Dante’s control feel a lot less liberating and the menu options made it a lot more confusing.