Hoards of demons, combos galore, and a protagonist pulled straight from an Asha Boutique poster; Justin Looi writes on what made the third instalment of the Devil May Cry series so special.
2005 was a difficult year. Hurricane Katrina, the avian flu, the London bombings; some of you weren’t even born yet, although that may have been just a brief respite.
For some of us, we got our hands on Devil May Cry 3 (2005), a game that has remained in people’s memories in the same way that landmark titles like Half-Life (1998) or Resident Evil 4 (2005) have, although maybe for different reasons. In the first five minutes, I watched a freshly showered shirtless himbo mow down hordes of mooks using everything but the refrigerator-sized sword on the cover art. In the next five minutes, I learned that Dante walking around eating pizza with knives sticking out of his body did not translate into the gameplay (“Oh, you can die in this game?”), which was itself a combination of key-smashing and wishing I had a console. Yes, I played Devil May Cry 3 on the PC as a child. There was no save and exit option. I have seen the opening sequence more times than my undergraduate thesis.
PC port problems aside, DMC3 is unabashedly a wild wish fulfilment fantasy – and that’s not a bad thing. A taunting anime protagonist and his goth brother shank each other repeatedly while a relatively nonsexualised female character beats demons to death with a rocket launcher larger than her entire body? It blew my mind in 2005. It wasn’t particularly deep or smart; it was a game that was very, very silly, and unpretentiously so. There wasn’t much plot: you are a white-haired moron with the object permanence of a tequila shot, infinite ammunition, and a quip to interrupt every emotional moment. Your brother overdosed on hair-gel and Shadow the Hedgehog paraphernalia. After some minor squabbling, the both of you and the aforementioned rocket lady team up to murder bald Dolph Lundgren. It was insane. I loved every ridiculous, stylish minute, when I wasn’t dead from Capcom’s need to troll America through difficulty spikes.
Games don’t need to be all gritty realism. Sometimes, all you need is to see yourself use a giant motorcycle to swat enemies in mid-air. SSStylish!