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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 12/05/06 ] = Devil May Cry 2 = Strider 2?

I first saw Devil May Cry 2 at a game store in Akihabara with a friend (who was a fan of the first DMC). We were interested in trying the game out (the cinematic sequences looked pretty cool), but some stupid asshole was hogging the kiosk so we just left. I saw it again at another place on demo, but again, did not get to play it. Fast forward to 2005. Some ugly bitch I worked with at a game store traded it, and when I asked what she thought of the game, she replied lazily with, "hmph, I beat it." Within an instant, my blood was boiling. "Bitch," I wanted to say, "I didn't ask you if you beat the fucking game or not, I asked you what you thought of it." But I had to keep my job, so I held my tongue (behind grinding teeth). After that, it got put on the back burner so many times that I didn't think I'd ever get the chance to play the sequel to the so-called "stylish action" game I heard so much about. Fast forward again to 2006. I got a damn good deal on the game (in great working condition), and I've been playing it since. This article covers DMC2 while looking at the past to offer a unique viewpoint ignored and unheard of until now.

Capcom tainted Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe right out of the gates with some bullshit label called "stylish action." I'm a dedicated Capcom fan, but even I have to say that the genre label they've created is not only overused, but it has sounded stupid from the start. What Capcom has recently labeled "stylish action" (or "stylish high action") has existed for a long time (but I'll get into that later). Moving on, as I played DMC2 for the first time, I kept getting the feeling I had seen this type of game before, even though magazines and critics said the game's concept was completely new. But something kept nagging at me, something from the past. A half hour into the game, and it hit me; Devil May Cry 2 reminds me of Strider 2. You Dante fans out there are probably ready to blow your tops, but hear me out...

It's not surprising that this view of DMC2 hasn't been seen elsewhere, since magazine editors and critics lack the knowledge and experience needed to draw parallels of any sort. Dante really isn't that stylish, and it is likely Capcom built him loosely off of one of their other older, classic characters. You want to see stylish? Shit, Strider is more stylish than Dante, and he's been doing it for years! Strider did the whole "stylish action" thing long before DMC was probably even developed. Strider's been running up walls and cutting dudes up and all that shit since the 16-Bit "Golden Era" of videogames. Strider's fancy acrobatics were fresh and unique in 2-D, and Capcom's true vision of Strider came to life when the series made the jump to 3-D in Strider 2. Through full-utilization of the hardware, Capcom refined Strider's graceful acrobatics to interact with the game's intricate environments, shattering the image of the "slow 3-D action game." Is Devil May Cry 2 (PlayStation 2 hardware) better than Strider 2 (PlayStation hardware) simply because it's on more powerful hardware? No. Does the perfection of Strider 2 imply that Dante and the Devil May Cry series are bad? No, I'm actually surprised more people don't like the second Devil May Cry. Even though Dante is one ugly motherfucker, he does have some good moves, and the game is fun.









Having finished Devil May Cry 2, I noticed it has some things in common with Strider 2; many of which I have never seen or heard anybody point out. I can't say if both games were produced by the same team(s), but I can say that they have some interesting things in common. At first glance, an immediate gameplay parallel can be drawn between DMC2 and S2, since both put a particularly strong emphasis on fancy swordplay. Strider's main weapon is a sword, and even though Dante uses guns, his sword is essential in several aspects; high combos and switch activation are not possible without it, and even the story is tied closely to it. In this respect, inspiration from Capcom's own Strider series can be seen. But Capcom didn't want the game to be a Strider 2 clone. So just how did they make a game inspired by Strider 2 without completely copying it? By giving the character guns. That's it.

Reminiscent of the Megaman games, Dante can change back and forth between a variety of guns, including a the rocket launcher from Resident Evil 2 and a Terminator 2-style double-barreled, sawed-off shotgun. The T2 shotgun is awesome, and the development team gets some real points for putting it in the game. There's an inexplicable feeling of victory that comes with using its destructive force on monsters in close-range. He even gets submachine guns (for when enemies need an uninterrupted rain of bullets). Dante's dual handguns are also cool, but the fact that he never has to stop to reload them is even cooler. I guess there are some advantages to being a demon hunter...








I've heard from several sides that the stages aren't very good in DMC2, but I think they're pretty damn good. In fact, I think the environments in DMC2 are one of the best parts of the game, and definitely some of the best locales I've ever seen in a videogame. The gothic theme from DMC can be seen in some parts, but a lot of DMC2's environments have a modern theme (which is perfectly showcased in Mission 5). And that's one of the main reasons I like DMC2 so much. The game's dim, modern theme is brought to life by expansive and intricately detailed environments forged of cold steel; towering skyscrapers and monstrous construction cranes extend into the sky, elevated roadways snake through the city, wires and cables are strung overhead, and underground labyrinth lie deep within the bowels of the city. The silhouette of skyscrapers and construction cranes in the pitch black of the night sky emit a feeling of darkness few games out there can hold a torch to. The few gothic areas in DMC2 aren't different from what we've seen in DMC and DMC3 (so dark and dingy you could almost taste them). The grandeur Castles and other stone structures look great, and the cliffside Victorian-style village the game starts out in looks really cool. Interiors range from dark industrial complexes lit by the faint red glow of machine switches, to the bright neon light of streamlined marble hallways. The sheer expansiveness of the sprawling areas (both exterior and interior) in DMC2 really amaze me; they are as high as they are wide, and Dante can interact with them to get out-of-the-way power-ups on perches or supports high above. He can even leap from floor to floor or from balcony to balcony in the interior stages. In DMC2, the sky is the limit (literally). I like the industrial-inspired, modern emphasis of DMC2 more than the gothic emphasis of DMC and DMC3. Don't get me wrong; the gothic areas of DMC3 are nice, but I like the modern areas of DMC2 a lot more.

The overall mood of the environments is another thing Devil May Cry 2 and Strider 2 have in common. Present in both is a unique, dark mix of modern and gothic themes. This is actually the first thing in DMC2 that reminded me of S2, because some of DMC2's most memorable locales are strikingly similar to S2's. Just like Strider Hiryuu in S2, Dante also scales monstrous castle walls and fights high above city lights on skyscraper rooftops in DMC2. Even the rooftops of the castles in DMC2 look like the rooftops of the castles in S2. There are several, but one of the most memorable in DMC2 is Mission 5, where Dante battles the relentless Infested Helicopter boss, dodging missiles and returning fire high atop skyscraper rooftops under the night sky. Far below the struggle between man and machine, a breathtaking skyline of twinkling lights can be seen. Both characters interact similarly with their respective environments, climbing and running up walls, leaping from rooftops, and double jumping to higher ground. In Strider 2 there were parts where you search for doors and/or exits, and this is also similar in DMC2 (but nothing like the exasperating exit and/or door searching in DMC3). In Strider 2 you can explore every nook and cranny of every stage with Strider's trusty hook tool (ceilings, sides of buildings, construction cranes, mountains, you name it), and in his demon form Dante's wings allow him to go wherever he wants in DMC2's sprawling stages. A lot of the stages in DMC2 are high, and like S2 sloppy footwork results in backtracking that requires lots of jumping. In both games the hero also collects circular items (jewels in S2, orbs in DMC2) left behind by slain enemies.













The "mad dash & slash" gameplay of Strider 2 is apparent in DMC2, as well. Like Strider Hiryuu, Dante is in a full-fledged run through most of the game, jumps around frantically, and cuts anything and everything to pieces. As mentioned earlier, the fancy acrobatics in DMC2 echo Strider 2, as Dante dashes off walls, up walls, and off ledges, mounting attacks with his blade. When I first played Strider 2, I was amazed at how well the game controlled and how easy it was to perform the acrobatics; I felt the same about DMC2 the first time I played it. Running on walls and double-jumping are performed with the greatest of ease, thanks to the Evade/Search button. It should also be noted that both games are pretty brutal.

The lightning-quick flashes of Strider Hiryuu blade leave enemies in two and out of commission in S2, and the blurring flash of Dante's blade in DMC2 does just as much damage. You can literally cut enemies down to size in this game (just like when Strider cuts fools in half), and when you do, their bloody torsos come crawling (or lunging) back to you! The demons and monsters of DMC2 even squirm and writhe in a pool of their own blood before expiration. With this in mind, it doesn't take much to imagine the grisly spectacle that occurs when Dante kills several of them at the same time. DMC2 is bloody as hell.

On the subject of enemies, the game delivers a bloodthirsty cast of morbid creations and demonic monstrosities.



Dante ruins hordes of Goatlings (basically Satan with wings), Msiras (a demon dog with glowing eyes), Infested Tanks (machines of war taken by evil), and Agonofinis (undead warriors of bone and rusted metal) regularly, then faces off against screen-filling bosses like the Tartarussian (a giant two-headed ogre of steel), the aforementioned Infested Helicopter (another machine of war taken by evil), and an enormous monster that emerges from the side of a skyscraper. Evil's minions have never looked more rotten than in DMC2; Capcom put some nice detail into DMC2's enemies. Even in its simplicity, the fiery end boss looks cool. It's not just Dante's enemies that look good; his partner Lucia looks good, too. Make that marvelous. Her design is fresh; the scarf over the face, the side-braid, the fashionable European-inspired pants, the short top...all of it. As for demon slayer Dante, his demon form is a bit disappointing; I thought Jubei's demon form in Onimusha 2 looked better.

DMC2 and S2 also share distinctive similarities in mechanical and non-mechanical enemies and bosses. In both games both heroes go up against tanks, fight helicopters while climbing, and fight a dragon with multiple parts. When I first made it to the behemoth Jokatgulm in DMC2, I knew I had previously fought a similar battle in another game. As I destroyed each tentacle one-by-one, I remembered the similar process of destroying each head of the dragon boss in Strider 2; the only difference here is that in one game you cut tentacles, and in the other you cut heads. This may be reaching, but one could even draw parallels between the hoofed enemies in both games; that is, the centaur boss in S2, and the Goatlings in DMC2. Lucia's character design and relationship with Dante (at the beginning of the game) even remind me of Ton Poo from Strider 2, as well as Lucia's cloned "sisters" (who resemble Ton Poo's helpers from Strider 2). There was also something peculiar about Strider Hien, but I couldn't connect the dots before the release of this article. The end boss, Arius, is also the leader of an international corporation called Uroboros. Fans will instantly recognize Uroboros from the Strider series. There are even aircraft in DMC2 with Uroboros markings! If that's not a sign of inspiration from Strider, then I don't know what is!

I also think the overall design of DMC2 is pretty good. The progressive storytelling of the cutscenes between each mission in DMC2 also reminded me of S2. It's probably been beaten into the ground already by every other site out there, but the cutscene where the giant monster plows through the face of a building is sweet! DMC2's quality audio goes well with the game's dark theme, and experienced players will recognize a few sounds from the Resident Evil series. And while it's not perfect, the localization in DMC2 is pretty damn good. The best example is probably when the Arius says, "I was supposed to be the King!" Dante replies with, "King?" and says, "Yeah, here's your crown," then shoots him clean through a wall. The voice acting for Lucia is also very impressive; it matches her character perfectly and conveys the tragedy of the story perfectly.

I don't know why people dislike this game so much; I thought it was a really good game, if not the best in the series. In fact, I like it better than DMC3! Aside from a few minor issues, the game really is fun. And for the idiots who have written reviews that say crap like, "DMC2 is too easy," I say to play through the game again on Hard Mode. Hard Mode must be completed to get Dante and Lucia's first set of alternate costumes, anyway. If that's not enough, then I say to try to beat Dante Must Die Mode (or Lucia Must Die Mode). If that's still not enough, then I say to try getting through the game without continuing or saving. There's also the Bloody Palace Mode, and Trish is playable as an unlockable character, too. After unlocking everything, the last and hardest challenge is to finish every stage in the game with an "S" ranking. All of this is more than enough to keep the player busy. There's a lot to do in the game, it's just too bad "gamers" are too lazy to do anything more than finish it once. It's official that the DMC series was at first planned to be a new Resident Evil game, but the finished product borrows heavily from the Strider series, and that's not necessarily a bad thing...

[ Extra ] = Features
[ 1 ] = CMoon Strider 2 FAQ
[ 2 ] = Uroboros Info
[ 3 ] = Definition