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Devil May Cry
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Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to slash a fiendish monster up in the air with an oversized sword and then whip out a pair of guns to riddle it with bullets before it hits the ground?  Devil May Cry recreates that same white knuckle, gung ho, balls-to-the-wall adrenaline rush that comes from the best Hollywood action movies.  Devil May Cry was originally supposed to be Resident Evil 3 until it became its own separate game.  It's not even fair to call this game a spinoff.  There is practically zero similarities between Devil May Cry and Resident Evil, other than one giant spider and Dante's slight resemblance to Leon.  In Devil May Cry, though, the voice acting is top notch(a rarity among action games), and the graphics and scenery are visually stunning.  The sound and music are captivating as well, with competant sound effects that enhance the action and haunting musical scores like pipe organs playing fugues in the background during boss fights.
Devil May Cry just oozes style, atmosphere, and a certain gothic sensibility.  It would sort of look like the type of game you would get if you crossed Castlevania with The Legend of Zelda.  You play a half human and half demon named Dante, who hunts devils.  Dante is a regular bad boy if you ever did see one.  However, he is one of the coolest video game heroes ever created and is completely believable in the way he delivers his priceless lines.  When you take control of him in his battles, the demons and devils you fight aren't the stereotypical horned red guys with pointed tails and pitchforks.  The evils you fight take on a wide variety of shapes and have different tactics, strengths, and weaknesses.  The game grades you on how well you defeat your foes by using a combo system that goes up from "Dull" all the way to "Stylish" as you get better and better at stringing your moves together and defeating your enemies faster.  At first you can only pull off mundane strings, but it won't be too long before you start looking like a master swordsman.  And as I've said above, Devil May Cry recreates the stylized, Hollwood action feel perfectly.  Right from the killer opening movie, you get a feel for exactly what kind of game this is.  As a half demon, you're capable of great feats like leaping up walls and across vast chasms.  But you can either look cool or you can look supercool, and the game separates the weekend warriors from the true devil hunters by giving you a grade at the end of each mission.  From there you can trade in the points that you've earned for more moves and powers and even items that might help you out.
If there's one minor nitpick I'd like to level at the game, it's that like in Resident Evil, you can't turn the camera.  Luckily, the camera always gives you a view of what you need to see and even enhances the cinematic feel by giving you really cool angles.  Finally, like most action games, Devil May Cry is short.  However, it's also brutally hard.  Even though the game time says two hours, you realize you've spent several times that in play time.  And that's just on normal.  However, the challange is what makes the game all the more satisfying, as you hardly ever feel frustrated.  The game makes you want to try a different approach each time you fail.
Devil May Cry may have a few minor nitpicks, but it has already long been a classic game.  Its hero, sense of atmosphere, and rapid fire action make it timeless in my book.  And with Devil May Cry 3(skip number 2) already out, the original's bound to be inexpensive in stores.  Pick it up if you already haven't.
Grade: Superb

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