On the cusp of the sixth generation of video games consoles came a ton of landmark titles, and one of those titles was Devil May Cry. Devil May Cry set the industry-standard for how to make a fast-paced action game and its legacy can still be felt today. The series retained relevancy after a disappointing second game with a bombastic return to form in its third entry. The first, third, and fourth games are beloved by fans worldwide and the brand has seen a resurgence in 2015 with the Special Edition of Devil May Cry 4, and the upcoming Devil May Cry 5. Hmm. Dante for Smash?
Splash art by TheRealHeroofWinds
Who is Dante?
Dante is the protagonist of the Devil May Cry series and a fan favorite video gaming icon. Any action game fan under the sun knows of Dante and his wild antics, and if you don’t, well, to quote Reggie Fils-Aime, “what’s wrong with you?” He sports a devil may care attitude and is an absolute joy to behold.
Importance to Nintendo and the Series
Devil May Cry, as stated, set the standard for fast action games. Even current Smash fighter Bayonetta is highly influenced by Devil May Cry, and Dante, with her first game making direct callbacks to Dante’s initial outing.This is largely because Hideki Kamiya directed both Devil May Cry and Bayonetta, but Kamiya has stated that in his research for Bayonetta in looking at current action titles he did reference Devil May Cry 4. Outside of the franchise’s influence on Bayonetta and action games as a whole, Devil May Cry unfortunately has almost no importance to Nintendo. No Devil May Cry game has ever hit a Nintendo console and Dante himself has only appeared in cameos and has a playable role in both Project X Zone games. But Cloud also only appeared in spin-off games on Nintendo platforms and he made it in to Smash thanks to the popularity of his character and importance of his game to the legacy of video games, and Joker is in purely due to popularity and the acclaim of Persona 5, despite having little to know relevance to Nintendo and coming from a mega franchise with plenty of other characters that had way more Nintendo importance that could have gotten in. I’m not mad.
Long story short, Dante is iconic enough that he doesn’t need Nintendo relevance to qualify for Smash.
Design and Colors
Dante would be using his Devil May Cry 4 design in my dream scenario. Not just because I prefer it, but also because
this article was written before his design for 5 was fully revealed in a twitter poll Hideki Kamiya ran asking which Dante fans would like to see cross over with Bayonetta, DMC4 Dante won. I have designed his alternate colors off all the other main characters in the series (up to 4 at least- sorry Nico and V!), his father Sparda, and a for-fun alt in the vein of the many “dark” Smash alts based on the Doppelganger boss from Devil May Cry 3.
How Would He Play?
Dante is a son of Sparda, making him half-human and half-demon. This lineage gives him immense strength. Really, he should win every fight no question, but because he enjoys a good fight and showing off his skills, he’s holding himself back for the sake of sportsmanship and to put on a good show.
Dante has a variety of Devil Arms collected from boss monsters across his series that will be the focus of this moveset. Just because he’s Devil May Cry 4 Dante doesn’t mean I’m only taking moves from that game, as I’ll try to incorporate at least one move from the other games. His signature weapons are the longsword Rebellion and dual pistols called Ebony and Ivory. I’m not sure of Sakurai’s stance on realistic guns, but screw it, he’ll use them anyway. I’ll designate what weapon Dante is using in the move description to make it easier to follow.
Dante’s moveset will also incorporate his style switching mechanic from Devil May Cry 4. In addition, the style change will only last until Dante takes damage or switches out his style, reflecting the series’ focus on not getting hit and looking as stylish as possible by not using the same techniques over and over.
The style designates the current buffs Dante has to his stats: with Trickster, Speed goes up; with Swordmaster, Smash goes up; with Gunslinger, Attack goes up; and with Royal Guard, Defense goes up. The stats will remain buffed until Dante changes styles or gets hit. In Devil May Cry proper, changing styles affects which actions Dante can perform, but that would be a bit too complicated for Smash, so this method would be an effective way to make keeping track of what style you’re in and changing it to suit your needs important, and integrate it well into Smash’s current mechanics. Think of it like Shulk’s Monado Arts, offering buffs to the specified stats, the drawback being he loses them when he switches or takes damage.
Haven’t even picked a name for this joint and I already gotta list Dante’s stats:
- Can they crawl: No
- Can they wall jump: Yes
- How many jumps do they have: 2
- Is there any exclusive abilities they have*: Yes (Style Switching & Royal Guard)
- Weight Class: C
- Height Class: B
- Speed Class: B (B+ with Trickster)
- Are they mirrored when they face left: No
*alike Peach’s float
(for a more detailed look at the stats check this link here)
The series logo would be Dante’s Rebellion. When Kirby copies Dante, he gains his luxurious hair.
Boxing Ring Title: “Son of Sparda”
|Series Icon||Stock Icon||Kirby Icon|
Dante’s specialized HUD will show his current active style (in this case, it’s Trickster). He also has a meter- I will come back to that later.
|Move Name & Action||Description|
|Entrance||Dante jumps in from the top of the stage, facing away from the screen. He turns to the camera and flashes a cocky smile before the camera flies away.|
|Idle 1||Dante’s idle from Devil May Cry 4.
|Idle 2||Dante’s first idle animation from Devil May Cry 4. Dante puts his hands on his hips, turns away to look behind him, and expresses his discontent with the lack of action.
|Idle 3||Dante’s second idle animation from Devil May Cry 4. Dante stretches, scratches his face, and crosses his arms.
|Walking||Dante walks forward, slowly, but with swagger. His walk from Devil May Cry 4.
|Running||Dante breaks out into a sprint. He’s pretty fast but his chaps probably make running more difficult than it should be. His run from Devil May Cry 4.
|Jump||Dante gains a huge amount of speed and launches upward. His double jump is the Air Hike, an ability he has in his games. When he double jumps the Air Hike glyph for Rebellion will be visible underneath him.
|Damage||Dante flinches in good spirit, knowing the blow doesn’t really hurt. He’s been impaled a lot.|
|This is a unique mechanic to Dante. Dante’s shields should function differently to how the rest of the shields in Ultimate function. Ultimate changed up the Perfect Shield mechanic to be activated when the player releases their shield. This complicates things, as the previous version of the mechanic would fit like a glove over Devil May Cry’s existing guard and parry system. While that’s all well and good to harp on about, we’ll have to figure a different way to fit Royal Guard into this system.
What’s Royal Guard? Well, it’s one of Dante’s styles and by extension one of his defining techniques. Royal Guard allows Dante to block incoming attacks, halving the damage taken from them, but if his timing is perfect he will block all damage. This offers a new risk-reward system for shield, as Dante can not passively shield. The player has to make an active effort to block at the right time.
Upon pressing shield, Dante will shout “Royal Guard!” and switch to the Royal Guard style automatically, which will up his defense for the next hit he takes.As stated before, Dante cannot passively shield, and will take damage from a normal guard, so blocking successfully will cut off ½ the damage he takes.
If timed just right, releasing Royal Guard at the last second, Dante will execute a Royal Block and take no damage from the incoming attack. This fits over the current “Parry system” in place in Ultimate. While Dante doesn’t execute a flashy Parry automatically, pulling this off with him will still be beneficial in the long run.
That special meter from before? Here’s where it’s used. This is Dante’s Rage Meter. Since Rage is already a mechanic in Smash we’ll call it the Guard Meter. Each successful Block will fill half a notch on his Guard Meter with energy (up to eight times), and if a Royal Block is executed he will gain a full notch. The meter will remain even if Dante takes damage or switches his style.
The built-up energy can be released at any time while holding shield, by pressing the special button. As an inverse of the Inkling, who does the same command to build up their meter, Dante does it to bottom-out his stored energy from guarding attacks. Dante can unleash the stored energy at any time in a Release by using this attack. Strength and knockback depends on the amount of stored energy, and timing.
If he releases right when he’s about to be attacked he will perform a Royal Release which will generate more knockback.
After initiating this attack, Dante’s defense will be increased for the next hit he takes or until he switches styles.
And last, his dodge rolls would be straight from Devil May Cry 4.
|Neutral||Rebellion Combo B (Devil May Cry 4): Dante does the B variation of Rebellion’s basic combo. If the button is mashed, it will transition into Million Stab before finishing with a strong stab.
|Forward-Tilt||Gilgamesh Combo A (Devil May Cry 4): Dante does Gilgamesh Combo A which can be four hits chained together with four button presses, the last one having a long windup and will have immense knockback.
|Up-Tilt||Nevan (Slash) (Devil May Cry 3): Dante uses Nevan in Scythe form to Slash. He slashes back to forward. It is a two-hit combo that can be chained with button presses.
|Down-Tilt||Agni and Rudra (Crawler) (Devil May Cry 3): Dante pulls out Agni and Rudra and stabs the ground with them, making a faint shockwave in front of him (obviously not as far reaching as in the game). This attack will spike players hanging on a ledge.
|Dash Attack||Rebellion (Stinger) (Devil May Cry 4): Dante flies forward with Rebellion, leaving a red streak in his wake.
|Forward Smash||Cerberus (Revolver) (Devil May Cry 3): Dante briefly pulls out his Cerberus nunchaku and uses Revolver, spinning forward in the air, the nunchaku whirling around him, hurting anyone that comes in contact with them.
|Up Smash||Ifrit (Magma Drive) (Devil May Cry): Dante uses Ifrit, performs an uppercut, and a pillar of fire rises behind him.
|Down Smash||Nevan (Tune-Up) (Devil May Cry 3): Dante whips out Nevan and plays a sick guitar rift that causes an electric explosion effect that hurts anyone around him. While charging up this attack Dante plays a guitar solo.
|Neutral-Air||Rebellion (Aerial Rave) (Devil May Cry 4): Dante performs Aerial Rave with Rebellion. It is a four-hit combo that can be chained with button presses. Dante will be suspended in the air and will not resume falling until the attack is finished.
|Forward-Air||Agni and Rudra (Sky Dance) (Devil May Cry 3): Dante pulls out Agni and Rudra and uses Sky Dance, slashing each blade in the air.
|Back-Air||Nevan (Air Slash) (Devil May Cry 3): Dante performs the second slice of his Air Slash attack, which will hit behind him without him even looking.
|Up-Air||Cerberus (Swing) (Devil May Cry 3): Dante will perform Swing with Cerberus. This attack can spike downwards.
|Down-Air||Ebony and Ivory (Rain Storm) (Devil May Cry 4): Dante spins around shouting “YAHOOO” and fires a hailstorm of bullets.
|Grab||Dante grabs his opponent with his left arm.|
|Pummel||Dante slaps his opponent.|
|Forward Throw||Dante kicks his foe forward with great force.|
|Back Throw||Dante tosses his opponent over his shoulder as if they were a piece of garbage.|
|Up Throw||Rebellion (High Time) (Devil May Cry 4): Dante launches his opponent up with his Rebellion. This can be chained into an Aerial.
|Down Throw||Taking inspiration from his nephew, Dante overhand smashes his opponent face-up into the ground, shouting “SLAM DUNK!”|
|Floor Attack||Dante does a break-dance spin to get off the ground|
|Edge Attack||Dante climbs up and slashes in an overhand arc with Rebellion.|
|Gunslinger (Pandora): Dante shouts, “GUNSLINGER,” whips out Pandora and transforms it into PF013: Epidemic, a double bow styled rocket launcher that will shoot two rockets in front of him.
This Special can be charged, and Epidemic will morph into PF124: Hatred, a triple-barreled rocket launcher the size of Dante himself. It shoots three rockets.
Charge long enough and Hatred will morph into PF398: Revenge, a massive otherworldly cannon that shoots out a giant laser, similar to Robin’s Thoron.
Unlike other chargeable specials, this attack cannot retain its charge, so you will have to be dedicated to using it. Furthermore, the attack cannot be unleashed in the air due to its immense force, but holding B in the air will still let Dante charge up Pandora and continuing to hold it down will let him unleash its fury when he hits the ground.
After initiating the attack, Dante will remain in the Gunslinger style, buffing his attack strength until he gets hit or changes style.
|Swordmaster (Dance Macabre): Dante shouts “Swordmaster!” and starts Dance Macabre by dashing forward. He pulls out Rebellion and does a bunch of quick slices. By mashing B, Dante will transition into Million Stab and execute some more quick slices before finishing with a large swing. Dante will, of course, shout “Home Run!” with the final blow of the combo.
In the air, Dante will not be able to do his follow up moves, just like Marth’s Dancing Blade, but he will still dash forward and slash twice.
After initiating the attack, Dante will remain in the Swordmaster style, causing his smash (knockback) to be boosted until the next hit he takes or he switches styles.
|Trickster: Dante shouts, “Trickster!” activating his Trickster style, and uses Dash in the direction he is facing.
If he is in the air he can use Sky Star and he can jump again if he hasn’t already used his double jump.
Dante will remain in Trickster and his speed will increase until he changes styles or gets hit.
|Dark Slayer:Down Special||Dark Slayer(Yamato Combo S): Dante will shout “Get set!”, Yamato will appear in his left hand, and he assumes an Iai (quickdraw) stance. The sheath will gleam when the attack is about to execute.
Dante will then teleport (alike his brother Vergil’s Air Trick from Devil May Cry 4) in the direction the control stick is held.
Finally, Dante will unsheath his blade in a powerful slash and sheath it, the sword vanishing from his hand in a blue fire.
In execution this move would be a lot like Meta Knight’s Down Special, Dimensional Cape. Just like that move, if Dante uses this move in the air he will immediately go into freefall afterwards.
Dark Slayer style is Vergil’s counterpart to Dante’s Swordmaster, and so it will boost the same stat, Smash (knockback). Dante’s knockback is boosted until he switches styles or gets hit.
|Devil Trigger (Air Raid): Dante activates his Devil Trigger and takes to the skies. He then peppers the stage with lightning strikes that deal immense knockback and falls back down to earth after his Devil Trigger runs out.
|Up Taunt||A generally iconic taunt for the series, one that’s been around since the first game! Dante taunts his opponent, beckoning them forward for a fight, saying, “C’mon!”
|Side Taunt||One of Dante’s taunts from Devil May Cry 4. He shrugs and says, “Hey, what’s up?”
|Down Taunt||One of Dante’s boss taunts from Devil May Cry 4. He waves his opponent away in disappointment after defeating them, saying, “Get outta here.”
|Victory Pose 1||The camera pans down to reveal Dante is lying on the ground in a seductive pose, eating a slice of pizza.|
|Victory Pose 2||The camera flies in on Dante letting out a bunch of shots, finally, he puts his hand in his pocket and strikes a pose reminiscent of his Devil May Cry artwork, saying “Show’s over.”
|Victory Pose 3||Dante spins around and motions goodbye just like during the ending of Devil May Cry 4.
Dante’s victory theme would then be an abridged version of the opening sting of the rock portion of ‘Devils Never Cry’ from Devil May Cry 3, similar to Bayonetta’s.
(Starting at 1:26 and ending at 1:32, with some added flourish to better pronounce its ending)
In final, Dante is one hell of a guy and his series is legendary. I hope he comes to Smash eventually so the highly anticipated Dante vs Bayonetta matchups can happen. It also sure would be nice if the Devil May Cry HD Collection or Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition could come to the Switch and eat up all my free time forever. Maybe Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition might come to the eventual successor console if it can handle the RE Engine next time.
GIFs captured from