Devil May Cry 4 arrives on PS3 this week, signaling the long-revered franchise's jump to the current generation. How did the series become as beloved as it is today? Join us as we take a retrospective look on the long-running legacy of the Devil May Cry series.

It all began back in 2001 when Capcom unleashed a game titled Devil May Cry on the PS2. The game introduced the character of Dante, a man who runs a shop where people come to have demons dealt with. At the start of the game, Dante meets Trish, a femme fatale who tests his abilities. She reveals that the one responsible for killing his mother and brother (Vergil ... more on that later), Mundus, is making a return. And so your adventure begins.


As Dante explores the gigantic castle Trish leads him to, he finds new weapons, meets some insane bosses (Phantom, the gigantic lava spider, sticks in our mind for several reasons -- mainly because he served as the first true boss in the Devil May Cry universe and introduced us to the brutal difficulty of the game), and kicks a lot of ass. The other notable boss is Nelo Angelo, a demonic knight of sorts who attacks Dante relentlessly throughout the game. As the game progresses, it is revealed Nelo Angelo is actually Vergil, Dante's twin brother. This makes a lot more sense after Devil May Cry 3.



Near the end of the game, Trish betrays Dante, claiming she's worked for Mundus the entire time. Dante apparently doesn't mind, because whenever she fell into subsequent peril, he rescues her due to her physical similarity to his mother. Eventually, the two defeat Mundus and leave the castle. They set up shop together, naming Dante's demon hunting business "Devil Never Cry".

It's a threadbare plot, to be sure. Most of the story is delivered in the form of a snappy one-liner or a long strand of insanely over-the-top fighting/acrobatics. The game originally started out as a Resident Evil game, but grew so far from the survival horror genre that Capcom decided to roll with it and churned out a game that redefined the action genre. Before Devil May Cry, most 3D action titles were very slow paced with a meager catalogue of moves and combos to perform.


The first Devil May Cry was not without its faults, though. The control scheme was chaotic -- like Capcom just slapped their keyboard a few times while programming and you were stuck with the result. You couldn't really change the controls to something more manageable, either. The difficulty was unlike anything gamers had experienced in a long time. Some despised that; others embraced the challenge. The camera angles were like a plague that sentenced you to death. Still, it ushered in a new era of action games and few were able to top its style for a long time. Eventually, Capcom revealed they were working on a sequel. Devil May Cry 2. What was Dante going to get into this time? Would the game live up to the original?

Devil May Cry 2 >

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

New games this week: Devil May Cry 4 edition