|Nero, we must set aside this battle until I find out the truth of this.|
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The Abyss are powerful enemies in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. They look and behave similarly to the Hells, but are much stronger and agile, also showing some advanced magic abilities such as teleportation. They first appear in Mission 17: Inner-demons before reappearing in Mission 19: Forces Collide as the primary enemies in that mission.
Abyss are high-ranking lesser demons from the deepest levels of the netherworld that manifest through blood. Since they use blood as their medium, they can materialize and liquify at will, manifesting as somewhat of a teleportation skill that allows them to dissolve into a solid surface and reappear somewhere else. A most feared demon throughout the ages, they are notorious as the killers of heroes in the worst of the battles of wars between the Human and Demon World, and are said to act as the generals of the demon army.
Abyss truly resemble what in pop culture is understood as a "demon:" a tall red humanoid with horns and a long, spade-tipped tail. Their bodies are red just in part, since they appear to be white but covered in large blood capillaries. They possess three spike-like protuberances growing out of their backs, and wield magical, fiery scythes that can regenerate the blade even after it is thrown away.
Abyss have multiple attacks:
First being scythe slash: Abyss make a downward slash with their scythe.
Second being blade throw: Abyss throw the blade of their scythe which explodes on impact. They regenerate it afterwards.
Third being aerial blade throw: Abyss submerge into the ground and then jump high out of a random place and throw their blade at you from the air.
Fourth being flip: if you hit an Abyss with any move that knocks it back (for example: Stinger), they will only be launched by a short distance; quickly landing on their feet and charging with a slash of their scythe (much like Hell Lusts' main attack). Abyss will also react this way if you successfully Block their scythe attack. If you knock them back, and they end up hitting the wall, they will not make this counterattack, falling on the ground instead. Beware: on the higher difficulties, Abyss will rarely launch the flip attack not as a counter, but independently, without warning!
Abyss are essentially the elite version of the Hells. They combine various abilities of the regular Hells (Prides' guard, Lust's agility, Sloth's mobility, and Gluttony's ranged attack) with enhanced strength, toughness, and aggressiveness. In result, they make for a well-rounded enemy that can pose a major threat to unseasoned players - especially in numbers, and Abyss always appear in groups (of three, normally).
Abyss behave mostly like Hell Lusts when attacking, with fast, swing-like scythe movements and rapid counterattacks. However, they also share some characteristics with Hell Prides: for example they're very slow while walking, and they sometimes will jump towards Dante in order to approach him faster. Generally, the strategy for Abyss is similar to that the player would use for Hells, but it will take more hits to kill them due to their higher health and quicker attacks.
When fighting these devils, pay attention to all of them if possible. Unlike Hells, they can cause harm even when they are far away, Abyss can throw the magic-imbued blade of their scythes with no more warning than a slight groan. Jump, roll or use the Trickster Style's abilities to avoid the blades.
An Abyss disappearing in the ground with a wave-like effect means that the demon is teleporting. It will reappear somewhere else jumping out of the ground and it will always complete this movement throwing away the blade of its scythe, just like in the aforementioned attack. The teleportation can be cancelled if the Abyss is knocked back just before it goes into the ground. However, with good timing, jumping along with it and hitting it in midair can also prove effective. If counter-attacking is not an option, just dodge the energy blade, as it is always thrown in a straight line towards you.
As the creatures of blood like the Blood-goyles, Abyss are easily frozen by Cerberus, and thus will suffer more damage from this Devil Arm. They are vulnerable to attacks that knock them into the air, e.g. High Time and Whirlwind. When they fall, use Real Impact and Tornado to quickly finish them off. Alternatively, use the same moves when they block, as they will not move or liquify away and Real Impact can break almost any defense.
The designs of the Abyss appear to be based on the Malebranche, a group of demons who guarded the infamous Malebolge in The Divine Comedy. Their duty was to guard the souls of politicians guilty of Simony by forcing them to be submerged within boiling pitch. Given how the Abyss are emerged within a lake of water filled with broken statues, this is likely a reference to the Malebranche. The Malebranche are also depicted with large pitch forks used to torture the politicians much like how the Abyss uses pitchforks in combat.