Walkthrough (lower difficulties)Edit
Prior to starting this level it is a good idea to purchase Stinger at at least level 1, and ideally also Air Raid. Owning one of these two abilities is required to get a Blue Orb Fragment in the level.
As Dante enters the defiled cathedral, all of the doors will be sealed and a cutscene will draw the player's attention to a strange object floating above the altar. This is the Pride of Lion, the key item that is the objective of this level. It will allow Dante to lower the forcefield protecting the lion statue seen previously in the area with the fountain.
Examining the altar will cause the Pride of Lion to fire a beam down the length of the cathedral and destroy the seal on the door. Exiting this way leads to an outdoor bridge, rather ominously named "broken bridge" on the in-game map. Dante can hop up onto the ornate porch above the door with a wall jump: at the top of the arch is a hidden Red Orb Cache.
Proceeding across the bridge leads to a circular platform with a tombstone-like plaque in the middle and some Red Orbs floating around the outside. It is best not to collect these now, as if they are not picked up in this mission they will become much larger Red Orbs when Dante returns to this area in Mission 16: Nightmare of Darkness. Instead, examine the plaque and then double back and proceed towards the door of the cathedral.
About halfway along the bridge, Dante is unavoidably struck by lightning and the bridge splits into pieces and collapses into the sea below. Upon regaining control, Dante is in a narrow underwater tunnel leading into a circular arena. It is necessary to move quickly, as while under the sea Dante's health will constantly deplete. Dante cannot actually die just from this, however: the sea will only drain his health down to the final "magic pixel."
In the circular arena, Dante encounters a new enemy, the Sargasso. These oversized, ghostly human skulls start out in an invulnerable dormant state, only attacking if Dante moves close to them. They are probably the simplest enemy in the game, and either rush towards Dante for a bite attack, or perform a highly-telegraphed attack where they breathe ice. The easiest way to deal with them is the Shotgun, which can kill them in one hit at very close range, and even if it does not it will knock them back far enough that they will not attack before Dante fires a second time. The last one killed will drop a large Green Orb to restore Dante's health. Once they are beaten, step onto the glowing area in the middle of the arena.
This teleports Dante back up onto the side of the bridge nearest the cathedral. From now on, falling into the water will alternate which end of the bridge Dante ends up on: this end or the circular platform. Before re-entering the cathedral, there are a couple of things that can be acquired on the broken bridge.
The first thing to do is jump back up onto the porch over the door. From here, a floating chunk of the bridge is visible hovering high in the air: this is host to a hidden Blue Orb Fragment. While it is easiest to reach with Air Raid or Air Hike, all that is needed is Stinger: to reach it, the player needs to have Dante perform a well-aimed Stinger towards the platform. This will force Dante into a long jump animation, and if aimed correctly he will touch down on the platform and gain his prize.
A second Blue Orb Fragment is located back over on the circular platform, in front of the plaque. If Dante has enough DT and Air Raid it is possible to simply fly over, otherwise a series of Stinger jumps can be used to quickly traverse the platforms: the first jump is from the right-hand tip of the broken bridge towards the group of platforms on the left, aiming for the one nearest the top of the screen. From here, Stinger almost straight up, towards the second platform from the left, then make one final Stinger jump to land on the circular platform. This has to be done quickly, as after a while any platform Dante touches will fall into the ocean. This can be done in reverse, though it is trickier going back since the platforms that Dante used before remain gone (they respawn when Dante exits the room).
After getting back to the side of the bridge with the cathedral, re-enter it and interact with the altar again to claim the Pride of Lion. Doing so, however, also results in the arrival of...
Phantom is an elephant-sized arachnid with traits of a spider and a scorpion, and a body made of solidified magma that is mostly impervious to damage. His only weak points are his open mouth and the top of his abdomen. Hits to his impervious armor with swords will make Dante recoil for a moment. Both this and gun attacks that hit his armor will do no damage, but do still count as hits, and this can be used to build up the Devil Trigger Gauge.
Phantom is tough for a first boss and is capable of combat at any range. His abilities are as follows:
- Back-dash: Phantom leaps backwards with a distinctive whooshing sound. Used as a dodge-and-counter (the counter move usually being a fireball) or to reposition himself.
- Block: Phantom guards his mouth by holding his forelimbs in front of his face. He will usually counter with a swipe after a few hits.
- Jump: Phantom leaps high into the air before crashing back down, usually aiming to land on Dante. Dante will take damage if Phantom lands on him. Phantom can only do this if he is in the nave of the cathedral: the aisles either side are not tall enough. He can be forced into performing this move with proper positioning: specifically, if Phantom loses sight of Dante he will pivot on the spot looking for him, and will jump if Dante is still not in his line of sight after he has turned like this three times.
- Swipe: Phantom does a single backhand swipe with one of his forelimbs to swat Dante away.
- Ground combo: Phantom lumbers forwards while repeatedly swinging his forelimbs.
- Sting: Only available when Phantom's tail is unfurled, signified by his eyes glowing red instead of blue. Phantom lashes out with his stinger at high speed. If he hits, he will impale Dante on his tail for a short time. He telegraphs this move by standing still with his stinger arched and swaying the tip of the stinger, then rearing back before lunging it forward. It hits in a straight line forwards, catching Dante if he is on top of Phantom or just in front of him, including in the air.
- Fireball: Phantom stops moving and opens his mouth wide with a bright glow effect and a rumbling sound cue, tracking Dante's movements and eventually unleashing a fireball aimed right at the Devil Hunter. This attack can be cancelled if Dante deals enough damage to Phantom to make him flinch (this can cause the fireball to explode in his mouth and deal damage to him), or even knocked back at Phantom with a well-timed sword hit. In rare cases, he fires two fireballs in a row.
- Magma pillars: Phantom plunges his head into the ground and glowing spots appear on the ground in pairs where Dante is standing, after a short time erupting into towering molten columns that can even hit Dante if he is using Air Raid. While Phantom cannot move during this attack, it is best to focus on avoiding it.
- Heat up: When Phantom is down to 25% health, as he takes further damage the molten parts of his body will gradually take on a redder hue. This state progressively increases the speed of all of Phantom's animations, maxing out at double speed.
- Burnout: After attacking repeatedly or taking a lot of damage in a short period of time, the molten sections of Phantom's body turn black and he stops moving and attacking for about 3 seconds as he recovers. During this time Phantom's entire body is vulnerable to attack. His first attack after recovering is always a fireball.
- Instant kill: Only occurs if Dante is near Phantom's mouth at critically low health. Phantom slams Dante against the ground and then devours him whole.
Air Raid is very effective against him if the player has it. The lighting bolts Dante casts while performing this move will automatically target Phantom's head and most of the demon's moves are not effective while Dante is flying: it is only necessary to watch out for the magma pillars. As Phantom takes damage from Air Raid, he has a flinch animation where he briefly rocks backwards: during this he is invulnerable, so the player should stop firing to avoid wasting damage. in addition, if he blocks with his forelimbs he is immune to hits from Air Raid regardless of the angle they are fired from.
Otherwise, the best way to attack him is to jump up on his back and attack his abdomen: this is vulnerable even when his tail is folded. While there is a patch of bare magma here when the tail is unfurled, touching it will not damage Dante. Attacking his mouth is riskier: if doing so, it is best to use a Stinger and a quick combo, then jump away, as Phantom will counter with a claw attack if Dante stays for too long.
Phantom also takes significant additional damage from Dante's Helm Breaker downward air move if it is done after using Air Hike, though this is unlikely to be a factor on a first run through the game unless the player farms for Red Orbs. If an Air Hiked Helm Breaker hits the thickest part of his abdomen with his tail curled up or the base of his tail when it is unfolded, this causes a critical hit which increases the damage even more, instantly makes Phantom flinch, and will cause him to scuttle away from Dante when he recovers.
Once Phantom is defeated, the player can simply exit via the door to the long hallway to complete the mission: however, there is still more to be found. If the player instead returns to the broken bridge and has Dante jump into the water, they will activate Secret Mission 1: Critical hit. In this mission the player is tasked with achieving a single-shot critical hit kill on a Sin Scissors while underwater, for the mission's final Blue Orb Fragment. It can be re-attempted if failed, though the damage from being underwater will stack up during failed attempts.
There are no changes to enemy waves on higher difficulties. The sole alteration is a 25-second DT timer for the fight with the Sargassos in Dante Must Die mode. If the Sargassos enter Devil Trigger, they will actually change their in-game model, transforming into the larger cyclops "leader" Sargasso.