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Nightmare of Darkness is the sixteenth mission in Devil May Cry.

Walkthrough (lower difficulties)[]

The mission starts with Dante still in front of the statue where he picked up the Wheel of Destiny at the end of the previous mission. Immediately behind him, a complete Blue Orb is hovering in plain view to the left of the elevator: grab it and take the elevator up. Dante's mission now is to return to the castle, as the Wheel of Destiny allows him to lower the drawbridge. Cross the Coliseum and exit through the door Dante entered through.

Outside, immediately turn around and re-enter the Coliseum to start Secret Mission 09: Stairway of Tranquility. This charges Dante with enemy-stepping up a "staircase" made of hovering Sargassos to grab a hovering Blue Orb Fragment. The end of the mission has Dante exit the Coliseum, and so deposits him outside the door again.

As in the previous mission, there are five Sin Scythes guarding the large room: either equip the Shotgun and fight them, or just head for the door to the spiral staircase. Climb the stairs and head for the drawbridge, then interact with the glowing circle at the edge to place the Wheel of Destiny in it. This lowers the drawbridge and allows Dante to cross.

In the portcullis room, the suits of armor have returned, so smash them for some Red Orbs. The doorway up to the guardrooms and portcullis mechanism has vanished, so the only way forward is to enter the main hall.

This room is ominously dark and the statue of Mundus at the rear of the hall has vanished, revealing a wheel device. Do not activate this immediately: instead, jump up to the Divinity Statue above the door and Stinger forwards off it to get a hovering Blue Orb Fragment (this can also be reached by using Stinger or Air Hike from the horse statue's head), then go to the back of the hall and head right from the wheel device to find another Blue Orb Fragment. Now, activate the device.

A cutscene will show the arrival of a new enemy, the Plasma. Jump immediately as the cutscene ends as the creature immediately performs its beam attack from off-screen. This creature takes minimal damage from Alastor and none at all from Nightmare-β, so switch to Ifrit. Plasmas have two forms: in their bat form, they only have projectile attacks and are fairly easy to deal with using guns, while in their human form they retain the beam attack but can also use melee attacks similar to Dante's own. Their melee animations are only half the speed of Dante's, but are still very dangerous since there is almost no warning that they are going to use them. Both forms deal friendly fire damage with their beam attacks, and it is quite possible to get Plasmas to kill each other.

Their main trick in their human form is their ability to multiply, splitting into three copies when struck. The original will retain its health, while the copies will have full health. They can only do this until there are three of them in total, but can do it an unlimited number of times. Dante's best weapon against them is Ifrit's Inferno move: this will instantly kill any human-form Plasma caught in the blast, even in Dante Must Die mode. Without this, it is best to focus on wearing down the group equally so they can all be finished off quickly: killing them one at a time just increases the chance of them multiplying.

Once the first Plasma is defeated (this particular one is not allowed to split, and will transform back into bat form and stay that way unless Dante touches the stairs), go through the open door to enter the workshop with the biplane. In this area Dante will face a human-form Plasma, which will generally split into three almost immediately. If the player has it, now is the time to make use of Inferno: if not, make use of Devil Trigger, aiming to kill them as quickly as possible so they cannot split. Exit into the long hallway.

Head towards the door to the small room with the Divinity Statue. Jump towards the large painting on the wall and then wall-jump back away from it, and a Blue Orb Fragment will fall from the ceiling. If the player desires, they can enter the small room: the desks in here have been replaced and contain a new set of Red Orbs, even if they were previously smashed.

Out in the corridor are Marionettes, accompanied by Fetishes except in Easy Automatic. Fight through them (in this narrow corridor Nightmare-β can be very effective) and smash the suits of armor along the way for more Red Orbs. At the end of the hall there is a hidden Red Orb Cache spot near the ceiling close to the door, which can be accessed with a wall-jump or Air Hike. Proceed into the defiled cathedral.

There is now a strange pool of fluid on the floor along with some mysterious circular devices, and four wheel devices on the walls. The player can get a head start on the upcoming boss battle by activating one of the wheel devices before examining the pool, though the device "counts down" during the boss' entrance cutscene so this is best done if the player intends to skip it.

Regardless, examining the pool results in the arrival of...

Boss: Nightmare[]

Nightmare is a powerful demonic machine which is essentially a living tank, and has a wide variety of attacks. It has two forms: when the devices on the walls are inactive it will be in its liquid state. This form slowly moves towards Dante, aiming to place him in its dead center. It has the following abilities:

  • Spawn creature: Nightmare spawns an odd grey slug-like creature at its edge, which crawls along the floor towards Dante, then curls up and leaps at him. These creatures are invulnerable and cannot be hit by any of Dante's weapons. If they hit Dante, they will cling to him for a while before dropping off him to the ground: when this happens the creature self-destructs, forming a tiny version of a Frost's ground slam attack that can freeze Dante in place. If they miss Dante they will self-destruct on hitting the ground. If Dante is frozen, wiggle the left stick to free him more quickly.
  • Globule: Small globules of ooze constantly jump up from the pool of slime before falling back into it. If Dante is hit by one of these he does not react and the damage is minuscule to the point a player may not even notice it has happened, but it can ruin a no-damage run.
  • Swallow: A Venus flytrap-like slime structure rises up from under Dante's feet, tracking him and turning as it slams shut. Jump to avoid this.
  • Swirl: The entire pool twists in one direction, then back in the opposite direction while the middle rises up. If Dante is standing in it when it does this, the attack will connect.

The first time Dante is hit by swallow or swirl, he will be dragged into an "evil dimension" where he will have to deal with five Sargassos, followed by a larger and tougher cyclops Sargasso, and then fight a weaker "shadow" version of a previously-seen boss: in this case, the boss is Phantom, using his moveset from Mission 8: The Legendary Knight Returns. After this, Dante will burst out from Nightmare, which has several beneficial effects: it deals heavy damage, roughly doubles the time the wheel devices on the walls remain active for, decreases Nightmare's defense, and resets the hit count on Nightmare's cores (see below).

After Dante has been to the "evil dimension" and returned, swallow and swirl will not take him there again, instead just dealing damage. In addition, Nightmare will occasionally use swallow while in its solid form.

Nightmare's liquid state is indestructible. Dante can still taunt it for DT, or shoot it with the Grenadegun or jump around in it with Rolling Blaze to build up DT. To actually deal damage, Dante must activate one of the wheel devices on the walls. This forces Nightmare to enter its tank-like solid form until the wheel is fully depleted. When the wheel runs out, Nightmare will complete any attack it has already started, then return to its liquid state. All four wheels in the room share a common level of charge, which can be "topped up" by striking them before they completely run out.

Nightmare is extremely predictable in its solid form, its status as a machine being shown in its strictly programmed patterns based on Dante's position and which attacks it has done already. In its solid state, it has the following abilities:

  • Machine gun orbs: Nightmare performs this attack as soon as it has fully formed, and between its main attacks when it does not have a core exposed. Three small orbs move into a triangle pattern on each side of Nightmare's hull and rapid-fire small projectiles towards Dante. The damage is minimal, but getting hit by several of the orbs at once can make for quite a bit of damage. The orbs can be destroyed with gunfire or AoE attacks. Their tracking is both slow and poor, so jumping away from where the player wants Dante to be and then back will mean most of their shots are not even directed at where he is.
  • Vent: As a core comes out, it appears in a blaze of white light, some of which forms into white lines which can deal damage and briefly stun Dante. This is particularly dangerous with the top core, as it may stun Dante long enough for him to be hit by the ice beam.
  • Ice beam: Only the top core can perform this attack. Nightmare's front section slides backwards and it starts rotating to track Dante, broken white lines coming out of its front and crawling along the ground. It then unleashes a massive beam which will freeze Dante much like its spawned creatures and deals heavy damage. It can rotate on the spot while performing this attack: how much depends on the state of the top core. In addition, it can pivot its front section in a limited horizontal and vertical arc to aim the beam more precisely or swing it around in a narrow cone.
  • Triple-stab: Only the rear core can perform this attack. Nightmare spins on the spot to turn side-on to Dante (it will twitch visibly if already in position) and shoots out a spear-like structure three times in a row. Dante can either dodge this or parry it with a melee attack or Rolling Blaze: if parried, the rear core will be briefly stunned and will stay out for longer and take no further action until it retracts.
  • Missiles: Only the rear core can perform this attack. Nightmare shoots off volleys of small homing projectiles that fly into the air before turning towards Dante. Shooting these or hitting them with an AoE attack will cause them to turn back and hit the core, though they are fired so quickly on higher difficulties that only Vortex is a safe bet to do this without taking damage.
  • Siphon: After an ice beam or missile attack, Nightmare will siphon away Dante's DT Gauge, taking a maximum of 2.5 runes. This cannot be stopped, but Dante can attack the core to earn DT back, or taunt Nightmare to earn more DT than he loses.
  • Devil Trigger: Nightmare is the only boss in Devil May Cry which can enter this state: it does so after it has absorbed enough DT from Dante via its cores. Its DT surrounds it with a red lightning effect and increases its damage by around 250%, but does not last for a very long time. It is rare for the battle to last long enough for it to actually perform this attack.

Nightmare follows a fairly strict pattern with its main attacks: the pattern it almost always follows is to perform an ice beam if Dante is near its front or fire missiles if he is towards its rear, then perform a triple stab, then repeat this, mixing in fire from its machine gun orbs. It "remembers" where it is in its attack pattern if it turns into its liquid state, only resetting if Dante emerges from it after being caught by swallow or swirl.

Damaging Nightmare requires Dante to attack the two cores that come out from under its armor as it performs its attacks. Nightmare's cores have three possible states, which it cycles through depending on how many hits they have taken: a violent explosion and shower of debris indicates a state change. If a core changes state, the change is carried over into later fights. The states are as follows:

  • Blue: Default state: the core takes normal damage. If the top core is in this state, the ice beam attack has the shortest duration and Nightmare can only aim it by pivoting fairly slowly.
  • Green: The core still takes normal damage. If the top core is green, the ice beam lasts longer and Nightmare gains the ability to spin around rapidly while using it, usually completing at least one full rotation.
  • Red: Damage to a core in this state is reduced by more than half. If the top core is red, the ice beam attack lasts much longer and Nightmare can turn completely around two or more times while using it.

During this first battle, the cores cannot be turned red regardless of how many times they are hit.

The two cores also have unique attributes: the rear core is about 33% more resistant to shattering, while the amount of time the top core is exposed increases the more shattered it is. Therefore, the ideal strategy is to turn the top core green in the first fight and then try to keep it that way.

Most attacks will shatter a core quite quickly as whether or not a core shatters is determined by a simple count of the number of hits that it has received. Therefore, the best attacks to use are those that deal the highest damage to Nightmare with a single hit, namely Ifrit's charged basic punch, punch, kick, kick combo with Devil Trigger active, and Meteor 2. The worst moves to use are those that score multiple hits, such as Inferno, DT Kick 13 and Round Trip. The hit counter, unlike the core state, does not carry over between fights: as noted above, it also resets to zero if Dante is dragged into Nightmare's "evil dimension." The damage from Dante escaping does not count as a hit to either core.

Nightmare's cores are immune to hits from Nightmare-β, though firing it at one of them at least once is required to unlock a section of Nightmare's Enemy File.

After Nightmare[]

Once Nightmare is defeated, backtrack down the long hallway to the workshop with the biplane to start Secret Mission 10: Shadow of Darkness. This is a unique mission which charges Dante with hunting down four Shadows in the nearby rooms for another Blue Orb Fragment.

With this done, head back to the cathedral, then out onto the broken bridge. Cross over using skilful jumping, Air Raid or a trip underwater (the Sargassos still have to be fought to exit the cursed sea).

If Dante did not pick up the orbs on the far platform in Mission 03: Destroyer of Ardor, they will now be much bigger. If aiming for an S-Rank in each mission, it is best to save three of these for reaching the Red Orb target in Mission 19: Enter the Corrupted World. Regardless, interact with the symbol at the far end of the platform to use the Staff of Hermes. This forms two portals. Go through the one on the right first to enter the Castellan's bedroom: this is a dead end, but has another Blue Orb Fragment and an Untouchable. Use the red circle on the ground to teleport back, then jump through the other portal to finish the mission.

Higher difficulties[]

The main room outside the Coliseum is as before host to a pair of Death Scythes that appear one at a time. The long hallway either has five Fetishes right by the door, five Fetishes about halfway along, or one Shadow halfway along. With the Fetishes, as they are defeated, more will spawn in halfway along the corridor, regardless of where the original group were. In Dante Must Die mode, this corridor becomes a sealed-room battle with a 60-second DT timer: this behaves a little oddly with the Fetishes, specifically in that it will disappear and the room will unseal if Dante can kill all Fetishes currently spawned before any replacements appear. In a case like this with a DT timer that can be cancelled partway, there are three possible states: while the timer is ticking down, no enemy can enter DT. If the timer expires, all enemies enter DT. If the timer is cancelled, enemies switch back to their normal DT timers.

The Secret Mission Stairway of Tranquility also changes on higher difficulties, in that the Sargassos will now try to attack Dante as they normally would rather than remaining in their set positions.