Walkthrough (lower difficulties)Edit
After the introductory cutscene, Dante is granted the Perfect Amulet and the game's final Devil Arm, Sparda, the true form of Force Edge. Sparda handles much like Alastor: it has Stinger and Round Trip if they have been purchased for Alastor, but does not have Air Hike. While it deals more base damage than Alastor and its transformations give it improved reach on some moves, it does not have access to Devil Trigger outside of a specific boss fight later on: as a result, it also prevents Dante from using Charged Shots with his guns. Like Force Edge, when it is equipped, the DT Gauge is not displayed and no DT is earned no matter what Dante does. Also like Force Edge, Dante cannot use the R3 "switch weapon" command while it is equipped, or to switch to it: equipping or unequipping it requires a trip to the menu.
Dante automatically has Sparda equipped at the start of the mission: if the player wishes to try it out, they can exit through the door they entered the throne room through in the last mission to fight some Marionettes and Fetishes out in the hall. If not, it is best to equip Alastor or Ifrit before going through the portal, in order to build up some DT in the following section ready for the boss. Step into the circle on the floor to proceed.
Dante reappears back in the top level of the guard rooms, and this time the portal on the right is active. Jumping through teleports him inside a cell in a submerged prison area. Use the Needlegun to break the barrels for Red Orbs, then turn left from the direction Dante started out facing in to find a hole in the wall leading to another cell. Destroy the additional barrels here, then swim out through the bent-open bars, into the cell straight across the hallway. Collect the Red Orbs sitting out in the open and break the barrels here, then swim back out into the hallway and head right, breaking more barrels along the way. The final cell is off to the left and contains only a solitary barrel, but smashing this will reveal a Blue Orb Fragment.
Swim back out into the hall, destroy the barrels to the left, and follow the hallway to enter the next area. This drops Dante into a large square underwater chamber with three Sin Scissors, one of which starts right in front of Dante. Use the Needlegun to push it back before it can attack, then take out the other two: try to draw them away from the walls so they are not pushed outside the room to avoid wasting time waiting for them. Once they are defeated, the section of wall between the two horse statues opens, allowing Dante to swim out through the vertical surface of the water. Smash the suits of armor and go through the door.
Dante is now at the bottom of an altered version of the tall tower from his earlier visit to the castle: it lacks the door to the Castellan's bedroom entirely, and the upper floors are now full of gaps which Dante can long-jump across. The first thing to do here is to ascend the stairs until Dante reaches the point where they are blocked off: go back down very slightly, then hop over the railing to land on a small projecting platform with another Blue Orb Fragment. If the player has a reasonable idea where this is, it can also be reached with a wall jump or Air Hike from below.
Return to the bottom of the room and activate the wheel device on the wall. This time, rather than activating an elevator, it floods the tower floor-to-ceiling with water. Quickly swim as high up the tower as possible, aiming to finish up with solid ground under Dante's feet: the water does not last long, and it goes away just as instantly as it appeared. The ideal place to wait is in front of the pedestal to one side of the empty platform where the Death Sentence was in Mission 04: Black Knight.
Once the water disappears, climb any remaining distance to get to this platform, and interact with the pedestal to get the Philosopher's Egg. Jump down from here: the goal is to get down to the level of the doorway out to the fountain courtyard where Dante fought the "Lion," since unlike the door to the Castellan's bedroom this still exists. Go through.
Like the tall tower, the fountain courtyard is mirrored and altered. The fountain is no longer present, and the presence of restraining circles on the floor and wheel devices on the walls should leave little doubt as to what is waiting for Dante here. However, the first thing to do here is head to the left and jump up to the walkway above. Go through the door to enter a long hallway, equivalent to the hallway where Dante pushed back the tomb in Mission 02: Judge of Death. A trail of small Red Orbs leads to a large Red Orb and the mission's third Blue Orb Fragment. There is no other exit to this version of the room, so backtrack out to the courtyard.
Before examining the device in the alcove where the "Lion" was, go over to one of the wheel devices and activate it to get a head start on the upcoming battle. Interact with the device to place the Philosopher's Egg in it to heat up. This triggers the re-appearance of...
Nightmare is similar to its previous appearance in Mission 16: Nightmare of Darkness: see there for a list of attacks and an explanation of the mechanics related to its cores. This time around its cores can be taken all the way to red, which is something the player should avoid if at all possible. It has one new ability:
- Boomerang: Only the top core can deploy this attack, but it is always deployed at a specific point in Nightmare's attack sequence regardless of where Dante is standing. Nightmare's front section lowers, and a section of Nightmare's body emerges from its left or right side, rises into the air, unfolds and starts spinning. It then either moves in a sideways figure-eight pattern above Nightmare (with the middle of the "8" passing directly along the length of Nightmare's hull) or in a wider circle around the arena before returning and being re-incorporated into the opposite side to the one it came out of. Like the triple stab, the boomerang can be parried with Rolling Blaze or a sword strike, which will cause the core to stay out longer and render it vulnerable. The best time to do this is right as it starts spinning: jumping up under it with Rolling Blaze should parry it before it can even move. If it does manage to get moving, it becomes a lot harder to time a parry, but it can be avoided by jumping.
Nightmare's attack sequence is now ice beam/missiles, triple stab, ice beam/missiles, triple stab, boomerang, triple stab, and then it repeats.
There are now only two wheel devices on the left and right walls, and the camera in this room is less cooperative: it is best to stay in line with the balcony with the door to the tall tower, and not go much further toward the camera than where the fountain was, as an off-screen Nightmare is not something that is easily dealt with. The balcony or walkway might seem like a safe haven, but this is not the case: these locations severely reduce mobility, put Nightmare out of view, and do not even prevent Nightmare from using its swallow attack.
This time, Griffon is fought in the "evil dimension." This "Nightmare Griffon" is a unique, highly stripped-down version which does not exactly match any previous battle. Despite Nightmare Griffon being the version with a missing wing and being unable to fly, he still generates platform columns around the area.
Nightmare Griffon's abilities are as follows:
- Gust: Griffon sweeps his wings forward, kicking up dust to conceal the startup of his next attack and pushing Dante back if he is close by and not in Devil Trigger mode.
- Double Check: Griffon fires one horizontal Blockade line, then creates up to five Double Check orbs in his mouth, with their closing point set at Dante's location when the attack starts, tracking both horizontally and vertically.
- Horizontal Blockade: Griffon creates one Double Check orb in his mouth, then fires up to seven horizontal Blockade lines, all with their midpoint aimed directly at Dante.
- Rush: Griffon runs towards Dante with a swinging beak slash, which he can chain into a second beak stab.
Nightmare Griffon appears to lack whatever hitbox issues allow for Meteor double-hits, so it is not as useful here. The Grenadegun is still highly effective, though the pillars and uneven ground of the "evil dimension" make it more likely to hit an intervening object than in previous battles. Like the version of Phantom seen previously, Nightmare Griffon turns black and gives off plumes of white vapor when he is defeated, then sinks into the ground. This means he does not have Griffon's usual damaging AoE death effect, so there is no need to keep away from him when striking the final hit.
Griffon is probably the hardest of the three bosses fought inside Nightmare: on lower difficulties it can save a lot of trouble if the player avoids going inside Nightmare entirely, but on Dante Must Die it is very difficult to pull this off without turning one of Nightmare's cores red in the process. If playing for rank it is more or less necessary in order to make the Red Orb goal, barring farming for Red Orbs by backtracking into the corridors outside the throne room at the start of the mission.
Once Nightmare has finished dissolving, a message will pop up saying "transformation is complete." Go over to the device and retrieve the Elixir. A cutscene will show a teleport seal appearing in the middle of the room, after which the mission is complete.
The only real change on higher difficulties is that the underwater Sin Scissors can Devil Trigger in Dante Must Die mode, which gives them about four times as much health as they would normally have and means the Needlegun no longer pushes them back or interrupts their attacks. As noted above, the health boost in DMD mode also makes a trip inside Nightmare more or less mandatory if the player does not want it to start the next battle with a red core.