Capcom’s stylish actioner Devil May Cry pretty much personifies the term badass in almost every conceivable avenue, and its bosses are no exception. From gargantuan griffins to dexterous demon knights, Dante’s original gun-slinging, sword-swinging marathon has offered up some of the most memorable boss battles to grace the PlayStation 2. We’re quite partial to the game’s resident eight-legged freak Phantom however, a mammoth lava-spewing arachnid that Dante gets to throw down with twice during his 2001 debut bloodbath. As such, Phantom is the latest hulking baddie to get the spotlight treatment in our on-going Badass Bosses feature.
Arriving in the decidedly unsubtle manner of smashing through a glass dome high above Dante’s grey locks, Phantom - apparently Mundas’ “right hand man” - commits the cardinal sin of mistaking our wise-cracking hero as mere small fry, dismissing Dante as a ‘puny, pathetic thing.’ After a brief chinwag with our hero, the fight kicks off as Dante effortlessly evades Phantom’s initial attempts at grinding our hero into a sticky paste. Being the giant Spider-thing he is, Phantom is pretty nimble on his feet, able to turn and leap about in the blink of an eye. His considerable bulk makes it easy to get a fix on him, yet his near-impenetrable shell makes it difficult to inflict any damage. Phantom’s one rough customer in terms of attacks go, able to slash you with his claws, summon fire pillars from beneath your feet and spit massive fireballs at Dante to boot.
Still, if it bleeds (or in Phantom’s case, spews lava) you can kill it, and it’s not too hard to discover the creature’s weak point –namely, its magma-filled innards. As such, Dante must aim for inside the beast’s body, which is vulnerable to attack when it opens up its protective armour-like shell. Air Raid is your best mate here, letting our demonic hero flutter above Phantom and continually zap stinging attacks at the oversized arachnid to his heart’s content like some pesky wasp. Failing that, morph into devil mode and introduce Phantom’s ugly mug to the business end of your sword, or simply leap above the creature and unload copious amounts of lead into its backside.
Unfortunately for Dante though, Phantom’s an obstinate git who refuses to back down until the bitter end. After you first battle, he’ll show up in a couple of corridor-based attacks during the game’s early stages, lobbing fireballs at you before making a quick exit. Here, you can slash him up for some extra orbs, although be careful to leap/dodge at the appropriate time to evade his attacks. If you’re low on health, it’s better to just leg it. He’ll ultimately do this twice: Once immediately after your first battle, and again after you’ve beaten the goat-headed wraith in the sewer tunnels. Still, this is all just a tasty of the final battle, which transpires as Dante is within grabbing distance of escaping the Castle.
This time however, you finish off the crawling critter for good. The fight plays out much the same as your first encounter, and Dante’s got more room to play with to boot. Still, Phantom’s pretty miffed this time around, so don’t expect him to go down without a fight; he’s also now capable of spitting fireballs out of his big gob, which come hurtling down to earth like a rain of destructive fire. Be on your toes, as this attack packs quite a nasty punch. Aside from this, Air Raid is once again your best bet, so if you’ve got Red Orbs going spare, be sure to invest them in augmenting your Devil Trigger gauge. Keep at it, and you’ll fell Phantom without too much hassle – leaving Dante to deliver a bit of after battle banter for good measure.
Stay tuned for more Badass Bosses here at PSU in the coming weeks.