I am playing this game for the first time...what the hell happened to the first boss being easy?
The hitbox on snake's up tilt is quite possibly the most broken, unfair, unrealistic thing I've ever witnessed in a video game in my life." ~ M2K
PHANTOM -- (Normal mode)
To make this battle a lot easier purchase Air Raid and all the purple orbs you can afford beforehand to extend the length of your devil gauge before Mission 3 starts. Whenever your devil gauge is full, leap into the air, quickly DT (L1) and press R1 to activate flight mode, then commence Air Raiding by pressing the shoot button. If you manage to fly behind Phantom so the bolts strike both his abdomen and his face, they'll do double-damage.
When you need devil gauge, run around to Phantom's sides or back, you can jump and attack with a downward slash. You can only hurt his face and hind end this way, but even if your sword just bounces off his armor, you'll still earn a little devil gauge. Successfully landing double-jumped downward slashes while DTed will do lots of damage provided Dante lands on the ground. Should you land on his back, keep slashing/shooting until he throws you off. Repeat until all your devil gauge symbols are full again, then start Air Raiding again as described above. You can also earn extra devil gauge via rapid E&I fire while moving/jumping around, but any shots that bounce off Phantom's armor won't do additional damage either.
An alternative method of earning devil gauge is to taunt with the R2 button at close range when you're not in any immediate danger. Press R2 normally for a single-handed taunt, or press the button all the way down very quickly for a two-handed version that will earn twice as much devil gauge. You can cancel out of a taunt early (forfeiting the devil gauge you would have earned) via a jump or roll if you need to.
Hopefully you won't have much trouble jumping or rolling to the side to avoid Phantom's fireballs (he often hops backwards just before shooting them). With good timing, you can also deflect FBs back at Phantom with sword slashes for substantial damage.
The other two really dangerous attacks to watch for are when he jumps (time a jump so Dante will be in the air as he comes down) and his lava plume attack (his face goes down, hind end comes up, then 6 lava plumes come up wherever Dante's standing); stay on the move to prevent getting burned... possibly circling around toward Phantom to get a free aerial downward slash or Stinger when they end. You can even walk while firing away with E&I or the shotgun to avoid the lava plumes, just don't stop or turn back in the direction you came from.
If he repeatedly shoots fireballs at a pillar between the two of you, you can also taunt (R2 button) to earn devil gauge without going near him. Keep an eye out for the lava plume attack, though. It can hit you anywhere, even when you're standing on Phantom.
With the Stinger ability, if you run right up next to Phantom's face then jump away you can often lure him into doing a double claw-swipe attack. Whenever he does this, hit his face with a stinger right after the second swipe (if necessary, pause for a split-second until right before he recovers), then jump away and repeat the process. If you can, DT so the stingers will do additional damage.
Whenever possible, stick to the center path of the cathedral and don't get too close to walls/corners unless absolutely necessary to avoid an incoming attack (and bad camera angles). Also, you can often hold R1 down to make Dante aim at Phantom and the camera will (somewhat slowly) pan around behind him so you can see what he's aiming at. This way, you won't be "blind" to what Phantom's doing for the majority of the battle.
Also, in case it helps...
DMC has a rather steep learning curve in Normal mode and may seem unfair at times during your initial playthrough (that's typical for some, especially when they face the first boss which may take 10-20 attempts to defeat), but with very few exceptions the enemy/boss attacks are all telegraphed so well that once you're familiar with them you'll find there's always a way to avoid getting hit provided you're paying attention.
If you're offered the chance to play in Easy-Automatic mode, say no! Playing EA mode rewards mindless button-mashing and actually punishes you for trying to play DMC the way you need to in Normal/Hard/DMD modes -- also, saying yes means that game save can only be used to play more EA mode games until it's overwritten.
Initially use the red orbs you earn to buy Stinger, Air Raid, and purple orbs. While you can buy consumable items (Stars, Holy Waters and yellow orbs), after you use them and save your game they're gone. However, buying weapon abilities, purple orbs, and blue orbs will enhance Dante's capabilities permanently. ;) Purple orbs enable Dante to stay in Devil Trigger (DT) form longer and in addition to being more powerful he'll also regenerate lost health until he reverts back to his human form (until DMD mode, that is).
All the swords have three basic combo paths that hinge on the timing between the second and third slashes:
[ 3-Slash Combo ] = tap attack button twice for 2 standard slashes then press it a third time before the second slash comes to a stop for a standing downward slash that knocks down puppet-enemies
[ 4- or 5-Slash Combo ] = tap attack button twice and watch the end of Dante's sword; right as the second slash comes to a stop tap the attack button again for two more upward slashes; tapping the attack button once more during the two upward slashes will end the combo with a fifth optional standing downward slash
[ Multiple Stabs Combo ] = tap attack button twice and watch the end of Dante's sword; just after the second slash comes to a stop mash the attack button like crazy for multiple-stabs and eventually a final sword thrust that will knock down puppet-enemies
When wielding Alastor you can also watch the lightning on the blade after the second slash to determine when to press the attack button again to trigger either the 4- or 5-Slash Combo (while lightning is still on the blade) or the Multiple Stabs Combo (right after the lightning completely vanishes from the blade).
Experiment with the High Time sword uppercut move [hold R1, analog in opposite direction Dante's facing, either tap or hold down attack button]. Puppet-enemies launched via a High Time become airborne targets for gunfire and they can't attack or parry your slashes until they land then get up again... so initially High Timing an enemy provides a safe opportunity to start one of the longer combos. If other enemies are closing in, you can hold down the attack button during the High Time for the rising version of the move. From there you can shoot the enemy alongside Dante, jump off its airborne body, do a damaging aerial downward slash to clear out the enemies below, etc. Also note that you can work in a High Time (or Stinger after purchasing it and wielding any sword other than the Force Edge) at any point before the ending attack of a combo. In DMC's system, rather than memorizing and committing to preset combos you modify them on-the-fly according to the situation.
There's no block button in the game (though parries/deflections are sometimes possible if Dante and an enemy attack near-simultaneously), so you must take advantage of Dante's mobility to avoid getting hit by your foes. Fortunately, you're able to jump or roll immediately after any of the standard slashes of Dante's combos. Note that getting combo-tunnel-vision and trading hits is not something you can afford to do in DMC if you plan to live very long, so always keep an eye (or ear) out for what the enemies you aren't comboing are doing and evade them if need be.
When one of your attacks is parried, learn to instinctively jump away or roll to the side [hold R1, analog to the left or right of direction Dante's facing, press jump button] ASAP. Sometimes Dante will be able to recover and counterattack more quickly than the enemy does when this happens, but sometimes he won't -- that's when just standing there mashing the attack button gets you killed. (Early in the game Bloody Maris, the red marionettes, will parry your attacks most often.)
Some of the puppet-enemies in the game carry shotguns. They're the most dangerous, so always make an effort to kill them first or they'll blast you as you try to fight the others. You can tell when they're going to shoot (even if you can't see them) by the twirling noise their shotguns make before being fired. Well-timed jumps will enable you to avoid the blasts; if you're close to a wall, you can double-jump off it for additional safety. The other marionettes can throw their knives/blades too, but those are substantially easier to evade.
Every enemy & boss attack in DMC1 is preceded by a uniquely identifiable telegraph animation and/or sound that'll enable you (with practice) to reliably evade it. This is true even on the toughest difficulty mode. Mindless button-mashing gets you killed in this game; instead, place a higher emphasis on evading incoming attacks over dealing damage yourself.
DMC1 is generally meant to be played using melee attacks as your primary means of dealing damage and projectile attacks for supplemental damage (i.e., when foes are outside of melee range or launched into the air via an uppercut-type move). If you're trying to go through the game putting distance between Dante and his foes to use guns as the primary damage-dealers instead (as some players before you have), the camera will hate you and the game won't be very much fun until you change your tactics.
If you really want to improve at DMC1, use yellow orbs for practice against the enemies/bosses you have trouble fighting in each mission until you believe you can get through the whole thing without using any items. Then use the Select button's Reset option either before ending that mission or, if necessary, at the beginning of the next one (without saving on the next mission's intro screen, of course) to start over and replay it from beginning-to-end with all your yellow orbs and other items intact. That way the next time you have trouble defeating a boss or enemy type, you'll have at least as many "recycled" yellow orbs (if not more because you acquired some extras) in your inventory available for additional practice time.
You don't know how badly I needed this. Evade>Attack. Gotcha! I'll try to look and hear out for the enemy tells as well.
Obaa-chan ga itte ta: Ore wa kanari tsuyoi!
*Looks at justanewbie's post*
Holy @!$! that's a lot of information. If you can't beat him after all of that, you should definately take the game back...LOL
I'm not a genius. I'm just a man with average intelligence in a world full of idiots.
All I can say is welcome to the club! We've all had our fair frustrations on our first phantom fight!
I just used a codebreaker lol.
From: 101TheBoss | #008
Good for you. You suck at gaming.
What I did to beat this boss was just shoot at him while avoiding his attacks so that I could refill my devil gauge. I then went DT, went in front of him and started slashing. I repeated until he died.
Pretty much as long as you can avoid his attacks while filling your DG you shouldn't have a problem.
are you guys talking about the phantom that comes out of the picture?
i pwnd him easy