6. Bloody Palace
The Bloody Palace is unlocked after completing the game on Devil Hunter mode. You can choose to play it from your game modes menu. This mode is a long "survival" challenge where you're put against almost all the enemies of the game, including bosses, set on Son of Sparda difficulty. There are no save points, you can't use items and, worst of all, you have limited time to rout the enemies.
Some people say that to S-Rank the Bloody Palace you need to get over 3,000,000 Devil Hunter Points in it; some people say that you only have to complete it with a non-super character. They are pretty much the same thing (the former is correct): if you complete the Bloody Palace you can't really score less than 3,000,000 Devil Hunter Points. Completing the Bloody Palace gives you a boost in your score too: in case you die for instance in the 90s and see that you only have about 1,000,000 Devil Hunter Points, don't worry because they will be something like three times as much when you complete the whole Palace. So anyway, you have to play good, fast and cool to complete the Bloody Palace, and getting less than 3,000,000 Devil Hunter Points is almost impossible. The only reason for my "almost" is that on the World Leaderboard there are like 15 people on the leaderboards with a score lower than 3,000,000, but not low enough as to be justified by an incomplete run or the use of Super Characters; they don't have the achievement (they're ranked somewhere in the 6,200th position), and therefore it's correct to say that you need 3,000,000 Devil Hunter Points for the S Rank. Anyway, as long as you don't use Super Characters you're unlikely to be another member of such a small group of people who could manage to miss the S Rank of the Bloody Palace after completing it.
Every 20 levels there will be a change of colors in the arena, which is always a circular platform, and the change of color (which sounds a minor detail, but...) is preceeded by a boss fight. In the order, Berial, Bael/Dagon, Echidna, Angelo Credo, Angelo Agnus and Dante. The reason why I mention the change of color is that in some stages (especially from the 40s to the 70s included) the arena will be so dark that you may find hard to see the enemies. You can't do much about this, but if you make sure to have a proper light in your room when you play and adjust the colors of you screen, well, it will be good for your retina.
You can play the Bloody Palace as Nero and as Dante, and even as Super Nero and Super Dante; using the "Super" characters is the best way to miss the S Rank on the palace, and I can honestly see no reason why one who can clear Dante Must Die (if you're using super characters, you did it somehow) should need Super Characters to clear the Bloody Palace, set on Son of Sparda mode. Sure it's a survival, but anyway: don't use super characters because making it with regular characters is just a bit harder.
It goes without saying that you want to attempt the Bloody Palace only after getting a full Devil Gauge, a full Health Gauge and all the skills you're going to use (likely most or all of them). My suggestion is to leave it for after beating the game on Dante Must Die, since by then you will be definitely good enough to tackle it.
About the Bloody Palace you want to know two things other than these introductory notes: how to gain more time, and what to expect.
You start with 2 minutes; if the timer goes to 0 it's the end of the run just as if you die. Killing enemies will net you a bonus on your time; clearing the stages will net you a bonus on your time; clearing the stages without taking damage against the enemies of that stage will net you an even higher bonus of time. The first and easiest levels should be used to rack up a large amount of extra time (15-20 minutes); then you will probably gain only a few extra minutes for most of the rest of the palace. In the last levels you will be able to take more time to defeat the harder enemies, since you'll have the "extra minutes" covering up for the extra safety you'll put in your fighting. In particular, you will get:
Stage Clear: +15 seconds for clearing each of the stages from the first to the 19th; if you take no damage, you will get +30 seconds
Stage Clear: +10 seconds for clearing each of the stages from the 21st to the last one (except for boss stages); if you take no damage, you will get +20 seconds
Stage 20/40/60/80/100/101 (boss stages): +120 seconds for starting it.
Stage 20/40/60/80/100/101 Clear with no damage: +60 seconds
Enemies killed while your style meter is Deadly: +10% of their seconds standard value*
Enemies killed while your style meter is Carnage: +20% of their seconds standard value*
Enemies killed while your style meter is Brutal: +30% of their seconds standard value*
Enemies killed while your style meter is Atomic: +40% of their seconds standard value*
Enemies killed while your style meter is Smokin'! : +50% of their seconds standard value*
Enemies killed while your style meter is Smokin' Style!! : +75% of their seconds standard value*
Enemies killed while your style meter is Smokin' Sick Style!!! : +100% of their seconds standard value*
*For example, a Scarecrow gives by default +5:00 seconds; if you defeat him with a Deadly multiplier you will gain + 5:30 seconds, and if you defeat him with an SSS style meter you will obtain +10:00 seconds. There are rare situations when this doesn't apply anymore (for example, using a buster to defeat instantly a Chimera Seed will ignore these style bonuses), but the general rule is: be stylish. And as you can see, there is a significant difference between Smokin'! and Smokin' Sick Style!!! this time.
And then, enemy by enemy, the amount of time they give when defeated:
Chimera Seed: +2 seconds
Gladius: +2 seconds
Scarecrow: +5 seconds
Chimera Scarecrow: +5 seconds
Basilisk: +5 seconds
Bianco Angelo: +10 seconds
Frost: +10 seconds
Mephisto: +10 seconds
Assault: +10 seconds
Chimera Assault: +10 seconds
Mega Scarecrow: +15 seconds
Cutlass: +15 seconds
Alto Angelo: +20 seconds
Faust: +20 seconds
Blitz: +30 seconds
The time it takes to kill these enemies isn't much shorter than the time they give you. For this reason, a good start with a lot of No-Damage stages in the first 20 stages is highly recommended.
All the enemies are on Son of Sparda difficulty; from level 81 onwards they will also go in Devil Mode (which is something normally only possible on Dante Must Die difficulty, but in the Bloody Palace they enter Devil Mode even if they are still on Son of Sparda difficulty). Some people say that Dante is on Dante Must Die difficulty, but considering how much health he loses with some attacks, he's not and is still on Son of Sparda difficulty. It doesn't make much of a difference anyway: you want to know how to defeat him and practice by playing Mission 10 at least 3-4 times on Dante Must Die difficulty with this strategy; if you manage to beat Dante easily with this method (easily = you come out with half of your health still intact), you're ready.
When choosing your character, I assume you're choosing Nero. Choosing Dante is not a good idea if you're not very expert with him. A lot of people think they are "good" at the game with Dante, but then they find out that their abilities with Dante take too long to defeat the enemies. Nero is probably a better choice for most of the players, because he's stronger and cheaper and it's much easier to stay airborne (which most of the times means being safe from taking any damage) with him than with Dante. In addition to this, you can practise on Mission 19 and Mission 10 to defeat all the bosses you will find in the Bloody Palace; as Dante, you don't have the same easy way to test your preparation. Not to mention that you can only fight Dante as Dante in the Bloody Palace (also Dante vs Angelo Credo, but he would be the last of your problems), and it's not a good idea to fight the strongest boss of the game for the first time after sweating your controller for clearing 100 stages. Also, ask yourself if you're prepared to deal with hordes of Chimera Hybrids as Dante, and if you're prepared to deal with Blitzes and Chimera Assaults and even two Blitzes at once as Dante. As Nero there's always a way around (Lv 3 Charged Shots and Busters), but when fighting as Dante you must have a plan.
Recovering health is partially possible: some stages and enemies are sent to death just to give you green orbs. Typically, Gladiuses and Chimera Seeds will earn you green orbs. Sometimes even Angelos may net you green orbs, but you want to play as if you're not going to get healed anytime soon; that is to say, give your best to avoid taking damage, if there is really need to say that. Don't forget about the small health regeneration of the Devil Trigger.
Devil Trigger is your friend and best helper: use your Devil Gauge wisely. Some people say that it's better to use your Devil Trigger mode when your Devil Gauge is full, because it'd be a waste. They are partially correct. It's a good idea to use your Devil Trigger not for necessities (provided the gauge is actually full, and you would be wasting the extra you will earn as you fight) if you know that you're not going to need it soon; however, if you are unsure on what could happen ahead, it's better to waste a lot of Devil Trigger but at least keep it always available for when you will need it. After all, it doesn't make THAT much of a difference and won't speed things up more than a few seconds against regular enemies. Unless of course you are familiar with using it, and you know how to get the most out of the Devil mode, for example by using Maximum Bets on groups of enemies, and increasing significantly the damage output on more targets. That's up to you; below there's a list telling you what to expect on each level, and you're a grown up devil hunter by now.
After each stage cleared, the timer will freeze until you warp to the next stage; take advantage of this to breathe and refill your Exceed gauge, so you can unleash it as soon as the next match starts (which can often net you a good Brutal meter to start gaining the highest extra bonus for killing enemies). You also always want to load your gunshot and release Lv 3 Charged Shots at anyone bothering you, as well as abuse the camera to hide enemies.
After the list I will write notes about the stages which are, in my opinion, the most troublesome; there is not much you can do about them, but expecting the danger may alert you a bit more. There are YouTube videos of the performances of great players, but if you have cleared Dante Must Die mode, you don't need any other help. I will also bold the number of the stages containing Chimera Hybrids, Cutlasses, Blitzes and abnormal amounts of Frosts. You shouldn't have to fear any other enemies apart from these. Also, most of the enemies listed won't spawn all at once, but in waves one after another.
01 - Scarecrow x3
02 - Scarecrow x4
03 - Scarecrow x6
04 - Frost x2
05 - Bianco Angelo x2
06 - Mephisto x 3
07 - Gladius x6
08 - Chimera Seed x9
09 - Chimera Seed x9, Scarecrow x3
10 - Scarecrow x12
11 - Assault x2
12 - Mega Scarecrow x2
13 - Assault x2, Bianco Angelo x2
14 - Faust x1
15 - Bianco Angelo x2, Alto Angelo x1
16 - Scarecrow x6, Mega Scarecrow x1
17 - Alto Angelo x2
18 - Blitz x1
19 - Basilisk x4
20 - Berial
21 - Mephisto x2, Frost x1
22 - Frost x2, Faust x1
23 - Assault x3, Frost x2
24 - Assault x 3, Basilisk x 4
25 - Assault x3, Blitz x1
26 - Blitz x1, Basilisk x4
27 - Frost x2, Bianco Angelo x2
28 - Assault x2, Gladius x8
29 - Blitz x1, Gladius x5
30 - Frost x4, Assault x6, Blitz x1
31 - Chimera Seed x6, Mephisto x3
32 - Scarecrow x3, Faust x1
33 - Mephisto x2, Mega Scarecrow x1
34 - Mephisto x6
35 - Mephisto x3, Frost x1
36 - Scarecrow x2, Faust x1
37 - Mephisto x2, Assault x3
38 - Mephisto x2, Blitz x1
39 - Chimera Seed x9, Faust x1
40 - Bael/Dagon
41 - Chimera Seed x9
42 - Chimera Scarecrow x5, Chimera Seed x5
43 - Chimera Assault x4
44 - Chimera Seed x6, Gladius x6
45 - Chimera Assault x2, Blitz x1
46 - Basilisk x2, Chimera Seed x4
47 - Chimera Seed x5, Bianco Angelo x2, Alto Angelo x1
48 - Scarecrow x1, Chimera Seed x6
49 - Chimera Assault x3, Faust x1
50 - Scarecrow x6, Chimera Seed x12, Assault x4
51 - Scarecrow x6
52 - Scarecrow x3, Gladius x8
53 - Mega Scarecrow x3, Frost x2
54 - Scarecrow x5, Alto Angelo x1
55 - Mega Scarecrow x1, Faust x1
56 - Mega Scarecrow x1, Alto Angelo x2
57 - Scarecrow x4, Mephisto x3
58 - Mega Scarecrow x1, Basilisk x5
59 - Chimera Scarecrow x2, Mega Scarecrow x1, Chimera Seed x4
60 - Echidna
61 - Bianco Angelo x4
62 - Cutlass x2, Bianco Angelo x3
63 - Blitz x1, Bianco Angelo x2
64 - Bianco Angelo x1, Gladius x6
65 - Bianco Angelo x7, Alto Angelo x1
66 - Alto Angelo x1, Basilisk x4
67 - Blitz x1, Alto Angelo x2
68 - Bianco Angelo x2, Scarecrow x6
69 - Alto Angelo x1, Frost x2
70 - Bianco Angelo x10, Alto Angelo x2
71 - Gladius x16
72 - Mega Scarecrow x1, Gladius x9
73 - Gladius x8, Frost x1
74 - Cutlass x2, Basilisk x4
75 - Alto Angelo x1, Cutlass x3
76 - Cutlass x4, Gladius x8
77 - Basilisk x10
78 - Frost x2, Basilisk x4
79 - Cutlass x2, Basilisk x2, Gladius x4
80 - Angelo Credo
81 - Mega Scarecrow x1, Scarecrow x5
82 - Mephisto x4, Faust x1
83 - Frost x4
84 - Chimera Scarecrow x 2, Chimera Assault x 2, Chimera Seed x10
85 - Blitz x2, Chimera Seed x3
86 - Bianco Angelo x2, Alto Angelo x1
87 - Basilisk x4, Gladius x7
88 - Cutlass x3, Bianco Angelo x2
89 - Mega Scarecrow x3, Blitz x1
90 - Scarecrow x20, Mega Scarecrow x3, Chimera Seed x3
91 - Faust x3
92 - Alto Angelo x3, Bianco Angelo x4
93 - Assault x8
94 - Chimera Scarecrow x2, Chimera Seed x6, Bianco Angelo x2
95 - Basilisk x16, Chimera Seed x4
96 - Gladius x8, Cutlass x3, Bianco Angelo x3
97 - Mephisto x6, Mega Scarecrow x2
98 - Chimera Scarecrow x2, Chimera Assault x 2, Chimera Seed x3
99 - Alto Angelo x2, Bianco Angelo x44
100 - Angelo Agnus
101 - Dante
For all the stages with Chimera Hybrids, the Lv 3 Charged Gun and Ex Streak 2 with three Ex Gauges are the most preferred attacks. They may be worth (especially for Chimera Assaults) a taste of your Devil Trigger.
For all the stages with a Blitz and another enemy, beat the other enemies first and then the Blitz. On the stage with 2x Blitzes (the Chimera Seeds will spawn after the two Blitzes, and they're there to refill your health after the fatigue of the fight), try to work on one of them at a time, although it's hard to keep track of them. Keep also in mind that the Buster animation on a Blitz will basically allow you not to get hit, so you can "safely" kill a Blitz even if there is another one around. Should something go wrong, rely on your Lv 3 Charged Shot to deal damage little by little; you will eventually win, even at the cost of losing some seconds on your timer. Make sure you also know how to properly fight against a Blitz as Nero, and try to get that SSS meter from him to gain extra +30 seconds.
Stage 96 sounds brutal, but in fact you fight the Gladiuses first, then the Cutlasses, and the Angelos last; it's quite easy and actually great to recover your health with the dropped green orbs.
Stage 99 can be accomplished easily if you leave alone the Alto Angelos, since they will send to their deaths a ton of Bianco Angelos (they basically only do this). Be aware that of course you won't get stylish points if you don't kill the Bianco Angelos yourself, and you also won't get a bonus on time. Some of the Bianco Angelos also earn you green orbs. It's a very easy stage, and you probably want to let a bunch of Bianco Angelos die at first (like 25-30 of them), and then kill the other ones by yourself. That depends on what you want to do and what you need to do (timer, life, etcetera).
This is all I can suggest, other than the monsters/moves page. I know some suggestions sound obvious and useless, but other than reminding you the basics on which you founded your gaming experience on Devil May Cry 4, there isn't much to do.
Clearing the Bloody Palace with an S Rank (read: without Super Characters) is probably the hardest feat of the game: after succeeding you will probably only have to grind the last achievements before celebrating the 1,000 G.
Congratulations and thanks for reading!
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