Still no Dante for Smash. *sigh*
Devil May Cry is an action hack-and-slash video game franchise made by Capcom. The story follows the anti-hero Dante, a "demon hunter" who thwarts demonic forces from taking over the Earth after one of the victims was his mother Eva. Through the series, Dante fights massive demonic monsters in his quest to find out more about demons, but in the process also learns more about himself, such as discovering his father was the great demon lord Sparda who rebelled against Hell for he saw good in humanity and fell in love with Eva, who Vergil, his younger twin brother, seeks to become stronger. Out of the hundreds of demons, these two show humans can be just as demonic.
Who are Arkham and Sanctus?
The big bad of Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Arkham is a wicked occultist seeking nothing but the power of Sparda so he can, you guessed it, take over the world. In the game's backstory, we learn he obtained his supernatural powers by sacrificing his wife to the demons of Hell, scarring his daughter Mary enough that she took a role as a demon hunter so she could one day claim vengeance against her father, renaming herself Lady. In his research of the ancient tower Temen-ni-gru where the human and demon worlds intercepted, Arkham encountered Vergil. He tells Vergil about the seven seals on the tower and explains that if they use both parts of Eva's amulet, it will unlock the key to Sparda's power. Thus, Dante is called over to scale the tower and face the demonic guardians under a trick for the baddies to obtain his part of the amulet. What Vergil doesn't know is that Arkham is only using him as a pawn so he can obtain the power of Sparda and become a god, uncaring that the seal keeping the demon forces away from humanity will be broken in the process.
As Dante scales the tower, so does Lady to stop her mad father. Along the way, she encounter Arkham, who sadistically taunts her of her mother's death and how much she hates him despite naming her. He easily defeats her and tosses her off the tower, but Dante catches her. At other times, Arkham takes the appearance of a jester named... Jester, and taunts Dante as he scales up the tower. While these gestures include advice to aid Dante scale up the tower (likely to make him reach the summit faster), but other times they were tricks to have him killed, such as "accidentally" awakening a demon to attack Dante with a sword. Eventually, Dante finally makes it to the top of the tower and is defeated in combat by Vergil. With both halves of the amulet in their possession, Arkham and Vergil unlock the final seal on the tower. Suddenly, Vergil stabs Arkham with his sword, revealing he knew Arkham was planning to betray him and departs to the tower basement to open the gateway to the demon world. When Lady comes across the wounded Arkham, he makes up an excuse that Vergil controlled him all along and tells her killing Vergil is the way to avenge her mother.
In the basement, Dante and Vergil fight again, as the latter was unable to open the gate. Just then, Arkham/Jester appears and reveals the truth about the tower being the gateway between the human and demon world, and how he manipulated them into opening the seal to the demon world so he could obtain the Force Edge, Sparda's sword, and use it to control the demons and rule the world. He stabs Lady in the leg with her own sword and uses the blood of a mortal priestess to open the gate, taunting her she'll be with her mother soon enough. The tower shifts into its true form, opening the portal to the demon world. But Dante and the others survive the changing tower and hastily make their way to the top of the tower to stop Arkham.
At the tower's summit is the unleashed portal to the demon world. In it, Arkham finds the Force Edge and combines the amulet with it, unleashing its true power onto him. With his demonic powers at its max, Arkham mutates into a massive blob-like monster. With the help of Vergil, Dante defeats the blob and reduces Arkham of his demonic powers before expelling him back to the human world. He lands on the peak of the tower, where Lady was waiting with a gun aiming at his head. Arkham attempts to beg forgiveness by stating he did nothing wrong in attempting to become a god and sacrificing one miserable human being. Lady ignores his mercy and shoots Arkham, finally killing him and avenging her mother.
The big bad of Devil May Cry 4, Sanctus is the head of the religious Order of the Sword, fanatic demon hunters worshiping Sparda and protectors of the city island Fortuna. Underneath his public appearance as a holy grandfather figure, Sanctus secretly plans to usurp Sparda as a god so he can, you guessed it, take over the world. To do so, he constructs a massive statue called The Savior only activated by the blood of Sparda. Where is he going to find blood of Sparda? Summon Dante, as the members of the Order were sent to find Devil Arms to power the Hell Gates which were required to draw out Dante to Fortuna. They eventually found Yamato, a sword that could be used to power the Hell Gate within the city. However, Dante arrives earlier than anticipated and assassinates Sanctus during a sermon. The end.
Nah, that's only the beginning of the game. The Order revives their leader with an Ascension Ceremony, a ritual that gives the members of the Order demonic powers and angelic appearance. It revives him, but Sanctus' appearance has not been altered. With their plan to catch Dante failed, Sanctus orders the Order to find more Devil Arms. However, after Order alchemist Agnus discovers Nero's relationship to Dante, Sanctus instead has him captured instead. This is because Nero was actually the son of - plot twist - Vergil, so he too must have Sparda blood in his veins. To lure him to the Savior, Sanctus has Kyrie, Nero's childhood friend/love interest, kidnapped. Nero takes the bait and ends up being absorbed by the Savior while Sanctus obtains the Yamato. During this, Credo turns against Sanctus for using Kyrie (his sister) so carelessly. Sanctus promptly impales him with the Yamato, killing him as he goes to activate the Savior.
After that, Sanctus hands the Yamato to Agnus and has him open the Hell Gate underneath Fortuna, releasing hundreds of demons across the town, killing everything in their path. The Savior then begins to attack the demons and "save" the town. Sanctus tells the panicked civilians to not fear his creation as it was the messiah and that "he" will give them salvation. Meanwhile, Dante returns and destroys the three Hell Gates and claims the Yamato after defeating Agnus. He then destroys the main Hell Gate before finally encountering Sanctus, using an Alto Angelo to portray him. Dante destroys the puppet but couldn't get inside the rampaging Savior. Fortunately, he could pass through the Yamato, which Nero catches allowing him to break free of his confinement.
Ultimately, Nero fights his way into the heart of the Savior where Sanctus reveals his true demon form, Sanctus Diabolica, using Kyrie as a human. After a lengthy battle, Nero slays the wicked priest. In his final words, Sanctus wonders why the spirit of Sparda never gave him the power to finish off his enemy. Nero tells him Sparda had a heart and the capability to love others, something Sanctus lacked before finishing him off and rescuing Kyrie. However, despite Sanctus' death, the Savior still continued on and became the False Savior in one last-ditch effort to kill Nero. This form was much weaker, however, allowing Nero to destroy it for good by crushing its face in his Devil Brigner.
Neither have any.
First Arkham. He murdered his wife to serve as a sacrifice to gain demonic powers with no care for what he did. He even had the audacity to mock his daughter over having killed her. And when he was wounded, feigned an excuse that Vergil was only controlling him so Lady wouldn't have an excuse to kill him. Once he gets the Force Edge, he sadistically gloated his plan to use his powers to have the demons take over all of the human world while serving as its tyrannical god. He's a little slummed down with the humor he gives us while acting as Jester, but that doesn't stop the heinousness of his ultimate goal.
Then Sanctus. He's not an extremist as he never justifies why he seeks the power to surpass Sparda other than "absolute power". He also unleashed a massive swarm of demons on his own city full of his followers and shows no remorse for anyone who dies in the process. He then has the Savior destroy the demons so he could manipulate them into thinking he brought the messiah to guard over them. But he shows this is only so he would be worshiped as a god as he murders Credo simply because he was against his goal.
The two have similar goals of becoming gods so they can take control of the world, but do so in different ways. Compared to the other villains in the series, these two do the worse. Vergil simply seeks the power of Sparda, but he also has a tragic excuse for why he seeks it. The first game has Mundus who seeks to have the demons conquer Earth, but the worst he does is killing Griffon for failing him. The second game has Arius who also sought world domination by obtaining the powers of a god, but he's affably evil given he remains quite polite despite attempting to kill Dante and friends. The fifth game has Urizen who sought absolute power, but it turns out later that he's made of evil as he's a fragment of Vergil.
Then we have the third and fourth games. In the third, other than Arkham and Vergil are the guardians who don't accomplish much other than attempt to kill Dante like every other boss in the series. The fourth has the members of the Order who mainly only follow Sanctus' orders, including Angus. And Credo ultimately redeems in his last breath to tell Dante and Trish about Sanctus' plans and asks them to rescue Nero and Kyrie.
Sure to Joker and Frollo.