Bayonetta is more than just a fun, sexy, angel-slaying romp that’s managed to become 2010’s first major hit – it’s also crammed to the gills with references to other games and media. Some of these are subtle and some are blatant, but either way there are an awful lot of them, and seeing as Bayonetta is the winking brainchild of some of the most cultish developers in the industry, it’s hardly a surprise.
In the interest of pointing out some of the references for those who didn't catch them while playing through Bayonetta (and to reaffirm the observation skills of those of you who did), we combed through the game and came up with 30 distinct nods to past videogame glories and pop-culture giants.
WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead!
1. The development team
It’s no secret that Bayonetta’s developer, Platinum Games, is largely made up of refugees from Capcom’s sadly defunct Clover Studios. What’s slightly less well-known is that a lot of those same people also worked on the first Devil May Cry, something that’s alluded to in the name of Team Little Angels, the dev team behind Bayonetta.
Fans with long memories will recognize this as a direct callback to DMC, which was created by an internal team at Capcom then known as Team Little Devils.
2. Eggman is dead (maybe)
Bayonetta opens with a funeral for an apparently reviled individual named Eggman the Destroyer. And unless you haven’t played a Sonic game since the early ‘90s, you should already know that Eggman is another name for Dr. Robotnik, nemesis of Sonic the Hedgehog. Who now apparently is dead and about to be forgotten, with nobody but a gravedigger and a nun to attend his services.
Is it the same Eggman? Does Bayonetta take place in Sonic’s world? Will we eventually have to see them kiss?
Probably not (seeing as his body isn’t even present), but it’s a nice, unsubtle shout-out to publisher Sega’s most iconic villain.
Above: SO, SO DEAD
3. Viewtiful Joe’s dead, too (probably)
Nothing confirms a beloved character’s death quite like a tombstone, especially if it’s glimpsed briefly in the background of a cutscene. And because Platinum/Clover (which adorned the headstone with the words “Red Hot”) was behind the Viewtiful Joe series, this is both an obvious reference and a sad reminder that old Joe probably won’t be coming back again.
4. Home Run God
A split-second after Joe’s tombstone is revealed, Bayonetta’s arms dealer/partner-in-crime Rodin puts a couple of idle angels to good use by swatting them into the stratosphere with a bat that he just suddenly has.
This is a call-out to yet another Clover-developed game, the wonderfully silly brawler God Hand, which features a near-identical super-attack called Home Run God.
It’s really better if you see it in motion, though:
5. Sonic’s rings
Oh, and speaking of Rodin, you know those halos he covets so fiercely? The ones that scatter everywhere whenever you kill an angel? He can pretend all he wants that they have some angelic significance, but anyone with eyes can see they’re the same things Sonic’s been collecting for decades.
6. Rodin, bald space marine
And speaking of halos, this is one of the messages you’ll hear from Rodin on entering his shop:
It might seem like a cryptic, clumsy reference to generic space marines, but think for a second: what do you know of that features space marines, space, and halos? Hmmmm…
Yeah, we can’t think of anything, either.
7. You’re not getting a chainsaw arm
Rodin’s just full of references to other games. Here’s another one:
Tempting as it might be to think that this is a shout-out to the Evil Dead movies, it’s far more likely that what Rodin’s actually referencing here is Platinum Games’ previous effort, Madworld, in which protagonist Jack sported a trendy, retractable wrist-chainsaw.
8. Whadya buyin’!?
And of course, unless you play videogames under a rock, you’ll recognize what this is from:
That’s right: it’s another Capcom reference, this time to our old friend, the gravelly voiced merchant from Resident Evil 4 who probably has leprosy.
If you’d like to compare Rodin’s delivery of the classic line to the original, check out the video below:
9-10. Who does he think he is?
Rodin doesn’t just hint at other games in his dialogue – he does it visually, too. Take, for example, the way his demonic red eyes occasionally glint right through his sunglasses:
This could be seen as a reference to Resident Evil’s Albert Wesker, which itself could have been seen as a reference to Terminator. So hey, double score. Also, when he disappears into Inferno to make new weapons for Bayonetta, he always returns exhausted and covered in blood.
Above: Nothing strange about that, right?
However, the unusual position of the blood splash kind of reminds us of a certain other bald terror of the battlefield…
11. Let’s rock, baby!
This next quote comes courtesy of Bayonetta herself, although if you’re not aware of the context for it, a line like “Let’s rock, baby!” probably seems way too generic to be considered a “reference.” But there’s a history here…
… and that history is that “Let’s rock, baby!” was actually the first line ever spoken by Devil May Cry’s Dante, just before the game’s title screen popped up.
Don’t believe us? See the video evidence yourself:
12. Flock off, feather face!
This line, meanwhile – spoken when Bayonetta faces off against the giant boss creature Fortitudo in Chapter IV – is way too weird to be generic, or a coincidence.
In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us if Bayonetta and Devil May Cry were the only two instances in history when it was actually spoken by human beings.
See these two rare, weirdly appropriate lines together below:
13. Henshin a go-go, baby!
There’s bound to be some contention over this next “reference,” but we’re including it anyway because it seems too good to not be true. In Chapter III, Bayonetta shouts an unsubtitled line while surfing down a rushing wave of lava on the back of a hapless angel.
To us, it sounds a bit like “Dancing a-go-go, baby!” But others have sworn up and down that it’s actually Viewtiful Joe’s iconic line, “Henshin a-go-go, baby!” Granted, they’re awfully close, and it’s a strange thing to say if she’s not making a pointed reference. That, plus a healthy dose of wishful thinking, makes us side with the Joe fans on this one.
Give them both a listen and decide for yourself: