The first game in the popular ''Franchise/GodOfWar'' franchise, released for the PlayStation2 in 2005.
The player controls the protagonist Kratos, a Spartan warrior who serves the Olympian Gods. The goddess Athena tasks Kratos with killing Ares, the God of War, who is responsible for Kratos accidentally killing his family. As Ares besieges Athens out of hatred for Athena, Kratos embarks on a quest to find the one object capable of stopping the god: the legendary Pandora's Box.
!!''God of War'' contains examples of the following tropes:
* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: The Sewers of Athens.
* AccidentalMurder: Kratos accidentally killed his wife and [[OffingOnesOffspring daughter]] while attacking a village of Athena's worshippers under Ares' orders; Ares in fact orchestrated the event, believing that it would free Kratos to be the perfect warrior.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Athens is built near sheer cliffs (implied by the narrator to be part of the mount Olympus), as well as the adjacent Desert of Lost Souls.
* TheAtoner[=/=]RedemptionQuest: Subverted to a point. Kratos may be on a RedemptionQuest, but it's only because he wants to be able to sleep at night without being assaulted by memories of the awful deeds he has committed in the past, including [[spoiler: murdering his own wife and child]]. He has no qualms about slaughtering just about everybody he encounters, either.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Rage of the Gods. It grants Kratos invulnerability and increases his damage. However, it takes a long time to charge. And even when you do fill it up, it's best just to save it for the nearest boss fight, because once it's on, you can't turn it off.
* BackFromTheDead[=/=]LikeABadassOutOfHell: Kratos is actually killed by [[spoiler: Ares]] after retrieving Pandora's Box, but fights his way out of the Underworld to continue his mission.
* BadDreams: Kratos is constantly plagued by them.
* BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind: During the FinalBoss, Ares invokes this on Kratos, forcing him to see an illusion of his family die:
-->'''Ares''': I have taught you many ways to kill a mortal, Kratos. Flesh that burns, bones that break. But to break a man's spirit is to ''truly'' destroy him!
* BittersweetEnding: Kratos gets his revenge on Ares by killing him, is forgiven of his past misdeeds, and made a god. But the nightmares still haunt him and his attempt to use death to escape them fails when he is made immortal.
* BloodyBowelsOfHell: Hades is portrayed as such here, the River Styx being a river of blood.
* ComeBackToBedHoney: The two women whom Kratos slept with on his way to Athens ask him to stay "just a bit longer."
* CurbstompBattle: The flashback shows the Spartans being outnumbered and overpowered by the Barbarians, forcing Kratos to become what he became.
* TheCreepyUndertaker: The Grave Digger, who nonchalantly digs a grave as Athens is falling apart around him.
* DealWithTheDevil: Kratos made one with Ares to serve him in exchange for the strength to defeat his enemies in the past. He ditched Ares after the latter duped him into killing his family in an UnstoppableRage.
* DecapitationPresentation: Kratos beheads Medusa and presents her head to Aphrodite to get [[TakenForGranite its power]].
* DefeatEqualsExplosion: Ares explodes upon defeat.
* DegradedBoss: Gorgons. Medusa serves as the introduction to the enemy type as well as a demonstration of how to perform a special grab kill, but every Gorgon you meet from that point on is not only a standard enemy, but ''stronger than she was''. Even the ones you meet just a few minutes later.
* DrivenToSuicide[=/=]InterruptedSuicide: At the very end of the game, Kratos jumps off of a cliff in [[DespairEventHorizon despair]]... only to be rescued by Athena and made the new God of War in Ares' place.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Most of the Gods have been redesigned after this game (Poseidon was originaly a bald old guy, Hades had a demon face, etc).
** There's a notable shortage of bosses when compared to the rest of the games. Not counting enemy type intros, there're only three: the Hydra at the beginning - which works as a tutorial boss - and the mechanical minotaur and Ares piled at the end. Compare that to GodOfWarII's ''fourteen'' bosses.
** Also you can't turn off the 'Rage' power once you activate it unlike later games.
* EscortMission: Twisted; at one point, Kratos needs to push a cage containing an Athenian soldier up an enemy-infested ramp. Of course, he's only protecting him in order to burn him alive at the top of the ramp and move on in the temple. He pleads for his life the whole way up.
* ExactWords: Athena promised that Kratos would be forgiven for his sins if he killed Ares. She never said he would be free of his BadDreams.
* FightingDownMemoryLane: During his final confrontation with Ares, after direct combat has failed, he sucks Kratos into some kind of mental plane, where he forces him to relieve your most defining moment - the day he unwittingly murdered his own family. Or at least, he tries - he has to fight off a horde of 'clone' Kratoses while protecting your family. Fail, and Kratos will simply collapse with a moan of "No... not again..."
* FissionMailed: After a long quest to retrieve Pandora's box, Ares impales Kratos with a giant slab of wood, and Kratos gets sent to Hades. Of course, this doesn't stop him in the least.
* GreenEyedMonster: Ares attacks Athens out of jealousy over Athena being [[ParentalFavoritism Zeus' favorite]].
* HeadsIWinTailsYouLose: The second phase of the final battle has Kratos protecting his family from clones of him. If he fails, the family dies, Game Over. If he wins... Ares takes his blades and rams them both into his family anyway.
* HowWeGotHere: The game [[InMediasRes opens up]] with Kratos attempting suicide, with the remainder of the game explaining why.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: Kratos at the hands of Ares. He escapes the underworld, though, and gets him back for it in the final battle.
* LateToTheTragedy: Kratos can find several journal passages from the architect who constructed Pandora's Temple. They don't serve to forward the plot at all, but it's very interesting nonetheless to watch him design the temple, slowly go mad, kill his sons, turn their skulls into keys you use to unlock doors, and eventually pull a murder-suicide on his wife.
* NonStandardGameOver: During the final battle in the first game, Kratos is hurled back to the moment he killed his family, only to find them alive... whereupon Ares conjures up an army of Kratos clones. The family has their own health bar in the following battle; should it run out, a cutscene starts, showing Kratos collapsing in abject despair and sorrow, murmuring, "Not again..." The Kratos clones then gang up and chop him apart.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Revealed towards the end to be Ares's motive. He shouts to the heavens of his deeds, asking why Zeus favors Athena.