Video Game / God of War

The first game in the popular God of War Series, released for the PlayStation 2 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.

Chronologically, God of War: Ghost of Sparta is a direct sequel taking place around a year after this game

God of War contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Sewers of Athens.
  • Accidental Murder: Kratos accidentally killed his wife and 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.
  • Antagonist Title: Ares is the titular god of war. Until the ending, that is.
  • Artistic License Geography: 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.
  • The Atoner: Subverted to a point. Kratos may be on a Redemption Quest, 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 murdering his own wife and child. He has no qualms about slaughtering just about everybody he encounters, either.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: 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.
  • Bad Dreams: Kratos is constantly plagued by them.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: During the Final Boss, 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!
  • Big Bad: Ares, the eponymous god of war.
  • Bittersweet Ending: 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.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: Hades is portrayed as such here, the River Styx being a river of blood.
  • Bowdlerise: In the Japanese and European versions of the game, the sacrifice required by Poseidon was changed from a normal soldier to an undead one.
  • Come Back to Bed, Honey: The two women whom Kratos slept with on his way to Athens ask him to stay "just a bit longer."
  • Curbstomp Battle: The flashback shows the Spartans being outnumbered and overpowered by the Barbarians, forcing Kratos to become what he became.
  • Creepy Mortician: The Grave Digger, who nonchalantly digs a grave as Athens is falling apart around him.
  • Deal with the Devil: 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 Unstoppable Rage.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Kratos beheads Medusa and presents her head to Aphrodite to get its power.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Ares explodes upon defeat.
  • Degraded Boss: 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.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Kratos crosses it after being told that, despite what he believed, the gods cannot or will not take away his nightmares. Subsequent games strongly imply that he never truly recovers.
  • Dirty Business: When forced to push a caged human sacrifice up a cliff, listening to him scream for mercy the entire way, Kratos is openly disgusted.
    Kratos: The gods demand sacrifice... from all of us.
  • Driven to Suicide: At the very end of the game, Kratos jumps off of a cliff in despair... only to be rescued by Athena and made the new God of War in Ares' place.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • 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 God of War II's fourteen bosses.
    • Also you can't turn off the 'Rage' power once you activate it unlike later games.
  • Escaped from Hell: Kratos is actually killed by Ares after retrieving Pandora's Box, but fights his way out of the Underworld to continue his mission.
  • Escort Mission: 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.
  • Establishing Character Moment: After beating the hydra, you hear a cry for help and find the captain inside the monster's throat hanging on for dear life. Kratos pulls him up, rips off his necklace, and then drops him to his death. His pointless cruelty establishes that you're not playing a good guy.
  • Exact Words: Athena promised that Kratos would be forgiven for his sins if he killed Ares. She never said he would be free of his Bad Dreams.
  • Fighting Down Memory Lane: 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..."
  • Fission Mailed: 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.
  • Foreshadowing: The gravedigger, implied to be Zeus in disguise, addresses Kratos as "my son" several times. The sequel reveals that Zeus is, in fact, Kratos' father.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Ares attacks Athens out of jealousy over Athena being Zeus' favorite.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: 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.
  • How We Got Here: The game opens up with Kratos attempting suicide, with the remainder of the game explaining why.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Kratos at the hands of Ares. He escapes the underworld, though, and gets him back for it in the final battle.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Ares impales Kratos by throwing a giant column all the way through the city of Athens and the Desert of Lost Souls; ending up at exactly the same place where the entrance to temple, and by extension Kratos, are (said temple is constantly being transported by Cronos on his back, making this feat even more ridiculous). Possibly justified, as Ares is a god.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: Whenever a battle starts, every possible escape route is covered with a wall of flames, which only vanish after all enemies are slain.
  • Late to the Tragedy: 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.
  • Non Standard Game Over: 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.
  • Painting the Medium: The armored minotaur starts off with his lifebar being similarily armored: once you break through the minotaur's armor with the convenient burning log launcher, it starts to show cracks, and after you do it again, the cracked armor covering the lifebar shakes when you damage the minotaur before it finally falls off piece by piece, at which point you can finally hurt him.
  • Sequential Boss: You fight Ares. Then he sucks you into a portal where you find your "family" and must donate your health to them while being attacked by versions of yourself. THEN, you fight Ares again, only without any of your upgraded weapons or magic.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Ares causing Kratos to kill his own family motivates the entire plot.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Revealed towards the end to be Ares's motive. He shouts to the heavens of his deeds, asking why Zeus favors Athena.
  • What Have I Become?: In a rare moment of self-awareness, Kratos, at the sight several butchered bodies, quietly reflects on what he's become.
    Kratos: [horrified tone] By the gods... what have I become?