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Video Game / God of War

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The Ghost of Sparta's in town, and Ares is about to have a very crappy day.

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 later.


God of War contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The Sewers of Athens are a large complex which connects Athens to the Desert of Lost Souls.
  • 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. Needless to say, it worked spectacularly.
  • Antagonist Title: Ares is the titular god of war. Until the ending, that is.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Medusa is actually weaker than the generic Gorgon enemy you meet shortly after. The Gorgon's eyes also shoot a beam that can turn you to stone if you stand in it for too long, rather than instantly when you look in their eyes like the original myth, likely for gameplay balance reasons.
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  • 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.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Ares is in a giant form throughout the game. During the Final Boss, when Kratos opens Pandora's Box, its power causes him to grow to giant size as well, evening the playing field.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • BFS: Halfway through Artemis bestows her Sword to Kratos, which he can use as a secondary, more-powerful weapon which actually inflicts a Diagonal Cut on certain enemies. There's also the Sword of the Gods used to kill Ares, which was actually employed as a giant bridge before.
  • 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.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Kratos is a Sociopathic Hero up against a rogue God of War.
  • 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.
  • Breast Attack: Performing a finisher on the Sirens (the ones met after the desert) results in Kratos stabbing both his blades through the Siren's breasts before extending the chains and slamming her in the floor.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Grave Digger is first introduced digging a grave in the midst of Athens, claiming that said grave is Kratos' own. That very same grave is later used by Kratos to escape from the Underworld.
  • 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.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Minor example in the Minotaur's Mook Debut Cutscene, which as them run at great speed after an Athenian soldier to finish him off. The Minotaurs fought in game will usually move slowly all the time, safe when performing attacks or leaping in the air.
  • 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 are redesigned after this game (Poseidon was originally 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.
  • Elaborate Equals Effective: The Blades of Chaos start with a rather bland and smooth design, gaining a more vicious and barbed edge with each upgrade as the fire trail they leave grows brighter and hotter. Also, the Sword of Artemis grows bigger when upgraded, its aura turning from blue to purple to red. The same goes for the undead soldiers, from an half-naked zombie with a rusty sword to a massive, armored warrior Dual Wielding a broadsword and a scythe.
  • 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 nightmares.
  • Eyeball-Plucking Birds: At the end of the cutscene when Kratos climbs up Pandora's temple, a vulture feasts on the fresh corpse of a Greek soldier and it plucks out an eyeball just before Kratos reaches the platform it's standing on.
  • Fighting Down Memory Lane: During his final confrontation with Ares, after direct combat has failed, Ares sucks Kratos into some kind of mental plane, where he forces Katros to relieve the Spartan's most defining moment - the day Kratos unwittingly murdered his own family. Or at least, Ares tries - Kratos has to fight off a horde of 'clone' Kratoses while protecting his family. If he fails, 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.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Ares personally took Kratos in and trained him. Then he duped Kratos into killing his wife and daughter, the only things holding him back from being the perfect killing machine. Sadly, he trained Kratos a little too well, which costs him his life.
    Ares: That day... I was trying to make you a great warrior!
    Kratos: You succeeded. [finishes Ares off]
  • 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.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: For a given value of "hero". Due to the past atrocities he's committed, Kratos has a bad reputation, to the extent that people are actually more scared of him than the monsters trying to kill them. When fighting the Hydra, one sailor locks himself in a room and tells Kratos point-blank that he'd rather die than be saved by him. Later, in Athens, one woman is so freaked out by Kratos that she runs away and ends up falling off a balcony to her death.
  • 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. Also worth mentioning the deaths of the Hydra King (impaled through the head with a mast) and Pandora's Guardian (impaled by a flaming log and pinned to a gate).
  • 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.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: The very first boss in the game is the Hydra, a monster that has been terrorizing the seas for a long time and has no relation with Ares. Kratos simply fights it while sailing on his way to Athens.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: After he saves her, the Oracle of Athens reads Kratos' mind to see the man he truly is... and is horrified to discover that Athena's chosen "hero" is/was a brutal, bloodthirsty Spartan warrior who committed all manner of atrocities.
    Oracle: By the gods! Why would Athena send one such as you?
  • Mooks: Undead Legionnaires and their numerous variations are the standard mooks encountered by Kratos on his quest.
  • Mook Maker: Cerberi can spit out Cerberus Puppies which, if left unchecked, will grow up into new adult Cerberi who in turn can spawn more puppies, and so on. To cap it all, Cerberi are quite annoying and tough foes to face in combat. Later games omit this power.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Not to disappoint, Ares shows proficiency with many weapons, usually on fire, such as his Spider Limbs, a blazing axe, a massive, spiked warhammer which can shoot fire and a colossal fiery sword.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Offscreen, Pathos Verdes, the architect of Pandora's Temple. While at first he appears to be fanatically proud of his work, he becomes less enthusiast after the death of his second son and by the time he kills his own wife he has make a full turn from the way he was.
  • 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.
  • Our Hydras Are Different: Kratos fights a hydra supposedly descended from the Lernaean one, which unlike the original is explicitly a Sea Monster.
  • 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.
  • Rash Promise: We see through flashbacks that Kratos was so addicted to victory that he promised his life to Ares with no thought of what being a slave to war god would entail. We learn that this service lead to Kratos slaughtering his own families.
  • Sea Monster: The very first boss, the Hydra, setting up the tradition for the remaining games of having a giant starting boss.
  • Sequel Hook: While the game's ending is self-contained, it did leave some clues where the series would go next:
    • In the chamber keeping Pandora's Box, there is a painting on the ground showing a warrior defying Zeus. Its significant since the caption says this is a vision of the future and the background music pauses during this time.
    • Two of the bonus videos showed Kratos discovering his true heritage and vowing revenge against his real father, and the existence of a brother that he thought had died but sought revenge against him. These two plot points would be later used in God of War: Ghost of Sparta which was developed after the trilogy was concluded, but technically served as a direct sequel to the first game.
  • 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.
  • "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?

Alternative Title(s): God Of War 1