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"Family? Death is your only family. Death, and I. Best get accustomed to the both of us."
Hades himself

Hades is an isometric Roguelike Action RPG developed by Supergiant Games. Based on Greek Classical Mythology, the game follows Zagreus, Prince of the Underworld and son of Hades himself. When a revelation about his heritage proves to be the last straw in his strained relationship with his father, Zagreus resolves to leave the underworld or die trying. And he will die, again and again and again.

Zagreus is not alone in this quest, however. He is aided by his extended family, the gods and goddesses of Olympus. During every escape attempt, they will empower him with an array of boons intended to increase his combat abilities as he battles through the four biomes of The Underworld — Tartarus, Asphodel, Elysium, and Styx — and all the various forces of the Underworld that Hades has sicced on him to stop him from leaving.


The development of Hades began less than a month after the release of Supergiant's previous title, Pyre. The game received a surprise Early Access release (a first for the company) after being revealed at the Game Awards on December 6, 2018 and was released as an exclusive title of the Epic Games Store for a year on December 10th 2018, with a Steam Early Access release coming the following year. It left early access for a full release on September 17, 2020 on PC (again via Epic Games and Steam), Mac, and Nintendo Switch, with ports for the PS4, PS5, and Xbox One eventually released.

The Early Access trailer can be viewed here.

Not to be confused with the Roguelike Hades Vanquish from Doujin Soft developer Fox Eye. However, that game also coincidentally has Escaped from Hell as its main premise.


In the name of Hades, I accept these tropes:

    open/close all folders 
    Tropes #-C 
  • 1-Up: Death Defiance, which gives Zagreus the ability to ignore a mortal wound and recover 50% of his health when he would otherwise die. You can unlock up to three of them in the Mirror, or alternatively a single one that regenerates between rooms, but only restores 30% of his health. Certain boons and items can restore spent uses or grant additional ones.
  • Achievement System: The Fates' prophecies can be bought at the contractor and put in Zagreus' room. It poses various challenges to the player that, once completed, can be turned in for rewards like gems, diamonds, titan blood, and so forth. Prophecies include getting all the available boons from a god, all possible upgrades for a weapon, and so forth. The game's actual achievements, however, differ a bit and don't always overlay with the prophecies, for example, there are prophecies to getting to the surface while using the weapons hidden aspects, but the achievements for the game only include defeating the final boss with any of the hidden aspects once.
  • Action Bomb: The Flame Wheels encountered in Elysium are small chariots that chase after you and explode if they get close enough. They can be detonated prematurely by damaging them enough, or by tricking them into running into a wall. The blast can still hurt you if you're in its radius, however.
  • Action Girl: The Furies, who serve as the first boss fight. They can, and will kick your ass further back down the Underworld, since it's their job as tormentors of the worst kinds of souls. You fight one of them normally, or up to all three on Extreme Measures.
  • Action Prologue: The game starts with Zagreus's first escape attempt, waiting for the player to inevitably get themselves killed before providing the context and introducing the characters at the House of Hades.
  • Afterlife Antechamber: Erebus's primary function, though Hades has repurposed some of it for challenge battles to throw at Zagreus.
  • Afterlife Express: Charon's boat. Zagreus tries to bribe him with a thousand obols to skip all the painful dying and just sail up to the surface. No dice.
  • The Alcatraz: As the tagline goes, There is no escape from the Underworld. Not even for Hades himself.
  • All Just a Dream: Played for humor in one of the post-game death messages which claims that the preceding run was just a dream, or more accurately, a deadly nightmare.
  • All Myths Are True: While the lore focuses on Greek mythology, at least one equippable aspect of each weapon confirms the existence of people from other religions and myths from time periods set before or after the story's era. This is also discussed by some characters; even if the Greek pantheon doesn't know who these foreign people are, their feats are still acknowledged:
    • Stygian Blade: Aspect of Arthur.
      Peace and destruction await a kingdom by the rule of might.
    • Coronacht: Aspect of Rama.
      The preserver's marksmanship is one of his many unequaled qualities.
    • Aegis: Aspect of Beowulf.
      Would that the stalwart warrior-king's sword offered similar protection.
    • Varatha: Aspect of Guan Yu.
      A mighty general shall battle with unmatched ferocity to unite his people.
    • Adamant Rail: Aspect of Lucifer.
      As he fell from grace, he nonetheless fought back in all his defiant fury.
    • Twin Fists: Aspect of Gilgamesh.
      The god-king inherited the furry-man's savage strength and stout heart.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population:
    • All three Fury sisters have light blue skin, so does their foster-brother Hypnos (though oddly enough, Thanatos, their other brother, does not).
    • The unnamed Shades in Elysium have dark skin and glowing blue-white hair.
  • Amicable Exes:
    • It takes a while to get there, but Zagreus and Megaera eventually reconcile… if they don't just make up for lost time.
    • Additionally, despite Zagreus's initial impressions, Hades and Persephone parted on good — if tragic — terms and bear no ill will towards each other. Even Persephone's apparent unpersoning was done at least partly by her own request.
  • An Aesop: People can change and it's important that they be given the chance to do so. These changes aren't always positive, such as Theseusnote  and Demeternote , but many more — Zagreusnote , Sisyphusnote , Asterius note , Persephonenote , and (once again) Demeternote  — have become better people. This is the reason why, despite there being people more responsible for the main conflict than Hades, i.e Zeus and Demeter, he remains the Big Bad of the game — because he refuses to believe that there can be positive change and so does everything in his power to maintain the status quo, despite how unhappy it makes himself and everyone else around him. The key to his Heel–Face Turn is making him understand the concept of having faith and be willing to take a risk with change.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The +25 health pickup is a very Greek but also modern gyro. Sure, meat etc. wrapped in bread is rather timeless, but the addition to the large +50 health pickup, a paper cup of french fries, is less so.
    • The Administrative Chamber has a very modern-looking water cooler in it, though it's filled with the River Styx's blood-red water.
    • Several of the Tartarus encounter chambers are decorated with small stained-glass windows, to complement the graves-and-mausoleums aesthetic. While colorful glass was known to even the ancient Egyptians, the earliest records of stained glass windows date back to the 7th or 8th century.
    • If you beat the Bonus Boss, they will give you a plastic loyalty card.
    • The last weapon you can unlock, the Adamant Rail, is what amounts to an assault rifle with a grenade launcher. In this case, the weapon was actually invented by the gods, but after it was used against the Titans, they were so horrified by what it could do that they refused to use it again and have made sure humanity hasn't found out about it. However, Achilles speculates that one day, the Adamant Rail will make its way into the realm of mortals.
  • And the Adventure Continues: After convincing Hades and Persephone to make up, causing the latter to return to the Underworld and the former to introduce her and Zagreus to his siblings officially, Hades hires Zagreus to be his security consultant for the Underworld. Specifically, Zagreus needs to continue to attempt to escape the Underworld so Hades can find and plug loopholes that others might use to escape, thus allowing the player to continue playing even after the story has concluded. Also, after Zagreus convinces the Olympians to come down for a grand feast, they continue aiding his escapes, even though he's unable to break out just yet.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: Finishing the main story quest rewards you with a family painting of Hades, Persephone, Zagreus and Cerberus which is displayed in Hades's chambers. Afterwards, getting the Olympians together for a feast in the Underworld so that Persephone can patch things up with them rewards you with a scale model of Olympus, which is displayed in Persephone's garden.
  • Antagonist Title: While Hades's antagonism mainly amounts to varying levels of verbal and emotional abuse, the forces of the underworld are still under his control, and he's doing his level best to stop Zagreus escaping. This trope becomes more prominent when Hades decides to take matters into his own hands and faces Zagreus as the Final Boss.
  • Antepiece: The boss fight in Elysium is absolutely brutal at first glance. However, it gets easier once you realize all of the tricks you'll need to beat the boss fight are actually taught over the course of the regular fights in Elysium; Strongbows let you practice dealing with crosshairs appearing on Zagreus, Greatshields let you practice hurting enemies who are invulnerable from the front, and Flame Wheels let you practice making enemies crash into walls.
    • To a lesser extent, the Snakestones in the Temple of Styx teach you that the best way to evade a multi-directional laser attack is to Take Cover! — a valuable lesson when dealing with the Final Boss' version of the same attack, which has much better tracking and considerably higher damage output.
  • Anti-Armor: Several of Daedalus' Hammer upgrades grants Zagreus' armory additional bonus damage to the yellow health bar of Elite Mooks and Mini Bosses. This doesn't work against the main bosses, who are just really tough.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If you switch one of your boons for another of the same type (basic attack, special, dash, cast, Call) after having already leveled it up, the replacement boon will be of the same level and have a rarity one rank higher.
    • While the location of Daedalus Hammers is random, you're always guaranteed two (no more, no less) in every run. If you avoid a room that would have had one or can't afford one in a shop, another will show up later. The only way to not get two is to intentionally miss them multiple times.
    • If you try to dash across a pit or through a platform that you are otherwise just barely able to cross, the game spots you that little bit of extra distance to make the dash possible.
    • After the game came out of Early Access in September 2020, the game received achievements/trophies, like ones for clearing certain parts of the map. If a player already cleared those areas of the map in Early Access, they get the achievements immediately.
    • Should you find the game too hard, you can turn on "God Mode" in the options menu. This causes all damage Zagreus takes to be reduced, with the damage reduction increasing every time you die, up to a cap of eighty percent. Even if you disable the mode and re-enable it, the accumulated damage reduction won't be reset for that save file.
    • Low-end resources can be traded for more valuable ones, meaning if a player runs out of skills to unlock or useful house upgrades to purchase, they can trade keys and gems for additional nectar or titan blood. Rooms that grant these resources can also be upgraded to provide gameplay benefits (e.g. nectar rooms will also upgrade a random boon by one level) so they retain usefulness once the resource becomes less valuable.
    • Players can re-spec their mirror skills at any time at the cost of a single key, making it much easier to experiment or complete prophecies that require specific skills.
    • The Tight Deadline condition of the Pact of Punishment puts a time limit on you to clear a section of the Underworld. However, this timer will pause in certain rooms, such as when fighting against Thanatos or entering a non-combat chamber. It will also pause after beating the region's boss and in the subsequent stairwell to the next area to allow you to choose your setup without putting undue pressure on you.
    • You can buy an upgrade for the codex that adds lists of each god's boons as well as requirements to get the Duo and Legendary boons, making getting the best options much less of a guessing game.
    • Voidstones unleash a wave that makes any enemy who gets touched by it invulnerable until the Voidstone is defeated. However, a Voidstone can't affect itself, nor can it affect any other Voidstone, in order to prevent the encounter from being Unintentionally Unwinnable.
    • The last area before the final boss, the Temple of Styx, consists of a series of small encounters, making it easy to evolve any Chaos boons you may have so they won't impede you later on. The upgrade effect of Demeter's Rare Crop boon also triggers within these rooms, allowing it to remain useful for that region.
    • Once you complete the game's story, you no longer take the trip up to the surface after beating the final boss, with Zagreus instead suffering a Diabolus ex Machina that kills him anyway. When this happens, all fish spawns that would have shown up on the surface start showing up in the final boss room instead.
    • Damage inflicted by a Cast from Hit Points curse of Chaos won't prevent you from earning the reward of an Erebus Gate or the buff provided by the Pierced Butterfly keepsake as long as you don't take damage from other sources.
    • Boons whose effects don't offer an immediate damage increase from the effect (i.e. Poseidon or Aphrodite) will give you a percentage-based damage increase to make them useful against enemies immune to their effects. Most of these boons will also unlock other boons that amplify damage (i.e. Aphrodite giving increased damage to opponents afflicted by Weak, or Poseidon's knockbacks applying the Rupture Damage Over Time effect). Boons that don't provide a lot of utility against bosses are also balanced to make clearing other chambers much easier so Zagreus won't lose as much health before he faces the boss.
    • The game explicitly avoids the Kaizo Trap trope, as any projectiles or attacks that remain after the final enemy in an encounter is defeated will not deal any damage. Spikes and pressure plates will also deactivate, and in the Temple of Styx, any poison effect lingering on Zagreus will be dispelled after a room is cleared. Unfortunately, though, the lava in Asphodel can still damage and kill Zagreus if he walks into it regardless.
    • Enemies that are too far out of bounds for Zagreus to kill will automatically die after some time.
    • When you open the Codex while standing next to a god's boon or an NPC, it will automatically open up the corresponding entry, sparing you the need to scroll to their page.
    • Some achievements/quests in the Fated List of Minor Prophecies task you to discover all boons from each deity, or all Daedalus enhancements for each weapon. If in case you haven't tried a certain boon or Daedalus enhancement yet, it will have a "Fated Choice" description hinting that picking it up will help you progress through the related prophecy.
    • The doors to the next room will not unlock until you have collected your room reward, to prevent you from accidentally leaving them behind. Just bear in mind you can still miss fishing spots (though there is a distinctive "Ding!" sound after all enemies are defeated, indicating that one is nearby if you missed seeing it beforehand), money urns or Charon's shop/purging pools.
  • Arc Words:
    • "There is no escape". You will see this message every time Zagreus dies, and several characters (in particular Hades) use it as well, including if you beat him. The Arc Words are so ingrained into the game's narrative that the song playing on the title screen is even called No Escape. If Zagreus manages to make it to the surface but dies anyway, the line becomes "Is there no escape?"
    • Achilles', and possibly the entire Myrmidons' motto: "Fear is for the weak." They're even referenced in the post-game by Hades himself.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack:
    • Elysium has shield-bearing enemies that will block attacks from a certain direction, but attacks that pass through enemies will ignore these shields.
    • Elite enemies have armor, which acts as a second health bar that is more resistant to damage, and is visible as a golden aura. Many boons and Daedalus Hammer upgrades allow Zagreus to do high bonus damage to armor and strip it away faster.
  • Artistic Age: Even accounting for immortality, a god's chronological age has very little to do with their apparent age, even relative to other gods. Nyx, for example, looks quite younger than many of the gods, yet is the second oldest entity in the universe.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Greater Calls require a full God Gauge to use, meaning that they take 4 or 5 times longer to charge up than the regular call. To compensate, their effect is more than this many times as powerful (Poseidon's Aid, for example, lasts 6 times as long). However, in some situations, it's better to use 4 or 5 weaker Calls than one much stronger one. For example, it's rare that you'll need the whole 7.5 seconds of invulnerability that Athena's Greater Call grants you, whereas 1.5 seconds at a time can let you get much more mileage out of it. They're also prone to this against bosses, as they typically become invincible for a few seconds between phases, so players have to be careful of their timing (hopefully unleashing the Greater Call after such invulnerability, for full effect).
    • The Aspect of Guan Yu, the hidden aspect of Zagreus's spear, has a pretty powerful standard attack and a spin attack that essentially shoots out a blade rift for extra damage. It's all very cool, but it also comes with a brutal reduction to your maximum health (70 percent when you initially unlock it), and, like all the hidden aspects, it takes a lot of titans' blood to upgrade it and make that health reduction a little less damaging. Combined with the slowness of the aspect's standard attack and the warm-up time for the spin attack, it's not easy to actually make this work.
  • Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: Zagreus misinterprets one of Hades's bitter musings about his brothers as an invitation for one right before they engage in their usual awkward father-son bonding activity — trying to murder each other — instead.
    Hades: These waters… teeming with Poseidon's river denizens. That one there before me… it's been taunting me, I think, for quite some time.
    Zagreus: You offering to take me fishing, Father? It'd be a nice change of pace from trying to kill each other over and over.
  • Badass Boast: When Zagreus activates a Greater Call, the portrait of the Olympian flashes on screen and they give a cry characteristic of their domain and personality.
    Demeter: A wasteland devoid of life!
    Demeter: I shall take everything away!
  • Battle Couple:
    • Zagreus and Thanatos become one if they officially get together. Thanatos will occasionally show up on a level to fight enemies alongside Zagreus, and can be summoned as an Assist Character.
    • Achilles and Patroclus were one of Classical Mythology's most famous pair before their post-mortem separation. They become one again and can be summoned by Achilles's companion keepsake, Antos, should Zagreus reunite them.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Zagreus's approach to the Fated List of Minor Prophecies (i.e. the list of subquests or achievements). It helps that he's basically getting bribed to fulfill them. When choosing boons or Daedalus enhancements, the prophecies will also foretell that Zagreus would pick up a newly-discovered item labeled with a "Fated Choice", though that's more of an Anti-Frustration Feature.
    Not even the Fates are above greasing the wheels of progress, then?
  • Beehive Barrier: Eurydice's acorn gives Zagreus a shield with a beehive pattern whenever he enters a boss arena.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mention Heracles when Hades is around.
  • BFS: The Aspect of Arthur, the final aspect of the Stygian Blade, is a longsword that has enormous wind-up time and a slow attack pattern, but it deals huge damage and has a range comparable to the Spear. The Aspect's Special leaves a zone that slows enemies and projectiles, and reduces incoming damage, both effects being linchpins to using it without leaving yourself open during wind-up.
  • Big Entrance: For all his stoicism, Thanatos has quite a flair for the dramatic. His presence will always be heralded by a flash of green light, the sound of bells and a cool catchphrase about death.
  • Big Damn Reunion:
    • The hero Zagreus is motivated by the desire to find his mother Persephone. When he meets her for the first time, she is initially guarded but is overjoyed once she realizes it's him.
    • Beating the Final Boss ten times reunites Persephone with her ex-husband and Zagreus's father, Hades, a moment that's treated with the
    • You can engineer posthumous reunions for Orpheus and Eurydice, as well as Achilles and Patroclus, couples who were tragically separated in life and in the Underworldnote . Though these reunions happen offscreen, the first time you happen upon Eurydice and Patroclus afterwards, their respective lovers will be present with them (and will occasionally show up in future encounters), obviously grateful and happy that they've been reunited.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: As expected from a game based around the Greek pantheon, one of the oldest examples of the trope. Much of the game's tongue-in-cheek humour comes from the fact that — barring the supernatural powers and dominion over realms of existence — the gods act much like you'd expect a dysfunctional family to.
    • Hades kept his son's very existence hidden from the rest of his family and isolated himself and the other Chthonic gods from them. He often speaks ill and thinks lesser of the Olympians, considering them to hate him and the others in the underworld. The Olympians themselves act friendly towards Zagreus, but still have problems with Hades. Various dialogue with both Zagreus and each of the Olympians indicate that things tend to get dysfunctional between them as well.
    • Meg says that the Fury Sisters don't actually interact much with each other, since they're each doing their own thing and have given up on trying to find understanding and common ground between themselves. When Zagreus points this out, she calls him out on the fact that his family is possibly the most messed up ever, including the fact that his father and uncles chopped up their grandparents and threw them into the underworld.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Chthonic Companion that Achilles and Patroclus give to Zagreus when their bond levels are maxed out is Antos, a stuffed ant. This is a reference to the Myrmidons, the soldiers Achilles commanded in The Iliad; the Myrmidons' name is derived from murmekes, the Greek word for "ant".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The initial ending after escaping for the first time. Zagreus finally reunites with Persephone, but because he is bound to the Underworld, he can only be in the mortal world for a short time before dying, meaning that to keep seeing her, he has to keep fighting and escaping. This becomes subverted once you reach Persephone enough times.
  • Blade on a Stick: Zagreus can kick lots of ass when wielding Varatha, the Eternal Spear, a two-pronged weapon on a stick.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage:
    • While charging up a Bull Rush with the shield, you can defend against any attack facing you.
    • The Greatshields from Elysium have their eponymous shields, that block all attacks from their fronts.
  • Blood Knight: The shades of the Elysian Fields (except Patroclus and Theseus) oppose Zagreus because they want a glorious battle, and not because they're forced to like the shades of Tartarus and the Asphodel Plains.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Clearing a run once gives Zagreus access to the "Extreme Measures" Challenge Run option, which replaces each of the bosses with an upgraded version that can often play very differently. Finishing the game's story adds an Extreme Measures upgrade to the Final Boss, again optional, which pulls out all the stops.
    • During a run, Zagreus will occasionally have the option to enrage the normally neutral Charon by stealing from his shop, leading to a bonus boss battle.
  • Booby Trap: A variety of traps hinder Zagreus's ascent to the overworld. Some, like the pink arrows in Elysium and the spinning blades in Styx, fire automatically, but others, like the spike traps in Tartarus, the spear-wielding set decorations in Elysium, and the guillotine-like blades that drop from the ceiling in Styx, require Zagreus to step on or near them to trigger.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Old Spiked Collar, Cerberus' keepsake. It boosts Zagreus' Hit Points, but given how universally useful hit points are, and the keepsake's complete absence of a luck-based mechanic, it's always universally useful. If one of the more Magikarp Power-based keepsakes doesn't work out due to bad luck or ceases to be relevant on the final floor, switching to the Collar is almost never a bad idea.
    • The Lucky Tooth, Skelly's keepsake, gives Zagreus an additional (but weaker) use of Death Defiance. Like the Collar, it's almost universally useful since it also gives another layer of survivability.
    • The various default weapon aspects of Zagreus. Even if they cost much less to fully upgrade than the others (they only cost 1 Blood per level, up to a maximum of 5, while other aspects add up to 15 or 16), they still give decent benefits. Maxing them out first makes getting the Titan Blood you need for the other aspects much easier.
    • Athena's boons, particularly her dash boon. They aren't flashy at all; they don't summon lightning bolts or poison enemies or do heavy damage. They simply protect you… from everything. The dash boon in particular makes you basically impervious to damage while dodging.
    • Charon's keepsake, the Bone Hourglass, makes items bought from the Well of Charon last longer, and much longer when maxed (+8 encounters) to the point of having extra healing, damage, or casts that can last an entire region instead of just a few rooms.
  • Boss Remix:
    • The final boss theme, "God of the Dead", is an intense electric guitar remix of the game's main theme, "No Escape". When Extreme Measures 4 is enabled, a third stage is added to this boss, with another remix titled "Unseen Ones".
    • The Bonus Boss fight against Charon adds pounding electronic beats to the shop music.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Normally averted with Exagryph, which requires reloading… unless you get the Delta Chamber (for the basic variants) or Eternal Chamber (for Igneus Eden, the Aspect of Lucifer) Daedelus Hammer upgrades, which allow you to keep on firing at the cost of either being a three-burst-only gun for the former, or forgoing damage ramp-up for the latter.
    • Coronacht, the bow, has a "Bottomless Quiver" variation. Zagreus never runs out of arrows even if he's rapidly shooting at enemies en masse.
  • Bullfight Boss: Asteris the Bull of Minos, has elements of this. He attacks you relentlessly straight at you, and the best course of action is to simply dodge him. Especially when he's literally charging at you, because a wall or a column or a conveniently nearby king of Athens will grind him to a halt.
  • Bowdlerise: The game focuses on Greek mythology, where incest between the gods was pretty par for the course. However, that doesn't necessarily mean modern audiences want to see that play out, so the game tries to downplay any incestuous relations as much as possible.
    • While Zagreus isn't actually the sibling of Megaera or Thanatos, he was still raised as such since Nyx pretended to be his mother. Steps have been taken to minimize how familial his relationship with his love interests was; one line from Hades implies that Zagreus only first met Megaera in the same instance he tried to throw them into a relationship; another one was changed to axe a mention of Hypnos and Thanatos being his siblings and instead refers to them as Nyx's sons, without referring to her as his mother. If Thanatos is romanced, he'll also mention that he discovered his feelings for Zagreus when realizing he never viewed Zagreus the same way he views Hypnos (who's his twin brother).
    • Later patches added a conversation between Zagreus and Nyx that states that Megaera (and by extension her sisters) were adopted by Nyx and not her children by blood.
    • Demeter is made the cousin of Hades, Poseidon and Zeus instead of being their sister. Though in some dialogue, Demeter does mention Zeus spreading false stories of her being his sister, which she theorizes as an act driven out of his dislike for one of her parents, Hyperion. Also, Persephone isn't Zeus' daughter, which means Hades didn't marry his niece.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Zagreus constantly snarks that he can hear the Narrator's voice while the latter's doing his shtick. It's Played for Laughs, even when he accidentally spills the beans that Persephone is Zagreus' real mother in a flashback sequence, and not Nyx as Zagreus was led to believe.
    • Zagreus can also hear the music that plays as the game credits roll. During the animation that plays beneath the credit scroll, he'll ask if that isn't Orpheus singing. If players talk to Orpheus in the post-credits gameplay, Zagreus will compliment the court musician on the song that played during the credits.
  • Brick Joke: One of the opening dialogues against the final boss has Zagreus mocking Hades for constantly burning off his cape when the fight begins, claiming he must have a storage chamber full of the things. If this dialogue is seen before being given access to Hades' chamber, once Zagreus is given access to it, he can inspect a closet and will discover that Hades really does have a storage chamber full of capes.
    Zagreus: I knew it. It's just capes!
  • Broad Strokes: Fittingly enough for a game based on Greek Classical Mythology. The game is a loose retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone, taking place during the time period where Demeter locked the Earth into endless winter over Persephone's disappearance. The differences from the actual story are Hand Waved through a variety of methods.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth:
    • The Soulcatchers of Elysium release waves of butterflies that deal Scratch Damage individually, but can rapidly erode Zagreus's health if several of them connect.
    • Butterflies are also the Animal Motif of Thanatos, the God of Death. The keepsake that he gives you, the Pierced Butterfly, is also a butterfly-shaped trinket.
  • Cast Herd: The Codex groups the characters in this manner:
    • Chthonic Gods are those who reside in the Underworld. Most of them can be interacted with in the House of Hades.
    • Olympian Gods are those who reside in Mount Olympus. They assist Zagreus in his escape attempts, hoping that he could visit them personally.
    • The "Others of Note" section lists the non-deities, demigods, or monsters that Zagreus can encounter in his escape attempts.
    • The "Fables" section groups the Companions and their lore.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Crossing over with Friendly Enemy and Punch-Clock Villain. Once you've cleared the game enough times and repaired the relationships between Hades and others, including Zag and Persephone, Zagreus will sometimes have what would sound like a calm, civil discussion about what he's recently been up to with the Final Boss while they're both trying their best to murder each other.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: The game mainly takes place in the Greek underworld, and many of the Chthonic gods have roles that contribute to running the afterlife and managing the souls of the dead. Running the afterlife apparently entails a huge load of paperwork, and the challenge conditions of the Pact of Punishment are additional applications of red tape such as deadlines, convenience fees, benefits packages for enemies, and so forth. The administrative office is staffed with pencil pushers and comes equipped with a Fauxtivational Poster and a water cooler filled with the waters of the River Styx.
  • Central Theme:
    • Much of the main story and side quests revolve around reconciliation. For instance, if the player should choose to, Eurydice can forgive Orpheus for dooming her at the last minute by turning around before leaving the Underworld.
    • A secondary theme (and which is pretty appropriate for a game based around Greco-Roman mythology) is that of cycles, the inevitability of fate, and the desire to establish one's own path. Most prominently, the game's Level Grinding is based around Zagreus' desire to escape the Underworld and establish himself as his own person independent of his father, and it's often questioned how much of his story is actually of his own doing or has been already decided for him by the Fates.
    • Family ties are also a theme that is explored; particularly how family is imperfect at best, and abusive at worst. For example, despite being abused by his father for years, Zagreus learns to forgive Hades and the two slowly but surely form a better bond.
    • Running away. Most major character are running from something, and the central gameplay loop involves the main character running away from home repeatedly. Ultimately, as well, the futility of doing it.
  • Challenge Run: The Pact of Punishment, unlocked after successfully escaping from the underworld for the first time, lets you add extra modifiers to your run in exchange for more rare boss materials, among other things.
  • Choose a Handicap: Normally, the gods will give Zagreus different boons to choose from, but should he end up in Chaos' realm, he'll have to choose one of their curses to hamper him for the next 3-5 rooms. That said, if you manage to survive the handicap, it'll turn into a boon and the negative effect disappears.
  • Chromatic Arrangement:
    • The three Fury sisters and their color schemes: Megaera (blue), Alecto (red), and Tisiphone (green).
    • Three out of the four biomes of the Underworld are arranged this way. Tartarus is green, Asphodel is red/orange, and Elysium is blue.
  • The Coats Are Off: The final boss shows up for pre-battle banter in a stylish cloak before throwing it off and burning it to cinders. Zagreus comments that he must have a big stash of spares. And indeed he does, as Zagreus finds out when he enters his father's private chambers. His whole closet is full of nothing but capes.
  • Color-Coded Item Tiers: Boons are colored according to rarity:
    • Most of the boons will either be Common (white), Rare (blue), or Epic (purple).
    • Forcing an Epic boon into a higher tier will result in a Heroic boon (red).
    • Accepting a boon from a god while having a specific combination of boons from that same god gives a chance for a rare Legendary boon (orange).
    • Having the right boons from certain pairings of gods might make them offer a Duo boon (green).
    • Equipped weapon aspects and keepsakes also follow this color-coding scheme when they are inspected in the Boon List menu.
  • Combat Commentator: If Zagreus wields the shield using the Aspect of Chaos, Chaos will begin speaking to Zagreus through the shield. Occasionally, they will chime in during combat and note their approval if you're doing well.
  • Combination Attack: Duo Boons are boons given by certain gods if you already have one of their boons as well as one from another specific god. They usually combine the gods' unique elements (like combining Aphrodite's Weakness with Dionysus' Poison), but some have more esoteric effects based on the gods' personalities or historical relationships.
  • Comeback Mechanic: Several of the boons, such as After Party, which fills health back up to a certain minimum percentage after each encounter, Positive Outlook, which reduces damage taken when your health is low, and Boiling Point, which charges your God Gauge more than usual upon taking damage.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: Unlike all the other rooms, and unlike the game indicates, Quitting in the first Chamber, on the first run, only technically allows restarting there, having to re-delete, or restart the file entirely, and go through the opening cutscene to return to exactly where the Quit occured.
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: This is how the Underworld chooses to resolve the matter of Persephone's disappearance; Persephone explains her disappearance away as a voluntary elopement that both she and Hades were afraid to reveal, and leaves out all the messy details that would actually enrage the Olympians. While the Olympians are pretty sure they're not getting the full story, they're also satisfied enough with the end result that they don't care to probe any further.
  • Consolation Prize: If you clear a room in Erebus without taking damage, you get an extra-powerful version item (like a Centaur Heart that increases max HP by 50 points instead of 25). But if you take damage during the trial, you get a red onion instead, which just restores one hit point.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Zagreus suffers no ill-effects from being in Asphodel — aside from everything being out for his blood — despite the entire place being a Lethal Lava Land. He'll only take damage if he actually touches the lava (and even then, only if he remains in contact for about a full second or so). Zagreus will even point out that he's flame-resistant, not flame-proof. Justified in that he's a demigod native to the Underworld.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • The Resource Director's rank system. Zagreus can speak to the Resource Director shade during the epilogue of the story to buy new titles for himself for a large amount of resources. Doing so places a fancy medal next to the health bar and gives Zagreus a fancy new title. But these provide no benefit to gameplay, no matter how far down the list he goes.
    • Outside of the typical rewards expected for clearing out levels, beating the game with the Pact of Punishment Heat Levels at ranks 8, 16, and 32 will net you statues of Skelly for the courtyard. They have no true value outside of that.note 
  • Critical Status Buff:
    • The Skull Earring, Megaera's keepsake, drastically buffs Zagreus' damage when on low health. Combined with the right Boons from Dionysus, it can make for the linchpin of a high risk, high reward-based playstyle.
    • Stubborn Roots, the Duo Boon of Athena and Demeter, gives you life regeneration if you have no Death/Stubborn Defiances remaining.
  • Crosshair Aware:
    • The enemies' delayed Area of Effect explosions and spells are highlighted as circles on the ground before they are set off.
    • Ranged enemies like Theseus and the Strongbows will periodically aim their attacks first, which are indicated by a pink crosshair on Zagreus.
  • Crowd Chant: If you triumph over Theseus and Asterius in the Elysium Arena, the crowd will audibly chant "ZA-GRE-US! ZA-GRE-US!" whilst cheering.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Combined with All Myths Are True and Anachronism Stew. The majority of the weapon aspects you unlock are based on Greek gods, but the final aspect of each weapon is not. They are aspects from famous figures of other cultures from different parts of the world and even from different time periods. The spear, for instance, comes from the famous Chinese warrior Guan Yu, while the sword aspect comes from the legend of King Arthur.

    Tropes D-F 
  • Damage Over Time:
    • Zagreus can use Dionysus's Hangover and Poseidon's Rupture to whittle away at enemies' health for a certain period of time. Demeter has a Boon that applies Damage Over Time to all enemies if they're all afflicted with Chill.
    • Zagreus can also get poisoned in Styx. To heal up, he has to make it to a Healing Spring located in the room.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The boss fights become progressively longer as Zagreus nears the surface. The final boss has many strengths, but arguably his most defining trait is having an absolutely insane amount of health. The boss is dangerous enough as-is, but the sheer length of the fight can tempt a player into getting impatient and abandoning defense and dodging in favor of getting a few extra hits in. Trading blows with the final boss will end poorly for Zagreus.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Hades is a borderline case. He's a relentless Deadpan Snarker who constantly mocks his own son and his attempts to escape, but takes his duties as God of the Dead seriously and is mostly reasonable and fair in his judgement of the shades that come before him. It turns out that he has legitimate reasons to keep Zagreus away from his mother, and he also genuinely loves Persephone. He eventually comes to mellow out when she returns and starts trying to bond with Zagreus.
    • Zagreus himself is a straighter example, being a likable if sarcastic guy who readily befriends everyone in the Underworld who isn't Hades.
    • This also applies to Nyx, the physical personification of night, who is shown to be a caring mother and whose actions in-game are purely benevolent.
    • Chaos, the primordial Anthropomorphic Personification of, well, Chaos, is also quite sympathetic towards Zagreus, even as they are fully aware of his motivation to escape the Underworld and only aids him just to see what comes of it.
  • Death as Comedy: Zagreus will die, a lot. And every time he revives back in the House of Hades, he will give a snarky one-liner on whatever caused his death, and Hypnos may say something relevant in addition to that.
  • Death Is Cheap: Dying normally sends people to the Underworld, but the whole game is set in the Underworld, so "death" has little consequence anyway. Zagreus and the game's bosses tend to make casual comments about killing each other, since many of the characters are immortal or already dead in the first place.
  • Decomposite Character: In Classical Mythology, Zagreus and Dionysus are actually the same person, with Zagreus being Dionysus' chthonic aspect in the Orphic Mysteries (which also conflated Zeus and Hades). The game explains this away by having Zagreus convince Orpheus that he and Dionysus are the same person as a joke, to Dionysus' amusement.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Both Played Straight and Played With. The Minotaur was slain by Theseus in life, but in the afterlife, Theseus convinced Hades to let him reside in the fields of Elyssium. Whilst Theseus is the Champion, Asterius the bull of Minos is his closest companion and ally.
    • Though, fight him often enough, and Asterius will give Zagreus one of the awakening phrases for his Infernal Arms, specifically the aspect of Gilgamesh, who slew a beast and then befriended it. He implies he wishes for a fight like that, and afterwards you are able to obtain Asterius' autograph for a different sidequest. He calls Zagreus "short one", but Asterius respects his strength and capabilities, and in general doesn't talk down to Zagreus. He will still fight him to the death, though.
  • Degraded Boss: One Mini-Boss encounter in Tartarus consists of a pair of elite enemies that become a regular enemy in Asphodel.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The game is a lot closer to the original conception of Greek heroes and their eternal paradise in Elysium than more contemporary interpretations, which means people with "great deeds" get the best afterlife, despite how monstrous their day-to-day conduct and personalities may have been. Chthonic gods and even some humans have a slightly more modern sensibility and comment on the unfairness of the whole situation. For instance, Hades would rather punish Heracles in Tartarus if not for the hero's favor with Zeus, while Patroclus is disappointed to be trapped in "paradise" with bloodthirsty soldiers instead of the genuinely good people he knew in life.
  • Destroy the Abusive Home: Zagreus's favorite part about trying to escape the Underworld is the many opportunities it provides him for ransacking and looting his father's realm out of frustration.
  • The Determinator:
    • Zagreus will die repeatedly in his quest to make it out of the Underworld, but being constantly tossed right back to the House of Hades just annoys him and gives him a chance to talk with his friends and family. And when he finally reunites with his mother, Zagreus will keep fighting and dying just to keep seeing her.
    • Similarly, all the bosses Zagreus defeats during a run will be back for the next run, resurrected by Hades and ready for another go. All of them (except the Hydra) are sentient enough to comment upon it as well, with Asterius in particular relishing the chance to challenge Zagreus again.
  • Deus ex Machina: Deliberately invoked with God Mode, an option in the settings menu that equips Zagreus with a permanent Boon appropriately-named "Deus Ex Machina". This enables a dynamic difficulty adjustment by granting Zagreus an additional 2% damage resistance every time he dies, capping at 80%.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • When defeated, Megaera will spend her downtime in the lounge, an area which isn't open at the start of the game. Should you defeat her before the lounge is actually re-opened, she'll instead be standing somewhere else so as not to lock you out of interacting with her.
    • Normally upon losing to Zagreus, Megaera states that the battle didn't count, as you have an advantage because of the mirror's upgrades. If you follow up by resetting all your upgrades and then beat her without them, she will acknowledge this. One of the writers also clarified that there are three different versions of the follow-up event back at the House of Hades, depending on where your relationship with her is at the time.
    • Much like in Supergiant's past games, there is a metric ton of incidental or situational dialog. For example, Hermes will acknowledge if you have the speedrun timer enabled or if you had your victory streak broken, while Zagreus's lines upon entering Chaos Gates will differ if you equipped him with the Cosmic Egg. Other triggers can include carrying certain weapons that a god approves (or disapproves) of, receiving boons from another specific god, getting certain rare encounters in a previous run, or dying in an unusual manner.
    • If you have Megaera's chthonic companion with you, it can't be used in the Fury boss fight, as she obviously can't attack herself and wouldn't hurt her sisters. Similarly, Thanatos can't be summoned in one of his contests, and Skelly will refuse to act as a target for Charon, his boss. Attempting to use Dusa's also won't work if you try it after she gets fired.
    • Should you use a Call from a god after angering them in a Trial of the Gods, Zagreus will note the awkwardness of the situation. There's even an achievement for using a Greater Call of a god against them in one of these trials. The angered Gods also get special dialogue when invoking their Greater Call, which is usually much more aggressive towards Zagreus (they still work fine, though).
    • If you grab a weapon from the arsenal, go back inside of the House of Hades, and attempt to attack, the game won't let you, saying that there's "no fighting in the house".
    • When you give Hades his first bottle of nectar during the main game, he will snark at Zagreus for trying to butter him up. However, if you wait until the epilogue of the story and then give Hades the first bottle, his response will be considerably more mellow.
    • You can't quit the game at the gates of the Underworld before the Final Boss. This is to prevent Save Scumming for the power-ups you want in case a god's Boon, a hammer, or the Anvil of Fates is on sale.
    • You cannot quit in the middle of a boss fight to prevent people from abusing the save system to redo a badly done fight.
    • If you pick up a Pom of Power without having any boostable God Boons, you instead get a single option: Spare Wealth, which gives you some extra Obols for your troubles.
    • It is possible to play the game through the end credits without speaking to Nyx. On the off chance a player does that and speaks to her for the first time in the postgame, her dialogue will reflect that.
    • It is possible (but also very difficult) to reach the Final Boss without Olympian boons, usually by liberal use of the Pool of Purging and avoiding said boons. Dialogue between Zagreus and said boss will change to reflect that.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Invoked for any runs after completing the game's story. When reaching the end, the narrator gives an excuse for how exactly Zagreus ends up dying after escaping. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Dialog During Gameplay:
    • Zagreus will comment on anything that's happening during the fights, which range from generally taunting the enemies, becoming frustrated or disappointed whenever he takes damage, being surprised if the boss gains power, or being excited every time he picks up an item or a room reward. Other characters will also comment on what's happening even if they're offscreen, such as the Narrator during expositions, and Hades during Infernal Trove challenges. Zagreus will then talk back to them when it happens.
    • On the other hand, the humanoid bosses will also comment on the way Zagreus fights, mostly by mocking him if he takes damage. Theseus and Hades even have unique dialog lines if you use a Greater Call against them; the former labels you a cheater if the Call does a great deal of damage to him, while the latter has context-specific reactions depending on the Olympian represented by the Call.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • The final aspects to each weapon are not overkill made awesome, but rather tricky weapons with great potential but significant disadvantages one has to practice at to work around. All of them offer big, strong hits at a much slower damage-per-second than most players will be used to, so learning to play them properly is critical to surviving, but the results can be very worth it.
    • Chaos' Boons offer stat modifiers that are higher than anything you could get through a single normal boon. To get them, however, you have to suffer through a curse for several encounters. The boons and curses are randomized each time, so the same boon can wind up behind a relatively benign curse like not seeing the next room's reward to something utterly debilitating like being damaged each time you use your basic attack. The door to the Realm of Chaos also shows up randomly, so you may have to risk fighting a boss with a curse active.
    • The Adamant Rail is the weakest starting weapon, with a lackluster standard attack and a somewhat unwieldy special. However, it synergizes very well with Status Effects due to its rapid rate of fire. If you can overcome the initial difficulty, it can grow into a deadly weapon that will chew through nearly anything.
    • The Stygian Blade has a Daedalus upgrade which applies a persistent sixty percent reduction to your total health, including any future health upgrades. In return, you heal for two points with every hit. This means that a few good hits by bosses can kill you, but if you're careful in dodging and in repeatedly hitting the enemy, you're basically immortal.
    • The Twin Fists of Malphon have powerful and rapid attacks, but very short range, meaning you'll take a lot more hits unless you know when to stop attacking and start dodging.
    • Trippy Shot, Dionysus's Cast, has the highest base damage in the game, and even a build with no investment into Casting can still use it for reliable damage. The trick is actually landing the spell; it's a slow, lobbing arc, and if you miss, it takes some time for it to drop your Bloodstone. What also makes this exceptionally powerful is that there's two duo boons associated with Trippy Shot, the Zeus/Dionysus boon for extra bursts of damage for anyone in the fog and the Demeter/Dionysus boon that boosts the damage further and inflicts chill.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: Boon upgrades granted by pomegranates work this way, giving lesser benefits per succeeding levels in most cases. This helps make higher-rarity levels valuable in a boon; they give increased benefits without getting in the way of gains earned from pom levels.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Poseidon's Duo Boons. Unlike all of the other gods' duos, Poseidon's duo boons are extremely easy to get as the requirements are bog standard for both gods involved and the odds on receiving them are much more forgiving than others. That's pretty fair, since all they do is boost Poms of Power (Aphrodite) and boost Boon Rarity (Dionysus). And yes, it is possible to get both. With these active, you can do things like pump out crazy damage or make yourself nigh-invulnerable, with far less effort and luck than would be required of a normal run.
  • Discard and Draw:
    • Some Hammer of Daedalus upgrades replace your Special or Charged Attack with a completely different attack, or come with a downside. In these cases, the new attack is usually much better than the old one, or the downsides come with bonuses that more than make up for the loss.
    • The Anvil of Fates removes one of your Hammer of Daedalus upgrades, but grants two new random ones.
  • Divine Race Lift: Athena, Ares, and Zeus are notably dark-skinned, Hermes is East Asian, and Dionysus is South Asian. Behind the scenes notes that this was because ancient Greece would not have considered their gods to be limited to Greece itself, and therefore the gods' designs are inspired by people all over the world.
  • Do Not Spoil This Ending: Supergiant Games have made it their official stance that the ending, from the final boss fight to what happens after to the True Ending, should not be revealed to anyone that has not successfully finished a run. Supergiant Games even went so far as to not include the actual ending from Early Access as to prevent any spoilers from getting out.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Hades obviously refers to the god of the Underworld himself, who serves as the main antagonist towards Zagreus, but the name has also been used to refer to the Greek underworld in general. Thus, the title can serve as both an Antagonist Title and The Place.
  • Double Unlock: Many persistent upgrades and weapons have to be revealed first before they can be properly unlocked:
    • The last two Infernal Arms (Malphon and Exagryph) are revealed by unlocking the previous weapons. You can then unlock and use them after spending Chthonic Keys.
    • The hidden Aspect of each weapon must be revealed first by reciting a specific Trigger Phrase, and then unlocked using Titan Blood.
    • The upgrades from the Mirror of Night have to be revealed first using Chthonic Keys. They only take effect after you spend enough Darkness.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: The Fishing Minigame has three types of fish for each area: Common, Rare, and Legendary. The three possible outcomes to fishing (dependng on how quickly you react) are failure, good, or perfect. A perfect catch cannot give a common fish, so completing the Codex requires good (but not perfect) timing.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Even if Zagreus successfully escapes the Underworld, he only has a brief time on the surface before the Styx will well up underneath him and drag him back home.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Some of the ways Zagreus dies in the Early Access endings and the post-game in the final game, including, but not limited too, slipping on a banana peel, sniffing a flower he's allergic to, or getting hit in the face with a rake, are hilariously anti-climatic, especially if you take into account just how much punishment he can take in his escape from the underworld. One death doesn't even elaborate on what happened, and Zagreus is just as surprised as the player is.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Clearing certain bosses frequently enough will make the fights more varied, with Meg being replaced by one of her sisters and the Hydra gaining new tactics, while reaching the final boss for the first time causes new enemies to spawn at lower levels and increases the spawning rate, as well as an increase in armored foes.
  • Early Game Hell: The amount of resources available to the player is quite limited at the beginning, expanding over the course of at least a couple dozen runs as the player progressively unlocks new things that encourage experimentation, provide additional room for error, and make Zagreus more powerful. At the beginning, you have only one weapon out of six, no Keepsakes (including those that give you some control over the Random Number God), no Death Defiances, let alone more advanced abilities the Mirror of Night provides. Your capacity to get resources to make your weapons stronger and purchase items and renovations (such as fountain chambers) is limited until you unlock the Pact of Punishment and thus new heat levels that freshly provide Titan's Blood, Diamonds, and Ambrosia. You can't even make use of the boons given by all Olympians in the game until you reach the surface and can thus meet Demeter.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After clearing the game enough times, Persephone decides to return to the Underworld with Zagreus. She and Hades reconcile, and while he's still rather aloof towards Zagreus, there's a newfound unspoken respect between the two. Zagreus still continues his escape attempts, though they're now under an "official capacity" (as he now has the job of looking for any holes in the Underworld's security) and it's heavily implied that he's starting to enjoy his battles with his father, with Hades feeling much the same way. Later, Persephone decides to have Zagreus message all of the gods, including Chaos, so that Hades and Persephone can reveal their relationship, claiming that they were forbidden out of fear, but Zagreus convinced them to open up. Of course, it's a lie as to why Persephone claims she disappeared, but it works, and it's implied that all the other Olympians are aware but just want to move on.
  • Easily Forgiven: Certain rooms give Zagreus the option to pick between one of two gods' favour. The one whose favour you reject will then get mad and send a wave of boon-boosted enemies after you, and then quickly forgive you afterwards and offer you a favor. Dionysus, in particular, can entirely forget why he was mad at you in the first place. However, they will get increasingly peeved if you repeatedly choose against them, and their chambers will get correspondingly more difficult until they provide the challenge of a Mini-Boss.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Looking at the game's files to try and uncover the rest of Zagreus's Codex entry has the text call the player out for trying to spoil the surprise, and also point out that not everything in the files may be accurate.
      Listen, Mortal. You are not supposed to be reading this. You are most bold, or most unwise, to have been digging through these arcane texts, or to have gleaned the knowledge from someone who has.
    • In the unlikely event that you die after a Thanatos challenge (such as by standing in the lava in Asphodel), Thanatos will have some sort of comment as he escorts Zagreus back to the House of Hades.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Generally speaking, the floors themselves shouldn't cause players that much grief, it's the bosses (and to a lesser extent, mini-bosses) that will kill you for most of the time. However, this becomes somewhat less so at higher heat levels with the Pact of Punishment.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Averted. Unusually for a Roguelike, Hades has an easy mode in the form of Demigod Mode, which gives you a stacking damage resistance buff every time you die (but not when you escape). The description of the mode encourages you to turn it on if you're having a hard time, or 'for any other reason.'
  • Either/Or Offspring: Kids of god/mortal pairings "can go either way"; and while they will inherit traits of both parents, they're ultimately considered either fully immortal gods (such as Dionysus and Persephone) or mortal demigods (like Achilles).
  • Eldritch Location: The underworld's chambers and tunnels constantly rearrange themselves to deter would-be escapees, justifying the game's elements of randomization and giving some weight to Hades' warning. This was apparently the work of Daedalus, acting on Hades' orders.
  • Employee of the Month: After the Lounge is unlocked, a portrait next to the Wretched Broker's area honors an Underworld employee who has performed well, similar to Employee of the Month (it rotates every run or so). Zagreus can interact with this portrait and will often express pride for the friends who make it on there. And after the ending, he will occasionally be featured.
  • Encounter Repellant: The "Flame Wheel Release" item, which randomly appears among the temporary buffs offered in the Well of Charon shop, prevents Flame Wheel foes from spawning for a limited number of encounters.
  • Endless Winter: It is heavily implied that Demeter has caused this due to Persephone's disappearance, with several lore entries and the Gods themselves noting that Demeter has turned very bitter and violent as of late, with winters getting longer and more destructive. She finally allows for seasons to return once she learns of her daughter's whereabouts and gets to see her, though the area around the Temple of Styx will forever remain frozen as a reminder.
  • Equipment Upgrade:
    • Done with the hammer of Daedalus. The player is given a choice between three upgrades at a time, which can do things like strengthen certain attacks like Power Shots, give it more utility such as piercing attacks, or give a stat-boost to Zagreus. Certain upgrades even entirely change the functionality of your weapon, which comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.
    • There are also weapon aspects that can be unlocked with Titan Blood. Weapon aspects are alterations to the Infernal Arms that change one or more base aspects of the weapons for the entire run. An example of this is the Aspect of Achilles to the spear, which replaces its Summon to Hand mechanic to one where Zagreus teleports to where he threw it.
  • Escaped from Hell: The premise of the game. Zagreus is determined to battle out of the Underworld by any means necessary in order to find his mother Persephone, who lives somewhere on the surface world in Greece. Standing in Zag's way is his father Hades and the army of undead wretches that Hades conjures up to prevent Zagreus from escaping. Even after convincing Persephone to return to the Underworld, Zagreus continues battling out of the underworld anyway, more in an "official capacity" by showing where the gaps in security are.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: Or rather, Greek gods gave us firearms. It's heavily implied that, some time in the future, Exagryph will escape into the mortal world and inspire the invention of all gunpowder and explosive weapons to follow.
    Achilles' Codex: While other weapons of the gods inspired mortal counterparts, I am relieved to say the Rail's cruel design has not yet been discovered in a stroke of mortal inspiration, to conduct their wars. Let us pray for their sake that it never shall. [...] Someday, however, I imagine it shall break free from this place; for any weapon once possessed by Eris, Lady Strife herself, becomes possessed of an eternal hunger to destroy.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Downplayed. Overall, this is one of the softest interpretations of Hades' estrangement from the rest of the gods in Olympus, but Hades is still a bitter and overworked (though just and fair otherwise) man who has a very strained relationship with his family, including his son Zagreus. His brethren's Titan-slaying days are over, and with that gone, so does his contact with them. Still, Hades isn't even close to downright evil. Meanwhile, the other gods are happy to help their nephew Zagreus, the son of Hades (if only to spite their brother/uncle Hades in some cases).
  • Everyone Is Bi: After confirming a fan's question about Zagreus's sexuality (before the patch with the option to romance Thanatos was implemented), lead designer Greg Kasavin also added that, this being ancient Greek mythology and all, banging anyone regardless of sex (or species) is pretty much the default in this universe.
  • Everyone Lives: To an even greater degree than Pyre. At least for a given level of "alive" since ghosts are apparently immortal in their current state, but can't leave the Underworld. Every major character begins the story in as good health as they end the story, which is a step up from even Pyre, where certain characters do die based on the ending they get and one specific character always dies of old age.
  • Exact Words: As Skelly explains, when Zagreus gets the first of his prizes, he specifically said to the sculptor he wanted "something that would make me look good for my bosses". While in context, he obviously meant something good looking so his superiors would like his work, the sculptor seems to have taken this literally, and sculpts a good looking Skelly in a sexy pose.
  • Expy: Towards Supergiant's previous games:
    • Some of the enemies have a strong resemblance to those in Transistor:
      • The Wretched Thug is similar in size and shape to the Jerk.
      • The Brimstones act a good deal like Creeps with their beam spam.
      • Brightswords, Greatshields, Longspears, and Strongbows all spawn tiny egg-like creatures upon death which regenerate into their full forms if Zagreus doesn't take them out in time — not unlike the Badcells.
    • The Adamant Rail weapon is one to the Fang Repeater and Galleon Mortar weapons from Bastion.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: The Wretched Thugs are about 10 foot tall, built like an ogre, and wield spiked clubs bigger than Zagreus. They also appear in the first area of the game, and aren't particularly difficult to fight.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Played with. The Exagryph, the "Adamant Rail", is a contraption considered strange and frightful by the other Gods, being nothing like any of the other weapons that were used in the Titan War. Every God you meet comments on their distaste for it (except for Zeus and Ares), and it is explicitly kept a secret by the Olympian gods, as they fear that, if humankind discovers it and replicates it, their wars would grow even more savage and efficient. Sure enough, it's implied that Zagreus escaping with it to the surface gave us the rise of firearms.
  • Fanservice: As alluded to below under Hotter and Sexier, Hades could be retitled "Fanservice: The Game" and it wouldn't be inappropriate at all. Not only is the main character Zagreus an utter Hunk, but virtually all of the gods, goddesses, and other mythological characters in the game are immensely attractive, with Dionysus and Aphrodite being the most obvious examples among just the Olympians. It's to the point where some fans have jokingly asked if Twitch streams of the game could ever be declared Not Safe for Work.
  • Fantastic Fauna Counterpart: The Underworld has its own species of fish to inhabit its three fantastical rivers. Achilles speculates they are Shades of fish from the surface (which are your normal fare such as bass and trout).
  • Final-Exam Boss: Not Hades himself, who is more of a Mirror Boss, but Theseus and Asterius qualify; they incorporate all of the gimmicks Elysium features. To wit:
    • Theseus combines the gimmicks of the Strongbows and Greatshields. Like the latter, he's invulnerable to attack from the front due to his shield, and like the former, he can target Zagreus from a distance for a hefty helping of damage, complete with the same crosshair effect.
    • Asterius combines the gimmicks of the Brightswords, Flamewheels and Nemean Chariots. He wields a massively amplified variant of the Brightsword's Ground Pound, using the same projectiles, and his basic attack is like an upscaled version of theirs. Like the latter two enemies, he can charge Zagreus with incredible maneuverability, requiring the player to juke him into hitting a wall.
  • Fastball Special: For their "Bullhorn" attack, Asterius throws Theseus at the player.
  • Fishing Minigame: If you buy a fishing rod (err… "Rod of Fishing") from the House Contractor, fishing spots will start spawning randomly in the Underworld, recognizable as a white, glowing spot in any body of liquid (this includes all four biomes, the Realm of Chaos, and the surface). Activating the point starts a short minigame in which you try to catch the fish as soon as possible to the moment you see a splash. The better your timing, the better the fish you get. Any fish you catch there can be given to the house chef for various rewards.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Played with. Asphodel isn't supposed to be like this — it's meant to be a faintly pleasant limbo that the majority of the non-punished but non-heroic dead can enjoy. However, the entire realm was flooded by the River Phlegethon — which is made of fire, naturally — some time before the events of the story, and Hades has been too busy to have it fixed. So by the time Zagreus treks through the region, it lives up to the trope regardless.
  • Firearms Are Revolutionary: The Adamant Rail is kept a secret by the Olympian gods for this reason, as they fear that, if humankind discovers it and replicates it, their wars would grow even more savage and efficient.
    Achilles' Codex: While other weapons of the gods inspired mortal counterparts, I am relieved to say the Rail's cruel design has not yet been discovered in a stroke of mortal inspiration, to conduct their wars. Let us pray for their sake that it never shall.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: All weapon attacks and specials always deal a fixed amount of damage with no variance. This base damage can be increased or multiplied by the right Boons, gifts or debuffs, but it never varies between individual attacks.
  • Flaming Skulls: A repeated motif of the game, showing up as the representation of Heat (the currency of Challenge Runs, and an actual resource during Early Access), as sources of lighting, and as the form of Hades' Cast.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: At one point during the game, having beaten the bosses often enough, Zagreus bestows one of them a nickname. The game changes the boss' name for that battlenote . The Lernaean Bone Hydra becomes Lernie the Bone Hydra.
  • Flunky Boss: Most of the bosses summon lesser enemies during the fight:
    • With the exception of Tisiphone, the Furies will invoke mooks to help them in the fight against Zagreus.
    • The Bone Hydra will summon other heads to fight Zagreus. Even among them, the green head will also summon Mooks to fight.
    • The Final Boss will summon dark, strong versions of the previous enemies you faced (what gets summoned is random, and can include certain minibosses if you're unlucky) each time they lose a third of their health.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Greek Mythology buffs aren't going to be mystified by the question of Zagreus' parentage.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Your attacks can harm neither your allies nor yourself. The sole exception is the Hazard Bomb upgrade for Exagryph, which fires a much bigger and stronger bomb directly where you're standing, which will hurt you if you don't get out of the way.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: While Zagreus does come to understand the reasons behind Hades's behavior, he's also quick to point out that Hades isn't just spreading his misery to everyone, but ensuring his own continued misery as well. Even after they reconcile, Zagreus makes it clear to Hades that he'll likely never get over what he put him through and that the concessions he does make are to break The Chain of Harm, rather than for Hades' sake.

    Tropes G-O 
  • Game-Over Man: Dying to a major character will usually earn you a quip during the game over screen. This isn't exclusive to bosses, either; for instance, getting killed in a Trial of the Gods will give you a commentary from the deity spurned into attacking you in the first place. Additionally, upon respawning in the House of Hades, Hypnos will usually have a context-sensitive comment about your last manner of death.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Many gameplay mechanics, tropes, and elements are either reinforced, justified, or acknowledged In-Universe. While there are obvious Breaking the Fourth Wall situations and countless incidental dialogue lines brought upon by Developers' Foresight, even the larger, recurring Roguelike elements have their own explanations:
      • Several characters' dialogue lines may vary depending on the weapon, boons, and trinkets that Zagreus equipped. Some of them may also comment on the minor things that the player did during the current or previous escape attempts. For example, Demeter will tell you a brief story about pomegranates if you picked up a Pom of Power during your current run.
      • From the start, Hades just mocks Zagreus's attempts at escaping the Underworld because he thinks that his son's efforts are all futile. But once the player defeats the Final Boss for the first time, Hades will impose the Pact of Punishment as a way of making Zag's further escape attempts more difficult than before, hence why the game has Hard Mode Perks.
      • Zagreus keeps on returning to the House of Hades every time he "dies" because he's being dragged there each time via the Pool of Styx. It also turns out that he can't remain on the surface world for too long either, simply because he's bound to the Underworld, and the Styx will take him back.
      • None of the characters permanently die because they're either deities, immortals, or already dead anyway.
      • The game has Randomly Generated Levels because the Underworld is an Eldritch Location that's designed to constantly shift itself.
      • The Mirror of Night is acknowledged as the one thing that's making Zagreus stronger every time he collects Darkness, justifying the Macrogame. Some characters such as Megaera frequently comment on this tidbit, especially when the player keeps on defeating her in Tartarus. Others will praise Zag for growing even stronger if the player buys more upgrades.
      • You can only start receiving boons from Demeter after Zagreus meets his father on the snow-covered surface. After all, Demeter will start becoming fond of Zagreus to make up for the lost time when she was unaware that she had a grandson.
    • Certain characters will give you "Companion" keepsakes, plushies that will allow Zagreus to summon help during encounters. However, there are a number of scenarios that will not allow you to use it because it wouldn't make sense. Thanatos' Companion Mort will not summon him if he is already in the room, Meg's Companion Battie won't summon her during a fight against her or her sisters, Skelly's Companion Rib won't summon him while fighting Charon, his employer, and none of the former two, Dusa's Companion Fidi, or Achilles' Companion Antos can be used against the Final Boss Hades, because none of them would actively work against him like that, at least until the epilogue, where Hades can give them his approval to do so.
    • There are instances wherein Cerberus and/or Hades would be absent in the House, but most of these happen whenever Zagreus dies in the Temple of Styx, or when he's defeated by Hades himself. It naturally makes sense because Zagreus arrives via the pool of Styx first, and inspecting either Cerberus's post or Hades's desk will have Zag mention that the missing character is still near the surface world. But when Zagreus meets Persephone for the first time in Greece, both Hades and Cerberus already returned to the House when he came back, because as it turns out, Zag spent quite some time bonding with his birth mother.
  • Gimmick Level: The final level, the Temple of Styx, where instead of progressing through a series of chambers, you are placed in a central room (with Charon's shop in the corner), and are offered multiple tunnels to go through. Each tunnel contains multiple smaller rooms, which give no reward for clearing, before the final chamber, which is more like a normal room which gives the advertised reward. After clearing a tunnel, you are sent back to the main room, where you can either challenge another tunnel for its rewards, or move on to the final battle if you found the necessary item (which is randomly placed in one of the tunnels).
  • Glass Cannon: The Guan Yu aspect halves your maximum HP and halves the amount of healing you would normally receive, but in exchange hits harder than the normal spear, has a more powerful special, and has a a charged spin attack that is not only ranged, but also heals one HP per hit. This leaves it a very hit or miss weapon: If you can get the right Daedalus upgrades early on and a nice set of boons, you'll be unstoppable, but if you get unlucky, you'll be struggling just to stay alive.
  • Godzilla Threshold: What the Extreme Measures Pact of Punishment supposedly represents, beginning with the Furies, who do not like each other at all, teaming up, up to armoring up Theseus and the Bull of Minos and giving the former a chariot loaded to bear with miniguns and explosives. Hades' own Extreme Measures has him deciding to stop holding back. You'll find out why it requires a heat gauge of 10 minimum to fight him like that real quick.
  • Gone Horribly Right: As a joke, Zagreus starts telling Orpheus a bunch of tall tales about himself (such as the fact that he and Dionysus are secretly the same person, Dionysus eggs Zag on when he learns about it). However, Orpheus takes these tales completely seriously and eventually writes a Hymn to Zagreus's honor, which is completely made up of falsehoods, such as Zagreus being Zeus' (bastard) son instead of Hades'. When Zagreus tries to tell Orpheus multiple times that everything he told him was a joke and not true, Orpheus earnestly commends Zagreus for his modesty in trying to downplay his exploits. Zagreus at this point realizes he may have made a big mistake. note 
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Demeter, Persephone's mother and the Olympian goddess of the seasons. Her My Beloved Smother qualities are why Persephone had to secretly elope with Hades, and she's trapped the surface world in an Endless Winter ever since her daughter went missing due to a particularly nasty case of Poor Communication Kills.
  • Guy-on-Guy Is Hot: Dusa has thoughts on Zagreus/Thanatos, and they are not innocent.
    Dusa: I mean, you ought to see yourselves! You're, whew...! Makes me a little woozy just remembering it now!
  • Hard Mode Perks: After purchasing the related work order with diamonds, adding enough heat with the Pact of Punishment enables gates to Erebus rooms, which give big rewards if they are completed without taking damage.
  • Have a Nice Death:
    • Hypnos keeps records of the various ways Zagreus will die in his futile quest to escape the underworld, and he'll often comment on the most recent death after Zag drags himself out of the River Styx.
    • Dying in a Trial of the Gods, in one of Hades' locked rooms, while carrying a Chaos Boon, or in a Thanatos challenge will have the relevant god or goddess comment on your latest demise in the death screen.
    • In the post-game, you'll also get a variation every time you complete a run. After a few clears, the narrator will describe each of the ways Zagreus dies and returns to the underworld, from falling off a cliff, getting too close to various wild animals, to being killed by a cactus.
  • Healing Spring:
    • Fountains that restore health appear after the first three boss fights and before the final boss. They can also randomly show up as breather chambers in Tartarus, Asphodel, and Elysium if Zagreus commissions the work orders for them.
    • In Styx, Zagreus can heal from poison by drinking from fountains inside the chambers. Unlike the fountains in the first three regions, the water is disgusting and murky, but it does the job.
  • Heart Container: Centaur Hearts restore and increase Zagreus's overall health by 25 points each for the current run. Some boons also modify the amount of health increased.
  • The Heartless: Soulcatchers are burnt-out, hateful souls that have gathered together and congealed into a mass of murderous butterflies.
  • Hell of a Heaven: The fact that Elysium is a Warrior Heaven and every shade in the place is out to kill Zagreus for bragging rights makes it a very unpleasant place for him despite its beauty. Patroclus is likewise miserable there, wishing he'd gone to the boring but tranquil Asphodel meadows (before they were turned into a Lethal Lava Land, of course) instead.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Zagreus will always start the first run with the Stygian Blade equipped and is presented wielding it in all promotional material. In-game, he is given the choice of additional weapons to use after a few runs, however.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Heracles is… somewhere around, probably in Elysium. He gets plenty of mention, though, as Zagreus is a fan and gets giddy when he thinks that the Champion of Elysium is said hero. Much to Zagreus' disappointment, Theseus is the actual Champion, and he is contemptible about the idea that Heracles is at all greater than him. And to round it out, Hades has a low view of the man, thinking of him as a personification of all the worst things in the ideal Greek hero.
  • Hit Stop: Whenever you defeat the last enemy in a room, the killing blow is slowed down for dramatic effect.
  • Home of the Gods: Following Greek tradition, gods either dwell in the Underworld (Chthonic gods) or on Mount Olympus (Olympians). The Underworld further has a literal Home of the Gods in the House of Hades, a Big Fancy Castle that serves as both Zagreus's home and the game's Hub Level.
  • Hot God: All of the gods are designed to be attractive in some way, explicitly by the art director's design.
    Jen Zee: Greg and I even had very intellectual conversations on why this should be so, which is that the ancient Greeks, like us, were huge fans of the human form and beauty, and they celebrated it a lot. So it was kind of a carte blanche to make everyone really hot.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Compared to the previous Supergiant Games titles. There's a large amount of attractive characters (both female and male), including Aphrodite being covered by nothing but her hair and a number of male characters that show off their physique like Zagreus and Dionysus. Furthermore, while sex and romance were usually either not mentioned, or are secondary in games like Bastion and Pyre (even in Transistor, the romance between Red and "Mr. Nobody" is extremely chaste), this game allows Zagreus to romance other characters (Megaera and Thanatos, specifically) and maxing out their affection ends with a scene that implies he had sex with them. There's also the option for Zagreus to enter a relationship with both of them, which can result in a scene implying that they had a threesome.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: Humans are always referred to as "mortals".
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Some of the health pickups in this game are food such as gyros and French fries.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Should the player refuse a Relationship Upgrade with Thanatos, Zagreus sticks by his prior confession but says he can't trust himself not to rush things and hurt Thanatos again, so he wants to remain friends for the time being.
    • After purusing a relationship with Dusa, the pair will have a private conversation where Dusa says, while he is the nicest soul in the underworld, she isn't attracted to Zagreus. They both decide to remain close friends.
  • Immortality Promiscuity: Gods just don't do the monogamy thing, even gods tasked with punishing mortals for infidelity. Hades is the only known exception, and it's a trait he definitely did not pass on to his son.
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap: It is Greek mythology. Many of the characters spend a whole lot of time repeatedly killing each other, knowing that it won't result in much more than an unpleasant bath in the River Styx. Zagreus also mentions to Achilles that he feels much less comfortable slaying the rats and Satyrs in the Temple of Styx than the shades in the Underworld, as they're the first mortal things he's ever killed. Hades outright lampshades this in his first pre-fight conversations with Zagreus.
    Hades: We're gods, boy. Killing one another is our lot.
  • Immune to Flinching: Armored enemies (glowing yellow with a second health bar) cannot be stunned and are more resistant to knockback than normal enemies. Once you've broken through the armor, they become normal enemies.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Thanatos's first reaction to Zagreus' abrupt Love Confession is to suddenly declare that he just remembered he has a bunch of mortals to fetch and immediately poof out of sight, too flustered to say whether he reciprocates enough.
  • Interactive Narrator: Downplayed. Zagreus will occasionally make short responses to the narrator's descriptions. He'll also make frustrated comments if you skip past his narration during flashback scenes.
    Zagreus: You know I can hear you, old man.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • The Fated List of Minor Prophesies includes Zagreus's successful escape from the Underworld as one of the first on the list. It also includes a reward to be collected, which means Zagreus will inevitably have to return to the Underworld as well.
    • Repeatedly visiting a region updates its codex entry. Once Zagreus reaches the surface world of Greece for the first time, the update requirements for that location's codex entry hints that Zagreus would have to make ten escape attempts before he can convince Persephone return to the Underworld.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: Zagreus can purchase various decorations and cosmetic upgrades for the House of Hades with the Gemstones he collected, with Hades commenting dryly on all the upgrades you make.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Frequently comes into play between Zagreus and Megaera, with Zagreus often flirting with Megaera in their pre-battle exchanges and even implying he actually quite likes getting mauled by her on the regular.
  • In the Hood: During the Early Access days, several characters originally used a placeholder portrait depicting them in hooded robes with hidden faces before the game was updated with their own artwork.
  • Isometric Projection: Much like Supergiant's previous games, Hades uses 3D models against hand-painted, tile-based backgrounds.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Orphism, as it turns out, was a prank on Zagreus and Dionysus's part that got a little out of hand.
    Hades: You fill Orpheus's mind with nonsense, he produces nonsense. Nonsense that, I presume, shall spread from this place far and wide so that everyone might know that I have nothing to do with you.
    Zagreus: I'm not worried. Orpheus plays for a very small audience... I hope.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Varatha the Eternal Spear has a nice spread of different kinds of attacks. Rapid jabs and dashing slashes, a powerful charged sweep, and ranged special.
  • Jerkass Gods: Relatively downplayed, but this is a modern take on Greek mythology, after all. In Trial of the Gods rooms, whichever god Zagreus doesn't pick will hunt him down mercilessly for the slight, gloating if they manage to kill him. The story at large demonstrates various shades of pettiness and jerkassery from gods, especially Hades and Demeter.
  • Justified Extra Lives: In the sense that 'even if you die, you just restart the process all over again'. In Greek mythology, everyone, regardless of affiliation, eventually go to Hades. So even if Zagreus dies, he will just return to the House of Hades, snark at dear old dad, give Cerberus a pat, and try again. Because where else is he going to go, Detroit?
  • Kill Enemies to Open:
    • The usual Encounters require Zagreus to defeat all enemies before he can proceed to the next one.
    • Infernal Troves can only be opened after all summoned enemies are defeated.
  • Killer Rabbit: A rare encounter in the Temple of Styx can have Zagreus face-to-face with a seemingly normal Vermin that turns out to be this trope. It's every bit as fast and aggressive as its normal cousins, but has thousands of Hit Points and can (or will) bite Zagreus to death. An update even gave him the same health bar and death animation as the bosses.
    Zagreus: Uh... Oh, *chuckles* it's just a tiny vermin...
    *Vermin releases Battle Aura, roars like a lion*
    Zagreus: Oh, gods!
  • King Mook: There are "Dire" versions of several enemies as minibosses: Bloodless and Flingers, Gorgons and Stone Smashers, Soulcatchers, and come Styx, an extra possible four: the Dire Satyr, Vermin, Bother, and Snakestone. These are much tougher and stronger than their normal counterparts and come with very tough armor, too. The Tiny Vermin is an inversion, being a much stronger, much smaller version of the Giant Vermin.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Tons regarding the game's state while it was in early access. For example, making it to the end of a run the second time has Hades, the final boss, question why Zagreus is even bothering to try and escape when they both know he's going to inexplicably die after their fight.
  • Large Ham: True to form, nearly all of the Olympian gods are irrepressibly dramatic. Special mention goes to Zeus, Demeter, and especially Poseidon — the latter of which has No Indoor Voice. In contrast, the Chthonic gods tend to be rather reserved, though some of them can reach Cold Ham levels themselves. Of the non-Olympians, the only notable participant is Theseus, King of Elysium, who more than makes up for the lack of hamming mortals.
  • Last Grasp at Life: The River Styx in Tartarus is full of drowned souls' hands reaching upwards. A trip to Charon's shop may also have an interactable spot wherein the narrator gives an exposition about the river being filled with such souls.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: All of the Infernal Arms' aspects have their final unlock be someone not from Greek mythology. For example, the Stygian Blade has aspects for Zagreus, Nemesis, Poseidon, and someone named "Arthur".
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During early access, parts of the game that weren't finished were chalked up to "Ongoing Underworld Renovations".
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Asphodel Meadows, a handful of barren islands of rock surrounded by eternally bubbling and spitting lava. Convection isn't an issue for Zagreus, as he's flame-resistant (but not flame-proof, so stepping directly into the lava still hurts him). Comments from various characters indicate that Asphodel wasn't always like this, as it used to be more lush and green like Elysium before the river Phlegethon flooded the area and burned it up.
  • Let's Wait a While: Zagreus suggests waiting a bit when entering a relationship with Thanatos, wanting to prove that he's serious about this and not just acting on another knee-jerk impulse. Thanatos humors him for all of five minutes before he shows up in his bedroom and points out that neither of them actually want to wait.
  • Life/Death Juxtaposition:
    • As in the myths, Hades (god of the Underworld) was married to Persephone (a harvest goddess).
    • Demeter is the goddess of seasons both bountiful and barren, and this is referenced in her boons: while most of them are about inflicting icy damage on your enemies (and one of them will kill them outright at 10% health), others strengthen your healing.
    • Thanatos (the god of death) has a strong bond with Zagreus. Achilles speculates that this is because Zagreus is actually the god of blood and life.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Only in comparison to some of the darkest Greek myths, but overall, this is one of the lightest interpretations of Olympus, even with the bickering and competition between the gods (which are more akin to family squabbles).
    • The circumstances that led to Persephone and Hades marrying are a lot more consensual compared to the myths. Rather than being kidnapped by Hades, Persephone was a "gift" to Hades from Zeus but stayed with him willingly to get away from the gods of Olympus, who she viewed as far too decadent and abrasive.
    • Other controversial aspects of the myths, such as Brother–Sister Incest, are either adjusted to appeal more to a modern day audience or are outright removed, though nods to how the mythology was originally are hinted and mentioned, mostly by the gods mentioning spreading false stories or twisting facts out of either hatred or pettiness.
  • Limit Break: Calls invoke powerful effects like raining lightning bolts or becoming invincible for a limited time. They can only be used when the God Gauge fills a certain amount, and if the gauge is completely filled, you can invoke a Greater Call, which increases the duration and/or intensity of the effect.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded. Before battling, the final boss throws away his cape, which burns out in the air. During one of the pre-battle dialogues, Zagreus wonders how many capes does the boss have to the point that he can keep burning them dramatically. Gaining access to his quarters reveals that yes, his closet is filled with nothing but identical capes.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • You can't predict where the Satyr Sack is located within the Temple of Styx. While it is programmed to be absent from the first chamber that you enter, the sack randomly appears in any of the remaining rooms. The devs even recorded lines for Zagreus lampshading his luck of finding the sack too soon, or his misfortune if the sack happens to be in the last room.
    • Less generally, Legendary Boons and Duo boons. Even if you meet the requirements for them, you can fill your whole dashboard with boons from the same gods and still not get what you're after. Even with the Mirror of Night upgrade that makes both more likely, Legendary Boons tend to be evasive unless you pick up a lot of boons from one specific god.
    • The Fated List of Minor Prophecies contains sidequests that require you to try all boons and Daedalus Hammer upgrades. While these require multiple playthroughs, the choices are mostly up to the Random Number God. Fortunately, there's a Luck Manipulation Mechanic that allows you to reroll the options and select the upgrades that you haven't tried out yet.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic:
    • The various gods' keepsakes. Normally, which gods will help Zagreus is chosen randomly. By equipping one of their keepsakes, however, you are guaranteed to always be offered that god's Boon as your next one. This allows Zagreus a degree of control over his build, and to aim for specific Duo Boons.
    • The late-game Fated Persuasion skill allows you to re-roll the boons a god or Well of Charon is offering, albeit only a limited number of times. The alternate skill, Fated Authority, lets you re-roll the reward for the next room to a different one of the same rarity.
  • Macrogame:
    • The Mirror of Night lets Zagreus gain permanent buffs in exchange for the Darkness resource you obtain from certain rooms in the game.
    • Zagreus can also unlock and empower new weapon forms between runs, unlock equipable keepsakes that provide bonuses like more health or forcing a specific boon-providing god, or commission helpful rooms or challenges that can then show up in the Underworld.
  • Magic Mirror: Nyx bequeaths Zagreus the Mirror of Night, which he uses to gradually improve his strength through Darkness.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Thanatos' keepsake, the Pierced Butterfly, grants Zagreus an initial 1% permanent boost to attack (up to 2% should you reach the highest level) should he finish a chamber without taking damage. If you make it far enough without taking hits, the damage boost becomes significant, as it is a percentage modifier.
    • Hermes' keepsake, the Lambent Plume, works similarly to Thanatos' keepsake. But instead, it grants Zagreus a 1% boost to his move speed and dodge chance (up to 1.2% at the highest level) should he finish a chamber in under 30 seconds. Getting far enough into the game can make this dodge chance really significant.
    • Poseidon's Duo Boons with Aphrodite and Dionysus do nothing on their own except permanently buffing future Poms of Power and Boons. If acquired early on, they can drastically boost your overall power level for the run if you actively hunt down Pom and Boon rooms.
    • The Adamant Rail starts off pretty weak. The primary fire has the lowest damage of any attack in the game, and the grenade launcher can be unwieldy to use. However, it synergizes great with any stackable debuffs since the rail also has the fastest attack in the game, meaning you can hit full stacks nearly instantly. And with the right weapon upgrades, the grenade launcher can either become an RPG, able to shoot off multiple grenades in a row, or even both if you get lucky. Combine this with Artemis' Support Fire, and you get a constant stream of arrows fired off.
    • Aphrodite's Aid fires a projectile that Charms an enemy for a few seconds, which is nigh useless in most circumstances. But if the God Gauge is completely filled, that projectile now deals 2500 damage, making it the most damaging single hit attack in the game.
    • Artemis' Aid fires a single homing arrow with a high critical hit chance, that costs 20% of the God Gauge rather than the usual 25%. While the critical hit chance stacks with your other critical modifiers, the arrow is still significantly weaker than other Calls, even taking the discounted God Gauge into account. Her Greater Call, however, fires a huge salvo of arrows, all of which have a high critical hit chance and stack with your other critical modifiers. With a little luck, it can tear through bosses.
    • Several boons start off relatively weak and/or difficult to use properly, but they are more likely to have multiple potential buffs that can dramatically increase their power and usefulness. For example, Dionysus' cast, Trippy Shot, comes out slow and has a limited range. However, there are several boons (including several Duo boons) that increase its power, make it come out faster, and give it additional status effects, turning it into a potential Swiss Army Weapon.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Everytime Zagreus dies, the animation will be the same. The snarky one-liners he says as he revives and Hypnos' comments though, are mind-bogglingly massive, seemingly having one for every conceivable scenario.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Hades and Persephone, as per the myth, though somewhat downplayed in this interpretation. Even though Hades did not abduct Persephone himself and was pretty damn incensed by Zeus's unsolicited "matchmaking," he admits that he was at least an accessory to kidnapping, and let Demeter believe her daughter was dead for who knows how long and that the Olympians' presumed retaliation would not be entirely unjustified.
  • Mercy Invincibility:
    • Certain boons and keepsakes grant you temporary invincibility after being hit or using Death Defiance. Enemies can get this through the Damage Control condition, which allows them to ignore one hit for each rank.
    • Zagreus also innately receives a short moment of invulnerability if he takes a severe amount of damage in a short amount of time. This ability is removed by the pact condition Personal Liability, which only appears in Hell Mode, where it is mandatory.
  • Metaphorically True: Persephone justifies the cover story given to the Olympians when Zagreus voices his concerns about lying to them. It may be lying by omission, but those omissions are all either none of their damn business, or things they honestly don't care to know anyways. The only active lie is about the pomegranate seeds, and even that can be seen as a metaphor for her son, Zagreus.
  • Mighty Glacier: There are a few examples to be found, although most of them are still reasonably fast on their feet due to how fast-paced the game is.
    • Louts are big, slow and tanky, and their only attack is telegraphed and predictably carries them forwards in a straight line.
    • The Doomstone miniboss is a mix between this and a Mook Maker. It constantly spawns small, relatively-weak enemies who will connect with it to turn the arena into a web of laser death, but the Doomstone itself is huge, slow, and very, very hard to kill.
    • Zagreus becomes one when wielding the Aspect of Arthur. It hits like a freight train, boosts his health by up to 50 points and can also deploy a defensive field that slows enemies and projectiles, grants Zagreus damage reduction, and blocks trap plates. The downside is that it's one of the slowest weapons in the game, demanding careful positioning from the player. If you've built well with it, you can easily be hitting for massive chunks of damage while simply tanking anything the game can throw at you.
  • Mini-Boss: The first three areas each feature mini-boss encounters that will reward you with a boon of higher rarity than usual. In the Temple of Styx, two of the Satyr tunnels contain mini-bosses at the end. Any boons from those tunnels will be rare at worst, and any other bonuses (obols, poms, or centaur hearts) will be twice as potent as normal.
  • Mirror Character: Try as Zagreus (and Hades) may deny it, but they really are father and son. Zagreus can be short-tempered, impetuous, impatient (such as when Hades has a solemn moment on the surface before Zagreus angrily tells him to get it over with), and insulting to anyone who vaguely inconveniences him (such as spending most of his early interactions with Asterius mocking him, even when Asterius shows him respect, or snarking at the Furies)… just like dear ol' dad. Likewise, Hades, for all his faults, is capable of genuiune kindness to strangers, shares his son's appreciation of the surface world's wonders, and shares his distrust of the Gods. It's also implied that he shared the same hatred for the Titans, just as Zagreus has for Hades. And for a cherry on top, both of them love Cerberus, which is evident when Hades would sometimes praise certain renovations that Zag ordered specifically for the dog.
  • Mirror Match: Zagreus vs the Final Boss, Hades himself — especially with the Eternal Spear equipped, and especially with the Aspect of Hades equipped, naturally enough. Not only does the boss have access to the same thrust attack, charged spin attack, and dash, but he also has his own Cast. Justified of course, since they are father and son.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Artemis’ birds are New World quail, which, as the name implies, are only found in the Americas.
  • Money Sink:
    • The House Contractor offers some extremely pricey cosmetic items for gemstones, more than a thousand for some items, and some items require spending multiple diamonds. Once you unlock the music stand, unlocking all the associated songs costs upwards of 50 diamonds. Eventually, you can purchase new skins for certain menus, one of which costs 25,000 darkness, which is only somewhat less than the combined costs of maxing the Mirror of Night.
    • The Resource Director, who appears in Hades' bedroom a few runs after Persephone's return, exchanges huge amounts of resources to improve the rank of a badge. It's even noted in dialogue that his services are purely for pride.
    • Each weapon has four aspects which, besides the vanilla Zagreus aspect, each take a large amount of Titan's Blood to upgrade to max. After maxing out one's favourite aspect for each weapon, more Blood isn't strictly necessary, but for those seeking completion of all aspects, it takes quite a lot.
    • It takes plenty of Ambrosia to upgrade all of the companions so they can be used multiple times a run. As with the Blood, this is more for completion's sake, as only one companion can be used in a run.
    • In the Temple of Styx, Charon's shop includes a valuable currency in the upper-right corner, which is usually a Titan Blood or a Diamond. However, it costs up to 1,200 coins, quite a money sink for players who have saved up so much from the previous levels.
  • Money Spider: Enemies have a chance to drop Obols, even the more animalistic foes. Zagreus will occasionally Lampshade this.
  • Money Multiplier:
    • Some boons increase the amount that you earn from collecting currencies.
    • One of Zagreus's weapons in the courtyard will on randomly be buffed with the Dark Thirst effect, a passive that increases the amount of Darkness received if you equip that weapon for the next run. Its Darker Thirst upgrade also boosts the amount of Gems received alongside Darkness.
  • Monster Compendium: The "Perilous Foes" section of the Codex serves as a bestiary of enemies that can be encountered in each biome. Compared to the usual examples of this trope, it leans more towards Flavor Text, however.
  • Mook Maker: Tartatus Skullomats, which produce Numbskulls infinitely until dealt with.
  • More Dakka: Some upgrades for the Adamant Rail increase its clip size or speed up its rate of fire.
  • Motor Mouth: Several characters, most obviously Hermes, who never slows down even when he's talking. There's also Dionysus, who is more to the tune of slurred run-on sentences, and Dusa, who babbles due to her nervous demeanor.
  • Multishot: The bow's special sprays a cone of arrows in front of Zagreus. It can also be upgraded so that the normal attack fires either two or three shots at once. Artemis likewise offers a rarer boon that fires homing arrows whenever you attack with any weapon, which can quickly fill the screen with projectiles.
  • Multiple Life Bars: Armored foes have a second, yellow health bar overlaid on top of their regular one. The Damage Control condition also applies a blue health bar to all foes that blocks one hit per level of the condition.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups:
    • You can only have one boon that affects your attack, special, cast, dash, and call each. Getting another such boon will overwrite the old one. To compensate, any levels gained from Poms of Power are retained, and the replacing boon will be of the next level of rarity.
    • Certain Daedalus Hammer upgrades are incompatible. For example, you can't apply both the Twin Shot and Triple Shot upgrades to the Heart-Seeking Bow.
    • The Mirror of Night upgrades each have two aspects that you can swap between, such as either having three bloodstones for casts, or a single bloodstone that regenerates over time. You can use either for as long as you've paid for them, but not both at once.
  • Mystical White Hair: Thanatos, Hypnos, Chaos, Ares, and Zeus all sport white hair, though Ares also qualifies as White Hair, Black Heart.
  • Named Weapons: Hades himself wields a two-pronged spear called "Gigaros," and each of the Infernal Arms that Zagreus can wield have names and titles.
    • The sword is Stygius, the Blade of the Underworld.
    • The spear is Varatha, the Eternal Spear.
    • The shield is Aegis, the Shield of Chaos.
    • The bow is Coronacht, the Heart-Seeking Bow.
    • The gun is Exagryph, the Adamant Rail.
    • The gauntlets are the Twin Fists of Malphon.
  • Necessary Drawback:
    • Certain Daedalus Hammer upgrades provide extremely powerful effects with an equally debilitating downside. For example, Stygius has an upgrade which heals you for each strike, but your health is reduced by sixty percent, which applies not only to your current health, but also to every health upgrade during that run.
    • Compared to the other weapon forms, the final/hidden aspects of each weapon have powerful innate advantages combined with drawbacks and/or slower attacks. For example, the Spear's Aspect of Guan Yu adds a Life Drain effect to the weapon's spin attack (as well as changing the spin attack into a projectile), but your maximum health and the effectiveness of health upgrades are reduced.
  • Never My Fault: Averted by Hades; after you convince Persephone to return and he begins mending his relationship with Zagreus, he admits that his behavior was inexcusable, even considering the circumstances around it. Considering how genuinely baffled he is if Zagreus makes overtures to him such as giving him Nectar, he's not kidding.
  • No-Damage Run: Battles in Erebus reward a boss-level boon or item if you can beat them without being damaged. If you take damage, you get a Red Onion that only heals a single hit point.
  • No Ending: The Early Access released with nothing happening after you make it to the surface and beat the Final Boss, so instead, the narrator makes up a flimsy excuse about how Zagreus somehow died (like saying he tripped on a rock or something) and he ends up back in the House of Hades again. Even in the full release, there's no point at which the game explicitly ends and you can't play any further, although there is additional post-game story content to be experienced.
  • No Escape but Down: All of Zagreus's escapes begin with him jumping out a large window in the courtyard beyond his room.
  • No-Sell:
    • The Cosmic Egg makes Zagreus immune to the damage taken by entering the Realm of Chaos.
    • Eurydice's acorn gives Zagreus a barrier that absorbs the first few blows from any boss or mini-boss.
    • Aegis can block any attack in the game while Zagreus is charging up Bull Rush. It's also noteable for being the only way to destroy Hades' skull casts during his boss fight before they land; if you block them when he first casts them, they're completely obliterated, and you don't need to worry about mopping them up off the arena floor afterwards.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Thanatos is Nyx's son and Megaera was adopted by her. For most of his life Zagreus was raised to believe that Nyx was his mother by birth. Since he realized they weren't related before the game, Zagreus technically being adopted siblings with Than and Meg isn't significant in their romance routes.
  • Notice This:
    • There are audio cues that chime when a room has been completed to indicate if there is something besides the exit that Zagreus can interact with, such as a purging pool or a fishing point. In the case of a Chaos Gate, Chaos will sometimes call Zagreus over in addition to the audio cue of the gate opening up. They are also accompanied with visual glints, although they are sometimes less noticeable than the audio cues.
    • NPCs have exclamation marks above their heads to indicate that they can be talked to. Those who are instrumental to progressing the current plot have larger exclamation marks instead.
  • Not Rare Over There: While most areas have weird misspelled versions of fish to catch, the surface has real-life fish such as bass, which fetch bounty-level collectibles when you give them to the chef in the House of Hades.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Gods will occasionally swear by other gods' names, usually either the Fates or Hades. Ironically, the character who swears by Hades most often is Zagreus, though he can be quite facetious about it.
    Zagreus: In the name of someone very sore right now!
  • One-Hit Polykill: In addition to the bow having it by default, some Daedalus Hammer upgrades give attacks the ability to pass through multiple enemies.
  • Open Secret: Megaera tells Zagreus he's forbidden from telling anyone that they got back together on pain of death, only for news of it to immediately spread all the way to Olympus. Luckily for Zagreus, Megaera gave him the ultimatum to mess with him rather than because she didn't actually want anyone to know (and even told some people herself).
  • Orphaned Etymology: Characters occasionally use the term "hell" either as a general curse word or as a synonym for Tartarus. While Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity did directly equate their own afterlife realms of eternal punishment to Tartarusnote , the word hell and the meaning thereof did not come into existence until Christianity spread into Germanic territories, long after the time in which the game takes place.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Naturally, they generally follow the Greek tradition, though some details are elaborated upon or added. The biggest difference is that there's a clearer distinction placed between the Chthonic (Underworld) gods and the Olympian gods.
  • Our Spirits Are Different: Shades are the semi-material spirits of the dead which make up most of the Underworld's population. The form they take depends on their actions in life. They can be "killed", but this simply disrupts their material forms, which they can reconstitute at a later time.

    Tropes P-Z 
  • Painfully Slow Projectile:
    • Ares' Blade Rifts move forward very slowly and constantly damage foes standing inside them. His Duo Boon with Artemis, Hunting Blades, makes them slightly faster and gives them homing properties, but they're still extremely slow, making them impractical against mobile foes.
    • Athena's Phalanx Shot launches a slow-moving orb which deflects projectiles that collide with it, though it does gradually accelerate.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Hades and Zagreus spend most of their arguments pettily sniping at each other on everything; from the dog, to the House of Hades's curtain color. Hades even accuses Zagreus of buying a sundial purely as a power move against him.
    Hades: Indulge me for a moment, boy. Why bother to construct a sundial there, knowing full well it was my wish to have one installed? To demonstrate your awe-inspiring authority? Or to deny me the small pleasure of doing it myself?
    Zagreus: Maybe a little of each? Or maybe you ought not second-guess my every motive and decision, constantly searching for some sinister agenda that has yet to cross my mind?
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Zagreus does not want to think about the details of his conception. And when Persephone returns, he's quite uncomfortable with the thought that they might try for another kid.
    Zagreus: I... happened.
  • Parents as People:
    • Both Hades and Persephone are flawed parents to Zagreus in their own ways; Hades' emotional abuse and belittlement is at the forefront, while Persephone does love Zagreus but she still disregards his desire for her to come back and live with him and Hades again, eventually ordering him to not return to her garden since she'd rather stay in hiding than fix her family issues. Over the course of the game, Zag helps his parents grow and learn as much as his experiences shape him.
    • Nyx is, for the most part, a very caring and attentive mother… unless your name is Hypnos. While she doesn't love him any less, she is clearly exasperated with his Immortal Immaturity, and has more or less forbidden him from talking to her, in hopes that he would learn some independence.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Both figuratively and literally! You can give Nectar and Ambrosia to Cerberus, the Hades family's pet dog and guardian of the Underworld; the House's long-suffering maid, Dusa; the long-suffering souls like Sisyphus; and even some of the bosses you defeat. With the "Big Bad" update, Zagreus is also given the option to pet Cerberus. When he reaches the Temple of Styx and realizes that Cerberus is guarding the way out again, he flatly refuses to attack Cerberus and instead raids the Satyr squatters of the Temple for a treat to bribe Cerberus into letting him through.
    • After Persephone has settled in during the Playable Epilogue, the very curmudgeonly Hades sincerely thanks Zagreus for what he did.
    • While Theseus is a pompous blowhard who refuses to believe that Zagreus is anything but an evil monster who must be defeated, he clearly cares a great deal about Asterius. Despite being the one who slew Asterius in life, Theseus willingly rescued Asterius from the depths of Erebus so they could fight side by side in Elysium, and he now treats Asterius as a genuine comrade and equal.
    • During an escape attempt, Hades may stop to ponder the surface world, admiring its beauty, just before Zagreus tells him to shut up and fight him.
    • There's a slight chance that Hades, at the start of a run, may neutrally tell Zagreus to learn about how each God grants their boons. That may not seem like much, but for a perpetual grouch like Hades, it's a lot.
  • Pinball Projectile: With certain boons, Daedalus enhancements or Aspects, Zagreus's thrown weapons or projectiles can ricochet and hit multiple targets. Some of them can also bounce off walls or seek the nearest enemy like a homing projectile.
  • Place Beyond Time: Parodied. It's a Running Gag that nobody can actually keep track of the passage of time in the Underworld, to the point where characters just say "day or night" instead of one or the other. When Zagreus commissions a sundial, it's eternally stuck at 7:48 because he didn't realize it wouldn't work without a (moving) sun.
  • Playable Epilogue: Even after Persephone returns to the Underworld, Zagreus can still attempt to escape at Hades' own urging under the justification of helping him find holes in his security systems. Also, it becomes their way of bonding with one another.
  • Player Death Is Dramatic: Whenever Zagreus is killed, the game cuts all enemies and backgrounds out to a black void, as he dies and is dragged back into the underworld. Even when he has Death Defiance charges remaining, the game will slow down and all sound will go quiet while the Defiance restores him to life.
  • Polyamory: Zagreus can have a polyamorous relationship with both Megaera and Thanatos. He can pursue them either at the same time or one after the other, and none of the parties involved have any problem with it. If you choose to have Zagreus pursue Thanatos after he's already in a relationship with Megaera, Thanatos will mention that Meg was the one who convinced him to act on his feelings.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Everything Hades does is for the purpose of keeping Persephone safe and the Olympians in the dark about their relationship. In searching for his mom, Zagreus is unknowingly putting the entire House of Hades at serious risk, and Hades is trying to stop this so a Divine Conflict between the Chthonic and Olympic gods doesn't occur. The reason that Hades doesn't just tell Zagreus about any of this is because Hades wants to keep everything under lock and key as much as possible. Ironically, by keeping Zagreus in the dark for so long, Hades is eventually forced to address the issue with all of the repeated escape attempts that Zagreus makes.
  • Post-End Game Content:
    • Two keepsakes can be obtained after the main story is completed, as a result of being able to progress through the related characters' affinity gauges. These are the Pom Blossom keepsake from Persephone and the Sigil of the Dead keepsake from Hades.
    • The Resource Director is an NPC shade who appears after the player has viewed the end credits. He rewards you with cosmetic ranks that require further currency grinding.
  • Power at a Price:
    • Chaos' boons require you to labour under a penalty for multiple rooms before the positive effects manifest. For example, a boon from Chaos might cause your Cast gems to return to you much slower, but after clearing multiple rooms, that changes to a flat buff to your attack power. In addition, just entering the domain of Chaos requires you to give up some of your hit points. The Cosmic Egg keepsake, given to you by Chaos after giving them a bottle of nectar, is the only way to prevent this life loss.
    • The Anvil of Fates, available only in the final area of a run from Charon's shop. You gain two Hammer of Daedalus upgrades at random, but you also lose one at random.
    • A Well of Charon may allow you to gain obols for a "blood price" of losing some health.
    • One of the Daedalus Hammer upgrades for the sword reduces the max HP of Zagreus by anything from sixty to seventy percent, but lets him recover two HP per hit in exchange.
  • Power Echoes: Nearly all of the gods' voices have a godly reverb, the two exceptions being Zagreus and Persephone.
  • Power-Up Food:
    • Pomegranates (called "Poms of Power") level up a boon, increasing its damage.
    • Eurydice's offerings are all foodstuffs that increase your boons' level or rarity.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Certain boons pair poorly with certain weapons, which due to the randomized nature of the game, can be problematic if you run into limited boon choices in a run. For example, slow-firing weapons like the bow benefit from boons that grant damage modifiers, whereas abilities like Zeus's lightning require high volume of fire to reach their full potential.
  • Practically Different Generations: Nyx has raised many children over the ages, and a number have been born so long ago that Zagreus has never even heard of them.
  • Pressure Plate: Stepping on these would activate the nearby environmental traps, which are mostly armaments that target Zagreus's position.
  • Prophecy Twist: It was prophesized by the Fates that Hades would not have a living heir. After a few defeats to Zagreus (who was stillborn but revived, and absolutely hates his father for his upbringing), Hades speculates that it was not the "living" part that he should have worried about, but the "heir".
  • Purposely Overpowered: The Pom Blossom keepsake can be obtained once you finish the main story quest and give a nectar to Persephone in the House of Hades. Fitting for an endgame item, it upgrades a random boon for every certain amount of floors determined by the keepsake's rarity. It can effectively give you around a dozen of free boon upgrades over the entire run up to the surface world.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: In order to unlock the hidden aspects of Varatha the Eternal Spear and the Twin Fists of Malphon, players need to trigger specific conversations with Achilles and Asterius to get the waking-phrase they heard in their dreams. Achilles and Asterius are not otherwise known to have psychic powers:
    • Achilles reveals that while he was alive and in possession of Varatha, he dreamt of the future when Zagreus would wield it. After his death and employment at the House of Hades, he dreamed of another future wielder, Guan Yu. Repeating the waking-phrase from Achilles will unlock Varatha's Apsect of Guan Yu: the Frost Fair Blade.
    • A conversation with Asterius during his mini-boss fights in Elysium reveals that he dreamt of the confrontation between the mythic king Gilgamesh and the beast-man Enkidu from centuries past. Repeating the waking-phrase from Asterius's dream will unlock Malphon's Aspect of Gilgamesh: the Claws of Enkidu.
  • Punch-Clock Villain:
    • Megaera the Fury is one of the bosses, but she's also Amicable Exes with Zagreus. Problem is, she's also a prison warden meant to prevent any escape, and so you'll have to fight her whenever you reach her chamber.
    • Asterius isn't a bad person by any means, but he simply stands in Zagreus' way because he provides a good fight.
  • Purple Is the New Black: Darkness is depicted as a purple gem.
  • The Queen's Latin: Several characters (most notably Zagreus himself) have British accents despite being Greek mythological figures. This was intentional on the creators' part, since it's meant to be a nod to older films set in ancient Greece and Rome where everyone speaks with British accents. The accent also serves to distinguish the Olympian gods (along with Hades and Zagreus) from the Chthonic gods, who speak with American accents; at one point, Dusa asks Zagreus why he has a "surface accent" and he says it's because Hades was the one who taught him how to speak, as the Olympian gods are the ones who sound British and Hades was originally one of them.
  • Rake Take: One of the possible Diabolus Ex Machinas that Zagreus can suffer after escaping in the post-game is accidentally stepping on a farming implement and being smacked in the face.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The room layouts and their corresponding contents are randomized for each run. However, the major regions (also known as "biomes") follow a specified order. The story justifies this gameplay element by mentioning that the Underworld shifts itself with each escape attempt that Zagreus makes.
  • Randomly Generated Loot: In general, the rewards for clearing chambers are randomly generated, and Zagreus has at best three choices as to what rewards he'll get in a given run. Furthermore, boons and Daedalus Hammers give a choice out of three possible options. While Zagreus eventually obtains ways to weight the scales somewhat to his favor (keepsakes to guarantee a given's god's boon once; the "Fated" skills from the Mirror of Night allowing Zagreus to change either a room reward or what boons a god will grant), these only work a limited number of times, so Zagreus' potential power set in a given run heavily depends on chance.
  • Ranged Emergency Weapon: The Blood Crystal is this for runs with the sword or the fists. It is the only way (outside of certain Aspects or Daedalus upgrades) for Zagreus to deal ranged damage while wielding those two weapons, but is generally an inferior option than the attacks of most weapons unless you pick Boons intended for a Cast-based playthrough.
  • Rat Stomp: Inverted. Rodents are among the last enemies you fight in the game, from small rats to huge ones, all of which can inflict a poison debuff that damages Zagreus until it's cured or he dies. Their Codex entry does lampshade the trope, however.
    Codex: The barrier between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead cannot easily be transgressed; but there are creatures adequately small and vicious as to rise up to this challenge (as well as to the challenge of being slain in great droves by would-be heroes setting forth to prove themselves, all in the name of Experience).
  • Record Needle Scratch: If Zagreus "borrows" obols from Charon's shop, the soundtrack will stop with an abrupt screech and zoom-in. When you hear this sound, prepare to be sent into a world of hurt.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Red and Black are associated with death and violence.
    • This is the colour scheme of both Hades and Zagreus (beyond their pale skin). In Hades' case, this underlines his antagonistic nature.
    • Ares also uses red and black as his main colours, but beyond granting Zagreus some blood-themed and violence-related Boons, he is a helpful figure to Zagreus.
  • Red Baron: The characters, especially the deities, are sometimes referred to by their respective titles instead of their names. In particular, Chaos will commonly just call Zagreus as "Son of Hades".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • Though he's less evil and more simply antagonistic, Hades's red eyes and black sclera give him an even more intimidating appearance. Zagreus's red right eye has a similar effect, though he's the hero of this particular story.
    • Ares, as the god of war, has red eyes. Much like the other gods though, he offers help to Zagreus.
    • The Fury Alecto's eyes are bright red, matching a bloodlust that would put Ares to shame.
  • Red Is Violent:
    • Ares is the god of the brutality of war, and has red as his signature color.
    • Alecto is the most outwardly and gleefully violent among the Furies. She's the one in a red dress and has red eyes.
  • Related Differently in the Adaptation: In Classical Mythology, Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, who are brother and sister, and is married to their brother Hades. In the game's version of this family tree, Zeus and Demeter are foster-siblings (though Zeus has been spreading stories of them being actual siblings) and Persephone is the daughter of Demeter and a mortal, significantly toning down the incest in her relationship with Hades.
  • Relationship Values: The various NPCs in the House of Hades, as well as the Olympian gods, can be given bottles of nectar as a gift. In return, each of them will give Zagreus a "keepsake" that he can equip for special effects within the Underworld. Certain ones can be gifted ambrosia after giving them enough nectar and witnessing certain story events, which unlock companion units that provide limited but extremely useful assistance during runs.
  • Respawn Point: Every time Zagreus dies, he emerges from a pool of blood within the House of Hades, ready to jump right back into the action (and most likely die again).
  • Resurrective Immortality:
    • Every time Zagreus dies in his attempt to escape Hades, he simply crawls out of the river Styx back at the house. After all, he is in the Underworld, where else would he go when he dies? The same thing happens to Megaera, and Hades when they are killed by Zagreus, creating less enmity between them than such an act would normally cause.
    • This also seems to be a part of the standard package for Elysium's heroic dead; Achilles implies that Zagreus is fighting some of the same shades every time he passes through. Theseus and Asterius recover every time they're defeated, without having to go through the House of Hades first, and seem to think no worse of Zagreus for slaying them (well, not Asterius at any rate).
  • Rewarding Vandalism:
    • Some underworld renovations add urns that can drop money when you break them.
    • Dusa's keepsake, the Harpy Feather Duster, gives you a chance to find a healing item when you break an urn.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Styx features both usually and unusually-sized rodents as recurring enemies.
  • Roguelike: A Rogue-lite, to be precise. The gameplay and story elements are intentionally designed for Zagreus to inevitably (and frequently) die, in addition to an upgrade system that allows Zagreus and the player to improve themselves using currency retained between runs. On the other hand, it's not turn-based like the original Rogue and instead uses a much faster system of real-time action combat.
  • Running Gag:
    • Without a view of the sky, no one ever knows what time it is in the Underworld (most characters just say "day or night" when appropriate). This causes most of its inhabitants endless frustration, especially Hades himself. He constantly tries to commission a sundial, but the Contractors repeatedly refuse. Zagreus himelf always gets confused about the time, even when using figures of speech or cracking jokes that only mention night or day indirectly.
    • Many recurring jokes are character-specific:
      • Zagreus will absolutely refuse to use any chairs, and grows increasingly snarky about it over the course of the game.
      • Tisiphone and her vocabulary only consisting of the word "Murderer". At certain points, Zagreus will lampshade or make jokes about it.
      • Zagreus eventually teaches her to say his name. It's not better.
      Tisiphone: Zagreus... murderer!!!
      • Hypnos's commentaries on Zagreus's "deaths" also follow certain patterns. If he reads Zag's cause of death as "Redacted", it meant that Zag died in his battles against Hades. If the cause of death is read as "Natural Causes", it meant that Zag died from being forcibly dragged by Styx all the way from Greece. Over time, Hypnos wonders why such words keep on appearing in his accounting records.
  • Run the Gauntlet: Whilst many rooms operate like this, the The Barge of Death in Asphodel locks you into a small chamber with several spawn rounds, and you won't reach the end of its destination until you've beaten all the bad guys.
  • Scenery Porn: Although it's optional, Zagreus can watch the backdrop from a viewpoint whenever he enters the first chamber of a biome. The camera would then momentarily focus on its visual glory, which can be accompanied by Zagreus being awed at what he is seeing at that moment. Particularly, the sunset at the surface world remains beautiful no matter how many times he looks at it.
  • Schizo Tech: Despite taking place in ancient Greece, the unmatched engineering genius of Daedalus means that more advanced technologies appear, like clockwork and gears. Exagryph is a gun that can be wielded by Zagreus, but it's treated as an anomaly that hopefully only a god and not a human could create.
  • Sentient Weapon: All of the Infernal Arms are sentient to one degree or another. Aegis in particular is said to explicitly be a still-intelligent piece of Chaos; if you use their Aspect, they make clear that they are still fully capable of seeing through it, and they'll make occasional comments during battle.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Zagreus's romantic resolutions with Megaera and Thanatos culminate with a Fade to Black in Zagreus's room, with the accompanying audio implying that they were, ahem, enjoying themselves while doing it.
  • Shared Family Quirks: After Zagreus escapes from the Underworld enough times and progressing the story further, Persephone notes at one point that Zagreus is just as stubborn as his father.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: The Greatshields encountered in Elysium wield gigantic shields that block all attacks from the front.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The Adamant Rail can be upgraded into a double-barreled shotgun, and it's just as effective against mostly close-ranged, mobbing enemies as you might expect. It helps that the shots pierce.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Appropriately for a game about fighting hellish creatures and escaping the Underworld, the track "The King and the Bull" (which plays in Elysium) heavily references the classic riff from the first level of Doom's soundtrack, "At Doom's Gate".
    • One of the keepsakes you can get is called the Harpy Feather Duster.
    • If Zagreus purchases the rug for his room, he'll note that it will "really tie the room together".
    • In one of the Tartarus rooms, the top of the walls will show dozens of ghostly arms trying to reach out of jail bars. When Zagreus leaves the room, he says "Farewell."
    • There are several to Castlevania. Lernie the Bone Hydra is a dead ringer for the White Dragon enemy. It even spits fireballs. Asphodel also has its fair share of Medusa Heads. Finally, Asterius' design bears a lot of resemblance to minotaur enemies in the franchise, complete with a huge axe.
    • One of the one-liners Hades can quip when Zagreus returns from the Pool of Styx is "And our work is never done..."
    • Upon being revived by Skelly's Lucky Tooth Zagreus will sometimes shout "By the power of Skelly!".
    • One of Thanatos' battle quotes is "You are already dead".
    • Look closely at the mural on the arena floor when you fight Theseus and Asterius. As befitting of an overly macho, testosterone-filled, fire-forged friendship, it's the "You Son of a Bitch" bicep shake.
    • Sisyphus being a significantly more sympathetic character with the very boulder he rolls being a Companion Cube with a face is quite obviously a nod to Rock of Ages. His portrayal as someone who found solace in the punishment and attraction to Bouldy are also reminiscent of his Discworld analogue from Eric.
    • Upon activating Extreme Measures for Asterius in Elysium, he is depicted wearing armor that is, due to the horns and the sheer amount of gold, eerily reminiscent of the armor worn by Aries Mu.
    • Upon picking up Coronacht, the bow, Zagreus may mention that "Coronacht hungers..."
    • After you've beaten the Final Boss enough times, one of Zagreus's early parting words to Persephone is "I'll be back."
    • The Celestial Orb from Pyre can be found on the shelf near the entrance to Zagreus' room.
    • One of Skelly's revival lines is "I live again, boyo!"
    • In one of the lines Zagreus says early in the game when his hp is low , he wishes he had a healing flask which is a feature of another popular roguelike game.
    • When Zagreus catches a Flameater with the Rod of Fishing, he will sometimes sing "Flameater!" to the tune of "Snake Eater".
    • The Aspect of Chiron of Coronacht brings to mind the replay function of the ZF1.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Zagreus is a real Greek god, although an extremely obscure and mysterious one (surviving references to him number in the single digits). As in the game, he is a Chthonic god associated with the underworld, and in some myths, is the son of Persephone and Hades, though other sources seem to suggest that he is Hades. The game explains the scarcity of sources related to him as a result of Hades and Persephone hiding his existence due to the scandalous nature of his conception, while the former is referenced in some post-game dialogue where Hades suspects Zagreus may one day replace him as ruler of the Underworld.
    • Additionally, a Hellenistic Mystery Cult known as Orphism considered Zagreus a figure of rebirth and an alternative form of Dionysusnote . The game explains this anomaly as being the result of a prank Zagreus and Dionysus pulled on Orpheus, who took it completely at face value.
    • Elysium is typically understood as "Greek Heaven". While this is more-or-less true, Greek ideals of what made a "good" person deserving of Heaven often leaned towards warring and killing; the All-Loving Hero is actually fairly rare in Hellenic lore. In the game, this matter is well-understood; Hades chafes at the Greek humans' concept of a hero, saying he would rather have Heracles in Tartarus, while Patroclus bitterly comments that "paradise" isn't populated by decent people. Codex entries for the common Elysium hero enemies call them all a bunch of either sociopaths or obsessed with their weapon of choice and unable to function without it.
    • It's subtle, but Patroclus appears to be slightly older than Achilles. This was, in fact, the case in the original mythology.
    • Eurydice being a dryad nymph, as weird as it may seem, is a reference to actual myths where she's depicted as a nymph; sometimes a dryad, sometimes a naiad, but usually a nymph rather than a human.
    • Dusa as Medusa's severed head working in the House of Hades may be a nod to The Odyssey, where after Odysseus enters the Underworld, he fears that "Persephone might send forth upon [him] from out the house of Hades the head of the Gorgon, that awful monster".
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When facing off against the fourth area's boss, Zagreus may sometimes tell the boss to stop the poetic ramblings and just fight already.
    Zagreus: No. No mournful speeches. Now get out of my way.
  • Sibling Team: If Extreme Measures is active, the Fury sisters will work together to fight Zagreus in Tartarus. Notably, they don't usually get along.
  • Sigil Spam: Hades' symbol—a rhombus with two pronged lines—appears everywhere: on the walls, traps, Obols, doors, tapestries and so on. Even his mustache is shaped like the symbol upon closer inspection. Several members of the House of Hades also wear the symbol somewhere on their clothing.
  • Simple, yet Awesome:
    • By default, you have to mash the attack button to strike foes repeatedly using most weapons. However, certain Daedalus Hammer upgrades for each weapon simplify their control schemes, allowing you to spam your attacks by holding down the attack button instead. Not only that, these upgrades also come with additional gimmicks to somehow offset their benefits. Of particular note, the Delta Chamber for the Exagryph fires off 3-round bursts, but you'll never have to reload ever again.
    • Boons and upgrades that grant more consecutive dashes may look like plain movement buffs at first glance, but they allow you to spam the effects of other dash-activated boons such as Zeus's Thunder Dash.
  • Situational Damage Attack:
    • The Critical Hit mechanic of the bow is maintained from Bastion, and will do additional damage if you release at the correct time.
    • The Status Effects of the Gods deal damage based on their rarity and the attack the Boon is applied to. Slow attacks like the Bow's primary attack or the Rail's special add a lot of extra damage per strike from Doom and Hangover, while rapid-firing weapons like the Spear and Rail's primary attack add much less extra damage per hit. The gods may also give Status Curse effects (i.e. Ruptured, Exposed) to their pre-existing boons, dealing bonus damage depending on the enemy's state.
    • Some Mirror upgrades increase the damage dealt when attacking enemies from behind (Shadow Presence), when the enemy isn't damaged yet (Fiery Presence), when the enemy is struck with a blood stone (Boiling Blood), or when the enemy is inflicted with at least two status curses (Priviledged Status).
    • Some Daedalus Hammer upgrades also cause the weapon to deal more damage depending on circumstances such as the target's distance from Zagreus.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Hades and Zagreus do not have a very good relationship, and their dialog frequently shows that.
    Hades: Your mother is the Night; your brothers, Death and Sleep. What does that make you, I wonder? There's no god of talking back to me.
    Zagreus: There is.
  • Sore Loser: The gods don't take it well when you choose the other option in a Trial of the Gods chamber. As in, they try to kill you for it. They get over it pretty quickly once you survive the challenge, at least, and go back to helping you in the usual fashion for the rest of your run.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Extra chamber rewards (like fishing points) and the Chaos Gate have distinctive audio cues if you somehow miss them with your eyes.
  • Speed Run Reward:
    • The Pact of Punishment lets you jack up the difficulty in several ways in order to get bounties, items which advance the meta-progression. One of these ways is the Tight Deadline condition, which gives you a limited time to clear each region: 9 minutes for the first level, 7 for the second, and 5 for the last one. In addition, leftover time is added to the time of the next region, granting you more incentive to go fast.
    • The Lambent Plume keepsake grants you move speed and dodge chance every time you clear a room within thirty seconds.
  • Spikes of Doom: Spike traps are an ever-present hazard in Tartarus; Zagreus gets damaged if he doesn't move out of the way immediately after triggering them.
  • Splash Damage: The special attack for Exagryph inherently causes damage in a radius, the special attack for Stygius damages a radius around Zagreus, while the other weapons have boon upgrades that can allow one of their attacks to gain this quality as well. Since Exagryph and Stygius already have this trope by default, they instead get boon upgrades that increase or extend their special attacks' range.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Why do the souls that make up Soul Catchers look like butterflies? Because the Greek word for soul (ψυχή) is also an uncommon term for butterflies.
    • Dusa is the one responsible for cleaning and tending to the chores of the House of Hades. In other words, Maid Dusa.
  • Stone Wall: The shield is, of course, the best defensive weapon in the game given that you can be straight up invulnerable to most attacks so long as you're pointing the thing at them. However, the damage is typically underwhelming unless you rely on building the special on gods such as Dionysus or Ares, which deal flat damage and can stack rather than being percentage multipliers.
  • Stop Poking Me!: Poke the Bust of the Poet (who is implied to be the Narrator) enough times and you will actually get an answer... Sort of.
    Narrator: The vastly irritating Prince gets no response.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Upon purchasing a portrait a young, Stripperiffic Theseus, Zagreus is horrified to discover that his attraction to men with long hair takes priority over his abject loathing of the man in question.
    Zagreus: Oh gods, am I becoming hopelessly obsessed with Theseus?
  • Superhero Sobriquets: Or rather their ancient Greek precursors, Homeric epithet. Each character has at least one, and the Narrator has a particular fondness for giving Zagreus rather backhanded ones.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: A Call move does this, but only when fully charged. A Call's ability signals the god associated with the move. Using one segment of the bar deals some sort of super move like an area-of-effect spell, a very damaging attack, or temporary invulnerability. If used when all four segments are full, the Call becomes a Greater Call, which is much more powerful and/or lasts much longer, along with the god's portrait appearing and giving a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Hades' reaction to Zagreus successfully claiming an Infernal Trove is to bemoan the quality of creatures he was able to summon to defend the trove in the first place.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: The Olympian Gods are able to track Zagreus' escape attempts through Hades, but they can't speak to him directly, listen in on Zagreus' conversations, or see what happens fully within either the House of Hades or the surface, as Nyx is blocking them. However, they are able to respond to him live if offered Nectar, and their keepsakes are said outright to make it much easier for the god whose keepsake Zagreus is holding to locate him. Chaos can see Zagreus clearly for as long as he's within the Underworld and remains fully updated on his progression, especially should he carry Chaos' Aspect of Aegis.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: The Temple of Styx has a lot of Upgrades available for Zagreus. But it's odd, isn't it? Zag doesn't even want to fight the Guardian of the Temple, Cerberus. Hades, on the other hand, will give you a hell of a time once you exit the Temple.
  • Sword Beam: The Piercing Wave upgrade for the Stygian Blade allows the sword to fire these off with each attack and dash-attack.
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: Since the earlier versions of the game had No Ending, Zagreus's hard-won victories to make it to the surface alive will always be immediately and unceremoniously undone, with the Narrator providing an absolutely ridiculous and arbitrary death that sends him right back to the House of Hades.
  • Taken for Granite: Gorgons shoot projectiles that will temporarily petrify Zagreus. They can also affect anything you deflect them into, even the Gorgons themselves, unless it's an Elite Mook.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Patroclus is already dead, but he's tempted to take it a step further and drink from the river Lethe (aka Oblivion) to end his misery for good. Zagreus spends many of their interactions trying to keep Patroclus from crossing the Despair Event Horizon until he amends Achilles's contract.
    Zagreus: Listen, sir, don't give in to what you're feeling now, all right? Because I won't stand for it. I won't.
  • Technicolor Toxin:
    • In a heroic example, Dionysus's Hangover debuff functions largely like poison (as it deals Damage Over Time). It's bright purple, fitting with this trope and Dionysus's domain over wine.
    • The poison that Zagreus can be afflicted with in the Temple of Styx either comes from bright green darts, bright green goo, or bright green gas. Lampshaded by Hypnos if the poison kills you.
      Hypnos: Next time you'll know it's seriously deadly stuff, because it killed you! And because it's green!
  • There Are No Coincidences: Both Patroclus and Eurydice will begin to speculate that the Fates are responsible for Zagreus's regular run-ins with them. Sure enough, Zagreus's assistance in their personal troubles is listed in the Fated List of Minor Prophecies.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works: You can toss your shield at enemies and it'll bounce a certain number of times, dealing damage on the way until it returns to you. Taken Up to Eleven with the Aspect of Chaos, which throws up to five additional shields.
  • Timed Mission:
    • One of the Pact of Punishment conditions sets a timer for each floor, starting at nine minutes for the first rank and seven for the subsequent rank. If the timer expires before you beat the boss, you take 5 damage per second until the boss dies or you do.
    • Infernal Trove challenges put a twist on this by proportionally tying the reward with the timer (i.e. the faster you defeat the enemies, the more loot can be obtained from the chest).
  • Together in Death: You can make it possible for Orpheus and Eurydice, and Achilles and Patroclus, to be reunited in the afterlife for eternity after the tragedies of their respective myths.
  • Tomes of Prophecy and Fate: The Fated List of Minor Prophecies is styled as a long scroll full of prophecies In-Universe.
  • Truly Single Parent:
    • Chaos is technically the single parent of everything, though Nyx in particular refers to them as both her father and her mother. Nyx herself is apparently the only parent of Thanatos and Hypnos, since Thanatos' codex entry describes him as "fatherless".
    • According to the Codex, gorgons and megagorgons were created when the blood of the original Medusa's head dripped onto the ground.
  • Twice-Told Tale: Finishing the story reveals that the whole game is a behind-the-scenes retelling of the Rape of Persephone. The well-known version of the story (Persephone being kidnapped by/eloping with Hades and eating pomegranate seeds that force her to stay in the underworld for some time, ultimately being responsible for the changing of the seasons) turns out to be a lie that she tells her family to placate them once she returns, because the actual truth is much messier.
  • The Underworld: The game's setting, which is divided into four parts: The abyssal Extranormal Prison Tartarus; Asphodel, which used to be a liveable limbo, but has since been flooded by the Phlegethon and turned into a Fire and Brimstone Hell; the Warrior Heaven of Elysium; and the Temple of Styx that serves as the gateway to the surface world.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Narrator sometimes delves into this.
    • This is especially obvious when he's talking about Cerberus in your first few encounters with him; the Narrator will describe him as a vicious, cold killer while the visuals onscreen show him plainly begging Zagreus to be petted.
    • Another good example comes at the beginning of the post-game. The narrator tells you, more or less, "You've seen the garden, just assume Zagerus tended to it after he beat Hades and got out". Once you start playing again and talk to Persephone, he directly contradicts this by pointing out out that he can no longer last long on the surface without Persephone herself up there.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Blood and darkness" is used as an all-purpose swear word. Zagreus tends to use it when frustrated, as does Thanatos and Hades, the latter especially when Zagreus beats Hades. He asks his father why Persephone left the Underworld, only for Hades to whisper the phrase before being sent back to his palace.
  • Vague Age: The game keeps the characters' ages—not only the chronological number, but also their physical maturity relative to each other—deliberately vague. According to Supergiant, this is both because Greek gods mature very idiosynchratically in myth and because nobody in the Underworld knows what damn time it is.
  • Vetinari Job Security: Charon, Nyx, and Thanatos all provide direct aid to Zagreus in his escapes, by selling goods, allowing permanent power-ups and alerting the Olympians, and assisting him in defeating enemies respectively. Hades can do nothing about this other than rage at them, as all three are either too important to the purpose of the Underworld to be locked away (Thanatos), too powerful in their own right (Nyx), or both (Charon).
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: While you are Easily Forgiven by the god you didn't choose during a Trial encounter, said god will start noticing if you repeatedly reject them; not only will they get less surprised at the insult (but more openly pissed at you), but their attacks will also get faster and their enemy summons become more dangerous... so keep that in mind if you're going to keep rejecting a god.
  • Video-Game Lives: Unlocking Death Defiance at the Mirror of Night will let Zagreus come back to life after dying. Athena has several Boons based around buffing Zagreus' Death Defiance as well as restoring spent uses of it.
  • Video Game Weapon Stats: There are various weapons that Zagreus can take with him during his escape attempts, each with their own different abilities. However, considering how the game's mechanics interact with each other, the below tropes only necessarily describe the default forms of the weapons. For example, an unmodified bow does most of its damage with slow attacks that require charging, but buff the special with at least one Zeus boon, and it allows for rapid-fire attacks that can have a crushing damage output.
    • The Sword: Jack-of-All-Stats. The Stygian Blade is the default weapon to get the hang of the controls; it has decent knockback, speed, range, damage, and crowd control, but it isn't the best at any one of those areas.
    • The Shield: Stone Wall. The Shield of Chaos allows Zag to charge up a dash move, and it's the only one of the weapons that can block (while charging the dash). But its attacks are weak, requiring good Boons and Hammer upgrades to rival the damage of other weapons.
    • The Bow: Mighty Glacier. The Heart-Seeking Bow is the slowest-to-fire projectile weapon, it can be fired in arcs for good crowd control, and its arrows pierce through enemies. As a trade-off, the arrows don't do much damage per hit unless charged up and fired at the right time.
    • The Spear: Fragile Speedster. The Eternal Spear has a longer range than other melee weapons, and a charge-up area-of-effect slice for crowds. However, the spear's regular attacks are focused on only one target unless upgraded. And while the spear can be thrown for long-range combat, Zag can't attack until he recalls it.
    • The Glove: Close-Range Combatant. The Fists of Malphon allow for a flurry of rapid-fire attacks, but each individual hit is weak. You also have to be up-close and personal to hit with it.
    • The Cannon: Mechanically-Unusual/Long-Range Fighter. The Adamant Rail allows for rapid-fire bullets and launching a massive area-of-effect bomb for big damage from a safe distance. However, while the gun has infinite ammo, both of its ammo types need to reload, preventing Zagreus from going all out with them. Also, Zagreus has to stand still for a while when attacking with the cannon, slowing down his movements. Finally, its attacks trigger the least amount of stun against foes, and has no knockback without upgrades from Poseidon's boons, encouraging Zagreus to stay further back than any of the other weapons to fight effectively without facing counter-attacks.
  • Villain Has a Point: Both Zagreus and Hades are bound to the Underworld and will die if they remain on the surface. There are several instances where it seems like Hades is about to just tell Zagreus this, but Zagreus blows him off before he can do so, until he eventually learns the hard way.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Tisiphone's special ability is reducing the size of the arena she's fought in, making the fight more and more claustrophobic the more damage she takes.
  • Warrior Heaven: The Fields of Elysium are inhabited by the shades of the heroic dead, those who fell while performing great feats worthy of the gods' attention. Needless to say, they spend their afterlife much as they did their lives, and gleefully pounce at the chance to defeat Zagreus on his way out.
  • Warts and All: The Olympian gods initially come across as helpful, larger than life and supportive. As the story continues and you're forced into trials of the gods or simply learn more about them either through dialogue or codex entries, you see their pettier sides. However, they are still trying to help and they're still Zagreus's family so the extended epilogue involves acknowledging them for who they are and helping to reconcile the Olympian and Chthonic gods, who have had a frosty relationship for many years.
  • Weird Sun: Hades mentions that Ixion and his wheel act as Tartarus' sun.
  • What Does She See in Him?:
    • This is naturally one of Zagreus's many questions to Persephone when they meet.
      Zagreus: So, essentially, you ran away from home to live with him? I mean no disrespect, but... did you realize what you were getting yourself into?
    • Zagreus is similarly baffled that Asterius is loyal to a man who's not only an insufferable blowhard, but also the one who killed him in life. Patroclus tells him there's simply No Accounting for Taste. When Theseus later starts feeling insecure at Zagreus's barbs, Asterius tells him to stop fussing over it since Zagreus doesn't even understand why he likes Theseus to begin with.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Attacking Cerberus in the Temple of Styx can result in Zagreus becoming disgusted at himself for the mere thought of hurting the dog.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Nyx's answer when Zagreus asks the not-so-hypothetical question of what would happen if he fought Charon to the death.
    Nyx: Why would you fathom such a ruinous idea, child?
    Zagreus: It.. kind of already happened.
  • Why Don't You Marry It?: Frustrated with his stubbornness, Megaera tells Zagreus that, if he's so in love with death, he ought to just bang Thanatos instead of constantly getting himself killed through his fruitless escape attempts. Considering how Thanatos says Megaera was the one who talked him into finally acting on his feelings for Zagreus, this may not be entirely sarcastic on her part.
  • World of Muscle Men: As one would expect for a game full of Greek gods, everyone has the body of one.
  • World of Snark: In between Zagreus, Hades, Megaera and Thanatos, snarkiness seems to run in the Chthonic gods on both sides of Zagreus' parentage. Some of the Olympians can get rather snarky about each other as well, particularly the ones known not to get along in Classical mythology.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: Many of the gods have hair in unusual colors, with the Olympian gods in particular having hair colors that correspond to their abilities. No one finds this unusual, likely because they aren't regular human mortals.
  • Wronski Feint: Certain enemies in Elysium (e.g. Flame Wheels, the Minotaur) will chase you around until you can make them crash into an obstacle by swerving or dashing through at the last second.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: The Aspect of Talos for the Twin Fists of Malphon upgrades the weapon's special attack into Magnetic Cutter, which can pull enemies closer. The ability is invaluable because the fists have the shortest default attack range. This effect sadly does not work on bosses, and it only works on some mini-bosses. They can become a version of a Yin-Yang Bomb with Poseidon's Tempest Flourish, first pulling a foe close, then immediately pushing them away.
  • Zerg Rush: Rats are the game's weakest enemies. To compensate, the game pitches a dozen of them at you whenever they appear.


Video Example(s):


Zagreus is Dionysus

A literal one. If Zagreus gains enough favor with Dionysus, Zagreus will end up telling Orpheus a tall tale that he and Dionysus are in fact the same person. In Classical Mythology, Zagreus was Dionysus' name before he was dismembered and resurrected. This version of the story comes from the Orphic Mysteries, which was supposedly founded by Orpheus. Therefore, the real joke of this gag is the implication that Orpheus founded an entire religion based on a prank.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / MythologyGag

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