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Video Game / Hades

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Where do you think you are? Who do you think you're talking to? Nobody gets out of my domain - whether alive or dead. You wish to learn the hard way? Fine, then go. Get out. Don't let me stop you.

Hades is an upcoming isometric Roguelike Action RPG developed by Supergiant Games. The game follows Zagreus, Prince of the Underworld and son of Hades himself, in his attempts to leave the underworld, or die trying. And he will die, again and again and... you get the point.

Development of the game began less than a month after the release of Supergiant's previous title, Pyre, and received a surprise Early Access release - a first for the company - after being revealed at 2018's Game Awards on December 6. The game is currently exclusive to the Epic Games Store for the duration of its Early Access period, but has been said to 'eventually' be available on a variety of platforms afterwards.

The Early Access trailer can be viewed here.


The game provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Hades never lets an opportunity to brutally mock and belittle Zagreus pass, and summons even more shades to try and get Zagreus killed in the game's timed survival rooms. Occasionally, before a run begins Zagreus will remember things Hades has said to him in the past, and few of them are pleasant.
    Hades "How dare you, boy! Learn well to shut that foolish mouth of yours, or I shall shut it for you!"
  • Action Girl: The Furies. They can, and will kick your ass further back down the Underworld.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: All three Fury sisters have light blue skin, as does Hypnos, who isn't technically related to any of them.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Ares, Athena and Dionysus are the darkest-skinned members of the cast, even compared to the other Olympian gods.
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  • Big, Friendly Dog: Cerberus loves Zagreus to the point of having destroyed the lounge when he left on his first attempt to leave the underworld, and is loyal to Hades as well; it's even speculated in the game's Codex that Cerberus is the 'sole source of comfort' for Hades.
  • Bi the Way: Not unusual for Greek mythical figures, but Zagreus is all-but-stated to have been romantically involved with Megaera the Fury prior to the game, and can show an interest in Achilles, his mentor.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: To be expected with a game based around one of the oldest examples of the trope, the Greek pantheon. 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.
    • Zeus loans Zagreus his assistance mostly because his brother Hades never so much as calls.
    • Hades treats Zagreus's constant attempts to escape the underworld the same way an exasperated father might treat a rebellious teen acting out via mischief and sneaking out.
    • The narrator laments that not only does Zagreus never tidy his room, he's also asked that the maid of the house not tidy it either.
    • Poseidon complains that his brother was always the difficult sort, which is why he's aiding you.
    • Ares is helping you as a "fellow student of Death," much like hobbyists assisting each other for a face-to-face meeting.
    • Aphrodite, appropriately enough, has zero qualms about making suggestive to outright blatant flirtations with Zagreus. Understandable, considering this is the Greek Pantheon we're talking about, but still squicky.
  • Blood Knight: To the surprise of absolutely no-one, Ares is one of these. The shades of the Elysian Fields (except Patroclus and Theseus) also oppose Zagreus due to wanting a glorious battle, and not because they're forced to like the shades of Tartarus and the Aspodel Plains.
  • 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 he was led to believe.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: Hades' work boils down to this, with a massive amount of paperwork to fulfill. There's so much of it, in fact, that the area around his desk and even the house's lounge is buried in scrolls of paperwork.
  • 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. Zagreus will even point out that he's flame-''resistant'', not flame-''proof''. Justified in that he's a demigod native to the Underworld.
  • 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.
    • Zagreus himself is a straighter example, being a likable if sarcastic guy who readily befriends everyone in the Underworld.
    • 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 due to It Amused Me.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Zagreus, in spades. Upon dying and respawning, he mutters to himself a variety of lines, including "Well, time to go get killed again." Dialog with Hades reveals it's inherited.
  • Dem Bones: The aptly-named Skelly appears out of nowhere and offers his services as Zagreus's training dummy; he claims to be on Hades' payroll, but Zagreus is doubtful. He's rather more silly than his enemy counterparts, the also-aptly-named Bloodless found in Asphodel.
  • 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.
  • 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 stood somewhere else so as not to lock you out of interacting with her.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Invoked when reaching the end of current content; the author says that he can't actually talk about that yet, and just says that Zagreus died again for whatever reason. In the Beefy update, after defeating Theseus and making his way out of Elysium, Hades outright says that the pitch-blackness outside the door causes Zagreus to accidentally trip, cracks his head on a wall, and die.
  • Easily Forgiven: Certain rooms gives 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 favour. Dionysus, in particular, will entirely have forgotten why he was mad at you in the first place.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Zagreus will always reload the Adamant Rail with a satisfying "CHK-CHK."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Equipment Upgrade: Done with the hammer of Daedalus himself! The player is given a choice between 3 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.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Downplayed. Overall, 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. His brethren's Titan-slaying days are over, and with that his contact with them. Still, Hades isn't even close to downright evil, and meanwhile the other gods are happy to help their nephew (if only to spite their brother/uncle, in some cases).
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Primordial Chaos, the entity which existed before everything else in the world and from which all else sprung, takes this a step further with multiple faces and even what appears to be a fetus growing from their body. They also have a Third Eye on their forehead which has two ''smaller' eyes embedded in it.
  • Godiva Hair: Aphrodite is depicted as a nude woman draped in jewelry, with her hair covering only the bare essentials.
  • Happily Adopted: Zagreus towards Nyx, after it's revealed that Hades had her believe she was his mother instead of Persephone. His giving her a bottle of Ambrosia mentions it's as thanks for all she's done for him, and she was planning to give him her keepsake anyway. She even continues to refer to him as her child after the reveal.
  • Interactive Narrator: Downplayed. Zagreus will occasionally make short responses to the narrator's descriptions.
    Zagreus: You know I can hear you, old man.
  • In the Hood: As the game is still in Early Access, several of the characters use placeholder art depicting them in hooded robes with hidden faces.
  • Isometric Projection: Much like Supergiant's previous games, Hades uses 3D models against hand-painted, tile-based backgrounds.
  • 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).
    • Whatever happened to Persephone, she's treated at least a peg better than her mythological counterpart. Here, she gets to leave Hades... seemingly forever, for so long that her son forgets who his mother is. At least she isn't presently being trapped between life and death to mimic the seasons like in myth.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Asphodel Meadows, a handful of barren islands of rock surrounded by eternally bubbling and spitting lava. As mentioned above, 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).
  • Making a Splash: Should Poseidon grant you a boon, you get several ocean themed powers which tend to knockback and enemies into each other and environmental hazards, and are even able to do the iconic "surfing on your own personal wave."
  • Mismatched Eyes: Zagreus's right and left eyes are red and green respectively; it's unclear whether it's an effect of the constant shadow seen on that side of his face, but it's possible his right eye also has blackened sclera.
  • Mook Maker: Skullomats, which produce Numbskulls infinitely until dealt with.
  • 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.
  • Named Weapons: Each of the weapons 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; and the bow is Coronacht, the Heart-Seeking Bow.
  • Pet the Dog: Both figuratively and literally! You can give Ambrosia to Cerberus, the Hades' family's pet dog and guardian of the Underworld; the House's long-suffering maid, Dusa; long-suffering souls like Sisyphus; and even some of the bosses you defeat.
  • 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.
  • Power at a Price: Chaos' boons, unlike the other gods, require you to labour under a penalty for three rooms before the positive effects manifest. They also randomize the next room you enter.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Megaera the Fury is one of the bosses, but she's actually pretty close friends with Zagreus and heavily implied to be mutually attracted to him; 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.
  • 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.
  • Relationship Values: The various NPCs in the House of Hades, as well as the Olympian gods, can be given bottles of ambrosia as a gift. In return, they will each give Zagreus a "keepsake" that he can equip for special effects within Tartarus.
  • 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).
  • 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 the player to better 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.
  • Shock and Awe: As one might expect from the God of Thunder himself, all of Zeus's boons revolve around giving Zagreus the power to unleash lightning on his foes in various forms.
  • Shot Guns Are Just Better: The Adamant Rail can be upgraded into a double-barreled shotgun, and it is about as effective to mostly melee, mobbing enemies as you might expect. It helps that the shots pierce.
  • 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.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Achilles was employed by Hades to teach Zagreus the ways of combat. Zagreus can give Achilles multiple bottles of Ambrosia as gifts, to which Achilles responds by letting him down gently as even so long after his death, Achilles' heart still belongs to Patroclus, making this one an averted trope.
  • Universal Poison: Dionysus boons revolve around inflicting poison damage. One has to assume it's infusing Zagreus' weapons with undiluted ancient Greek wine, with the hangover immediately afterward.
  • Verbal Backpedaling: After accidentally revealing that Nyx is not Zagreus' mother, Persephone is through his narration, the narrator quickly offers up a poor replacement paragraph that mentions Zagreus totally discovered that on his own.


Example of: