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Video Game / Herc's Adventures

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Herc's Adventures is a Classical Mythology-based video game released for the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn by LucasArts Entertainment in 1997. The PlayStation release was international, but the Sega Saturn version was exclusive to North America.

Spring is booming in Ancient Greece. Flowers, plants and all kinds of life are growing thanks to the efforts of Persephone, goddess of spring. Everything is fine and dandy until Hades, being the party pooper that he is, kidnaps her to turn Greece into a winter wasteland where eventually everybody will die so he can fill up Hell. Zeus finds himself rather short on heroes for this one since only three of his usual guys are still alive: Hercules, Jason and Atlanta.

It's up to one (or two if someone picks up the second controller) of these guys to go save Persephone, which won't be easy since their Ancient Greece is... rather weird, with sheep-eating cyclopses, laser-spewing giant boars, lasergun-toting aliens, blood-thirsty soldiers and Amazons and a variety of weapons and items plain crazy such as magic voodoo dolls, healing gyros or garbage.

In many ways, from the style of gameplay to its offbeat sense of humor, it can be considered a Spiritual Successor to Zombies Ate My Neighbors. The Martians from that game even feature prominently.

This Video Game contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Atlanta and the Amazons, who're tougher than the soldiers you can meet on the mainland and in Crete.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Hera and Athena. In real life, many of their statues and representations look like this or this; in this game, they look the same... with 200 more pounds and some ugly makeup.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Inverted with Cerberus. In his case, you are the Advancing Boss of Doom since he blocks a large and very long corridor and your attacks make him slowly back off.
  • Aerith and Bob: As JonTron was quick to point out, compared to the other playable characters, Jason is just a regular name.
  • And Call Him "George": The Big Amazon's main form of attack consists of hugging the character and squeezing them tightly, and they also find them cute apparently. The fact that they're several times the size of the playable characters and have metal breastplates doesn't help.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The gods will always give you a special key as a reward for their quests, no matter how hard said quest wasnote .
  • Apathetic Citizens: Played with. Most people won't lift a finger to help you in your quest save for the merchants and the trainers, but everybody will react if you or an enemy hits them. Their reaction is... To ask you to stop hitting them or vaguely threaten you.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Talos (not that one) is immune to all your attacks except for headshots... Which will make him drop his helmet and reveal said weakpoint: a cartoon target painted on his ass.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Voodoo dolls shrink down all the enemies on the screen and reduce them to a whooping 1 HP. The problem is that they're rarer than rare and the only guy who sells them wants 4 "abundance horns" (gyros) for one. At their cheapest, gyros cost 2 gold. And gold (available only as single coins) is incredibly rare as a loot from fallen enemies.
  • Big Eater: Highly implied that Hera's so fat because she ate all her cows.
  • Big Good: Zeus, natch. He is even present on the Character Select screen every time a new game begins.
    • Number Two: While Zeus does point out seeking the aid of Hera, Athena, and Dionysus, the closest to this is Poseidon, as he is the one to chime in about not giving the Golden Fleece to Hades, rather than Zeus.
  • Boss Corridor: Where you fight Cerberus. The corridor ends in a cliff above a pit of lava where the boss will fall once his healthbar is empty.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: You can find and use Zeus' lightning as a secondary weapon. It can also happen should you use the Box of Pandora.
  • Boring, but Practical: Javelins and bombs. They do a fair amount of damage even against late-game enemies, are easily found anywhere and have a decent rate of fire.
  • Breath Weapon: The giant boar's super-attack is spitting a giant laser at you. You can do it too with the Mint Candies and the Hot Peppers, giving you respectively a frost breath and a fire breath. You can also find pebbles that you can spit out at will.
  • Catapult to Glory: You can find catapults or trebuchets that will, well, catapult you somewhere around the map. Some will send you just a few meters away; others, like the one in Athens or at the edge of the world, will send you continents away.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: You can increase your action points to the point of being capable of lifting whole houses and giant boulders and stuff... by training under a muscleman for about five seconds.
  • Continuity Nod: In the game intro, you see Hercules fighting (read: holding in a chokehold and punching silly) the Nemean Lion. In the game, his sprite wears a cape made of the lion's pelt.
  • Cosmic Chess Game: The prologue shows Zeus and Hades playing such a game between monsters and heroes... and Zeus is losing badly, as the three playable characters are the only pieces he still has.
  • Damsel in Distress: Persephone has been kidnapped by Hades to ensure an eternal winter, and must be rescued.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Defeating regular or Amazonian soldiers doesn't kill them, it just makes their armor fall off and leaves them in their underwear, in which state they're too embarrassed to fight anymore.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Subverted. Hades is actually a robot that is being controlled by ray-gun wielding Martians.
  • Drop-In Nemesis: Hades the god will sometimes pop out of Hades the underworld to taunt you over your quest and the laughable missions the gods assign to you.
  • Enemy Chatter: Almost every enemy has a few lines of dialogue, ranging from taunts to orders; for example, when you see a group of humans soldiers and one of them says "Get them!", the group will spread before attacking you. The most memorable being the "I'm gonna mess you up!" said by skeletons during their suicide attack.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Hades is the villain of the game who kidnaps Persephone so everyone on Earth will die and fill up the Underworld. Subverted in the end. You're actually fighting a robot alien disguising as Hades, the real Hades is... nowhere to be seen.
  • Everybody Loves Zeus: Zeus is the Big Good of the game.
  • Evil Laugh: Hades has an interesting version of it.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Minotaur in spades. "I smell dinner."
    • Inverted with Cerberus, as the head that speaks uses a high-pitched voice.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: The dreaded Pan enemies will use their magical flutes to hypnotize your hero and force them to dance, making them lose HP for a while. Defeating the Pan is a priority.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Hades is this, plus skeletons and cynic dead people.
  • Forced Transformation: Circe's potion will transform you into a pig, allowing you to go inside certain small caves. You can meet Circe herself surrounded by a pack of sleeping pigs.
  • Fragile Speedster: Atlanta. While she has low health and stamina, she can sprint for longer than the other two guys, and always attacks from a distance.
  • Full-Boar Action: You can meet either small, annoying piglets running out of bushes or the two giant boar bosses, who can eat you whole or spit out giant lasers.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: The two giant boars and the Minotaur, due to the fact that you fight them in a labyrinth (a lush forest for the boars, the real Labyrinth for the Minotaur). Medusa counts too since she spends a lot of time flying around the Edge of the World.
  • Giant Mook: The giant Amazons, the big guards, and the Cyclopes.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: If you have at least 20 stamina left, you can pick up certain enemies (namely, the soldiers, the skeletons and the Amazons) and throw them at your enemies. If they hit an enemy, a pool of water or the outside of the areas you can walk on, it's a One-Hit Kill; else, the enemy just get back on his/her feet and acts as if nothing happened.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Those altar-like things surrounded by columns that you see around? Well, if you perform certain actions (like defeating specific enemies or hitting a specific target in the map) you can either obtain gold or even a Heart Container. Good luck though knowing what you have to do exactly to activate these altars, and which altar you activate without using a guide.
    • Finding the flamethrowers is a pain if you don't know where to look since the only clue you'll ever have about where they are is that "they make fire weapons in Crete". They're actually in a hidden part of the Labyrinth that only opens after giving the Minotaur's Head to Poseidon.
  • Hartman Hips: Atlanta and Circe. The latter in particular shows them off since she's lying on her sofa.
  • Harping on About Harpies: They appear in Colchis, and they can shoot beams of light.
  • Hell Is That Noise: During her fight, Medusa will let out a very loud shriek so distorted you'll wonder if your console isn't glitching.
  • Helpful Mook: Those large soldiers in Sparta can occasionally work in you favour by smashing walls open with their attacks, allowing you to reach otherwise locked areas without using precious keys.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The Hydra is Nigh-Invulnerable without some flamethrowers.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Eating gyros restore health.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The crazy old hags will try to chew you if they catch you.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Medusa's head. When you wield it, it allows you to fire a petrifying ray, which is a One-Hit Kill on any enemy that isn't a boss or a Giant Mook. Too bad you have to give it to Athena to progress into the plot.
  • Jack of All Stats: Jason is the most average of the heroes in terms of health, stamina and sprint endurance.
  • Jerkass Gods: Played with: Zeus is quite confident in your abilities to stop Hades, Poseidon warms up to you after you kill the Minotaur, and even Hades wants to give you a place in his army of the dead. On the other hand, Athena and Hera are skeptical of you. The former makes you face the dangerous Medusa and seems disappointed that you came back alive, while the latter chides you for expecting a great reward just for bringing back a cow. Dionysus is too worried (and drunk) about his grapes to be an ass.
  • Joke Item: Garbage. It does 1 damage to enemies and has a pitiful range. Still, several players with low stamina find it useful against the Minotaur, who takes only 1 damage from any attack if you don't have enough stamina to throw his axe in his face (the only way to really hurt him).
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Hera has a Brooklyn accent for no real reason, while Dionysus has an Irish accent since he's a drunkard.
  • Kid Hero: Jason is noticeably younger than Herc and Atlanta, but Zeus is just as willing to trust him.
  • Lady Land: The land of the Amazons is devoid of men (except for the prisoners and a single scribe) and a huge sign before the entrance states that "No Men allowed beyond this point. Or Atlanta".
  • Large and in Charge: All the Gods are much bigger than people, and in case of most of them, quite fat too.
  • Large Ham: Hercules in particular.
  • MacGuffin Guardian: The Hydra (guarding the sacred Grapes) and the Colchis Serpent guarding the Golden Fleece, both of which you have to defeat.
  • Marathon Boss: The Serpent in Colchis takes a lot of time to be defeated, as you have to destroy each of his segments plus his head twice, and since it just keep moving and spawning snakes it takes a while.
  • Mighty Glacier: Hercules. He has the highest base health and stamina of the three characters (enough to lift houses and boulders in the beginning of the game) and his stamina drops more slowly when carrying heavy items, but drains quickly when he sprints.
  • Mooks: On the human side, we have recolored soldiers for each big city (notably Sparta and Athens) and the Amazons. On the non-human side, we have skeletons, Little Green Men, wood nymphs armed with handguns, etc.
  • Multishot: By holding down the fire button, Atlanta can fire three to six arrows from her bow in a single shot.
  • Oh, Crap!: Zeus has this reaction in the beginning upon seeing that he has only three pieces left on his chessboard (the three heroes) while Hades has an incredible number of miniatures left.
  • Out of Continues: Each time you die, you go to Hell and have to fight your way back through large groups of skeletons to reach the exit and pop up right where you were (at the start of a boss' arena if you died fighting one), Die when you're in Hell or too many times in the world (6) and it's the Game Over screen... which is just a platform surrounded by walls and a big door, with "Game Over" written on the ground, Persephone saying that you lost and Hades laughing at you. When you go to Hell with the Golden Fleece, you can reach that platform; except this time, the door will be open, leading you to Cerberus.
  • Piranha Problem: The seas and some rivers are chock full of man-eating carnivorous fish that will mess you up unless you have a ton of bombs, forcing you to take a galley to travel (or find a catapult).
  • Platform Battle: You fight Medusa at the edge of the world. One false step or the ground crumbling under you and kiss one life goodbye!
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Hercules' club, which he can throw and return, but it has three major weaknesses: it takes some time to be fully charged, it flies in a single direction and Hercules must stay immobile for the duration of the attack.
  • Race Lift: Jason is either this or has one hell of a tan.
  • Rain of Arrows: Atlanta's charged attack. It's also incredibly useful as it allows her to hit targets that normally require a thrown item or bomb to be hit.
  • Schmuck Bait: Hades promises you a "big" reward if you give him the Golden Fleece. No fake. If you do, he'll give you a key that opens a door near his shrine leading to a health bonus. What he doesn't tell you is that if you do that, you make the game impossible to finish since you can't enter Hell without the Fleece. Unless you know where to find the secret area where Hades keep his stolen stuff... which includes the Fleece.
  • Segmented Serpent: The Guardian of the Golden Fleece. You first have to remove his scales by attacking each green segment until it turns brown. Later you have to attack again each segment until it's Stripped to the Bone, hence defeated.
  • Spam Attack: Talos, when his HP starts reaching a certain level, runs around and throws a ton of bombs all over the place.
  • Special Attack: Plenty:
    • Skeletons jump on you bash you on the head before collapsing.
    • Human enemies throw their javelins at you, even when they're off-screen.
    • The giant boars swallow you whole, which drains your health until you hit them enough from the inside.
    • Cyclopes grab you and, depending on what they caught, smash you into the ground (players) or devour you (sheeps and NPCs).
  • Spell My Name With An S: Atlanta is spelled as such, which made her sound like the capital of Georgia, USA. Her usual spelling is 'Atalanta' (with an 'a' between the t and l) or 'Atalante'.
  • Sprint Meter: Actually both the Sprint and the Strength meter; stamina is used for sprinting, strength is used to determine if you can lift up and throw some items in the game depending of the amount in the meter (20 for humanoid enemies, 70 for houses and boulders, 100 for giant boulders). And to highlight the difference between the three characters, the stamina meter drops at a different rate depending on your hero (Atalanta has the lowest drop speed, followed by Jason, then Hercules).
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: The Minotaur loses only 1 HP to any of your attacks and is immune to the Labyrinth traps; the only weapon than can truly damage him is his own two-headed battleaxe. Which he conveniently throws at you quite often, leaving you plenty of opportunities to grab it and throw it in his face.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The real culprits behind Persephone's kidnapping are the aliens mooks you encounter in Egypt; Hades is just a robot they created.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Hercules, obviously.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The one near Lerna has the Hydra living there, the one in Macedonia has another giant boar, plus bees and lots of skeletons.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: In Egypt, you can meet a hobo named Bobby who'll ask you if you can spare some change. Talking with him will deduct one gold from your inventory. Fast-forward a few hours and in the Amazon's land, you'll meet another hobo. If you gave a coin to Bobby, there will be several useful items in front of him and he'll say "Bobby says thanks for the gold." Of course, if you ignored Bobby, you'll find nothing.
  • Visual Pun: The Password you'll be asked for in certain areas? Is literally a piece of paper with "word" written on it.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Not a literal boss battle, but the very first enemy you stumble across after descending from the starting mountain is a Cyclops. Which is very dangerous to fight, has around 100 HP and is fought when you'll be short on secondary weapons to throw at him. Hercules though can at least throw huts and boulders at him and a nearby NPC will sell you bombs for a few gold coins conveniently dropped by the sheep the cyclops is throwing at you.
  • Weapon Specialization: While you can find a ton of equipments ranging from javelins to bombs including garbage, laser guns and voodoo dolls, each of the heroes has a main weapon and a Charged Attack: Hercules has his club which he can throw like a boomerang when charged, Jason a dagger (substitutes it for a sling when charged) and Atlanta has her bow (which can lauch a Rain of Arrows as a charged attack).