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Video Game / Rise of the Argonauts

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Rise of the Argonauts is a Multi-Platform video game based off of the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, developed by Liquid Entertainment and published in 2008 by Codemasters.

When his bride-to-be Alceme is murdered, King Jason of Iolcus sets out to find the Golden Fleece, which is said to have the power to raise the dead. Apollo's oracle tells Jason that he must find the bloodlines of Ares, Athena, and Hermes to open the path to where the Fleece is located. Along the way he encounters and recruits powerful warriors and allies in his quest to resurrect his wife and defeat the dangerous madmen who threaten all of Greece.

Rise of the Argonauts is built around a conversation tree system similar to the one in Mass Effect, with choices drawing from the virtues of Ares, Athena, Apollo, and Hermes. The gods also have favored weapons, respectively the mace, spear, shield, and sword, all of which Jason carries into battle.

Tropes appearing in this game:

  • Absurd Cutting Power: Sword finishing attacks can bisect the target at the waist. Spear finishing attacks can include decapitation by shield strike.
  • Adaptational Badass: This Jason is even more formidable than his mythological counterpart, having the favor of four different gods instead of just Hera and being capable of beating Achilles which is something the original never did. His Argonauts, though fewer, are even more badass than the originals, as they include at least two powerful sorcerers, two Memetic Badass demigods, and the leader himself is blessed with the power of four different Gods!
  • Adaptational Villainy: Hecate in the original myths was a neutral-to-relatively pleasant goddess and sorceress who generally kept to herself and was close friends with both Demeter and Persephone. Here, she's a monstrous God of Evil who is scheming to use her human cultist followers to spawn an endless army of unholy monsters take over all of Earth.
  • Afterlife Avenger: Jason and his allies go through this trope against the Blacktongues when they arrive in Tartarus, aka the Greek equivalent of Hell. The Blacktongues worship the Goddess Hecate, see her realm Tartarus as their Heaven, and have stored the Golden Fleece there, which Jason needs to resurrect his murdered wife. This ends with Jason having to slay the Blacktongue bosses he killed during the events of the game once again in their own afterlives.
  • Alcohol Hic: One of the Silver Guard on Kythra was heavily inebriated when they all turned to stone. He wants mead!
  • All-Loving Hero: Apollo encourages employing compassion and understanding, and acting like this earns you his favor. Apollo believes an open mind is infinitely more powerful than a closed fist.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Pelias does to Iolcus by turning it into a Blacktongue stronghold after Jason leaves to retrieve the Golden Fleece, having slaughtered much of its inhabitants including many NPC and left their bodies scattered in the waters. Jason is tragically forced to give the various dead their last rights so their spirits will not linger before facing his uncle.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Nico confesses that he killed Diodorous on Kythra shortly after taking an Ionian spear through the gut.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Satyrs are depicted as this except for Pan. Pan admits all Satyrs including himself have an uncontrollable urge to fulfill their desires, but those desires don't have to be malicious and can be desires for wanderlust and adventure as demonstrated by Pan. This difference has made him an outcast to his own kind.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Doubling with Sadly Mythtaken, Daedalus throws King Minos' agent off by convincing him that he's fled to in the city founded by Alexander the Great, a historical figure who definitely did not live during the days of Classical Mythology.
    • Adding onto that, there's also Pytheas and Eratosthenes, more people who existed in history, and at some point Plato and possibly Homer were included in the game. Maybe the blend of historical and mythological history was intentional?
    • At the start of Mycenae, Sinon salutes Jason with a modern military salute. Said salute has its origins from Medieval knights raising their visors to reveal their faces.
  • And I Must Scream: It appears that the people on Kythra had some semblance of consciousness while turned to stone. Prometheus and Epimetheus are trapped in Tartarus and used to create the Blacktongues' constructs; Jason has to end their suffering to proceed.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Achilles. He's as arrogant as he is skilled and a consummate Fighting Narcissist. It's implied to be a result of knowing he is not fated to die until his big showdown in Troy.
  • Badass Creed: Followers of Hermes act according to a specific creed valuing wit and guile when handling adversity that is mentioned by Hermes himself: "Strength wanes. Beauty fades. Only wit grows day by day."
  • Barbarian Hero: Ares encourages employing forceful action and instinctual brutality, and acting like this earns you his favor. Ares believes a warrior who thinks long lives short and that only instincts should be trusted.
  • Battle of Wits: Phaedon's boss fight begins with a battle of rhetoric. After losing, he cuts to the chase and pulls a sword.
  • The Beastmaster: Nessus has managed to tame manticores. And Hepna'je. He's even called as such in the game.
  • The Blacksmith: Daedalus maintains the arms and armor of Mycenae's arena combatants. You can help him escape King Minos's minions and take him on as a crew member.
  • Blood Knight: Ares is depicted as one and his virtues lean toward might making right.
  • Canon Foreigner: Alceme appears nowhere in Classical Mythology as part of the Argonaut storyline.
  • Cool Ship: The Argo has space for everyone, a shrine to the gods, and a Bronze Age self-propulsion and direction mechanism.
  • Damsel in Distress: The action starts after Alceme is murdered, and the rest of the game is Jason trying to change that.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Medea. In an atypical example of this trope, however, you can learn it the first time you speak to her aboard the Argo after enlisting her: when she was only twelve, her father decided to marry her to a suitor who was sixty. When he came to her bed, she murdered him and ran. Then the Blacktongues found her, promising her power, so she joined their cult so she could gain dark sorcery powers; unfortunately, she eventually came to realize that she was becoming a thrall to the Blacktongues and their goddess Hecate. As she ruefully notes in the present, she was once again that twelve-year-old girl, but this time with a Titan slipping into her bed instead. This prompted her to defect from the Blacktongues.
  • Dark Is Evil: Hecate's followers are called Blacktongues and fittingly are associated with darkness with Medea being the exception. One clue that Pelias is one of them is that he wears black and looks positively sinister.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Jason's final opponent in his trial by combat is the undefeated arena champion Achilles.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Achilles joins the crew after completing Mycenae.
  • Defector from Decadence: A handful of Blacktongues desert their group and assist our heroes. The most prominent example is Medea, but Artemis is revealed to have been the daughter of two former Blacktongues too.
  • Determinator: Jason will walk through Tartarus to bring his wife back to life. Nobody that stands in his way does so for long.
  • Developer's Foresight: Normally, in order to complete a constellation in the Stars menu, you need to get all of the Feats in the constellation. However, you can't enlist Medusa and Perseus in the same playthrough, so the game will allow you to complete the Argo Navis constellation with one blank spot in the list.
  • Dialogue Tree: Each dialogue choice is split between four ways which reflect the character that the player wants Jason to have in the game and what God their character leans towards the most (i.e. Ares/Red - forceful and aggressive, Athena/Blue - lawful and strict, Apollo/Yellow - Compassionate and Loving, Hermes/ Green - Snarky and Inquisitive)
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Golden Fleece Armor maxes out Jason's attributes and gives him constant health regeneration. It also gives off a constant golden radiance that makes him look virtually divine.
  • Exact Words: When Jason finally fights Achilles in the arena, Achilles reminds Jason that he is not fated to die in Mycenae, but Jason counters that a protection from death doesn't make Achilles immune to defeat, though the fight is ultimately declared a draw.
  • The Fagin: The Stork, a crime boss on Mycenae, uses children to pick pockets and learn secrets.
  • Foreshadowing: When Jason makes him regent, Pelias tells him that any who would do harm to Iolcus will have to come through him. He says "come through me," not "go through me." He lets the Blacktongues and Ionians into Iolcus.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Spirits not given their last rites go through this according to Hermes, as their shades linger in the world until their minds degrade to nothing, essentially being brain-dead trapped ghosts forever. Hermes also warns that sometimes only certain people can issue the last rites for another and if that person dies before they can the spirit that needs it is doomed. This becomes a driving point for Jason, as he's the only one who can issue last rites to his wife Alceme, meaning he either gets the Golden Fleece and brings her back to life entirely or dies in the process, losing Alceme forever.
    • Prometheus and Epimetheus suffer this due to Hecate. They were cast down to Tartarus and Hecate promised them safe refuge. Instead she sealed them up painfully to be used as Human Resources by her Blacktongue servants to produce monsters out of Prometheus' constantly flowing blood and Epimetheus' breath. It's no wonder they both end up begging Jason for a Mercy Kill the first chance they get.
  • God of Evil: Hecate all the way along with being a Satanic Archetype. Payments for her services include extensive human sacrifice and a butt-load of pain. Just look at her psychotic Blacktongue followers.
  • God of Good: The gods (or at least Hermes and Apollo) are pretty amicable and willingly bestow their favors to help humanity. Hermes particularly stands out due to spending the most time around mortals as it was his plan as a Greater-Scope Hero to keep the Golden Fleece on Earth that made resurrecting Alceme and the events of the game possible.
  • Good is Not Nice: Though helpful to Jason, Ares and Athena are definitely the least amicable of the Gods. Ares is as bloodthirsty and brutal as he was in any mythological background, while Athena, though wise, has a bad tendency to give Disproportionate Retribution to those she thinks have offended her and many of her worshipers have outright called her ruthlessly strict. However, Athena still prescribes to her five virtues of Wisdom, Justice, Courage, Discipline, and Humility. Even Jason's ally, Achilles, is known to be crass and tactless as opposed to his more courteous allies.
  • Guile Hero: Hermes encourages employing diplomacy and cunning, and acting like this earns you his favor.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Finishing off an enemy via slashing by the waist will halve them instantly.
  • The Hecate Sisters: An interesting variation: in Rise of the Argonauts, Hecate herself doesn't fit, but the Oracle, while always looking like a young girl, changes between three different "voices" that match the maiden, matron, and crone aspects of this trope, and changes her pose to match: when she speaks as the little girl, or "maiden", she appears to be, she clasps her hands behind her back. When she speaks as a mature woman, or "matron", she confidently stands with her hand on her hip. When she speaks as an old woman, or "crone", she hunches over.
  • Heroes Fight Barehanded: Hercules punches and wrestles enemies to death. Since he's the World's Strongest Man, it's quite effective.
  • Hitchhiker Heroes: The Argonauts are an unorthodox bunch of skilled, strange, and helpful individuals who joined Jason's quest either out of glory, adventure, or simply out of friendship.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Bolo, an orphan on Mycenae, has an atrocious song/sales pitch. Sitting through the whole thing is a deed worthy of the gods.
  • Home-Run Hitter: Occasionally, mace finishing blows will knock the target's ragdoll a ridiculous distance.
  • Honor Before Reason: Some Kythrans take Athena's virtues as irrefutable laws.
  • Instant Runes: Medea and the Blacktongues can create these for their magic, and Jason can make them when channeling the power of the Gods.
  • Insufferable Genius: Phaedon, of the philosophical variety. He's also an Evil Genius, as it's eventually revealed that it was Phaedon who stole the Golden Fleece from Athena's temple and gave it to the Blacktongues.
  • Jerk Jock: Achilles is the undefeated champion of the Mycenae arena. It's the only thing he's got going for him and he milks it for all it's worth before he leaves.
  • Kick the Dog: Near the end of your quest, a Blacktongue sneaks onto the Argo and kills Argos. Just Argos. He could have attacked anyone else, but decided to gut the old shipwright and leave his body on display.
  • Kill the God: Jason does this to Epimetheus and Prometheus, the Titan creators of mankind and the Earth's animals, at their behest.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: some characters have names from classical myth but don't appear to actually be those characters (e.g. Pandora is a fortuneteller on Iolcus).
  • Oracular Urchin: Apollo's current oracle appears to be a young girl.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • To a lesser extent, Athena-favoured choices can also result in this, since Athena favors "just" choices, which in general means "doing the right thing." Of course sometimes "doing the right thing" means declaring someone guilty, but when it doesn't, Athena choices can also pet the dog.
  • The Power of Love: Pan believes in this, as he mentions in a couple of conversations, but he is also aware that love doesn't always lead to happy endings.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Inverted with Medea, who was Jason's love interest in the myths. Here, she is an uneasy ally while he is in love with someone else entirely. Though she can open up about her past to him, they never actually form a bond and he remains faithful to his love Alceme.
  • Raised by Natives: Orphaned after her parents were killed, Atalanta was taken in by the Nysiros centaurs.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Pan mentions he has at least a century of age for every finger on his hand, making him at the very least 800 years old as he's spent much of the time Walking the Earth.
  • Religion of Evil: The Blacktongues are essentially one in as a Greek version of Hollywood Satanism, essentially being a cult of dangerous assassins who use dark magic, blood magic, and human sacrifice in service of their Goddess Hecate, who they believe will overthrow the Olympian Gods and usher a paradise in Tartarus (aka the Greek version of Hell).
  • Rule of Three: Three bloodlines, three weapons, three battles in the arena (twice).
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character: After completing the Kythria quest, either Perseus or Medusa will join your ship, depending on whether you killed Medusa during her boss fight, which causes Perseus to join you, or whether you destroyed her statue instead, causing Medusa to realize the error of her ways, which causes Medusa to join you.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: The spear, sword, and mace are each strong against one and weak against another.
  • Taken for Granite: Everyone on Kythra was turned to stone in the middle of an Ionian attack.
  • The Philosopher: Pan fulfills the role in this game. He can be heard at times reciting poetry about the journeys of others or even himself and other times he is seen giving enigmatic philosophical advice about the challenges and questions Jason will face.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The boss of Saria is killed using all of Jason's weapons: crushing his weapon hand with the mace, slipping a spear between his ribs, and finally sending a sword through his throat and decapitating him. Hermes deems this to be awesome enough to warrant a statue.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: The difference between Athena and Apollo, with Athena leaning more towards Lawful while Apollo is more about Good.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Medea. Although she is not overtly malevolent per say, she still has been influenced by the Goddess Hecate and can utilize some pretty sinister magic as a former member of the Blacktongues.
  • Trailers Always Lie: the trailer shows Jason confronting an enormous angry rock-man. It's Prometheus, who only wants Jason to end his suffering.
  • Trial by Combat: King Lycomedes of Mycenae forces Jason to fight in the arena to prove that Alceme's death is not his fault. The first trial puts him in the arena alongside Pytheas, a debtor. If Pytheas survives, his debts are forgiven and he decides to leave Mycenae.
  • Vapor Wear: Medea, Medusa, and Atalanta clearly wear nothing under their dress and skirt.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Some Blacktongues have the power to change into crows.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: In an interesting variation of this trope, each of the patron gods has a lot of "feats" related to a different weapon. The list, as follows:
    • Apollo and Hermes have a lot of sword feats (though some of Hermes' more passive feats work just as well with spears, and Apollo's feats also tend to strengthen your shield).
    • Ares has a lot of mace feats.
    • Athena has a lot of spear feats.