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  • Annoying Video Game Helper: The tutorials pop-ups are very... thorough in their controls assistance. Made worse by their tendency to appear a significant period of time after the player already figured out whatever they're mentioning and the inability to skip past them for several seconds.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Medusa herself is the very first Gorgon enemy Kratos fights, but she is no stronger than any of the generic Gorgon enemies met later on. The only difference is that she's pink.
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  • Breather Level: Pandora's Temple alternates between "maddeningly difficult" and "relaxingly easy"; the former describes most of the area's obstacle runs, the latter, most of the puzzles.
  • Complete Monster: In the novelization by Matthew Stover and Robert E. Vardeman:
    • Ares is an insane, sadistic deity who kickstarts the entire plot with his ambition. Turning the warrior Kratos into his corrupted weapon, Ares uses Kratos to pave a path of blood and death across Greece, killing untold thousands in horrific massacres before tricking Kratos into murdering his own family to destroy the last of his humanity. After Kratos betrays him and allies with Athena, Ares—who enjoys spending his free time killing hundreds of humans at a time for fun—wages war on the city of Athens, killing entire forest populations on his way to destroy Athens. Setting Athens aflame as he sends his hordes to kill everyone inside the city, children included, Ares personally slaughters countless fleeing civilians before being confronted by a vengeful Kratos, who Ares proceeds to Mind Rape with images of his dead family. Upon obtaining Pandora's Box, Ares boasts his plans to use it on Olympus itself, hoping to kill his father Zeus and sister Athena before subjugating all of existence under his mad boot.
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    • Medusa is far worse than her video game counterpart. The queen of the Gorgons who is supplying Ares with Gorgon forces to help with his slaughter of Athens, Medusa keeps tortured slaves under her thrall, many of whom she blinds and has sex with. Medusa's vile nature is fully revealed as it is seen she regularly has her servants cook human infants for her to devour as a meal, and when a disgusted Kratos tries to kill her for this crime that horrifies even him, Medusa ends up murdering one of her own slaves in a blind anger.
  • First Installment Wins: Story wise, the first game is best remembered, by fans that care about the plot, with the later games being divisive.
  • It Was His Sled: Kratos having accidentally killed his family was a big revelation halfway through the first game. It's become common knowledge and other games, even prequels, outright spoil that incident in the opening.
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  • Moral Event Horizon: Ares crossed it when he tricked Kratos into killing his family, all because he wanted Kratos to be a perfect warrior.
  • Most Annoying Sound: "What are you doing? Athens crumbles as you waste time!"
  • That One Boss: The final fight against the eponymous God of War is a nightmare on any difficulty other than medium, plus it's a two-parter with an extremely difficult War of the Clones wedged in between. Pure evil.
    • The War of the Clones part deserves elaboration. You're fighting a Battle in the Center of the Mind against Kratos doppelgangers who are trying to kill your wife and daughter. You can restore their health by hugging them to transfer your health to them, but that leaves you vulnerable to attacks which will also damage your family. At any given time, there are seven clones on-screen, and they respawn a LOT. If you get hit by any one of them, it breaks your combo. If you get grappled or knocked down even once, it wastes precious seconds, during which the clones quickly slaughter your family. Even on normal difficulty its easy to lose this fight if you're not paying attention to Kratos' family's health bar. On God mode it's nearly impossible.
  • That One Level:
    • Hades is a rare That One Level that's actually Hell. There's very little combat, and Kratos has to carefully tiptoe across long, rotating beams with blades. Getting hit by said blades will send Kratos straight into a Bottomless Pit. And once you manage to make it across those, there's the same thing, vertically. It's not quite as bad, since getting hit by the blades doesn't instantly kill you, but it does send you all the way back down to the bottom. The extras disc for God of War II reveals that the Hades level was the only one that wasn't play tested, hence the difficulty.
    • Some people find every obstacle course and puzzle sequence in the game to be an irritating sequence. They worked fine and all, but they were damn hard/annoying. Especially outrunning those spike walls, and dragging that cage up the mountain.
      • The worst was where you had to move a box along a floor in a certain time limit, or else spikes would come out of the floor and instantly kill you. Even some players declare this level even harder than the above Hades sections.
    • The confrontation with three Cyclopses early in the Athens Town Square map. On easier difficulties it's merely annoying, but on Hard and Very Hard, it becomes ridiculously frustrating and unfair, unlike the rest of the game which is hard but fair.
    • The "final" final boss fight is a nightmare. You are stripped of your weapons and magic and given a thoroughly useless one which appends unnecessary flourishes to everything, whilst fighting a boss who hits fast and hits hard.
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