Underneath my yellow skin

Hades NOT-plat run and, let’s say, 7 tips for n00bs

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Two is better than one!

Hi, my name is Minna and I’m addicted to Hades. Every time I think I’m done, I get sucked back in. Most of the time, it’s the lore. Oh, consider this whole post spoilers of some sort. In the beginning, spoilers for the very end game. Then, spoilers for techniques and whatnot. In general, spoilers abound.

About a week ago, I realized that I had most of the achievements for Hades. Not surprising, really, given how much I’ve been playing it. Which is roughly 165 hours. You know what’s bizarre to me? I just passed the amount of time I put into Dead Cells (and got nowhere near this far), which was about 150 hours. I just checked. It was 127 hours. Still. It’s 1/5th the amount of time I put into Nuclear Throne. And, let’s not talk about how much I’ve played Binding of Isaac.

Anyway, more lore! I found out that everyone is shagging everyone else in the game. Megaera has slept with Thanatos and Hypnos (brothers!), and it’s heavily implied that she’s slept with Achilles as well. Or maybe it’s just my interpretation. He, by the way, is in love with Patroclus, and I had to reunite them in Elysium. Orpheus and Eurydice, of course, are beloved as well. Side note: Orpheus is very goth in this game with puffy long black hair and black eyeliner. I was Googling him for something (probably how to do the side quest. We all know by now that I have no qualms about Googling how to finish side quests after I have given it the old college try) and I saw a bunch of Reddit threads asking why did they make Orpheus a girl in this game.

Sigh.

How embarrassing, boys. Can we at least pretend we’re part of the 21st century? Guys can have long hair and wear makeup! Although, I wouldn’t be mad if Orpheus was a woman in this game, but that’s not the lore.

Anyway, the best part of the horn dog aspect is that I got to have a threesome with Megaera and Thanatos! Imagine my surprise when I walked into my bedroom and there they both were! Yes, please. More of this! I will say I’ve cycled through most of the dialogue that the game has to offer, so it’s nice to get a new tidbit (or two) now and again. The other thing I really enjoy is that now when I escape from Hades, instead of ending up in Persephone’s cottage (because she’s now living 6 months in Hades and 6 months in Olympus), the narrator just comes up with increasingly ridiculous ways that I’ve died. Caught a bad cold, ate the wrong mushroom, slipped on a banana peel (fruit with an ochre-colored peel), etc. It’s genuinely amusing and I’m sad that I’ve started to see repeats.

I have to say that I really like Zagreus, the main character. I can relate to him from his crabby attitude to his tender heart. He can be pouty and irritable one minute, then warm and generous the next. I can hang with Zag and his sarcastic Underworld ass. His optimism, however, nah, that’s not something I can relate to. It’s not Pollyanna-ish, however, so I can deal with it.

On to the non-plat. I had about six or seven of the 49 achievements to go. Because of the way my brain works, I started thinking about how I could get the last achievements. Not for the plat, but just, because, you know….I’m a completionist.  Being that close to all the achievements was just hurting my soul. That’s the problem with playing the hell out of a game–at some point, the not-plat is in sight. The problem is, of course the achievements that are left are the most difficult/tedious to fulfill. In this case, well, let me walk you through it.

When I noticed how close I was to the end, I had the following achievements to finish. Haste of Hermes, Thorn of Thanatos, Harsh Conditions, Dark Reflections, Bad Call, Thanks, But No Thanks, Skelly’s Last Lamentations, and (the one I don’t have yet) Friends Forever. Haste of Hermes involves his Keepsake, Lambent Plume, which when max leveled, offers a +1.2% dodge chance for every encounter that’s quickly cleared. Quickly cleared is different based on a number of factors. Anyway, Haste of Hermes is for getting 20% dodge chance. Thorn of Thanatos is similar in that you have to get the Than Keepsake, Pierced Butterfly, to 30% bonus damage by the end of the run. The fully upgraded Keepsake gives you +2% bonus damage for each encounter you finish without taking damage.

I will admit, I thought both of these were going to take me several attempts each because speed and not getting hit are not my strong points. My way of beating the game is to go slowly and deliberately and tank damage. So, I had to game the system in order to get these two achievements. The way I did it was by grabbing my sword which is my best weapon, oddly (I usually suck at swords in games) and turning the Heat back down to zero. Was that cheesing? Yes. Did I care? No. My approach for each was diametrically opposite. For HoH, I just barged in and blammed everyone in sight. I want to say I used the spear or bow for ToT, and in that, I was very deliberate and kept my distance. Much to my surprise, I got both of them on my first try.

Harsh Conditions and Dark Reflections go hand-in-hand in my mind for whatever reason. The former is fulfilling the Harsh Conditions Prophecy which is escaping Hades under every Pact of Punishment condition. Obviously, you don’t have to do all of them at one time, but I had my favorites and hadn’t done roughly half of the conditions. Dark Reflections was to win a run (same as escaping Hades) using every trait given by Nyx’s Mirror. Again, I had my faves, so there were some that I had not won a run with. Plus, almost every trait had twin aspects, so you could only use one or the other during a run. I loaded as much as I could from these two different achievements as I dared and managed to get this done in a few runs.

Bad Call is to use an Olympic Gods Call Aid against them in one of the Trial of the Gods Room. In this room, there are two gods from whom you have to choose. The first one gives you a boon right away, but the second gets huffy that you didn’t choose them. So you fight a roomful of enemies while the second god chases you around the room with their ability. Call Aid is when they give you that ability and you press RT (on an Xbox One controller) to activate it. You have a God Gauge that fills as you do damage and when you reach one full bar, you can press RT. Or you can wait until all bars are filled to use Greater Call Aid. Basically, a super. Anyway! I thought all I had to do was use the Call Aid against the specific god in the Trial of the Gods, but, no, it had to be the Greater Call Aid (which makes sense), which means it had to be later in the game to build up the God Gauge. I ended up using Athena’s Greater Call Aid (the best, hands down) against her, which she did NOT appreciate.

Thanks, But No Thanks is purging a legendary boon. A god-tier boon, pun most definitely intended. They are amazing and to get rid of them would be not a good thing. But, it should be easy, right? Just purge a legendary when you get it. Nope! It’s not that simple. You have to get the legendary boon in the first place, which takes a lot of maneuvering. You have to have two boons from one god from earlier tiers and they have to be specific boons. There are lists so you know which boons you have to get before you even have a prayer of getting that legendary boon. Then, you have to just hope you’ll get the legendary from that same god. There are ways to increase the odds, but there’s no way to guarantee you’ll get the boon. Once you get the legendary, you’d think it’s just purge it at the next sell well (well where you can purge a boon) you find. Given that there’s one in room after each boss, it should be simple, right? Yeah, no. Why? You can only purge one of the three boons that appear in the well, which means you may never get the chance to actually purge the legendary boon even if you’re lucky enough to get one. There are other sell wells sprinkled throughout the floors, but they are few and far between. Fortunately, the first time I concentrated on doing this achievement, I got Athena’s legendary by the second floor (and it’s a great one!). It didn’t show up in that sell well, but it did in the next. I got rid of it with a pang and popped the achievement.

Now, let’s talk about the last two achievements, Skelly’s Last Lamentations and Friends Forever. The former involves a character named Skelly. He is your training dummy and at some point, if you beat enough runs, three large objects with drapes on them appear in the training room. If you beat Heat 8, you can take the cloth off the first one. It’s a statue of Skelly! The second one, you can uncloak after beating Heat 16. Heat 16! At that point, I had only beaten Heat 11. How the fuck was I going to beat Heat 16? By the way, Skelly’s Last Lamentations is a misnomer because the last statue you can undrape after beating Heat 32. Friends Forever is maxing out all the Keepsakes. There are 25 of them with three level-ups each. You level up according to how many encounters you beat with the Keepsake on. You need to beat two to three runs to level up each Keepsake. That’s a lot of runs. The smart thing would have been to switch up the Keepsakes as I played the game, but there are a few that are my faves and I would stick to those. Persephone’s for the first two floors (a random boon gets +1 level after every 4 encounters when it’s fully maxed); Achilles for the third (when damaged, get invincibility for 1.5 seconds, refreshes after 7 seconds); Skelly’s for the fourth (death defiance at +100 health). This was after I beat the game several times because you can’t get Persephone’s Keepsake until very late in the game.

I thought Skelly’s was going to be the hardest and take me the longest. I tried with the sword, made it to the final boss, and ate dust. I tried it with the twin fists with the same results. Those had been my two best weapons so far so I thought one of them would work. They did not. Then, I decided to try with the spear, my second/third best weapon because it gave me some range, and I tweaked some of the Pact of Punishment conditions as well. To my surprise, I beat it fairly easily and unlocked that achievement! Only one to go.

At this point, I only have one Keepsake left to max out. It’s such a tedious grind, reminding me of grinding out all the covenant items in my Dark Souls III not-plat. I’m doing all the grinding on Heat Zero runs to make them as fast as possible and I’m picking as many combat rooms as possible. I should be able to finish the not-plat today. I hope.

Well, this ran long as usual so I’m going to save the tips for another post. The only tip I’ll share for now is try Hades; it’s brilliant.

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