Underneath my yellow skin

To Hades with the devil

who's a good boy?
Cerberus is best doggo ever!

I’m still playing Hades by Supergiant Games. Still think it’s a terrific game that is out of my reach. I recently timed how long it took me to do each floor, and it’s 15 minutes for the first floor, 15 minutes for the second floor, and 30 minutes for the third floor. Each floor is a grind though I can whiz through the first floor by now.

Side note: There is an interesting system of giving Nectar to the different characters you meet and they give you a Keepsake in return. Each of the Keepsakes have a different benefit and you can level up each Keepsake the longer you wear it. You can only have one on at a time, and you can only switch them after each floor (if you buy a certain item). That’s my M.O. I switch them out after each floor. There’s also mini-achievements in the game that you have to do in order to get rewards. One is to wear each of the Keepsakes at least once. I have ignored the Keepsakes of many of the Olympian gods because theirs are specific to them and their boons. As I wrote in my past post about this game, some of the gods have clearly superior boons (Zeus and Ares especially).

The third floor of Hades might be my hard stopping point. I don’t die on it any longer, but it takes so much time, effort, and resources to get through it. It’s so fucking tedious, and room after room of spear guys and bow guys is boring as hell. Also, so much twitch reflexes needed. So. Much. I have four total revives (death defiers) on the third floor if I haven’t lost any of them prior (and at this point, I shouldn’t. The fourth is from a Keepsake, and I only put it on after the second floor), and I’m usually down to none by the time I’m done with the third floor boss.

*Third Floor Boss Spoilers*

The third floor boss is, are, Theseus and Asterius, the latter being the Minotaur who is slain by Theseus. Asterius is a mini-boss on the floor as well, which I think is a bit much. You don’t have to fight him, but you have to figure out the symbols on the door so you can avoid him. Even then, I haven’t figured out a way to miss him 100% of the time. I really think it’s too much to have him as a mini-boss and half a boss duo on the same floor. He’s not hard, but he is tedious. I can say this about the bosses in general. One of my pet peeves with bosses–making them have a shit-ton of health so you have to chip, chip, chip away. I’m sure I’m not min-maxing the boons from the gods properly, but that’s not my jam at all. Min-maxing, I mean.

Anyway, I like Asterius. He’s a cool dude and I think we could make a great team. He also has a GREAT voice. By the way, I can tell that I’m becoming impatient with the game because I’m looking things up more quickly. In the beginning, I was willing to wait and see. Oh, I get a Titan’s Blood from killing Megaera (first floor boss)? Huh. Cool. Then again, it was fairly obvious what to do with it pretty shortly after. Then, at some point, I was only getting the Titan’s Blood sporadically after killing the first floor boss. I thought it was random, but I eventually looked it up. You get the specific boss reward only when you kill them for the first time with a given weapon (at this point of the game), which is…not ideal since you need Titan’s Blood to upgrade the weapons. I found out from Googling that there are different difficulty modes after you beat the game for the first time and then you get the boss rewards for each weapon on each difficulty. Which, fine, I guess, but it really dampened my enthusiasm.

Look. I get wanting to make the game hard. But, the way I play, I like two of the weapons (of six, which isn’t that much to begin with). The bow and, much to my surprise, the spear. In fact, the spear is my favorite and the one I’ve gotten the furthest except–I’ll get to that in a bit. I upgraded the bow a few times, then realized that the spear worked better for me because I can melee with it and do ranged as well. I can’t upgrade the spear as much as I have the bow at the moment unless I start another save. Which I do not want to do.

Once I realized that I had to beat each floor’s boss with each weapon, I started switching between the weapons. This makes me cranky because there are a few weapons I just don’t like. The railgun, the sword (ironic that I don’t like swords in video games in general), and the twin fists all come to mind. That’s half the weapons! Being forced to play with them to get the boss rewards is grating.

The astute-eyed will have noticed that I’ve mentioned five of the six weapons. I’ve saved the sixth for last because it’s the weirdest one to me and because I have mixed emotions about it. It’s the shield, and, yes, you’re attacking with the shield. You can do both melee and ranged (throwing it), and I’ve read online that it’s way OP. The few times I tried it, I didn’t get it. I mean, I really didn’t get it. Then, I tried it during my ‘I want the boss rewards’ phase, and I got to the third floor with it. Last night, I beat the third floor boss with it (and tons of lightning boons from Zeus) and was resigned to die early in the fourth floor. I’ll get to that in a minute though because I’m ostensibly talking about the third floor boss.

Asterius is a good dude, but oh my god Theseus is fucking annoying. What a narcissistic and pampered king he is. I try to kill him first because he talks during the boss fight and because I hate him so much. In addition, he’s a spear guy as well and his spear is much fancier and deadlier than mine.

Here’s the thing. I think the dev team members are fans of FromSoft because this fight is pure Ornstein & Smough, but not nearly as interesting. Theseus is Small and Asterius is Biggie. It’s not a one-to-one comparison, but it’s hard to ignore the similarities. Theseus uses a spear and Asterius uses an axe. No, it’s not a big fuck-off hammer like Smough’s, but it’s close enough. The difference is that Theseus doesn’t dash around the way Small did, but he’s just as fast with his fucking spear. Asterius is slow and deliberate in his attacks, but he does bull rush around the arena after you.

Thankfully, the remaining boss doesn’t get his health back once you slay the first one or I probably would have quit right then and there. Nor does the remaining boss gain any new attacks. It’s just so long and boring, and it really puts a damper on my excitement for the game.

On the fourth floor, the feeling that the dev team members are big fans of FromSoft continues. The story here is that Cerberus is blocking your way out of Hades. The first time I made it to him, my heart was in my throat because I did not want to fight him. You don’t have to fight him–you have to go through a series of gauntlet rooms to find a treat for him. In these (really small) rooms are poisoned rats and swinging blades–which is very Dark Souls. The first few times I made it to the fourth floor, I had nothing left. Very little health and no revives. Last night, with the shield as my weapon and the boon of restoring all health upon drinking from the health fountains (Dionysus boon) because there is a health fountain at the end of every floor, I made it to the fourth floor boss. Getting past Cerberus meant I made it out of Hades, which meant the fourth floor boss was….

*Fourth Floor Boss Spoilers*

Hades. My dad. Of course. There was no way he was letting me leave his realm without trying to stop me. I had half my health left and no revives. I was resigned to die a quick death. To my surprise, he wasn’t that bad. Not nearly as hard as Theseus and Asterius, and I got him down to half. If I had had a revive or two, it would have made so much difference.

Back to the House of Hades. Back to another run. Much to my surprise, though, I met a new character and new enemies. It seems that leaving Hades (the realm) even if I was defeated by Hades (my father) was enough to trigger significant changes in the game. I appreciate that but I’m also not sure I have what it takes to push forward. I’ve reached the point where I have to put in a significant amount of time to ‘git gud’, and I’m not sure I want to. I don’t remember Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ever being this hard or grueling, but that could just be the rose-colored glasses talking.

Still. My opinion of Hades hasn’t changed. It’s a fantastic game that I’m inching closer to being done with it.

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