Underneath my yellow skin

I beat Hades; now the real game begins

*Bonus Post*

I beat Hades! Thanks for reading. Goodbye.

one big happy family!
Welcome home, Mom.

Just kidding. You didn’t think I’d let this achievement go without gushing about it, did you? Before I get into that, however, I wanted to touch on a few things I forgot to say in yesterday’s post. I have called myself sucky at the game. Then I read the chat for Aoife’s stream of it and realized that I needed to upgrade myself to mediocre. Why? Because while there were the people who clearly were really good at the game, there were also people who…weren’t. And not people who just played it once or twice, but people who played it regularly. Like the person who mourned that they couldn’t beat Theseus and Asterius no matter how hard they tried. At this point for me, I have to ready myself for it, but if I have a halfway decent build, I can get through it without losing a life. And, despite knowing that Aoife is correct in killing Asterius first, I still hammer away at Theseus because I just can’t fucking stand him.

Anyway! I beat the game and we need to talk about it. It was surprisingly emotional and I have many feelings about it. Consider the rest of this post spoilers because it’s all about the end game. Oh, and it was on the tenth escape that I got to see the end credits.

On that run, I had the shield going because I hadn’t beaten the game with it yet. I made it up to Hades and had just lost one of my lives in a stupid way just before I beat that dungeon and found the Satyr Sack. It was doubly annoying because I had the perk that refilled all my health at the fountains and there was always a fountain with the Satyr Sack. The Satyr Sack is filled with treats for Cerberus, by the way. He’s guarding the way out of Hades and you have to find the sack to give it to him to get him to leave. The first time I came up against him, Zagreus says something like, “Now it’s a fight to the death!” To which I was like, “Oh hell to the fucking no!” Then Zagreus bursts out into laughter and says, “Just kidding!” Which is good because there was no way I was going to do a Sif with Cerberus every time. Aoife said basically the same thing. Almost everyone I’ve read/seen talk about this game mention petting the pup. I do it every time I go back to the House of Hades. Everyone does, it seems!

Anyway, I had no illusions about the Hades boss fight. I wasn’t feeling good about it and I was resigned to lose. I went in and–by the way, the run before (or the one before that), my pops and I started to be a bit more emotional with each other. I wanted to get my parents back together and I pushed both of them to think about it. Anyway, on the tenth run, I girded my loin and walked in. I resigned myself to get my ass kicked when to my surprise, Hades started telling me that I was right. Um, what? Huh? Zagreus is as confused as I and says, “You’re just letting me go?” in an incredulous voice. But, yes, Hades was just letting me go.

I have to back up a bit and add that a few runs prior, my mother, Persephone implored me not to keep returning to her. She didn’t want to deal with the ramifications if Olympus found out about it and she knew that there was no foolproof way to ensure it didn’t happen. I got mad and told her I wasn’t going to do that! Because of course the game would end if I did that. I jest, but the writing is very snappy and doesn’t feel forced at all. I got surprisingly invested in the story.

Also, and this is no small feat, but I began to feel empathy for Hades around this time. It’s incredible because in the beginning, he was just a sour, bitter man with rigid ideas of right and wrong (according to Hades the realm, of course). He was so relentlessly critical of Zagreus that I wanted to punch him in the mouth. Yes, he was hot, but that doesn’t cover for everything. As the game went on, the cracks began to show.

Side note: one thing I really love about this game is the unlocking of different lore. There’s a few rooms that are off-limits to me at the beginning. One is Hades’ bedroom, which makes sense. The other is the Administrative Chamber in which I used to work. There’s a bunch of backstory there, too. It takes two diamonds (from beating the second floor boss, Lernie, the hydra) to open the Admin Chamber and at first, all you can do is look at your stats and drink blood for health. Also, give an inspirational speech to the shades working there. I was so disappointed because it’s not easy to get diamonds and I wasted it for that?

Later on, I want to get Eurydice and Orpheus together as well as Achilles and Patroclus (more the latter than the former), but did not know how to do that. I mean, I  knew I had to do the ‘give them nectar’ thing, but not what the specific trigger was. I admit, I got tired of waiting and looked it up. I just had to keep talking to them and eventually, agonizingly, it would move their quests along. I will reiterate that this is one of the worst aspects of the game. I understand the reasoning behind it, but it’s too high cost for the eventual payout. It doesn’t stop me from doing them, obviously, but it really cools my ardor.

Anyway, the reason for the Admin Chamber is because that’s where all the contracts are being kept. After talking to Nyx for each questline, she tells you where the contract is within the Admin Chamber. There is no practical benefit to this as far as I can tell, but I’m happy to reunite the two couples. Plus, the song Eurydice and Orpheus sing as the end credits roll is a banger. When I have enough diamonds, I’ll buy it!

Back to my pops. When I finally got into his bedroom, there’s one thing of note in it. Well, two. One is his stacks of red capes he keeps, which is funny because he flings one backwards off his shoulders before every time we fight and then it disintegrates in flames.  In fact, I make a quip about it to him one of the times we fight. Anyway, in his bedroom, the other thing of interest is that he has a framed picture of Persephone, covered in dust, on his nightstand. In other words, it’s been there forever. He loves her; he just can’t say it.

Ok! So back to the 10th escape. He tells me to go and I’m sure it’s a trap. Like, he’s going to slay me the second I walk out into Greece. But, no. he just stands there, defeated, as I walked away from him. I made my way to my mom, but she’s not where she normally was. What? She’s packing. What?? She said she had been thinking about what I said and was doing something about it. She had hoped to get it done before I got there, which I thought meant she was leaving me (again!) without saying anything. Though it wasn’t her fault the first time. She was told I was stillborn (which, true), but still.

She reveals that she’s decided to go back to Hades (both her husband and the realm). Double what?? She wants us to hurry so I don’t have to go back the normal way–by dissolving bit by bit and dying. I don’t know how to do that, though, and she laughs and says she has a ride. It’s Charon!

Side note II: Charon is the absolute best. Any time you talk to him, he just grunts at you. I love him. Also, there’s a thing where he has a bag of money and if you ‘borrow’ it from him, you start a boss fight. Which is fucking hard as hell.  Early on, he could kill me in one or two swipes of his boat pole. I took him on in one of my last runs (Twin Fists!) with the mentality that if he kills me, he kills me. He did earlier with the same weapon (the run before!), but instead, I actually got him. And got, what? A coupon for 20% off in the shops. I wasn’t sure if it was just for that run or not, but given that I’m paying 40% more as one of my modifiers for the Pact of Punishment, well, it’s still better than nothing, I guess.

As Charon ferries us back to the House of Hades, the credits roll, and Eurydice and Orpheus singe the best song so far. It’s called In the Blood, and I included the video above. Darren Korb, the voice of Zagreus, also did all the music for the game including the singing of this song as Orpheus. Ashley Barrett is the singing voice of Eurydice.

no family dysfunction here!
Just one big happy family!

The emotions of seeing Mom and Dad reunite. With Cerberus there! I actually got teary-eyed as I watched it unfold. One thing I love is that as Charon ferried us back, we went through the levels of the game backwards. I mean, it makes sense, but it was really cool to experience. Then, watching Hades awkwardly apologize and just be so abject in front of Persephone while she retained her cool and greeted Cerberus joyfully first. Then ordered Hades to apologize to Zagreus. I have to say, Logan Cunningham is the perfect voice for Lord Hades. It’s so rich and deep, and he’s able to make me feel for him just by a subtle switch to despair.

Anyway, it’s a nice ending, but how is the game going to continue? By Hades telling me that he’d like me to continue with my escape attempts as a test for his security. Queen Persephone chimes in to say that it’ll keep the Olympic Gods from becoming suspicious because it’ll be business as normal. I even joke with Hades if he’ll be any easier on me when I reach him again and he says not a chance. However, our conversation changes once I reached him again. It was more like two colleagues chatting than the bitter vitriol of warring father and son.

One little detail I really like is when I first meet Persephone, she’s the Goddess of Verdure and wearing a very summery dress. Then, after she returns to Hades, she’s the Queen of the Underworld and wearing black. It’s a small thing, but it’s much appreciated.

Yes, I’ve started more runs. Yes, there’s still a ton to do in this game. But, if I’m to be honest with you, it’s the lore that keeps me coming back. The new upgrades to the weapons and whatnot are fine, but the combat does get old after awhile. Still. I’m completely won over by the end of this game. It’s like Dark Souls in which I had to go through all the pain for many, many, many hours in order to feel the gain. What a payoff and I’m glad I didn’t give into god mode. Ain’t no shame in it, but I’m glad I did it Dark Souls style.

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