Franchise Player: God of War III

We take a look at important characters and some of the most memorable events from God of War I and II.

From the moment he impaled the head of a Hydra on a splintered ship mast, Kratos—the protagonist of the God of War series—got our attention. Of course, that wouldn't be his last act of brutality, nor would it be his most vicious. Since the release of the original God of War, the series has spawned three sequels (Betrayal for mobile phones, God of War II for the PlayStation 2, and God of War III, arriving on the PlayStation 3), as well as a PSP prequel (Chains of Olympus), and with each game, Kratos seems to get progressively more vengeful and violent in his quest to rid the Greek Pantheon of its gods. Join us as we take a look at some of the key characters from the God of War series, as well as some of our favorite moments from God of War and God of War II, as we get ready for the release of God of War III on March 16.

Spoiler warning: The character descriptions include important plot details from God of War I and II.

The Characters

Kratos

Who is he:
A soldier of Sparta, who wants revenge against the gods of Olympus
Weapon of choice:
Blades of Chaos
Temperament:
Angry, so very angry

A proud captain in the Spartan army, Kratos finds himself at the edge of defeat in a battle against the barbarians in the original God of War game. And just as the barbarian chief is about to end his life, Kratos calls upon Ares (the real god of war) to help him defeat the barbarians in exchange for his life. Ares grants Kratos his wish and then proceeds to lop off the barbarian chief's head and wipe out his remaining armies. Not long after, Kratos goes on a rampage, savagely destroying cities in the name of Ares, but the god of war has bigger plans for his newly found servant.

Ares plants Kratos' family inside the temple of a city under siege by Spartan forces. Kratos leads the charge inside the temple, killing most of its inhabitants--among them, his wife and child. Ares reveals himself and tells Kratos that it was necessary for his family to die, explaining that now there's nothing holding back his brutality. Naturally, Kratos sees it a little differently and vows vengeance against the god of war and, later, the other gods of Olympus. As Kratos leaves the temple, an oracle curses him to walk with the ashes of his fallen family members covering his body, and so the Ghost of Sparta is born.

Zeus

Who is he:
The ruler of the gods of Olympus
Weapon of Choice:
Lightning bolts
Temperament:
Power-hungry mixed with a bit of paranoia

Zeus is the reigning god of Olympus, but his journey to that position wasn't an easy one. As a son of the Titan Chronos, Zeus is destined to be imprisoned inside his father's stomach with the rest of his kin, but moments before the massive ancient god ingests him, Zeus' mother pulls a fake-out and helps baby Zeus escape. Despite being under the guard of another Titan (Gaia) as he grows up, Zeus formulates a plan to rid the world of the Titans, and soon thereafter, the war between the Titans and the gods of Olympus gets under way. As the battle rages on, Zeus produces the Blade of Olympus, a weapon infused with so much power that it takes down the remaining Titans with a massive shock wave of energy. The battle ends, the Titans are banished, and Zeus (along with the rest of the gods) takes his place on top of Mount Olympus.

In God of War II, Zeus fears that the newly appointed god of war, Kratos, has become too powerful. When Kratos makes his way to destroy the city of Rhodes, Zeus--disguised as an eagle--takes Kratos' power and infuses it into the Colossus of Rhodes, which brings it to life. Zeus then tricks Kratos into using the Blade of Olympus to destroy the Colossus, knowing full well that the Blade will completely strip Kratos of all his godly powers. With the Colossus defeated, Zeus confronts Kratos in his weakened state and then plunges the Blade of Olympus into Kratos' chest, thus removing him from his position of god of war on Olympus and sending him to Hades.

Athena

Who is she:
The goddess of wisdom and strength and the guardian of Athens
Weapon of Choice:
Her words
Temperament:
Loyal

Acting as somewhat of a spiritual adviser, Athena takes the side of Kratos, much to the dismay of the other gods of Olympus. When Ares begins his assault of Athens in the original God of War, Athena asks Kratos to defend Athens and ultimately defeat Ares. When the battle ends, Athena tells Kratos that the sins of his past have been forgiven but that she can't remove his nightmares (the ones where he's brutally killing everyone, including his family). She also offers him the newly opened god of war position on Mount Olympus.

Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse in God of War II. Athena tells Kratos that his actions are continually aggravating the other gods of Olympus, but Kratos fails to listen. Later on, she demonstrates her loyalty to Olympus (but not necessarily to Zeus, though she equates the two) by putting herself in front of Zeus before Kratos can make the final killing blow with the Blade of Olympus. She then tells Kratos that he is the son of Zeus and that he's just perpetuating a cycle of violence that started with Zeus' father, Chronos--deep stuff.

Pandora

Who is she:
God in a box
Weapon of Choice:
The aforementioned box
Temperament:
Helpful

Pandora herself doesn't factor much in the original God of War or its immediate sequel, but an item bearing her name tips the scales. In that game, the only way Kratos can defeat Ares is if he discovers the all-powerful Pandora's box, which happens to be hidden in a temple strapped to the back of Chronos. Kratos has to overcome numerous obstacles (including death) to reach and use Pandora's box, but once he does, he grows to Godzilla-like proportions.

Gaia

Who is she:
A Titan, the goddess of nature, who serves as the narrator of the God of War games
Weapon of choice:
The power of nature
Temperament:
Vengeful, but in a nice, calming way

As the protector of a young Zeus, Gaia probably feels more betrayed by his actions than the other Titans do, but Zeus' actions only fuel Gaia's goal to help Kratos complete his journey. In fact, in God of War II, Gaia tells Kratos (who has been killed by Zeus) that he doesn't have to die and that he can still exact his revenge by seeking out the Sisters of Fate. She then tells him that he can use the Sisters to time travel and appear back at the moment that Zeus plunges the Blade of Olympus into his flesh, and then kill Zeus. Kratos does exactly that, but before his defeat, Zeus is able to flee back to Mount Olympus. Shortly thereafter, Kratos goes back in time to retrieve the Titans from their battle with the gods and then returns to the present where he--riding atop Gaia with the other Titans in tow--begins the final assault on the remaining gods.

Chronos

Who is he:
The father of Zeus
Weapon of choice:
His girth
Temperament:
Hungry

In the God of War mythology, Chronos eats his children to imprison them in his stomach because of a prophecy that says his children will eventually rise up against him. One of his children, Zeus, is able to escape, only to return to defeat Chronos and the rest of the Titans. When defeated by Zeus, Chronos is banished to the desert, where he's forced to walk aimlessly for an eternity with the temple of Pandora chained to his back.

GameSpot's Favorite God of War Moments

From vicious attacks and epic battles to hilariously brutal sequences, there's no shortage of great moments spanning God of War and its sequel, but we've picked a few that have become our favorites.

What are your favorite God of War moments? Drop us a line!
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