No One Told Me Hades Had the Ultimate Video Game Betrayal
First of all, how dare you!
I am at the point in my Hades playthrough where everyone is getting along with one another … kind of. There’s still the occasional snark from Uncle Zeus, and the Olympians still side-eye each other (and Hades, of course), but overall, things are great.
Hell, Hades calls his son Zagreus sometimes, and my boy even made it on the Employee of the Month board.
There is … one problem, though.
**Spoilers for Hades.**
The Pact of Punishment—more specifically, the Extreme Measures part of the pact.
What is the Pact of Punishment?
The goal of Hades is for Zagreus to defeat the titular character so he can get out of the titular place (so, Zagreus has to beat Hades to get out of Hades). It’s, of course, not that easy, because it’s not like your dad is gonna go easy on you (oh yeah, Hades is Zagreus’ dad).
When you finally do beat Hades … you end up dying anyway (a.k.a. being sent back home) because Zagreus can’t live that long on the surface, but that doesn’t stop him from trying again, and again, and again until you reach a point where escaping home feels more like a father/son bonding moment.
You’ll understand when you play the game … or read this article, either way.
When Zagreus defeats Hades the first time, the Pact of Punishment is drawn up to make Zagreus’ escape attempts more difficult. In order to gain the best rewards during your escape attempts (2 Titan Blood, 1 Diamond, and 1 Ambrosia), you’ll need to use the pact to increase the heat on the weapon you’re using. The pact has all sorts of parameters that make the game harder, from making traps and magma hurt you more (truly sadistic when trying to get out of Asphodel), to making enemies harder, better, faster, and stronger.
This brings us to Extreme Measures, a pact made specifically for the main bosses in the game.
What’s so Extreme about those Measures?
This particular Pact of Punishment gives all of the bosses new techniques. Instead of fighting one of the Fury Sisters, you fight two (or even all three). Lernie, your friendly neighborhood Bone Hydra, is moodier than ever before, now in a room where a lot of the floor is lava. Everyone’s favorite whiny bottom b*tch, Theseus, and “seduce me with your voice, bull-man” Asterius get new moves and new armor.
Well, his extreme is so extreme that you have to buy it from the House Contractor.
Welcome to Extremer Measures, video gaming’s ultimate betrayal.
What makes Extremer Measures so hurtful?
Considering the pain I felt when I fought Hades and found out that he gets a second life bar, I went into Extremer Measures expecting some kind of nonsense like that. Hades, with this pact in place, is faster, has new moves, and has a wider range in his attacks. Instead of summoning random enemies during his first life bar, he summons sub-bosses, so get ready to have to deal with those butterfly bastards and Hades and maybe another sub-boss like the Doomstone or the Wretched Sneak.
While Hades’ second phase feels similar to the way it does without the pact, he gains the ability to HEAL himself. He also gets a third health bar, but that’s assuming you even make it that far.
Because you also have to deal with Cerberus.
The Betrayal: You have to fight the good boy?!
TO BE FAIR (not really), Cerberus is summoned for one attack, charging across the screen as he drops bombs all around the arena.
The betrayal I felt when Hades summoned Cerberus, the Big Red Dog was, I’m not gonna lie, ingenious on developer Supergiant Games’ part.
I remember the first time I made it to the Temple of Styx and saw Cerberus guarding the door. I panicked, thinking I would have to fight the pup I’d been petting every chance I got. I didn’t wanna vanquish Cerberus the way I had done with everyone else (even if everyone comes back), nor did I wanna get my ass kicked by my dog.
Luckily, you don’t have to fight him; you just have to bribe him. The game also lets you know that he isn’t vanquished. He’s just in the corner gnawing on whatever’s inside that satyr sack.
By the time I felt ready to fight Hades on Extreme(r) Measures, I’d spent a lot of time giving Cerberus pets. More importantly, I’d spent a lot of time assuming that I’d never see him in battle. It never once occurred to me that Hades could summon Cerberus against me. After all, he listens to Hades and naps by his desk as he thinks about his next, savory meal.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I SCREAMED when Cerberus attacked me. Hades didn’t say anything to indicate that he was summoning the hellish beast. There was just a quick screen showing Cerberus’ picture before he came charging forward.
I spent the rest of the battle paranoid that Cerberus would be summoned again, but no, he’s just summoned the one time.
I ended up beating Hades … um … the second time I set Extreme Measures to the max. I’m kinda amazed that it’s become my favorite way to play the game now. I really enjoy the extra challenge now, even if it means having to remember to dash out the way of my current favorite video game dog.
Don’t worry, Cerberus. I still love you and will give you pets.
(image: Supergiant Games)
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