Thursday, February 22, 2007
I AM THE GOD OF WAR 2
As kids, Casson and I used to go to the library in Downey on a regular basis. We would wear our bike-chains like Chewbacca and lock the Schwinns down out front. If we weren't in Beyrooty's playing Asteroids, we were at the library, photocopying Star Wars cards or something. We would go in there and hang out with Mrs. Apmadoc the librarian. I was deep into the mythology. I read it all and then more. I went for the obscure Cronos stories. I went as deep as I could into that stuff. I remember a day when I asked Mrs. Apmadoc if there was any more on this subject. If there were any more stories of superpowered brutes kicking mad ass of strange creatures in ancient Greece. She told me no. Something delicate within me collapsed. I hadn't considered the end of such a road. She tried to turn me onto the Norse stuff, but in all honesty, that stuff was just lame. Vikings were destroying everthing in their path IRL and they couldn't touch anything with their storytelling. Maybe the cool stuff got lost between oar-strokes as they passed the stories up and down the war-canoe.
I mentioned this conundrum to my Grandmother. She tried to turn me onto the Hardy Boys and the Sugar Creek Gang. Fok the Hardy Boys. Fok the Sugar Creek Gang. If those fools were trying to pull their nosey, apple-tree sitting, midwestern, crypto-racist antics in the neighborhood that Casson and I were in, they probably would have wound out on milk cartons. Needless to say, I gave up on my mythological chasings. In all honesty, I have been hunting for literature that captured my inner consciousness the way the Greek Mythology did every since. That was until last year.
Last year, I lost about a month and a severe portion of my identity to THE GOD OF WAR. I play video games, I am not going to soft-pedal this. When one catches my attention, it is like anything that catches my attention; it gets de-marrowed as I work my way through it. Furthermore, this all had the ring of that old mythology that I chased after when I was a kid.
Let me summarize the plot of God of War for you: VIOLENT. People speak up and say, "Resident Evil," or "Halo," or "Gears of War," when citing mainstream violent games. Those games really don't touch God of War though. The chainsaw Gears of War mauever is rough, but you are spared in a big way because the blood spatters the lense that you are viewing with. God of War is a perpetually, brutal beatdown of all objects living and dead onscreen. God of War also has one of the best video game plots to surface PERIOD. Kratos (see buff man above) is this Spartan warrior who commits suicide in the opening scene by jumping off of a cliff. Don't hate on Kratos because he looks like a white-boy. Homeboy is Greek through and through. He is white because he is covered ashes, you cynic. Don't hate because the game is too violent. Kratos is running through mazes killing as he goes, working his way to the end of the game. It reminds me in a sense of Pac-Man. Pac-Man runs through a maze eating dots and powering up eating big flashing dots and then consuming his opponents. Kratos kills his opponents and gets more power for doing so. The flashier, the better. God of War is merely Pac-Man without the dots. Why the hell did he commit suicide? Play on. Then the game pans back 2 weeks for you play as Kratos and find out. Apparently, the Spartan was pinned in battle at one point in his life and called out to Ares, the god of war to bail him out. Ares killed Kratos' opponent and proceeded to disciple Kratos into becoming the ultimate war machine.
In this disciplining process, Kratos is tricked into killing his wife and kid (aforementioned ashes). Thus sets the groundwork for Kratos' attempt to mortally kick Ares' godlike ass. It turns out that the gods themselves are fed up with Ares and his insanity. They all assist Kratos with various pieces of preternatural weaponry in the wargod takedown. Athena offers to help Kratos exclusively as he pulls this superhuman feat. Kratos wants his vicious memories erased as pay for his participation. Cronos, Posiedon, Zeus and others show up in this process. The weaponry needed to fell a god is locked in Pandora's box. If you have just skirted your mythology, it is fun, but to actually rip the head off of a gorgon is something new and refreshing. To go toe to toe with a minotaur is visceral. To put your swords into the head of a hydra and drag it to the floor with gusto is invigorating. These people who made this game knew what my childhood reading was about.
In the end, Kratos puts a unique sword through Ares and sprays that god's blood all over a valley. The gods (specifically some bitch named Athena) tell Kratos no to his requsted memory-wipe. Kratos, dejected and pissed then hurls himself off of the cliff (the opening shot) and is denied death; instead he is caught up in Mt. Olympus. He takes the position as the new god of war. Absolutely brilliant. Just re-write mythology, and make it badass enough that no one will question it. The last scene is of Kratos sitting on his newly aquired throne. For myself, it was a homecoming of extreme internal and external proportions. It was the conclusion that I needed to mythology way back on Downey.
Well, I have been staying out of the fanboy sites in regards to the highly anticipated sequel, but I did slip up last night and make a slight foray. Apparently, Kratos was tricked by Athena and he isn't a god after all. He is pissed. Maybe this time he will ascend Olympus and take her head? I have no idea. What I do know is that the in-game play that I am seeing released is looking too sexy. The footage that is showing up is looking so hardcore that I am going to have to buy this one right out of the gate. Initially, I thought I would wait...but I am anxious for this one, like a kid on Christmas eve. It is brutal on a newer, grittier level. Check out the cyclops eye pluck:
It is coming people, and I can't wait. The mythology has been added to, and for the time being, that little kid on the blue Schwinn is looking forward to having his imagination sated once again.