Comedy = Greek Tragedy + Time – Let’s Play Hades

And no, this LP was not made by Homer.

Zagreus, the son of Hades, is fed up with his home life and has decided to flee the underworld. But despite his detached attitude towards the boy, Hades has no intention of making this escape easy. Zagreus’s path is heavily guarded by the wretches of the underworld, as well as certain other powerful figures. Thankfully for Zagreus, Nyx has called the gods of Olympus and asked for their aid. Even if indirect, Zagreus’s family will lend their power in hopes of seeing him to safety.

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of Supergiant Games from their previous titles, (Bastion, Transistor, or Pyre,) and an even better chance you’ve heard of this one as well. Hades was in early access on the Epic Games store, then on Steam, then released officially on September 17th, 2020. With about two year’s of development with player feedback, Hades released to extremely positive reception, with praise for just about every aspect of it, from the gameplay to the writing. And all that with a good work environment and no crunch. Who would have guessed! (Most people)

Hades is a Roguelike game where the goal is to clear each room of enemies, and collect the dropped reward before moving on. Amongst other treasures and items, Zagreus can find icons with which to contact various gods from the Greek pantheon, each of which grants a small selection of abilities for a given run. But while fighting through the underworld can be mechanically robust, the other major draw of the game is the sheer amount and quality of character writing. When picking up an icon for the first time on a run, the associated god will have something to say to the Underworld’s Prince. And when you die, (and you will,) your return trip to the House of Hades will also give you an opportunity to chat with a group of friendly characters, (and Hades himself,) before your next foray into action territory.

This is a first-time run of Hades, and so while my spoiler policy is normally “don’t,” it’s now “double don’t.” I am ahead of what’s recorded, but I still don’t want anything story-related given away until I actually get to it on camera. If you want to discuss game mechanics that haven’t shown up yet, please use spoiler tags.

Episodes

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Zagreus attempts a cool cold-open escape from Tartarus, only to be stopped by his relative inexperience and lack of powerups. Dad is not amused.

One defeat against Megaera won’t stop Zagreus, who takes a second and third crack and getting out of Tartarus. Dad is still not amused.

It turns out the Olympians aren’t the only ones who want to help Zagreus’s escape. Though to be honest, maybe not everyone is safe to trust down here…

It turns out, Zagreus may have ulterior motives for escaping Tartarus. Other than, you know, to get away from his terrible Dad and living conditions. But no matter what his actual goal is, Zagreus still has a fearsome battle to overcome, and it only gets harder as he rises through the underworld.

Sure it’s a resource run, but it’s a resource run with longevity. And that’s a definitely a success… no matter what Theseus might say about it.

Surprisingly, there are still mechanics left to uncover. And on that note, today Zagreus discovers that while the gods may be on his side, that won’t stop them from being petty bastards should they ever be slighted. A good lesson to learn with this pantheon, to be honest.

The last few runs weren’t the best, which can only mean the last run of the session will go really well, right? Regardless, Zagreus has a gun now. Oh dear.

Also, important note: I’ll be switching to streaming Hades instead of prerecording it. This was the last episode I had backlogged, so next Tuesday will be the first stream episode of the LP, (unless something comes up.) But if you don’t want to watch it live, the VoDs will be uploaded the following Thursday instead of Wednesday, as it has been.

Now that we’re on stream format, let’s make sure everyone’s on the same page with how this game works! Surely, I can describe how Tartarus works and know generally what I’m talking about. After all, why would there be new friends in old places?

Though he had a few shaky runs last time, Zagreus is starting to get his footing again!

…Just in time for an unexpected rival to show up. Looks like it’s old friends we’ll be encountering this time around.

Zagreus picks up where he left off… poorly. Then he finds a good solution to his “getting killed” problem: all you gotta do to survive better is stuff a ton of hearts into your body.

Zagreus once again sets his sights on Styx. The Champions are still in the way, though, and our boy Zag could still use more consistency in the upper levels of the Underworld.

We’re living in a post-“probably fought the final boss” world. It would be a good idea to work on consistency at this point, so Zagreus will need to figure out a good way to defeat the Champions and overcome the poisonous rats of Styx. But for reaching the surface, it seems Zagreus has caught the attention of a new ally…

The good news is that I’m starting to get a bit more consistency with the Champion fight. The bad news is, Styx decided to pull out all the stops to put an end to Zagreus’s escape.

With Hades being as hardy as ever, it’s up to the NPCs to have something noteworthy enough to write in this description! And thankfully, it seems like 'ol Orpheus has finally name dropped his muse. And you know what that means: more relationship angst!