"I have taught you many ways to kill a mortal, Kratos; flesh that burns, bones that break. But to break a man's spirit, is to truly destroy him!" - Ares
Ares is the God of War, son of Zeus and Hera, and one of the most prominent and powerful Gods of Olympus. He was also a rival of Athena, who is his older sister. His Roman counterpart was Mars, although Mars was held in much higher esteem, second only to Jupiter. The etymology of his Greek name is traditionally connected with the Greek word ἀρή (are); the Ionic form of the Doric ἀρά (ara), "bane, ruin, curse, imprecation".
Kratos and his Spartan army were no match for the merciless barbarian tribes of the east. Being outnumbered and overpowered, his army was losing the battle. Kratos, about to be killed by the barbarians' leader, pledged himself to Ares, the God of War, in exchange for victory. The god accepted and violently wiped out the barbarians, giving Kratos the Blades of Chaos as a sign of his servitude.
During his service to Ares, Kratos killed countless lives with his Spartan companions, conquering most of Greece. Ares, determined to make Kratos the perfect warrior, led Kratos to attack a village built in honor and worship towards Athena. The Spartan soldiers ruthlessly killed all who lived in the village, burning their homes to the ground in the process. Upon reaching a strange temple, Kratos was warned by the Village Oracle not to venture within its walls. Ignoring the old woman, Kratos, blinded by bloodlust, killed all who were within the walls of the temple, including his wife and child. Ares appeared before the bloodstained hands of Kratos, telling Kratos that it was necessary to have his family eliminated so nothing stood in his way.
The ashes of his loved ones were gathered by the Village Oracle as she placed them upon Kratos’ skin as a permanent reminder of the monster he had become – the Ghost of Sparta. Enraged by Ares' deception, Kratos declared vengeance upon the god who once saved his life, and served Olympus for 10 years, hoping to redeem himself and be forgiven of his sins.
Ares: God of War
Out of his utter hatred and jealousy for Athena, Ares lay siege to her city Athens. The monsters he awoke from the Underworld to form his army slaughtered thousands of Athenians. The God of War knew little that his former powerful mortal servant, the Ghost of Sparta, was actually in Athens at the time of his assault. Kratos was guided by Athena herself, who demanded that Ares be destroyed by using an ancient power – Pandora’s Box . With this power, Kratos would be given the strength to finally defeat the one who caused his pain and suffering for many years.
During the final moments of the destruction of Athens, Ares realized Kratos had been successful in retrieving Pandora’s Box. With this knowledge, he grasped a large stone pillar from the crumbles of Athens’ city walls and threw it far into the Desert of Lost Souls, where it would pierce Kratos through his chest and into the walls of Pandora’s Temple. Believing Kratos was dead and sent to the Underworld forever, Ares claimed Pandora’s Box.
Athens was destroyed. Ares looked to the skies and called out to Zeus, asking the king of the gods if he now saw what his son was capable of doing. Favor was cast onto Athena, but her city now lay in ruin before the god of war. Ares even admired the fact that he held Pandora’s Box, willing to use it against Olympus itself. His attempt to send Kratos to the Underworld was unsuccessful, however, as the warrior stood before him. Ares then laughed and asked if this was the best Zeus could do, sending a broken mortal to defeat him, the God of War.
Battle with Kratos
It seemed all power rested in his hands, until he looked up and he was holding Pandora’s Box no longer. Kratos, using his power granted by Zeus, detached the box from Ares’ hands and opened it after thousands of years. The gods’ power was unleashed, and Kratos felt its magic pour into him, causing him to grow into a giant (though Ares was still noticeably bigger than him). His strength now matched Ares, and the ultimate battle for power began.
Ares claimed Kratos was still just a mortal, every bit as weak as the day Kratos begged Ares to save his life. Kratos recalled that he was not the same man Ares found that day – the monster Ares created had returned, to kill him. Ares boasted that Kratos had no idea of what a true monster really was, and demonstrated his ferocity by unleashing large spikes from his back, ready to finally kill Kratos for good.
After an epic battle between both god and man, Kratos gained the upper hand during the fight, but Ares then trapped him in an illusion, stating that there are more effective ways of defeating someone then physical harm, where Kratos's family was being attacked by an army of clones of himself. Though Kratos managed to kill all of the clones, Ares still mocked Kratos and took the Blades of Chaos from him and killed the image of his family with them. The two of them returned to the real world, where Kratos was emotionally beaten, and Ares boasted that Kratos should have been stronger and prepared to kill him with his sword.
Kratos, however spotted the Blade of the Gods, dodged Ares attack, took up the sword and defeated him. Ares tried begging for his life, reminding Kratos of the day he saved his life and how he was only trying to make him a great warrior. Kratos answered he succeeded, as he impaled Ares through the chest, thereby killing him. The God of War fell to the Aegean Sea. Ares was no more, defeated at the hands of the mortal he helped many years ago. Before his last breath Ares released a loud death cry and a powerful explosion was released similar to a nuclear bomb. It is possible with Ares being the god of war, with his death brought the end of battle in the world. Kratos became the new God of War, and was given Ares’ throne within the walls of Olympus, after attemptting to commit suicide when the gods refused to free Kratos of his memories of killing his family.
In God of War II, Ares is seen during a vision Kratos receives early in the game, which is in fact Gaia talking to him. His statue is also present in one of the rooms on Island of Creation. Ares is seen when Kratos is taken by Atropos to the past, to his battle with the God of War. Atropos tried to change the timeline by destroying the Blade of the Gods, which would leave Kratos defenseless; however, Kratos stopped her, and the events of the first game's final battle remain unchanged, save for her body falling off the blade once Kratos took it.
In the beginning of the game, after facing the Leviathan in Gaia's hand, Kratos follows a path that leads to a chamber which contains Ares' massive corpse right under him, where he fights the first Centaur of the game. This area is called the Tomb of Ares. Ares, despite being dead, plays a small role in the third game, as he is mentioned by Cronos, Zeus and Kratos in addition to being shown in flashback scenes. There is also a large fresco of Ares in the upper part of the Chamber of the Flame, showing him wielding his trademark sword. This fresco is located right next to a fresco of his mother, Hera.
Powers and Abilities
As the first God of War, Ares was an expert in different combat- and fighting styles, be it armed or unarmed.
While the full extent of his godly abilities are unknown, Ares as a god was Immortal and Invincible but could be killed by either the power of Pandora's Box, the Blade of Olympus, or by Zeus. He was able to kill the Barbarians with ease by clapping his hands together, causing the men to be torn apart from the inside and burst into flames, showing he had the power to conjure the elements. Ares was also able to lift his victims into the air and snap them in half, as well as other brutal methods. He also had the ability to reclaim the Blades of Chaos and control them by means of telekinesis. At one point, he demonstrated the ability to create a realm inside a person's mind, traveling there himself in some form to torment them.
Ares also had the powers of teleportation, super strength, conjuring, super agility launching fireballs, and the ability to materialize various weapons such as a gigantic war hammer, an axe, and a sword, all of which are enveloped in flames. These powers, along with having six blade-like protrusions appear out from his back, made Ares an incredibly formidable foe.
- He was voiced by Steven Blum.
- Ares' appearance changed dramatically during God of War's development. Originally, David Jaffe had intended for the god to appear as "ninety percent energy and ten percent material", but because of the limited power of the PS2, Ares' appearance was gradually stripped back to the warrior seen in the final product.
- Ares appears also as the main antagonist at the end of Spartan: Total Warrior, a game that shares many similarities to God of War.
- Because he was killed by Kratos, it is rather unlikely that Ares had a chance to be affected by the evils of Pandora's Box. He did not truly display any characteristics of the evils, although even without being affected by the box, he threatened to attack Olympus, and was shown as being a very bloodthirsty God.
- According to one of the secret messages at the end of God of War, Ares' soul is confined to a small chamber in Kratos' throne room, to be forever tormented by an unknown force.
- In the new God of War: Ghost of Sparta trailer, we see a man on a horse taking Deimos away. That man's silhouette shows an uncanny resemblence to Ares, former god of war.