Empusa is a melee monster in God of War: Ascension.
Empusa is a demi-goddess of Greek mythology. In later incarnations she appeared as a species of specters commanded by Hecate (known in English as an Empusae).
As a demi-goddess, Empusa was the beautiful daughter of the goddess Hecate and the spirit Mormo. She feasted on blood by seducing young men as they slept, before drinking their blood and eating their flesh. Empusa is pictured as wearing brazen slippers and bearing flaming hair. By folk etymology, her name was said to mean "one-footed". This gave rise to the iconography of a one-legged hybrid, with a donkey's leg and a brass prosthetic leg.
In later Greek mythology, her role was reduced to a species of specter called an empuse or empusa (pl. empusae). The empusae were sent by Hecate to guard roads and devour travelers (Hecate was also the goddess of roadsides). According to Philostratus, empusae ran and hid, uttering a high-pitched scream, at the sound of insults. The empusae are best known for their appearance in Aristophanes's The Frogs, in which they scared Dionysus and Xanthias on their way to the underworld.
God of War: Ascension
Empusa is a female vampiric monster with purple spikes instead of limbs (green in gameplay), horrible sharp blade-like hands like mantis, and traversing with seductive movement almost like a ballerina. She also has fire instead of hair. She's a very agile and strong enemy, as well as a seductress. She will crawl towards Kratos on her four limbs but can also become bipedal. She's able to overbend her joints to the point of breaking and thus twist herself into many inhuman shapes. Kratos finishes her by slamming her on the ground, twisting her leg and piercing her upper body with the said limb. Killing her this way seems to release blue and red orbs.
Empusa can also leap at Kratos and drive their blades into his chest if he fails to block, parry, or evade the attack. If they manage to latch onto him, they can do significant damage to the Ghost of Sparta. However, Kratos' arms are not restrained and he can still shake it off.
Death scene: If Kratos can't shake it off and runs out of health when an Empusa is still latched onto him, it will drive the Spartan him to the floor and ready to coup de grace, killing him. The result is a Game Over.
Empusa is the only monster that does not make an appearance in the Multiplayer.
Empusa's are encountered three times throughout Kratos's journey. During the second part of the Prison of the Damned, the Delos Landing, and is the last non-boss encountered in the game during the door the Alecto's Chamber.
- Some consider the empusae to be creations and servants of Hecate, the goddess of magic, witchcraft and the moon (not like Artemis, but more specifically one of the phases of the moon). The presence of these monsters indicates that she can be present at some point of the game, or even her daughter, Circe, a minor goddess (or a very powerful sorceress) that liked to transform enemies or those that offended her into animals.
- As shown in the Dev Diary, the early designs varied from half woman, half centipede to a woman-like creature with four arms and two pair of breasts.
- Empusa seem to take over the Satyr's role as the elite enemies of the game in Ascension given the times they're encountered are approximately the same as them along with being fought in pairs. The only difference is that Empusa's have a proper QTE that can't be interrupted.