|“||Call it my thirteenth and final labor. Soon I will become the God of War and claim the throne for myself!||”|
Hercules was the son of Zeus and half-brother to Kratos. As a mortal, he was tasked with 12 labors in order to gain redemption for the murder of his family. Being called to Olympus in order to defend it with the Gods, Hercules would consider it his 13th and final labor to rid Olympus of Kratos once and for all.
In Greek mythology, Heracles was the Demigod son of Zeus and a mortal woman named Alcmene, who is the granddaughter of Perseus. Heracles was blessed with unnatural strength from birth. He was outright hated by Zeus' wife, Hera, who drove him to madness as he grew into adulthood. This god-driven madness led him to commit the murder of his wife, Megara, and his two sons
Seeking atonement for his atrocious deed, the king Eurystheus assigned Heracles to perform ten labors, but cheated him into doing two more. Heracles, however, had finished all these labors (mainly using his strength) and found redemption. Heracles had many more adventures, but was ultimately killed by his own wife Deianara (albeit unintentionally), ascending to Olympus as he died.
In the God of War Series
Hercules is the older half-brother of Kratos, and shares many similarities with him. Both warriors mercilessly killed their wife and children under the influence of gods (Hera for Hercules; Ares for Kratos), having been forced to serve Olympus for a number of years in order to hopefully gain redemption. Both are also demigods, being the sons of Zeus. Their rage is also uncontrollable, leading to moments where they become blinded by bloodlust. Some of Kratos' moves with the Blades of Chaos are named after Hercules (Spirit of Hercules, Valor of Hercules, and Might of Hercules). There is also a bonus costume of Hercules that can be unlocked in God of War II.
Hercules is first seen taking orders from his father to attack the invading Titans. He then commands a large group of Olympus Sentries to jump off Olympus and attack the Titans, landing on Gaia's arm to attack Kratos.
When Kratos later encounters Hera in the Arena, she has Hercules fight Kratos as her champion. There, Hercules reveals how he believes Zeus considers Kratos his favorite as Kratos was the one assigned to kill Ares while Hercules was cleaning the Augean stables. Growing even more jealous when Kratos was being crowned the God of War, while Hercules was instructed to steal the Apples of the Hesperides.
Although he had taken enjoyment out of slaying the Nemean Lion, Zeus made Kratos' story more famous across the world. He then reveals how he plans to destroy Kratos as his thirteenth, unofficial and final labor, becoming the God of War himself.
Kratos attempts to reason with his half-brother, saying that Zeus has no favorites and that even though Hercules wants to be an Olympian, their reign will end, but Hercules does not listen, telling Kratos, "We'll see about that." After Kratos kills all of his undead soldiers, Hercules decides to fight him himself using the Cestus, throwing off the soldiers who brought and armed him with these weapons into the arena.
At a point of the fight, Kratos stabs Hercules in the arm and takes the pair of Cestus one by one. Hercules then fights Kratos unarmed, which he considered a real challenge. After a long and fierce fight, Hercules lifts the floor of the arena making Kratos almost fall, but he uses the spikes on the Cestus to claw his way back up. Kratos pounds on the arena floor with the Cestus, causing it to fall on Hercules, trapping him.
Taking advantage of Hercules' predicament, Kratos brutally beats Hercules to death with the Nemean Cestus, stoving his head in and smashing the arena floor. Both Kratos and Hercules, the latter now dead and gruesomely disfigured, tumble into the sewers below, where Kratos leaves his brother's body to rot. Before leaving, Kratos can take Hercules' shoulder guard.The Forum where Kratos fought his half brother returns in Ascension as one of the multiplayer maps. Hercules is featured in this level. At the beginning of each match, he is seen putting his Cestus on with the help of a pair of satyrs and then punching them away, much like the way he did in God of War III with a pair of Olympus Sentries.
Hercules watches the players fighting below him, but interferes occasionally: he jumps down to the floor sometimes, pounding the ground with the Cestus and creating a blue shockwave that pushes the players to the edge of the Arena. If not jumped properly, these shockwaves will damage players and push them away. Each wave also destroys a part of the board of the Arena, which allows players to throw each other to death in these open spaces.
In the Trial of the Gods mode, Hercules role is extended: he not only creates the blue shockwaves mentioned above, but also acts as the boss of the Arena map in this mode. In the third round of the Trial, Hercules jumps down to the battlefield to fight the players with other monsters. He uses the same attacks of God of War III. After taking enough damage, he runs back to the bleachers and continues to watch over the match.
In the last round of the Trial, he jumps down to fight the players once again. This time, he loses his armor after being weakened and them claps the Cestus together, destroying them and damaging near warriors as well. He continues to fight them by grabbing and punching them, exactly like he fights in the third once again.
After weakening him for the last time, a red halo will appear above Hercules' head. When he is grabbed, the player(s) will push him to the ground and punch him continuously, one hitting his face and the other one, if present, his chest. The camera angles continuously changes, which also resembles much his death in the third game. After many punches, the player(s) will win the match, but won't stop hitting Hercules.
Hercules is most likely left unconscious rather than being killed by the players, since his definitive death occurs in God of War III. His defeat, however, is a great act already.
Powers and Abilities
Hercules was considered the most powerful hero and Demigod in existence. Hercules possessed a wide variety of godly powers that include:
Vast Superhuman Strength - Hercules is physically the strongest demigod. He is stronger than humans and any supernatural monster or beast on Earth. His incredible strength surpasses all Olympians including his father, Zeus. His strength even surpasses most of the Titans and his only rivaled by the strongest Titans like Atlas or Cronos
Superhuman Agility - Hercules' agility allows him to move superhumanly quick with little to no effort.
Superhuman Speed - Although not the fastest being in creation, Hercules is still very fast. His speed allows him to go from one place to another in little to no time at all. He can outrun humans, however some supernatural beasts possess speed beyond his. It is possible that he could be considered slow by most demigods and Olympians.
Nigh-Invulnerability - Hercules, like most demigods and Gods, is invulnerable but to a certain extent. He cannot be killed by any Earthly weapons. Hercules was killed by Kratos. And things like the Blade of Olympus and Pandora's box can kill him. Beings like Zeus could kill him and Kratos obviously did kill him but it should be noted that beings with tremendous power like Poseidon and Hades could kill him.
Superhuman Reflexes - Hercules has the ability to respond or react to various forms of danger but at a superhuman level. His reaction speeds are hundreds of time faster than a human. He can dodge various attacks from different directions.
Superhuman Stamina - Hercules never tires and can remain in battles for very long periods of time. He may be able to remain in such a state indefinitely and not even when facing Kratos did he seem to be exhausted.
Superhuman Endurance - Hercules can endure vast amounts of pain it is one of the reason why he is the most powerful demigod. He can survive powerful punches from very strong beings, survive falls from great heights, powerful energy blasts from beings like his father and more.
Vast Resistance - Hercules is not affected by any Earthly disease, virus, toxin or gas. He is not affected by magic either.
Superhuman Leaping Ability - It is possible that the superhuman strength Hercules has in his biceps also extend to most of his body including his legs. This gives him the ability to jump great heights and vast distances in a single leap.
Kratos was Hercules' half-brother and arch-enemy. When Hercules was infected with the evil of Envy released from Pandora's Box, he felt irrational jealousy towards his brother, despising how Kratos was their father's perceived favorite. He was also jealous of Kratos being crowned the God of War, being sent to kill Ares while he was stuck doing his twelves labors, such as "cleaning" the Augean Stables and being sent to steal the Apples of Hesperides, holding the Earth upon his shoulders as Atlas retrieved the Apples but tricked him into taking back the burden, and having his name renowned throughout the land while Hercules was not nearly as famous as his brother. During the Second Great War, Hercules fought Kratos in the Forum on Hera's orders and tried to kill him. After a long and brutal battle, Hercules was slaughtered when Kratos took the Nemean Cestus and beat him to death.
Zeus was Hercules' father. Hercules was completely loyal to Zeus, and was willing to give his life to serve him. In return, Zeus trusted Hercules very much, and gave him high authority over the armies of Olympus. Hercules was determined to stay in his father's favor, and so felt that he was looked down upon by Zeus while Kratos was crowned the God of War by the King of Olympus. Hercules led the armies of Olympus during the Second Titan-God War, but was killed by Kratos, a loss which Zeus showed little remorse for. This was his 13th and final labour to kill Kratos.
The wife of Zeus always hated Hercules for being another bastard son of her husband. Because of this hate, she tried to kill Hercules in several parts of his life, which includes creating his famous Twelve Labors. Hera's anger grew stronger as the bastard son of Zeus accomplished all the suicide missions she invented to him and became even more famous for escaping death so many times. While Hercules had this same hate for Hera, the evil Envy seems to have blinded him completely: the demigod seems to have completely forgotten his rivalry with his StepMother/ Aunt and her desire to see him dead to turn his attention to Kratos. While his cooperation with Hera to do anything - even killing a common enemy - is highly unlikely and untrustable, it is probable that Hera herself has persuaded Hercules to see Kratos as a personal rival and to fight him to death, because this new strategy would lead to the death of at least one of the two men Hera hated most in the world: Kratos and Hercules.
- Hercules is voiced by Kevin Sorbo, who played the character in the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
- According to a special feature in God of War III, Hercules stands about 12 feet tall, and weighs more than 4000 pounds (1818 kg). He's also the only mortal son of Zeus with an enormous size.
- Hercules was originally going to appear in God of War II and was to be voiced by Cam Clarke, but due to time and budget, he was scrapped, even though the credits still listed Cam Clarke for the role.
- In God of War II, he was going to appear near the East Auditorium, and the original idea was that he would be killed very fast while trying to open a door.
- Hercules had previously appeared in God of War II as a character skin for Kratos.
- By mentioning his labors, that means there are more hydras that exist in Kratos' world than the one shown in the first God of War game. (His second labor consisted of killing a hydra.) The God of War Novel stated Hercules had originally killed the hydra, but it was later resurrected by Athena to trick Poseidon into empowering Kratos.
- In God of War III, Hercules talks about his labors as if it were Zeus who assigned him those labors when in mythology his cousin, King Eurysutheus, was the one who assigned him the labors. Maybe, in his blind jealousy, he thought Eurysutheus was a messenger for Zeus.
- It is likely that in God of War universe, it was Zeus who assigned him the labours instead of King Eurystheus.
- Despite all the Olympians going by their Greek names, Hercules is identified by his Roman name rather than his Greek name, Heracles. The inconsistency of the regional naming was confirmed to be due to the fame and popularity attached to the Roman version of the name. Another Roman reference regarding him is in the design of his helmet, as more resembles the helmet used by a Centurion more than a Hoplite.
- His armour also bares striking similarities to Tigris' apparel in the 2000 film Gladiator.
- There is a distinct lion motif to Hercules' portrayal in God of War III: he considers his defeat of the Nemean Lion one of the only labors worthy of him, his helm resembles a lion's face (with the plume forming a mane), his shoulder guards resemble lion paws, his preferred weapons have lion's faces on them, and many of the attacks learned from said weapons evoke images of lions and beasts.
- Hercules' jealousy of Kratos as Zeus' favorite son is quite ironic and contrary to current events, considering Kratos' ascension to God of War ended with Zeus stabbing his "favorite" in the stomach.
- Hercules seems to have been infected by the negative emotion of jealousy, to the point of irrationality seeing how he so easily overlooked how much the bad outweighed the good in Kratos' life. Also he seems to hold a great deal of pride and arrogance, although he may have been entitled to this given his vast potential.
- Additionally, Hercules' role as a champion of Hera is both fitting and ironic, as his Greek name, Heracles, translates to "Hera's pride", yet mythology states that Hera despised Heracles with extreme vigor, even for one of Zeus' illegitimate children. In fact, much of Heracles' story is a result of Hera's hatred of him.
- The reason why Hera would have Hercules fight Kratos may have been spawned out of her hatred for both of them. By having them both fight one another, she was guaranteed that at least one of them would die.
- Although this is Hercules' first physical appearance in the series, he and Kratos seem to know each other well, going so far as to address each other as "brother". When he first states his intentions, Kratos tries to reason with him rather than immediately kill him, hinting Kratos may have some respect for him due to their similarities. Kratos also didn't show any sign of anger as Hercules talked, indicating he may have had sympathy for his brother's frustration in stark contrast to his usual anger when insulted or during a lengthy conversation.
- Hercules is the great-grandson (and half-brother) of Perseus who was killed by Kratos in God of War II. But Hercules appeared physically after God of War II and at the beginning of God of War III for the first time, even though not much time passed between the two meetings.
- Hercules was murdered the same way Kratos was defeated by Deimos: being pounded on by a gauntlet while lying face-up defenselessly. Ironically, it was Kratos who did this to his brother, Hercules, but in a more brutal fashion.
- This Hercules is very similar to the character The Sovereign who is an alternate Hercules in The Legendary Journeys. He was also played by Kevin Sorbo.
- There is a large, claw shaped scar on Hercules' chest which may have been inflicted by the Nemean Lion.
- Similar to Kratos, the Hercules from real Greek mythology murdered his family out of madness, however, it was Hera who drove Hercules mad, not Ares.
- In God of War: Ghost of Sparta, there's a statue of Hercules outside the Mounts of Aroania. Kratos destroys it as he crashes into it during his battle with Erinys in her giant bird form. It wears the same helmet as Hercules.
- Hercules is seen in the Ares trailer of God of War: Ascension's multiplayer. He stands above the Arena and watches the warriors below fight, he will sometimes jump down and cause a damaging shockwave with his cestus. Hercules can be fought and killed as the final opponent in the Trial of the Gods mode.
- In Greek Mythology, while Atlas was retrieving the Golden Apples of Hesperides, Hercules shows how strong he is by holding up the sky
- By the start of the Favor of the Gods (one of the multiplayer levels in God of War: Ascension), Hercules is unarmed, as his cestus are given to him by two Satyrs, which he knocks in the arena, similar to how he pushed the Olympus Sentries in the arena in God of War III. During this appearance, his plume is slightly different as it is not made up of red fur.
- These Satyrs are the first enemies to fight the player(s) in the Trial of the Gods mode. In other modes, however, they disappear mysteriously, most likely killed by the push.
- Before Hercules attacks Kratos, he remarks that Kratos was always Zeus' favorite child. Ironically, in Greek mythology, Hercules himself is often described as Zeus' favorite.
- Hercules is featured in Destiny of Spirits.
- His unofficial 13th and final labor was to kill Kratos and to become the God of War, ironically 13 is commonly referred to as the unlucky number which would foreshadow his death at the hands of Kratos.