|“||Kratos, you now possess the Nemean Cestus. Use their strength to make the very earth tremble.||”|
The Nemean Cestus was a weapon seen in God of War III and briefly in Multiplayer of God of War: Ascension. They were a pair of large metal gauntlets, each forged that resembled a snarling lion's head, that greatly increased the strength of its wielder when they were worn. The Cestus was apparently given to its original owner, Hercules, after he slew the Nemean Lion as one of his 12 Labours. Their relation to the beast itself was relatively obvious as it showed the lion's face and the paws of the lion, itself.
The Nemean Cestus are a set of gauntlets that take the appearance of a roaring, silverish gold lion, with black on the sides. The gauntlets also features spikes on it, some curving back and others curving forward.
However, the Cestus were forcefully taken from him, and Kratos used them to batter his half-brother to death. The Nemean Cestus was the only weapon that was able to destroy Onyx, a type of rock that frequently appeared in God of War III, in the form of shields, walls, and armor. They were therefore the only weapon that was capable of killing Skorpius, as the creature's body was armored with Onyx. The Cestus even proved useful against the Bronze Talos and, when fully upgraded, against the King of the Gods, Zeus.
Each gauntlet of the Nemean Cestus was made of three separate parts: The lion's head, the first ring of spikes, and the second ring of spikes which was attached to a tube where Kratos fitted his arms. When used, a pale blue aura often appeared around each individual part.
- 100 %
- 110 %
- 120 %
- 130 %
- Increased Damage
- Nemean Roar - Slams the Cestus into the ground to create an explosive wave. R2
- Ferocious Bite - One lion head extends out to grab and pull in an enemy, slamming him with the other Cestus. L1 + O
- Erymanthion Rage - A powerful 2-hit combo with an explosive finish. Triangle + triangle
- Augean Stampede - Forward rush that traps an enemy in a quick flurry of punches. Hold square
- Augean Stampede (Air) - A quick flurry of punches that slams the enemy down to the ground. Hold Square
- Brutal Ascension - Launches enemies into the air. Hold triangle
- Triumphant Labor - A quick combo of punches ending in a powerful dash. Square, square, square
- Increased Damage
- Vicious Maul - Lionheads extend on chains in a 360-degree spinning move. L1 + square
- Vicious Maul (air) - When airborne, lionheads extend on chains in a 360-degree spinning move. L1 + square
- Nemean Roar Lv. 2 - Slams the Cestus into the ground to create an explosive wave. R2
- Savage Charge - Throws the Cestus forward during an evasion, striking all in its path. R + Triangle
- Increased Damage
- Increased Damage
- Crushing Strike - Lionheads extend on chains out to each side, then slam together in front of Kratos. L1 + triangle
- Crushing Strike (air) - One lionhead lowers to the ground, and Kratos pulls himself down to punch the ground with the other, causing a shockwave. L1 + triangle
- Increased Damage
- Nemean Roar Lv. 3 - Slams the Cestus into the ground to create an explosive wave. R2
- Kratos was able to use the Nemean Cestus in Mortal Kombat as part of his weaponry (alongside the Blades of Exile, a Gorgon Head, the Blade of Olympus, the Bow of Apollo, and the Head of Helios). He used them as the second hit of his X-Ray Attack, as well as the finishing blow of one of his Fatalities.
- The Nemean Cestus had chains on the inside, which allowed for some ranged combat that was displayed in certain attacks. They were also used to evade the same way that the Claws of Hades did.
- With each strike, using the Nemean Cestus, the sound of a lion roaring/growling could be heard slightly.
- The Nemean Cestus was the most powerful weapon in the series after the Blade of Olympus as Kratos was able to literally smash the head of Hercules himself with it and were the only weapon that was strong enough to destroy the Onyx, while the other weapons were useless against it. However, in-game stat wise, the Barbarian Hammer did significantly more damage than the Nemean Cestus. It was so powerful, that a fully upgraded one did almost more damage than a fully upgraded Blade of Olympus in God of War 2.
- Their ability to destroy Onyx made them very similar to the Tremor Gauntlet in Darksiders, a game which bore several similarities with the God of War Series. The Tremor Gauntlet was the only weapon in War's arsenal that could destroy a blue type of crystals during his quest, similar to the Nemean Cestus for Kratos.
- Kratos used the Nemean Cestus in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, along with the Icarus Wings, the Head of Helios, the Arms of Sparta, and the Blade of Olympus.
- The Barbarian Hammer and the Nemean Cestus are both the strongest weapons aside from the Blade of Olympus in God of War II and God of War III respectively, and both were weapons that were obtained by crushing the head of their previous owner with it.
- In God of War III, the Nemean Cestus was the only primary weapon (aside from the Blades of Exile) that were used in more than one QTE. The first two were in the battle against its original wielder, Hercules. The third one was in the moment of Kratos impaling Cronos with the Onyx Nail. The last one was in the battle against Skorpius when Kratos destroyed it's Onyx-layered carapace. The Claws of Hades and the Nemesis Whip were only used in the cutscenes when Kratos retrieved the weapons by killing Hades and Hephaestus respectively (even the Nemesis Whip was not used to kill Hephaestus directly).
- In Ascension, when Hercules fought against warriors in Multiplayer, he clapped the Cestus together at a point of the battle, which destroyed them. Since Ascension took place a long time before God of War III, the way that he found the Cestus back in the third game was unknown.
- It was also possible that the gauntlets that were used by Hercules in Ascension were mere copies of the Nemean Cestus, and were not the original ones. One fact that proved that was that Hercules easily destroyed them, which turned them into dust, while Zeus' Astral Form had to use most of his power to simply break them on three parts in God of War III. The gauntlets that Hercules destroyed, however, still seemed to have great magic powers, as they were still able to create massive shockwaves.
- Also in Ascension, the Nemean Cestus that were used by players in Multiplayer shared the same special attacks from God of War III.
- The basic Combos of all gauntlets of Multiplayer were inspired by the Nemean Cestus' ones: they all shared the same Square and Triangle moves as the Cestus in God of War III.
- When Hercules first wore the Cestus, they appeared to fit his hands. But when Kratos took them to fight his brother, they appeared to be able to fit his hands, albeit were larger. It was possible for the Nemean Cestus to have a size adjustment detail for those who wore the gauntlets, let it be a man of average or godly height. That size adjustment detail appeared to occur on every weapon, with the second most prominent one the Claws of Hades.
- Hercules was able to use the Cestus to parry against Kratos' attack, following a counter punch. When Kratos parried when he was equipped with the Cestus, he used the Golden Fleece.