God of War: Chains of Olympus is a third-person action-adventure video game developed by Ready at Dawn and Santa Monica Studio, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). It was first released for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld console on March 4, 2008. The game is the fourth installment in the God of War series, the second chronologically, and a prequel to the original God of War.
It is loosely based on Greek mythology and set in ancient Greece, with vengeance as its central motif. The player controls Kratos, a Spartan warrior who serves the Olympian Gods. Kratos is guided by the goddess Athena, who instructs him to find the Sun God Helios, as the Dream God Morpheus has caused many of the gods to slumber in Helios' absence. With the power of the Sun and the aid of the Titan Atlas, Morpheus and the Queen of the Underworld Persephone intend to destroy the Pillar of the World and in turn Olympus.
Debuting at No. 5 on the North American charts, Chains of Olympus achieved the highest composite score for a PSP title from Metacritic and GameRankings. 1UP stated that the game is "a technical showpiece for Sony, and arguably the best-looking game on the system." It has won several awards, including "Best PSP Action Game", "Best Graphics Technology", and "Best Use of Sound". In September 2010, GamePro named Chains of Olympus the best PSP game. By June 2012, the game had sold 3.2 million copies worldwide. Together with God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Chains of Olympus was remastered and released on September 13, 2011, as part of the God of War: Origins Collection for the PlayStation 3 (PS3). The remastered version was included in the God of War Saga released on August 28, 2012, also for PlayStation 3.
As with the previous games in the God of War franchise, God of War: Chains of Olympus is set in an alternate version of ancient Greece, populated by the Olympian Gods, Titans, and other beings of Greek mythology. With the exception of flashbacks, the events are set between those of the games Ascension (2013) and God of War (2005). Several locations are explored, including the real world locations of the ancient cities of Attica and Marathon, the latter including fictional settings of the Temple of Helios and the Caves of Olympus, and several other fictional locations, including the Underworld, which features scenes at the River Styx, Tartarus, the Fields of Elysium, and the Temple of Persephone.
Attica is a war-torn city under assault by the Persian Empire and their pet basilisk, and is the site of Eurybiades' last battle. The city of Marathon is covered in the black fog of the Dream God, Morpheus. Just beyond the city is the Temple of Helios, which sits atop the Sun Chariot, which has plummeted to Earth in Helios' absence. Boreas, Zephyros, Euros, and Notos, gods of the north, west, east, and south winds, respectively, reside in the temple and guide the chariot. The Caves of Olympus is an underground cavern below Mount Olympus and houses the goddess Eos, the Primordial Fires, and a statue of Triton. The Underworld is the underground realm of the dead and is host to the River Styx and ferryman of the dead, Charon. Tartarus is the prison of the dead and the Titans where the massive Titan Hyperion is chained. The Fields of Elysium are home to deserving souls that roam peacefully and are overlooked by the Temple of Persephone.
The protagonist of the game is Kratos (voiced by Terrence C. Carson), a former Captain of Sparta's Army, and once servant to the God of War, Ares. He now serves the other Olympian Gods in hopes that they will free him of his nightmares.
Other characters include:
- Kratos' mentor and ally Athena (Erin Torpey), the Goddess of Wisdom
- Eos (Erin Torpey), the Goddess of Dawn and sister of Helios
- Persephone (Marina Gordon), the Queen of the Underworld and the main antagonist
- and Atlas (Fred Tatasciore), a four-armed Titan imprisoned in Tartarus after the Great War
Kratos' deceased daughter Calliope (Debi Derryberry) briefly reunites with him in the Fields of Elysium and his wife Lysandra appears in a flashback.
Minor characters include:
- Helios (Dwight Schultz), the captured Sun God
- Charon (Dwight Schultz), the ferryman of the Underworld
- and the Persian King (Fred Tatasciore), leader of the Persian forces attacking Attica.
The Dream God Morpheus is an unseen character that affects the plot.
God of War: Chains of Olympus is a third-person single-player video game viewed from a fixed camera perspective. The player controls the character Kratos in combo-based combat, platforming, and puzzle game elements, and battles foes who primarily stem from Greek mythology, including cyclopes, Gorgons, satyrs, harpies, minotaurs, hoplites, and sphinxes. Morpheus beasts, shades, banshees, fire guards, fire sentries, hyperion guards, and death knights were created specifically for the game. Platforming elements require the player to climb walls, jump across chasms, swing on ropes, and balance across beams to proceed through sections of the game. Some puzzles are simple, such as moving a box so that the player can use it as a jumping-off point to access a pathway unreachable with normal jumping, but others are more complex, such as finding several items across different areas of the game to unlock one door.