By Patrick O'Ceannliath
All Kratos could remember at first was darkness, before being awakened to his task.
As if re-living a dream, Kratos walked through the peak of his life as God of War upon Olympus. He watched as his glorious Spartans laid waste to Rhodes; burning the city, raping its women, pillaging its resources. Soon, another glorious victory for Sparta would be at hand, as proclaimed by one of Spartan's generals in praise to Lord Kratos. Determined to deliver the final death blow to Sparta, Kratos ventured forth, but not before being stopped by Athena, who persuaded him to give up his quest for conquest, as the gods would not stand by him. Rejecting her warning, Kratos pursued his path, and ventured to Rhodes, rising as a giant greater than the colossus which guarded the city gates. Before any damage could be done however, an eagle from Olympus flew from the heavens, and settled upon the Rhodes Colossus, infusing it with life, and depriving Kratos of height.
"ATHENA!" cried out Kratos. "YOU CONSPIRE AGAINST ME?!"
Kratos felt himself continue to shrink to human size, and dropped between the broken dome of a building to begin his battle.
Enraged by the shrinking down to the size of his worshipers, Kratos vowed to make Athena pay, and made this vow known to all.
"Athena, you WILL suffer for this!" bellowed Kratos.
All around him, Rhodesian Warriors faced him, ready to fight up against the God of War no matter what the cost, including death, which Kratos was all the more happy to grant them. Before the battle could begin however, Kratos felt himself frozen for a brief moment, and looked all around. He did not see anything of worth, until he looked directly behind him.
Kratos realized he's facing the opposite of what he'd be looking at in the mirror, and the only way he could decipher what he could see was by gazing into the reflection of his blades, which he did, and could now read what was behind him.
Upon what seemed to be a wall of parchment, Kratos could see the following message:
PRESS MAROON FOR LIGHT ATTACK
PRESS GREEN FOR HEAVY ATTACK
PRESS RED TO GRAB
Kratos did not recognize these strange-looking symbols, yet he was able to read, and understand them. Puzzled by these visions, Kratos soon found he did not have very much time to think, as Rhodesian Warriors began to rush in his direction. Without a moment's hesitation, Kratos began deploying his blades left and right, smiting any enemies that came into his line of fire. Oddly enough, he found himself performing light attacks, heavy attacks, and grabs, as though he weren't even thinking about his moves. Before long, Kratos found himself met with another ominous message on parchment:
PRESS BLOCK TO BLOCK ATTACKS
Kratos continued his defense against the surmounting forces of Rhodesian Warriors, and found himself utilizing the block function to follow up his assault. The Rhodesian Colossus roared from behind open windows, yet Kratos continued to focus upon the soldiers advancing. Soon again, and what began to be much to Kratos' annoyance, another parchment message appeared.
PRESS AND HOLD GREEN TO LAUNCH AN ENEMY INTO THE AIR
And so this pattern of fighting, and what appeared to be "instructions", seemed to continue, but it did not deter Kratos from his mission. Throughout Rhodes, Kratos blazed his trail, killing any enemies that stood in his way, until he finally crossed paths with the Rhodesian Colossus. Enemies continued to block his path, and Kratos continued to strike them down, all the while the Colossus struck its mighty palm in his direction. Kratos was hit a couple of times, suffering major damage, and managed to evade the rest of the attacks from the Colossus, delivering some damage of his own, until the Colossus unleashed a shockwave of electricity, and then Kratos fell, and his vision began to black.
In the same place where the parchment messages could usually be found, he saw the following message.
"Aw man, I didn't even get that far!" said a mysterious, teen-like voice, which Kratos heard as he faded away. "That was my last dollar!"
And then, all there was for Kratos, was darkness.
Until what seemed like a moment later.
This time, Kratos found himself a slave of the Furies, chained within the Prison of the Damned. Reliving these events of his life, he groaned in pain as Megaera tortured him in his shackles, and then he escaped, pursuing her throughout the fortress born of the body of of Hekatonkheiries.
Eventually, Kratos endured the same scenario; enduring enough damage, being struck down by an enemy, and blacking out. Sometimes he would be revived, and the "countdown" he would see would stop abruptly as he was, other time he would stay blacked out, until he would later be revived, and would embark at the beginning of one of the most memorable crossroads in his life.
Eventually, the cycle seemed to cease almost permanently, and instead of remaining blacked out, Kratos found himself in Sparta. Men, women, children and soldiers seemed to head to their dwellings for the evening, and one dwelling seemed empty.
"Goodnight Kratos." said one of the villagers. "Sleep well."
"Ehm, yes, goodnight." replied Kratos awkwardly.
"Goodnight Lord Kratos." said a little girl.
"Goodnight." said Kratos.
Kratos was extremely puzzled; he was not on Olympus, much less did he expect to see mortals wishing him goodnight, as if he were an ordinary citizen. Nevertheless, he decided to go with the flow.
"Forget where you are supposed to sleep?" asked a voice.
Kratos turned around, and saw an enemy before him.
"Hermes!" growled Kratos. "You have a lot of nerve following me here!"
"Relax Kratos, it's not game time." replied Hermes. "And the code programmed me to be the one endowed with the knowledge of our existence once we became plugged in for the first time."
All Kratos could do was stand there, and look on with a confused look.
"You speak nonsense!" replied Kratos.
Hermes sighed. "Look, if you're wondering where to sleep, your home is over there, and this is where you retire to between the 4 realms once game time is over for the day."
Hermes pointed to the Spartan house that appeared nicer than the rest, and had Kratos' omega symbol above the door.
"I've done my part, now we won't see each other until somebody plays God of War III." replied Hermes. "So long Kratos!"
Before Kratos could respond, Hermes dashed in the other direction using his boots, and was out of sight. The sky was completely black, and literally nothing was taking place. Not seeing much else he would be able to do, Kratos went into the home bearing his symbol, where he found a cupboard, a table for eating, and a bed; simple yet comfortable. Settling down into his humble bed, Kratos went to sleep.
About 8 hours later, Kratos heard a knock at his door, which woke him from sleep. Yawning a mighty yawn, Kratos got up from his bed, and opened the door.
"Hello new neighbor!" said a cheerful, child-like voice.
In front of Kratos, "hovering" eye level, there stood a creature unlike any he had seen. It appeared to be a fox, but had anthropomorphic features, and unbelievably two tails! The fox was using these tails to "fly" in place, spinning them around which gave him lift off the ground.
"My name is Tails, and on behalf of the President of the Arcade, and the entire game community, I would like to welcome you to Litwak's Arcade." said the fox. "I'm here to welcome you to arcade orientation."
Kratos just stood there, looking dumbfounded, and reached for his blades.
"What sort of enemy are you?!" said Kratos, brandishing his blades. "A spawn of Hades perhaps?!"
"No, no, I don't even know what Hades means!" replied Tails. "I'm just here to show you around!"
"Then show me to your master, demon!" demanded Kratos, lifting his blades in a threatening gesture. "NOW!"
"Uh oh!" said Tails, pulling out a walkie talkie. "I'm coming back! Code FD! We've got a Code FD!"
Tails flew away like a bat out of hell, and Kratos chased after him in hot pursuit. Tails was panicked, but knew where to go, and eventually led Kratos to an area where there were 5 doors.
The doors each had Roman Numerals on them, except for the 5th, which read "GOWUC GCS", and this is the door that Tails opened.
"OK come and get me scary guy!" taunted Tails. "Hop in!"
Leaping through the door with a roar, Kratos lunged to try and attack Tails, but missed him, and landed in a strange device. Feeling himself sitting on a seat, he soon found he was bound by some strange binding, which he could not break free from. Next to him, the strange fox sat.
"You might want to relax." said Tails. "The seatbelts are for your safety, and the ride can be a little bumpy."
"Once I am free of these bindings, your fate is sealed!" growled Kratos.
"Welcome to Platform 39, God of War Ultimate Collection." said a female voice over a loudspeaker. "Train 048 now departing to Game Central Station."
With a whir of mechanical noises and a hiss of steam, the shuttle containing both Tails and Kratos traveled down the circuitry of the extension cord, and within moments, they were in Game Central Station of Litwak's Arcade.
"Train 048 from God of War Ultimate Collection, now arriving at Game Central Station." said the female voice. "Please return to your home game no later than 1 hour prior to arcade business hours, have a wonderful day!"
"Here we go." said Tails with a sigh.
The seatbelts unleashed, and Tails zoomed out of the railcar. Kratos followed after him in hot pursuit.
"I need backup, Code FD!" said Tails on his walkie talkie, as he exited from the car.
As expected, a crowd of other video game characters waited for him outside the railcar. Kratos lunged at Tails, brandishing his blades, but found himself knocked backwards onto the ground, and unconscious, by a clothesline maneuver from a massive arm.
"Hey, knock that off!" said the owner of the arm. "That's no way to treat a guy who's trying to welcome you."
"Thanks Ralph!" replied Tails. "This guy's a live wire!"
"No problem buddy." replied Wreck-It Ralph. "Who is this guy anyway?"
Wreck-It Ralph looked down at this strange new character, not having recognized him from before.
"OK everyone, out of the way." said Surge Protector, materializing and placing Kratos in electrical energy handcuffs. "Everything is under control until the Sheriff gets here."
"Yeah, everything's under control, because I was doing YOUR job." said Wreck-It Ralph with disdain.
"Yeah, whatever." said Surge Protector dismissively. "I'm sure there was no real danger anyway."
"I guess we'll just have to see about that when the Sheriff gets here." said Wreck-It Ralph, looking at Kratos with a puzzling look, and then addressing him. "So fella, are you a good guy, or a bad guy?"