If you watched our recent video Q&A with Ed Boon and Stig Asmussen, then you know that NetherRealm Studios and Sony Santa Monica Studios collaborated closely to ensure that God of War’s ultra-violent antihero was faithfully recreated for his highly anticipated (and PS3-exclusive) Mortal Kombat debut. Now that the shrink wrap is off the game, my hands-on play sessions have yielded some powerful tactics. First, a few observations:
Kratos is a tactician, not a brawler. Kratos’ style combos aren’t particularly fast or powerful, so wading into combat while mashing buttons won’t get you results worthy of the God of War. An effective Kratos player must demonstrate equal parts finesse and animal cunning.
The Helios Head gets results. Like Scorpion’s spear or Sub-Zero’s ice blast, the Helios Head is Kratos’ go-to special attack. You’ll learn to love it for several reasons: the blast boasts impressive range, stuns on impact, and shuts down jumping attackers. More importantly, it can chain a fast, weaker opening combo into a mortal monstrosity, especially when followed with the Olympic Ascension (below).
It helps to rise to the occasion. The key to unlocking Kratos’ highest damage potential is the Olympic Ascension (Back + hold Triangle), a powerful juggle that launches both fighters into the air. Follow up with the Olympic Toss (Circle) for a crushing finale and upwards of 30% damage.
Kratos: turtle killer. Torment a defensive foe by alternating between the Hades Pain (Back + Square, Back + Circle) and the Hades Edge (Back + Square, Triangle). The former ends with a low attack; the latter will defeat a crouching block. Mix them up to keep your opponent off balance in close-quarters brawls.
Don’t get overwhelmed. When confronted with a speedy, teleporting opponent such as Scorpion or Smoke, stay at a distance and blast away with Apollo’s Bow while fending off incoming attacks using the Golden Fleece (Down, Back, Square).
Kratos eats fireballs for breakfast. Just like in the games, the Golden Fleece will even reflect incoming fireballs back at your attacker. Take that, Shang Tsung!
Head of Helios: Down, Back, Triangle
Notes: Stuns enemies, easily chained into combos, Enhanced version adds extra damage
Apollo’s Bow: Down, Forward, Triangle
Notes: Fires two projectiles, Enhanced version fires three
Zeus Rage: Down, Forward, X
Notes: Follow the button prompts to complete, Enhanced version adds third hit
Golden Fleece: Down, Back, Square
Notes: Parries incoming attacks, triggers counterattack, redirects projectiles
Hermes Dash: Back, Forward, Circle
Notes: Can be charged up for extra damage, will hit airborne enemies
Blade of Olympus: Down, Down, Back, Forward, Triangle (sweep distance)
Medusa’s Gaze: Down, Back, Down, Forward, Square (jump distance)
Killer Kratos Combos
Kratos’ most damaging strings tend to open with a basic style combo, transition to the Helios Head, and conclude with an ultra-damaging Olympic Ascension juggle. With a little experimentation and a lot of hands-on time, I crafted the heavy hitting combos below. But this is just the beginning. Be sure to share your favorite Kratos combos (include a sweet name!) in the comments below, and I’ll update the list with the best community picks.
Forward + Triangle, Helios Head, Pandora’s Soul (Forward + Circle, Back + hold Triangle), Olympic Toss (Circle in mid-air)
6 hits, 39% Damage
Jump kick, Enhanced Zeus Wrath (Down, Forward, X + R2)
5 hits, 23% Damage
“This is Sparta!”
Circle, Helios Head, Enhanced Hermes Dash (Back, Forward, Circle + R2)
3 hits, 23% Damage
“Sun and Moon”
Jump punch, Athena’s Fury (Triangle, Square, Triangle), Apollo’s Bow
6 hits, 20% Damage
Destroy Shao Kahn in the Ladder mode with Kratos and you’ll earn the Blades of Exile item. Cash it in at the Nekropolis to unlock Kratos’ alternate “Fear” costume — the same outfit you earn by completing God of War III.