GOD OF WAR III - CHALLENGE OF EXILE **********STRATEGY GUIDE*********** VERSION 1.1 ------------- VERSIONS _____________ VERSION 0.9 - 04-07-2010 - This is the NEAR COMPLETE Version 0.9 of my guide, yet it's a first draft that will go through some changes and fine tuning in the next few days. Basic strategies are presented here for the time being and all updates and new version info will go in this section. VERSION 1.0 - 04-09-2010 - COMPLETE Version 1.0 of this guide. I added more content in the "INTRODUCTION" and "END NOTES" and finally finished the more advanced walkthroughs for some of the challenges. There is probably still a little polishing to do and it would be nice to update to a 1.1 Version with some different strategies and various observations from other fellow players. VERSION 1.1 - 04-14-2010 - Fixed some typos and tweaked a few paragraphs along with some of the formatting. Added URLs for some YouTube videos for all challenges. Added alternate tips and strategies by bystanderg and MrStarkiller. Added bystanderg, MrStarkiller and Shinobier in the SPECIAL CREDITS & THANKS section. Finally added neoseeker.com and supercheats.com in the LEGAL section as websites authorized to publish this strategy guide. ------------- INTRODUCTION _____________ Welcome to my strategy guide for the Challenge of Exile on God of War III for the PS3 entertainment system. God of War III is one beautiful game, a wonderful experience on many levels, sadly it also marks the end of the phenomenal God of War Trilogy. I assume that if you are reading this guide you are familiar with Kratos, his story, weapons and the general game mechanics so there is no need to review any of that here. So what exactly is the Challenge of Exile... Well, it's a set of 7 challenges, offered as exclusive content for the Ultimate God of War Edition in the U.S. and for the Trilogy Edition in other parts of the World. Yes, I realize not everyone has those, and it's a shame that at the times of these writings they are available to a few of us only. Rest assure though, it's only a matter of time before they are made available as DLC - DownLoadable Content - on the Playstation Store(s) all around the planet (and I KNOW that they are already on the disc for the Normal Edition, the code I got was just a matter of unlocking them, a "key" if you will, there was nothing to download past the few kilobytes of the file itself - I really hate when game companies do that!) Anyway, some complained that the Challenges of Olympus were to easy, well, fear no more, with the Challenge of Exile you are in a for a treat. Some of those challenges are actually pretty hard, with two that are near impossible to complete... Yes, you know the ones I'm talking about... **SPOILER ALERT** Even if you entered your code to redeem these challenges as part of your Ultimate or Trilogy Edition, you have to beat the game first to be able to unlock, and therefore play, the Challenge of Exile. So, if you haven't beat the game don't read any further as this guide may contain spoilers, minor ones yes, but spoilers nonetheless. **SPECIAL NOTES** You cannot upgrade Weapons or Special Items during these challenges. No Magic is available for any of these challenges. That's a little sad, I've always liked Magic in all GOW games, the combination of moves and spells makes for fun play, so I really wish a challenge or two had this option. There is no background scenery change, you always fight on the same arena. It gets a little boring but it's not that big of a deal. There is no Ranking rewards for beating a challenge, nor a Results screens that you can return to (save for the first time after beating a challenge) to compare or brag about data. It's really too bad, contesting and comparing against oneself or against others could have been fun... Finally, there is no Reward whatsoever for beating all 7 challenges. No unlock, no costume, no easter egg, nothing. Just a screen that congratulates you on beating the Challenge of Exile... That's a little light. For fun, I'm also rating (because I can, this is my guide) each challenge on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being obviously the easiest and 5 the hardest. I like to think of this ranking system as a progression from Mortal to Spartan, then to God, Titan and finally Chaos difficulty. There are 2 extremely hard - or Chaos - Challenges of Exile, 2 hard - Titan - challenges, 1 medium - God - challenge, 1 average - Spartan - challenge and 1 easy - Mortal- challenge. Here they are: -Difficulty 1/Mortal: "HANDS OFF" -Difficulty 2/Spartan: "OLD BIRDS" -Difficulty 3/God: "PANDORA ON FIRE" -Difficulty 4/Titan: "USE PROTECTION" and "FEAR ITSELF" -Difficulty 5/Chaos: "SWITCH BLADE" and "HADES' KIDS 2" But enough ramblings, let's get started: The challenges below are listed as they appear on the Challenge of Exile select screen. Of course you are able to complete them in any order since they are all available to play from the start (which wasn't the case with the first 2 GOW games on the PS2, you had to pass a challenge to unlock the next). ------------------------- CHALLENGE #1: "OLD BIRDS" _________________________ OBJECTIVE: Kill 15 Crows before time runs out. Hitting the ground will reset the counter. CHALLENGE DATA: Time limit: 120 Seconds Average Completion Time: 90 Seconds Weapon(s): Blades of Exile at Maximum Magic: None Rage of Sparta: Yes - Useless Special Item: Boots of Hermes Level 1 - Useless Enemies: A fair amount of Crows (that look like Harpies if you ask me) Difficulty: 2/5 - Spartan STRATEGY: One easy, yet annoying challenge. The problem is that it doesn't take any real skills, but some luck, yes definitely, as the aerial position of the crows in the skies of Olympus seems (or is obviously) pretty random and will sometimes work in your favor, and other times not. Start this Challenge by pressing X and wait a second or two for all the crows to appear. Double jump and immediately press L1 + O - Hyperion Ram - to grab onto a crow, rinse and repeat while trying to gain some elevation. That's pretty much it. The goal here is to last long enough in the air so you can log in near 10 or 12 kills to your counter, and at this point and if you are high enough, just execute a Cyclone of Chaos - L1 +  - with the Blades of Exile so Kratos can turn into a helicopter and rack the last few necessary kills. The Cyclone of Chaos should give you the 15 required victims to beat this challenge and some small satisfaction in your quest for beating all 7 of them ('cause this is only the beginning and you've got some work ahead of you). Note that in order to gain the most elevation, you want to try to aim your grab high up, and where there is a crowd. It will happen that you will grab a lone enemy, and most likely below you, therefore dangerously closing you in with the ground, but at that point all is not lost my son as you are usually able to catch up again. If not, go through the same strategy again and if you pass below the 90 seconds mark on your time counter, consider restarting the whole challenge. Note also that you have both Rage of Sparta and Boots of Hermes in this Challenge and I'm not really sure why... The Boots are definitely useless but I haven't tried Rage in the air yet so I'm not sure if it could be beneficial in our crow serial killings past the grabbing frenzy. It's definitely worth a try and I'll update this guide when I get around to it. (UPDATE: No, I just tried it and activating Rage of Sparta throws you back on the ground! You can't jump with it either since the X command - Spartan Glory - plants your sword in the ground to launch enemy in the air... Like I said, useless!) Finally, one last tidbit; depending on the frequency of your button - O - mashing while you are airborn, you will either execute Hyperion Ram repeatidely, if done slowly, but if you press the O button too quickly the engine will register an Orion's Harpoon move at times and therefore slam your enemy back to the ground. I'm not sure what is the best strategy here so feel free to enlighten me. Watch a great video capture by bystanderg: http://www.youtube.com/user/bystanderg#p/u/6/HuykuCMVg3E ****************** ALTERNATE STRATEGY for OLD BIRDS by MrStarkiller: My slighty altered strat is to: -L1 + O into a crowd -L1 +  -CG - Combat Grapple - at another Harpy -(High enough) L1 +  -(Not High enough) Briefly wait for the time slow to end and use another Combat Grapple That's the basic idea. You need to get a feel for getting control over the fight. ****************** Okay, now let's take a look at the second challenge, "SWITCH BLADE" and brace yourself as things are about to get incredibly difficult. ---------------------------- CHALLENGE #2: "SWITCH BLADE" ____________________________ OBJECTIVE: Kill all the enemies before time runs out. Your weapon will be switched every 30 seconds. CHALLENGE DATA: Time limit: 120 Seconds Average Completion Time: 119 Seconds (Ouch!) Weapon(s): Blades of Exile, then Nemesis Whip, then Claws of Hades and finally Nemean Cestus, all at Maximum Magic: None Rage of Sparta: No Special Item: None Enemies: 50 enemies total, see below -Wave 1: 20 Olympus Legionnaires -Wave 2: 20 War Hounds -Wave 3: 5 Minotaurs Elite -Wave 4: 5 Olympus Guardians Difficulty: 5/5 - Chaos STRATEGY: One of the two (if not THE) Hardest Challenge of Exile. This one definitely takes some skills yes, but there is also a luck factor involved in regards to enemy behavior and their spacial positions and movements around the arena. Basically you have 120 seconds to defeat 50 enemies. Simple math would tell you that you need to defeat an average of 12.5 enemies per cycle of 30 seconds, and therefore per weapon, but unfortunately it doesn't really work that way. Why do you ask, well, because the last 2 waves (10 enemies - 5 Minotaurs and 5 Olympus Guardians) are nearly impossible to defeat in one cycle. Also do NOT go for any Circle prompt and various Quicktime animations in this battle, it's a waste of time and you can't afford that. So, you have to be fast and efficient for this challenge, very efficient. You start with the Blades of Exile and you want to be using Spirit of Hercules - /\/\/\ - only. Work your way through the 20 Olympus Legionnaires and let your splashing end-combo land on big groups if possible. Sometimes you will be able to repeat this move over and over again and sometimes things will get very frustrating as the Legionnaires will interrupt it constantly. Going in the direction of stunned enemies before turning around is a good idea, yet more than often one lone soldier will still sneak behind you and hit you over the head, preventing you from reaping the reward from your move. If that happens more than 3 or 4 times just restart as you won't be able to rack enough kills with the Blades. Remember that Spirit of Hercules allows you to rotate 360 degrees while building up the combo. This is a good thing and proves itself very useful when enemies are fast to surround you. If you can't kill at least 16 Olympus Legionnnaire by the 90 seconds mark, simply forget about it and restart. Now, it is possible to get all 20 Olympus Legionnaires with the Blades and then some. My best at the 90 seconds mark is actually 32 enemies - 20 Legionnaires and 12 Hounds - before the automatic switch to the Nemesis Whip (the Hounds usually show up at the 15th Legionnaire kill). The Hounds will also often pile up on you making you waste precious seconds. Shaking them off will knock enemies back but since the procedure is too costly timewise just avoid it whenever possible. Okay, phase 2, this is where things get a little complicated. The Nemesis Whip is now yours and there are maybe a few Legionnaires left on the field, Hounds barking everywhere and Minotaurs coming out of the ground. Oh my, what to do? Well, stay in the front area of the arena, basically away from the emerging Minotaurs, and using Furious Contempt -  - with the Whip, dispatch as many Hounds as possible. The Whip is powerful, the doggies should go down pretty fast. By the 80 seconds mark forget the remaining Hounds or Legionnaires (if any) and quickly go position yourself in between 2, or even 3, Minotaurs and immediately launch Severe Judgment - L1 +  - and watch what happens. That's right, you are sending 1, 2 or 3 Minotaurs flying up in the air with you while inflicting major damage! Keep mashing the Square button and you almost never come back on the ground, how cool is that! Rinse and repeat as long as you have the Whip, that should weaken some of those Minotaurs pretty good, and get you ready for phase 3 (there are other powerful combos with the Whip, I just don't think they work as well, at least not for me). Phase 3 is at the 60 seconds mark, things are really getting chaotic here and your weapon is now automatically switched to the Claw of Hades. I personnaly don't really like the Claws but I figured out my playstyle with them; I use a combination of  and /\ only. No L1, no jumping, no nothing. Just Square and Triangle buttons. 5x will give you Hades Agony and 3x/\ will give you Hades Curse. I personnaly like to apply /\, it's an old Blade habit and it seems to give me pretty good results. Now you also HAVE TO evade a lot at this stage as you have 5 Olympus Legionnaires on screen and most likely all, still well and alive, 5 Minotaurs. These guys will stop at nothing to get you. Seriously, they are mean, they charge, they maul you and their 2-swings axe combo is pretty deadly. This is a stage where you will die a lot, so while keeping an eye on your Life gauge, keep evading constantly and actually try to position yourself in-between some of the Olympus Guardians as it will make it more difficult for the Minotaurs to get you. Hack away with your Claws but priotize staying alive over inflicting major damage. I repeat, you will die a lot here. Unfortunately you do not have any Special Items in this challenge so there is no blinding and no air dashing to escape the crowd, you have to be very careful. Also it goes without saying, use your Claws on the Minotaurs, it's rather pointless to try to hit the Olympus Guardians as you need the Cestus to defeat them. Which brings us to the next and last phase. Now, for this last phase your weapon switches to the powerful Cestus and you basically have (still) 10 enemies on screen and one last 30 available seconds to defeat them. If you are as lucky as I was when I passed this, one Minotaurs might be dead already (thanks to the Whip and the Claws) and/or a nice and glowing Circle prompt could be rotating above another one's head. Do not use the Triumphant labor -  - attack here, this was my mistake for the longest time because I just liked the rythm this combo gave me, yet I could never finish the challenge. No, no, no, the key here is to use Erymanthion Rage - /\/\ - only! Hack away with this powerful combo and watch enemies fly in the air and disintegrate in front of you. Choose groups over single enemy first and go for all the Minotaurs that are still alive. Finally finish the few remaining Olympus Guardians with maybe even, because you are that good, a couple of seconds to spare... It's still very hard at this stage to get rid of all remaining enemies in time but practice makes perfect and you will eventualy get it. How many tries did this one challenge take me you ask, A LOT of tries! Another great video capture by bystanderg: http://www.youtube.com/user/bystanderg#p/u/0/IfW1xw2vD-Y My own video capture - sorry for the poor quality - with 10 seconds to spare!: http://www.youtube.com/user/grandmort#p/a/u/1/CyDnS9tr_LI ************ SPECIAL NOTE for SWITCH BLADE by MrStarkiller: I found it quite worthwhile to QUICKLY get the shields off the Guardians then use combos on Minotaurs that would incidentally kill the Guardians. ************ Next, the heat is still on and "PANDORA (is) ON FIRE", so let's move on as we have more killing to do! ------------------------------- CHALLENGE #3: "PANDORA ON FIRE" _______________________________ OBJECTIVE: Don't let Pandora's cage hit the floor. Kill enemies to make the cage rise. CHALLENGE DATA: Time limit: None Average Completion Time: 04 Minutes (My Best: 03:59) Weapon(s): Blades of Exile + Nemesis Whip + Claws of Hades + Nemean Cestus, all at Maximum Magic: None Rage of Sparta: Yes Special Item: Bow of Apollo + Head of Helios + Boots of Hermes Enemies: 82 enemies total, see below Many Feral Hounds + Olympus Guardians + Olympus Legionnaires + 2 Wraiths of Olympus + 3 Sirens Seductress + many Harpies + 2 Cyclops Enforcer -Wave 1: Feral Hounds, Olympus Guardians and Olympus Legionnaires -Wave 2: Wraiths of Olympus, 3 Sirens Seductress and many Harpies -Wave 3: 2 Cyclops Enforcer Difficulty: 3/5 - God STRATEGY: After the last challenge, this one will definitely feel much easier, but stay alert though as it's also twice as long. The Nemean Cestus are your best friend here and your mission is fairly straight forward, destroy everything and do it fast. You basically have to dispatch 82 enemies in about 4 minutes. Speaking of fast note that your life will drain, well, really fast as you will get hit a lot. Blocking on occasion would therefore be a good idea. Here are the main combos I like to use with the Cestus for this challenge:  - Triumphant Labor /\/\ - Erymanthion Rage L1 + O - Ferocious Bite L1 +  - Vicious Maul L1 + /\ - Crushing Strike Of course you can use your weapon of choice here and the Blades or the Whip can both inflict major damage. Since there is always a few Olympus Guardians with their blue shields roaming around, I personnaly like to stick with the Cestus. Start pounding and work you way around the fire in a clockwise (or counter clockwise) manner. When the fight gets a little intense do not hesitate to double jump and fly in some empty corner (using Icarus Wings and a quick Hermes Dash - Right Analog Stick - thanks to your Boots), and then pull out Helios Head and blind your enemies with a Solar Flare - L2 + Hold /\ - . This is also very useful against the Sirens Seductress and the Harpies as anything that goes airborn to attack you can get quite annoying in such a brawl. With blinded enemies all over the arena you may now work your way around the fire again while pummeling the ground with Erymanthion Rage - /\/\ - . If necessary use Rage of Sparta (I never do) to clear out a few bad guys in some original and colorful fashion but in the end just remember to dispatch enemies as quickly as possible. Make sure NOT to waste any time with Quicktime animations since even though this challenge doesn't technically have a Time Limit, Pandora's Cage is coming down really fast in the last part of the fight. Now the thing to do when the first Cyclop Enforcer appear is to go for him and him only. At this point do NOT use the Triangle combo with your Cestus but only the Square combination - Triumphant Labor - and so, as you constantly interrupt him in his pre-charge, he never gets a chance to throw his mean spiky metallic thingy at you (did you like that; his "mean spiky metallic thingy"). Once the Circle prompt appears over his head, keep at it with the Cestus and do NOT trigger the Quicktime Event, the kill would just take too long (yes, I lost a few times this way). Rinse and repeat with the second Cyclop and at this point you should only have a handfull of enemies left on stage (or maybe none, in which case, bravo, you are done). Get rid of them quickly and that's one more challenge in the bag. A third video capture by bystanderg: http://www.youtube.com/user/bystanderg#p/u/1/ExfRkuyNvsQ My own crappy capture: http://www.youtube.com/user/grandmort#p/a/u/0/GPaM8zFJKyw ****************** ALTERNATE STRATEGY for PANDORA ON FIRE by bystanderg: For Pandora on Fire I found it useful to score a few hits on the Wraiths or Sirens and when they go to ground or out of phase, go after the Legionnaires and then when return or phase back in score a few more hits on them. That way I'm softening them up for later whilst maintaining kills to keep Pandora's cage rising. Also it maybe worth mentioning that it seems to me the Harpies only start spawning once you kill all the Feral Hounds. ****************** ****************** ALTERNATE STRATEGY for PANDORA ON FIRE by MrStarkiller: I favor Cestus here. Breaking shields is important to me. Harpies are a bother so you may want to focus on them with infinite air grabs. Solar Flare does well to bring foes down, stun, give you a pause, etc. At the start, I favor /\/\ and /\ against the trash. For Wraiths, I like to use something I just learned and that is that I stay close to the fire and foes are killed by it. Wraiths and Undead variants die instantly. You have to keep Sirens in it for a bit to get the kill and it doesn't appear to effect the Cyclops Enforcer. If a Harpy goes in, it should die. As I was saying, I pull Wraiths from the opposite side TOWARD me with Cestus Combat Grapple *through the fire*. This works for Undead and Harpies as well. Less so with Sirens and not at all with the Cyclops. Sirens are tricky to get into the fire... so I mainly use it for the Wraiths and 'cover' from Undead as I Solar Flare everyone then begin Cestus Rape. Cyclops get  evade cancel and repeat or /\ while evading their attack. A stray foe isn't much of a challenge. So the idea is to Cestus rape the first set of foes until all the Hounds are gone and Wraiths appears. Beat on the group a bit to take them out a little and then align a Wraith on the opposite side (or catch a burrowing one and pull it into the fire) of the flame. Kill all Wraiths. Next you'll be using Solar Flare by the flame to knock foes down then going **** with Cestus again. Repeat until you deal with all the Harpies. Then begin beating on the Undead. The Cyclops Enforcer gets the attention now. Then Sirens who remain. If you can stun then knock them into the flame (hitting the side of Pandora's cage keeps them on it well), they die quickly. This gives you the option of going ape**** outright (as I used to do) or putting the flame to work for you as I now do. NOTE: You can use 2x Flash to send Sirens (and others) into the flame. ****************** Next, even though it's time for "HANDS OFF" and its lovely set of Hades Arms, don't put that controller down just yet. ------------------------- CHALLENGE #4: "HANDS OFF" _________________________ OBJECTIVE: Kill all the Hades Arms before times runs out. CHALLENGE DATA: Time limit: 45 Seconds Average Completion Time: 45 Seconds, duh! Weapon(s): Blades of Exile at Maximum Magic: None Rage of Sparta: No Special Item: None Enemies: 69 Hades Arms Difficulty: 1/5 - Mortal STRATEGY: Along with "OLD BIRDS" here is another pretty easy challenge. Probably the easiest one actually. It reminds me a lot of the Breaking Pots one in the first GOW and the other very similar "SIMPLY SMASHING" the Urns in the Challenge of Olympus. You start in the center of the arena and you have 69 lovely Arms to dispatch. Immediately choose you combo of choice and try to work your way in some clockwise (or counter clockwise) manner. On this challenge you'll be using the Blades only and therefore you must work with a very limited set of moves. Attempting to use the very powerful Spirit of Hercules (my all time favorite - /\/\/\ - ) is not such a good idea as it takes too long to deploy. Instead, work with the beloved Plume of Prometheus - /\ - and start smashing at the Arms while moving forward. Don't forget to roll for this challenge to reach Arms cluster in a quicker fashion. Now, another good combo to use here is Cyclone of Chaos - L1 +  + Hold - because the range with it is fantastic and basically damage anything and everything 360 degrees around you. The combination of these two moves should get the job done. (Update: I've seen it done with ONLY Cyclone of Chaos!) Note that it's also very nice that a red on-screen indicator shows you how many more Arms are left for you to destroy since sometimes they will be too dark against the arena background or simply out of your field of view and you are going to need to hurry to get to them. Watch this fast (28 seconds!) video capture by bystanderg: http://www.youtube.com/user/bystanderg#p/u/4/5KDXVP4g1aM Are you done? Did it only take you 1 or 2 attempts? Good, see, didn't I tell you it was an easy challenge. Moving along, "USE PROTECTION" now awaits, let's go shatter some shields. ------------------------------ CHALLENGE #5: "USE PROTECTION" ______________________________ OBJECTIVE: Break all of the shields without killing any enemies before time runs out. CHALLENGE DATA: Time limit: 60 Seconds Average Completion Time: 60 Seconds Weapon(s): Nemean Cestus Level 1 (Blades of Athena at Maximum - Useless) Magic: None Rage of Sparta: Yes Special Item: Boots of Hermes Enemies: 12 Olympus Guardians Difficulty: 4/5 - Titan STRATEGY: 12 Shields to break, no kills allowed. Easier said than done. 5 Olympus Guardians await you at the start of this challenge, but nothing is too complicated here, you just have to break as many shields as you can and as quickly as possible. The problem is how NOT to kill an enemy, otherwise it's game over. Also it looks like the auto-aim feature is not working very well in God of War III so be very careful when your launch an attack with the Cestus and be prepared to use the block button - L1 - immediately to stop whatever is it you were doing. To get in the groove of things, I recommend using Triumphant Labor -  - with your Cestus since there is no other weapon you can use here (you do have the Blades of Athena, yes Athena, available in the Menu but you can't select them during the challenge). Also remember to jump often and go super sonic using the very useful Hermes Dash. As more enemies wil appear in the arena this will allow you to fly over them and reach some more necessary blue shields in a much faster way. When a shield is turning reddish it's now time to pay attention and go for one blow only. Again, one blow ONLY. Tap Square and immediately put your focus on another enemy. It's fairly easy to shatter up to 9 or 10 shields but at this point things get a little tricky because, in case you haven't noticed, you now have a lot of Olympus Gauardians on screen. You have to go for the necessay remaining blue shields while making sure you are not killing any unprotected Guardians in the process. Again, this is easier said than done and it will most likely take you a few attempts to get it right. Watch another great capture by bystanderg: http://www.youtube.com/user/bystanderg#p/u/3/D1GLLjpu5JY ****************** ALTERNATE STRATEGY for USE PROTECTION by bystanderg: On Use Protection, it seemed better to me to bring all the shields to red status before going round and smashing them. It means towards the end of the challenge you don't have to worry so much about killing anyone accidentally. I found it easier this way as at the start you have more space to get two hits and then go after the newly spawning Guardians. Once you've got most of them to red status you can go about freely smashing shields without too much concern. ****************** Are you finished and ready to move on? Are you feeling all mighty powerful? Good 'cause, how do you like them Chimeras? "HADES' KIDS 2" will now test your limits and how, so taking a short break might be a good idea here. No, really, go on, I mean it! Go get a snack or something, don't forget to drink some fresh water too - water is good for you - and stretch those little hands of yours while you're at it! ----------------------------- CHALLENGE #6: "HADES' KIDS 2" _____________________________ OBJECTIVE: They still don't die, they still multiply. Get 5 Chimeras to spawn before time runs out. CHALLENGE DATA: Time limit: 270 Seconds Average Completion Time: 260 Seconds (my best is 240 seconds or 04 Minutes) Weapon(s): Blades of Exile at Maximum Magic: None Rage of Sparta: No (I think they just forgot to give it to us here...) Special Item: Boots of Hermes Level 1 Enemies: 4 (of 7) Chimeras Difficulty: 5/5 - Chaos STRATEGY: Oh boy, what were they thinking? Who designed that thing? Perhaps THE hardest Challenge of Exile, if not THE hardest challenge of all challenges, all God of War games included. Or at least one that most definitely shares the top spot with its mean brothers; "SWITCH BLADE" and Challenge #10 where you have to try to raise-the-platform-while-fighting-Satyrs-and-fire-puppies from the first GOW (yeah, I know you remember that one!). Now, do you seriously think you have what it takes? This challenge is insanely hard and frustrating and pretty much the reason for this guide to exist in the first place. Here you will basically find the most complete walkthrough you can find for any God of War challenges on the Internet. I'm serious. I think it's safe to say that it took me well over 50 attempts to beat this one, really! Before we start, 4 key points that need to be adressed: 1 - When you defeat the first Chimera one will re-spawn, AND a new one will appear along with it. Yes, you read correctly, defeat 1 Chimera and 2 will show up! Kill those 2 and you will now have 4 fresh new ones on screen (gee, and the arena is not THAT big!), defeat one of these 4 and you are through - in which case you can now "call your mama in the room and show her how great you are!" (I'm plagiarizing here, this is a quote from the SSX game on PS2, another one of my favorite). But anyway, let's get back to business. 2 - The Chimera is a mean creature, part lion, part goat and part snake. Basically it's a huge lion with some goat-like back legs, an extra goat head and it has a vicious snake for a tail. The Chimera has 390 Hit Points and you need to go through 3 Circle prompts to defeat it. Some of these prompts will trigger a Random Button press (don't jinx it!) while other will simply be an - O - Button mashing. You CANNOT keep hitting a Chimera when there is a Circle prompt above its head(s) as you can do with many other creatures throughout the game (Sirens, Cyclops or Minotaurs for example). In other words, you must go through each and every Quicktime Event Sequence, EVERY TIME, to go on to the next phase or to claim victory. This takes valuable time but there is no other way around it. In short, it's quite a pain. (By the way, the Chimera is bad-ass looking in this game, they really succefully came up with a convincing design for that creature, kudos to them!) 3 - The Chimera has a different set of attacks and they go as follow: -In it's first form it will chase you, slowly or quickly depending on its mood, and it will either grab you with its snake-tail and slam you to the ground or it will spew a greenish and gooey venomous substance that will paralyze you. Shake the Left analog stick like crazy to get out of this mess. Occasionaly in this first form the lion will mess with you with its claws but that's actually pretty rare. -In its second form, once you cut off its snake-tail, the Chimera will now be a lion standing tall on its back legs. It spits fire and has a deadly 2-swings claw attack that has a VERY long reach. Just watch out. -In its third and last form the Chimera goes on all fours but at this stage only the goat enemy remains. It will ram you and still spit a wide fire wall at you but even more frustrating, it will also dodge a lot, jump around and almost always move in a counter clockwise manner around the arena. Basically at this stage it's hard to keep up with it. Unfortunately this is also the stage that has the most Hit Points (nobody likes goats), making it the hardest, and longest one to defeat. 4 - Getting caught by a Chimera, be it by its snake grab, its gooey spew, its fire throws or its claw attacks will make you waste very valuable and precious seconds while Kratos suffers the pain. Bottom line, those painful animations will quickly enrage you (extra set of DualShock 3 controllers recommended here), they will cost you time AND YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO WASTE ANY TIME ON THIS CHALLENGE! So, yeah, avoid them like the plague, just avoid getting hit as much as possible. If it happens too many times in a row - and it will - just restart. Can you block you ask; well, yes, you can block the snake-tail swipe and the claw attacks from the lion form, you can also block the ram attack from the goat form and that's about it. Now, how to quickly kill a Chimera: I came up with a rather efficient way to dispatch this powerful foe (or so I think, prove me if I'm wrong) using ONLY the two following combos (remember, you only have the Blades here): -Plume of Prometheus - /\ - -Spirit of Hercules - /\/\/\ - It is possible to defeat the first form in about 10 seconds flat with Plume followed by Spirit. It is also possible to defeat the second form in another 12 to 15 seconds with Spirit followed by Plume this time around. That is a good thing and you are going to have to try really hard to achieve that each and every time. The third and last form is a little more tricky as it jumps, evade and moves a lot. Heavier combos will deal quicker damage but also often get interrupted and therefore won't do anything at all but waste your time. You do have the Boots of Hermes on this challenge and air-dashing with them will most certainly come in very handy in the last part of the fight. Defeating a single Chimera should take about 50 to 60 seconds on average. Keep an eye on the Time counter on top of your screen. But let's just get it on with the walkthrough, that's why you came here for, isn't it? Okay, here we go. 270 seconds is all you've got! Press X and, even though the first Chimera has not quite yet dropped from the skies, immediately launch Plume of Prometheus - /\ - in its direction, again immediately followed by Spirit of Hercules - /\/\ - while advancing toward the creature. This works almost every time (sometimes not, as the Chimera will block, watch for the Hit counter on the right of your screen) and at that point you should have the first Circle prompt above its head. Wow, that was fast, I know! Trigger the animation with one random press (again, don't jinx it!) and buh-bye snake-tail. The counter should mark 260 seconds. Now observe how each and every time you cut off its snake-tail the Chimera is slightly disoriented and turns away from you. Stay behind it and start pressing immediately the Triangle Button (even if Kratos is still in his animation recovery phase) and launch Spirit of Hercules - /\/\/\ - again. As this combo lands, and as you can see that the Chimera is taking a deep breath to spew fire at you, roll immediately to the side and launch Plume of Prometheus - /\ -. When done right, the roll animation will protect you from the first fire throw AND Plume of Prometheus will hit a split second before the Chimera has a chance to spew its second fire throw. If you've done everything correctly so far the second Circle prompt should appear. This one is always about mashing the - O - Button after climbing on the lion so it's fairly easy (even if it feels like a real waste of time) and the counter should now be at 245 seconds approximately. Okay, you are once more in the animation recovery phase and the Chimera backs off to the right. You have several choices now but here is what I like to do. Either I immediately roll to it and launch Plume of Prometheus followed by Spirit of Hercules (if I can), or I stay where I ended up after slaughtering the lion form and I deploy Spirit of Hercules, but - and pay attention here - WITHOUT moving toward the Chimera. If you do so your combo will most likely get interrupted as the Chimera will charge and ram you. Deploying your combo facing left of the screen is what you want to do here to make sure it hits. From this point on find your most efficient style of play, alternating between the two combos, but keeping in mind that Spirit of Hercules obviously deals way more damage than the Plume of Prometheus. Of course the goat form of the Chimera rarely stays put at this stage and you will quickly notice that it likes to jump around the arena counter clockwise. Pay attention but you can definitely anticipate where the Chimera will turn up even though it will be out of your field of view every now and then. I have to admit that the best thing to do is really to try to stay on it and not let it get away. If you had strong and successful hits with your Blades, the third and last Circle prompt should now rotate above the stunned Chimera. Quickly trigger the random press (remember, don't jinx it!) and mash the - O - Button for a few seconds to get the kill. If you are lucky your counter should display a time somewhere in-between 206 and 220 seconds. Having 220 seconds left on your counter is very good, 206 not so much, and anything below that, well, I'm sorry to say but you just going to have to restart. Now, you killed your first Chimera, you are proud, but you can't even take a break. 2 more drop from the Heavens and you have to immediately launch Spirit of Hercules again and try to have it land on BOTH enemies. Rinse and repeat as long as you have the breathing room. If a Chimera gets too close, get the hell out of there, roll, fly, do whatever is necessary. Adjust your style of play with the space you have to work with. In essence you must be quick to decide which combo to use and where to retreat before repeating the procedure. It will happen that you can work on one Chimera only as the other one is watching from afar, in this case, great, try to repeat the strategy you exploited on the very first one and so you get it to its last goat form pretty quickly. Now here is I think where most players make a mistake (myself included), they try to bring down those two Chimeras in an equal fashion, that is they go for 2 snake-tails, then 2 lion forms and then 2 goat forms. It's waste of time. Getting both snake-tails out of the way, when possible, is a good idea as they will frustrate you to no end when grabbing you or paralyzing you, but from there on you really want to try to focus on one Chimera and one Chimera ONLY, as you will soon realize the other one will take some "free" damage no matter what you do. Focus on one ONLY and go all the way for the kill. At this stage of the challenge it is still relatively easy to achieve that. When done, your counter should be in the 120-130 seconds area. 2 down, 2 more to go. Because you have now killed your second Chimera, guess what, yes, 2 more drop by and they are hungry for lunch. That's 3 monsters on screen, one wounded and 2 fresh ones. It's getting a little tricky to follows some sort of safe rules here so you have to start paying extra attention and protect yourself from all attacks coming your way. Again, ignore the wounded Chimera as it will soon suffer "free" damage and put your focus on a new fresh one, knowing that you are going to have to try to defeat it in one long streak of moves and strategically well placed combos. It's difficult but it's doable. At times you will get lucky with everyone's position on the map, at others you will get cornered, grabed, spitted on and so on. If you can't get out a such a mess very quickly, just restart. On the other Hand if you are able to take down your third Chimera without too much troubles, then, excellent, be ready for the final stretch. Your time counter should be in the 50 to 60 seconds vicinity. Now remember that the last Chimera you want to take down IS NOT a fresh one, but the one you actually ignored all along and which at this point should be pretty weaken, even though it might still be in its lion form. So you killed your third Chimera and 2 more (what's new!) drop by for the final round. It's now 4 monsters on screen and it's getting crowded. At this point it's hardly possible to come up with any reliable technique for anything. It's just chaos. Beyond advising you to obviously try to go for the Chimera you have been secretely hacking at all along, there is not much I can add here. Be extra careful as even though you might have a good run timewise at this point, things can quickly, very quickly, get catastrophic. If you get cornered, grabed, ramed in, it's pretty much game over. If you have about 60 seconds left and both a lion form and a goat form to go through, it's doable. With 30 seconds left, you should only have to work on the goat form of your 4th Chimera. Anything below that and it is very unlikely you will finish this challenge. Once I had the third and last Circle prompt with about 10 seconds left on my counter. Needless to say I wasn't too happy when I finished pressing Circle like a madman with one second left and the new spawn didn't register (a new Chimera has to get on the ground FIRST for the re-spawn to actually count I think, and a re-spawn always happens a second or two after a kill - very frustrating.) Be sure to watch my "Epic Fail" video to see what I mean. I shall add that I read on various posts on GameFAQs that some people were able to pass this challenge with 30+ seconds left on their Time counter. At first I didn't believe it, but sure enough, when I finally completed it for the first time my counter had a perfect and even 30 seconds left staring at me (unfortunately not captured on video - I'm still working on it for a future update). It's possible. Good luck! Watch and learn - An "important" video capture by bystanderg: http://www.youtube.com/user/bystanderg#p/u/5/OOLndyZkXMY My own video capture, again, so sorry about the poor quality: http://www.youtube.com/user/grandmort#p/u/3/9LiKAOiPLgU For fun and if you want to see an Epic Fail: http://www.youtube.com/user/grandmort#p/u/2/Yj0uoSHq27I Well, we are almost done with these challenges of Exile. After the painful "HADES' KIDS 2" ordeal you are now a God-like player and you are almost through. Bravo! So.., how about facing "FEAR ITSELF"? --------------------------- CHALLENGE #7: "FEAR ITSELF" ___________________________ OBJECTIVE: Kill Fear Kratos. CHALLENGE DATA: Time limit: None Average Completion Time: 08 Minutes Weapon(s): Blades of Exile at Maximum Magic: None Rage of Sparta: Yes Special Item: Bow of Apollo at Maximum Enemies: Fear Kratos + 3 Cursed Remains Difficulty: 4/5 - Titan CHALLENGE STRATEGY: You are facing you and you is a bad ass, 'nuff said! Now, even if it's not the case it certainly feels like Fear Kratos has more Hit Points than any other bosses in the game; so if you want to survive this long battle, take it slow and evade a lot as this last ordeal is really a test of patience and a game of endurance. Start this ultimate challenge and immediately go to your right to grab - O button - the Cursed Remains and go for Fear Kratos with the Battering Ram attack by pressing  immediately after the grab. Rinse and repeat as long as the Cursed Remains is still alive (that doesn't sound right, does it?) and then repeat again the whole procedure with the two other Cursed Remains that show up. When all is said and done here you should have inflicted a pretty decent amount of damage to Fear Kratos (yet, I know, it still feels like the guy will never die). One should know that Fear Kratos runs fast, really fast, and he likes to chase you. He blocks a lot, he evades, counters with the powerful Athena's Wrath and, when launching an attack (yes, he is using the Blades of Athena), his combos of choice are usually Plume of Prometheus (deadly) and the elegant but ever so devastating Spirit of Hercules (super deadly). Basically Fear Kratos is very, very dangerous and he is a huge pain in the butt. Oh, and I almost forgot, last but not least, Fear Kratos also enjoys throwing Magic balls at you every now and then. So you are going to have to be very careful and stay away from him as much as possible. You hear me? Stay away from Fear Kratos! Get hit by the mean Spirit of Hercules once and, if you sustained little prior damage, you are history. The good news is that you can use the Bow of Apollo in this fight and fire away from a distance. I know, it's a little bit like playing chicken and you won't always get Hits but this will get on Fear Kratos' nerves and this is when he usually counters your annoying tactic with a little bit of magic spamming of his own. Thanks to the Golden Fleece, you can efficientely parry with Argo's Return - L1, right as you are about to get hit - AND return the spell to its sender. Once in a while, only when you are sure he won't touch you AND ONLY WHEN, kick-in a powerful Spirit of Hercules yourself - /\/\/\ - and make sure it lands in his vicinity. Dance around the arena with the above strategy for a while and you should be fine. After about 8 minutes Fear will surrender, and not the other way around... GLITCH WARNING: On a side note, and even though you do not have the Head of Helios as a Special Item, there is a glitch sometimes when you start the challenge where Fear Kratos will be hit and knocked back by Helios aura every now and then and at randome places around the arena (sometimes even interrupting his own combos). I'm not quite sure what to think of it and if Fear Kratos actually takes damage from his collision with the aura but it might be something worth looking into. One last awesome video capture by bystanderg, in this one he is done in less than 3 minutes - very impressive!: http://www.youtube.com/user/bystanderg#p/u/2/RW0BtmXGL9I ************* SPECIAL NOTES for FEAR ITSELF by MrStarkiller: NOTE 1: You can land Spirits and Plume lock pretty easily in the first portion when he runs around at Cursed Remains. When Square whoring, feel free to land a Spirit if you see the chance. NOTE 2: He can aerial recover with Hermes Dash sadly. NOTE 3: The first encounter (when you start the challenge) tends to have him glitched with Helios aura and getting knocked back for no apparent reason. I just restart to get rid of this. ************* Well, we are done, YOU ARE DONE! Congratulations, you've completed the Challenge of Exile, and if you actually successfully finished all 7 of them you now have bragging rights! THANK YOU FOR READING THIS GUIDE, I HOPE YOU ENJOYED IT! ------------------- END NOTES & CONTACT ___________________ +++++++++++++++ * LEGAL STUFF * +++++++++++++++ This file may not be reproduced, quoted, or posted on any other websites aside from the followings: www.gamefaqs.com. www.neoseeker.com www.supercheats.com If you wish to quote or post this strategy guide somewhere else, just ask and you shall receive. Of course proper notification via email and credit to me, Laurent Daubas aka "grandmort", is required to attain said permission. I, Laurent Daubas, wrote this guide in its entirety and thusly own the copyrights to it. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ * SPECIAL CREDITS & THANKS * +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ A huge THANK YOU of course to Sony Santa Monica Studio and the entire God of War Team for creating such a beautiful game. What an amazing job they've done! Actually, THANK YOU for creating such a powerful trilogy, I know that for many of us players it was an amazing journey. Those games will take their due place in my library as gaming masterpieces, I know many of you reading this will agree. A Special Thanks to David Jaffe, Cory Barlog and Stig Asmussen - you know who they are - they pulled it off, those guys rocks! Thanks to Tia Daubas, my forever love, for collecting "on-screen" data as I was playing and for helping me with this guide. Thanks to the following contributors for alternate tips and strategies on some of the challenges: - bystanderg - MrStarkiller - Your Name here Thanks to GameFAQs for being the one place I keep returning to when it comes to games, forums, strategies and FAQs. I've been a member here for almost 10 years now, wow, how time flies... Finally, thanks to Clay Adams aka "bmfgamerx", the author of the Challenge of Olympus Guide on GameFAQs. I borrowed heavely from his structure and reading his guide is what actually inspired me to come up with my own. Special Credits goes to Shinobier for providing some of the best video captures for God of War on YouTube. Watch him execute Non Upgrade Runs through the hardest mode of all God of War games and see how ridiculously good a player can be. Head for YouTube. Search user "shinobier". Watch and learn. ++++++++++++++++++++++ * FEEBDACK & CONTACT * ++++++++++++++++++++++ This is my very first guide and feedback is welcome, and I'd like to think even necessary. Also note that English is not my first language so if you see anything grammatically incorrect, don't hesitate and shoot me an email. You may contact me, Laurent Daubas aka "grandmort", at daubas(at)mac(dotcom). I welcome alternative strategies and other tidbits and observations you may deem worthy in order to beat those challenges. When sending me an email, just be as clear as you can be and put "Challenge of Exile" in the Subject line. I've created a well-written guide, so please compose a well-written email and I will most likely reply. THANK YOU! THANKS GameFAQs.com!