The Ghost of Sparta has been on everyone’s minds thanks to the success of God of War: Ragnarök. Aside from taking Kratos & Atreus into the rest of the Nine Realms of Norse mythology, the game’s had a few Easter eggs seemingly confirming Kratos’ guest appearances as canon. Or at least some of them.
Kratos has had his fair share of cameos in other games, be it as costume items in the LittleBigPlanet games, or in online shows like God of Work. But some have been more bizarre than others. From the underst&able to the inexplicable, these are Kratos’ oddest guest appearances.
8/8 Mortal Kombat (2011)
Appearing only in the PS3 edition of Netherrealm Studios’ fighting game reboot, Kratos actually fit in quite well with the Mortal Kombat roster. The series was all about mystical realms, powers, & heavy-duty violence, which is the Ghost of Sparta’s bread & butter. Even so, Sony got rather precious about their ashen-faced demigod. They were fine with Kratos dishing out the damage, but not at taking it.
Certain characters’ fatalities had to be altered when performed on him. For example, Johnny Cage wouldn’t stick his award where Kratos’ head used to be, or he’d angrily defy Ermac when shrunk instead of running around like the rest of the cast. Rather than making Kratos look tough, it made Sony seem thin-skinned. It makes one wonder if the Gears of War developers would’ve been as protective over Marcus Phoenix if he made it into the game.
7/8 Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny
Soulcalibur is an odder fit for Kratos, as the violence is much more toned down. Characters will slash & skewer each other, yet nary a drop of claret will hit the ground afterwards. It doesn’t help that Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny has largely been forgotten compared to the main series’ entries. At least it’s still playable, unlike Soulcalibur: Lost Swords.
Not that it’s a particularly Depraved game. It was just a trimmed-down version of Soulcalibur 4 with some new characters, including Kratos. Unlike MK2011, he has a faster (& more broken) move set, & unique voice clips instead of reused lines from God of War 3. But Netherrealm gave him a better stage with Olympus. SC: BD uses a bl&er part of P&ora’s Temple from God of War 1 instead. Not particularly striking.
6/8 Robot Chicken
Heading into TV territory, the wacky stop-motion comedy series hasn’t been a stranger to lampooning video games. Nearly everyone remembers their collaborations with Nintendo, officially & unofficially (“Raccoon City sounds lovely!”). There was nothing saying they couldn’t go after Kratos too.
In “The Core, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover”, Kratos appears in a sketch making fun of the older game’s…er…more amorous mini-games by having Athena try to introduce him to a guy (“What’s the problem? You’re in Greece!”). While their PS4 Pro commercial had Kratos, Atreus & Mimir taking some kids on at basketball…with Mimir as the ball.
5/8 Playstation All-Star Battle Royale
Robot Chicken’s most famous use of Kratos was perhaps their commercial for this game, where Kratos & Uncharted’s Nathan Drake lament losing to LittleBigPlanet’s Sackboy. This attempt to match Super Smash Bros with Sony properties didn’t catch on due to some gameplay quirks & a poor roster. They couldn’t fit in Lara Croft or Crash B&icoot, but they found room for the wrong Dante & Nariko from Heavenly Sword!
Still, it wasn’t the worst game in the world. As far as platform fighters go, it’s one of the more enjoyable ones. Ragnarök liked it enough to reference it…maybe. Mimir doesn’t outright mention the characters by name, but when he talks about a tournament with a “princess” & “history’s greatest musician”, there aren’t a lot of options outside the game with Fat Princess & Parappa the Rapper.
4/8 Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight is a merry little platformer about collecting treasure, jumping from platform to platform, & taking out cheery-sounding fellows like the Plague Knight, Specter Knight, & master of cameos The Baz. So, why not throw in an Wrathful murder machine like Kratos into the mix? Exclusive to the Playstation versions of Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope, Shovel Knight will bump into him as a w&ering encounter after getting the Curious Map.
He’ll mistake the Spartan for his nemesis, the Black Knight, & get more than he bargained for. Kratos will give the Knight a challenge with his God of War 3 moves. If players can best him, they’ll get 2,000 gold & the ability to craft an armor that gives Shovel Knight Kratos’ moves. For an additional oddity, God of War director Cory Barlog confirmed this encounter as canon to the God of War series. In turn, Yacht Club Games confirmed it as canon to Shovel Knight’s timeline too.
3/8 Modnation Racers
Ragnarök gave Kratos a sleigh to race around in, so maybe if Sony couldn’t out-smash Smash Bros, they could out-race Mario Kart? Even if they did give that idea a try, it wouldn’t be Kratos’ first time with a vehicle. The Ghost of Sparta joined a host of Sony characters as pre-order bonuses for the 2010 game Modnation Racers. Since the game came out before his trip to Midgard, he races in a modified Grecian chariot called the ‘Kart of Chaos’ instead.
The game got fairly good reviews at the time too thanks to its controls & track design tools, as it aimed to do for racers what LittleBigPlanet did for platformers. Still, the God of War’s power wasn’t enough to turn the series into a lasting franchise. Modnation Racers only managed one game each for the PS3, PSP, & PS Vita before becoming speculation fodder for fanon wikis.
2/8 The Simpsons
Kratos was in The Simpsons? Yes, though not anywhere near the degree seen in Robot Chicken. It’s just odd that he turned up here at all, given the long-running cartoon sitcom’s best game references tended to be more retro. Like meeting the original Donkey Kong! (“Hey! He’s still got it!”) Or the Mario Bros & Sonic encouraging shoplifting (“Just take it! Take it, take it, take it! Take it!”).
In The Simpsons Game, Kratos appears on a billboard advertising a chowder restaurant (“That’s chow-dah!”) called ‘God of Wharf’ while Lisa & Bart take on some crazed dolphins. While in the episode ‘The Food Wife’, Bart plays a game called ‘Guts of War: Entrails of Intestinox’ that features a familiar-looking warrior. He’s seen swinging something’s digestive system at some monsters, which at least shows the animators are familiar with the games!
1/8 Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds
Golf: the favorite sport of old white men everywhere. Noted for its subdued applause, quiet commentary, & gentle pace. The only violent hits are when the players are picking out their 3-Woods & going for a Power Drive. The Hot Shots Golf series made it a little more exciting with its cartoony characters & arcade-like gameplay, but it’s otherwise a family-friendly affair.
So, it’s the perfect game for an Wrathful, shouty Spartan who guts monsters on a regular basis! Kratos appeared in Hot Shots Gold: Out of Bounds (or Everybody’s Gold: World Tour elsewhere) as a DLC character alongside Sackboy. As expected, he’s great at drives, but not so hot with softer, more spin-based techniques. Can he still become the God of Golf? Fire up the old PS3, grab this game, & see how he fares.
God of War: Ragnarök is available on the PS4 & PS5.
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