God of War (PS2) | The Path of Hades
Cheap? Don't be so weak. Legions of exasperated gamers whined that Kratos' escape from the bowels of Hell - complete with rotating columns of bladey cartilage, platforms of bone and two huge towers of spinning blades - was 'stupid', 'cheap' or 'toohardIwantmymummy!' but we loved it. The combat is uber-tough, the towers of spinning blades unforgiving, the platforming sections nail-biting, and the sense of achievement is massive. Sorry, but did anyone think that cheating death itself would be a cakewalk? Quit the whining and suck up the pain, people, because this section is perfect.
Once that's through, it's time for a playable confrontation with Atlas, during which time you'll need to prevent him from squishing Kratos between his colossal fingers. It's a rare experience, being told off by a whole level, and we've never played through another stage that made us feel quite this tiny and insignificant. Filled with "whoa, wait, is that massive cliff actually Atlas' hand/cheekbone/armpit?" moments, the sheer scale of this level is one of the singular most impressive things the PS2 ever managed to pull off.
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