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God of War: Chains of Olympus - updated hands-on

We've already covered a good chunk of the Attica level in earlier previews, so we won't bore you by re-treading the same ground. Attica is much lengthier than our previous looks suggested, though, and as Kratos stalked the beast through the city (dispatching Persian soldiers, giant Cyclopes and one pompous, bearded warlord miniboss along the way), we were faced with a few simple puzzles, one of which was of the use-a-mangled-corpse-to-hold-down-a-switch variety. Good to know the developers haven't scaled back the morbid tone for the handheld edition.

They haven't toned down the sexual content, either. Almost immediately after defeating the warlord miniboss, a door opens to a small adjacent treasure room - which also contains a pair of topless chicks in loincloths, huddled together in an extremely suggestive way. As Kratos kneels down beside them, the camera pans away and focuses on a brass candlestick (itself molded in the shape of a topless chick) that shakes and sputters while grunts and moans erupt in time with your button presses. Pull it off successfully, and Kratos will get a handful of upgrade orbs and their thanks; fail a button press, and they'll pout disappointedly.

Back to the violence! The fight against the Basilisk is actually pretty impressive; its trail leads to one of Attica's city gates, and as Kratos runs out across a massive stone bridge leading out of the city, the Basilisk clambers over the wall behind him and attacks. While it's huge and deadly, its patterns were pretty easy to learn; it'll lunge jaws-first at Kratos at regular intervals, and when you see flames gathering around its mouth, that means you should get ready to jump over a river of flaming bile. It'll occasionally just grab Kratos with an unavoidable attack and slam him around, but don't worry - it's just another quicktime sequence, and you can fend off the creature by jamming on the shoulder buttons to pry its jaws open.

The Basilisk can't really be hurt by just being whaled on, but as Kratos dishes out punishment to its face, it'll slowly retreat backwards. The object is to force it back to the city wall, at which point it'll climb up and lazily spit fireballs in Kratos' general direction. Getting close to its dangling claw invites players to hit Circle, at which point Kratos will hook his Blades of Chaos into the beast and drag it back down to earth with rapid rotations of the analog nub. Once it's down, he'll do the same to one of the towers on either side of the bridge, smashing the Basilisk in the head with falling masonry.

After you've forced it back to the wall and cracked its skull twice, it's time to finish the stupid thing off. It starts attacking more quickly this time, but keep an eye out for when it starts to breathe fire - you'll notice a button icon floating above its head. Get close and hit the button, and you'll start another quicktime sequence that sees Kratos climbing up on the Basilisk's head, hooking the Blades of Chaos into its jaws and forcing them shut - leaving that huge flaming belch with nowhere to go. The creature's head explodes in short order, leaving Kratos unsatisfied with the "small victory."

True to the series' form, however, it's after the initial battle that Kratos' real problems reveal themselves. As he yells up at the gods, asking why they can't find something challenging for him to do, the sun suddenly plummets to Earth, creating a huge impact and leaving the world cloaked in darkness. As it turns out, the god Helios - who, according to myth, is the sun, and pilots a chariot across the sky each day - suddenly disappeared during his normal routine, causing his massive chariot to fall out of the heavens. Without the sun to stop him, Morpheus, the god of dreams, has awakened and taken control of reality.

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