Families, right? You can’t live with them, but you can’t live without them. Nobody knows about dysfunctional family dynamics more than the colorful cast of characters from Greek mythology, and in Hades, you play as the son of the Lord of the Underworld with a penchant for running away. The roguelike action game can be unforgiving for beginners, so here are a handful of tips on the best buffs you can use to help you clear the first region with ease and bring you one step closer to freedom from the shackles of Hell.
Best Boons For Tartarus in Hades
Because you need to factor in the RNG in roguelikes, “best” is always relative. You’re never really sure about the buffs you might get with each run, and the same is true with the god Boons you receive. In every chamber, you might chance upon one of the gods of Olympus lending you a hand with Boons, and while you can’t fully ensure that a certain god will pop up, you can at least choose your Boon wisely depending on what your main goal is.
I won’t be talking about playstyle here, because that’s entirely up to you, but if you’re not too particular about it and all you really want to do is get through the first region, then your best bet is to grab a Dash Boon as early as possible. The rooms in Tartarus are safe enough to Dash around in, as long as you steer clear of the traps and spikes that shoot up from the ground. I say this because Dash Boons, while helpful in Tartarus, can be disastrous in Asphodel, which is the next region. Asphodel is filled with mini-islands surrounded by lava, and if you’re not careful, you can easily dash past solid ground and get burned by the lava pits.
So. Dash is only really super effective when you’re trying to clear Tartarus—at least until you get a better hang of the controls and can dash less aimlessly. Anyway, different gods will offer you different Boons on your Dash, but what I personally found to be most effective is the Divine Dash from Athena. While other gods like Zeus and Ares can add damage to your Dash, Athena’s Divine Dash adds a Deflect effect on your dash, helping you use your enemies’ attacks against them. She might also offer you a Boon called Last Stand, which replenishes your health with a higher amount during Death Defiance. Athena’s Boons can be useful for when you’re having trouble with survivability and squishiness, as her buffs are more defensive rather than offensive.
If you’re an offensive player, the god of war can help you better in that department. Ares’ Boons grant additional Doom effects, which makes enemies take significant damage after they’re inflicted with the curse. His Dash Boon is called Blade Dash, which leaves behind a damaging Blade Rift in your wake.
Again, this will all depend on RNG, but personally, I believe prioritizing Dash Boons can really help you out in Tartarus.
Best Weapons For Tartarus in Hades
There are six weapons called Infernal Arms that you can unlock in Hades using Chthonic Keys (you can win these as room rewards with every run). Every weapon will cater to a very different playstyle, and it really all boils down to which weapon you find most enjoyable.
The default Stygian Blade is a good balance of range and damage output, with a special that does small AoE damage around you. The "Coronacht" or Heart-Seeking Bow can be unlocked with 1 Chthonic Key, and is the best weapon to use if you’re going for pure range. You can snipe enemies from afar with your regular Attack and deal area damage in front of you with your Special. Paired with Artemis’ Support Fire Boon, you can pretty much be unstoppable—this buff fires a seeking arrow after every Attack, Cast, or Special you make.
The "Aegis" or Shield of Chaos can be unlocked with 3 Chthonic Keys. Ideal for defensive players, the shield’s main pro is that your attacks can knock back enemies. Holding down your regular Attack helps you block damage in front of you then perform a shield bash with a decent range to all enemies in the way. Your Special bounces your shield between enemies, so it’s a good way to hit multiple foes in one go.
Arguably, I think the "Varatha" or Eternal Spear is the best beginner weapon to use when trying to clear Tartarus for the first time. It has a good balance between range and damage and can be easily unlocked with 4 Chthonic Keys. The regular stab attacks are fast and deadly, and the spin attack does a great deal of damage in a satisfyingly wide area. The Special lets you throw the spear and recall it for extra damage. If you stumble upon a Daedalus Hammer upgrade along the way, you can grab a buff that makes your spear bounce between enemies with every throw, dealing increasing damage with every bounce.
The Twin Fists of Malphon are unparalleled when it comes to speed, but of course, its main drawback is its short range. You really have to get up close and personal with your foes to dish out enough damage, but your hits are lightning quick once you manage to get your enemy locked in close-quarters combat. This weapon can be unlocked with 8 Chthonic Keys, so it’s not the most economic choice as a beginner.
Finally, the "Exagryph" or Adamant Rail (also unlocked with 8 Chthonic Keys) lets you fire a super fun machine gun to make things livelier when you’re clearing mobs. The Special launches a rocket grenade that you can adjust to decimate a particular radius. Holding down the regular Attack button lets you fire rapidly, but you have to reload your ammo once it’s used up, leaving you vulnerable to incoming attacks.
Once all the weapons have been unlocked, you’ll get the chance to upgrade their “Aspects” for a more specific type of playstyle for each weapon, but you can only do so once you have enough Titan Blood—a reward you get for clearing the main boss for each region using every weapon. Since we’re only talking about clearing Tartarus for now, I won’t get into that just yet—all you really have to know is that you need to try each weapon at least once to figure out what works best for you.
Again, my personal beginner’s choice is the Varatha, with the Coronacht as my second choice. Varatha is fast enough to lock your enemy in an unofficially stunned state, where you dish out damage fast enough that your enemy doesn’t even get the chance to move—all done within a safe distance just in case anyone gets any bright ideas. As for Coronacht, in Tartarus, there are quite a few traps on the ground that can really get you if you’re not paying attention. If you can easily position yourself in a nice spot and snipe your enemies from there, you won’t have to run the risk of stepping onto those traps at all.
Best Items For Hades’ Tartarus (Defeating the Boss, Megaera)
There are 13 regular chambers in Tartarus, with the boss fight appearing in room 14. There, you will have to fight one of the three Furies before they’ll let you go on your merry way onto Asphodel. For the first few attempts, only Megaera will stand up against you to hold you back on your escape attempt, but eventually, after a few more runs, Alecto and Tisiphone will join in on the fun.
To keep them from sending you on a one-way ticket back to your father’s domain, you need to have the most effective power-ups you can get your hands on early. Purchase Death Defiance from the Mirror of Night in your room and equip Skelly’s Keepsake, Lucky Tooth, to give you extra lives when you die per escape attempt. This will be especially useful when you’re up against Meg, who has a bit of an erratic attack pattern.
Her Whip Swipe attacks you head-on as she rushes forward, but she pauses a while after this, leaving her open to your attacks. The spear can help you deal fast and huge damage from a safe distance before she lunges at you again—don’t get too cocky or she might end up wiping that smug look off your face in an instant. Her Shadow Bolts sic a volley of orbs at you, so a buffed Dash—preferably one that can deflect—is a good countermeasure to lob those orbs back at her. Then, she’ll occasionally cast Shadow Flames, which spawn columns of fire from the ground. You can spot where the flames will burst out from based on the circular outlines that form on the ground just before a fiery outburst, so dash away from those circles and you’ll be fine.
Meg will also summon mobs every so often just to make things more annoying, so here’s where the bow can be useful. You can use your Special to fire a volley of arrows in a wide radius to keep those foes preoccupied—bonus points if you have a Special Boon from Poseidon, who adds a knock-back effect to your attacks.
Defeating Meg means you can head on up to the next region, but before you reach Asphodel, you can take a breather in one of the transition rooms where you can replenish your health at a fountain commissioned from the House Contractor, buy consumables from the Well of Charon, or clear away your existing buffs. This last one’s important because, as I said, the best buffs for Tartarus aren’t necessarily the best buffs for Asphodel. Clearing away existing buffs gives you Obols in exchange, which you can use to buy stuff from the Well of Charon.
Think about which currency is more important to you at this point—are you really low on health, or are you good with the Boons you already have? Are you just going through this run to farm Keys and Darkness, or do you really want to go all the way? You can also swap out Keepsakes here if you hired the House Contractor to build a Keepsake Collection for you.
Either way, congratulations are in order! While you’re here, Hades might smite you (or just wag a finger at you, really) with a nasty warning about being his insolent son and all that, but shrug it off, take deep breath, and move on to the fiery pits of Asphodel.
More Hades Guides
We hope this little guide helps you clear that first region with ease! And if you’ve got other tips and tricks that have worked for you personally, feel free to share them in the comments below!