The Great Games of the Hydra are a series of challenges which 16 Champions compete in on the behalf of the Four Legendary Kingdoms.
The Great Games are a precursor ritual for the Third Trial set by the Super-Ancients, the Diverting of the Hydra Galaxy.
The Great Games of the Hydra were born out of the ritual created by the Super-Ancient Beings to enable the completion of their third trial, the diverting of the Hydra galaxy. This ritual required the Golden Spheres which powered the mysterious antenna-mountain that directed the Hydra galaxy's change in course to be earned in specific types of challenges, such as races and combat.
When the Super-Ancients presented the ancient group known as the Four Legendary Kingdoms with the various tools and knowledge needed to complete the trials, they included some of the basics behind the ritual preceding the completion of the third trial. Together the Four Kingdoms agreed to maintain the realm known as the Underworld which contained the antennae-mountain and challenge arenas necessary for the third trial, a task that was primarily taken upon by the Kingdom of Underworld.
When the first preliminary pass of the Hydra galaxy began around 10,000 BC, the Four Kingdoms named the ritualistic series of challenges the Great Games of the Hydra, in honour of the name of the Hydra galaxy. In the very first Great Games, the Champion Osiris emerged victorious and, in addition to having his name etched into history, also won his sponsoring king the reward of receiving the Mysteries, knowledge regarding the final two trials of the Super-Ancients.
The second Great Games of the Hydra took place around 2,700 BC, and once again, the winner, Gilgamesh, earned his sponsoring king the right to receive the Mysteries.
In the third Great Games, occurring around 1,250 BC, Hercules managed to win every single Challenge, becoming the only Champion to do so. Because of this, his name went down in legend, however the stories that eventually became myths stated that the Challenges that Hercules endured were in fact Labours that had been set for him by the then-current King of Underworld, Eurystheus, to achieve, and each Labour was based off of the Challenges. For winning the third Great Games, Hercules's sponsoring king, the King of Land Zeus, received the Mysteries.
Before The Four Legendary KingdomsEdit
Though the next Great Games of the Hydra would not take place for around 3,000 years, the Kingdom of Underworld did its duty to maintain the Underworld for the third trial, knowing that when they next took place, it would be the true time for the trial to be completed.
During the early 2000's, the Four Kingdoms each began their preparations for the fourth Great Games of the Hydra, grooming or selecting candidates who would take part in the Games.
Prior to 2016, the King of Underworld, Anthony "Hades" DeSaxe, assigned one of his servants, Vacheron, the task of Games Master, in which he would prepare the challenges the Champions would face. Over the next few years, Vacheron modified some of the arenas to modern standards and trained several of Hades's warriors and a number of minotaurs to act as opponents.
Around September 2016, the observatory in the Underworld which tracked the movements of the Hydra galaxy detected that it was close enough to Earth, and unlocked the Star Chamber vault with the Golden Spheres were locked inside, signalling to the Four Kingdoms that the time to divert the Hydra galaxy was upon them. As a result, the Four Kingdoms began their final preparations for the Great Games of the Hydra to fulfill the third trial.
By November, each King of the Four Kingdoms and some members of their houses brought their Champions to the Underworld, who had fitted in their necks a gold gemstone that marked whether said Champion would earn the Spheres in accordance to the ancient rituals, as well as an explosive device, ready to begin the fourth Great Games.
Beginning with the First Challenge, the fourth Great Games of the Hydra began with all 16 Champions left in isolated cells, including the ones who had not being prepared for the Games and had been brought against their will. Once all the Champions were ready, a minotaur was sent into their cell to fight the Champion, with the goal of kill one another. The Champions who had all apparently been prepared for the Games easily prevailed over their opponent, and only a few of the ones who had no idea what was going on (Jack West Jr, Shane Schofield and Jason Chen) did so as well. The two Champions who failed to overcome their minotaur adversaries, Wasim Nasiruzzin and Ravi Mano, were killed in their cells, leading to the minotaurs who killed them to take the path to the arena's edge.
Once all 14 Champions and the two victorious minotaurs had all emerged, Hades gave a speech to officially open the Great Games, but was interrupted by Chen, who had no idea what was going on and announced his refusal to take part in another against his will. Before Chen could continue his protest, Vacheron detonated his explosive, killing Chen before executing his support team / hostages, leading the other unwilling Champions to realise that had no choice but to participate. With the disruption ended, Hades had the two minotaurs marked with stripes of gold to mark them as Champions, before having the arena floor pulled back to reveal a pit with a Golden Sphere set atop a pyramidal structure.
Now thrust into the Second Challenge, the Champions rushed into the pit, which quickly began filling with water as they began racing down the ledges to reach the Sphere first. As the water rose, the Champions found themselves contending not only against the pursuing black and white lion-helmeted warriors Chaos and Fear, but also against giant catfish which swam in with the rushing water. As Gregory Brigham scaled the pyramid and claimed the Sphere, he and other Champions began swimming through the suspended crane arm to the exit. With the water nearly fully risen, all the Champions bar one of the golden minotaurs made it out before they could drown. Once Hades congratulated Brigham for his victory, the SAS trooper requested to use his reward to have another Champion, Barrett Johnson, executed, a request that was quickly carried out.
Following a brief interim to let the Champions rest, the 14 remaining Champions were ordered to select one from their support team to be handcuffed to so that they could assist them through the Third Challenge. Presented with a veritable army of minotaurs and armoured elephants, the Champions were sent into a pinnacle-set arena to retrieve the Sphere from the highest pinnacle. Though the prepared Champions had chosen small and fast allies to get them through the Challenge quickly, the unprepared Jack and Schofield picked bulkier companions to aid them (Sky Monster and Mother). As the Champions scrambled past the minotaurs and elephants, Brigham and the Gorkha cut their companions' cuffed hands off to further their own chances (Brigham's ally wasn't prepared for this, but both died at the hands of the minotaurs).
As Jack and the unfit Sky Monster struggled to keep up with the other Champions, Brigham, the Gorkha and the second gold minotaur raced up the pinnacle, with the latter getting knocked into the abyss by a spiked iron ball. Once Brigham retrieved the Sphere, he was allowed out via the winner's bridge, while the other Champions raced to the coward's exit. Having nearly caught Brigham, the Gorkha was among the last to make for the exit, but Jack, knowing he would be eliminated if he was last, killed the Gorkha and secured his escape with Sky Monster and an injured minotaur he rescued. With his second reward for winning the Third Challenge, Brigham continued his strategy of improving his chances of winning the Great Games by having the next-ranked competition, Tenzin Depon, executed as well.
After a night's rest, the Champions were brought to the wall-maze comprising the Fourth Challenge, and were tasked with retrieving one of the two Golden Spheres guarded by Chaos and Fear, all while being hunted by the Hydra. Additionally, with the last Champion set to be trapped in the maze, they were informed that they could secure their exit if they captured the "sacred stag", Mephisto. Once the Champions selected the two members of their support teams to aid them through the maze, the Challenge was initiated.
Mauricio Corazon and Zaitan DeSaxe sent their companions to slow the other Champions down, but while the former was quickly killed by Chaos, Zaitan managed to retrieve Fear's guarded Sphere. The isolated Sachin Singh was ambushed and killed by Mephisto, and Jack nearly met the same fate. Once Victor Vargas obtained Chaos's Sphere, the other Champions began racing for the exit, and Jack, Alby Calvin and Roxy were trapped in the maze after DeShawn Monroe escaped ahead of them. Needing to capture Mephisto to ensure their survival, Jack managed to avoid Chaos, Fear and the Hydra as they hunted him and his companions, and soon knocked Mephisto out and brought him to the exit, securing their escape.
During the luncheon Hades hosted between the Fourth and Fifth Challenges, he gave Zaitan and Vargas the chance to claim their rewards. Knowing that the next Challenge would be intensely difficult, both opted to request exemption from participation in the Fifth Challenge.
As final preparations for the Fifth Challenge began, the Champions were told to pick two of their companions to join them in their Light Strike Vehicles for the race that comprised the Challenge, in which they would be harassed by Fear, the Hydra and many minotaurs in their Typhoon trucks and Spartan APCs. As Vacheron gave an opening commentary to the watching Royals, Jack realised from his words that the various Challenges he had been through during the Great Games were all partial interpretations of Hercules's Twelve Labours. Shortly after the race began, Jack killed Fear and took his armour before calling out to Hades to announce his realisation and knowing what he had to do to complete the Games.
Monroe managed to obtain the Golden Sphere first, but as he made it back to the roadway, Brigham shot him dead and claimed the Sphere. As he continued racing towards the finish, Brigham was hounded by the other Champions in their attempts to obtain the Sphere themselves. However, after Jack caused a pile up that allowed him to snatch the Sphere from Brigham, he passed the Sphere on to Schofield, so that the Marine could win the Challenge while he freed their hostages, whom he had learned would be executed after the Fifth Challenge. As a result of being guarded by Jack on the way to the finish line, Schofield won the Challenge, and when Jack was brought back to the Underworld after sending off the hostages, the Marine used his reward to have Jack's life spared from execution.
With the first phase of the Great Games completed, the Royals and Champions made their was to the upper Summit Temple to perform the first ceremony. Once the first five Spheres were set in place, they unlocked and raised the obelisk that would send out the signal to the Hydra galaxy, and with that done, everyone made their way down to the observatory for the second phase of the Great Games.
For the Sixth Challenge, the seven remaining Champions were arranged into three one-on-one matches to determine who would go on to the Seventh Challenge (Brigham, having won the most Challenges of the Games thus far, was given a bye for the Challenge). In addition to contending with Chaos as an additional opponent, Jack, Zaitan and Schofield defeated Vargas, Renzin Depon and Jeffrey Edwards respectively.
In the Seventh Challenge, Jack was set against Schofield, but the heavily-injured Marine knew he had no hope in the rest of the Games and told Jack to kill him (as part of a plan where he took a hyper-oxygenated blood additive to fuel his brain for an hour to give Jack a chance to come back and revive him). Despite the opposition from Chaos and Mephisto, Jack managed to choke Schofield to death. Finally, Zaitan quickly and ruthlessly brought down Brigham with the aid of concealed blades he'd already used against Renzin.
With the Eighth Challenge left to determine who would go on alone into the Ninth Challenge, Jack and Zaitan faced each other with Chaos and the Hydra also facing them on the platform, though both of Hades's warriors clearly favoured Zaitan and moved in to weaken Jack for the ease of Hades's son. Jack threw them all for a loop, however, as he threw spatters of his blood onto Chaos's helmet to blind the black-lion warrior before taking his sword and using it to decapitate the Hydra. In Zaitan's moment of shock, Jack used the Hydra's whip and lodged its spikes his arm, and then sent both Chaos and Zaitan falling into the pit together, letting Jack win the Eighth Challenge.
To Jack's dismay, the Ninth Challenge begun immediately afterwards as he was faced with Cerberus, whom he knew to be fully rested and prepared for a fight. As Cerbereus approached Jack on the combat platform, Jack, knowing that he would barely be able to hold his own against Cerberus in his tired state, recalled how Hercules had defeated Cerberus's namesake in the myths, and called to Hades for permission to bring Cerberus to him. Hades and the other Royals were all impressed with Jack's knowledge and show of humility, and so Hades permitted Jack to lead Cerberus to his throne. Thus the Champion of the fourth Great Games of the Hydra removed the final Golden Sphere from Cerberus's chest-plate and presented it to Hades.
With the Great Games completed and all of the Golden Spheres earned in accordance to the ritual set by the Super-Ancients, the Royals and Jack made their way to the upper temple of the Summit Temples for the final ceremony. The remaining four Spheres were set into position, initiating the mysterious antenna and sending out the signal that caused the Hydra galaxy to change its course away from the Earth, ending the need for any further Great Games of the Hydra.
The First Challenge - Minotaur CombatEdit
The task of the First Challenge is simple enough, in which the 16 Champions are left in a cell until a minotaur comes in to fight them to the death, and upon defeating their opponent the Champion is free to wander out to the arena for the Second Challenge. This Challenge is unique in that there is no Golden Sphere to obtain, and that any minotaur who defeats their opponent can be given that Champion's place in participation in the Games.
The Second Challenge - The Water PitEdit
The Second Challenge of the Great Games is comprised of a pit set in the arena adjoining the cells of the First Challenge, with a series of trenches leading to the bottom where a pyramidal structure resides. As the pit begins filling with water, the Champions are forced to face one another to the bottom while contending with the two lion-helmeted warriors Chaos and Fear, who are tasked with weeding out the unworthy Champions, and a number of giant devil catfish which are dragged into the pit via the rushing water. Upon scaling the Sphere-peaked pyramid, the Champions must exit the pit via a a crane arm before the pit fills (being covered by a wire net, there is no other way to survive if they are too late to make it through).
By the end of this Challenge, there apparently needs to be only 14 Champions remaining in the Games; one of the golden minotaurs, and presumably Chen had he taken part, fulfilled that unfortunate role.
The Third Challenge - Towers and Abyss ArenaEdit
Set across four outcrops of rock within the range of a deep abyss, the Champions are handcuffed to one of their companions and sent out to survive past a number of minotaur opponents and armoured elephants and get to the tower and onward to the central pinnacle which holds the Golden Sphere at the top. In addition to the minotaurs and elephants, Champions must also deal with spiked iron balls rolling down the various paths and a growing pool of deadly ooze. The Champion who obtains the Sphere is permitted an exit from a bridge at the pinnacle's top, which then retracts and forces the remaining Champions to head towards the far-away coward's exit in a race to avoid elimination.
By the end of this Challenge, there apparently needs to be only 11 Champions remaining in the Games; with Johnson having been taken out before the Challenge, the gold minotaur and the Gorkha fulfill this apparent rule as they fail to survive the Third Challenge.
The Fourth Challenge - The Vertical MazeEdit
Set on a wall, the Fourth Challenge comprises a vertical maze that they must navigate with two of their companions while being hunted by the snake-helmeted Hydra. Unique to this Challenge, there is not one, but two Golden Spheres that can be obtained by any of the Champions, which are guarded by the lion-helmeted warriors. In addition, a Champion can alternatively attempt to capture a "sacred stag" who also accosts the Champions in order to secure their escape from the maze. Once the Spheres have been taken to the exit by their claiming Champions, the remaining Champions race to the exit, with the last one still alive being shut inside and forced to capture the stag or perish at the hands of Fear, Chaos and the Hydra.
The Fifth Challenge - The Battle RaceEdit
The final Challenge of the first phase of the Great Games, the Fifth Challenge is a battle race where the Champions and two of their companions race against one another to claim the Golden Sphere from the half-way point of the track. In the previous Great Games, the Champions would use horse-drawn chariots, while the modern-set fourth Great Games use the modern Light Strike Vehicles. As the Champions race one another, they also must content against a number of minotaurs, Fear and the Hydra, who in the modern-day games use Typhoon trucks and Spartan APCs. The Champion who reaches the half-way point of the track must climb down a building-like structure to grab the Sphere before climbing back up and fight off his opponent's attempts to claim the Sphere before reaching the finish line.
The Sixth Challenge - Immortal Combat Round 1Edit
The beginning of the second phase of the Great Games, the Sixth Challenge is the first of three sets of one-on-one fights between the remaining Champions. To complete the Challenge, a number of Champions must defeat and kill their opponent to move on to the Seventh Challenge, all while contending with the additional element of the warrior Chaos. When the final match of the Sixth Challenge is completed, a Golden Sphere locked in a podium on the combat platform will be unlocked.
The Seventh Challenge - Immortal Combat Round 2Edit
The Seventh Challenge is the second of three sets of one-on-one fights between the remaining Champions. To complete the Challenge, a number of Champions must defeat and kill their opponent to move on to the Seventh Challenge, all while contending with the additional elements of the warrior Chaos and Mephisto. By the end of the Challenge, there should be two Champions remaining. When the final match of the Seventh Challenge is completed, the Golden Sphere on the combat platform's podium will be unlocked.
The Eighth Challenge - Immortal Combat Round 3Edit
The Eighth Challenge is the third of three sets of one-on-one fights between the remaining two Champions. To complete the Challenge, either of the two Champions must defeat and kill their opponent, all while contending with the additional element of the warriors Chaos and the Hydra. Defeating their opponent (and Chaos and the Hydra by extension) will leave one Champion remaining, and unlock the final Golden Sphere from its podium.
The Ninth Challenge - The Hound of HellEdit
Much like the previous three Challenges, the final Champion is faced with an opponent, this time the dog-helmeted Cerberus, who bears the remaining Golden Sphere within his chest armour. To the non-classically trained Champion, this appears to be simply another Challenge of fighting to the death despite their tiredness from the successive fights beforehand against an opponent who has not exerted himself recently. However, the goal of the final Challenge is not to continue fighting, but to prove himself a worthy winner of the Great Games by showing humility. As such, a worthy Champion will successfully complete the Challenge by not fighting and requesting that the King of Underworld grant them permission to bring Cerberus to them.
Champions of the Great GamesEdit
The First Great GamesEdit
- Osiris (winner)
The Second Great GamesEdit
- Gilgamesh (winner)
The Third Great GamesEdit
The Fourth Great GamesEdit
- Jack West Jr (winner)
- Zaitan DeSaxe
- Gregory Brigham
- Shane Schofield
- Jeffrey Edwards
- Renzin Depon
- Victor Vargas
- DeShawn Monroe
- Mauricio Corazon
- Sachin Singh
- The Gorkha
- Tenzin Depon
- Barrett Johnson
- Jason Chen
- Wasim Nasiruzzin (replaced by Golden Minotaur)
- Ravi Mano (replaced by Golden Minotaur)
- Each of the Challenges in the Great Games of the Hydra are based in some way upon the Twelves Labours set to Hercules by the King Eurystheus.
- The First Labour, which involved Hercules slaying the Nemean Lion with impenetrable skin, is utilised through the use of the lion-helmeted Fear and Chaos in several Challenges.
- The Second Labour, the slaying of the nine-headed Hydra, is based on the overall goal of diverting the Hydra galaxy away from Earth.
- The Third Labour, catching the Ceryneian Hind, was referenced by the alternative option in the Fourth Challenge to capture the "sacred stag" Mephisto.
- The Fourth Labour, the capture of the Erymanthian Boar, is referenced in the Third Challenge through the numerous spiked iron balls with the various spikes shaped like tusks and with boars heads carved around them.
- The Fifth Labour, cleaning the stalls of King Augeas's stables, is represented by a set of cow statues under a shed and near a stream of water on the Eighth Challenge's combat platform.
- The Sixth Labour, killing the Stymphalian birds, is referenced by the goal of the Fifth Challenge by racing to the monument dedicated to birds.
- The Seventh Labour, fighting the Cretan Bull, occurs in the First Challenge by each Champion fighting and killing one of the bull-helmeted minotaurs.
- The Eighth Labour, capturing the Mares of Diomedes, has no evident counterpart in the Great Games, though it may have been a part of the Sixth Challenge in some unmentioned way.
- The Ninth Labour, securing the Belt of Hippolyta, is referenced by the belt being granted to the King whose Champion emerged from the single combats of the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Challenges victorious.
- The Tenth Labour, obtaining the Cattle of Geryon, is noted through the appearance of three large cow statues on the Seventh Challenge's combat platform (while Geryon was a former Champion).
- The Eleventh Labour, stealing the Golden Apples of the Hesperides, is based on the overall goal of the Great Games to obtain the nine Golden Spheres.
- The Twelfth and final of Hercules's Labours, capturing Hades's three-headed dog Ceberus, was the goal of the Ninth Challenge.
- In-story, the efforts of Hercules in the Great Games led to him being immortalised in legend, only for the passing of time to embellish the story to the point of fantasy.