In Hades, the pomegranate is a key item, one that grants you very real power by buffing your abilities. The pomegranate also grants unimaginable power in the real world, at least if you’re the streamer Dylan “Rudeism” Beck. He harnessed the power of ancient fruit to beat the game’s final boss not with a controller but with a literal pomegranate.
You read that right: a pomegranate. Yes, the very same distressingly sour fruit you’d eat to load up on Vitamin C and antioxidants.
Beck is best known for playing games via creative methods, and for concocting equally creative controllers. In 2019, for instance, he hooked up a toy lightsaber to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order that allowed for motion-controlled Jedi-ing in Respawn’s vaguely Souls-like action-adventure.
Spoilers follow for the end of Hades.
Earlier today, Beck posted a short clip on Twitter showing himself taking on Hades, the game’s final boss, with a smattering of pomegranate chunks. All the fruit is hooked up to Hades via Makey Makey, an educational tool that’s meant to teach the fundamentals of computer technology but, clearly, can be repurposed for other uses. Exhibit A: replicating a mouse-and-keyboard setup and kicking the crap out of the final boss of a brutal roguelike.
Hades is an unforgiving game, where one wrong move can spell the end of a run, so using actual fruit to beat the final boss may sound impossible. But that’s the draw. “I love trying to do seemingly impossible stuff,” Beck told Kotaku via Twitter.
Sure enough, after 33 attempts—just as many as it took him to beat it sans pom, by the way—he finally won.
Developer Supergiant Games captured what we’re all thinking in one succinct tweet: “Hah, amazing!!”
It really came down to the wire. If you watch closely, you’ll see Beck use up all three Death Defiances—that’s “extra lives” in Hades-speak—and come dangerously close to relying on the Lucky Tooth, an item that can bring you back to life with a small amount of health.
“I actually miscounted the Death Defiances. I was too focused to even look,” Beck told me. “I was a little disappointed to see I still had one life left, to be honest. I like a close call!”
This isn’t the first time Beck had played Supergiant’s terrific roguelike with a pomegranate hooked up to wires. Just this week, he posted a video to YouTube showing off the process. He made it to the Barge of Death, halfway through Asphodel, before getting taken out by one of those exceptionally irritating skeleton monsters. Happens to the best of us.
Yesterday, though, Beck appeared to make some significant progress. In another video posted to YouTube, he took out the Bone Hydra (sorry, Lernie) and made an impressive sojourn into Elysium. This time he was killed by a chariot. That, too, happens to the best of us.
Supergiant Games / Rudeism (YouTube)
So, what comprised today’s winning loadout? As far as weaponry, Beck used Varatha, the Eternal Spear, and opted for the Achilles aspect. With that aspect equipped, you can toss your spear and zip to it at the push of a button. In the typical, non-pom game, it’s easily one of the best weapon aspects. Not only does it mesh seamlessly with boons from pretty much any Olympian, but it also allots you some serious navigational control. Doesn’t mean it helped much in this situation, though.
“To be honest, I barely made good use of it, only because having to navigate the various pieces of pomegranate became really difficult,” Beck said. “I kept accidentally hitting pieces I didn’t mean to, dashing and casting when I didn’t want to. I found it easier to go all in on the attack and dash.”
He also rocked Poseidon’s dash, but was met with some technical issues. At various points in the 90-second clip, the dash “button” (or, well, dash “chunk of unappetizing fruit”) comes loose. He also picked Aphrodite’s cast, but doesn’t use it much, because casts are useless against Hades anyway. The rest of the build focused on Zeus and Aphrodite boons, including their duo, Smoldering Air, which automatically charges up special abilities. He also grabbed the one that boosts the power of poms. Naturally.
For this feat, Beck booted up a fresh file, meaning he didn’t activate any modifiers from the Pact of Punishment. He’s considering tackling it at higher heat down the line. If he does, he’ll max out the Extreme Measures modifier. (Each heat level of Extreme Measures switches up how the game’s regional bosses behave. Turning it up all the way completely transforms the final fight against Hades. Even with a controller, that feat is considered one of the game’s tougher challenges.)
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, after winning, he ate the pomegranate.