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Characters: Shadow of the Colossus

Keep in mind that pretty much everyone is subject to Alternate Character Interpretation in this game.

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    Main characters 

Wander

Voiced by Kenji Nojima

A young man who has come to the Forbidden Land to revive Mono. We're not quite sure what it means at the end, but he winds up mortally wounded, possessed by Dormin, sucked into a vortex, and finally turned into a baby. Word of God has it he's the progenitor of the horned boys in ICO, more or less the only solid thing besides an Easter Egg connecting the two games.

  • Action Survivor: Wander isn't the most athletic or Badass protagonist, yet he keeps killing colossi anyway. Then again, at least part of his increase in skill and power was his transformation into Dormin's new container..
  • Adorkable: For the side of the fanbase that's sympathetic to him, anyway. There are various signs that he's really out of his range of experience during his quest, top among them being incredibly clumsy when running, climbing, swinging his sword, and so on.
  • Always Save the Girl: Leave the girl you once loved, or take down sixteen colossi, which you've only just learned about, to get her back?
    • Deconstructed: The girl is saved, but he died, and also possibly committed genocide.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: One interpretation of the ending is that Wander becomes the seventeenth colossus after Dormin assimilates him. After Lord Emon disassembles Dormin again, Wander is dispersed along with all the other shadow beings.
  • Anti-Hero: He'd probably be a lot less morally ambiguous if he didn't live in such a Crapsack World.
  • Back from the Dead: That or reincarnated. Either way, the baby at the end is him.
  • Badass Normal: Wander stumbles often, has poor balance, is untrained with his newly-acquired magic sword, and can only hold onto ledges for no more than a few minutes, yet still manages to murder his way through a veritable menagerie of mythic monsters. On the other hand, he can shoot arrows accurately while riding at full gallop, which takes years of training in real life. He's also able to take a multi-story fall and essentially walk it off.
    • Empowered Badass Normal: Wander actually gets stronger with each colossus he kills plus heals automatically from his wound. This strength is due to the fact that after every kill he gets possessed by more of Dormin's essence.
  • Bishounen: He is rather pretty, and is often mistaken for a girl by those randomly popping in on a player. His hair and head band really don't help.
  • Black Blood: Appears to throw up a stream whenever a colossus's essence enters him. Later sprays a whole bunch when he's stabbed by Emon's men.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: Once he's fully possessed.
  • Blessed with Suck: At the end of the game, Dormin possesses Wander's body completely and turns him into what is presumably Dormin's true form, which the player has full control over. The only problem is he's so big compared to the hall he's in that he can't stand up to his full height and has to crawl (slowly) and can't turn around properly. .
  • Blood Is the New Black: The result of numerous colossi gushing blood like a fire hydrant. The black stains eventually start to show on Wander's clothes.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Wander never has to eat, drink, or do anything else throughout his long and arduous quest. His life throughout the game consists of finding and killing colossi. On the other hand, though optional, he can eat lizards and fruit for stat boosts, and sleeps when the player isn't playing: loading a save from a shrine involves waking him up with a button press.
  • Bottomless Magazines: He never runs out of arrows. And he can pull them out of absolutely nowhere. If you're bored enough, try climbing a tree and firing arrow after arrow into it—eventually the arrows will teleport back to Wander's hands! And if that gets old, you can also riddle the colossi with the Harpoon of Thunder.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Both weapons need to be used to even stand a chance of taking down the colossi.
  • Determinator: Is he ever; since he's not the best fighter, this is his biggest strength in fighting the colossi.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: If you pay careful attention, you can actually see Wander start changing from a clean, flushed appearance to an emaciated, filthy, and vein-covered mess. The process begins as early as Gaius, but gradually. It only becomes apparent near the end that something has gone wrong...
  • Horned Humanoid: Starts growing a stubby pair at the end, which he keeps in baby form.
  • Girly Run: Though in his defense, he is holding stuff.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Wander's irises/pupils start glowing once he's possessed. The rest of his eyes turn black.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: ... becomes one. In the figurative sense that is in line with what this trope is about, Wander's determination to slay each colossus one by one becomes more and more unhealthy for him the longer the game goes on. Then a literal version of the trope is played with during the ending, when, as part of his reward for slaying them all, he becomes a colossus-like entity when Dormin possesses him.
  • Holler Button: There's a button used to make him call Agro's name. The voice clip varies depending on how far Agro is—up to a whistle instead if Agro's far enough—and he sounds kind of panicked during battle. The whistle has a second function, if Agro's not around for a fight: it can enrage the colossi into making an attack, the sonic equivalent of pointlessly bouncing arrows off of them.
  • Horseback Heroism: Riding your steed is sometimes necessary to subdue a few colossi.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: It's pretty clear from the get-go that Wander knows nothing about how to wield his sword and only has it because he needs its powers for his quest.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Eating fruit extends his health bar, and kneeling helps said health bar restore more quickly.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: While Wander's sword has a visible sheath, he seemingly pulls his bow out of his pocket. The same go for awarded items from Time Attack.
    • Actually, if you look, when the sword is "sheathed," there is no handle poking out of the scabbard. The sword neither goes into nor comes out of the sheath. He's putting it in the same place as he puts his bow and the Harpoon of Thunder.
  • Karmic Transformation: Into Dormin's new body.
  • Kid Hero: Possibly - if calculations on his height are correct, he's either a very short adult or not much older than 13.
  • Le Parkour: Wander is clumsy when climbing horizontally, but the only thing that could beat him climbing vertically is a gecko.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Whether you see his actions as noble or evil, he's willing to do some pretty out there stuff to bring Mono back.
  • Made of Iron: He's got this going for him, at least. He can walk off electrocution, poison, explosions, shrapnel, and 3-4 story falls (at higher amounts of health, 100 foot falls aren't a problem either). Somewhat less evident in Hard Mode.
  • Mark of the Beast: The more colossi he kills, the more dark marks start appearing on his body. Not good for the health.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Wander is a skinny kid of average height. Watching him flail around on top of a 20-story giant suggests that he's fueled by distilled determination, and not so much experience or battle prowess.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If you ask Emon.
  • Necromantic: If one thinks of Mono as his lover.
  • No Stat Atrophy: The upper limit of Wander's increasing health meter and strength meter will never decrease. Unless you eat the poisonous fruits in the Secret Garden.
  • One-Winged Angel: A rare protagonist version. Wander, when possessed by Dormin, transforms into Dormin's physical form itself.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Relative to the colossi. His strength/stamina meter grows with each defeated colossus and this growth carries over to following play-throughs. By the sixteenth play-through, the strength meter grows to cover the screen.
    • Not even just compared to the colossi. Wander isn't even shoulder high to his own horse, and at the end he is small even compared to the other humans. Wander is either in his young teens, or a very small 20ish. Present height estimates hover at about 4 feet tall. Guy is tiny!
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Averted! Wander is quite possibly the only sword-wielding video game character in existence who isn't very good with a sword. He swings randomly, and is thrown off balance by the simplest attempts at offence. Most of the actual damage he does with it is inflicted with deliberate, clumsy stabs. Meanwhile, he's almost supernaturally steady with the bow, showing he has had a lot of practice with it.
  • The Power of Love: Wander's motivation for hunting down and slaying the colossi.
  • Raise Him Right This Time/And Your Reward Is Infancy: He gets turned into a baby at the end, but whether or not it's to redeem him is left up to interpretation.
  • Screw Destiny: Whether Mono's fate was cursed or not, Wander is going to do whatever he can to reverse her death.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Because of ambiguous characters in it, his name is variously translated as "The Wanderer," "Wander," and in what is almost certainly a mistranslation, Wandanote . It's probably meant to be "Wander" - the official Sony Entertainment Japan page of the PS3-based re-release spells his name this way in Romanji.
  • Tragic Monster: When he's possessed, at least from Lord Emon's point of view.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Lord Emon tells him that he's been used just before having him shot and stabbed.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: From Dormin's (and maybe even his own) point of view.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lord Emon's reaction when he finds that all sixteen idols have been destroyed. Emon also implies that Wander stole that sword, which explains why he's so clumsy with it.
  • Villain Protagonist: Again, from Emon's point of view.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Every time he kills a colossus and its essence enters him, he throws up a spray of Bad Black Barf.

Agro

Wander's loyal steed. Appears to die in a cutscene right before the final colossus, but later proves able to make it back to the Shrine of Worship with a limp.

  • Attract Mode: When it's left on the starting menu long enough, sometimes the game will play random footage of Agro, well... being a horse.
  • Ambiguous Gender/Viewer Gender Confusion: A lot of players figured Agro was male. The creators have stated they had a mare in mind. Like many things, the main game leaves the issue open to interpretation.
  • Automaton Horse: Agro's a slightly less extreme example of this. While she can run pretty much as long as you want her to, she does spook, limp (for a short while) if she takes damage, and if left alone will go off to find grass to eat or water to drink. All in all, though, Agro plays the trope straight.
  • Badass Normal: Talk about an iron horse...
  • Cool Horse: One of gaming's most beloved steeds. Her AI is very well programmed - on narrow ledges, Agro will find her own path with no input from Wander/the player, for example. She also has a lot of endearing idle behaviours, and it's clear she's extremely loyal to Wander.
  • Determinator: Gets blown up, knocked over by creatures the size of buildings, and falls down a massive ravine. This gives her a limp.
  • Disney Death Near the end, when she falls into the ravine. She's later shown limping back into the Shrine of Worship.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Played straight with the sword, but averted with the arrows. Get the sword out and no matter how many times you strike Agro it doesn't hurt the horse. But get out your bow and arrows and aim them at Agro, and Agro will whinny and gallop away.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: The worst that your faithful steed ever suffers is a temporary limp that she instantly recovers from the moment you mount her.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Wander's loyal horse.
  • Made of Iron: She's flagged immortal for gameplay purposes, and takes hits that would make a normal horse explode.
  • Nonhumans Lack Attributes: Especially if you think Agro's either a stallion or gelding.
  • Old Save Bonus: If you have save data for ICO on your memory card, Agro will have a white patch of fur resembling ICO's "I" on her forehead instead of the normal blaze.
  • Unexplained Recovery: It isn't clear how she survived her fall into the ravine right before the sixteenth Colossus.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Press the O button while standing next to Agro and Wander will pat his steed affectionately. It doesn't even have a significant gameplay purposenote , it's mostly just there to feel nice.

Mono

Voiced by Hitomi Nabatame (yes, she has a voice, although you only hear it distantly)

The object of Wander's quest is to bring her back to life after being sacrificed, and she's thus the reason he's willing to free Dormin.

  • Back from the Dead: The entire point of the game is to bring her back. It works!
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Despite being a corpse exposed to the open air for the entire game Mono retains her pristine beauty. Wander, however, becomes progressively more dirty, dishevelled, and corpse-like himself with every colossus he slays.
  • Curse: Either figuratively or literally, Mono has a "cursed fate." That was why she was sacrificed. Wander tells Dormin this at the beginning. Emon is determined to prevent this curse, whatever it is, from coming true, and therefore wants to stop Wander from slaying the colossi and completing the spell needed to bring her Back from the Dead. After this, the rest is up to the player to work out.
  • Disturbed Doves: One new dove appears at Mono's shrine after each colossus you defeat.
  • Empty Shell: She's dead the entire game, and we don't know anything about her. Wander's drive to save her and someone's—possibly Emon's—use of her as a Human Sacrifice are the only hints we have as to why she may or may not have been important to these characters.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Apparently. She's even got the squirrel standing by her foot looking up adoringly at her.
  • Human Sacrifice: In the backstory. At least, according to Wander, who may or may not be a reliable source; we never find out the details.
  • The Lost Lenore: Wander thinks of her almost all the time and sets off the events of the game out of love for her. Also she's young, beautiful, tragic etc.
  • Woman in White: She's dressed in white and seems vaguely associated with the colour in general, with the white doves that flock around her.

Dormin

Some kind of sealed-off entity or entities — They talk in two voices and refer to Themself with plural pronouns. Credited with being able to control creatures made of light and to bring back the spirits of dead mortals. Wander makes a bargain with Them to bring Mono back to life that involves breaking Dormin's seal by killing the colossi. They possess Wander at the end of the game but, despite being sucked into some kind of vortex along with Wander, do seem to keep up Their end of the bargain—Mono is indeed revived.

  • Ambiguously Evil: Highly. Are They a Big Bad Friend, playing Wander off in his ignorance to open the seal and free Them from Their prison, with Mono's resurrection being only an incidental side effect of Their machinations? Or are They the closest thing to a Big Good, wearing Their motives on Their sleeve and sticking to Their part of the bargain? It's very ambiguous.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Uses plural pronouns when referring to Theirself, and speaks with two voices. On the other hand, Emon uses masculine pronouns.
  • Captain Obvious: "Thou shalt not be able to reach its weak point from where thou are…" "Climb to a higher place…" "Find its hidden weak point…" Thank you Dormin, I would be so lost without you!
  • The Computer Is A Lying Bastard: Some of Dormin's hints are entirely useless and too ambiguous to count for anything.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: As an understated example; if Wander is taking his time killing a colossus, Dormin will chime in with a cryptic clue regarding the boss's weakness. If he takes longer, Dormin will chime in with a much, much less cryptic clue.
  • Dark Is Evil: There was probably some reason Dormin was sealed, and being an evil entity is one explanation. They are also pretty cagey about exactly what price Wander will have to pay to revive Mono, and does possess Wander at the end.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: On the other hand, not only do They warn Wander about the consequences of their deal, but They actually care enough to keep Their end of the bargain, and (whether or not this was intentional) save Wander's life when both could have been destroyed, possibly even qualifying as a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Deal with the Devil: Played with. Dormin actually tries to dissuade Wander, but in any case they end up making an agreement. There's no clear indication that the consequences of Wander's actions are either side effects of the spell or Dormin's actual manipulations, but this trope certainly applies in that the fate Wander faces is not pleasant. It's not even clear that Dormin actually is a devil or demonic entity, either, aside from the physical appearance of Their manifestation at the end. Certainly, there was a part of the deal Dormin did not elaborate on, merely mentioning a "price" Wander would have to pay, and you don't find out what that price is until you defeat the last colossus... and even then it's not entirely clear that the price—Dormin possessing Wander's body—would have been permanent.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Dormin is eventually reassembled into Their colossus form—but accidentally finds Themself stuck in Their own cramped cathedral, unable to escape and too slow to pursue Lord Emon. Probably Wander wasn't supposed to turn into that colossus form immediately (he only does it when one of the new arrivals stabs him), so it could be that they simply arrived at the worst possible time from Dormin's perspective. On the other hand, Dormin's motivations and the ultimate ending are so unclear that it could be that it was All According to Plan.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin / Living Macguffin
  • Everybody Hates Hades: They do have some control over dead souls, and if seen in a positive or neutral light They seem to fall into this.
  • Exposition Fairy: If you keep losing to a colossus, Dormin will chime in with a tip. They also give clues on how to reach the next boss arena.
  • Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: Tends to speak in trochaic tetrameter during Their "Thy next foe is..." speeches.
  • Hint System: Dormin appears before each colossus fight to give hints about "thy next foe." Dawdle for too long during a colossus battle and Dormin's voices will give you cryptic hints telling you how to defeat it.
  • Horned Humanoid: Has a massive pair of bovine horns. Similar horns on mortals seem to be a mark of Their influence, going by Wander and, much later, Ico and his fellow horned boys.
  • I Am Legion: Speaks with a male and female voice. For reasons unknown, the female half of Their voice fades away by the end of the game.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Either a very powerful, ancient demon, able to manipulate and possess people and raise the dead, or a Physical God.
  • Physical God: Has enough sheer power for one, in any case, and when referring to the entity, pronouns are capitalized. May instead be a Physical Demon.
  • Royal "We": Dormin speaks in this way.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Dormin = Nimrod, referring to the Old Testament king known for being a mighty hunter, building an imposing tower and wearing a horned crown. Also a slang term for an idiot, which is fun for players frustrated with Their "helpful" hints.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Maybe. Again, there must have been some reason They were sealed off, and They do look quite demonic after possessing Wander. Then again, They do save Wander, albeit in a de-aged form and possibly not intentionally, and Their dialogue suggests They were going to give Wander's body back. Because of this They can also interpreted as a Sealed Neutral In A Can or even a Sealed Good in a Can.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Dormin's subtitles use archaic pronouns and possessives. Butchered, improper archaic, which makes it somewhat funny.

Lord Emon

Voiced by Naoki Banō

Appears to be some kind of holy man and/or knight. His mask shows up in Wander's memories to describe the Forbidden Lands where Dormin dwells. Turns out he's tailing Wander. He shows up at the end of the game with a retinue of armoured warriors who at least attempt to kill Wander, and Emon himself casts a magic spell to open a vortex to either re-seal or destroy Dormin.

  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: If They survived, Dormin's definitely going to be feeling that in the morning.
  • The Faceless: He wears a mask until the final cutscenes. Subverted in that when he does remove it, it's not particularly dramatic. Just a rather homely middle-aged man in there.
  • Hero Antagonist: From his own perspective, Lord Emon is the Big Good coming in to clean up the Villain Protagonist's mess.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Emon is the final boss, and the player cannot defeat him or his men.
  • Karma Houdini: For those who see him as a Knight Templar responsible for killing Mono. Not only does he escape unharmed at the end, but he causes Wander considerable agony before having him killed.
  • Knight Templar: From Dormin and Wander's point of view, particularly for fans who suspect him of being the one to sacrifice Mono.
  • Mr. Exposition: He's the unseen narrator at the game's start; It seems Wander was pumping him for information about how to enter the Forbidden Lands. Once he sees a possessed Wander again in the shrine ("You!"), Emon realizes he was duped.
  • Shooting Superman: He orders his lackeys to Mercy Kill Wander... but their arrows just make him angry.
  • Sinister Minister: Ritual Human Sacrifice is implied to be of his hand or orders in the backstory.
  • You! Exclamation: When he crosses paths with Wander again. It's suggested that Wander was the "listener" during Emon's prologue at the start.

    The Colossi 

The Colossi

Sixteen stone giants that must be slain to break the seal on Dormin.

Although unnamed in the actual game, sites have been circulating name lists and claiming that Word of God officially released them. While the canonical status of the list of colossus names remains uncertain, the names are used freely in this article and to avoid confusing users, the list is given below, based on this link: http://community.us.playstation.com/message/2523225

  • Colossus One: Valus
  • Colossus Two: Quadratus
  • Colossus Three: Gaius
  • Colossus Four: Phaedra
  • Colossus Five: Avion
  • Colossus Six: Barba
  • Colossus Seven: Hydrus
  • Colossus Eight: Kuromuri
  • Colossus Nine: Basaran
  • Colossus Ten: Dirge
  • Colossus Eleven: Celosia
  • Colossus Twelve: Pelagia
  • Colossus Thirteen: Phalanx
  • Colossus Fourteen: Cenobia
  • Colossus Fifteen: Argus
  • Colossus Sixteen: Malus

Tropes common to all colossi

  • Advancing Boss of Doom: One of the thrills of facing any colossus is watching them come closer to you, looming over Wander as they slowly approach him. Their approach is almost always slow, but you know when they get there that you haven't much of a chance. Valus, who is only the first boss, is pretty alarming when he spots you, never mind when he starts wielding his club.
  • Achilles' Heel: Pretty much the only way to kill the colossi. The number of weak spots vary from colossus to colossus.
  • Animal Motifs: Several colossi are based on animals, usually multiple animals. Exactly which ones is debatable.
  • Ambiguous Robots: The colossi are either gigantic robots of stone, or huge hairy monsters. The mechanical faces of the colossi are clearly artificial, but parts of their bodies are quite biological. This contributes the mysterious and haunting nature of the work.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: All the colossi have symbols on their bodies that signify where to strike. Getting to those areas is where the challenge is.
    • Time Attack mode offers even more sigils to stab, usually in remote spots, complicating matters a lot.
    • Sometimes, they have additional weak points which can be exploited as a means to an end. Their end, incidentally. Stabbing these won't deal damage, but they might hobble it for a few moments.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Arguably. Over time, their massive corpses come to look more like ancient ruins being overgrown by nature. "Arguably" since some are not very easy on the eyes in the first place, but others like Phalanx are beautiful and graceful.
  • Black Blood: They spew this like you struck oil when they're wounded. It eventually runs down, but the closer your stab is to the weak point, or the harder you stab, the more blood comes gushing out and the longer it takes to run down.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: A few of the colossi on their own would be nightmares to fight were it not for some element in the background that Wander could exploit.
  • Colossus Climb: Trope Maker and Trope Namer.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Wander gets exploding arrows and the spear of thunder in the New Game+ and they still can't be used to actually kill the colossi. See also Annoying Arrows in general. Justified Trope, since the sword, the only weapon capable of killing the brutes, holds some mystical power, heavily associated with the colossi. Dormin admits that the sword is the only thing Wander has that can make the colossus quest possible.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Once you're actually up on them, most bosses become this.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Especially against the bigger, fiercer ones, like Barba, Basaran, and Malus.
  • Eyes Are Unbreakable: This is why Go For The Eyes is a useless strategy in all but one special case.
  • For Massive Damage: Sometimes it's alarming how much damage a single stab can do to a colossus's weak point. As you'd imagine, the later bosses usually require more stabs to bring them down. In Hard Mode again, the colossi show more resistance and sometimes have more weak points to attack.
  • He Was Right There All Along: Nearly all the colossi follow this trope in some form. For instance, Phaedra looks like a heaped ruin, but as you appoach, it wakes up and stands up to face you. Other colossi burst out from hiding places to meet you, or simply enter the scene completely oblivious to your presence and only attacking once you get their attention. See also That's No Moon.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Black Blood. Gushes all over the place when Wander hits a colossus's weak spot. May be justified by the fact that their biology is totally unlike that of true living creatures. The black smoke that leaks out of the same wounds is also a bit of a clue.
  • Implacable Man: Excepting Avion, Hydrus, Phalanx and Malus, every colossus will do its best to keep up with you once you're spotted. If you run to the other end of the arena, it will slowly and laboriously turn around and amble towards you with only one aim in mind. Even if you run somewhere out of reach, it will rarely venture far away and may even make obvious frustrated gestures (Phaedra, for example, rears up and stamps heavily if it cannot reach you).
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Most of the colossi have something resembling a faux-Aztec mask for a face.
  • Marathon Boss: On your first playthrough, at least, though even after you've figured out the strategy for beating each one, executing that strategy is not a quick affair. On a second playthrough, some of them still do take quite a while.
  • Mighty Glacier: The larger colossi move so slowly that you can run rings around them, and if you run to the other side of the arena you can take your time planning out your next move long before they even catch up with you. However, should they land an attack, some of them can wipe out half or even three-quarters of your health while simultaneously knocking your player unconscious for several precious seconds.
  • Mighty Roar: None of the colossi are silent, at least when you're shooting them full of arrows or stabbing their vitals, but some grunt and bellow as they try to shake you off, and a few are noisy from start to finish. Of course, being big creatures, the noises they make are also loud and impressive.
  • No Biological Sex: Despite the fact that each one is often referred to as "he," the colossi have no actual sex, and considering their mysterious nature the concept of sex doesn't seem to apply anyway.
  • No Mouth: Zigzagged. Dirge has a functioning mouth, Avion a seemingly vestigial lower jaw, and Kuromori one hole for a breath weapon, but all the others have a carved line at the most.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Much bigger. Seriously, these monsters are some of the largest enemies in a video game, ever. Accoring to GamesRadar, the first colossus is slightly bigger than Metal Gear REX and Gabe Newell, but smaller than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and The Leviathan. Worth mentioning though that the first colossus is far from the largest in the game; that would be Phalanx, which is estimated at 557 feet long with a 200-foot wingspan. Played with when considering Celosia and Cenobia, which are puny compared with the other colossi, but still pretty big next to Wander.
  • Perpetual Expression: Their faces are carved from stone, and as a result they cannot change their expressions, though their eyes do light up whenever they have Wander in their sights, and turn red whenever he attacks them.
  • Puzzle Boss: Pretty much every colossus is this trope in some form or another, requiring a bit of deduction and observation before you can even get on them, but a few stand out—see below.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: This is how you know you've got a colossus's attention. Which tends to follow shortly by you being under their foot.
  • Single Specimen Species: Each of the colossi is completely different from the others.
  • Skippable Boss: Averted. Each time you start a game, if you want to see any colossus after the first one, you'll have to kill them in order. Even if you only want to unlock the Time Attack mode, which lets you face any colossus in any order and gives you the option of quitting rather than seeing the battle through to the end, sooner or later you'll have the complete a game first, and that involves killing them.
  • Square/Cube Law: Sadly, for all that they are slow-moving and conservative in their movements, it's unlikely that creatures the size and shape of the colossi could exist, never mind actually walk. Probably explained by A Wizard Did It reasons, since their world has obvious supernatural elements incorporated into it.
    • The upright, sometimes thin and pointed, limbs of some, for instance, would be dangerously inefficient at balancing their immense weight. This is particularly severe in Phaedra's case, where nearly all its multi-tonne weight is focused on four ridiculously thin points at the ends of its legs. A creature that size shouldn't be able to get up on such spindly feet, and using them as a stamping weapon would probably risk throwing it off balance.
  • Soul Jar: The colossus idols, and by extension the colossi themselves, contain the sixteen pieces of Dormin's soul. As each colossus is destroyed, a piece of Dormin transfers from the colossus to Wander. When all the colossi are destroyed, the sixteen fragments are reunited and Dormin inhabits Wander's body. When Wander is killed by Emon's men, Dormin then borrows his body and appears in a large colossus-like form.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: Each one radiates a beam of light into the sky once they're defeated. By the time Wander engages Malus, all fifteen of the cloud swirls have taken on an infernal hue.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Some of the colossi would be unbeatable if they didn't expose vulnerable or climbable parts of their anatomy to Wander during the battle. However, this still requires Wander to work out where this weak spot is, and how to exploit it.
  • Taken for Granite: Every slain colossus is covered by something dark after its death. If Wander returns to the arena where it fell, he will find a stone corpse partly molded into the rock beneath it. There will even be some greenery growing on its body, giving them a Golem-like quality. Press O to pray on the ruins, and you can enter Reminiscence Mode.
  • That's No Moon: One or two colossi look like ruins until you get up close. The last colossus looks like it is perched on top of a mighty tower. As you get closer, it becomes apparent that the tower is part of the colossus.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Averted for all the bosses the first time you play the game. There is a Time Attack Mode, though, which lets you fight each boss in any order you want, but when the battle begins, so does a timer. Beat the record time by killing the colossus as fast as possible and get goodies.
  • Turns Red: Either inverted or not played one way or the other: some bosses remain the same, while others actually become weaker and easier to beat as the battle proceeds or after you injure them (Gaius and Phaedra, notably). For instance when you've stabbed one of their vitals but fallen off before you can complete the job, they will find it difficult to move said injured part and may sometimes lean over, making it easier to reach their other vital parts.
    • Arguably, the Colossus Climb sections are a manifestation of this trope: the colossi do tend to shake a lot when you're climbing on them, which often makes the climb the most difficult part of the battle.
  • Uniqueness Value: What makes killing them such a Player Punch, since once they're down, no one else will get to see them in their glory again.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Depending on a given player's specialties, any of colossi two through five will likely end up being one.
  • Was Once a Man: If their ghost selves are any indication. Though their spirits (the ones Wander absorbs) are humanoid, only five of the colossi have have maintained a bipedal form.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: If you subscribe to the idea that the colossi are not living things, or else don't technically die since they seem to be fragments of Dormin's soul, each fragment of which is released when all the weak points of any one colossus are neutralised. In any case, this seems to be Wander's attitude towards them.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Unique?: Every colossus is different. Some fierce (Cenobia, Celosia, Dirge), some majestic and powerful (Phaedra, Gaius), some terrifying (Pelagia, Quadratus). And you have to kill them all.
  • You Get Knocked Down, You Get Back Up Again: If Wander gets injured and knocked down, the offending colossus will make no further offensive effort unless either Wander finally gets back up or the player leaves him lying down for too long. Except in Hard Mode. As detailed in their sections, Cenobia and Celosia end up being nasty subversions.

Individual colossi

Beware possibly-unmarked spoilers for their strategies!

Valus - Minotaurus Colossus (The Giant Minotaur)

"Raise thy sword to the light... and head to the place where the sword's light gathers... There, thou shalt find the colossi thou are to defeat."

Colossus number one. Resembles a minotaur.
  • Beast of Battle: Implied—it appears to have a Howdah on its back, and there's no missing that huge club it wields.
  • Carry a Big Stick: The moment Valus sees you in front of it, the club in its hand will be lifted up and smashed into the ground. Expect this to happen a lot in later colossus battles against humanoids.
  • Horned Humanoid: Has two stone horns on the top of its head, though they seem to have broken off at some point in the past (or else they always look like that). Fortunately, it never uses them in battle.
  • A Load of Bull: Valus's design takes after the minotaur.
  • Warmup Boss: He's even featured on the box art.

Quadratus - Taurus Major (The Great Bull)

"Thy next foe is... In the seaside cave... It moves slowly... Raise thy courage to defeat it."

Colossus number two. Resembles a gigantic bull.
  • Everything's Better With Cows: Definitely not if the cow in question is fifty feet tall, made of stone and weighs as much as a cathedral.
  • Mighty Glacier: Even for a colossus, Quadratus is slow. Once it does catch up to you, it takes a ridiculously long time to initiate its attack, and its aim is abominable. You can just stroll away from it if you get bored.
  • Nightmare Face: The mask.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: When you stand in front of him he raises his paws to crush you, leaving his weak points vulnerable.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Very easy in subsequent playthroughs, but on the first, it is the one that will probably teach you the power of grip strength.

Gaius - Terrestris Veritas (The Earthen Truth)

"A giant canopy soars to the heavens... The anger of the sleeping giant shatters the earth..."

Colossus number three. Takes the appearance of a knight or soldier.
  • Black Knight
  • Blade Run: Although the blade is certainly large enough to make it plausible. If it is a blade—some people see more of a club.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: The only colossus with a melee weapon attached.
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway: The first thing the player needs to do is trick Gaius into breaking its own armour, leaving a gap for Wander to climb up later.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: Has a mean sword for an arm, rending the earth like a hot knife through butter.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: What with its dangerously accurate and immense club. It's also the first colossus that requires the player to exploit the environment, rather than the simple climb'n'stab of the previous two.

Phaedra - Equus Prime (The Great Warhorse)

"In the land of the vast green fields... Rows of guiding graves... It is giant indeed, but fearful, it is not."

Colossus number four. Resembles a horse—complete with dangling "reins." Albeit with crablike legs.
  • Collapsing Ceiling Boss: A (thankfully minor) variation. When it stomps on your shelter, the ceiling releases huge amounts of dirt and dust which fall on Wander's head. It's a wonder the place doesn't collapse, since Phaedra's main line of defense is surprisingly vicious for such a slow, ponderous creature.
  • Cool Horse
    • Hellish Horse: Slow-moving, skeletal-looking and alien even by colossus standards, Phaedra is perhaps the eeriest boss you'll encounter in this game.
    • Mix-and-Match Critters: A giant horse with crab-legs.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Up to this point, the other colossi simply grunt or roar when you stab their vitals. Phaedra screams.
    • That scream is actually a noise that Deer make, it does make the colossus quite a bit different from the others in the vocal department though.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Quite fiddly for newcomers, and also introduces the first puzzle that doesn't involve bouncing arrows off a colossus.

Avion - Avis Praeda (The Delta Phoenix)

"It casts a colossal shadow across a misty lake... as it soars through the sky... to reach it is no easy task."

Colossus number five. Resembles a bird of prey with a very long tail.
  • Acrophobic Bird: Inverted; the colossus spends all its time high up and won't come down unless you trick it into doing so. Working out how to do so is part of the strategy.
  • Annoying Arrows: Annoying enough to force it to attack you.
  • Big Badass Bird of Prey: Very big. Its tail alone is about fifty feet long.
  • Feathered Fiend: A Double Subverted Type C example: Despite its menacing appearance, Avion is one of the least aggressive of the colossi ... until you make it angry. It's even worse in Hard Mode, where, if it misses Wander, it will turn around and divebomb him again, and it's a One-Hit Kill if it hits you.
  • Giant Flyer: It enters the arena by soaring in and perching on a tower in the middle of the lake.
  • High-Altitude Battle: One of the highlights of the game.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Just being there isn't enough to get it in reach.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The first of several colossi to be fought in a water arena. It also requires some very quick maneuvering to get between its weak points, if you can get onto it in the first place.

Barba - Belua Maximus (The Goliath)

"A giant lurks underneath the temple... It lusts for destruction... But a fool, it is not."

Colossus number six. Resembles a bearded minotaur, or a behooved man-giant if you want to quibble over terminology.
  • A Load of Bull: Like Valus, Barba has horns and hooves and looks strongly like a minotaur. Thankfully, unlike Valus it has no club with which to smash you. Nope. It has its fist.

Hydrus - Draco Marinus (The Leviathan)

"A ruin hidden in the lake... A ripple of thunder lurks underwater."

Colossus number seven. Calls to mind a catfish crossed with an electric eel.
  • The Catfish: Unfortunately for Hydrus, it won't be released afterwards. You even have to lure it out into the open by presenting yourself as The Bait—it won't eat you, but it does have electric rods protruding from its back that break through the surface as it rises.
  • Get Back Here Boss: Hydrus is a natural swimmer, Wander isn't. One of the few times a colossus is capable of moving faster than you. The fact that holding onto it as it dives puts an incredible strain on your stamina meter doesn't help.
  • Jaws First Person Perspective: As part of its He Was Right There All Along, Hydrus emerges from the bottom of the lake when you enter the water. The camera looks up at Wander from below Hydrus's perspective, though not actually through its eyes.
  • Psycho Electric Eel: More closely resembling an elongated catfish than an actual electric eel, Hydrus nonetheless has three glowing rods on its back that release a ring of electrical discharge around it whenever they penetrate the surface. Stabbing it behind each rod not only disables the electric attack, but also deals damage to Hydrus.
  • Shock and Awe: The first colossus to use electric attacks, though definitely not the last.
  • Stock Ness Monster
  • Underwater Boss Battle: In part, though fortunately Hydrus comes up to the surface once you grab it. Quite why it does so is another matter.

Kuromuri - Perietinae Umbra (The Wall Shadow)

"A tail trapped within a pail deep within the forest... A shadow that crawls on the walls."

Colossus number eight. Resembles a club-tailed gecko. It can climb walls even more easily than Wander can and spits poison.
  • Breath Weapon: Kuromuri is the first colossus Wander meets which is capable of attacking him from a long distance. Once it spots Wander, Kuromuri's mouth glows a violent yellow and its body convulses. It then spits something that can be described as electric poison; it's a yellow, sparking bolt that, when it hits something, explodes in a cloud that Wander reacts to by covering his mouth. Stand in the cloud and Wander's health bar goes down disturbingly quickly.
  • Deadly Gas: The aforementioned cloud.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: The battle begins with Kuromuri knowing you're there but being unable to locate you specifically. Part of Wander's strategy involves exploiting stealth to a degree, since you can sneak in and out of different storeys and windows to trick it.
  • Technicolor Toxin: Yellow poison gases.
  • Wall Crawl: Despite its presumably immense weight, Kuromuri can effortlessly crawl up the sides of the arena in order to reach you, though it doesn't like doing so unless you are clearly out of reach and it knows where you are. If it can see you from the ground, it'll shoot projectiles at you. If it can't, but it spotted you through one of the archery windows, it'll clamber up to poke its head through and fire off a series of shots. When it does this, Wander can nip around to another vantage point and shoot arrows into its legs, or shoot its soft underbelly through the archery windows. Fire enough arrows in the right places and Kuromuri will fall, leaving its underbelly exposed.

Basaran - Nimbus Recanto (The Storm Echo)

"The land where trees nary grow... It sleeps in a dry lake bed... A rude awakening."

Colossus number nine. Resembles a tortoise.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Basaran, Basaran. Why would you live someplace that houses geysers that can flip you over?
  • Luck-Based Mission: Sometimes to the point of being That One Boss for some players. Flipping it is a fiddly process dependant on the timing of geysers and whether or not it works is up to Basaran as much as it's up to you.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: He's mainly a tortoise, but he has fur and thin, crab-like limbs.
  • Shock and Awe: Basaran is the second colossus Wander confronts that is capable of launching projectiles at him. In this case, it's a quadruple whammy of lightning bolts that shake the screen when they hit the ground (or Wander). Bizarrely, they come from four spikes on Basaran's chin.
  • Turtle Power: The shell on its back is segmented and has unusual projections and spikes on it, but otherwise Basaran looks very much like a giant tortoise. It also has few handholds, so staying on when Basaran rights itself is a tricky business unless you know where those handhelds are.

Dirge - Tigris Harenae (The Sand Tiger)

"An isolated sand dune... Its tracks are well hidden... Shaking the earth, its gaze is upon thee..."

Colossus number ten. Resembles a monstrous hairy sandworm with a crocodilian face.
  • Eye Scream: Dirge regularly pokes it head out of the sand while pursuing Agro, and opens its eyes. The resulting blank stare is pretty creepy, but if you shoot it in the eye, Dirge shrieks out in pain and is temporarily blinded.
  • Leitmotif: Dirge has its own unique theme, "A Messenger From Behind." Other colossi have distinctive themes, but these are usually repeated at least once in another colossus battle. Dirge's initial theme is never heard outside of that battle, and, while being quick and stirring, it also has a distinctly menacing tone to it.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: He's serpent-like with a hairy body, has a crocodilian face and sounds a bit like a dolphin.
  • Sand Is Water: It has to be magical, given its size: Dirge seems to treat sand as its natural home, and moves so quickly while swimming through it that Agro can barely keep ahead of it even while racing at full gallop. Dirge can't go through solid rock, though, which is the only place you can sit and think while still in the fight ... before the answer hits you.
  • Wormsign: One way to keep track of Dirge is to watch out for geysers of sand as Dirge moves beneath the surface. This is the usual way of tracking Dirge at a distance. When it gets close, the back fin pokes through the sand and once it gets closer still its head comes above the surface.

Celosia - Ignis Excubitor (The Flame Guardian)

"An altar overlooks the lake... A guardian set loose... It keeps the flames alive."

Colossus number eleven. One of the two smallest colossi at about elephant size; resembles a big cat with massive horns/fangs.

Pelagia - Permagnus Pistrix (The Great Basilisk)

"Paradise floats on the lake... A silent being wields thunder... A moving bridge to cross to higher ground."

Colossus number twelve. It's a massive quadruped hammerhead-shark-gorilla...thing with hooves and the ability to shoot lightning through its horns. It fights Wander in a large lake.
  • Ax-Crazy: The small characterization it has might or might not indicate this.
  • Chasing Your Tail: When you're trying to get up on its back and it's simultaneously turning around to follow you.
  • Confusion Fu: What it tries to lure Wander out of his hiding spot. Among other things it.
    • Tries firing lightning before moving around Wander's hiding-spot to get an easier shot.
    • Pretends to look away, only to charge a beam and look back and fire.
    • Fires beams from a distance that are sometimes fired right towards Wander, other times aimed a little forwards so Wander collides with them.
    • Starts walking off at random.
  • Eyeless Face / The Faceless: This is the only colossus that doesn't even bother with eyes. Instead, you tell if it's aggressive if its horns turn from blue to red (it's possible that these are meant to be eye-stalks, but the game gives no indication if this is the case or not).
  • Eye Beam: Its attacks become this if you believe it has eye-stalks as opposed to horns.
  • Facial Horror: Why do those things on his head look like teeth?
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Though it has the body structure of a gorilla.
  • Puzzle Boss: Especially noticable since the Colossus Climb turns out to be only part of the puzzle.
  • Shock and Awe: It has "control over thunder," though that should be "lightning" as it generates lightning bolts from between its horns. The resulting blasts can knock Wander pretty far back, but Pelagia avoids having that one attack like Basaran has by being in an arena with plenty of cover. The attacks can't shock you if you dive below the water.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Not in the conventional sense, but the protrusions on the very top of its head resemble teeth. Once you climb up there, you smack these "teeth" with your sword to get Pelagia to move in the direction you want it to.
  • Turtle Island: Though not a turtle, Pelagia does have a shell on its back which resembles Basaran's. Unlike Basaran's shell, it has green grass/moss/hair growing on it and fewer spikes. Dormin's intro even says "paradise floats on its back."

Phalanx - Aeris Velivolus (The Trail Drifter)

"The vast desert lands... A giant trail drifts through the sky... Thou art not alone."

Colossus number thirteen. Has variously been described as a flying serpent or dragon, and it can also burrow underground.
  • Cowardly Boss: Phalanx spends half of the battle out of range and the other half trying to flee from Wander. When Wander actually gets on it, after a while it dives back into the sand, knocking Wander off its back. This is the only time Phalanx can actually hurt you, and it's a side-effect of fleeing rather than an actual offence.
  • Extra Eyes: It has three eyes rather than the usual two. Get close to its face and you'll see them.
  • Get Back Here Boss: Phalanx is constantly on the move and doesn't care where Wander is until he manages to get on it. Given that this colossus is also huge and a surprisingly speedy flyer, it's clear that Wander isn't going to chase it down without Agro's help.
  • Giant Flyer: Easily the longest colossus in the game, Phalanx also flies at a greater altitude than Avion. Like Avion, it seems to fly with the help of subtle magic to counter physical laws. Even without the air-sacs the player punctures, it remains airborne, and the four "wings" behind its head only seem to give the impression of paddling rather than the function of flight.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Another of the highlights of the game, though be careful on this one as, unlike Avion, Phalanx thinks Sand Is Water and will dive down if you pester it for too long.
  • Sand Is Water: When it's done, it's as exaggerated as Dirge's ability. Phalanx dives through the desert floor as fluidly as it soars through the skies. And manages to keep its air-sacs intact while regenerating them from arrow puncture.

Cenobia - Clades Candor (The Destruction Luster)

"A guardian set loose... A closed-off city beyond the channel... It lusts for destruction..."

Colossus number fourteen. The other small colossus, for a certain value of "small."
  • Artificial Stupidity: It's pathfinding AI is pretty atrocious. It has a tendency to get snagged on things that it isn't even touching. On the other hand, it does make pretty brilliant use of its ability to stun lock.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: His main tactic.

Argus - Presidium Vigilio (The Sentinel)

"A giant has fallen into the valley... It acts as a sentry to a destroyed city."

Colossus number fifteen.
  • A Load of Bull: Though it is more humanoid than Valus and Barba in appearance, it does still have hooves.
  • Achilles' Heel: All of the colossi have a weak spot, sure, but Argus stands out in that it has a weakspot on its hand that holds an extremely small portion of its health, and is probably the last weakspot the player will take out.
  • Collapsing Ceiling Boss: Argus will occasionally try to smash you with its club. When you're up in the ruins, this can cause the ceiling to fall in.
  • Leitmotif: Argus is one of the few colossi to have a unique orchestral score, "Gate Watcher of the Castle Ruins," played during the boss battle. The only other two who have their own Leitmotifs are Malus and Dirge.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Argus's mask has a ghastly visage on it which gives this impression.
  • Turns Red: It has a certain body part wounded as part of the strategy, but to then exploit this opening, the player has to provoke it into using a powerful attack, which is difficult to dodge, while standing dangerously close.
  • Underground Monkey: Watch Argus carefully and you'll notice his A.I. is quite similar to that of another colossus: Valus.

Malus - Grandis Supernus (The Grand Celestial)

"Finally, the last colossus... The ritual is nearly over... Thy wish is nearly granted... But someone now stands to get in thy way... Make haste, for time is short."

Colossus number sixteen. Instead of climbing a tower to get to this one, it is a tower.
  • Battle in the Rain: The eternal day finally starts to darken as Wander approaches the last boss arena. When he's reached that arena, it starts to rain heavily and fierce winds blow in from the sea.
  • Colossus Climb: Yes, we realize this is the point of the entire game. Malus still stands out as an example, because he is fucking HUGE. Don't fall.
  • Death Course: You'll have to do a particularly sadistic one to even get to it. In itself, the route isn't perilous, since the walkways and ridges are clear, but Malus makes it a nightmare of a journey with its one particular attack.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Malus is the most humanoid of them all. Its movements are calm and collected; it wears a metal tunic and jewelry; and it's the only colossus to have a full head of hair (as opposed to more blue fur).
  • Large and in Charge: If you disregard Phalanx's long body, Malus is something like five to ten times bigger than the average colossus. That should tell you something.
  • Leitmotif: Malus's theme, "Demise of the Ritual," is surprisingly subdued, with an emphasis on choir and church bells and a lot of low violin music.
  • Magma Man: The outer hide suggests that Malus is partly composed of magma.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Malus is similar to a lighthouse. What with its seaside location, glowing bangles and probably being able to sink an entire fleet of ships.
  • Meaningful Name: Assuming the name is canon, Malus's name means "evil." It certainly looks demonic in appearance: at first glance, it resembles Fantasia's Chernabog.
  • Mechanical Monster: Malus is unique among the colossi in that the lower body is mostly mechanical.
  • Sad Battle Music: Unlike the others that preceded it, Malus has a single, sad musical score that does not change while the battle progresses. It's oddly fitting, considering that you lost your horse just before getting there, and there's nowhere else to go but to defeat the boss and finish the game.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Maybe, considering you can only reach it by opening a sealed door after killing all the others.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Reaching his feet without using the cover provided. For the record, it's been done, and is in fact a favored tactic of speedrunners. It first involves running in a straight line towards him by following an extremely specific course and accompanying set of instructions. Practically every single move you make has to be nearly frame-perfect or else you'll get blown away by Malus's deadly-accurate bolts.
  • Shock and Awe/Balls Of Fire: Malus's one attack is a blast of what are either lightning bolts ore fireballs from its left hand. Unlike the lightning bolts of Pelagia or Basaran, Wander has no hope of withstanding the attack out in the open and must stay behind cover whenever it is fired.
  • Stationary Boss: Malus never moves from its position at the other end of the arena; a look at its feet shows they are bolted to the platform. This doesn't make it any less dangerous, but it does contrast strongly with the other colossi.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Malus's attack is the most explosive in the game, even rivaling the Flash Arrows.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Both in the lead up and as part of the actual colossus.

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