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Why Don't You Just Squish Him?

  • Some of the colossi have hands. Yet, when Wander's climbing them, they insist on trying to shake him off, rather than just grabbing and squishing. This is most egregious with the fifteenth and sixteenth colossi, where Wander has to actually crawl around in their palms, completely squishable. Yet Wander never gets squished. The fifteenth is somewhat justified, since stabbing its triceps may have made it unable to close its hand, but it still bugs me. The 16th Colossi is quite strange because not only does it stop to look at Wander as he is dangling from his hand but as Wander delivers the killing blow on top of its head its hand finally springs up onto its head in a motion symbolizing that it is in pain and yet it never does this during the fight itself as Wander was stabbing it.

    Likewise, how come the small, fast colossi don't just roll over and crush you when you're on their backs?
    • Answer: Because if they could, then the story would've been much shorter. Seriously, though, there's a wealth of excuses and justifying circumstances - the colossi aren't used to fighting humans, they're too fascinated by this small creature climbing over them (the final colossus which you mentioned) to try and kill it there and then, they just don't have the 'squish it' impulse we do - but overall it's probably just Plot-Induced Stupidity to prevent the game from becoming too hard. Alternatively, the developers might not have considered it as an option. Being slow, inexperienced creatures probably helped.
      • They are mindless creatures.
      • Mindless? Stupid, yeah, but the collosi are smart enough to get angry, scared, feel pain and be fairly creative when trying to off Wander otherwise, like knocking down stuff he's standing on if they can't reach him. And both the first and fifteenth collosi have the manual dexterity to grab their weapons - why not Wander?
      • I agree that they're (mostly) mindless. They were created at some point to make Dormin weak, and they're parts of Dormin's soul but none of them are whole beings. They are all fairly stupid, some much more than others, and most of them are also very slow. Obviously if the people of the area wanted to trap Dormin, they didn't want the shards of his power to be able to terrorize or destroy their villages and people of their own volition. They trapped them and handicapped them as well they could and forbade anyone from entering the places where the colossi were being imprisoned, but on the off chance that one might escape they made it possible for them to be destroyed.
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    • Obvious point is that given the Colossi hardly tend to be fast, it would be like trying to grab a fly off your arm while wearing a suit made of lead.
    • Maybe the 'test' of killing the Colossi is supposed to be really, really hard but short of impossible. So however the things came into being, simple and unavoidable strategies simply doesn't occur to them because they've been 'programmed' not to. That or Dormin's helping as much as they can.
    • One of the first collossi had an observation deck that it couldn't reach you in midway up. Quite a few are in prisons that facilitate killing them. Who or what ever made them either didn't want them to be wholly unbeatable, or was stark raving mad.
      • That's not an observation deck, it's a howdah; it's also covered in banners. The idea seems to have been to suggest it was a military beast of burden at some point.
      • Of course, the magic sword you carry might somewhow be forcing them not to ka-splat you (or scare them into doing sharp moves that might let you stab them).
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    • It seemed to me that the Colossi are barely aware of Wander's presence until he attacks them. This is kind of a guess, but perhaps their nature as "pieces" of Dormin means that they sense Wander as though he were an itch or vague feeling, not a person climbing on them. They react to the sword wounds, but not to the person carrying the sword.
    • Some of them do outright attack him, though. Like that lizard thing and the final colossus, both of them fire off lightning bolts at Wander as soon as they see him. One of the earlier ones tries to hit you with his sword. The big eagle tries to attack you as well.
      • Only after you shoot an arrow at it. Initially it just sits on its perch and watches you cautiously. And it is very much aware of your presence, it'll adjust its position on the column so that it always has a clear view of you if you try to circle it.
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    • Actually kind of explained by the game. When you become a colossus yourself, the controls are different, taking the simplest action is cumbersome and all your enemies are tiny and difficult to keep track of. You're supposed to realize at that point that this is how the colossi saw you, they were scared, confused and only trying to defend themselves against something completely foreign.
      • When I got to that part, I didn't feel scared, confused and trying to defend myself. I was like "W00t yeah! I'm a colossus! Let's kill some humans!!!"
      • until you notice how hard it is to control yourself. I found out I could breath fire after everyone had run away. Not to mention the fact that they're invincible. I felt trapped and useless.
    • Did anybody else notice a general trend where the smaller colossi seemed to be the more aggressive and clever ones, while the larger ones sometimes acted like they forgot all about Wander right there on their shoulders? Is it possible the larger ones (the ones that could squish Wander so much more easily) are just plain dumber?
    • I think the colossi just have a really limited range of movement. They aren't actually capable of making a fist, or reaching their back, etc. Whoever made them probably just wanted them to be able to defend themselves. Maybe they didn't even realize someone would be able to climb them.
    • Or perhaps after living so long with absolutely no life around at all, they've lost their instincts to fight.
    • It is possible that the colossi knew that he had a sword, having been already damaged by it before. They may have feared being damaged further if they actually clenched a fist- you wouldn't close your hand if you had a tack in it, would you?
    • I've only fought half of them yet, but so far, I've rarely had the impression that they were really trying to kill me. Only the 8th, the lizard Kuromori, seemed really actively vicious... but when I came into its lair, it seemed trapped in a place too small for it, like a lizard dropped in a bottle, and it heard me coming for it but it didn't know where I was. Poor thing. Vicious, but still. The others seemed to me mostly bothered, confused, or scared. I had the feeling that they knew they were going to be murdered. So my theory is that they all know they're supposed to die Because Destiny Says So, and so they somewhat facilitate it — but still can't help fighting back, to varying degrees, because it hurts and they're scared. The catfish Hydrus and the bird Avion especially could have just stayed away if they really wanted to avoid being killed, and I never really felt threatened during those battles (maybe I went too fast to get attacked?) — I felt like I was the one chasing mostly helpless giant baby monsters to murder them, and they let me.
    • It's possible that they're simply incapable of actually using their hands — they seem to be at least partially animated statues intended for mainly ritual purpose, so their human form could be nothing more than something necessary to satisfy supernatural needs. Their hands could just be symbolic things necessary to make them valid vessels for Dormin's power, not limbs actually intended to be used.
      • Malus is indisputably capable of using his hands (he scratches at points where you stab him in the final part of his battle.) If anything, he seems oddly gentle there - he scratches very lightly, and clearly makes no real effort to crush Wander or to throw him aside when Wander is climbing over his arms. Malus' overall reactions in the final part of the battle seem curious and then confused by his pain, as if he simply does not know understand what's happening to him. So it's possible that he doesn't crush Wander because he doesn't realize he should, and that his earlier blast-shooting was just some sort of instinct or game on his part (again, not understanding that Wander is alive and that this will kill him.)
    • I like to think that some of the Colossi literally aren't aware of their own mortality. It's not like humans where everybody loses their grandparents at some point and so we all become aware of how death works. The Colossi were created in their present forms (more or less), they've always existed like this, they don't age, they have no natural predators, and there's no one around who can really threaten them. So when we observe that some Collosi don't make a lot of effort to kill Wander...well, maybe those are the Colossi who believe themselves to be immortal.
    • Their sensory abilities may also be rather limited. We know they can see, because (for instance) Avion unerringly turns to look at you as you approach, but we don't know how keen their eyesight is or whether they're too farsighted to keep track of Wander when he's actually crawling around on them. Several can demonstrably hear Wander whistling to attract their attention, but it's unclear if they can feel him moving around on their bodies except when he's actively yanking on their hair. Hence, they tend to lose track of him when he's on their stone armor or staying still to recover stamina.

Did You Forget That She Was Murdered?

  • So... why, in discussions of the ambiguous morality of this game, is it always about the futility of Wander's quest, the sketchiness of necromancy, Dormin being neutral at best and a devil at worst, and how sad all the Colossi dying are (valid points of course), but no one ever brings up that Mono was, oh, ritually murdered? None of this and the implied nastiness in Ico's backstory would have happened if she hadn't been sacrificed.
    • Preach it, man.
    • This would probably enter the "two lefts don't make a right" argument. While the circumstances of Mono's death are horrifying they don't by themselves justify bringing her back by any means. We can't even really decide just how cruel her sacrifice was without knowing whether a. the curse was real (magic notwithstanding, it could have been superstitious idiocy), b. what it entailed (her being an Apocalypse Maiden or just souring milk by being near it) c. if she agreed to her sacrifice or not and d. whether she'd have wanted wander to make so many sacrifices for her. Not to mention whether said "curse" could be escaped by dying and resurrecting. Still, it's a valid point that she's The Woobie in all of this.
    • The truth is, we don't really know how or why she died. There's mention of her being "cursed", and sure, that could mean they sacrificed her because of a real curse, or it could mean that she caught a really really bad case of the flu, died, and the leaders interpreted this as a curse. We don't know why she's dead, or even what Wander's relation is to her.
    • The only one who references this curse is Wander, who has a vested interest in making her as sympathetic to Dormin as possible. And as the above Tropers pointed out, we don't know if she was actually cursed or not. "She was sacrificed because she had a cursed fate" could simply mean that they were going to sacrifice someone, and Mono was randomly chosen.
    • Mono's voice is the one we sometimes hear when Wander passes out after killing a colossus, and I believe it's Word of God that she's pleading for him to stop what he's doing. It's possible she gave herself up for a sacrifice and wants to stay dead, and not just for Wander's sake.
      • Or that she thinks what Wander is doing is far too horrible and she prefers being dead than letting it happen.
    • Couldn't bringing back the evil, elaborately sealed god Dormin count as the bad thing that she caused. Perhaps simply a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
      • Is Dormin actually evil, though? He seems to be a figure of fear and hatred for Emon and his people, and was sealed away... but he never actually does anything bad during the game, nor is there actually a clear indication he did anything bad before the game, either. It's entirely possible from what's in the game that Dormin was just minding his own business and Emon's ancestors decided that the ominous shadow god thing with powers over life and death must be evil and sealed it away.
      • While Dormin shows honesty and kindness to Wander, keep in mind that Wander is the key to his resurrection. I doubt Dormin is going to make an ass of himself to the one thing that can bring his body back into existence.
      • Still, in the end, he does resurrect Mono, so he kept his end of the bargain.
      • Not only that, he also resurrects Agro (unless you buy that she miraculously survived that enormous drop and found her way back). You might see Mono's resurrection as Dormin simply holding up his end of the bargain, but he had no incentive to bring back Agro. Of course, Emon's people clearly seem to be terrified of him, and someone went to a ridiculous amount of trouble to keep him locked away. I don't think he's either good or evil—he just does what he wants and the world suffers the consequences.
      • Plus, there's no evidence that Emon's spell was the thing that resurrected Wander. If you think about it, Emon himself is not entirely sure whether anyone survived, so isn't it reasonable to suppose that the being that could bring people back from the dead had something to do with it?
      • Also, Dormin warns Wander that there will be an extremely steep cost to bringing Mono back to life even if he succeeds. That's a big part of what makes Dormin sympathetic (or at least less clearly villainous), because even if Dormin's other acts to help Wander are self-serving, he clearly doesn't gain anything by trying to dissuade Wander from carrying out the ritual.
    • My theory is that the world that they live in just has to be incredibly superstitious, what with the giant demonic beings about. So, Mono might be a sacrifice in an attempt to pacify Dormin's attempts to escape. I don't know what he would do with some random girl that he can't even interact with, but it's a sacrifice none the less. She also might be a part of the upkeep in the spell that keeps Dormin imprisoned.

Flying Snakey Speeding Horsey Leapy Stabby Wahey

  • From a gameplay point of view, the final Colossus, specifically the fact that he's stationary. The whole game is built around spectacular, breathtaking moments like leaping from a speeding horse onto the wing of a giant flying monster before proceeding to run down the length of its body while it's doing barrel rolls to try and shake you off. Flying snakey speeding horsey leapy stabby wahey is the core and focus of this game, it's the climax it builds towards, it's what the player looks forward to on the long trips through the wilderness to their next target, it's what they savour when it finally happens. In contrast to that, the final boss is for all points and purposes a glorified gun turret and the most dangerous part of the fight is running towards him. Hm.
    • It's all a matter of perspective. Think of it this way. You're fighting a sentient castle. Sounds a bit better when you present it that way, doesn't it?
      • Yes, that's what I said. A gun turret. And while yes, that does make it sound better, it still doesn't make it play better. That boss is The Scrappy of this game, as far as I'm concerned.
      • I always liked the last one best: it's the only one where I got the feeling that it was absolutely terrified of Wander. That's why it's stationary, with its back against the wall. After you reach it, the game is over. You know it. IT knows it. Agro is dead. The bridge is out. Wander isn't getting off that island alive. Neither is the colossus. To me, it was the most emotional point in the entire game.
    • The final colossus doesn't attack you once you're actually climbing it, which is I think what the main letdown is, but as for being anticlimatic I have to disagree: there are tropes here which are used well, such as the loss of Agro in Wander's determination to fight colossi, a Battle in the Rain, the Awesome Music, a scary Death Course, a long and winding Colossus Climb and the overall demonic appearance of the last colossus, plus it has got the longest range attack of any colossus and a suitably badass appearance. If I had to complain, it would be about the tedious climbing you end up doing again if you slip even once, and how slowly it took to get to its weak point. Plus, you don't feel as guilty attacking a lightning-throwing demonic monster as you do, say, bringing down a graceful giant bird or a flying desert dragon, which seemed to fall flat of your previous experience with colossi.
    • According to the artbook, Malus was going to have functioning legs. He's probably stationary due to time and memory constraints.
    • This troper thinks that Malus was meant more to make you reflect about what's going on,and while Phalanx was already kind of a Player Punch,Malus really drove it home—it's visually in pain when you stab it,it puts its hand over its wounds,and the music is slow and somber.You might think that it was a poor design choice,but this troper thinks that Malus did its intended job quite well.
    • This troper actually rather enjoys the contrast, and thinks it's rather interesting from a storytelling point of view. Aside from being huge and having a very strong long-range attack, Malus otherwise can come across as the weakest of the sixteen. He's trapped where he stands thanks to being bolted down. His armor, while potentially frustrating to climb, provides an extremely clear path to his more vulnerable points, even more so than the other fifteen. The ruins around him render his attacks moot in the face of a fleet-footed attacker. To top it all off, he seems completely uncertain as to what to do once Wander manages to climb onto his fur. For this troper, the whole battle gives the impression of Malus saying, "Stay back! You've killed the rest, please don't hurt me!" Add onto this that it's not often that the final boss is (from this perspective) the weakest, and you get an overall very emotional and involving experience. It may not be as exciting gameplay-wise, but the potential emotional impact more than makes up for it - at least for me.
      • "For this troper, the whole battle gives the impression of Malus saying, "Stay back! You've killed the rest, please don't hurt me!" <— This would also be supported in that from where Malus is standing, he has a perfect view of all the beacons created by the previous collosi you've killed, meaning he'd be perfectly aware of what's about to happen to him too if he lets Wander get to him.
    • A key problem with the 16th is the fact that it simply wasn't what most players expect. Which makes perfect sense; the game itself isn't what one would expect! Take the very first Colossus. The music is powerful and triumphant, but quickly drops into mellow and emotional, not because you've accomplished a great feat, but because a creature died. And it only goes downhill from there. The music sounds less triumphant and more dramatic. The Colossi, for the most part, become more aggressive and dangerous. All while Wander grows more and more monstrous with each Colossus he kills. By the time he reaches the 16th, he can barely be called human, and he is forced to watch as his faithful companion, his only companion, falls to her death. And he turns around, to the 16th. The only thing he hasn't lost is his goal. He can't turn back, but continuing forward can only lead to a pyrrhic victory at best. The 16th Colossus is not meant to be an epic battle like the Colossi before it, it's meant to represent the change in Wander's journey. The consequence of accepting this dangerous quest.
"But heed this, the price you pay may be very heavy indeed."
  • The Doyalist answer is purely technical constraints. They wanted to make the final Colossus the biggest (which is common sense), but they discovered too late that doing so required making him less animated. They could have swapped him with one of the others, but then the final colossus would disappoint due to its size compared to Malus; and none of the others are really an ideal candidate for final, either. (The flying ones are probably the most fun, but are weird and less humanoid, which moves away from the game's themes a bit; the 15th captures everything the game does and is the obvious candidate, but is a bit ''too' much of a rehash of the first and doesn't offer enough new to use as the very last one. They couldn't win without making a totally-new colossus from scratch, and they didn't realize there were going to be problems with Malus, the originally-planned final colossus, until it was too late.)

Aiming Skills

  • Two other points: One, whose bright idea was it to make Wander aim his bow in the direction he's facing rather than the direction the camera's looking (ie. at the intended target)? That started bothering me the very first time I drew the damn thing, and it's still bothering me now. How did they miss that in playtesting? Honestly... And for that matter, why don't we control the bow aim with the right thumbstick while still retaining control of Wander or Agro with the left? (Yes, skilled horse archers can control the horse with just their legs, and while Wander may suck with a sword, a skilled horse archer he obviously is.)
    • Holding down the L1 button before aiming usually fixes this problem. As for using the right thumbstick to aim, that would be impossible because that thumbstick controls the camera. Plus, it would just be hard on the player to maneuver Agro with the left stick, aim the bow with the right stick, and shoot the arrow at the same time while possibly dealing with a bad camera angle that they wouldn't be able to fix.
      • Aiming IS the camera; if you're aiming the bow, you are fixing any bad camera angle by definition.
      • In the fights where horseback archery is required, Agro can handle navigation pretty well on her own. If you trust the horse to figure out how not to a) run in to a wall, and b) get eaten or shot by the hideous rampaging devourer behind you, you'll generally come out okay. There's also a button to lock on to the Colossus du jour for better aiming.

The Colossal Entry

  • Second point, the fact that we have to fight the colossi in a given order and only the next target actually exists in the game world at any given time. There's not really any reason for this, they're not connected in terms of the narrative in any way that would necessitate taking them on in this particular order, and the difficultly curve isn't exactly smooth either. In my view, it would've been a lot better to have more of a sandbox feel to the game, with the colossi present at all times and give the player the ability to choose which one the beam points to by interacting with the respective idol (or simply ride around and find them on his own). To have a land that actually is populated by huge lumbering mythical monsters, rather than one in which the monster spawns only when it's time for you to fight it. Having beaten the game several times, I still love to ride around and admire the scenery, but it's... empty. Riding around is only half the fun, the other half is climbing the colossi. I would absolutely love to have the ability to just go to a colossus I like, hitch a ride on it for a while just for fun, without killing it, then be on my way again. Sadly, that cannot be done.
    • Because that's not what the game is about. It's about a man on a mission, and his singleminded determination in carrying it out. The game's progression is a function of the storytelling: Wander has accepted the deal, so he's doing Dormin's dirty work, with that being his only purpose. Letting you frollic and play about with the creatures would've been directly opposed to that whole idea and would undermine the story.
      • Oh yes, how dare I want to have fun in this game! This is serious business! Well having played through the story several times and grown bored with it, I don't really mind the idea of undermining it a bit. Frolic we can right from the start (and it is even encouraged by the bonuses fruit and lizard tails provide), and for playing with the creatures we have the Reminiscence and Time Attack modes, which become available as you progress through the game. So all the elements are actually already there, it's just that the developers haven't gone all the way, haven't made that final step and combined them to give us complete freedom and immersion, which I think we should be given if not right from the beginning, then at least once we beat the story mode. Instead, they require us to select the battle we want from what is essentially a menu.
      • Also, I have to disagree that it would in fact even be opposed to the spirit of the game at all. One of the strongest emotions players seem to feel (myself included) when playing this game is sorrow for having to kill these wonderful beings, and that's with them being there only one at a time when it's convenient for the story (which it really even isn't, there's no real reason for Dormin to assign them to you in the order that he does, it's entirely arbitrary). Imagine how even more powerful this emotion would be if you began the game in a world populated by mythical creatures and ended it in a barren wasteland where only the huge, ruin-esque carcasses hint at what once was, knowing that it was you who created this desolation.
      • Not really arbitrary, he assigns them to you in the order the statues are placed. Blame whomever built the statues :P Also we know nothing about the backstory, for all we know there is a concrete reason for the order.
      • It serves a gameplay purpose. The simpler ones go first, and they get harder as you go.
      • I don't think that's true, after the first one or two the difficulty seemed pretty constant to me (up until it spiked suddenly with the last one, but see above about that). The only progression I've noticed is that Dormin's hints get more and more useless the further in the game you are ("Thou cannot aim for its vitals as thou art now..." - "Gee, really? I didn't notice that, thanks a bunch for pointing that out, buddy. That helps me a great bloody deal."). But even if it was true, so what? Dormin could still recommend which one you should go after next. Plus if the sandbox mode was unlocked after beating the game, it wouldn't be a problem at all, since you already know the colossi and their difficulty by that point. Again I point to the Time Attack mode, in which you can do them in any order you want to, so as I said before, the element of non-linear selection is already in the game, only in the form of what is essentially a disguised menu.
      • Wow, I can't believe nobody's given the obvious answers. The only way to find the Colossi is with your sword, which only points out one at a time. Not to mention, the whole deal reeks of ceremony, so it likely has to be done in that specific order for the whole 'resurrection deal' to actually work. After all, you fight them in the same order that they're lined up in the temple.
      • Nobody's given the obvious answers because the rebuttals to them are also obvious. You don't need the light on your second play-through, which is when this sandbox mode would ideally be unlocked, because you've already been to each one and you know where they are, not to mention the fact that they're practically everywhere. There isn't a single landmark or landscape feature in the Sot C world that doesn't contain a colossus - just pick any random cave or gorge or ruin and you're sure to find one lurking in there somewhere. You also don't need the light of the sword for the Time Attack mode, should that be removed based on your logic, then? Of course not! It's there for people who have beaten the story and want to just have fun fighting the monsters without all the cutscenes in between (That's another minor gripe - what's the bloody point of having all dialog fully voiced if the characters speak a nonsense language that needs to be subtitled anyway?). Same thing. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that there should be no story whatsoever and the colossi should respawn in sandbox mode. There. Now your hatred of me is complete.
      • Or else there could be icons on your map, or the light could narrow near all the colossi, or your controller vibrate when you're getting closer to one. Take your pick - I've got more. Not sure about the respawn option, though to be honest my only objection is an emotional one: The irreversibility of the killings makes it all the more poignant. Why not just simply start a new game instead?
      • Nobody said you shouldn't have fun with the game. What I was saying was the developers had an artistic goal with the game, and put that artistic goal in mind while creating it. You're supposed to be playing as a single-minded man, who cares only for getting Mono back to life, and is throwing himself in a deal with the devil to get it. Ergo, he's doing Dormin's dirty work, and following his instructions. Team ICO seems to make its games with artistic statements first and foremost, so that's why there's no sandbox mode: They didn't want to lessen the effect.
      • And what I was saying is that the developers themselves prove your point incorrect. Again, for the bazillionth time, look at the bloody Time Attack mode. There's no artistic statement in that, it's there purely because the developers realized that there's not quite enough game in their art and so they slapped some on as an afterthought. No art, no story, no point, just a bunch of cool monsters that you can fight in any order you want in return for weapons and other cool items. If your assertion about the developers' intentions was correct, this mode wouldn't exist either. I'm not asking for anything that isn't already in the game, I just wish it was integrated a little better, in a more seamless way.
      • The ability to make something does not make the game better. Maybe the developers were attempting to make a sandbox mode, but found it to be to the detriment to the game in the timeframe they had. As you sad, the Time Attack was slapped on when it was realized they didn't have enough game. Do you really want a gameplay mode that was just slapped on if it's on such a scale?
      • As said before, I think it is because Dormin tells you where to go to complete the ritual. This ties in with the fridge of the seal being reversible, and the ritual achievable, with all the Collosi being vulnerable in the place where they are imprisoned. The order may be to give you abilities for the next battles, since with each fallen Colossus you get to be less human, and add to that achievability.
    • Domini only give life to the colossi when it chooses to. That is why so many of them are overgrown with moss (which doesn't grow well on moving objects), and why some of the Colossi are dropping clouds of dust and dirt everywhere. You don't find the future colossi when you search in those places, simply because they are still a part of the landscape!
    • I always assumed it was a technical issue. Having all the colossi loaded at once might have bogged down the game, especially if they were free to roam. Ever notice how glitchy the graphics can be if you wander around enough? This game might be beautiful to look at, but it's also pretty buggy. Also, if I remember correctly, the majority of this game's technical development was in making the colossi themselves - their attack patterns, the physics involved, and so on. Time attack mode might have simply been easier to implement than a sandbox mode, especially if they were on a time crunch.

Trouble Controlling Agro

  • Am I the only person who doesn't have trouble with Agro? I always hear, such as above, about how uncontrollable he is, but I can't really say he's ever given me any problems. Heck, if he wasn't able to steer himself around obstacles, I'd have given up on killing Dirge within an hour.
    • I didn't have any real trouble with Agro either, though I do remember an interview with the makers saying they did make it so that Agro didn't always perfectly obey you in order to make him act like a real horse. Of course, to some gamers, "doesn't instantly and perfectly adhere to my exact commands" translates into "THIS THING IS BROKEN ARARARAR."
    • I don't usually have trouble with Agro, either. The controls are pretty straightforward after you get used to riding. The only trouble I actually have is mounting; I can't say how many times while fighting Phalanx I miss the fin I'm trying to jump onto, run up to Agro to try again, and end up just JUMPING NEXT TO HER like a fucking moron for five or six attempts because it is dusty and I can't see where the saddle starts. So really the only complaint I have is that you can literally be pressed up against her side and still have difficulty mounting. This only gets frustrating in actual fights with the colossi, though, because in those cases speed is often kind of crucial to the task at hand and the fact that the game doesn't pick up the command to climb on if you're even slightly off the mark can be very aggravating.
    • Have you tried pressing the R1 button in mid-jump? That usually does the trick. You'll still have problems if you try to jump at her head-on or from behind, but otherwise you should be fine. Although I have to admit mounting Agro was more irritating than it really should have been, even if you had all the time in the world.

      As for the other controls, I had no difficulty once I got used to them, though navigating through a thick forest was still annoying. Tropers' Tales, anyone?
      • The... damned... horse... Yeah, I've had a few experiences. If it weren't for the sheer bloody size of the world, I'd walk it. Although with a lot of practice, my virtual horsemanship has improved, navigating tight spaces still consists of a lot of cursing the horse's unwillingness to do as I ask, then cursing the horse's willingness to walk right into yon tree. When speed is required, though, the mantra has been: "Trust the horse." Horseback archery gets a lot easier when you believe, rightly or not, that Agro isn't going to run into the next obstacle like an idiot.
  • The controls make perfect sense once you realize you're not controlling Argo, you're controlling Wander riding Argo.
  • As evidenced by the responses, you're not the only one. I personally had so much trouble with that dang horse that I wasn't that upset when it seemed to die. It just wouldn't do what I asked, and I ended up walking many times

Agro's Gender

  • This is more a curiosity than anything, but the main article states that Agro is female. This bugs me mainly because I've never actually heard whether the horse even has a canon gender. Was the fact that it's female mentioned by the creators at some point?
    • Apparently they are on record of having a mare in mind, presumably due to the Nonhumans Lack Attributes thing, though I can't be bothered to find the source. I tend to take them at their word that the story is mostly up to the player, and as far as I'm concerned, if Spirit is a stallion and Link is a he-wolf, Agro can damn well be a gelding.

Colossus Names

  • The Colossi have no names in the game, yet on this article I keep finding names like Quadratus, Gaius, Phaedra, Avion, Korimuri, Dirge, Celosia, Pelagia, Phalanx and Cenobia for them. When I first looked over the article, I had no idea which colossi were being referenced and had to infer it from other clues. So, two questions:
    • Where did the names come from? Word of God? If so, where's the link?
    • Can we simply change them to something simpler that everyone is more likely to understand first time, like 'the first colossus' (order) or 'the bird colossus' (physical appearance)?
      • The names come from an art book if I remember right, and were possibly only meant as developer nicknames. Still, bits of the fandom do know 'em... I think if their name is already there, giving it and then a description would be helpful.
      • The names are commonly used fan nicknames, the colossi have no official names to my knowledge, although they did have some rather generic nicknames given to them by the developers (Valus was called Minotaur). As for why we use those nicknames, it's probably due to the fact that most of the internet uses them to refer to the colossi.

  • Okay, I'll just out and say it: am I the only one who's on Wander's side, thinks Dormin is pretty okay and probably under the effect of Everyone Hates Hades, and who wants to punch Emon?
    • No, and if you hadn't asked the question, I would have.
    • No, you're not. I personally felt for Wander and Mono the whole game rather than the colossi. Not that the genocide implications were lost on me, but the whole "Kill her cause I say she's cursed!" thing pissed me off from the beginning
    • Nope. The way I see it, Wander is awesome, Mono is an innocent victim, Dormin is definitely Everyone Hates Hades and Emon is a superstitious douchebag who's responsible for everything. I felt for them much more than the colossi, who got on my nerves so much that killing them was a fist pumping moment. Hope that doesn't make me a monster! The credits with their corpses did make me sad in an My God, What Have I Done? way though.
    • I see your point, but I think the main problem is that, with such an ambiguous storyline, it's hard to say what exactly happened or who you should cheer on. Wander's a brilliant example of that; on the one hand, his love for Mono is genuine, and powerful, and so you can understand why he's desperate to bring her back. In this sense, fighting sixteen colossi one after the other is an impressive feat of endurance and determination on his part. You could argue that the colossi aren't even living creatures, but just animated statues, since their nature is not fully spelled out to you during the game. On the other hand, he could've been killing living creatures, and there is a slightly disturbing quality to his willingness to do anything for his love. But nothing's confirmed, so you see how hard it is to pin someone down as unambiguously moral or immoral?

      Dormin, on the other hand, seems supicious when he possesses Wander, but then he does warn Wander against going on the quest at the start, and he does seem to keep his end of the bargain by reviving Mono. Besides, it's not that hard to imagine how desperate he was to return to a human body, if you subscribe to the Dormin=Nimrod allegory, anyway (which also hints at his being a spirit that was murdered in the past, if you want to follow the allegory to the letter). And what exactly is Dormin? A spirit, a devil, a colossus, the united soul of all sixteen colossi or a god of some sort?

      As for Lord Emon being the true villain, well, it is briefly mentioned in the main article that some consider him a Knight Templar. And he seems awfully keen to kill Wander and Dormin near the end, as well as seal away the Forbidden Lands despite it looking pretty much unremarkable. Well, as unremarkable as it can be now that it's been purged of colossi and has no dark spirits in it anymore. Some reckon he was responsible for Mono's death, which is a point of contention since she seems quite nice when she's revived. So why'd he kill her, if indeed he did? As a meaningful sacrifice, superstitious foolishness or because of some kind of ugly discrimination, like the people showed to Ico in that game when they sacrificed him just because he had horns?

      The speculation continues. Just look at what's there and come to your own conclusions, I guess. True Art Is Incomprehensible, apparently. I just enjoyed testing my skills against the colossi.
    • I always looked at him as a willing Villain Protagonist. From my perspective, he knew what he was doing, he knew it was wrong, and he did it anyway because he loved Mono and could not accept the world without her in it.
    • No, the game definitely presents Dormin as an ally to the player and Emon as an antagonist. Dormin even goes out of his way to try and dissuade Wander from releasing him, warning him that he should not try to bring back the dead and that there will be a very high price to pay even if he succeeds. Emon almost certainly killed Mono, and his responses in the last part show that he misunderstands at least some key things (he orders Wander killed and then is surprised by what happens; he says that Wander was just being used, but we know that Dormin was upfront with him and made no real attempt to manipulate him - if Wander was used, it was completely willingly, at least.) Of course, the twist is that none of this automatically makes Emon wrong - it's possible for all the above to be true (Dormin being an Affably Evil or Lawful Evil demon of some sort who legitimately can and will resurrect Mono, who wants to make sure he's upfront with Wander and doesn't want to be responsible for the tragedy that will come from trying to raise the dead)... and for Dormin's unsealing to still be horrible for humanity, or at least for Wander's people. We just don't know.

That One Ending

Was I the only one who felt that the plotting after the sixteenth Colossus battle clashed with the minimalistic storytelling of the rest of the game? Compared with that, the scenes after the last Colossus fight felt like a Kudzu Plot verging on a Gainax Ending. Wander just being a zombie for a few moments felt dragged out, the whirlpool and the baby reversion felt tacked on and random, and apart from the credits shots (which were very beautiful, I must say) it seemed like the Colossi were just forgotten about, after all that fighting you did.

  • Personally I thought the ending was well designed. And of COURSE the Colossi were forgotten about, they're dead, why would you mention a few monsters that's already been killed when there's an Eldritch Abomination that's taken over the Protagonist's body on the loose?
    • Sorry, I could have phrased that better. I meant, that after spending most of the game taking on the Colossi, the stars of the show, I was expecting the ending to give them an emotionally satisfying send-off. I'll admit I find it hard to say exactly what I was expecting, except that a brief montage of Colossus bodies on grainy film wasn't it. The graininess was so poor, I wouldn't even have made some of them out if they hadn't been shown in order.

      Somehow, it wasn't as much of a Tear Jerker as I had anticipated, and I think the reason for that is that the ending instead focused on a long scene with Wander slowly dying, then being possessed and turned into a Colossus before being sucked into a whirlpool. That wasn't so bad in itself, but getting turned into a baby? It's hard to feel emotionally satisfied by an Ass Pull combined with Everybody Lives and all that business with the suddenly-discovered secret garden. I can't make heads or tail of it without wondering if there was some Faux Symbolism or Rule of Symbolism involved.
    • The ending was told much stronger than the rest of the game so there was an actual climax. If Lord Emon had been cut out, what would the alternative have been? Wander would have been possessed by Dormin; end of game? That would be horribly anticlimatic and disappointing.
    • The ending is like this because they, the developers, wanted to explain who are the horned kids from Ico and why are they "cursed". They are Wander's offsprings.
    • I thought the ending was excellent. An ending that explained absolutely nothing would have been unsatisfying; an ending that explained everything clearly would have gone against the themes of the game and the series, and would probably have been equally-unsatisfying. The ending we got, with a lot of hints that you have to use to put things together yourself but with no clear answers, was definitely the best choice.

Mono's voice.

Nabatame Hitomi is credited as voicing Mono, but does Mono ever actually say anything in the game?

  • I believe she was the one whose voice Wander hears while he's conked out between each Colossus fight.
    • T'would explain why we hear it cry "Wander!" at some point.

The Movie

Why are they making a movie? Sure, it was a good game, but that doesn't mean it'll be a good movie. Furthermore, because of SotC's nature, it is insanely easy to screw up in that delicate transfer from game disk to silver screen.

  • Because it would sell with some dedicated fans and some good advertizing. Also, this troper was under the impression that the project was cancelled after more consideration, but I could be wrong.
  • I agree that video game adaptations tend to suck, and adapting Sot C would be especially tricky. But it could be a wonderful film if you did it right. An epic quest with ambiguous morality? That's a neat idea. That's something I haven't really seen in film before. And imagine if there was an IMAX version and you could really feel the physical scale of the Colossi...I'd say it's an idea worth exploring.

MAJOR Ending Spoilers: Agro's Survival

Why did the developers see fit to have Agro show up alive at the end? The whole game is built on minimalism and leaving as much to the player's imagination as possible. The history of the world portrayed in the game, the exact details of Mono's death, and even the morality of every single character is left open to interpretation. Yet the developers took the time to directly show that Agro survived his fall with a broken leg. It couldn't be determined for certain whether Agro died or not when he fell into the river, so why wasn't that left up to speculation as well?

  • Minimalism doesn't mean they don't tell us anything. And from that height? If the horse doesn't show up, yes, you assume the horse is dead. There's really no "ambiguity" about "fall off cliff => never seen again == DEAD".
    • Especially since, as a general rule, the larger the animal the smaller off a height is required for a fall to be fatal. Elephants have been known to die from a fall of just a few feet. So yeah, if the game hadn't confirmed otherwise, you pretty much have to assume that Agro had died.
  • Indeed, just because it's minimalistic doesn't mean they have to keep everything from us - or else, really, you'd have no game. Interestingly, Agro seems to get more characterization that anyone else in the game. Everyone else's motives are up in the air, and no one's sure who's evil and who's good, but Agro is shown to be brave enough to deal with giant monsters when most horses would have run off and never come back, smart enough to throw his rider to safety, caring enough to stand beside Wander as the pair look sadly over Mono's dead body, and above all, unfailingly loyal. Perhaps his return at the end, despite what must be an agonizing injury and an impossibly long walk was just meant to further demonstrate all of that?
  • This may also make sense from a developer's point of view: apart from Mono who gets revived anyway no protagonist in the series actually dies. Every protagonist (although, there aren't many) survives the games. Maybe the developers just wanted to keep it that way.
  • If you consider Dormin (who has powers over life and death) to not be entirely evil, perhaps even feeling a little guilty about the events, what's to say that he didn't revive/sustain Agro, as an apology or something?

Why are some of the Colossi you faced literally trapped in where you fight them?

  • 1) Second Colossi was inside a mountain before it broke out and the embankment leading in and out of the beach is too small for it to walk out. 2) 3rd Colossi is on a platform elevated hundreds of feet above a lake that if the Colossi were to jump into to try and escape would sink to its death/eternal prison. 3) 4th Colossi is stuck in a valley of Catacombs were the embankment leading out of the area is too small for it to walk on. 4) 6th Colossi is stuck in what appears to be an underground temple/city that has no method of escape other than smashing his way out which would lead to a cave-in. 5) 7th Colossi is somewhat understandable being a water serpent but it seems strange that it would be placed in a single lake where it will only be able to swim there for all eternity. 6) 14th Colossi is stuck in that abandoned city with no visible pathway leading out that it could take advantage of, the only way out is only small enough for Wander to exploit. 7) The 16th Colossi as massive as it is seems strange that it has such a device strapped to its legs to bind it to the ground. Perhaps a method earlier humans used to try and seal its power away?
    • All in all the placement of these stated Colossi seems counterproductive to a mobile lifestyle, I can't understand why they would be placed there. If they were enemies of humans then they should have been sealed away with magic but if they were guardians as some people theorize they should be placed in locations where it is easier to move around and guard the larger Forbidden Land.
      • They are enemies and guardians. It actually makes sense to keep them secluded and bound to such places, because they are dangerous to humans but also important to in guarding each piece of Dormin's soul. Also, some of them (Gaius for example) don't seem to move around at all until Dormin tells Wander to go after them, implying that perhaps they sleep until Dormin wakes them up, in which case they simply don't need a mobile lifestyle.

The depth of the lakes.

  • All of the lakes in this game seem rather unrealistic in how deep they are. They are so deep that you can't even see the bottom even when you go underwater there is nothing to see but a black abyss of nothingness. The 7th Colossus in comparison to the lake it is in looks like a drop of water in an ocean, it seems like you could drop a mountain in these lakes and you wouldn't even be able to see it anymore. Not to mention the ruins that protrude out of all of these lakes that when you go underwater they seem to go all the way down to the bottom, how anyone created anything big enough to protrude out of that abyss of a lake is beyond me.
    • Uh, you do know lakes can get pretty big, right? Lake Erie, for instance, the smallest of the Great Lakes, is 9,940 square miles wide and 210 feet deep.
      • The deepest lake on Earth is in Siberia, it is over 5000 feet deep which would be slightly over a mile in length. The deepest part of the ocean by comparison (that we can reach with our current technology) is six miles deep. Lakes CAN get so deep that you can hardly see the bottom even if you tried but this is not an average occurrence, the Forbidden Land has several bodies of water that look like deep abysses. As for the ruins, depending on how long ago the people left that peninsula water simply could have flowed into the canyon and have enveloped it but geologically speaking this would take hundreds if not thousands of years to occur. As for how they made structures about a mile high is uncertain as that would be an almost impossible technological feat with simple stones as it would collapse under its own weight. Magic?
    • This troper has seen glitch videos of people reaching the bottoms of some of these lakes, and at least some of them really aren't spectacularly deep - the bottoms are just very dark. Whether this is meant to make it look like the lakes actually are that deep or just to imply that the water's too dark or murky to see the bottom is hard to say.
    • The 7th Colossus's lake, with the vertical cliff edges and the large tower structures, looks a lot like an old man made reservoir that's half full. The spiral staircase that's connected to the outside via a bridge, looks a lot like it might have once been an old intake or straining tower for example.
    • Lake water is very seldom entirely clear. There's silt and dissolved minerals dispersed through it, making it hard to see through to the bottom even at very shallow depths.

Dormin's Seal (Ending Spoilers)

Okay, so Dormin was sealed via the sixteen Colossi, and killing them broke this seal and allowed him to return. Then Emon goes ahead and insta-seals him, in a somewhat more permanent looking fashion, and then collapses the epically long bridge leading into the land for good measure, so that no one can possibly get in and screw things up. My question is: why in the heck didn't they do that in the first place? What was the point of the Colossi at all if they could do something like that to Dormin? Why leave entry to the Forbidden Land completely open and accessible? It just seems stupid of them to leave any chance, however remote, of Dormin being resurrected by some guy with a magic sword if he's as nasty as Emon makes him out to be.
And yes, I realize if they did that, then there would be no game. It still bugs me.

  • Perhaps magic marches on in the same way as technology? Either that or, despite the Colossi being defeated, Dormin still wasn't quite at 100% after being sealed for so long, and thus was easier to take care of (though that wouldn't explain the bridge, I realize).
  • Alternatively, what makes you think Emon succeeded at dealing with him permanently? Whatever he did might simply have been a stopgap measure. In fact, we have at least some reason to think this is the case, since Dormin seems to have survived in at least some fashion by passing on his horns to Wander. As for why the bridge was left open, I think we saw the reason — when Wander made it in, the bridge was necessary for Emon to arrive in time to do something about it. Even without the bridge, Wander could probably have still made it over the mountains if he were desperate enough; and with no bridge, by the time Emon sensed that someone was reviving Dormin, it would have been too late to reach the forbidden land and do anything about it. It's also possible that Dormin's seal required some form of regular maintenance that required that it be accessible.
  • Could be the original spell was chosen in case the people who sealed him needed Dormin's power in case something far more powerful than they could handle came along. Chances are they could have used the spell Emon used to seal him originally, but it would have completely gotten rid of access to Dormin if they needed him. Emon probably used the spell out of panic due to Dormin being released, without realizing the consciences it would have caused.
  • It looks like Emon triggered a self-destruct mechanism that (at least temporarily) purged Dormin's influence and rendered the entire Forbidden Land unreachable. As for why they didn't do that before, we can only guess, but a very likely reason is because the seals are imperfect (and even with the path destroyed, someone could still get in), and they wanted it to be accessible in case they started to weaken or Dormin begins to get out. As things are now, if someone somehow did get into the sacred lands, or if Dormin began to return, nobody would be able to do anything about it. In other words, Emon's final seal saved them in the short term but was dangerous in the long term (possibly connecting to the events of the other games.) One possibility is that baby-Wander (and possibly those descended from him?) became a Soul Jar for Dormin in the same way the Colossi were, which is obviously a less than ideal sealing mechanism.

What did Dormin do wrong, exactly?

It seems near-unanimous that he's/she's/they're evil, but all 'it' did was fufill what was requested of it for the price of making it capable of fufilling the price. Killing the poor Titular Colossuseses is bad, but it sounds to me from what I understand that they're just Soul Jars and the one that owns the soul probably wouldn't ponder the fact they're alive. Or see it as a nessacary evil to, you know, not be split into a large number of animilistic statues. And everything except Mono being alive and well seems mostly because Big Damn Heroes decided to stop everything halfway through the process. Did I miss some giant part of the plot somewhere?

  • It's not about what Dormin did during the game, it's about what Dormin did in the backstory. ... Which we don't know. We just know that whatever he did or was, his enemies decided the best punishment was eternally imprisoning him in the forbidden land.
  • I don't think it's unanimous that they're evil. What we know is that Emon (who is the most-informed person in the story aside from Dormin themselves) considers them evil, that they were sealed in the Forbidden Land for some reason, and that they're extremely ominous and have a monstrous form. Beyond that, the themes of the game seem to point towards Dormin being at least ominous, and you can read Dormin's warnings to Wander as being about this, obliquely - Dormin wouldn't warn Wander about a "terrible price" if releasing him was a good thing. On the other hand, we also know that they seem to have dealt fairly with Wander (warning him upfront that there will be a terrible price to trying to bring back the dead even if he succeeds, and trying to dissuade him even though that clearly wasn't in Dormin's self-interest - the only possible interpretation I see for the latter is that Dormin has at least some sense of fairness.)
    • Or that the criteria under which it's possible for someone to destroy the colossi and free Dormin include not only that particular sword, but that its wielder willingly accept the quest knowing that a steep price will be paid.

Is it plausible that Wander and Mono escaped the Forbidden Land in time?

A few people I know were pretty depressed by the ending, viewing it as a bittersweet death sentence for Wander and Mono. Sure, they're alive, but they're trapped forever in a decaying land (albeit with a nice garden). One of the very few Word of God excerpts straight up tells us that, yes, Wander is the progenitor of the line of horned boys. Logic thus dictates that Wander (or whoever that child is at the end of the game, if you don't think it's reincarnated Wander) procreated, either with Mono or someone else. There's no other way that particular gene could have spread.

Surely this suggests that they managed to escape the Forbidden Land, no? By the time Ico rolled around, there were a lot of people who had been ostracized and killed over the years because of their "affliction." How could this have happened if Wander was trapped forever in the Forbidden Land?

  • I always just thought that Mono waited until the baby had grown up a bit, built a raft and sailed away beyond the Western Cape. If it is the same beach as the one in Ico, they won't be the first to make the journey.

  • Uh... I always thought that Wander and Mono were married already and had a child — and Dormin's curse affected them all by means of possession — and that Mono had been cursed to "die in childbirth" to prevent the curse from continuing and that this is what Wander means by she was cursed. Either that, or Mono IS pregnant and had been killed to prevent the curse from continuing.

  • That's a bit of a leap but not outside the realm of possibility. I think that they found a way up the cliff that leads to the other lands and either Wander went alone since Mono was unable to go (due to not being fit enough or being too old) or that they went together and that for whatever reason (Mono being too old to recognize, them going to a different group than Emon's or Wander going alone) he wasn't immediately ostracized and had kids and that way into the future people started to kill horned kids.

Are the cut Colossi canon to the storyline?
For one reason or another there were multiple Colossi cut from the final product which is why they don't show up in the game. However, from a story perspective did Wander fight more than 16 Colossi? Have the developers given any word on whether or not we're supposed to view it as just 16 or are there more?
  • They're not in the game, they're not in the story.
    • at best one could consider there wore originally 48 collosus like was originally planned and various other warriors took them down, and wander simply slays the last 16

13th Colossus hint
Small question, but I always sort of wondered what Dormin means when it describes Phalanx, the 13th Colossus, by finishing with "Thou art not alone". What does that mean? It could sound like it means that you think there's no Colossus around when it suddenly erupts from the earth, but Phalanx is by no means the first Colossus to suddenly appear before you like that, so it would seem redundant if that was the meaning. Anyone knows?
  • That's a warning about Emon who had just shown up at the forbidden land.