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Shadow of the Colossus (PlayStation 2)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Description

In an ancient time long past, a young man travels to the ends of the Earth, a place that is said to be forbidden to enter. He carries a young woman, who died from a terrible curse. He seeks the Dormin, a strange and God-like being that resides there. The Dormin is surprised that the man carries an ancient and magical sword, and speaks to the man. The man pleas for his help in bringing back the woman's cursed soul, however the being says it is the law of mortals that a dead soul cannot be brought back. He does say though, that if the man is willing to accept some heavy consequences, that there might be a way to revive her. But it will not be easy.

The hero must embark on a quest to slay the sixteen colossi, giant creatures that tower hundreds of feet above the Earth. Using his ancient sword and his horse Agro, he must travel across the immense landscape seeking the colossi to save his love. Taking the form of various animals or bipedal human-like creatures, these colossi are tough and fierce. Their skin is tougher than leather, and the armor they wear is literally rock. However, by using his ancient sword, the man can penetrate the weak spot on them and destroy the towering beings and free his love's soul.

Shadow of the Colossus is set in the same universe as ICO, and is a prequel to it. The entire game is dedicated to locating and fighting the sixteen colossi, which must be faced and defeated in a particular order. Finding the giant creatures is not always easy: the hero must mount his horse and ride through the world's vast landscapes, using his glowing sword as an indicator of the colossus' proximity. There are no enemies or hazards in the game world outside of the colossi battles. After a colossus has been found, a large-scale battle begins. Most of the colossi are huge, and much of the challenge in the battles lies in climbing on top of these creatures and staying there, while they are trying to shake the player character off. In a certain way the colossi function as hostile, moving platform stages.

The general goal in every battle is to reach the colossus' weakpoint and repeatedly stab it with the sword until he dies. Since the colossi vary greatly in shape, size, speed, intelligence, and attitude towards the hero, the player will have to adapt to different fighting styles and employ different tactics against them. Most of the battles involve extended platform action sequences, as the hero is trying to climb on the colossus and find its weak spot. Grabbing the creature's fur, timing the jumps, and getting in a good position to use the sword are often essential. Other tactics include fighting on horseback, using ranged attacks with the bow, luring the colossus into specific locations to use the environment against it, taking advantage of the terrain, etc. Environments in which battles take place are also varied, including mountains, deserts, lakes, ancient ruins, and others.

Screenshots

Shadow of the Colossus PlayStation 2 Grip and climb fur areas
Shadow of the Colossus PlayStation 2 A peaceful scene near a waterfall
Shadow of the Colossus PlayStation 2 Jumping through some structures on the way to a cave-dwelling colossus
Shadow of the Colossus PlayStation 2 Cower in fear, mortal, and behold the splendor of the most powerful colossus of all!

Alternate Titles

  • "汪达与巨像" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • "ワンダと巨像" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Wangda yu Juxiang" -- Chinese title
  • "Wander and the Colossus" -- Japanese title
  • "Wanda to kyozō" -- Japanese title
  • "SotC" -- Common abbreviation
  • "NICO" -- Working title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

There is no other game like it אולג 小奥 (170204) 4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars
Incredible, emotional, artistic, and brilliant. Just a few words that describe Shadow of the Colossus Matt Neuteboom (941) 4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars
Desperate love leads a young man to slay the mightiest of giants. DANIEL HAWKS ! (1910) 4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars
Big is not scary; small is scary lasttoblame (393) 4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars
The love moves mountains NeoJ (428) 4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars
A fantastic, immersive experience like no other EboMike (3009) 4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars
Magnificence D P (124) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
Beautiful. SlapHappy (19) 4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars
Touching story without words, and special gameplay! Melody (119) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
What a dang waste... Indra is here (19705) 1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars

The Press Says

Video Game Generation Nov 02, 2005 9.8 out of 10 98
games xtreme Mar 06, 2006 9.8 out of 10 98
IGN Oct 15, 2005 9.7 out of 10 97
Game Freaks 365 Oct 26, 2005 9.3 out of 10 93
Game Revolution Oct 25, 2005 A- 91
Pro-G Feb 15, 2006 9 out of 10 90
Official UK Playstation 2 Magazine Jan, 2006 9 out of 10 90
Daily Game Dec 06, 2005 9 out of 10 90
GameLemon Dec 12, 2005 7 out of 10 70
Digital Press - Classic Video Games Apr 22, 2007 6 out of 10 60

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
Tips for riding Agro 2 Lain Crowley (5405)
Jan 26, 2011
This is amazing 13 St. Martyne (3540)
Jul 31, 2007

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The PS2 version of Shadow of the Colossus appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Character

Throughout the game, the main character's appearance continually gets worse from the physical and mental strain of fighting the colossi and from the strain of the dark spirits possessing him. His hair and clothes will gradually get dirtier, and his clothes will eventually tear in numerous places. Also, his face will scar and get paler as the game continues.

Demake

In September 2008 the game was "demade" for the TIGSource Bootleg Demakes competition as Hold me closer, Giant Dancer.

Development

Shadow of the Colossus is known for pushing the PS2 hardware to its limits. For example, SotC features fake HDR (High Dynamic Range) rendering, even though the PS2 hardware doesn't really support HDR.

Another example for this is the the "fur shader" - the colossi are very hairy and are the fur is rendered quite convincingly. The fur also features some simulated anisotropic lighting, giving the fur realistic highlights. Again, the common way to achieve this is not possible on the PS2, but the game developers managed to approximate this.

The game features many other technological achievements. Some are visible such as self-shadowing, and some are behind the scenes, such as the complex memory management system that allows for the huge game world without loading time or memory fragmentation.

Further details can be found in The Making of "Shadow of the Colossus" (5 MB pdf), which includes explanations from the game's developers, and in an analysis by Jonathan Cooper

Extras

The PAL release comes in a cardboard packaging containing four unique postcards with art work depicting moments from the game. It also includes camera interviews with artistic partners and creative directors Fumito Ueda and Kenjj Kaido to get a look behind the scenes, an image gallery with concept sketches and in-game stills, and the original game trailer to ICO.

References

Various philosophical elements are present in the game. For instance, Dormin is reminiscent of the biblical character Nimrod. Nimrod is a biblical king credited for the creation of the Tower of Babel, whose purpose was to build a stairway into the heavens. Before its completion, the builders tongues are mixed up into different languages (which, according to the Bible, justifies the many languages of the Earth). As well, the Tower of Babel is said to be one of the tallest structures on the Earth, and could be seen from all parts of the Earth.

The shrine of worship is completely symbolic of the Tower of Babel. Dormin is meant to represent Nimrod, the builder of the shrine, and if one notices closely, Dormin is an exact anagram of Nimrod. As well, through a secret method the character is able to climb the tower and reach a paradise, symbolic of a Heaven or other after-life paradise (notice that in the story, Mono and Wander are only able to climb to the top of the tower once they are free of Dormin, who represents Sin and evil). The tower is obviously the hugest structure on the map, and can be seen from all parts of the map (if the view is not obstructed) As well, before Dormin can ascend to total power (as if ascending into Heaven), he is split up into 16 parts, thus completing the image of the builders being divided by their changed languages.

References to the game

  • The basic premise of this game (enormous monsters with light-up self-destruct buttons) is riffed on in a Penny Arcade webcomic strip dated October 21st, 2005.
  • Shadow of the Colossus is referenced in the movie Reign over Me (2007) where actor Adam Sandler is addicted to it.

Savegame import

If the player has a saved game from ICO on the memory card in slot 1, Aggro's diamond shaped mark on his head will be replaced with the logo for ICO; a horn/tooth-like shape.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2006 – Best Game of the Year
    • 2006 – Best PlayStation 2 Game of the Year
    • 2006 – Best Action-Adventure of the Year
    • 2006 – Most Impressive Boss of the Year (for Colossus 16)
    • 2006 – Best Original Soundtrack of the Year
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • February 2006 - #192 out of 200 on the "Greatest Games of Their Time" list
  • GameSpy
    • 2005 – #5 PS2 Game of the Year
Information also contributed by Big John WV, Christian Moleman, hribek, Indra was here, Mickey Gabel, Pseudo_Intellectual, Robstein and Sciere

Related Web Sites

Terrence Bosky (5234) added Shadow of the Colossus (PlayStation 2) on Nov 07, 2005
Other platforms contributed by Kabushi (122912)