by Matthew Thompson
Shadow of the Colossus is one of the most unique and memorable games I have experienced. Some remember it for its strange narrative and trying to piece together what it all means. Others will cite its beautiful visuals and unique world. But to me it was all about the core gameplay that mostly consisted of taking down sixteen bosses. The structure itself helps it stand out, but it is the thrilling and intense battles against these massive foes that make this such an unforgettable game for me. Regardless of what you loved most about Shadow of the Colossus, I think everyone walks away from it with some favorite colossus fights. Here are my five favorite battles (this blog contains spoilers for the colossi I chose. If you have never played Shadow of the Colossus, you should fix that issue ASAP… and then come back to read my blog and share your favorites immediately of course).
5. Hydrus (The Seventh Colossus)
Different colossi are memorable for different reasons. Some for their look, some for their size, some for the solution to the puzzle that is taking them down. I think Hydrus shines because of where you fight him. This confrontation takes you underwater for the first time. You find this flat worm-like creature in a lake and after grabbing hold of his tail, he takes you under. The game’s grip mechanic is put to good use here as you hold on for your life waiting for him to resurface. And when he does you have to make the most of the opportunity by regaining your stamina as well as making your way up his long body toward the weak spot on his head. It isn’t long before it dives back under the water, so every inch you can make it forward counts. Like most colossi there is a struggle here and it makes for a very interesting battle.
4. Avion (The Fifth Colossus)
Like Hydrus, Avion is unique because of where its battle takes place. The first four colossi are all huge beasts that dwell on land, so when you first see Avion take to the air you know you are in for a whole new kind of fight. There is an incredible sense of speed when you are on top of Avion as it soars through the sky. The wind pushing hard against you as you try to get to his various vital points without taking the long plunge into the water below. Flying high above the world on the wings of this giant creature is one of the game’s biggest “wow” moments.
3. Gaius (The Third Colossus)
The Gaius fight is great for so many reasons. I love its design (the spikes around its neck are particularly cool). Its scale managed to impress me even after fighting the first two (I’m not sure of exact heights, but I think he is the tallest of this type). It’s the first colossus to really be aggressive towards you right from the get-go (it just straight up attacks you). I think what really separates it from the battles that precede it is that it’s the first one in which you have to use the environment to help solve the puzzle of toppling it (making him strike a stone plate on the ground with his sword which in turn breaks his armor allowing you to get to its weak points). This element adds a bit more to the process of killing these huge enemies and is used a lot going forward. It really adds to the “Eureka!” moment of figuring out how to beat one of them.
2. Argus (The Fifteenth Colossus)
Argus is the last mobile colossus of the game before the final, somewhat disappointing, stationary one. And because it is the last one that can move around, it really feels like it takes ideas from all the battles before it and integrates them into this one. There is a lot of using the environment around you. Not just climbing on it, but actually getting Argus to manipulate the structures in a way so you can climb up them. It’s also a very challenging battle that involves a couple vital points, a minor weak point and some tricky climbing to get to that final vital point to take it down. Argus gets bonus points for his badass reveal as well when he pulls himself out of the ravine to enter the fray.
1. Cenobia (The Fourteenth Colossus)
Most fights in this game have you trying to figure out how to get onto each colossus. While that is still true of Cenobia, most of the battle has you trying to stay away from it which makes for a rather original confrontation. Cenobia is one of two relatively tiny colossi, but despite that he is still just as dangerous as his larger brethren due to his speed, athleticism and extreme aggression towards Wander. And you’ll use this aggressiveness against it as you lure it around the rather large level to eventually break its armor away. In a game where each boss fight is like a giant puzzle, Cenobia’s has my favorite solution which goes a long way towards making it my top choice here. Plus I just love this little guy. In fact, I kind of wish I had a 6-12 inch tall version of it running around my house, bumping into furniture. Cenobia is just the best.
That will do it for my top five colossi from Shadow of the Colossus. Do you have a favorite colossus battle? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter. Thanks for reading!