Welcome to another instalment of the Shadow of the Colossus Boss Rush rundown!
Last time we introduced the first two Colossi, Valus and Quadratus. This time we’ll be bringing you three more: Gaius, Phaedra and, finally, Avion, the first airborne Colossus that Wander will encounter. On the note of Colossi names, here’s one last bit of trivia before we get going; the Colossi aren’t ever actually given any true names. They’re just ‘The Colossi’ and each one is known by number according to the order they’re encountered in. During the course of the game, the only identifiers that the Colossi are given are short poems describing their location or behaviour (“In the land of the vast green fields…”, “It casts a colossal shadow across a misty lake…”, “A silent being wields thunder…”).
All the names given below are given to them in consensus by the community, not the game designers. Each Colossus also has a Latin name in the same vein that normal species in the real world are given. All of this is because of the fans’ love and affection for the giant beasts. The players simply decided together that these giant creatures needed more than just numbers or poems to identify them. Oddly enough, the only Colossi that are given true names are the ones that never made it into the finished game. Those Colossi are named by artifacts found in the game’s code that reference them.
The Third Colossus – Gaius
Gaius is the tallest of the bipedal Colossi and at that he is also the most humanoid in nature. He moves like a lumbering human gladiator in the elevated disc of an arena that he calls home. He also wields a humongous stone sword rather than the crude weapons some of the other Colossi have. Gaius is often cited as a favourite among the Colossi by fans, myself included. There are probably a few reasons for his featuring so high on so many lists, perhaps because he poses the first challenge where a bit of puzzling and thought are involved in discovering his weakness. For me, it’s because of the David VS. Goliath nature of the fight. Although massively mismatched in stature, both Wander and Gaius are swordsmen and the area where they face off is very obviously styled as an arena. The real reason I love it so muc,h though, is that part of the fight involves running up Gaius’ sword to reach his weak spots, something that too few bosses by far give you the opportunity to do.
The Fourth Colossus – Phaedra
Phaedra never registered as one of the more memorable Colossi for me, relatively speaking that is. A large part of that is probably to do with fighting her right off the back of Gaius. The one major reason that I can say I did enjoy the Phaedra battle is because of the scenery. Wander finds this horse-like Colossi in the middle of a vibrant, lush field and the whole area is among the prettiest in the game. It gives the whole encounter this sort of ‘breaking a wild horse’ vibe. It also gives you a chance to really try out using Wander’s own noble steed, Agro, in a fight. It was really enjoyable to try running up alongside Phaedra and pouncing onto her from the back of Agro, although in this scene it’s not at all necessary since Wander alone can scale Phaedra’s hind legs with the aid of a few little mounds dotted around the wide spanning field.
The Fifth Colossus – Avion
Avion is another of the more memorable Colossi. After all, it’s hard to forget the first time you take flight on the winged Colossus’ back. When you first enter the area of murky water with jutting out platforms, Avion is sat on his perch, just watching you, not unlike Kaepora Geabora from the Legend of Zelda series. In order to get it to move, you’ve got to fire a few arrows to shift it from its perch. After that, it becomes far less docile, swooping in with talon and wing to cut Wander down as it flies by. From down below it can’t be injured. The only way to take it out is to climb on its back, and the only way to manage that is to take a leap of faith as it glides by and latch firmly onto one of its wings. Although the game is loaded with great moments, few can match that feeling of standing atop Avion’s back and watching the world fly past below. Another equally magnificent moment comes when the bird performs a roll and Wander has to grab on tight while he’s flipped upside down. It’s not exactly the smoothest magic carpet ride, but it sure is something!
Do you remember the first time you ran up Gaius’ sword or grabbed onto Avion’s wings? Which Colossi was most memorable for you? Let us know in the comments!