When it comes to individual runs at SGDQ 2017, the quality varies. Since each game is run by a different person, usually accompanied by a different set of commentators, the information you’ll learn is vastly different. Some games might be a blur of glitches and tricks, while the commentators make jokes and have a good time. Other times, like with Shadow of the Colossus, the run is complimented by a great explanation of what’s going on. Thanks to runner Plush and his commentator, I learned how each boss in Shadow of the Colossus is taken down in a speed run. While it might not be enough to learn off of, I thought it’d be a fun way to showcase the run. So, in case you feel like becoming a runner yourself, here’s a starting push towards the strategies to take down every boss.
Game: Shadow of the Colossus
Category: Normal Time Attack
The Strategies of a Speed Run
Before we start with the bosses, it’s important to note that most of the run is glitchless. That means the large majority of these tricks are skill-based, so if you’re thinking about trying it out yourself, you’ll definitely want to practice.
It’s important to note that Plush is playing on “Normal Time Attack” mode, which is slightly different from playing the game normally. NTA is essentially a boss rush, but also helps with saving time. In normal play, failing a boss strategy means finding a cliff and hopping off. In NTA, you can easily hit retry in the menu. It also seems like the best way to practice.
Valus is actually quite simple, all things considered. Plush simply stabs him in the left leg, triggering the cut scene of Valus falling. During the cut scene, you are able to move the main character, which Plush does. Positioning himself right by Valus’ head, he hops on and finds the plant location near the sigil on Valus’ head. Plant positions are places where the main character can plant his feet, not being thrown off the colossus if it shakes or rears. Stabbing the sigil a few times, he wraps up Valus.
Quadratus is also pretty quick. At the beginning, Plush shoots Quadratus in the foot with an arrow, then hops up on his foot. From here, Plush executes a pretty cool side jump from Quad’s shoulder to his horn, then to his head. Although the sigil hitbox screws Plush up here, he’s still able to take him down quickly with a few stabs to the head sigil.
Gaius might seem massive, but is actually quite simple due to one major trick. First, Plush shoots arros at Gaius’ stomach for some early damage. Then, when Gaius smashes his sword into the ground, Plush dodges it. Then, he hops onto the sword and prepares for the big skip. Instead of climbing up Gaius normally and breaking his bracer, Plush hops from the sword to his arm, bypassing the bracer entirely. From here, he stabs the stomach sigil, and then moves onto the head. Shadow of the Colossus is a bit finicky with its movement, and due to the stumble mechanic, it can be quite difficult to keep your footing. We see a bit of that here, but Plush still plunges his sword into the head sigil, killing Gaius.
Phaedra is a bit more difficult, as Plush uses his horse to chase him down. Hopping up onto his back leg, Plush easily gets ontop of the beast, attacking a minor sigil and then moving on. It’s onto the head sigil from here, defeating Phaedra with ease despite an unfortunate knockback.
Avion is generally a pain in the ass due to his movement. The flying beast can knock you off simply, partially due to the game’s physics engine. For this colossus, Plush hops up onto the right wing and stabs the sigil. Here, he attempts a trick that allows him to skip from one wing to the other by falling at a precise time while Avion barrel rolls. Unfortunately, Plush misses it. Instead, he makes his way to the tail sigil. Here, he also explains that you can roll out of your stabs. While it’s only useful on a few colossi, it’s a cool mechanic to note. From here, he moves to the left wing and stabs it, ending Avion’s life.
Barba is also handled with ease. Here, Plush hops onto Barba’s right fist and then climbs up his arm a little. Instead of jumping to Barba’s beard, he does a wicked precise jump straight to Barba’s head. This is one of those “practice, practice, practice” jumps, and it’s wonderful to see. Plush stabs the head sigil and then moves onto Barba’s back, where he finishes him off with another stab.
A lot of Hyrdus is skipped thanks to a difficult trick that Plush shows off. By standing near a specific leaf and jump stabbing at the proper time, Plush is able to skip the entire spine section (and the electric bits). From Hyrdus’ neck, Plush simply strolls up to his head sigil and stabs away, defeating the water snake.
The strategy for Kuromori is actually easy enough that Plush recommends trying it at home. First, Plush whistles and switches to his bow and arrow, then rolls down a set of stairs to his right. Here, Plush stands by a cliff overlooking the boss arena. To his left, Kuromori crawls up the side of the arena. Plush shoots his two glowing legs and lets him fall to the bottom. Then, in a death defying jump, he hops off the cliff and lands ontop of Kuromori. From here, it’s a simple matter of climbing onto the boss’ belly and stabbing away.
The most important part of Basaran is actually getting onto your horse in the beginning. If done correctly, you can dash with your horse directly under Basaran and hop onto his belly, hanging from it. Once successfully attached to Basaran, Plush makes his way to his back leg and gets on it. From here, he hops onto Basaran’s back and runs directly up the spine of his shell. This prevents Basaran from rearing and knocking Plush off. Once he reaches the head sigil, Plush stabs away and ends another colossus life.
Dirge is one of the more annoying colossi, and Plush actually screws up a few times. In the beginning of the fight, Plush hops on his horse and positions himself in front of Dirge. Dirge is a bit hard to see, as he snakes in and out of the sand. Waiting for an opportunity, Plush shoots an arrow at Dirge’s eye. This causes Dirge to run into the wall, which Plush uses to his advantage. Plush hops onto the stunned beast and stabs him a few times, quickly killing the sand-loving foe.
Celosia is one of the two tiny colossi, and is also pretty easy from a newcomer perspective. Plush simply hops up onto the first torch platform, which he lures Celosia into ramming. This drops a handheld torch that Plush grabs. He then hops down to the arena floor and climbs up the next torch platform. Here, he lights the torch and hops down, heading toward the very edge of the cliff. In another easy trick that is possible for you to do at home, Plush drops the torch and then picks it up again directly after. For some reason, this triggers the cut scene of Celosia falling off the cliff. From here, Plush hops down and plants onto Celosia’s back, stabbing away.
For Pelagia, Plush waits and hops onto his head at the right moment. Then he guides the colossus to a nearby platform by hitting the teeth-like appendages near the front. Once near the platform, Plush hops off Pelagia and prepares to strike. Plush takes a few hits from Pelagia’s lasers, but brushes it off and hops onto Pelagia’s belly. Despite the accurate stabs, Pelagia survives with a literal pixel of health. This forces another cycle of teeth smacking and platforming, but Plush performs it easily.
Phalanx is mostly skill over strategy. First, Plush shoots Phalanx’s glowing undersides a few times with arrows, then hops onto his horse and chases it down. When possible, he hops up onto the side of the colossus, and starts his attack. There’s three sigils on Phalanx, and the trick here is to not destroy any sigil except the last one. Destroying a sigil causes Phalanx to buck the main character off, thus repeating the entire process of getting onto Phalanx. Instead, Plush stabs the first two sigils a few times, making sure not to destroy them. He delivers the final blow on the last sigil, grounding the aerial colossus.
Cenobia is the other tiny colossi, and once again features a fun trick that skips a large portion of the fight. Instead of luring Cenobia into the first pillar and going through the nearly 6 minutes of platforming, he chooses to run to the last pillar needed to be climbed. Here, Plush lures Cenobia in front of it, and then he takes a running jump off the boss and is able to climb the pillar. In the second phase of the fight, Plush is still forced to lure Cenobia into ramming a pillar, causing it to fall ontop of her and destroy her back armor. After that, it’s a simple matter of hopping onto Cenobia’s back, planting, and stabbing away.
Argus is a brutal beast, and often kills runs time and time again thanks to his annoying amount of shaking and rearing. Plush skips most of the climbing by hopping up onto his knee and then executing a jump to get up to his thigh. From here, he jumps to the belt section and waits. Thanks to a physics engine trick, Plush is able to sacrifice a large chunk of his stamina for a huge jump that launches him up to Argus’ head. Once on top of Argus, Plush regains some stamina while trying to stay attached. Once full of stamina, he heads to Argus’ head sigil and stabs a bit. Once done there, he moves down Argus’ shoulder and to the back of his arm, where he stabs. This forces Argus to drop his sword. During the cut scene that shows Argus’ sword falling, Plush actually jumps off and positions himself near Argus’ feet. The final sigil is actually inside Argus’ hand, and hopping into it from the ground is the easiest way.
Malus is the final colossus and the most powerful one, but is still no match for Plush. In the starting section, Plush hops into a specific pit which leads under Malus. Plush then climbs up Malus’ back and shoots a single arrow at a very specific spot. Plush climbs Malus’ back some more and then hops over to his arm. From here, Plush jumps straight to Malus’ chest and stabs him in the end, both killing the final colossus and the run itself.
Final Time: 46:39
If you want to watch Plush’s entire run of Shadow of the Colossus, be sure to check it out AT THIS LINK. This is probably going to wrap up full run coverage, but there’s a few more I might cover in the coming week. Until then, happy speed running, and I hope everyone had a great SGDQ 2017!