It was about a month ago today that I beat Shadow of the Colossus for the first time and looking back, I can't remember the last time a game choked me up as much as
that game did.
** SPOILERS (obviously...)
(This is seriously how mentally tied in to the game I was as the following actually went through my head as I approached the last Colossi of the game, adding my own narrative in my head.)
My horse and I, the only friends either of us had in this strange land.
We moved deliberately slow to the massive dark doors. Raising my sword to shine the light of the sun seemed like the only natural thing to do. The magical doorway opened and for a brief moment I thought I heard angels singing as we moved cautiously in to the shadows again.
Trotted to a stop before jumping off to say a quick prayer at the shrine to whatever gods may guide me, or not at this point as there was always something sad about killing a colossi and for the life of me, could not find the reasons why. It just, felt wrong. I buried the doubt again as I had before with the thought of the dying girl who needed my help. Turning to my horse I found reassurance.
Thats when it occurred to me, "this is the last colossi of the game, I won't be able to control my horse after this. I probably won't even need him anymore." In my mind I imagined my character saying a final farewell. So I gave him a last look and then bounded up the steps. When I got to the top of the steps I looked around the canyon, my thoughts lost on what to do next and how to cross over to the other side. Behind me, the echoes of "clip-clops"
reverberated off of the stone walls. I turned to look, then waited. Agro slowly plodded up the stairs, he had followed me.
I called his name and smiled. My faithful friend would not let me go so easily it seemed. I obliged and mounted his back one last time. As I sat in the saddle, I put my sword away and gave him a good pat on the head. We slowly stepped around the edge, there seemed no way over to the other side but an ancient walkway. It soon dawned on me what had to be done. I could not make that jump alone, Agro would have to come with me to the other side. I was happy to get the chance to spend just a little more time with him before I most likely had to leave him sitting somewhere while I continued on to tackle the next colossi like I had so many times before.
Another pat on his mane, and a whisper in to his ear for assurance, I leaned in close to him and snapped the reigns three quick times and off we went. We bounded playfully over the first jump however the seriousness of the situation became immediately clear to me as the ancient walkway started to collapse behind us. I kicked Agro again, pleading for more speed even though he was giving me all he could muster. Then it happened. My friend had tumbled, lost his footing and I was launched forward, landing safely on the other side of the expanse.
I remember saying to myself right then and there, "No!" It was the strangest thing that has happened to me while playing a game in a long time, fuck me, maybe ever. My in game character got up from the fall, turned and looked at the screen and cried out the same as I did, mouth agape in shock. The emotion he showed on his face was actually the same as mine at that time, a look of helpless shock and disbelief before crying out to his friend.
The poor noble beast struggled desperately with the falling rocks before finally tumbling
in to the dark waters below. It still chokes me up now as I write about the experience.
But I swallowed hard, looked to the skies and swore I would make someone pay for that. It was easier to continue on as one would actually do in life... bitter, angry and vengeful. I made the last climb up the rocks biting back the tears. I had come this far, no turning back now. I remember in the end, thinking as my sword finally stabbed deep in to the massive giant's head, "that one was for Agro you son of a bitch!"
What an amazing game full of sad and tragic emotions. My heart was hurting, my gut was wrenching and that wasn't even the end of the game.