Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pre-Release (Preview) Version

The first I heard of the Preview version was in August 2009 from a user on the Playstation forums (CerealAndMilk) who had noticed a post on the Unseen64 forums about a guy named Tim who was selling a whole bunch of beta discs he had somehow acquired. In amongst these discs was one titled 'Shadow of the Colossus preview code 8/17/05'. Cereal kept bugging him for details and hoped he could buy it, but Tim ended up selling all the discs to unclejun (aka: lolo486). But Cereal did manage to get a couple of images that he posted on the Playstation forums and suddenly everyone's interest was sparked!

Shot taken by the seller (Tim) for CerealAnd Milk

The original Preview version disc - a rare find!

Unfortunately for unclejun, the disc never arrived in the mail so it is lost forever, but thankfully Tim was nice enough to upload an ISO file for him as well. Unclejun was invited to join the Playstation forums so we could learn more about this version. It has the Japanese product number SCPS_150.97 but has been mastered by SCEA so it's the US/NTSC version. The executables and data files are dated 10/08/2005 so it was made after the OPM demo but before the PSU demo. There's also an extra folder called TOOLS with the following XFF files: DBGCORE, DBGMGR, GRPTOOLS, MAPTOOL, MDLTOOL, PATHTOOL and PRTTOOL. Sadly, we have never been able to access these debug options, were we able to we could possibly access a lot of new information about how the game was made and play around with the extra features. But even so, it's in Japanese so we would need it translated.

Art book image showing the debug screen of the Monkey beta colossus

Local/Global Position Co-ordinates
The first thing you notice when playing the Preview version is some text at the bottom of the screen showing your local and global position co-ordinates. You can turn this off and on by pressing SELECT on the controller. The top line shows the map quadrant you are currently in (in this case F4) and your local position co-ordinates, that is your location within the current quadrant or map square. The second line shows your global position co-ordinates, that is your location within the entire world map. The left most values represent Wander's east/west co-ordinates, the centre his up/down and the right his north/south. This way you can take note of an area's co-ordinates once you are there and find it again more easily later on.


Special Menu Feature
But the coolest feature of the Preview version is being able to warp to any colossus at will. It was Pikol who first found this feature (he was one of the first people to obtain a copy of the ISO file from unclejun). Hold R1 and Wander will crouch down, then press SELECT and a menu will appear with each colossus listed. Strangely this is in English instead of Japanese. Scroll down the list to choose a colossus and press the 'circle' button to bring up another menu.


This menu is in Japanese but the left most option will take you straight to the colossus battle, the right option will take you to the Shrine of Worship before the battle. Press 'circle' to activate or 'X' to return to the previous menu. Pressing 'X' again will return you to the game. You will notice that two of the colossi have different positions in this version, the 'bird' (Avion) is number 4 and 'Kirin' (Phaedra) is number 5. In the final version these two colossi are swapped.


See how it works here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qqe_teAeo8#t=214

Underwater Glitch
One major glitch occurs however when you try to warp to Colossus #7 (Eel) or #12 (Poseidon). In this version the game will crash when your camera moves underwater, so if you warp to #7 or #12 (both water colossi's) you will get the black crash screen. This is a real problem as if you are swimming anywhere, be it a pond or lake, as you have to be careful to keep the camera above the water's surface, otherwise the game will crash. So you can't fight #7 as you need to go underwater to fight it and at #12 the gazebo structure you start on has no collision detection (another glitch or perhaps the developers just hadn't finished this area) so you fall straight into the water as the battle begins, crashing the game. It can also be a problem when fighting #5 (Avion). If you fall off and land in the water during the battle the game will crash. You can avoid this here though by not falling off ; )

Black crash screen
Change Colossi's Starting Location
A strange thing happens when you warp to a colossus battle twice. Warp to a colossus (say 16) then repeat the operation by choosing the same colossus. You will see Malus appear in a new starting location. Somehow doing this twice will move Malus (or any colossus) to its 0, 0, 0 co-ordinates. Sometimes this will reveal interesting results, but for others it warps the colossus out of its arena and it falls into the void, meaning you are left standing there in an empty arena.

Colossus in a different starting location
See how it works here:

Summon Agro Command
The next discovery was made by Paperfan, a user on the Unseen64 forums. He found that by plugging in a second controller you could summon Agro anywhere in the game by holding R2 + X. So even if you are up in the secret garden (for instance) Agro will magically appear above Wander. If you keep hitting X Agro will rise higher, so by mounting her then using these commands you can ride Agro way up into the sky.

Using this command you can get to places that were off limits in the final version like the top of the Shrine of Worship for example, and this gave users a great opportunity to finally explore those high ledges and platforms that they had only seen others (like myself) reach via hacking the game. The problem with this is that Agro always faces south and can only move up, not forwards or backwards, but by taking her to a great height then letting her fall you do move forwards slightly, so if you continue to do this you can move Agro towards the place you are trying to get to. Alternatively, you can jump off Agro and use the parachute to glide down to a ledge.

Riding Agro high above the ground using the R2+X command


Cripple Mode
But if you jump off Agro while she is up in the air some peculiar things happen when you reach the ground. Agro is immune to death in this version and will just get up again even after a fall many kilometers high! Although she will still die in the death zones such as the bottom of 16's chasm etc. Wander starts acting weird as well and seems to teeter on his heels. Agro will keep whinnying and rearing up on its hind legs and every time she does this Wander will teeter. The game still thinks Wander is sitting on Agro, so that's why each time Agro rears up Wander will tilt backwards in this strange way.

Each time Wander jumps he will suddenly roll backwards. This bizzare dance between Wander and Agro will continue until you can mount her again, this will stop what Pikol calls 'cripple mode', an apt yet somewhat vulgar description ; ) The camera also changes position and seems to be much closer to the ground, and some sound effects are muted.

Wander teetering on his heels as Agro rears up

Wander rolling back after jumping
Solid Shrine of Worship
This brings us to the next big difference in the Preview version - a solid Shrine of Worship! In the final versions (both NTSC & PAL) the Shrine of Worship has no substance above the secret garden. This was first brought to light in Pikol's video 'NEW bugs and secrets part 6' in which he was the first to float down and attempt to land on the higher parts of the temple. We had all hoped that there would be solid platforms up there, so it was a big disappointment for fans to realize that it had no collision detection. 

Check out Pikol's video 'NEW bugs and secrets part 6 2/2' here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PEno0glLh8

Top of the Shrine of Worship with Agro

One of the great hopes was that there was a way to reach the top of the temple, and many thought that the last big secret was to somehow find a way up there. At the end cut scene you see the hawk fly away from the temple and are given a wonderful view of the higher parts of the temple above the secret garden (which is only half way up), it was so enticing and mysterious... why would they build this amazingly high temple but leave the best parts unreachable? Later it was found that the temples in the demos were solid after all, so why did they change this for the final versions?

Blocks are stacked all the way up to the higher platform in the secret garden

The Preview version seems to have an answer as all the ledges have grippable edges and solid platforms. Since Pikol had yet to find the 'jump code' in the Preview version, I was the first to make it up there and revealed the news on the Playstation forums. The blocks at the back of the secret garden are stacked all the way up to the stairs on the higher (previously unreachable) platform, allowing you to easily climb up.


All ledges are grippable in the Preview version

Exploring the higher parts of the Shrine of Worship

Shrine of Worship is solid: http://youtu.be/7gaIqLiM5u0#t=1092

But there was still the mystery of how to get to these higher platforms. There was still no obvious way to go any higher than the upper platform in the secret garden and it remains a mystery to this day. The most obvious way would have been to climb another section of ivy or moss to the next platform, but there would need to be ivy all the way up to the higher parts of the temple as this appears to be the only climbing device in the game (i.e. no ladders, ropes or chains), and of course there isn't any. All you can do it get to the very top then jump down from platform to platform until you end up back in the garden.

Still no way to reach the higher levels of the temple
Stamina Reduction
In the secret garden when you shoot down the forbidden fruit and eat it, Wander's grip circle will continue to reduce down in size until it disappears. The health bar stops at 100 (the level you start the game with) but the grip level doesn't. In fact it will continue to reduce into negative values at which time the circle will reappear and grow in size again. Wander can still draw arrows and shoot them but when in negative values you hear a strange clicking sound.

Pikol's video 'Small stamina is small' here:
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VR3KB2Oofi4

Wander's stamina reduces in size beyond it's starting value
Altar Comparison
In both the OPM and PSU demos the altar that Mono is resting on looks identical to the one in the Preview version, but it was modified for the final versions. There are two extensions on each side of the altar that were removed. These I think look like arms of some giant creature hanging down on either side of its body, perhaps this is why they removed them as it looks too much like a colossus? Just imagine this stone altar coming to life and smashing up the Shrine of Worship!

 Altar structure in the Preview version is the same in the demos

Altar structure in the NTSC version - extensions are removed
Change Agro's Colour
In the Preview version you can change Agro's colour to brown or white from the start of a new game. In the final version you had to complete the Normal Time Attacks to get brown Agro and the Hard Time Attacks to get white Agro, but here it's easy. Just start a new game and save your game at the Shrine of Worship save stone (Note: you don't have to kill any colossi). Then quit the game until you get the title screen, load you save file and hold 'square' to get brown Agro or 'circle' to get white Agro. If you want black Agro don't hold any button as it's the default colour.

You will notice I have the Ico symbol on my black Agro. That's because I have an Ico save file on my memory card but this symbol will only show up on black Agro.

Change Agro's colour easily from a new game

Get All Time Attack Items
You can get all 16 time attack items in a hard mode game by exploiting the special menu function. If you play a normal game you can only get the original 8 Normal time attack items, but in hard mode it lets you get the Normal and the Hard time attack items at the same time. 


Here's how to do it:
1) Start a new game in hard mode 
2) Hold R1 then SELECT to bring up the Special Menu and warp to the battle with Malus (or Evis as it is called in this version). That is, choosing the left option on the second menu that appears. 
3) Kill Malus in the usual way then let the final cut scene roll. You can skip through it by pressing START but you will have to wait for the Dormin and Demon Wander scenes to run their course. Skip the last part and save the game after the cut scene has finished.
4) At the title screen load your saved game - now you have played a whole game in hard mode so the time attacks option is enabled.
5) Go to the first colossus statue and press 'circle' to pray in front of it. Select 'Yes' to go to the battle.
6) Once the battle starts, hold R1 + SELECT again to bring up the Special Menu.
7) Select the first colossus in the list then press 'circle' to bring up the second menu and choose the 'right' option. This will take you back to the Shrine of Worship and give you the first time attack item (the Whistling Arrow). You will see the cut scene of it appearing in the pool.
8) Do this for every colossus until you have all 16 items. Note: Since you can't warp to #7 or #12 just use the first colossus again. In fact you can use the same colossus statue over and over to get all 16 items this way. You don't need to pray in front of every statue, you can choose any one you like and it will still work.


9) Go to the pool at the back of the temple and stand in front of an item and press R1 to take it. You will see a cut scene of Dormin explaining what it is. Do this for all 16 items (Note: You get the two extra beta items in this version, the Eye of the Colossus and the Mask of the Titans). This is because in the final version you get the Fruit Tree Map and Lizard Detection Stone for both Normal and Hard modes, the two extra items exist so you don't get two of each.

Wander with all items at once

10) Now that you have all the items you will notice a glitch in the game. The items are hanging from Wander's right hand, jumbled up in a strange way. To get rid of this you must save the game which will reset Wander's animations and the items will disappear. But a problem now occurs. If you try to leave the temple the game will crash, so to avoid this hold R1 + SELECT again to bring up the Special Menu. Choose any colossus except #1, and choose the 'right' option on the second menu. You can now save the game. Note: the game might still crash here, but don't worry, just reset the game and load the save file and you will have all the Time Attacks items in your inventory.

Video tutorial here: http://youtu.be/h06eEaAhbLc

Eye of the Colossus
One of the big surprises in the Preview version was the 'Eye of the Colossus'. Again found by Pikol who came upon it by accident! It was a time attack item that was removed from the final version of the game, but was known about beforehand from Dormin's description of it at the pool in the temple. Once you receive it as a time attack item in a hard mode game it is activated by R3 on the controller. I have tried to get it working in the final versions but so far have been unsuccessful. It's clear why they removed it as it doesn't work very well with most of the colossi, the camera moves around in a haphazard fashion and you can see inside the colossi at times. There's also now way to control the camera, you are merely a spectator seeing what the colossus sees. 

The colossus has to be near enough for you to activate it and if they move out of range you lose the ability to use it. One interesting thing I found though was for some colossi you can see what the colossus sees before they are activated. Quadratus (#2) is a good example as you can get close enough to it before it breaks out of its cave and watch from its perspective as it smashes through the cave door.

Pikol's video 'Eye of the Colossus' here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwBNJONxYCg

My video 'Eye of the Colossus' here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGIF4W0m1U0

Using the Eye of the Colossus with Avion
Reminiscence Mode
Using the special menu it's possible to play the game as it looks in reminiscence mode, that is with the grainy filter like effects. Yet another one of Pikol's discoveries, you first go to a colossus corpse and pray in front of it by pressing 'O' on the controller, when the battle starts use the special menu to return to that colossus (R1+SELECT then left option). Do this again then quickly leave the arena. In the final version you get a message asking if you want to quit the battle or retry when you try to leave, but here you can keep going. So you can travel the lands and explore in reminiscence mode, although there's no real difference except for the grainy filter. However, there are a few glitches to play around with in this mode which I won't go into here, just watch Pikol's video 'Exploring in reminiscence mode:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxaMcX9177g


Wander at the Shrine of Worship in reminiscence mode

Play Malus in Reminiscence Mode
When you defeat a colossus then return to its arena afterwards you will see a large overgrown mound of rock that is its remains. If you pray in front of it you can replay the colossus battle as if time is repeating itself. Some people even claimed that doing this at all 16 colossi would unlock a secret but it was not to be. In fact you can only replay the first 15 colossi in Reminiscence (Rem) mode as after you defeat the final colossus the game ends. However, using the special menu it's possible to battle Malus (#16) in Rem mode by using another colossi corpse. 

Just go to any colossi corpse and pray to it, select YES to start the battle then bring up the special menu (R1+SELECT) then select the final colossus (Evis) on the list and go straight to the battle (right option in the 2nd menu). When you appear there you will see the grainy filter effect you get when playing Rem mode although technically it's impossible to play the final colossus in this mode as you have no option to pray at its corpse. But as you are already in Rem mode then warp straight to another colossus the effect remains; you can do this with any colossus.

Malus in Reminiscence mode

POV mode
Another one of Pikol's tricks which allows you to view the game from high above as if from a bird's eye view. I had done this before via hacking in the NTSC and Preview versions but due to Agro's strange habit of being immortal in the Preview version you can exploit this to your advantage here. When Agro falls into the void below the game she miraculously reappears above ground unhurt, in the final version she dies like Wander does when she hits the death floor (300 metres below ground level). When you jump off a high cliff you will notice the camera follows Wander down a little way then stops in mid air as Wander continues to fall, you see Wander get smaller and smaller until he hits the bottom and dies. This is what fans have dubbed 'the death camera' and this how you can get into POV mode. Again I won't write down all the steps as Pikol covered this is his second Preview disc video here: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kD9mL3-PC-w#t=845

Playing in POV mode
Pond Glitch
There are little ponds of water scattered about the lands, usually next to some fruit trees. Agro will stop and take a drink here but some of them also produce an interesting glitch. Pikol was the first to make a video about this although others have claimed to have discovered the glitch before as it also happens in the NTSC version. I know of two ponds where you can make this glitch happen at F5 and G8 although there are probably others. What you do is stand on one of the boulders surrounding the pond (it seems to work best the taller the boulder is). Jump into the pond and hold 'X' as you do, you will see Wander freeze then he will be teleported to some other part of the map.

Wander at the G8 pond

Wander teleported to the J8 blue lands

Pikol said that depending on which direction Wander is facing determines which direction he will be teleported to, but from what I can tell it seems to be totally random. More often than not you get teleported off the map into the freeze zones so you have to restart, or the game crashes. From the pond at G8 I could get to the invisible lands quite easily but then it started throwing me out into the J8 blue lands for no reason, then southwest to G8? I think what is happening here is as Wander is over water the diving animation tries to kick in but it doesn't have enough time to work so the game glitches. You can jump off high ledges into water and if you hold 'X' Wander will perform a diving maneuver.

Pikol's video 'The black screen pond mystery' here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiDsh7pBqF8

Visit the beta Dam
Again we have Pikol to thank for this! Appropriate really as he discovered the Dam in the first place. It takes about 15-20 minutes to accomplish but the effort is well worth it, especially if you have never seen the Dam up close ; ) I won't write out how to do it here as I covered the steps in a video tutorial, but basically you go to #12's area, swim across the water to the other side of the waterfall, summon Agro then use the R2+X command to rise high into the air (about 5000 metres) then jump off Agro and deploy the parachute. Keep opening a closing the shoot and head northeast until you reach the correct co-ordinates, then let Wander fall down above the Dam. You can only view it for the short time you have before hitting the death floor but it's ample time to look around.

Start at the other side of #12's waterfall

Riding Agro high up into the air

Wander floating down above the Dam

You have made it!

Check out video tutorial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e22dubqvESQ

Ancient GPS Map
This was a WWWArea discovery. By holding R1 then pressing SELECT and START at the same time you will bring up the map and the special menu. Press X to clear the menu and you will see that you can move the arrow that represents Wander on the map. So as you move around at ground level the arrow on the map will move a tiny bit. To notice any real movement you need to be riding Agro but even then you might not get very far as if you run into any obstruction the arrow will stop moving. The problem is you can't see where you are going as you only have the world map to go by but if you choose a wide open area you will have more luck.

Using the map to move Wander
Super Bloom Mode
Another strange glitch than can be accessed via the special menu is making the game look blurry and over saturated with light. It appears to be a graphics glitch that makes the bloom effect appear more intense but serves no purpose other than something to try out and play around with. What you do is hold R1 to make Wander crouch down then press SELECT and START at the same time (as mentioned above). Then hit X twice and you will see the 'options' menu where you can adjust the brightness, progressive scan etc. Now press START again and you will get the map, press Triangle to exit the map and there you have it! The lands are blurry and the bloom effect is more intense. You notice it most when Wander is moving. To remove this effect just press START again to bring up the map and Triangle to exit and everything will be back to normal.

Wander and Agro in Super bloom mode

Gaius in super bloom mode

See it in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kD9mL3-PC-w#t=515

Lumberjack Wander
Another interesting difference in the Preview version is Wander's ability to knock down trees with nothing more than his sword! In the final version if you hit the trees at #1's arena they will shake and vibrate, but in the Preview version they fall over. This only works with trees that are 'interactive objects' in the game, that is they are programmed to fall over when a colossus collides with them. The only other trees that do this are at #9's arena. So give it a try, stand next to one of these trees and swipe it with your sword and watch it fall over - timber!

Deforestation caused by Wander
Two Save Shrines
When approaching the Nest to the West save shrine at B4 you will see two save shrines for a brief time, this is because the save shrine further south (Nest on the Plateau) is visible at the same time, even though it is on the other side of Dirge's cave (#10). I can only assume that the intervening cave is in its low resolution mode allowing you to see both save shrines at the same time, but this is the only place where you can see two save shrines so close together so it's an interesting glitch for that reason.



Climb on Dead Agro
Although it it isn't possible to kill Agro in the Preview version, when it does die its corpse will follow Wander around even though it is dead. In the NTSC and PAL versions you can make this happen in several locations in the game, most notably at 16's collapsible bridge by jumping off at the last second to the safety of the ledge as Agro falls to its death with the bridge. You then leave the area and after a while you will see Agro's dead body floating ominously above the ground. In the final versions you can't mount Agro after it is dead but in this version you can. It's not really worth mentioning as you can only do this via hacking, that is, I haven't found a way to legitimately kill Agro in the Preview version although it may be possible (?)

Wander mounting Agro's dead body

Wander standing sideways above the ground
F6 Anomalies
Some of the differences people noticed as they started playing this version were the unfinished textures. Some areas have holes where you can see through to the other side or down below, or areas where Wander sinks into the ground. It's clear the game wasn't completely finished at this stage but it's not unusual to find these sort of things in a beta version.

Missing textures under a tree at F6

F6 sink hole - Wander can walk through solid rock!

Strange 'carpet' type grass at F6

Pond at F6 - Wander's legs are invisible below the water line

Another texture glitch near an unfinished boulder

F6 mountain missing texture - I called this a 'Magic Mirror'

F6 oddities video here: http://youtu.be/XgzrxxGKYmc#t=740
Magic Mirror video here: http://youtu.be/XgzrxxGKYmc#t=688

Other Texture Glitches
You can find more of these texture anomalies in other areas of the map. Here I have shown the main ones that have been found but there are probably others.

Texture glitch on the shore at D7

This one at D7 still exists in the final versions


E7 valley - these fix themselves as you get closer

Large texture glitch at F7 (found by Pikol)

Beta Path at C7
It's not clear who found this first, but WWWArea brought it to our attention on the Playstation forums in January 2010, but Pikol may have already been there. A strange grass covered path was found that that led into a mountain, it's right at the north east corner of C7. Inside the mountain was a flat plain of grass and a smaller mountain that was cut down one side. It seems to be an area the developers were working on then decided to cover up with a larger mountain. You can walk on the path a little way before you fall into the void. There's an area that is solid at the bottom of the mountains but it doesn't extend very far. 

Looking down onto path leading into the mountain

Path up close - you can't go very far before falling into the void

Looking south

You can walk through the wall to see what's inside

Inside the mountain

Panned out view from inside the mountain

Top of the little rock mound inside the mountain - 6's temple in the distance

Looking down from the C6 cliffs above

This patch of grass is all that remains in the final versions (looking south)

I used an invisible save stone platform to walk around as the entire area has no collision detection. A cool little secret area ; )

B5 Hidden Area
I think it was WWWArea who found this first, a rocky area that is hidden behind the cliffs at B5, right next to #10's lair, the sand worm colossus (Dirge). It appears to be another area that existed in an earlier build of the game. In fact, this area had columns lining the cliffs in earlier builds that match the texture of this rocky area, but why they removed the columns is a mystery. There is no collision detection here so I used the old invisible save stone trick to explore it. The area actually straddles B4 and B5 on the world map.

It's quite a large area behind the cliffs as you can see

I'm right on the border of B4 and B5 here - colossal tree in the background

You can see the mountain texture (above) covering this hidden area

Distinctive rock seems out of place here

Wall covered in vines

Top of the vines

At the top of the vines you arrive right next to the colossal tree

What looks like a large birds nest

Looking south at the rocky outcrop

It seems like the vines were there to give Wander access to the top of the cliffs and reach the colossal tree (which is solid) but they are disproportionately large compared to Wander so I don't think so. I've found that when objects are much bigger than they appear (as in the opening cut scene) it means you were never meant to be there, only to view them from a distance. The birds nest is also much larger, but I had speculated that this could be Loki's nest, the large hawk that flies around this area as the nearby save shrine is called 'Nest on the Plateau'. But it seems too big even for Loki, so again I think it's just a background texture.

Western most part of the map

South end of outcrop

Hidden area behind cliff walls

This image from the NICO dvd seems to match the hidden rocky outcrop


The Knight's Shiny Platform
When you fight colossus number 3, the Knight (or Gaius) in the Preview version you will notice the circular stone platform at the center of its arena looks a lot more polished than the final version. It looks like a mirror reflecting the sky above and some have suggested it was originally supposed to be made of metal. This would explain why it breaks its armour so easily when Gaius strikes the center platform, but I think it's still made of stone, just a very polished stone like granite for example. There are no cracks in this platform as opposed to the final version which clearly shows them. It's a small difference but still interesting enough to worth mentioning.

#3's platform in the Preview version

#3's platform in the NTSC/PAL versions - notice the crack in the center


B5 Cliffs Comparison
Just down the winding path from the hidden outcrop you will find the B5 waterfall. It's nestled in amongst the high cliffs and is easily missed. But this area was updated in the later versions of the game by adding more greenery to the cliffs (see below).


B5 waterfall - NTSC version with added vegetation

C7 Beta Island
Another difference in the Preview version is the addition of an island off the south coast that doesn't appear in the final versions. 

Solitary island at C7 as seen from D7

Why did they removed this in the final version?

Bird's eye view of the island

 Wander and Agro surveying the island

Panned out view - Note: the island has no collision detection

Island is missing in the final versions

D7 Dead End ledge Comparison
In the final version there's a strange ledge at D7 that lets you climb down some mossy vegetation to a rock ledge that leads nowhere. It's yet another Team Ico anomaly as to why they would put the moss there for you to climb down if there's no reason to do so, except perhaps exploration. Usually areas like this have a white tailed lizard but here there are none. 

In the Preview version the ledge has no moss at all, so if you slide down the rock face onto the ledge you are stuck with no way to get back up. Of course you can always summon Agro then use her to get back, but it's unlikely this is how you were supposed to do it. More likely this was an unfinished area when this version was produced.

Panned out view of D7 ledge (NTSC version)

No way back from the D7 ledge in the Preview version

Extra Colossi Area Cut Scenes
Another added bonus in the Preview version is the addition of three extra area cut scenes. These are the cut scenes you see when you enter a colossi's lair for the first time. In the final versions you see them at #1, #2, #3, #4, #7 and #14 but in the Preview version you also see them at #12, #15 and #16. Again, it's not clear why they removed these, perhaps to free up some memory as the game was pushing the limits of what the PS2 could handle.

At #12 it just gives you a quick look at the waterfall and arch like structure before the camera shifts back to Wander. #15 is unusual as no border appears (as in all other cut scenes) and you can move Wander around as the cut scene plays, normally he is frozen during cut scenes. At #16 as soon as you move onto the stairs leading up to the broken bridge you see the camera pan over the bridge and reveal where you have to climb to reach Malus, but there is no music.

12's area cut scene

15's area cut scene

16's area cut scene

Check out cut scenes here: http://youtu.be/mLkJg5Bjpws#t=4479

#16 Area Differences
One major problem with the Preview version is that the gates at #16's area will not open. You can shine your sword light at the circle of light in the centre of the gates but nothing happens, so the only way to play the final colossus is to use the special menu and warp directly to the battle or use the 'summon Agro' command. I've searched for the animation codes to open the gates but have come up empty, so I don't think they exist in the Preview version. They most probably had yet to add these in this version.

The other difference you notice is that there is no gap at the start of the collapsible bridge. In the final versions you must jump a gap on Agro to reach the bridge, but here there is a block that fills this space. You can even stand on this first block and the bridge won't collapse, but as soon as you move onto the second block it does.

Sword light doesn't open the gates

First block is intact and won't collapse the bridge

Final version bridge with missing block

Preview version rock wall

A rock wall shields Wander from Malus' energy blasts when he emerges from the first set of tunnels. In the Preview version it is much more exposed than the final NTSC/PAL versions.
It's actually quite challenging to get past this without being blown off the cliff ledge to your death hundreds of feet below. Perhaps this is why they changed this wall in the final versions? You can see the difference in the NTSC version. The wall is much higher and gives Wander a lot more cover from Malus' fire.

Final version rock wall

There is also another bridge in the Preview version that extends out from the northern platform a lot further than the final versions. It seems like half of the bridge has collapsed in the past leaving the other half intact. I prefer this design to the final version in which all other bridges have long since fallen into the pit below. Again, why they changed this is a mystery. Surely leaving this model in place wouldn't have overly affected the memory constraints of the game? But for whatever reason they removed it.

Extended eastern bridge in the Preview version

Same view in the final version - the bridge has been removed

Closer view of the eastern bridge

Sadly, this bridge has no collision detection

Dormin at the End Cut Scene
When you play as Dormin during the final cut scene you can actually move a lot further than the final version, that is you can walk through the temple walls and into the pool room. You can catch a glimpse of the outside environment although there's no much to see as this scene takes place at A0 on the world map and only the inside temple and some surrounding lands are loaded. All you have to do is move Dormin towards a wall and you can then pan the camera around to see outside. When you move Dormin into the pool room you can turn around and get a look at the outside of the temple. Emon and his soldiers will be trapped inside the temple, unable to move into the pool room (as Dormin is blocking their escape) so the cut scene will not end. 

Dormin in the pool room

Demon Wander Comparison
When Wander is being sucked into the pool in the final climatic cut scene he is at his maximum level of darkness, that is during the game he has steadily grown more haggard and sickly as more and more of Dormin's dark soul has entered his body after each colossus kill. He is literally becoming Dormin, his whole body is shrouded in darkness and he has even grown horns. In the Preview version his horns are much longer and curved whereas in the final versions they are but small protrusions.

I get a clearer image of Wander in this mode when using an older version of the PCSX2 emulator (version r1888). The image below was made using this older version. If I use my usual version (r3113) Wander looks much darker and it's hard to see any details.

Wander in his final transformation - taken with PCSX2 r1888

NTSC version Demon Wander using PCSX2 r3113

Wander at the pool - I've disabled Emon's spell here

Wander at the top of the spiral ramp

Mournful looking Wander as he contemplates his own death

Before the First Colossus
If you start a new game with a blank memory card then use the special menu to warp to the first colossus, but choose the 'right' option on the second menu you are basically telling the game to take you to the temple 'before' you fight the first colossus. Since you are already in the temple before you fight the first colossus the game does something strange... Wander appears standing in the temple as usual but he is stuck! That is you can't move him with the controller. I had hoped that it would reveal Dormin's description of the first colossus 'A giant that walks along the valley... The servant shall rise from behind... and make the earth quiver', but it doesn't. 

If you call to Agro and manage to climb on you can use the R2+X command (on a 2nd controller) to lift Agro into the sky, then jump off and kill yourself. You will see that the game doesn't end and Wander will just lie there indefinitely. When Agro gets near Wander's dead body he will twitch as he is in cripple mode (even though he is dead ; ) If you try to go beyond the F4 quadrant Wander and Agro will freeze and you will have to reset the game. So there's not much point in doing this but it's just another interesting glitch that using the special menu can cause.

Wander is frozen before the first colossus battle


Watch Pikol's Preview disc videos here:

17 comments:

  1. The castle that people seen at the SoW bridge is reachable?

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  2. No, it's not a castle, just a 2D texture of a mountain. It's outside of the game map so you can't go there. But even if you could it's not much to look at, just a low resolution texture.

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  3. Nice post Nomad! =D
    It took me some time to figure out how to get the items from the pool avoiding the black screen bug(when leaving the SoW).

    Wish you had posted this before...
    XD

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  4. Hello Nomad,
    I realy love your blog :D

    I have a humble opinion about SoW and the Secret Garden.. How about this, first time they make the Secret Garden to battle with the last secret colossi, but in progress they cut 24 colossi to 16, which mean they delete 8 statue in SoW, which mean SoW become smaller and also the Secret Garden..
    So it makes the garden is not enough for a colossi, an then they make it for ending purpose...

    Anyway thats just my opinion, don't take it seriously :D

    I wonder if they have time, money, and enough time for deadline, it'll be a wonderfull game with 24colossi, or perhaps 48? :D

    (sorry for my english -_-)

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  5. Demon Wander in preview version looks better than final version. =D

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  6. Woa! Some new contents in this post.
    Great job as aways Nomad! =D

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  7. I aggred with Ventura, this post is awesome, so many informations about sotc, Nomad do a great job as player and as person as well. Keep doing the great job.

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  8. Hey check this video:
    team ninja:comentarios de como chegar a area A0.
    Write videos raphitimartins in google and u will find it.

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  9. He doesn't do anything? Just rides around C1 and tries to climb some mountains. I thought he was going to use Agro and go to A0? And just because you can see a bird shape on the map doesn't mean there is a black bird in the game.

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  10. nice blog!! I'm brazilian and my english is bad...
    you can post about ico too? I think the game don't have so many things like sotc but it would be cool

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  11. Hi, Nomad.. I took this pictures a while ago in the PV of SotC.. https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Tk13YPeu0wo/UOHhGcDutNI/AAAAAAAAACg/knB2fi-pBCA/s406/DSC09021.JPG .. https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-NasxQybP8lY/UOHhETNRNSI/AAAAAAAAACY/yUPJPLIX1rs/s406/DSC09022.JPG .. You can see there is something behind the SoW.. It's just probably the "low res" Shrine mixed up with the "high res" one.. But I wanted to make sure.. I took this in the emulator https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Ii4e8G2q9sg/UOHwZuZ7eAI/AAAAAAAAADE/rwNluMGEmso/s405/Sin+t%C3%ADtulo5.png .. As you may know that's not supposed to be there.. Do you know what is this or why this happens?.. Btw, I'm a huge fan of your videos.. Thanks a lot! (and excuse my english)

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  12. I assume you were at ground level when you took these? Yes, it is the top of the temple in low res, from down on the ground you are far enough away from the top that it loads the low res version of the higher parts of the temple. When you are in the secret garden the high res version loads. nothing special really...

    But thanks anyway, I'll be making some new blog posts soon ; )

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  13. No, I was in the Dormin's Hole, up in the structure that is like a wall with a window, I think.. Thanks for the reply!.. I didn't knew that the the "high res" and the "low res" could be at the same time.. Great! I'll be waiting :)

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  14. Cool blog Nomad. Now i'm play shadow of the colossus preview version. But, why i cannot go to Dormin's Hole? I'm already follow your instruction, but it can't, any idea? And this version is so cool, now i can fight malus together with agro. one more question. It seems the bridge (in the secret garden) in the preview version is still not perfect. Is that right? I play and go to bridge, but, at the middle of the bridge, I fall down. Luckily, I already have Cloth of desperation. I hope you answer this Nomad.

    Sorry for my bad english.

    Thank you Nomad.

    Keep making a new blog and video.

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  15. You can only get to Dormin's hole in the Demos, the Preview version doesn't let you roll through the crack in the wall. But you can get there using the Agro (R1+X) trick. And yes, the bridge has no substance in this version, nor does the Entrance temple. Only a part of the bridge is solid.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for answer my question Nomad. Nomad, do you know how to open the shrine of worship gate? If there are the answer to open the gate, I hope you give me the instruction (thanks). And at time attack mode, I just got 15 item, I already beat all colossus with your instruction (the instruction is very good Nomad), any idea?

      Sorry for my bad english.

      Thank you Nomad.

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  16. Is possible to do the POV in any version of the game, at least the PS3 version, to do this, you need the cloth of desperation and go to the broken brigde and jump to the Ico beach and when you see you are falling to death, activate the cloth and deactivate until you hit the floor alive, the camera restart short time after, but in that time you can die if you jump.

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