Shadow of the Colossus has an unending legacy in the history of gaming due to the unique storytelling it brought in the form of artistic gameplay. It moved aside traditional level design in favor of amazing monolith-sized enemies, each with a unique quality to it.
It’s only fair we rank which ones we found the best and which weren’t as great as the awesome ones. In this list, we’ve given greater points to creativity and the sense of awe that certain Colossi inspired in us.
16 Ninth Colossus: Basaran
Although there’s a technique that goes into defeating this one, it’s a very slow and arduous process to complete. Basaran makes it even more frustrating by throwing projectiles at us when all we’re trying to do is to lure him into the geysers in order to attack him.
He’s just too slow to make for an engaging enemy, and his tortoise likeness seems to have been taken literally by the developers.
15 Eleventh Colossus: Celosia
This fight requires more luck than brains, although the game’s intention was to go with the latter. While Celosia’s appearance served as a changed of pace, it wasn’t the kind of style we wanted so late in the game.
You need to fool it into crashing into a tower, then picking up a torch and trip him down a cliff to expose the weak spot. All the repeated charging Celosia does the player’s way just makes it too frustrating.
14 Fourth Colossus: Phaedra
You actually feel bad for this one since all Phaedra was doing was grazing by itself, only for you to arrive and kill it. It’s not a frustrating battle, but it is a rather bland one. There are tunnels in place for you to enter in order to sneak up on Phaedra, but there’s nothing interesting after that.
Phaedra’s appearance is beautiful in a way, and it feels like a shame when we kill it. Doing that doesn’t require much effort once you’ve managed to climb it.
13 Fifteenth Colossus: Argus
You do expect to be greeted with more smarts than straight up brawn. Argus is like a more humongous version of the first colossus, with no real strategy required.
What makes him pretty good, though, is his enormous scale, that at least reminds you that you’re in the endgame of your quest. Argus is also not too bad if he was meant to be a more sedate challenge to make room for the final one.
12 Second Colossus: Quadratus
Since this would be the first time you come across a four-legged colossus, the sheer experience of fighting an opponent such as this one makes Quadratus memorable.
It’s also the first instance for the player to come across a colossus that presents an adrenaline-fueled challenge, which places Quadratus in a good position, although he doesn’t require any real smarts to go through.
11 Sixth Colossus: Barba
This one feels like the first colossus on steroids, as Barba starts things off with a bang by engaging you in a tense chase. Once that’s out of the way, the player needs to do some quick thinking in order to realize how to take Barba down.
Being within a close confinement makes it even more of a challenge, and you need to climb his beard to traverse the colossus and take him down. It’s a fun fight, that suffers from a lack of replay value.
10 Tenth Colossus: Dirge
Dirge takes you by surprise, since it doesn’t allow you to get off Agro and make a plan. Instead, it’ll chase you around, forcing you to think on your feet.
Once you come upon that you need to shoot him in the eye, Dirge becomes an easy kill. While Dirge isn’t the best Colossus, it does present a different kind of challenge, and has been modeled very uniquely.
9 Fourteenth Colossus: Cenobia
This one is almost a carbon copy of Celosia, but its environment makes it a fun challenge. Cenobia also keeps charging at you without relenting, and you need to use your surroundings to bring it down. As it goes, being on the ground is no good, which means taking it to higher ground.
Since Cenobia is a four-legged Colossus, it is bamboozled into hitting the platforms that you’ve climbed, which knocks it out and allows you to kill it. It’s a nice fight, although rather familiar.
8 Seventh Colossus: Hydrus
Some of the Colossi are a hit-and-a-miss, but we do appreciate the creativity that went into them. This is why Hydrus feels fresh, as it is a water-based Colossus that requires you to be both patient and urgent.
Being a leviathan, Hydrus uses water to its advantage by plunging deep in frequently; this causes frustration when you can’t time your attacks right, and makes you wait very long for your next opportunity. But the design of the level and the Colossus deserves points.
7 Sixteenth Colossus: Malus
You get the sense of epic grandeur when fighting the last Colossus, and he delivers the kind of final-fight feel that is required after being so long in the game. The drawback to him, though, is that the level is too elongated for its own good, and minor mistakes cause you to start over.
However, just the fact that a being as epic in proportion in Malus could have been accomplished in video game history is astounding.
6 Twelfth Colossus: Pelagia
In all of the Colossi, you never get the sense that you’re in control of the fight; rather, it feels like you’re navigating around them. At least in this fight it feels like you’re the one calling the shots. This Colossus has you maneuvering it around before making your deadly move.
Being a combination of water and land-based being, Pelagia has us admiring the direction the developers took in their creativity; with the Colossus having a weak spot to empower us during the fight.
5 First Colossus: Valus
The first time is always special, isn’t it? Even though this Colossus really wasn’t anything special, it was our entry into this world, and at the time, the scale that was before us was breath-taking.
All you need to do is stagger this giant and impale him, but there’s a certain sense of satisfaction that only few other Colossi gave us when we won. This one was the best way to get things started.
4 Eighth Colossus: Kuromori
Using your head is where Shadow of the Colossus gets interesting, and this one gave us just that opportunity. The battle is situated in an interesting area as well, with the Colossus jumping around the walls in order to attack us.
It takes being very quick with your eye to locate the Colossus’ weak point, after which you can bag your inevitable victory. This Colossus’ design and rather scary level makes it worth a play.
3 Thirteenth Colossus: Phalanx
Scale is what made Shadow of the Colossus stand out among many other games of its time, and Phalanx is one that is beautifully creative in size and execution. You get the feeling you’re in a blockbuster action flick while riding high in the clouds with this Colossus, and taking it down does empower you in a way.
The creature design is gorgeous, and scaling it really shows off just how much attention to detail the developers made in order to give you an enormous experience.
2 Third Colossus: Gaius
This is about the same as the first, too, but it delivers the kind of humongous atmosphere you expected when you started playing the game. It is also the first time you need to counter the giant’s size with your smarts, requiring you to figure out a way to shatter his arm brace for you to start scaling him.
Maneuvering around Gaius’ body feels like an adventure unraveling with every inch you keep climbing, and it is incredibly satisfying to get the job done; making you feel like a hero.
1 Fifth Colossus: Avion
People keep calling this game “art,” and to understand why, one needs to battle Avion. It’s a wonderful display of gaming potential, as you need to bring the massive birdlike creature toward you using your arrows, following which is a climb for your life.
The flying sequence here is more like a spectacle than at any other point in the game. And perhaps the best moment of Shadow of the Colossus comes when you time your jump just right when this behemoth charges at you; starting your ascent and cementing this game as one of the best.