The esteemed Developers of ICO have earned themselves many plaudits from gamers wide and afar, some say Shadow of the Colossus matches and even surpasses the wonder of their past title, but only the fruit scale knows for sure!
Avocado, Coconut, Clementine, and Strawberry - Intriguing!
Let us examine the awarding of an Avocado. This fruit represents the very spine of SOTC, on first consumption it may appear to have almost no taste, just as the landscape of this title seems barren and stripped of any worthwhile diversions. Yet just as a subtle shift to the palate reveals a number of flavours lurking within, so does the still and sedate landscape lend a cumulative wonder to the sum of SOTCís parts, there are no overpowering conventions here - instead a lonely and untouched atmosphere which will surely isolate as many as it readily enchants.
However, even as we gaze in wonder, the core of the Avocado cannot be ignored. SOTC is a ring of creamy flesh, painstakingly sculpted around the hard kernel of technical limitations, and these can often be observed rudely intruding on the fantasy via pop-up and occasional slowdown.
Some may dispute the presence of a Coconut. "Not technically a fruit!" cries the savvy observer, unknowingly adding their weight to the thrust of the Coconut's inclusion. The Coconut's place in the fruit Canon is as ambiguous as the place of each Colossus, these behemoths are considered to be 'bosses' yet they do not threaten the land or our hero. Despite this they are hunted and slain for the secrets they contain, as surely as the Coconut is savagely knocked from its fairground perch so the victor may feast on the sweetness within.
The Coconut is the largest of all fruits, as surely as it dwarves those beneath it so do the Colossi dwarf the landscape, their sheer scale inducing a primal fear in the player. Upon slaying these oft gentle giants a sense of victory can be enjoyed before the unexpected rush of guilt, the Colossus has been bested, the Coconut has been won and gutted, but at what cost to the land, at what cost to your very soul? There is nothing to do but brush these emotions aside, escalating your savage deeds by moving onto the next Colossus, killing repeatedly so that your final goal might be realised - yet are the deaths of so many worth the life of any one?
Heady themes indeed!
Onto the humble Clementine.
Considered by some to be an inferior cousin to the Tangerine or Satsuma, so it also brings down those that surround it in this particular judgement. There can never be any great deviation in camera and controls for any one game, hence they all belong to the same particular fruitline, but these two elements in SOTC are best represented by this lowly cousin of the stalwart Orange. The erratic camera, often requiring frequent adjustment by the player, brings to mind the tedious, watery aftertaste of the Clementine, dampening a measure of the excitement and enthusiasm induced by the otherwise potent fruits present here.
Controls, similarly, are functional yet never become intuitive, leading to occasional errors during gameplay. It is perhaps a moment for reflection that the Clementine should represent SOTCís weakest points, whilst an uninspiring fruit one could argue that it would be a perfectly acceptable inclusion for other titles, only because SOTC upholds certain standards so highly does the Clementine find itself vilified here.
Finally, we come to the Strawberry. Lauded by many as the best fruit of all, it represents the sweet, tangy bursts of gameplaying perfection which can be enjoyed on many Colossi. Roaming the fields to locate Strawberries can be likened to galloping your faithful steed, Agro, across the landscape to locate another Colossus brimming with sweet, juicy potential.
Yet just as the Strawberry is delicious and compelling so it suffers a distinct lack of longevity, with it being quite possible to consume an entire punnet before one can take control of themselves. While sixteen Colossi may seem like more than an ample amount, once the hunger for seeing each variation and new style is considered this number can be bested in under ten hours. Although it is considerably more time than used in average Strawberry consumption, this ratio may be insufficient to many who demand a minimal hourly return for their money invested in new titles.
Itís true that a Watermelon or Grapefruit easily surpasses the diminutive Strawberry, but would you rather pick your way through a massive fruit, laden with seeds to be spat forth, or sample the sweetness of a brief concept honed to an artistic and joyful edge?
Edited by Garibaldi Biscuit, 03 November 2005 - 01:39 AM.