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Shadow of the Colossus guide: How to beat the 1st colossus

Valley of the Wanderer

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

Each of the 16 colossi you fight during Shadow of the Colossus is a puzzle to solve. You have to find where it’s hiding in the world. Then you have to figure out how to get close to it. And finally you have to figure out how to reach its magic sigil weak points and kill it.

This guide will take you from the Shrine of Worship through defeating the first colossus. We’ll also point out any shrines, lizards or fruit trees along the way. (We’re going to be pretty detailed in this one since it’s your first exposure to a lot of the game’s mechanics.)

How to find Colossus 1

The first colossus is the easiest to find — just ride straight south. Look for the gap in the cliff facing directly away from the Shrine of Worship. This straightforward journey gives you a chance to get comfortable with using your sword to guide you and with riding Agro.

The sword is easy enough to use. Holding down R1 will focus the light into a beam. If that beam is spread out wide, you’re facing the wrong way. As you turn, the beam will become more and more narrow, which means you’re facing the right way. That’s all there is to it.

Agro is a little more difficult to learn to control. (Well, “control.”) Learning to ride Agro boils down to realizing she’s not a motorcycle. You can’t expect her to react instantly to every command. She’s opinionated and a little stubborn. Agro has her own (artificial) intelligence, logic and rules. While you’re riding south, take a couple minutes to learn (or reacquaint yourself with) how to work with her to get where you’re going.

Once you arrive at the gap in the cliff and ride up the stairs, you’ll get a brief cutscene. Then it’s time to start climbing.

Collectibles along the way

There is one lizard, one shrine and one fruit fruit tree on the way from the Shrine of Worship to the first colossus. These are all optional things to do, but they’ll each help you out a little. Lizards will increase your stamina a little, fruit will increase your health and shrines will restore your health and act as a quicksave point.


Before you leave the Shrine of Worship, turn around and look at the ceiling just north of (behind) the large hole. Look for a glowing blue area — this is your first lizard. Shoot it with your bow (left on the D-pad to draw it, hold down R1 to pull back on the string, then release R1 to fire the arrow), then walk over and pick it up with R2.


Once you get outside of the shrine, but before you take off for the colossus, turn around (north) and face the temple. The first shrine is built into the base of the Shrine of Worship.

Fruit tree

About halfway to the colossus (see the map in the gallery above), you’ll pass a large tree on your left. Draw your bow and look at the upper branches to spot a strange yellow (orange?) fruit. Shoot it down and pick it up like you did with the lizard.

Approaching Colossus 1

The approach to this colossus serves as a tutorial for maneuvering Wander through the environment. You’ll get to use just about everything you’ll need to know for the rest of Shadow of the Colossus in these first few minutes.

  1. Look for an ivy-covered wall on your right (this is a common visual cue to indicate climbable areas in the game). Jump up with X, then grab on with R2.
  2. Climb to the top of the ivy. You won’t haul yourself all the way up automatically. Hit the X button to leap upward. If you don’t make it over the lip, hold down the X button for a second (this is another common mechanic in the game). Watch your yellow stamina gauge in the bottom right corner while you hold down the button. The small, dashed circle is a charge indicator. When it hits the outside edge of your gauge and flashes, you’re fully charged for a jump (or, in a second, a stab).
  3. Turn left and follow the ledge around. Jump across the gap you come to with the X button.
  4. Climb the wall on your right, then continue across the bridge to the right. Jump the next gap, then keep following the ledge to the right.
  5. Roll under the fallen pillar with the Circle button, then climb the wall on your left.
  6. Jump up and grab onto the pillar on your left. Shimmy around to the left until you’re on the opposite face.
  7. Hold down X and move the left thumbstick in the direction you want to jump, then release X to cross this gap.
  8. Follow the path up and around to the left. Pass through the gap on your right to meet your first colossus.

How to beat Colossus 1

The colossus isn’t overly interested in you (yet), so take your time on the approach.

  1. Raise your sword to highlight this colossus’ two weak points. There’s one on its left calf and another on the top of its head.
  2. Catch up to the colossus and jump onto its left calf. Hold onto the fur there and draw your sword (press right on the D-pad).
  3. You’ll see the a weak point glowing a little above you. Keep holding down R2 and climb up until you’re right over it.
  4. Wait out any turbulence while the colossus moves, then hit the Square button once. The same charge meter from before will start filling your stamina gauge. Wait until it gets close to the outside, then hit Square again. (For a killing blow over a magic sigil, you’ll want to wait until this is fully charged whenever you can. This is just a weak point, though, so you don’t need to worry about that just yet.)
  5. The colossus will go down on its left knee. If it doesn’t, just keep stabbing the glowing blue spot until it does.
  6. When the colossus is down, let go of the fur and jump onto the ledge that circles its thigh. Jump up along the thigh-ledges and then climb up along the, well, along the butt fur until you can reach the platform on its lower back.
  7. Catch your breath here for a second and let your stamina recharge, then climb up again to one of the platforms at its shoulder blades.
  8. Let your stamina recharge again, then climb the rest of the way up to its shoulders. At the very top, you can let go of R2 to let your stamina build back up, but make sure to grab on any time the colossus tries to shake you off.
  9. Crawl over to the top of its head. With your sword drawn, you’ll see the magic sigil.
  10. Hit Square to start charging up a stab, but wait until the meter glows this time. (If the colossus keeps shaking you before you get fully charged, it’s perfectly fine to hit a little before the charge. You’ll still deal damage, just not as much.)
  11. Run back to its shoulders to recharge your stamina if you have to.
  12. Keep stabbing it right here until it’s dead.
  13. If you fall or are thrown off, just repeat the steps above: jump on its calf, stab it, climb up its back, stab it in the head.