Monday, October 29, 2012

6th Colossus

A giant lurks underneath the temple... 
It lusts for destruction...
but a fool, it is not.

Developer Name: Minotaur B
Fan Name: Barba (Belua Maximus) - The Goliath
Location Name: Canossa

Colossus 6 Hints
- Find a place where thou art hidden...
- Use thy sword to find its vitals...

I've always wondered about this colossus. How it came to be trapped in an underground temple, sealed behind a massive stone door. It's hard to believe it just appeared there due to a spell being cast, it's more likely it was fashioned in some way and placed there. People have speculated that when Dormin was split into 16 parts each part manifested itself in some part of the land and miraculously appeared out of the earth. This, they say, is why the colossi revert to a rocky mound when they are killed. But it seems more likely  (to me at least) that the temple was built first and then Barba was fashioned inside. Perhaps the colossi were all created by the high priests of the land to act as vessels for the parts of Dormin's soul.

So each colossus was built using traditional techniques, such as using cranes and scaffolding etc. and the parts assembled resulting in an inert, lifeless colossus. When Dormin's soul was split, some powerful spell was used to infuse each part into a colossus. It was only then that the colossi had life, and the spell acted like a program so that they would only come to life when an intruder appeared in their respective lairs.

Entrance to Barba's underground temple

On first level of temple

On very top of cliffs above temple - this area is walkable

Top of cliffs on opposite side - the front of the temple is behind Wander

Top of upright column outside temple - has same design as inside floor symbol

Opposite column has toppled over in times past

Plied blocks in front of stairs leading down

Symbol above stairs as you enter - has 16 circles around its edge

More stone blocks to climb over in the hallway

There's a small hidden area just behind the walls of the hallway, it's a solid floor you can walk on and ends at the stairs leading down into the main underground temple. I found this very early on when I was just starting to use the emulator, but it's only accessible via hacking.

Above Barba's chamber at foot of the stairs

Stone ledges appear to lead to the back temple

One of the early ideas about Barba's lair involved reaching the high door seen on the third level of the stone temple at the back of the arena (see further down), that is, the temple at the back in which you hide under. It was postulated that you could jump from the balconies and grab onto a stone ledge that you could shimmy along to reach yet another stone ledge... much as you do in the climb to the secret garden, or in ICO when you find a long pipe or cliff edge. It made sense at the time and led players to believe you could find your way to the upper temple door. But sadly, this was only another dead end. There are no grippable ledges on the side walls, and even though they have multiple levels as seen in the back temple, there is no way to hold onto them... you just fall to the floor below.

Left side balcony

Nice view from the balconies

You can jump down from here at either balcony and land on the floor a lot further away from Barba when it appears from behind the stone door. You lose about half of your health doing this. This gives you a good head start to get away and make it to the safety of the columned temple at the back of the arena. The balconies also provide a nice view of the arena before you descend.

Massive stone door
As soon as you land on the floor below the ground starts to shake and a cut scene starts showing the enormous stone door start to open! I've measured it at 30 metres high which is akin to a 30 story building! The next time you are in a city with high rise buildings, take the time to look around and count the number of floors in a building to see just how huge this door is.

Imposing stone door keeps Barba locked away

The door resembles Barba's face

I found the animation codes for the door, so I can open and close it. So for instance, after Barba has left its chamber I can close the door again. The door moves down under the arena when opened, so I took Wander down there for a look.

Barba before activation - crouched in its chamber

Inside Barba's chamber there is a large symbol on the floor. You can get into this room legitimately with perseverance and practice. At the beginning of the battle, get Barba to smash its fist down then grab on, as it shakes its arm around you can let go at just the right time and be flung into the chamber. Fans often speculated that the room must have a purpose, as why would the developers put this large symbol on the floor if you never get to see it? The room is empty and Barba cannot harm you from outside, so it was just another unsolved mystery. But now we can say that it's just Team Ico's attention to detail that is the reason, but it serves no other purpose.

See video of this effect here:

There is a ledge Wander can stand on - but it's too high to reach legitimately

Here Barba stands in front of the 'closed' door

When I move Wander's camera to Barba, I can trigger the colossus without Wander. In this mode, Barba walks straight through the massive stone door which has no collision detection, in this way Barba runs through the same animations as normal, but now the stone door is still closed. See video of this here:

Above the temple
In 2009 when I was first seeing where I could get to with the jump hack, I was visiting every colossus arena and leaping up to see where I could land. Most places I would just fall through, but there were some surprises! A good example was the top of Barba's temple, here I found a small area up above the central column (shown below). Note: the image below was made using the standing hack (for both Wander and Agro) as it has no collision detection... this is one of those places you wanted to be solid but were not.

Top of central arch - I brought Agro with me here ;)

Using the standing hack here - no collision detection on this column

On the roof below the central sunlit chamber - again no collisions

On top of the temple roof is a small rocky area where the light streams down from. You can walk around this area looking down into the arena. This place is solid and allows Wander to walk around up here, you can run around the perimeter of this strange bowl shaped structure and notice a couple of dead trees growing out of its sides. It was one of those places I was amazed to find! A little secret area of my own ; )

A couple of dead trees grow out of the rock wall

The trees are solid also, so here I am perched on one of the branches

You can run right around the perimeter of this area

Looking back onto the temple roof

View of the Shrine of Worship from the top of Barba's temple

Temple at the back of the arena
This enigmatic door caused a lot of discussion among fans. As with the first colossi's temple it was another mysterious door placed way up out of reach. It was suggested that you could get Barba to launch you up there by jumping at just the right moment when it was violently shaking its head up and down, but no one was ever able to accomplish this.

It was also speculated that the door led to a secret area behind the temple, if it were just possible to get up there! I think it was Pikol who first launched himself up there only to find that the ledges had no collision detection. There's also an invisible wall in front of the entire facade that Wander just bounces off, so only by hacking behind this can you reach the door. But as you just fall through the floor it's obvious this is not a secret area.

Symbol on floor at ground level - same as columns outside

2nd level

3rd level

Top level

Wander next to temple door - it's much larger than it looks

'How did you get up here Agro?'

Top level columns

Top level in front of doorway - notice designs on the floor

This is what it looks like on the other side of the temple facade (no collisions)

Barba Outside its Temple
Here I have moved Barba outside its temple before activation, so it's like moving a statue around. The only part you can interact with is its beard, the rest has no substance and Wander can walk right through it. Strangely, when you hold onto its beard the music starts to play 'Grotesque Figures', but when I let go, the music stops. This tells us, that even before the colossus is triggered, this music is still programmed into the code when Wander is climbing the beard.

Barba outside - frozen in the forbidden lands!

I can move the animated version outside as well, but I have to keep it suspended by locking its gravity code, otherwise it just falls through the floor. As with most of the colossi they can only walk around normally in their own arenas. So even though I can move the 'actual' model outside, that is the version you fight, it's still frozen like a statue. If I turn off the 'freeze code' Barba will just fall through the ground into the void.
I made a video about it here:

Various old shots of Barba

I posted these shots on the Playstation 2 Quest for the Last Big Secret forums in November 2009, they look very impressive but actually they are an illusion! I used Barba's postion co-ordinates to blast it high into the air, then shifted it so it would fall outside of its arena, i.e. beyond the imposing columns that bar Barba from leaving the temple. So although it looks as if Barba is standing outside the temple, it is actually falling through the ground here, I just took a screen shot as its feet were just in contact with the ground xD.

There are various symbols around Barba's lair - here I have traced them all in Adobe Illustrator in order to make them as clear as possible.

Remains of the colossus

Barba Death Screen
Image you see when Wander dies during the fight with Barba.


  1. Awesome post Nomad! :) I replied to your comment on my blog a while back, I'm not sure if you saw it though?

    Here is what I wrote - "Sorry I didn't get to this sooner! I spaced out and forgot I had a blog for a while there...but I'm back now and I intend to hopefully post something soon! :)

    To answer your question though, no I don't think I got that e-mail...Do you know what e-mail address you sent it to by any chance? I can't find it but I might be looking in the wrong place.

    I look forward to hearing from you again soon! :) And sorry again for taking so long to reply! XD"

    Anyway, I still plan on posting something new pretty soon but it's been a busy month for me. As soon as things slow down a bit I'll put together another post.

    Back to the topic here though, are you familiar with the "developer nicknames" I guess you could call them, for each colossus's respective area? I would assume you'd have seen them mentioned throughout the game's files, but I've never seen anyone mention any of them anywhere, so I figured I'd ask. Barba's temple is referred to as "Canossa" though, and I've always wondered if the story of the real world castle of Canossa has any relevancy to Barba and his area. My brother and I have always thought his temple resembled a church or something of that sort, but with the walls (the ones Barba breaks) added in at some later occasion to convert it into some kind of fort/stronghold/safehouse or something. That idea seems to sort of match up with the story of the real world Canossa, in which Pope Gregory VII took refuge there.

    By the way I saw where you credited me in one of your videos for spotting the possible cave, so thank you for that! XD I loved the video, you always come up with the most interesting theories! :)

    Sorry again for all the confusion and delayed responses! I'm going to try and stay more on top things from now on!

    Hope to hear back soon! :)


    PS - Sorry for the wall of text.

  2. Can you send me a PM at my Youtube channel page? I can then send that email I spoke of - it had images attached etc. I just replied to the message from my Yahoo mail account, but it obviously didn't get through. If you don't have a Youtube account perhaps you could supply an email address?

    The developer nicknames you mentioned are the place names for each area. So I should add them to each of my blog pages I think. I usually just say 'Avion's area' etc. but I should be using the proper area names I guess.

  3. I don't have a Youtube account, so my email is I wonder why things aren't getting through correctly though...

    I had figured you would know about them, as they're kind of hard to miss. XD I haven't seen them mentioned anywhere online though. Have they ever come up in discussion in the past? I think it's really cool to see how some of them are named after real locations that Team Ico has drawn inspiration from. :) And I do think that would be a cool idea to add them to each of your blog pages!

  4. The floor symbol have 24 ``small balls´´ inside it and 24 circular forms around it´s border.Just saying

  5. Interesting. I didn't bother counting them but it seems to have significance after all ; )

  6. I've noticed that as well as the 24 circles/circular shapes on the floor symbol, there are 16 circles/ovals on the entrance symbol. Maybe they correlate to the number of colossi during the stages of development in which they were placed into the game(the entrance symbol possibly being added/created later in development) This may have already been touched upon, but I did find it a bit curious. Great blog by the way.
    Your friend, Guy Person.

  7. Hi again Nomad, sorry about commenting on a post that hasn't seen active comments in so long, but I wasn't sure where else to share and ask about this.

    I was playing today (PS3 version) and found what seemed to be a glitch with Barba. It's never happened to me before and a quick internet search gives no results of anyone else experiencing it.

    I was ducking behind temple pillars and taking my time teasing Barba. It saw Wander, attacked the temple, and the next time it crouched down its eyes (the colour and pupil anyway) were gone, leaving empty sockets! It stayed like this even after standing up again and moving around. The eyes came back when I grabbed its beard and started climbing. I didn't do anything on the ground while its eyes were gone that would have made them normally change to orange, though.

    I only got some quick pictures on my phone, unfortunately they're not very clear and have a bit of colour distortion because I was taking pictures of the TV screen lol.

    I don't know what caused it, whether it was my disk or my console or the game itself, or why it would do this. Even so, it was neat to see its empty sockets, though! :) I guess something loaded incorrectly, maybe? Has anything like this has happened before?

  8. Nope, I have never seen eyes like that before! When I control a colossus their eyes are black as they are not searching for Wander, it's only when Wander is a target that the eyes glow orange or blue. I've even loaded Malus after the game has finished and it had 'white' eyes - which was pretty creepy to see:

    But from your images it appears the eye textures were glitching as you can see a sort of inverse cone shape going into it's head... very weird.

  9. Interestingly, I went back and tried to recreate it yesterday (not on the same file - I'd accidentally saved over that one, but for some reason I had another one saved just before Barba) and found I easily could. I spent a little more time just hanging out with it and provoking it, and also hiding and letting it go off and do its awkward stroll around the arena. Its eyes would just randomly disappear and come back throughout the battle!

    At one point, when its eyes were gone while I was hiding and it was crouching down, I moved from behind the pillar so it could see Wander to see what would happen when they'd normally turn orange. It could have just been a trick of how the game loaded them again, but its eyes almost looked like they were quickly "turning on" on top of the sockets, sort of like you can see Phaedra's turning on when you activate it (but a bit faster), and they'd come back blue before changing to orange as Barba attacked.

    I actually thought "well maybe this is an intentional part of the game and I've never noticed, I mean I don't usually spend a lot of time just hanging out with this guy" yesterday because I've noticed there are no pupils on Barba's game over screen. But it still looks like the shape of the colour is there in that screen, and also I think someone would have made note of it if one of the colossi just randomly kept losing its eyes!

    I know you can definitely sorta see the cone shape behind its eyes when its eyes are normally there, so I guess if anything, now we know what that whole background of its eyes looks like! :)