Friday, March 2, 2012

8th Colossus

A tail trapped within a pail
deep within the forest...
A shadow that crawls on the walls.

Developer Name: Yamori_B
Fan Name: Kuromori (Parietinae Umbra) - Wall Shadow
Location Name: Underground

Colossi 8 hints
Find a way to seal its quick movement...
- Draw it out to higher ground...

Kuromori climbing its ruined arena

Entrance to the lizard colossi's arena

The first thing I noticed after Dormin's introduction was the lack of a forest. The gecko colossi's arena is said to be 'deep within the forest', but once through the cave there are only a few trees to be seen surrounding a small lake, hardly a forest. So perhaps there once was a larger forest that over time has receded into the copse of trees we see now.

Once you enter the cave a bridge can be seen next to a majestic waterfall

Bridge Comparisons
Once I had obtained the NTSC version I immediately noticed a difference between the bridge in the PAL version to the NTSC version. It's worth mentioning as the rest of the game is virtually identical in both versions, so why did they change the bridge in the PAL version?

NTSC (US) version - you can see it has a void on either side

PAL (European) version - is joined to the wall with a void on only one side

Enclosed cave with waterfall - light streaming in from above

There's this solitary stone pillar on the bridge inscribed with enigmatic symbols

NTSC bridge - below is nothing but water vapor and oblivion

An inland lake becomes visible through this dark pass
Temple Island
Once across the bridge you enter a small inland lake area with a temple on the far side. Here we can see more stone pillars, some fallen or broken, guiding the way to the colossus. You can swim across the lake to the other side or go around it.

Wander riding a fish in the lake

Wander riding a different fish in the lake

There appear to be two species of fish in this small landlocked lake. Both are huge in comparison to Wander, at least 7 feet long or more! One resembles some kind of large sturgeon, the other a type of tadpole shaped fish? I'm not an expert on marine life, so if you have any thoughts about what these fish might be based on please leave a comment below. But it's fun to grab onto these fish (by holding R1) and let them take you for a ride through the murky water.

Temple lake forest - is this what Dormin was describing?

Wander covering his face (to avoid poison gas?)

If you watch this short segment of the NICO video you can see how Wander is covering his face with his left arm as he turns Agro away. It's the same animation we see when fighting Kuromori when Wander is covering his face to protect himself from the poisonous gas. So my idea is this might be where you fought an early version of the Gecko (Yamori A)? So if the green bar represents the colossus health icon then it would appear that in the above image Wander is very close to a colossus perhaps it's just out of frame?

See this part of the video here:

There is no forest in the final version where you fight the Gecko, it lives in a Roman style Colosseum so perhaps you once fought it in a forest. Since the G2 forest was added very late in development it's unlikely it was that forest, I failed to find a match with the video at the Autumn forest at E5 either. However, the forest we see in the opening cut scene seems to have the same style trees and rocks, but again I couldn't find an exact match (see below image).

 Same rock and tree as seen in the video from the opening cut scene

So it seems some of the colossi that made it into the retail versions still have their old 'Dormin introductions' that were from early builds. There are other examples that I won't go into here.

Broken columns next to shallow lake

The ruined temple sits on a small island in the lake

You can Agro launch onto the temple in the NTSC (US) version of the game. I've yet to make it there in the PAL version (nor has anyone else to my knowledge) as the devs decreased the amount of room you can move Agro back in the lake, so when you try to Agro launch up there you don't have enough run up. But once up there you can explore its ruins and get some great views of the area, which to my mind is one of the most beautiful in the game.

Standing on the temple view

Broken area overgrown with vines and ferns

Back of the temple - what looks like a door stands out

As I first played the PAL version I could never get up here, try as I might I just couldn't make it - not even close. So I was puzzled by a Baxtertimewell video on the web that showed him launching up onto the temple. I later found out he was using the NTSC version, so I obtained a copy and tried again with instant results. Once up there it's clear it's an off limits area as Wander sinks into the textures and there are no grippable edges. But the back door intrigued me at first, if only there was a way to open it... sadly it's just another decorative feature, nothing more.

Temple entrance leads down into the...
Upon entering the temple you arrive in a large anti-chamber with two enormous columns both topped with fire at their summits. You can climb the columns but not high enough to reach the flames, it only allows you to get to a higher platform which will lead you to the colossus.

Twin fire pedestals

Wander on top of a fire column - only possible via hacking

It was thought by many that if you could get the stick from 11's area (Celosia) and bring it here, climb up to the very top of the column and light the stick that something might happen... a secret might be unlocked! Apart from the fact that you can't climb to the top of the column in the first place to even test this theory, nothing happens anyway, the stick does not catch fire. 

On the wall is this large cryptic medallion, similar to the one found at 11's arena

Strange, map like designs can be seen carved into the stone walls

Totem pole type structure next to medallion

Top of anti-chamber looking down - there's a small piece of walkable land up here

Ancient Colosseum
Finally you have made it to the colosseum, the abode of the gecko colossus. It's a strange place as it clearly has windows in which to look down at the central arena, but no seats of any kind... so unless the spectators stood around in groups looking down through the windows it must have served another purpose. Perhaps it was built to hold the colossus and people in times past came to view it as in a zoo? Although from Wander's experience it wouldn't have been very safe place as the colossus could climb the walls and shoot the spectators!

Kuromori Before Activation
If you float past the trigger point (via hacking) you can stand in front of the gecko in its frozen state. Only the back end of its tail is solid in this state and it seems to be frozen mid step - as if it was walking and suddenly stopped.

 Standing on solid tail

Frozen in mid stride before activation

This got me wondering... if the gecko starts out frozen like this, then it must have been originally designed for another area, i.e. a forest! Why else would its two left feet be raised above the ground like this? It's as if the gecko was designed to start in a different landscape where all four of its feet would be making contact with the ground. Remember, there was an earlier model of the Gecko labelled 'Yamori_A' which may have been used in a now deleted 'forest' area of the game (see further below).

Moving Kuromori Outside
I've had a lot of trouble getting the lizard outside its arena once it is triggered. There seems to be an invisible wall surrounding the whole area and no matter how far I warp it out, it springs back as if pulled back by an enormous rubber band! But I can move it around whilst it's frozen before activation... so I did and took some snap shots ; )

Kuromori in Anti-chamber

Too close for comfort!

Going for a swim

 Top of temple

Free at last!

I made a video where I moved Kuromori to different parts of the forbidden lands:

Other weird Hacks
I can lock one model and then view it from outside, this way you can see what each section of the area looks like from a unique perspective as shown here.

Floating fish

 Temple stairs leading down into anti-chamber and then the Colosseum

A tail trapped within a 'pail'
Early Designs
The development team names the Gecko colossus 'Yamori_B' so it begs the question what was Yamori_A and what did it look like? The answer is found in the art book. Below are some sketches from the art book, one image has the caption 'An early screenshot of gecko A', so it's clear that this design was yamori_A. Udea also states 'In early development, there were 3 different types of this colossus'. So perhaps there was also a Yomori_C?
Could this be Yamori_A?
Early designs revealed in the art book

An early screenshot of Gecko A - seems to be proof of Yamori_A

A differently patterned model for colossus 8 - from the art book

Here we see what could be the third design for the gecko. You can see it's a very different design with a weird T shaped face and moss (vegetation) on its back, much like we see with Pelagia (#12). Sadly the background of this image doesn't give much away as to the environment this gecko once lived (in this early build of the game). 

The only clue I have as to a previous gecko living in a forest is based on a few seconds of footage from the NICO dvd. It shows Wander covering his face with his arm as if there is poisonous gas nearby! This animation only happens in the fight with Kuromori. 

This area has the most varied variety of different symbols and designs, as it has two temples to explore instead of one, the outer Anti-chamber and the Colosseum.
Kuromori Death Screen
Image you see when Wander dies during the fight with Kuromori.