Monday, June 18, 2012

Save Shrines

Here I will be listing all 25 save shrines from the game with map references and other attributes that can act as a guide for anyone who wants to know about them. Each image shows a map in the top left corner and the arrow on the map is the direction in which the save shrine is oriented. That is I stood on the top tier of each save shrine with the save stone (that you pray at) behind me and the narrow ledge part of the shrine in front. I've also added a lizard icon followed by a number for those few special save shrines that spawn more than one white tailed lizard.

I should be noted that the earlier Preview version of the game has some different names for 11 of the saves shrines compared to the later NTSC and PAL versions, these will be listed in brackets next to the title where they occur. The three demo discs (OPM/PSU/PAL) also have save shrines, but crash the game when you attempt to save at any of them, so there's no way to know what their titles were.

The other thing of note is if you save at any of these save shrines during the game then reload that save file you will get a cut scene of a hawk flying around that area. Once the title screen appears just wait and it will automatically load the cut scene. It's a nice feature as it gives you full camera control so you can pan around and view the area surrounding the save shrine you last saved at. Sometimes you will see Agro riding around instead of the hawk.

Save Shrines Map
Map from the art book with the NTSC/PAL titles of the save shrines

Since the art book map has numbered save shrines shown, I will be listing them in that order, note: the art book map doesn't list the Shrine of Worship save shrine, so I added it as number 25.

Toppled Column Stones
Several save shrines have some broken stones or toppled columns lying next to them that resemble the stones that hold up the main bridge... the magical stones that disappear in a flash of light at the end cut scene when Emon and his soldiers make their escape. But these stones have a different design than the bridge stones which makes them unique in the game. It was speculated that these fallen stones might have a meaning as they only appear next to 15 of the 25 save shrines but nothing was ever found.

 Strange design on the toppled column blocks

1 - Umbrial Glade (Northwestern Valley)
You can ride west from Hydrus' lake along a path through the mountains, or approach it from the south as you pass by the Ravine Entrance save shrine. There's a single hawk that flies around this area and the columns lining the path to 14's entrance can be seen to the south. A couple of fruit trees stand nearby.

Location C1, just north of the entrance to 14's area

2 - Stone Arch Gorge
This save shrine exists in a closed off area with two exits. It seems to be part of 7's area as it features the same architecture seen there, i.e. wide, low profile stairs with squat columns as seen at the entrance to 7's area. There's also a wall topped with the slender stone columns found around Hydrus' lake, in fact it's one of the few areas in the game to feature any sort of architecture that is not part of a colossi's lair. It should be noted that on the other side of the wall is a walkable ledge that is impossible to reach without hacking.

Location D2, about half way between 3 and 14's area, south of 7's lake

Similar architecture seen at D2 and Hydrus' area (D1)

D2 off limits ledge - save shrine is on the other side of the wall

3 - Dried Marsh (Misty Marsh)
Could this area have been misty in an earlier build? Perhaps it was once lush with vegetation (more like a swamp) but over time has been eroded away by the infringing northern desert. This save shrine is unique as it has a hawk that lands of its top most tier. It seems the hawk either has a nest there or is just taking a break from flying, either way, it only lands for a few seconds before lifting off again and it makes no difference if Wander is standing there when it lands.

Location E1, right out the front of Hydrus' lake

A friendly hawk likes to land on the top platform

4 - Northern Span (Northern Pier)
Just follow the main bridge north from No. 2's area and you will find it. Distinctive features are the desert ferns that grow around it and the large rock promontories standing nearby. I always found that the white-tailed lizard here is harder to find than the other save shrines for some reason.

Location F2, only save shrine found next to the main bridge

5 - Desert Fortress (Northern Temple)
Follow the main bridge north then head east when you see 11's canyon. This is the closest save shrine to the entrance temple and exists within the great sand dunes of the northern desert, blasted by centuries of erosion. 15's desert temple can be seen to the east.

Location G1, just west of 15's temple

6 - Misty Falls (Turtle Falls)
This save shrine is unique in that it is built into the cliff wall so that only a part of it is showing. I have gone beyond the wall to see if the rest of the shrine was hidden back there, but it isn't so it appears the developers did this to fit it onto the narrow ledge here. You would think a better location would be the nearby G2 forest which serves no purpose in the game apart from a scenic stopover on your way to fight Pelagia, but as the Autumn forest has a save shrine they probably decided against having another save shrine in a forest (just speculation on my part ;) Not sure why they called it 'Turtle Falls' in the Preview version as there are no turtles in this area.

Location G2, right outside 12's lake next to the waterfall

7 - Ravine Entrance
Head north over the earth bridge past 2's beach then head west past the entrance to 3's area, keep heading west until you are approaching 9's area. You will see two save shrines, this one to the north and another (Round Stone Hill) a little further south. Aptly named as it's right by a large ravine that cuts its way into the mountains. In the OPM demo there were fruits trees next to it but they were removed for the later versions.

Kill the white tailed lizard here then ride away some distance and return, you will get an extra white tailed lizard for your efforts (note the lizard icon). There are a few other save shrines that will give you three tails that I have marked (see below).

Location E3, south of 3's area, east of 9's area

8 - Half-Moon Canyon (Northwestern Plain)
It's not clear why the developers changed the name to Half-Moon canyon as the canyon it sits above doesn't really resemble a half moon... Northwestern plain seems more a appropriate title. Its lies between two earth bridges, one leading south to the Shrine of Worship and the other leading north to the G2 forest and beyond to 12's lake/waterfall. You get three white tailed lizards here. Note: The 'half moon' may be referring to 2's (Quadtraus') area as it resembles a half moon shape.

Location G3, south of the G2 forest, east of 2's beach

View of the canyon at G3

9 - Western Plain
Head south from the Stone Arch Gorge and you will arrive at a pond surrounded by wildlife. The pond has fish and turtles, hawks can be seen flying around and some fruit trees stand nearby. Just east of this pond is the Western Plain save shrine. Unique as it's the only save shrine that has a different set of fallen column blocks, these perhaps are what the blocks looked like in an earlier build but by some oversight they were left unfinished as they lack the designs seen on the other fallen column blocks.

Location border of C3 and C4, south west of 9's area

Only shrine to feature these plain looking blocks

Western Plain save shrine looking west - the pond is just beyond the rocky hill

10 - Round Stone Hill
Apart from not having any fallen columns lying next to it there's not much to say about this save shrine, but you can clearly see 9's cave from this vantage point, being the closest save shrine to its area.

Location E3, east of 9's area, south of the Ravine Entrance save shrine

9's cave lies to the west

11 - Lair to the West (Nest to the West)
From the Preview version's title you would think there would be hawks nearby, but they only exist on the south side of 10's cave around the 'Lair on the Mesa' save shrine. So Dirge (No. 10) has a save shrine at both entrances to its lair unlike the other colossi. It's location keeps it forever in the shadow of the mountains and in the nearby cave bats can be found.

Location B4, by north entrance to 10's cave

12 - Stone Bridge Cliff
Again, aptly named as it sits near a stone bridge that leads into the Autumn forest. From the Shrine of worship cross the western most earth bridge (above the culvert/waterfall) then head south along the cliffs edge, the stone bridge is directly south of it.

Location E4, west of the Shrine of Worship (across the chasm), north of the Autumn forest 

View of the stone bridge with the cave leading to the Autumn forest

13 - Cliff Path
Head east from the back door of the Shrine of Worship (where the bridge joins the temple) along the cliff's edge, you will pass by an earth bridge leading north, keep heading east along the cliffs, the path will lead you to it. There's a little stand of trees nearby against the cliff wall with those weird umbrella plants at their feet. The view of the waterfalls across the chasm is spectacular here.

Location G4, on the way to No. 5 (Avion's) area

14 - Lair on the Mesa (Nest on the Plateau)
Unique as it sits below the infamous, colossal dead tree on top of 10's cave. Whatever its origin it is definitely mysterious. Again, the Preview version calls the area a nest, and here there are hawks, including one of the three larger hawks in the game. So we can speculate that a hawk's nest is nearby and as it turns out, in the Preview version there is an area behind the cliffs next to the dead tree that resembles a nest. You get three white tailed lizards here. Note: 'Mesa' means a flat-topped mountain or hill.

Location B4, by the south entrance to 10's cave

Colossal dead tree on the cliffs above 10's cave

What looks like a nest behind the cliffs next to the dead tree - Preview version only

15 - Western Cape
Follow the winding path down from the south entrance of 10's cave (where the Lair on the Mesa save shrine is) and continue along that path until you reach the end of the mountains, then turn south. Below this save shrine is the Ico beach and to the east is the broken 'arch bridge' that will lead you to 6's temple (Barba). You get three white tailed lizards here.

Location B5, on the south coast - west of the broken arch bridge

View of Ico beach from the top tier

AndrewFM made a video called 'Getting past the current on Ico beach' which explains how to do this by leaping off this save shrine with the parachute. It was later discovered that you can swim out beyond the waves from the beach itself, but it's one of the few Shadow of the Colossus videos to feature a save shrine.
Link here:

16 - Arch Bridge Plain
Once you pass over the arch bridge (above the Ico beach) you will find this save shrine, it's just to the west of 6's temple and is named this as it overlooks the arch bridge, or is the nearest shrine to it. You get three white tailed lizards here.

Location C5, east of Ico beach, west of 6's temple

View of the arch bridge from the save shrine

You can grab onto a hawk that flies past when on the top tier

17 - Blasted Lands (Hill Facing a Ruin)
Why these lands are labelled 'blasted' is a mystery... as they appear as any other, covered in grass and plants etc. There's no evidence of any type of catastrophe having taken place in the immediate area around the save shrine, however it may be referring to 13's desert which this save shrine is the closest to, those barren desert lands fit the description.

Then there's the 'ruin' the hill is facing from the Preview version's title, I assume this to be 6's temple as it's just across the plains, but there is also 13's desert ruins nearby so depending on which way you look i.e. to the south or the east, it's not clear what the ruin is.

Location D5, north of 6's temple, northwest of 13's desert

Hill facing a ruin... a ruined temple?

or the ruins in the desert?

18 - Autumn Forest
Nestled deep in the forest by a small pond stands this lonely little temple. This one feels more mysterious somehow and makes you wonder 'Who built the save shrines and why?' Maybe because of its surroundings with the tall trees and the light beams breaking through the forest canopy. There's a tranquility to this place, the atmosphere is peaceful and still, a flock of birds circle and land in the shallow pond to take a short bath before flying off again. You get three white tailed lizards here.

Location E5, southwest of the Shrine of Worship
19 - Valley Plain
Just near the entrance to No. 8's lair this save shrine sits at the fork of two valleys. One leads east to the coast with the ocean beyond, the other heads south in a near direct line to 16's lair. There are some cliffs behind this one that you can climb up to reveal a grass covered path, they lead to a higher path that Wander just can't seem to reach but afford some nice views of the valley.

Location G6, west of 8's cave entrance

Valley heading east to the coast - 8's cave entrance can be seen

View from the cliffs - valley heading to the south lands

20 - Eastern Bluff (Southeastern Cliff)
Follow the valley east from 8's cave entrance towards the coast and you will see it. Nearby are some fruit trees and another white tailed lizard. There's also a hawk that flies past that you can grab onto by the fruit trees. In the Preview version this save shrine has some invisible blocks next to it.

Location H6, east of 8's cave entrance near the coast

East view of the fruit trees and ocean beyond - hawks are plentiful here

Invisible blocks in the Preview version

Here I have marked the invisible stones with arrows

21 - Southwestern Cape
This save shrine sits on the very edge of the towering cliffs overlooking the southern ocean. It would be well placed to be a lighthouse as it sits alone with no significant landmarks nearby.

Location D7, Southwest of 13's desert, right on the south coast

Overlooks the vast southern ocean

View to the west - a flock of sea birds live nearby

22 - Southern Plain (Plain at the Ends)
This is the save shrine almost directly north of 16's gates situated on top of a hill. If you look south you can see the gates off in the distance. Vast green plains stretch out around it with the ocean beyond, but to the south are a range of mountains. The Preview version's title could be interpreted as 'Plain at the ends of the world' perhaps because its in front of the final colossus, although there are save shrines further south than this one.

Location F7, north of 16's lair

View of 16's gates to the south
23 - Green Cape
Since this save shrine is so close to the ocean the wind lashes at Wander and Agro here. It sits right at the southeast edge of the lands and looks out across the endless sea. Apart from 'The Broken Seal' save shrine behind 16's closed gates, this is the southernmost save shrine on the map.

Location border of G7 and G8, on the southeast coast

View of the ocean and nearby fruit trees

24 - The Broken Seal (Closed Gates)
This is the final save shrine you can visit as it lies trapped behind 16's imposing gates. You only get access to it after the gates are opened when you have to face the final colossus (Malus). You get three white tailed lizards here.

Note: It had been said that in the cut scene for this save shrine (after you have saved here and reloaded the file) that the bridge is missing... so it was speculated that this cut scene represents a time after the events of the game, as the bridge has already fallen into the abyss and Agro's leg has healed. If this is true then it must be set many years after as Wander would have grown to manhood again, as he can be seen sleeping at the save stone. But when I tested this the bridge is still there so I don't know how this idea came about. I even let the end game cut scene play through but didn't save after the credits hoping that it would load this save file but it just starts over at the Shrine of Worship.

Location F8, behind the closed gates leading to 16's lair

25 - The Shrine of Worship
This is the only save shrine that features just the save stone as the Shrine of Worship itself acts as one colossal save shrine, in fact the save shrines look like small representations of the Shrine of Worship. It also has its own white tailed lizard that lives inside, usually crawling around the roof near Dormin's hole.

Location F4, at the south end of the Shrine of Worship

Beta Save Shrine in the OPM Demo
There is an extra save shrine featured only in the OPM demo, I covered this is my OPM demo post but thought I'd mention here as well. It's only in a low resolution form and melts  away when you approach it. There is no save shrine at the Shrine of Worship in the OPM demo so I have speculated that this save shrine (which I named the Temple Plain) was put here instead, perhaps to have a save shrine near #4's area.

Location F4, east of the Shrine of Worship near the entrance to #4's lair

View of the beta 'Temple Plain' save shrine
Save Shrine Model
In the game data the save shrines are labelled as 'Sky Towers' and a texture exists in each version with the names of each save shrine listed.

List of save shrines from the Preview version

A line up of differently patterned monuments (from the art book)
Art book sketch showing a pile of stones at the base of the save stone

The above image is interesting, it reveals a strange effect that would have happened each time you saved a game. Notice the small pile of rocks at the base of the save stone? These would pile up higher each time you saved. 'The stones pile higher each time you save. (There was an upper limit). This is hard to imagine, how would Wander pray at the stone slab if the stones were in his way? Also, it would be weird to see the pile of stones grow higher and higher with each save, resting precariously on top of each other ; )

Udea had also intended the save shrines to be stand-alone stone slabs as we see above, the 'Sky Temples' were added later to incorporate the save stone slabs.