Ah, I see you’ve returned for another round of me spouting my impressions of a totally fictional world at you and attempting to pass it off as fact. But apparently some people like reading these, so I can only keep writing them! And also now that I’ve started I kinda can’t stop either. It’s turned into a compulsion now. Good thing it’s about one of my favourite games ever.
Incidentally, this is my 100th post on this here blog!
Huzzahs are in order!
Alright now back to work for me and back to reading for you!
Thy next foe is…
In the seaside cave…
It moves slowly…
Raise thy courage to defeat it.
Dormin’s advice is virtually non-existent in its helpfulness. Both from a lore and gameplay standpoint.
Quadratus, or Taurus Magnus, by the community, is the second of sixteen Colossi encountered by Wander in the Forbidden Lands. Its lair is the closest to the Shrine of Worship, being a short ride away across a land bridge, down a paved pathway which leads down to its lair on a beach near a large lake. Unlike Valus, however, Quadratus is one of the two Colossi that is sealed behind some kind of door before Wander approaches. Unlike the other Colossus who shares this trait with it (Barba), Quadratus smashes through its door. Curiously though, as I will extrapolate on later, Quadratus is much less violent and aggressive than Barba. This could mean one or two things that will be one of those totally Lorequest-esque reaches that I am only too happy to make.
Quadratus, unlike most Colossi, has no temple or any kind of discernable shrine in its area. However, I would suggest that omission makes complete sense. Quadratus’ spiritual role is one of work and movement; a temple erected to agrarian labour where one could worship and… not do agrarian labour seems a little pointless to me. Besides, symbols are carved into the walls all the way down the large ramp going down to Quadratus’ beach. These symbols at least show that people revered Quadratus but rather than erect it a temple, they chose to carve their reverence into the pathway that was of utmost importance to the Colossus.
To explain that last part, Quadratus is, as mentioned before, the Ploughbeast and is the patron spirit of work beasts and agriculture. As mentioned on the Forbidden Lands page, the Northern Span region, I would argue, was once a large rolling grassland. So, it would be very fertile and fit for farming. The large body of fresh water on Quadratus’ beach would have been a fantastic place for work animals and their masters to refresh themselves (though there are also smaller pools of water in the Span that were probably much larger. One has tortoises hanging out near it. Basaran’s lake drying up probably didn’t do the region many favours either ) after a long work day. The path leading down to the beach shows evidence of this too, being heavily beaten away, despite the carved stone walls and guideposts along the path. Also, it is certainly wide enough to accommodate trains of animals heading in both directions down to the beach.
Oh and remember how in Valus’ entry I mentioned that it made sense that the first two Colossi were so close to the Shrine of Worship, indicating their age and deep connection to the people who were centered in the Shrine? Well, that point is back. Quadratus is the closest of all Colossi to the Shrine and is actually one of the largest Colossi in the Lands. How fitting then that the amount of beasts of burden that had to descend the ramp heading to Quadratus’ lake were the ones moving the stones to put the great Ploughbeast together in the first place?
Another minor but important point I must mention is that Quadratus is one of the very few Colossi who will ever attempt to run away from Wander. After first reading about this phenomenon on the Team Ico Wiki, I decided to try it out for myself and indeed, after dealing significant damage to Quadratus in one round of being on its back I fell off and watched what happened. Quadratus seemed to totally lose interest in me and began moving in the opposite direction to the point where it was caught between the cliff wall and the water. While Quadratus did not seem to have any unique “fear animation” like, say, Celosia, the fact that it seemed to lose interest in Wander almost instantly when it was very recently accurately aware of him is suspicious. Also, Quadratus is generally a Colossus that Wander needs to shoot at first before it begins attacking in earnest. This all congeals together to make the case that Quadratus is not an inherently violent Colossus. I take this to be another part of its bestowed personality. Why would a beast of burden, especially a bovine which Quadratus seems to be based off of, have need of a violent temperament? It wouldn’t, that’s why.
Oh and Quadratus’ minor sigil spot is the bottom of its hooves. And what’s a beast of burden without its hooves? Nothing, that’s what. How many hypothetical questions is this now, four? Five if you count that last one. Weird. Anyway, I suppose that can go for a lot of forms of life but in particular when a creature is meant to do one or two set tasks that require it to use its massive bulk, one would think that the hooves would be the prime place for strength.
Now brace yourselves, here comes that Lorequest-esque reach I was mentioning before! Quadratus’ door, unlike Barba’s doesn’t seem to have any kind of mechanism installed in it to make it lower in the presence of an intruder. It seems to just be made out of stone and is rather sloppily installed onto the mouth of Quadratus’ cave. In other words, it really seems like Quadratus was supposed to break down its door rather than have it open. At least, that’s what it looks like now. I can think of two reasons why this would be so when Quadratus is such a docile (relatively speaking) Colossus.
-The door that holds Quadratus in now was not its original door. The seemingly slipshod way the door was installed into the cave wall shows that it was either supposed to be broken down, which again seems odd given Quadratus’ nature, or it was a repair job after the first door to Quadratus was knocked down by the Colossus. Now, because Valus is still alive, it shows that nobody until Wander had successfully killed even one Colossus. And since the Colossi don’t appear/activate until after the previous one has been destroyed, we can safely say that Quadratus has never been harmed up until Wander’s arrival. So why the broken door, then? Well, any programs has its share of glitches and when you’re trying to animate an enormous pathos-endowed statue using a fraction of a god of death’s power, well, things may not go entirely according to plan (see also, Basaran, Celosia, and Malus for more on this). So, I would suggest that after Dormin’s soul was installed into Quadratus but before the Lands were abandoned and the Colossus were sent to sleep Quadratus’ nature as the Ploughbeast and spirit of agrarian work made it become restless and it broke out of its original door. The Colossus was likely calmed by the Shamans and shepherded back into its cave.
So, to sum up: Quadratus personifies the hard-working animals that once tilled the Northern Span before it became a vast desert. It requires no temple because the simple act of manual labour and coming up and down the ramp to Quadratus’ lake is pilgrimage enough. Quadratus’ nature appears to be on the more docile side and it even seems to have a sense of wanderlust and a desire to travel (likely owing to its nature as a patron for beasts of burden) by breaking down its own door. Also note that when Quadratus comes through its door, it is not immediately hostile towards Wander. It may just be trying to stretch its legs and accidentally ruined everything again.
Nobody said cows were smart, you know.
Next Entry: Colossus #3, Gaius
Well, as I mentioned with the last entry, I think I’m going to be continuing with the Colossi until I get to about 5-6 and then I’ll tackle the colossal entry that is Dormin. Until that point, I’m going to keep chiseling away at these Colossi entries and maybe I’ll finally throw in my entry about Wander or something about Majora’s Mask’s Ikana Canyon.
Asking for any kind of realistic timeline about this is a waste of digital ink!
Good luck you brave writer (and gamer) folk!
1. Images from the Team ICO wiki.
2. Screenshots from the Game Grump’s playthrough of Shadow of the Colossus