Sunday, December 18, 2011

25 Days of Villains - #8: Dormin

Following Barthandelus is another deity-level being. Dormin's presence is made known from the very start of the Wanderer's quest inside the Forbidden Land, but just what his role in everything is kept a secret until the very end.

His girlfriend dead, the Wanderer seeks out a legendary power, word of which has been passed down through his people for generations. However, this power lies in a land that has been deemed a forbidden place. There is hardly any life within its borders, but upon his arrival to the central temple, Wanderer is greeted by a bodiless voice that seemingly emanates from an opening in the ceiling of the temple where sunlight shines through. The voice tells Wanderer that he can bring the girl back to life, but only if Wanderer is able to slay the sixteen Colossi that roam the land. Determined to save his lover, Wanderer sets out on his horse Aggro, sword in hand.

While it isn't apparent right off the bat, Wanderer undergoes physical changes after defeating each Colossi. About halfway through his quest, it is easy to notice that the hue of Wanderer's skin has become more pale, almost grey. Before facing the last few Colossi, a cutscene is prompted, showing a group of masked men on horseback headed toward the Forbidden Land. Only after Wanderer defeats the final Colossi is it made apparent that these men are familiar with the main character, and warned him never to come here.

Thus is the game's big plot twist - Wanderer was not the knight in shining armor players were led on to believe. His aims are still to revive his lover, but the means to achieve that were dark and taboo. Knowing the severity of what Wanderer has done, the men try to kill him with sword and arrows, but it is already too late. With all sixteen of the Colossi slain, the voice from above is now freed, his sixteen pieces no longer sealed.

Dormin, as this deity is known, assumes the body of the Wanderer as his vessel for resurrection. He then proceeds to attack the men, knowing they are all that stands between him and the outside world. Despite his power, Dormin is only able to hinder their escape within the cramped spaces of the temple. The men make their way to the top of the spiral ramp, then turn to an enchantment as one last-ditch effort to defeat Dormin. This opens a portal within the pool of water at the bottom of the ramp and, despite their attempts to escape, both Dormin and the Wanderer are sucked in. The men leave, destroying the bridge, barring anyone from ever entering these lands again.

In the final moments of the game, it is revealed that the young girl has been brought back to life. Though Dormin kept his word, the Wanderer is no longer the man who brought his girlfriend to this temple. He is still alive, but in the form of a baby with horns on its head, implying Wanderer to be the first of the horned people in ICO. As for the fate of Dormin, things are not as clear. As Wanderer defeats each Colossi, a new shadowy figure is waiting in the temple. The enemies in ICO look similar, and it is possible that Dormin scattered in many smaller shadow beings after his defeat. It is also possible that his power merged with Wanderer, and that the horned people are a kind of human-demon hybrids.

Boss theme:

Since there is no actual boss battle against Dormin, the closest thing is the point where players assume control of him, attempting to stop the men from leaving the temple. The whole soundtrack to Shadow of the Colossus is gorgeous, and this track is no exception.

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