elcome back to another exciting segment, where we take a glimpse into some of the most exciting and iconic games, that have made a mark in history and some of the hidden gems of the retro era.
Today we will be talking about one of my favourite games of all time called ICO. Boy meets girl, it happens all of the time, like if it didn’t happen, we as a species wouldn’t propagate.
It is one of the basic cultural touch stones, but as a cultural touch stone it doesn’t seem as nearly enough much play in the video game sphere as shoot this guy in the head, or get to the finish line. ICO set out to change that. Aside from the JRPG love triangles, Fable trophy wives, and the occasional Grand Theft Auto hooker, this is about something much more basic and pure.
Boy meets girl, but let’s take a step back. Boy was born with horns, boys with horns are bad luck, an ill omen that can't be suffered. Boy is going to be killed, boy manages to escape due to poor china, boy treks through castle looking to escape until he comes upon a cage high above the floor, boy sends cage crashing to the ground, boy meets girl.
Girl is glowing, no seriously like she has been using night time skin cream. Girl speaks in moon runes, no seriously moon runes. Girl is apparently going to be sacrificed to her mother as the queen as a kind of horrifyingly morbid plastic surgery. Boy can't abide, he makes it his goal to spring from this joint, run away and live happily ever after, because that’s how these things go right? And the shadows manifest corporal forms and try to drag the girl off, and your only recourse is to beat off the invaders with a stick, and later a sword.
Should they succeeded in dragging her down to the special anomaly which they spawn and it is game over. Fortunately you can give her a hand and drag her out, as well as later by the hand around the various obstacles you come upon.
ICO can run, jump, climb, swing, push, pull, saddle, call, lift, drop, throw, hit things with a stick, and survive pretty long falls, but his limited charge isn’t nearly as agile. Scout ahead and find terrain altered to switches to throw, but keep an eye on the girl though encase the shadows get uppity again.
Here is the good news, the princess is in the castle we know this to be a fact, the bad news is that getting out with her is the problem. Calling this an action, adventure, puzzle might be a bit of a mouthful, but that is an accurate description that you are going to get. There’s plenty of action, lots of adventure, and a healthy dose of puzzles, not to mention gorgeous visuals, a fantastic symphonic score, in contrast to the ambient wildlife and wind atmosphere, and in the remastered PS3 version, a series of interviews, development footage, dynamic themes, and other bonus content.
ICO pushed the PS2 to the breaking point back in the day, despite some of the worst cover art this side of Mega Man, was one of the well regarded works on that oh so popular box. It’s not a massive undertaking, there’s a trophy for finishing the game in under 4 hours, sure is a 4 hour long escort quest, but it is also one of the greatest stories ever played.