The playable demo of Shadow of the Colossus was a demonstration version of the game shown at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo (or "E3"). It consisted of the journey to and the battle with the first colossus and ended once the player successfully defeated it. The demo contained many edits to the Forbidden Lands to prevent players from exploring past the plains south of the starting point.
The demo was distributed with:
- The September 2005 issue of PlayStation Magazine
- The October 2005 (#97) issue of the Official US PlayStation Magazine
- The "Playstation 2 Holiday 2005 Demo Disc" from PlayStation Underground
Differences between the demo and the first retail release
- The first thing the player sees in the demo is a prompt asking whether to set progressive scan on or off. This is the only time the player can change this setting; it (and a few others, discussed later) are scratched out in the Options menu with "under construction" written next to it.
- The opening cutscene has the game's title screen logo in the lower-right corner. The ending of the cutscene is also extended a few moments to show more of the big bridge.
- If the player interrupts the opening cutscene to go to the menu (by pressing Start), the music fades away slowly, going over into the main menu.
- The text "2005 E3 demo version" is under the game's logo in the title screen, and underneath that is "MAY/12/2005" in small orange font. The bottom copyright text simply says "(c) Sony Computer Entertainment Inc." and does not give a copyright date.
- The view of the Forbidden Lands in the game's title screen is viewed through a much wider field of view (about 15 degrees more), allowing quite a bit more land to be seen by rotating the right thumbstick. As expected to be, much of the land outside the view of the camera's initial position is less than stellar.
- There is nothing to select in the main menu (i.e., options can't be adjusted). Pressing Start on the main menu will begin the demo.
Options and display
- Pressing Start during gameplay will bring up the pause screen and map, as always. The map is slightly different from the one used in the final game, however; notable omissions include the great bridge and several of the landbridges near the central shrine. There are also a few more clouds covering the map.
- In the final game, the left thumbstick can be used to move the map around and the right thumbstick to zoom it in and out. These instructions are written out on the screen in both the final game and the demo, but moving the thumbsticks in the demo pause screen doesn't do anything.
- When going back to the game from the pause menu, the map will disappear in a flash of white and no sound will play. The clouds covering most of the map also take a split second longer to disappear.
- The Options menu has three of the options scratched out:
- Aspect ratio. The game is locked at 4:3 display.
- Progressive Scan display (though this can be changed when the demo is first started up).
- Camera Movement Speed. The "under construction" text to the right of the option also runs off the screen.
- The Screen Placement option is slightly bugged; moving the screen to the left or right takes a very long time, but it moves up and down normally.
- The Button Configuration menu is heavily bugged. None of the controls are shown as being mapped to their defaults (though they clearly are). Five different controls ("Attack", "Change Weapons (forward)", "Change Weapons (back)", "Camera Reset", and "Camera Zoom") are all displayed as being mapped to the button. "Jump" is mapped to , "Action" is mapped to , "Horse acceleration" is mapped to , and the "Grab" and "Observe Colossus" options are mapped to left and right on the directional pad, respectively. Attempting to remap any of the controls will assign the remapped button to a different action than the one selected.
- The text "Arms" can be seen over the weapon icon on the HUD.
- The player cannot switch to Wander's bare hands - just between the sword and the bow. The icon for his equipped weapon will disappear on random occasions.
- When riding Agro with the sword equipped, pressing causes Wander to slash the sword; this is different from the final release, in which he simply holds up the sword to the light (same as when holding ).
- The demo begins with Wander waking up in the Shrine of Worship even though he has not killed any colossi yet.
- The help text for jumping has the word "Jump" in quotation marks (Press to "Jump"). "Jump" is still incorrectly capitalized in the final version of the game.
- In addition to help text for holding up the sword to get the direction of the next colossus, Dormin instructs Wander at the beginning of the demo: "Hold up the sword in an area where the sun shines. Doing so, the light will serve as your guide..."
- Dormin's voice(s) also sound different in terms of the audio effects applied.
- The help text for getting on/off Agro is also vastly different (and much worse): "When is pressed next to a horse, you can get on and off a horse."
- Agro doesn't flee when the bow is aimed in her direction.
- If one dies and selects "Retry", they will start in the Shrine's main hall as before, but nearly all of the textures will be missing for several seconds.
- In general, the Forbidden Lands are much more arid, dry, and brown than they appear in the final game.
- There are no fruit trees. There appears to be one directly between the Shrine and Valus (and there is in the final game), but the tree disappears as it is approached. (The trees were not taken out of the distant land textures, so they seem to disappear like a mirage once close enough for the game to blend the distant textures with the ones close to you).
- Similar to the above, there are several "mirages" of save shrines scattered about the Lands in almost random places. None of the save shrines are "real", for obvious reasons.
- The 4-6 southernmost segments of the big bridge load incorrectly; they do not pop in until the player gets close to them and are not rendered in the distant land LOD textures at all when approached from the south.
- Most of the passages to other parts of the Lands have been blocked off (i.e., fallen boulders, broken landbridges, etc.), but there's one landbridge that was not broken: the one in the northwest corner of quadrant G4. One can take it north, but if they go too far "out of bounds", the screen will turn black and the demo will restart.
- When fighting the colossus, there is a structure in the valley that the colossus first goes down. If Wander climbs on it, it might attack with his club, but the club will go through both Wander and the structure.
- Some of the statues in the Shrine of Worship look very different (i.e. Malus). Also Avion and Phaedra are switched in position.
The garden above the Shrine's main hall can still be reached in the demo through a very simple exploitation: jumping diagonally upwards while climbing does not drain any stamina. Using this move on walls and ledges leaves Wander with more than enough stamina to make the climb.
- During the climb, several texture errors can be spotted in the walls. The textures used for the walls of the Shrine are mostly inferior to the textures in the final game.
- The path leading up to the garden is very primitive, with a lot of texture and lighting effect missing (understandably, since the developers didn't likely imagine anyone getting up here without a ginormous stamina gauge). The sound of the wind blowing is also unexpectedly cut off when ascending the winding path. (It resumes when Wander reaches the top. More bizarrely, it usually plays without a problem when Wander walks down the path).
- Right in the middle of the inner entrance to the garden, there is a headless model of Mono, with outstretched arms like a scarecrow. The model has no collision detection.
- There is no fruit on any of the trees.
- Health can be increased by eating lizard tails. There is a lounge of lizards on the bridge leading to the autumnal forest at E5 on the map, and the lizards respawn, allowing the player to keep increasing their health and stamina indefinitely.
- All water textures, including the bottom of the canal going around the middle of the garden and from the various "spouts" on the perimeter, are missing.
- Leaping into the canal is not recommended. The bottom of the canal is heavily bugged and is easy to get stuck in. It's possible, but difficult (and very glitchy), to get out of them.
- Wander can walk across the big bridge for a little while. Eventually, however, he will reach a point where the bridge ceases to have floor collision (it's right at the north end of the glitched segments of the bridge described above), and Wander will fall through to his death.