[top]Introduction

Ico was first released on the PS2 back in 2001. A first in many aspects of video games, it is treasured by many as a rich and emotional game told with minimal dialogue and score. The game tells the story of Ico, a small boy cursed with two horns on his head. Seen as an omen to his village, he is led to a mysterious castle and locked away to be left for dead. An earthquake causes Ico to be released and is free to explore the castle. He soon meets the even more mysterious Yorda, a woman that speaks in an unfamiliar language and seems to glow even in the darkest areas in the castle, and the pair begin to discover their way to freedom. Along the way, Ico and Yorda must face the ever-present Shadow Creatures and Yorda's mother, the dark Queen of the castle, if they wish to succeed in their escape.


[top]Overview

Players: 1
Online Play: No
Online Trophies: None
Cheats Affect Trophies: N/A
Glitched Trophies: None
Minimum Playthroughs: 2
Missable Trophies: Split the Watermelon, Spiked Club, Shining Sword
Estimated Time to Platinum: 6-10 hours


[top]Controls

  • -- Pauses the game
  • -- Jump
  • -- Interact with environment (i.e. picking up/throwing objects, etc.)
  • Hold -- Swing on chain
  • -- Confirm selection in menus
  • -- Attack with equipped weapon
  • -- Call Yorda, grab/let go of Yorda's hand
  • -- Camera zoom


[top]Trophy Unlock Time

One thing you'll notice fairly quickly while playing Ico is that, after fulfilling the requirement for a trophy, it will unlock at strange times. Don't worry if a trophy might not unlock for some period of time after you've earned it. It is unknown why trophies unlock at what would seem like random time intervals, but they can be alarming enough to warrant a mention within this guide. Here are some notes on strange unlock times for various trophies. Those not listed here can be considered to unlock very quickly and/or immediately after fulfilling the trophy requirement until listed otherwise.
  • "Cutscene" trophies - these tend to unlock after you've moved into a different area (you might need to solve a puzzle before proceeding).
  • Spiked Club/Shining Sword - this trophy can take some time to unlock. The author unlocked the trophy after exiting her game (while still in the same area where the Spiked Club was obtained), though it will also unlock after moving to a new area.
  • Royal Arms - this will unlock as soon as you activate the first Idol Door with the sword.
  • Express Journey, Castle Guide, Unscathed Escape - these will unlock when you come to the "fin" screen (after the final cutscene(s) with Ico and Yorda).


[top]Roadmap

  • Runthrough 1 - Bench Warmer
    In this first journey through the castle, you have two main goals: save on all of the couches for the Bench Warmer trophy, and understand all of the puzzles you must solve as you make your way through. Explore to your heart's content - try to find shortcuts, falls that are safe for both Ico and Yorda, safe zones to leave Yorda while you solve a puzzle or two, etc. The more familiar you are with the castle, the more comfortable you'll be during your speed run. Also, don't forget to pick up Spiked Club when you can.

  • Runthrough 2 - Castle Guide
    Here's where you'll have to use every little shortcut and trick you found in your first run to get through the castle in under two hours. For additional tips (as well as a video walkthrough), see Castle Guide for more information.

  • Runthrough 2.5 - Shining Sword
    Make a save prior to where you picked up the Spiked Club in the first playthrough. Do the same thing as you did last time to earn the weapon, and you will get the Shining Sword. After you get credit for the trophy, quit the game and resume your speed run. As nice as the Shining Sword is, the few minutes it took to get the weapon can potentially kill your speed run...and you might need that minute or two later on.

  • Runthrough 3 - Cleanup
    If you missed any trophies, this would be the run to do so. You might not need to start from the beginning; use any saves you've made thus far if it will save time to snag the remaining trophies for Ico.



[top]Trophies

[top]
Enlightenment
Acquire all trophies

After earning the other fifteen trophies in ICO, you'll unlock this platinum. Congrats!

[top]
Rescue
Rescue Yorda

Story-related, cannot be missed.

This is the first trophy you will unlock during ICO by freeing Yorda from her cage. To free her, climb up the ladder to the right of the doorway Ico entered through (the ladder near the top of your screen) and begin trekking up the long spiral staircase (using the chain when the first portion of the stairwell ends) until you reach a gap that Ico can't jump across. Climb out of the broken window nearby and head right once on the small balcony. Climb up the block and through another broken window to reach the previously inaccessible ledge. Pull the lever to lower the cage, and head back down to the ground floor.

When you reach the ground floor, climb the other ladder and walk around the ledge until you're parallel to the cage. Jump on top of the cage to finally release Yorda.

[top]
Failure
Finish watching the demo scene confronting the Queen at the front gate stage

Story-related, cannot be missed.

This is the second storyline trophy you'll earn in the game. This is earned after watching the cutscene immediately after opening the Idol Doors that Yorda run through without Ico. To get there, you must complete the chandelier room and pass through the "infinite spawn" courtyard. In the chandelier room, leave Yorda at the entrance, then make your way to the rafters and jump on the chandelier. Hit the chain to cause the walkway you entered on to weaken, then head back to the circular courtyard with the save couch. Descend the spiral stairs around the courtyard. Find and pick up a bomb with the button and enter the doorway to the left. The fastest way to light a bomb is to walk up to a flame source (in this room, the chandelier candles) and jump with the button. If close enough, the bomb should light without needing to set it down; if it doesn't work, try it again. When the bomb is lit, walk the bomb to the support rod so it explodes right very close to the rod (Ico will not die if the bomb explodes in his hands, or if he's caught in the explosion). When the walkway falls, head back up to where you left Yorda and take her hand. When the Shadow Creatures appear, ignore them and proceed to the Idol Door.

In the next room, the "infinite spawn" courtyard, ignore the Shadow Creatures again and run to the next Idol Door. When you enter this door, the trophy cutscene will play. However, the trophy will not unlock until you exit this courtyard.

[top]
Armed and Ready
Acquire Sword

Story-related, cannot be missed.

This trophy (and Ico's first actual weapon) is earned at the midpoint of opening the East Gate. When you walk in, the camera will pan to show you which window the sword is embedded in. Because the main goal in the East Arena is to open these windows by lighting the small spheres below the windows on fire, you will not have to go out of your way for the weapon. In fact, it is mandatory that you collect the sword or else you won't be able to progress in the Arena. Just keep working your way around the Arena and opening windows; eventually you'll open the window with the sword. After the weapon falls, simply pick it up and unlock this trophy.

[top]
East Gate
Open East Gate

Story-related, cannot be missed.

This trophy will be earned not long after Armed and Ready. After the Main Gate is closed, Ico and Yorda are forced to activate each door of the Main Gate individually by entering the East and West Arenas and solving the puzzles there. These puzzles revolve around lighting small spherical orbs that bookend the three large circular windows within the Arena. Some of the spheres need to be turned to be lit; this is done by pulling levers within the Arena.

As you're making your way around the Arena, Shadow Creatures will appear frequently to try and stop you. There is a set of Idol Doors at the very top of the foyer, but you won't be able to access them until the very end of your time here. Once Ico and Yorda stand on the circular pressure plate, you can move Yorda to the main foyer and keep her safe for a brief period. If done quickly, you can open both windows in the pressure plate room before she's captured in the foyer.

After collecting the sword, cut the ropes holding the cage up and take Yorda with you as you make your way to the last window via the water room. When you reach cut and cross the bridge to where the Idol Doors rest, take Yorda near the opening in the fence to cause a block to appear. Keep walking toward the Idol Doors and more blocks will form a bridge. Pull the lever past the Idol Doors and take the elevator on the right down to the ground floor. Pick up a stick, ignite the tip, and light the final two spheres to open the East Gate for the trophy.

[top]
West Gate
Open West Gate

Story-related, cannot be missed.

The West Gate is the harder of the two gates to open, due to more aggressive Shadow Creature attacks and a slightly trickier configuration. For the most part, the West Arena is a mirror image of the East Arena in terms of room placement. However, the puzzle solutions differ. The first thing you'll want to do when you enter the Arena is to open the doors to both the pressure plate and water rooms. Head into the pressure plate room and continue like you did in the East Arena (the sphere lever will be up a ladder near the entrance and the couch). When the window is open, you have two options from here on out. The safer method is to fight all Shadow Creatures that appear in the Arena while taking Yorda with you. This takes much longer, but Yorda will be relatively safe throughout the process.

The other option is ideal for your speed run, but will place Yorda in great danger if you're not fast in solving the remainder of the Arena's puzzles. For this method, run back up the ladder with Yorda in tow and head back to the foyer. Shadow Creatures will be waiting in the foyer, so take Yorda into the water room. Place her in the far corner from the entrance (or else Yorda will follow you back into the foyer), and return to the pressure plate room. Go outside and push the dish counter-clockwise for a quarter of a turn, climbing the outdoor ladder afterwards.

Jump to the chain and cut the ropes holding the two portions of the bridge up. Head through the pressure plate door next to the second half of the bridge and pull the lever to stop the water flow in the water room. Run back to the previous room and cross the bridge to pick up a bomb. Cross the bridge again and light the bomb on the torch opposite the boarded up door. Walk to the edge of the bridge closest to you and throw the bomb at the boards. If successful, a cutscene will show the planks blowing up; if not, head back to the water room as quickly as you can, because Shadow Creatures will be spawning in there very shortly. Once the blocked doorway is clear, run through to the outer balcony (which leads to the top of the water room) and, as you're running, begin calling Yorda. Once Yorda's with you again, cross the bridge one final time and make your way to the Idol Doors over the appearing platform blocks. Be careful at this point, as Shadow Creatures will again spawn in the foyer and be very aggressive towards capturing Yorda - and if Ico falls off of the bridge, he'll die. If you're quick enough, you can get Yorda to the Idol Doors before the Shadow Creatures can get to her.

After that, just light the remaining spheres unopposed and you'll snag this trophy.

[top]
Farewell
Finish watching farewell demo scene with Yorda at the front gate stage

Story-related, cannot be missed.

This trophy is earned after opening both the West and East gate. Head back to the Main Gate (where you earned the Failure trophy), and you will find the closed gate glowing with energy. Save your game on the couch to the left of the main gate, as this is the last opportunity to save your game (you still have at least 30 minutes of gameplay left in the story, so saving now will save you a lot of backtracking if you die). When you're ready, approach the game and watch the cutscene that follows. You'll unlock this trophy shortly after the cutscene.

When you regain control of Ico, he'll be dangling off of the receding bridge. Quickly climb back onto the bridge and jump towards Yorda, or else you'll die.

[top]
Royal Arms
Acquire Queen's Sword

Story-related, cannot be missed.

If you remember back to the very beginning of the game, the people that put Ico into the castle used a lightning-infused sword to open the Idol Doors...now it's Ico's turn to possess this sword.

The Queen's Sword is found near the very end of the game, some time after Ico and Yorda are separated. After traversing the machinery, you will enter near the top of a large cylindrical tower. Carefully navigate Ico down to the ground floor, moving a hanging chain halfway down to make a safe path to the lower half. When you reach the ground, you'll find a set of Idol Doors and an open doorway; exiting through the open doorway will lead Ico to the cavern used by Ico's captors to bring him into the castle. Follow the rocky ledge on the side of the waterway to find a pedestal there the Queen's Sword rests. Pick it up, and not only can Ico now open Idol Doors, but you'll earn this trophy.

[top]
Emancipation
Clear the game

Story-related, cannot be missed.

Simply put, this trophy will unlock after completing the game for the first time. The final 20 to 30 minutes of gameplay sees Ico alone to make his way back into the castle. This part is fairly straightforward, and shouldn't pose too much trouble to figure out. When your in the area with the water and machinery (just after jumping across the cages), you'll need to bring the box you pushed into the water with you to reach both the other high ledge and the chain hanging near the waterfall. When you make it back into the tower, remember to move the hanging chain (about halfway down) so you can continue making your way to the ground. Collect the Queen's Sword, and open the Idol Doors in the tower. Take the elevator up to the tomb chamber (where you began the game).

At this point, you'll need to fight off a large number of horned Shadow Creatures. They jump away from Ico when he attacks them, so either move to where they're hovering and strike the moment they land, or use a jumping attack ( followed by ) to reach them while in mid-air. As you destroy each one, one of the tombs will begin to glow. When you've destroyed all of them, a cutscene will play and direct you to the Idol Doors at the very top of the chamber. Climb up the steps and through the Idol Doors to enter the Queen's chamber.

Examine the throne and turn to leave the room to force the Queen to appear. This fight follows the same pattern:
  • Attack the Queen with the sword to weaken her shield
  • The sword will get thrown from Ico's hands and land elsewhere in the room
  • Collect the sword
  • Repeat until she is defeated

Throughout the battle, the Queen will shout and send a wave of darkness from her. If hit, Ico will turn to stone and you'll have to start over from your last save. You can stand behind one of the two moveable totems to avoid the attack, or you can slash though the darkness with the sword. Both the totems and sword give off a blue aura as the darkness passes over it, so use that to your advantage when trying to find the sword. You can also hold to have the camera pan around and focus on the sword. Remember, though, to hide behind the totems while figuring out where the sword is to avoid being killed. When you destroy the barrier, the sword will fly to the opposite side of the room, near the Idol Door entrance. Drag the right-hand totem back with you as you move close to the sword, as from now until you defeat her, she will attack very frequently. Run up to and attack the Queen to defeat her and beat the game.

[top]
Split the Watermelon
Bring the watermelon to Yorda upon completing 2nd time through

This trophy is missable.

This trophy can be earned at the very end of your second playthrough, after you wash up on the beach. You'll see a large rock in the distance...run to and behind that rock and you'll find a small watermelon patch in the grassy area. Grab one of the watermelons (preferably one of the medium-sized melons, as ICO has trouble carrying the largest melon), and begin the long trek to the left. Eventually, you will come across Yorda close to the water's edge. Continue holding the watermelon as you approach Yorda and the watermelon scene will play and this trophy will unlock.

[top]
Spiked Club
Acquire spiked club

This trophy is missable.

The spiked club was considered the "hidden weapon" when ICO was first released, and requires a little bit of side work to receive. There is a secret room in the area next to the watermill, with the only initial entrance is on the opposite side as a wooden block (watch the video for a better idea of the specific room). On the lower floor, you'll notice the middle brick panel is a slightly different color. Push the far side of this panel and it will begin to open. Continue making your way outside (while opening the main door via a switch in the courtyard so you my re-renter the room) and you will find a small tree near the entrance ramp. Have Ico attack the tree to cause a large ball to fall down. Pick the ball up and (with Yorda) enter the secret room.

The next part can be done two different ways, with the only difference being the order in which you perform the steps. The "normal" way to acquire the Spiked Club is to have both Ico and Yorda stand on the circular pressure plate; you will get a cutscene of a stone basket rising from the raised platform in front of you. The final step is to essentially play basketball - run the ball up to the raised platform and throw the ball into the bucket. Make sure Ico is as far back as possible before you step forward and "shoot" the ball. When the ball goes into the bucket, the Spiked Club will fly through an open window and onto the ground. Pick up the weapon to acquire it. The trophy will not unlock until you leave the area.

This method can be seen here (video provided by DisturbedCreations02):

Toggle Spoiler


The "shortcut" method is done by bypassing the step that has Ico tossing the ball. Before stepping on the plate, have Ico run the ball up to the raised platform. You'll see a square marked off on the ground - this is where the bucket rises up from. Place the ball within the square, and run back down so that Ico and Yorda are standing on the pressure plate. When the bucket rises up, the ball will bounce up and immediately fall into the bucket!

This method is demonstrated here (video provided by MooTheTubey):

Toggle Spoiler

[top]
Shining Sword
Acquire shining sword

This trophy is missable.

This weapon is earned the same way as the Spiked Club; the only difference is that the Shining Sword is given during the second playthrough, whereas the Spiked Club is gained during the first playthrough. See Spiked Club for the method used to get this weapon.

It should be noted that this trophy has glitched for people that use the "shortcut" method to get the ball into the box (you get the sword, but not the trophy. As such, your safest route for this trophy is to do the "normal" method for acquiring the sword.

[top]
Bench Warmer
Save at all save points

Save points are designated by two-person couches with glowing patterns on them. Both Ico and Yorda are required to be sitting on the couch before the save point activates. To save, have Ico stand next to the couch and press to have him sit down. Once he's seated, call Yorda with until she makes her way over and sits down. As soon as she sits, the game will ask if you wish to save. You must save at each couch for this trophy.

Below are the locations of the couches in Ico, in the order you come across them.

Toggle Spoiler


It is not recommended (and, in fact, most likely not possible) to go for this trophy while also going for Castle Guide. This is due to not needing Yorda with you during puzzles near some of the couches. If you follow the above list, you will get this trophy before West Gate.

[top]
Express Journey
Beat the game within 4 hours

See Castle Guide for more information.

[top]
Castle Guide
Beat the game within 2 hours

Not only is this a very annoying trophy, but it's easily the most challenging trophy in the game. You need to be extremely fast in solving puzzles, good at keeping Yorda out of harm's way, and a little bit lucky to finish the game fast enough. Before you go into your speed run, here are a few pointers that will help you along the way.
  • Shortcuts - Finding shortcuts is key to finishing in under two hours. This includes finding ledges to "skip" a puzzle, taking a shorter path between two points, calling Yorda to follow you instead of holding her hand, etc.
  • Yorda - There are actually a few "safe" areas where you can move Yorda to before Ico has to solve a puzzle. Since Shadow Creatures only attack Ico when Yorda is present, not having her with you means possibly skipping hairy battles with the Shadows. If you do decide to leave Yorda behind, make sure you complete the task(s) as quickly as you can, and dash back to pick her up...as eventually the Shadow Creatures will find her and capture her. It's a risky move leaving her behind for a minute or so, but it has a high payout in saving precious time.
  • Pause - Pausing the game pauses the in-game clock. If you're stuck (or following the video walkthrough below), always pause your game.
  • Bombs - You can light a bomb without having to set it down. While carrying a bomb, walk up to a fire source and jump while directly next to the fire (sometimes you might need to walk and jump "into" he fire). If done correctly, the bomb fuse will be lit and you will have saved quite a few seconds in the process.
  • Continue Screen - If you or Yorda die, NEVER select "Yes" on the game over/continue screen. If you do, the in-game clock will keep the time you spent previously on your last failed attempt. Always select "No" and return to the main menu if you should fail.
  • Idol Doors - Having Yorda open a set of Idol Doors will instantly kill any Shadow Creatures in the area. Instead of fighting the Shadow Creatures, look to see if there's an Idol Door that can do the deed instead.
  • Final Save Time - Here's a note from joetheragon:
    Quote Originally Posted by jojothedragon View Post
    My last save was at 1hr 28mins 30 sec. Still I was able to get the trophy.

For a complete video walkthrough of a speed run in six parts, click the spoiler tab below. This video has been graciously recorded by wo0Ter and has a final time of 1:45.

Toggle Spoiler


Seeing as this walkthrough timed in at 1:45, you don't have to perfectly follow this walkthrough (i.e. fighting a few battles that were skipped and/or avoided, etc). You can also very easily get this and Split the Watermelon within the same runthrough without having to reload a previous save.

[top]
Unscathed Escape
Clear the game without viewing a game over screen

As you make your way through the castle, it is possible for both Ico and Yorda to die in the process. If Ico takes too large of a fall, or jump off of the castle completely, he'll die. As for Yorda, she (and Ico shortly afterwards) can die if she is completely swallowed into a shadow portal. If any death occurs, the screen will gain a reddish tint and the game will ask if you'd like to continue. If you select Yes, you won't earn this trophy. However, by selecting No and returning to the Main Menu to restart your game, the game over screen will not be counted against you and you will still be eligible to get this trophy.

There's no real advantage to continuing from the game over screen, as you're returned to the last couch you saved on. Since this is exactly what happens when you restart from the Main Menu, always select No from the game over screen and you will be fine.



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