Saturday, 18 July 2015

Dark Souls: The Demon, The Drake and the Deaths

Today has been a lesson in frustration, with moments of progress in between. Some people suggest that the deaths in Dark Souls are always fair, that in dying you learn how to do better next time. I would definitely say that's not always true. There are only so many times you can succumb to a similar death without thinking that there's not a lot of ways you could have done things differently.

Undead Burg (This spot has three bastards with firebombs)
Anyway, I had spent a little time in the Undead Burg, gathering a few levels and some equipment (box of holding for spare items, repair box to fix my weapons, that sort of thing, from a strange merchant hidden away). There were a couple of areas I just couldn't go, one which required a jump that I couldn't make (even with no armour, I didn't seem able to get across the gap). The other was an item guarded by a rather large armoured knight, to whom I could only do 14 damage. I think it's best to come back to him later, when I've progressed a bit more (much like the graveyard back in the opening area).

Loot from the weird bug, this will come in handy eventually
Instead of this, I spent some time clearing my way to the tower, at the top of which was a boss fight. It took me several repeated attempts to get there with at least a few estus flasks, but this did allow me to grind a few levels and learn the area very well. Upon reaching the upper level of the tower, I noticed a player-written note saying "secret here". It was next to some barrels, and upon smashing them a small gem-covered bug-like creature ran from me. I missed it the first time, but thankfully it respawned and I could kill it on the second attempt, gaining four items which would be useful in upgrading my weapons.

The Taurus Demon hides behind that other tower until you get closer
Now it was time to take on the boss, on the wall between two towers I met the Taurus Demon. I knew how to kill him, I had to climb up a tower and do a diving attack on his head. This proved a difficult task, as it takes about three or four of these attacks to kill him (and hacking at him when I had the opportunity). Getting past him to climb back up the tower was tricky indeed, but it can be done. Obviously I found this rather difficult, and it took repeated attempts before this paid off. In the end though, victory was mine!

I did it!
All that was left was to head onwards, but first I returned to the bonfire to spend my souls (I had over 7000 at that point). After again having to clear my way to the tower, but thankfully not being required to kill the demon again, I progressed forward towards the next tower, and found myself beside a bridge. On the opposite side of the bridge were three enemies, so I avoided that for now and checked the pathways around the near side. I found a locked door, and a strange man.

The bridge of fire and death
Solaire was his name, a fellow knight out here trying to accomplish the same task as me. He has a rather unhealthy obsession with the Sun, but otherwise seems like a nice enough fellow. He even told me of a way to summon him for tricky fights (something I will need in the future, I'm sure). A bit of jolly cooperation, as he would put it.

Meeting my new friend, Solaire
With nothing more to say, I left him to tackle the bridge (still no bonfire), and just as I was a little over half way, a huge Drake decided to burn the entire bridge. This killed the enemies, but also took a big chunk of health from me. I dived down the only stair nearby, and found myself a shortcut back to the Undead Burg bonfire. Once rested, I went back to the bridge, but this time on the underside.

Praise the sun!
Now this section is perhaps one of the most frustrating experiences I've had in the game so far. From the shortcut, you can only head under the bridge (unless you can handle the fiery breath of the drake), and there are ample opportunities to be pushed off the bridge to your death. Coupled with this, you have these rats. Good god these rats are the most horrible enemies I think exist in this game. Every other enemy can be dealt with, they have a pattern to learn, or a weakness. These three rats are in a small room, that is close to a cliff, and I try and kill them one by one by the cliff which has lead to my death on a couple of occasions (falling).

That goddamn dragon makes this bridge a nightmare.
Why try and tackle mere rats one by one? Well, if they get a hit on you, they can poison you. Unlike many RPG poisons, this one is quite deadly, and I have yet to find a way to cure it. Over the course of a few minutes, it will constantly sap your health, and so I end up using all of my estus flasks and then have to return to the bonfire (or continue, and die as I did on a few occasions). I have to press forward, but this poisoning means I have to retrace my steps so often it just becomes frustrating and tiresome.
This fellow surely holds some fine loot, but I'm in no condition to take it yet
If there was some way of protecting myself from the poison, or curing the poison, I would be able to learn how to deal with these rats. Alas, I think I will be spending rather a lot of time back and forth in this small section of the game, frustrated until I can finally manage to get far enough past this point that I get a shortcut to avoid it. I am told by a friend of mine that there will be an entire section of poisonous creatures to face later on, which I can only dread.

The Iron Bull, best killed from a distance.
Three paragraphs on rats, but I'll leave with a paragraph on a couple of interesting enemies, one of which I managed to kill. After the rats is a tower, atop which is an armoured knight that looked far too difficult for me, so I decided to avoid him. The other pathway lead to an armoured bull, which could easily kill me. Instead, I dodged it and went up some stairs above. After defeating a few regular hollow soldiers, I could lob firebombs at the iron bull until it was dead. Simple really, but that only lead to further rooms and corridors, further enemies and no respite in sight. After an inevitable death, it was back to the bonfire to begin again. But that will have to be another day.

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