Thursday, 27 August 2015

Dark Souls: Journey Into Darkness

Sometimes in Dark Souls, things just click into place. On this such occasion, I had vanquished two long-term foes. My progress, once stymied by demons and death, could proceed again. As usual, the game would put far darker foes in my future.

First to be swept aside was the Gaping Demon, the fang-mouthed abomination that lay at the base of the Depths. I sought others to defeat it, and helpful people who had passed this point before gave good advice. The pattern of its attacks are not so hard to predict, once you know what to look for, and so I was able to slowly chip at its health and finally triumph.

Being a phantom is rather fun
In celebration, I utilised the White Soapstone, and was summoned as a helpful phantom to assist others in defeating the beast. Helping others succeed where I had struggled was immensely satisfying. If this was not enough of a reward, I also received thousands of souls and some Humanity.

The best thing
This put me in a good position to tackle the Catacombs again, suitably levelled up and with some upgrades to my weapons I now had a Divine +3 broadsword, perfect for getting through this deadly area. I swiftly made my way back down the the bottom, where the spinning wheel-riding skeletons lurked. After summoning Paladin Leeroy, I managed to sneak past them and head to the boss area. With the NPC follower, the fight was brutal and short. The power of summoning again shows it's worth.
Down in the Catacombs, about to face Pinwheel
The demise of Pinwheel gave me yet more souls, and I was now of a level where I could face Blighttown. It is unfortunately one of the most terrible areas in the game. Dark, filled with poisonous monsters and awkward ledges, it strikes fear into most who visit. The danger is compounded by frustrations beyond the creatures within the game. Flying bugs find their way to attack you through the floor, your characters movements are hindered by the uneven and sometimes moving surfaces.

Horrible dark treacherous ledges and ladders
Even after making your way past the rotten wooden platforms and down to the base of the structure, the nightmare is not over. At the base, the map opens up into a large poisonous swamp. This vile and watery pit is host to yet more deadly foes, and with the poison slowly burning through your veins, any mistake and your next move can be your last.

Descending to the swamp
Exploring Blighttown helps reduce the fear of it though, and the poison-dart wielding snipers don't respawn, so I should have an easier go of it each new attempt. I managed to make it all the way to the Firekeeper soul at the base before succumbing to death, and my next attempt was more fruitful.

Looking out at the swamp from near the entrance to Queelags
I found my way to the bonfire at the base of Blighttown, located in what appeared to be a large storm drain. The tunnel behind me lead to a circular chamber, with no way to ascend. Above was surely the Depths, but I had descended even further still. In the distance a strange webbed lair drew me in, this was Queelag's Domain, and I would have to kill her to ring the second bell.

Covered in eggs? Horrifying.
Queelag is a fusion of demonic spider and witch. Either would be a formidable opponent, but together this arachnid-human nightmare forms a challenge that requires careful tactics. Her attacks are fire-based, including the spider vomiting lava across the floor. The best option is to run, and make quick strikes (much like the Gaping Demon), but she scuttles across the area so fast you may spend all of your time evading and none of it attacking.

The final blow has been struck!
On my third attempt, I turned human to try and get some assistance. I was invaded on the way by Maneater Mildred, a red phantom. She fell easily, but was available to summon for the Queelag fight. She provided an excellent distraction for Queelag, who spend her time concentrating on only one of us, allowing the other to strike. Several times I nearly succumbed to the attacks, but was finally victorious.
Queelags sister? I killed the guy nearby by accident, didn't realise you could talk with him. May have missed some interesting stuff there.
Beneath Queelag's domain lay the second bell, and once it was rung a gate opened in the distance. This was the one that the rotund knight was waiting by (near the Undead Parish blacksmith). It leads to Anor Londo, where I should be able to find the Lordvessel (as I found out by talking to the rather strange Kingseeker Frampt, at Firelink Shrine).

So much lava, so many demons in the distance (I saw at least one Capra and several Taurus)
Also beneath Queelag's was a hellish domain, a lava filled chamber full of demons and no doubt I would have to venture into it. Not today though, today was for celebrating victory and for reinforcing my weapons and armour before the next expedition.

This goofy guy is Kingseeker Frampt. He eats stuff and gives you souls. This game is weird.

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