The easiest way to rekindle the first flame
Even though the original Dark Souls has proved a huge hit since its 2011 release, it’s still yet to be experienced by many FromSoft fans who only entered the publisher’s dark world via last year’s Elden Ring.
So if you’re looking for a helping hand through the original Soulslike, worry not, as we’re here to help make light of this dark and heavy burden by guiding you through all of its mandatory boss encounters.
Like the Vanguard Demon from Demon’s Souls, the Asylum Demon exists as a living meat grinder for newbies. He can intimidate players via its sheer size and serious damage output, but its speed will impress no one. What looks like a mighty opponent for first-timers will feel like butter on a hot knife for any player with minimal boss-fighting experience.
Sadly, the game doesn’t give players much chance to train beforehand, so they’ll need to go at him with what they have. Too bad that what they have is a broken weapon. As soon as the fight starts, players should sprint towards the left side of the arena and enter a tiny door that will lead them to an actual usable weapon.
Stay away from it when he starts his vertical take-off, dodge when he falls down, then get behind him and destroy his backside. Done.
Most games task players with grand missions such as saving a princess or deactivating a nuclear-capable robot. At first, Dark Souls tasks players with ringing two bells, no more, no less. The Bell Gargoyles serve as the protectors of the cathedral bell.
Upon entering the arena, players shouldn’t get too happy by realizing that the supposed gargoyles are, in fact, just one gargoyle. As soon as the first Gargoyle takes enough damage, its friend will show up to help. Newcomers should try to separate both enemies, as one’s magical attacks complement the other’s more physical move set.
Bonus tip: strike their tail to get a weapon. This is base Dark Souls logic, so from then on consider striking the tail of every enemy you find. Most will drop weapons. We promise we’re not tricking our readers into being cruel toward these monsters just for fun.
Chaos Witch Queelag
Queelag is what you get when you try to make a centaur but you’re all out of horse parts so you spider parts instead.
She’s the first boss to push things intodifficult territory. Queelag rules up close via her fire sword slashes, but she can also snipe the player from afar. Moreover, she spills area-of-effect lava all over the arena. Queelag requires patience, precision, and a lack of greed.
The Iron Golem offers players a nice breather after Queelag.
Despite his giant stature, the Golem moves very slowly and players can just position it in a way that a few leg hits will suffice in having it to fall to his death.
Players should bask in this glory because harder times will soon follow.
Ornstein & Smough
We won’t mince words here — Ornstein & Smough will give most players a considerable headache. Nobody is joking when they call this the hardest battle in the history of Souls games.
Either member of the duo would make for an interesting challenge, but the challenge of the two combined might prove too much for many to handle. We recommend players use the many pillars that exist in the arena as a natural shield against both enemies. As with any other boss composed of multiple enemies, keeping them separated will help greatly.
As soon as players kill one of them, the other will become super-powered. For the sake of ease, we recommend players deal with Ornstein (the lion-headed one with the spear) first, as even in his super-form Smough won’t cause as much trouble.
Great Wolf Sif
By the grave of the great knight Artorias, players will find Sif, his obviously awesome wolf. The only reason why Sif doesn’t laugh at a human’s need for opposable thumbs is that he’d drop the huge sword he holds with his mouth.
Players should try to get under Sif, as they should with most huge four-legged bosses in the series. That will allow players to avoid most of his devastating swipes. Sif telegraphs his attacks, so anyone with decent reflexes should do just fine.
Sif can give players nightmares not because he can immediately slice one’s life from 100 to zero, but because nobody wants to kill dogs. Also, did we mention that instead of morphing into a more powerful form when his life gets low, Sif just begins to limp and make players sadder?
Making this a mandatory boss is one of Miyazaki’s all-time darkest moves.
Pinwheel poses quite the contradiction. He’s a boss in the catacombs, one of the toughest areas in the game, but if players only visit him when they’re already strong enough to handle the area, he’ll put up no more of a challenge than a regular enemy.
Bed of Chaos
At the deepest depths of Lost Izalith lives the Bed Of Chaos. It will either end up as one of the easiest or one of the most excruciating experiences for players. There’s no in-between.
This gimmicky boss requires players to first hit both of its sides, then strike the tiny creature that lives within. The first two parts won’t put up much of a challenge, but the last one will turnDark Souls into sort of a platformer, a genre that doesn’t jive too well with the game’s mechanics.
Players will have to time a jump to both avoid the Bed of Chaos’ arms and land safely on the platform that’ll take them to the heart of the boss.
There’s no running away from Nito, the final boss of the Catacombs area. Ok, that might be correct but we just made him sound much scarier than he is. Nito can strike from any part of the boss arena via his dark magic, but he won’t put up much of a challenge when up close. He has a huge sword and can literally raise the dead, but his moveset is limited and he isn’t particularly fast.
Ignore the Skeletons and go for Nito — We realize this might sound confusing since Nito is also nothing but a bunch of skeletons, but you’ll see what I mean when you face him.
Seath The Scaleless
At the bottom of the Duke’s Archives sits Seath The Scaleless, the smartest of the dragons — whatever that might mean.
Don’t worry too much about the first encounter with Seath, as the game sets players up for failure. After forcing players to look at a rare, underserved “You Died” screen, Dark Souls has us reawakened in a jail cell. Players will have to find a way out and into Seath’s lair, a challenge much larger than that of killing Seath itself.
Seath doesn’t pose much of a challenge. Players can engage him from the front, but they should go around him and cut off his tail and then strike him in the back. Unfair? Yeah, but he started it.
Gwyn, Lord of Cinders
Gwyn is the final boss. This is the one you’ve all been looking for and… he’s not that hard.
His huge flaming sword could scare you off, but the thing about Gwyn is that expert players can easily parry his attacks.
Look, we would be out of our minds if we were to recommend newbies to try that, but hear us out — you’re no longer newbies at this point. It’s time to parry his attacks and show him who’s lord.
About The Author
Tiago is a freelancer who used to write about video games, cults, and video game cults. He now writes for Destructoid in an attempt to find himself on the winning side when the robot uprising comes.
More Stories by Tiago Manuel