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LONG BLOG

Demon's Souls for n00bs: the Tower Knight

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Almost a year ago, I got and tried playing Demon's Souls. A couple weeks later, I reluctantly moved it from my "now playing" list to my "on hold" list, since I got stuck. The game is punishingly difficult, yes, but I'm slowly beginning to discover that it is not impossible, as I had previously believed.

The specific part I got stuck on was just the second boss in the game, the Tower Knight. Well, last night I was (miraculously?) able to beat him, and, having discovered specific techniques for doing so, thought I'd share them, especially since I haven't really seen this kind of help elsewhere on the internet.




Prepwork

I had some beneficial circumstances this play-through. Key among them is that I figured out how to level. After beating the first boss, Phalanx (the blobby black shield creature), you go back to the Nexus and talk to the Maiden in Black. She very unhelpfully tells you to talk to the Monumental and briefly shows you its general location. You need to climb nearly all the way to the top of the Nexus and explore to find it. It's one of those weird mummy-wrapped corpses sitting against a wall, so explore them until you find one you can talk to. After talking to it, the Maiden in Black will now let you spend your souls to add stat points.

This serves a dual purpose in my eyes: firstly, yay stats; secondly, you have less at stake when you die. At least this early in the game, you don't want to be carrying around huge numbers of souls, because when you inevitably die, the pain will be the more bitter.


Anyway... the Tower Knight

When I first saw this guy, I thought, "you've gotta be kidding me. This has to be some kind of colossal joke!" He is something like ten times taller than you. Heck, your head reaches his ankle. His attacks are so huge and do so much damage that you can die in one hit. But beating him is doable, with the right applied techniques.

I recently read the amazing Name of the Wind, and I found that, like its concept of magic in the world, when you understand how a thing works, you have power over it. So too with the enemies of Demon's Souls, at least so far. The trick was understanding the attacks of the Tower Knight and how to counter them.

The first thing you will want to do is sprint to one of the staircases on the sides, make your way around the ramparts, and systematically eradicate all of the archers. One tricky bit is that they are liable to fall from their post, but will not die from fall damage, so make sure to kill them before they fall. My strong attack one-hit-killed them, so maybe that's an option for you.

For the rest of the fight, the basic strategy will be to get behind the knight, which is kind of his blind spot, wail on his feet until they start venting magic blood. Then, when he crashes to the ground, stab him in the head a bunch (which is the only place he actually takes damage).


Getting behind the knight

The knight has basically three attacks when you're on the ground facing him. Knowing their tells, their area of effect, and how to avoid or exploit them is the key to winning this fight.

One thing to note is that if you are too far away from the knight, he will keep advancing on you, and you can end up with your back against a wall. Avoid that, because you need room to back up when he actually does an attack. Instead, keep taunting him. Come in close, watch for a tell, and back up. Go to him; don't let him corner you. At the same time, be judicious: you need time to back up out of range, so don't get in too close.

For the entirety of the fight, you will probably find it helpful to be locked on to one of his ankles. Having your shield up can actually help soften a bit of damage from an attack (I think).


The Long Stab



The knight holds his lance up for a moment, poised to strike. Then he stabs forward at you for massive damage. It will take off over half your health, generally, so you don't want to be hit by this. When you see him raise his lance a bit, start backing up. When he actually goes for the stab, roll backwards; this seems to help dodge it.


The Sweep



The knight pulls back his lance to the side (just his lance - not both his lance and shield), then sweeps it across the ground in an arc. This does a decent amount of damage as well. You can avoid it the same way as the long stab. When you see the tell, back way up.


The Ground Pound

This is the most important attack to recognize, because it's the one you will exploit. The knight winds up with his shield, which requires him turning his whole body, so it is pretty obvious. Then he crashes the shield horizontally into the ground in front of him, for a deceptively large area attack. If this hits you, you will most likely die; it's that strong. Also note that the area of effect is all around him, so if you're too close behind him this can still hit you.



When you see the tell, back up out of its range. As soon as the shield comes crashing down, sprint forward directly at him, so that you are running against the shield while it's momentarily embedded in the ground. As he lifts the shield, you will be able to run through his legs to get behind him.

If you aren't close enough or not prepared for the sprint, you can stay out of range and use this time to eat a delicious moon grass (a.k.a. heal).


Anklebiting

Now that you're behind him, your task is to hit his feet while keeping yourself safe. Once a heel is spouting three geysers of green magic blood (wat.), it's done, and you can target the other one.

It's possible to establish a pretty nice rhythm when attacking his heel. The knight will do an attack, at which point you know you have a few seconds to hit the heel. As his animation finishes, you back up to stay out of his way. He'll start another attack, and you repeat.

The set of attacks when in this position are mostly different, so let's talk about them now.

The Quarter Pounder



So called, because it does far less damage than the frontal Ground Pound. The knight thumps his shield vertically into the ground in front of him. There is a comparatively smaller area of effect and less damage, too. Once he's thumped the shield down, you have a few seconds to attack.


The Dainty Hop



Sometimes the knight will abruptly hop straight backwards. This might knock you down, but it doesn't do a lot of damage. What's more inconvenient is that now you might not be behind him anymore, and have to get through his legs again! This one doesn't have any easy tells, so I can't advise you how to avoid it.


The Ground Pound, Redux

Our friend the Ground Pound makes a reappearance. The peculiar thing is that if you're attacking his heel during this attack, you might actually get swept around a bit in the cup of his shield. It's okay; don't panic. You will easily be able to get out momentarily.


The Tantrum



Sometimes the knight gets all hissy, and lifts up his right foot and stamps it down. Inside his helmet he might be pouting. You don't want to be right under his foot, but it's relatively easy to dodge, because it doesn't have a large area of effect.


Headpunches

When you've steamed both his heels (wat.) sufficiently, the knight will topple onto his back. Watch out: you can totally get knocked down by this. As soon as you see that second heel spring its third leak, start backing away from him fast, and you'll be okay. Run over to his head and hit him as much as you can. This will do massive damage. You may have to iterate 2-3 times before he dies, but the good news is that when he stands up again, his heels will already be half-leaking, so you don't have to hit them much to topple him again.



By the way, I think he does some goofy hopping attack when he stands up again, so steer clear of him just after he stands up.

Remember, especially when he's been toppled, you can easily take a break and run up the stairs on either side to heal or collect yourself. It's not impossible. You can do it! I did it! I have faith in you!
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About knutafone of us since 6:45 PM on 03.01.2010

Facts:
I'm a dad in my thirties.
I work for MS on the Xbox, making features and fixing bugs.
I have a cat and two dogs.
I sometimes make Twitter bots: 1, 2, 3

Frontpaged
Groundhog Day: Wave After Wave, This Is My Ocean
Obscurity: Nobody has ever heard of Lemmings

Currently playing
Stephen's Sausage Roll
Obduction


Favorites:
Dark Souls
La-Mulana
Geometry Wars 2
Burnout Paradise
Rayman (original, Origins, Legends)
Tetris Attack
Windwaker
Metroid Prime series
Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3
Descent 1-3
Bayonetta
English Country Tune
The Witness


Other places you might find me:
Twitch.tv livestream (PC indie games and Dark Souls)
knutaf on YouTube
@_knutaf on Twitter
Occasionally, I am part of a podcast
I watch a fair bit of anime.
I sometimes listen to music.
Xbox LIVE:knutaf
PSN ID:knutaf
Steam ID:knutaf


 

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