“They call me hadouken, because I’m down right fierce”
The last run I did in Dark Souls was a self imposed challenge to use only the whip, and look like Simon Belmont. It was the culinary equivalent of a crepe - difficult to prepare, hard to execute, and the reward is a delicate balance of being fragile and French. This week, I decided to take on the Dragon Bone Fist, the culinary equivalent of a deep fried Twinkie. Decadent. Excessive. Heart stopping. My goal for this run was simple: The last hit on every boss has to be an uppercut. Thats it! This would require me to do something I don’t normally like to do and go into NG+ to capture all bosses before Anor Londo, as I cannot kill them with an uppercut before that point. I decided to go with a theme of Akuma for this run, because he seemed likely to use the Dragon Bone Fist and Power Within, so I rolled with it. With the concept out of the way, some observations:
The Weapons Before getting the fist, I decided to pick up the Zweihander (abbreviated to Zwei, because I can’t be bothered to type it out again) to use as a main weapon, and I quickly found it becoming one of my favorite weapons. It hits HARD. At the end of the game, I had it at +15 for kicks and giggles. In NG+ I used Power Within, plus the Zwei, plus the hornet ring just to see how much damage I could pull off. I parried Havel the Rock and got the most brutal animation I have ever seen: The first hit was normal, then he bashed him to the ground, the he did an OTG smash with it. Total damage? 1800. I believe the English phrase is “phwoar”. Throughout the playthrough I would chant out “Pan” during the windup of the heavy attack and shout out “Cake” when it connected. Good times.
But that isn’t the weapon we are looking at this run! We are looking at Fister Roboto. The best part is? It’s learning. The DBF isn’t impressive on paper: most swings were only doing around 200 damage. However, it swings fast, and doesn’t drain lots of stamina, so it is pretty good as far as a DPS calculation goes. On top of that, Power Within helps to buff that damage up, PLUS you can apply resins. This leads to single hits doing 350 damage, and uppercuts dealing in the 800 range. Again: Phwoar. The only bad part is that the uppercut has a crazy wind up animation (~2 seconds), and the regular attack has incredibly short range. Some enemies can turn you into Darth Helmet, running and swinging, but blocked by their geometry. Overall though, the uppercut makes up for all shortcomings the DBF has, as the animation is hilarious.
I also learned about scaling this run, something that I apparently didn’t understand before: Scaling adds a multiple of the weapons base damage to that weapon. The higher the scaling, the higher the damage. This leads to some odd situations, like with the Zwei and the Fist. The Zwei has a C scaling with str, so why would you want that over the S rank Dragon Bone Fist? The fist’s base damage is 142, and a 40 str scaling is +174. The Zwei has scaling of +214, but has base damage of 325. So C scaling gives 65% of base damage, and S gives +120% of base damage, but the total of the two for the Zwei is much higher. Math? In my videogames? It’s more likely than you think.
How far am I willing to go in a videogame with math, asked no one? In EDF:IA I had a spreadsheet to calculate the DPS of each gun before I purchased it. The formula was something like:
(Damage per bullet * clip size) / ( Reload Time + (clip size/rate of fire) )
I loved that game...
The Gear I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this guy. Tank? I would need poise and strength, so it made sense. I realized about halfway through that I was going to pick up the Iron Round Shield to try it out, so I might as well pick up the Dark Woodgrain Ring, so I decided to keep my load under 25% for ninja flips, because those are a staple of Street Fighter. I didn’t want to give up poise, so I cranked up my equipment burden with levels and Havel’s ring until I could carry around 135 pounds. I joined the Darkwraith covenant this run because it seemed like something Akuma would do, so I went with the Dark Set for my endgame armor, still while doing ninja flips, with a Zwei. It felt really, really good. Until that point, I was swapping out whatever I could to get the best defense in while keeping a <25% burden with the fist.
I want to talk about the Iron Round Shield: This shield is the real deal. Fully upgraded, it has 68 stability, which isn’t half bad, and it has fairly decent damage prevention (100 physical 72 fire). The best part about it though is that it has a hidden attribute: it has crazy deflection. Almost every attack that hits it both figuratively AND literally bounces off of it. This can be annoying if you have a parry animation you like to use that is mid combo, but it is amazing in so many situations. Case in point? NG+ Capra’s attacks bounce off of it, rendering that boss entirely impotent. And that’s pretty dang cool. I am so sad that I never played with that shield before, because it really has it all. Plus, it can parry! Neat!
The Struggles This was much, much, more fun to execute. Most bosses were really easy, but a few gave me some rather frustrating problems. The major hurdle was the Four Kings - I couldn’t land hits on them because their upper body was blocking my fist from connecting. I had to circle to their back to attack, which cost me dps, which spawned kings, which killed me. Eventually, I killed Pinwheel, got 20 Estus, buffed a +14 Zwei with power within and lightning, and just swapped to fist when I needed to uppercut. A little cheaty, but got there nonetheless.
Grinding out the scales to +5 the DBF was as obnoxious as always - I was cursed on my down the Great Hollow, and those Drakes outside of New Londo are just plain annoying. But the S rank scaling is pretty worth it.
The Gargoyles were also fairly annoying, just because they can dish out damage in NG+ and the uppercut animation gives a huge window for them to stagger you out of the attack. I promise I killed King 3 and Gargoyle 1 with the uppercut, but as I have mentioned before I have to F9 to begin a capture, so I didn’t get the killshot on film. Sad panda.
Finally, Crossbreed Priscilla is a major pain to kill with an uppercut. She isn’t that hard to kill, it is just nearly impossible to land an uppercut on her while she is invisible. I tried to stagger her and get her low enough to be visible when I got the killing blow, but she was as stubborn as she is possibly pregnant, so I had to get it in while she was invisible, with no knowledge of her healthbar. I took upwards of 30 videos of what I hoped was the last uppercut before I decided my strategy was dumb. I finally wound up pegging her with throwing knifes, then proceeded to drive the knife from her sternum to her face with my fist for the finishing blow. It was really, really rewarding, but also pretty frustrating to have so many whiffs. This run, I had time to think while fighting her, and I realized that she drops twin humanities, and seems really reluctant to fight. I started thinking that this could mean that she has a child as well, which would make killing her sadder than Sif. It makes sense in my head, but there isn’t a lot of solid evidence behind it, but in my mind that is now a thing.
The Victories I think the Stray Demon kill was my favorite kill of that boss ever - I got the perfect read and was able to shoryuken him when he went in the air for a divekick. Classic.
After struggling with the moonlight butterfly with a whip, I was able to kill it as soon as it landed with the DBF. That was just vindication.
This is totally me bragging, but I managed to beat Ren and Stimpy on my first try, I beat Ceaseless without taking a single hit, I beat the Bed of Chaos on my first run it, and I beat Gwyn on my first try, killing him with the first uppercut I threw. I’ve gotten pretty good at this game! Total time was 16:27, Soul level 95. That time includes NG+ up through the Iron Golem for all the required footage.
Speaking of which:
As always, thanks for reading! I may have to swap out games from something besides Dark Souls, as my Steam/Origin backlog is looking at me with puppy eyes.