“Have fun storming the castle.” “Do you think it will work?” “It would take a miracle”
Wherein taterchimp learns that content creation is difficult
I watched the Megaman X Sequilitis again the other day, and because my mind has been 24/7 on the game, I started to think about the introduction to the game. To me, Dark Souls doesn’t actually begin after you have beaten Tubby and Chubby (sorry, everyone who isn’t past there...this is just step one). Up until that point, it feels like the game is constantly trying to teach you about the second half. Teacher 1. The Asylum Demon. Lesson 1. There are some fights that you cannot win...
Lesson 2. ...Until you are ready for them.
Teacher 2. Taurus Demons. Lesson 3. Some fights have a gimmick.
Teacher 3. The Gargoyles. Lesson 4. If faced with multiple opponents, prioritize one to make a fight manageable.
Teacher 4. The Gaping Dragon. Lesson 5. Bosses aren’t your only problem. Also, never underestimate your opponent.
Teacher 5. Quelaag Lesson 6. Pay attention to your surroundings.
The Iron Golem is your Midterm, and your final will be administered by Biggie and Tupac.
Probably the best prompt in any game ever. Can I do this anywhere please?
After getting my revenge on how terrible the whip is as a weapon, I was prepared to make the next step of my journey, but first, a diversion. I wanted to head back to where I came from in an effort to help myself in the future. I picked up the FAP ring because I figured I wouldn’t have much need for bling, then I was off to the asylum. Here, I picked up a fog ring, because there was basically no way I was going to make it past The Archers of Anor Londo (coming to a theatre near you), and I picked up the rusted iron ring, which in hindsight sounds an awful lot like something you use to play a rusty trombone (if you don’t get the reference....ask your parents). I also got the crest shield, which seemed to fit my theme, so I ran with it for a bit.
On to Sen's Fortress! The curse of Dark Souls took over, as the first enemy I killed dropped a greatsword for my Faith build. Thanks for the uncommon drop now, guys. Thanks a lot. Manserpents are pretty easy to manage with parries and traps, so navigating the fortress went off without much of a problem. The fight with Vin Disel had me a bit worried, however: the whip seems to be garbage against armor, so this was going to be a much longer fight than I was used to - which is pretty on theme for the playthrough. Fortunately, he doesn’t have many tricks, so I was able to get him on my first go. It looked like he was going to be able to grind me out until I was actually able to stagger him, knock him down, and do my best dominatrix impression. Thus began what I knew would be the most stressful part of the journey: Anor Londo. Nowhere in all of Lordran will you find a more wretched hive of scum and douchebaggery.
"Achieved" feels pretty spot on this run
I made my way through the cathedral fairly effortlessly, and was faced with the first of many decisions this day: Do I visit the painted world? Am I allowed to use the barbed whip? Can I use an occult whip? Will I aggro Priscilla? Spoilers: yes, yes, yes, and yes. A word of advice, if you are going into the Painted World, either have a ranged attack, or be ready to quick roll. Toxic status, while not unmanageable, is basically like remaking Evil Dead without Bruce Campell: Not Groovy. I made my way through the world, really starting to get a feel for the whip. There are actually three useful whip attacks, much to my surprise. The running light attack actually has a 100% 'north' facing attack animation, so you don’t have to worry about walls. The forward heavy has an amazing arc, and deals pretty decent damage. Finally, the standing fierce actually is a two hit combo which had my heart and soul, as it is Rolling in the DPS. Managing these attacks let me deal with the whip wielding king, along with the other durdles. I also killed a poison dragon, because that seemed like something very Belmont-ish to do. This also gave me access to the Bloodshield, which became my shield of choice behind Sanctus. After a very short trip, I was ready for the boss.
I stood probably for a good thirty seconds before attacking Priscilla. You don’t have to fight her. You can just walk. Away. But if you start something, you have to finish it before you can leave. Unlike Timon and Pumba, this could end my run if I can’t handle it. However, it wouldn’t be a challenge if I didn’t...you know...challenge myself, so I let you a crack at her, she turned invisible, and the fight was off. Now what have we learned about the whip? 1. It has no range. 2. It deals no damage. My usual strategy of ‘tank in the corner’ was not going to be viable here. I had to be as swift as a coursing river, with about half the force of a raging kiddy pool. After a few minutes though, I had the hang of things. I followed her footsteps in the snow, rolled in, whipped, rolled, rotated 90 degrees, whipped, then rolled away. This put me in a fairly safe place. There was a concern after a few repetitions though: How much damage was I dealer her? I could only tell that I was connecting, not that she was actually taking any damage from the attacks. After what felt like an eternity, she finally staggered from one of my hits, and was left with....nearly 25% health remaining. Alright! Not doing too bad so far! With her attacks now predictable, the fight became a breeze. I was able to finish her off just as she tried to escape.
You know what? That's it. I'm just going to sit here. We're done. See y'all never
Unfortunately, that was nothing but a diversion from the real challenge. I had to traverse Anor Londo. I will offer a fun fact that helps more or less no one: The fog ring makes it so that the left archer can’t shoot at you while you are dealing with the right archer. Fun fact number two: The PC game has patched the AI in such a way that the right archer will not fall to a clumsy death. This left me with one option: parries. With a whip. Uggghhhhhhh. I dodged the first arrow, then managed 4 consecutive parries* against him. One my fourth counterattack, he fell off the ledge....and so did I. I hate. This. Whip. The second go at it let me take him out with great. Vengeance. * This was my favorite place to level in the game. I have parried hundreds, if not thousands, of their attacks. The telegraphing is really clear, and a riposte against them is usually the best way to take them out. Good thing the whip doesn’t have one.
I also got the Holy Trinity off the 2nd gargoyle, which was neat
Somewhere along the line, I lost my good friend Brolaire, which is alright, because I think he was about to start hitting on me - not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just don’t swing that way. After unlocking the shortcuts, and having another of my male admirers give me a ring, I was ready to take out Pinky and the Brain. I turned myself human so I could summon Solaire as a distraction, thus triggering problem number 1. All of Anor Londo is an unofficial PvP arena. My first invader caught my on the rooftop with the Archer knight, so I was able to clear out an arena before he showed up. He was double fisting a lightning club, and trying to make something big happen. The whip’s reach, combined with tactical rolling, actually made this invasion go pretty well in that I walked away without being killed. The second invasion occurred as I was about to clear out the Great Hall. I ran back up to the roof to take him on. This time it was a lightning katana of some sort, and he kept fishing for backstabs. Invaders, please never change. This fight was anyone’s game until the last hit, when he got inside me with just the tip of a lunging attack. Overall though, it was still enjoyable. The final fight came as I was clearing out the Princess Guards in the hallway. I had just started attacking the second one when I saw the phantom rise from the ground. I quickly realized that in this production, I was playing the part of the Dread Pirate Roberts, as he began to pace, roll, and gesture while I dealt with the enemy. When the enemy finally fell, I rolled back, cast a heal, and gave a proper bow. He bowed as well. The first invader to do so all day. He seemed a decent fellow. I hated to die. He was using the large club and a butcher’s knife. Fortunately, my last playthrough was almost exclusively the butcher’s knife, so I knew the whole moveset to a T. The club was too slow for him to be able to connect, but just a little bit too long for me to counter. This fight went the longest, with me trying to range some of the longer weapons in the game. As mentioned above, the Dark Souls PvP meta (on the Xbox, when I played) was lightning katanas, fast rolls, and backstabs. One of the biggest advantages to a solid metagame is by showing up as the rogue agent. The whip was exactly that. It cannot be parried. It deals damage through shields. No one knows it moveset. After exclusively using the weak attack of the whip, I ended the flight with a forward strong attack - something he clearly didn’t know I could do, and fortunately, did enough damage to kill him. Hey, this is kind of fun! But there is serious business to attend to.
I officially declare him the nicest of the damned. He was once so close to heaven
I summoned Solaire to draw aggro so I could take on Bonnie while he managed Clyde. This whip. Deals. So. Little. Damage. I was able to just barely finish Smough after Solaire died to Ornstein, and the real fight was on. For about a minute. My lock on, my inexperience, and my lack of damage, made the fight almost impossible. I could take down his health by about a third before he would catch me with a spear or a butt bomb. After exhausting a few humanity, and a lot of sanity, I realized I couldn’t beat them as is, and would not stand a chance solo. Raaaage. Quit. I decided to cheat. I have advanced knowledge that occult has better scaling than divine (B compared to C), so I could use my heft 45 faith to deal good damage with an occult spikey whip. I ground the leeches. I ground the bone towers. This time around, it was significantly easier, but by no means enjoyable. I didn’t hit a single bonfire in the catacombs, and got out on my first try. The gold ring made it so I actually got drops from bone towers (but it still took an hour). After all this, I finally had my secret weapon, my god killer. And do you know what?
There are no words. None. None at all. This was my personal Sim City. I was absolutely, brutally, betrayed. Do I start over? Go with a Dex build, cheat out a +15 whip at the start of the game? I have done it before on other characters. But this was different. I made a challenge to myself. I had to do this. Not just for me, but for the people at home. For Elian Gonzalez. For the tinman. For the lulz. But how could I win? My skills cannot pay those bills. I would need...I would need...a miracle. I rescued Rhea, and purchased the most OP miracle in game. I rescued Siegmeyer, and got his miracle. Someone brutally whipped Rhea to death, and stole her talisman while my back was turned for a minute there. I swear, on my honor, I will find out who did this! With these tools, I was prepared. I could actually manage to win this fight.
Again, I summoned Solaire. I walked into that all too familiar arena. Much to my embarrassment, Solaire was actually killing Jake the Dog while I was holding my own against Finn the Human. Today, however, was the day that I learned that even a god king can bleed. Literally, Robin can suffer from bleed damage, an affliction that I don’t believe Batman does. This allowed me to finish him off, and get my preferred boss. Solaire gave his life so I could get in enough miracles to take out half of Ornstein’s (I ran out of duos, deal with it) health. Thus began the fight that changed the tide of the run. I got him down to a sliver of his remaining health. As I struggled with the lock on, the whips attack arc, and some blaring techno, I lost sight. I was too focused on the health bar at the bottom, and realized my stamina was completely depleted. As he prepared his lunge, I prepared my roll. His feet left the ground. I gave it my everything to roll, but my legs were too tired. I realized immediately what had happened, but there was no time to react. If only I had it in me to roll the extra four feet! I've come so far! He speared me, lifting my helpless body into the air, and sending electricity coursing through every inch of it. During this time, I did my best to ignore the pain, catch my breath. I didn’t need to live long. I only needed to live long enough to get in one last hit. As soon as he threw my body to the ground, I scrambled to my feet, and made one last lunge, one last whip, right into the heart of his genitals. And in that moment, a giant fell.
Also, check out 1:05, where I kick him in the dick. Caught that in post.
Now all I have to worry about is the Four Kings. And Nito. And the centipede demon. And Seath. My prediction as of right now? Seath is going to be the hardest. I think that the cursing is going to make it a pain to deal with, and the low damage will make it a slog. I have a holy whip, and he doesn’t seem to have armor, so maybe it will not be so bad. I am trying to do whip only, but Jay and Silent Bob were too good, and I suck something awful, so I will try and limit miracles to ragequit moments. With that behind me, I farmed some chunks to get all my armor to +9, where I ran into gay Robin hood.
Vote your choice of caption: "Who wants a bodymassa?" or "I would rather not"