Dark Souls progress: 8/16/15 part 1
August 16, 2015

Having completed and published my review of the terribad Godzilla, I picked Dark Souls back up and continued my frustrating quest.

I searched Tomb of the Giants a bit, died, and tried to retrieve my 20K+ souls. Unfortunately, I failed to recover them and thus made my way back to the Anor Londo. Not only do I need the Lordvessel to advance any further in the Tomb, but I also desired the ability to warp. That, of course, meant taking on a boss duo that would prove to be my most irritating Souls experience yet...


VERSUS DRAGONSLAYER ORNSTEIN & EXECUTIONER SMOUGH


In the tradition of Hall & Oates, Abbott & Costello, and Cable & Deadpool comes Ornstein & Smough. One is morbidly obese, the other is athletic. One is a strength-based tank creature, the other is a fast, scrappy little SOB. On my second attempt, I had the quick one crushed in short order. Then I found out what everyone hates about this battle... Smough smashes his hammer into Ornstein's corpse and steals his remaining power, basically becoming electric Yokozuna with a blunt object. I got some good shots in, had him down to a few hits, and then he rose into the air. I backed up and lifted my shield, but the force of the blow, which sent volts of electricity out from under his butt, was enough to bypass the block and outright kill me.

From there things got worse. Every time I fought them, Smough would execute a charging attack and corner me. I couldn't do much more than attempt to sidestep and occasionally press R1 to hopefully damage one of the two. While cornered, I couldn't see what was happening. The camera tended to zoom in on Smough's massive gut, and occasionally I'd see one of my body parts pass through it.

After a dozen or so attempts and lots of swearing, I stumbled upon something helpful: a summon sign close to the boss' entrance, but off to the side a bit so it wasn't terribly easy to locate. I did a little reverse hollowing, summoned the spirit and Solaire came to join me. Together, I figured we could even the odds.

In other words, I thought he could distract the twosome and take the brunt of the damage while I whacked them from behind.

The plan was going well at first. With a tiny bit of effort, I brought Ornstein down. Smough powered up, as he is wont to do. Solaire remained alive, albeit barely. He continued to distract Smough while I slashed him several times. Eventually, though, Smough hit his own Bonzai Drop and took Solaire out. With two-thirds of his HP remaining, the big man turned around to face me. I prepared for his cornering tactics, but they didn't come. He pulled off a slew of rudimentary strikes, leaving himself open to my leaping lunge maneuvers that chopped off goodish portions of his health. It looked like I was going to win without much opposition, and I still had plenty of Estus Flask uses left.

...then he cornered me. However, I managed to slither out with a bit of HP left and hit the flask a couple of times. I hit him some more and he leapt into the air as he had during our second battle. I was slow to respond and had to rely on the same strategy as before, backing away slowly with my shield up. He nailed me, my HP drained, and I thought YOU DIED would appear. But sitting there in my HUD was a tiny sliver of HP. I slashed and took a bit more of Smough's life off, then backed off.

Smough pulled his hammer back for an epic strike. I figured I didn't have time to dodge it effectively enough, and using the flask may or may not be in my favor. He'd either take off the last bit of my health or leave me in the same condition I was in before taking a drink. I noticed his HP was almost gone and one more hack could take him out. I pressed R1, since R2's animation would prove too slow. We swung simultaneously and I bit my nails.

SLSSSSST!

My sword grazed his umbilical region, cleaving off his HP. I thought he would be barely living and awaited the hammerfall. Instead, he belly-flopped forward and began to disappear. YOU DEFEATED.

You're damn right.

I pressed on, met the princess beyond the boss encounter, and obtained the Lordvessel. After that I returned to the primordial serpent, presented the vessel at the altar, and opened the three blocked passages. I could, if I wanted to, return to the Tomb of the Giants, but I decided instead that I wanted to pay a quick visit to New Londo Ruins. After doing a bit of research online, I found out how to craft a cursed greatsword and take out the ghosts down there. My only goals were to drain the water and find the item down there that would allow me to boost my weapons to +15. All of that came to pass and before I knew it, I was clutching the Demon's Great Machete +15.

I pondered where I should go next, now that I could warp and all, and settled on heading back to Anor Londo to check out the newly unlocked region. I didn't think I would stay as long as I did...


VERSUS SEATH THE SCALELESS


I entered a new area, the Duke's Archives. It's a huge library with multiple tiers and plenty of walkways to search for titanite goodies. It's also crawling with crystal skeletons and respawning mage-types. Trekking through the region didn't prove to be too difficult, and before I knew it I was face to face with one of the major bosses in the game, the icy dragon Seath the Scaleless. Little did I realize that this battle was an RPG trope, the "hopeless boss fight." As such, I didn't stand a chance against Seath here and lost.

I respawned to find another trope. I was locked in a cell with a stupid guard leaning against it, trapped also with a bunch of skellies. Long and short, they all died and I got a set of keys. I let myself out, watched a horrifying cutscene in which a bunch of snail-like creatures crept up the staircase towards me, and I died attempting to give them the slip. As it turns out, they don't try again when I respawned. So I carefully made my way through the prison, killing and looting from one cell to the next. In the end, I chopped up the snail monsters, found another key that lead to the exit, and boogied on out. With a bit more exploring, I found a pathway leading outside to a frosty chasm surrounded by golems, all of which fell with a couple of hits each.

The Crystal Cave, which I entered, was an interesting place. You descend into it by running along either long crystals or invisible bridges. I didn't engage in many battles along the way, though I did kill a couple of non-respawning golems, loot a few corpses, and fell to my death a lot. Finding the invisible bridges could be a task at times, especially when I didn't realize at one point that there were two bridges opposite of each other (you could spot one easily, though, by looking for snowflakes). One lead to a fallen soldier with a soul to spare, the other took me to a boss encounter. Before taking on the boss, though, I ran afoul of giant, walking clam... things.... with whiskers.... and skulls all over them... Yeah, I'll spare you the vaginal joke. Everyone who's ever encountered these things has already told that one, and you just can' beat the horse any deader.

Getting past the clams, I entered the fog and found Seath again. Unlike before, I could actually damage him, though his HP automatically refilled in response. I knew that fighting him would have something to do with the crystal behind him that the camera had focused on in the cutscene prior to the battle. The only problem was that I was just about wetting myself with terror. I was standing before one of the major bosses, and he was huge! And a dragon! And crystalline! And intimidating! I ran past him anyway, shattered the crystal and resumed the fight, still shaking like a leaf.

He killed me the first time because I was careless. Seath has a huge tail and a couple of tendril-like structures jutting from the bottom of his... You know, his anatomy is so odd that I don't even know what you would call most of these parts. It's like someone sliced a dragon in half at the waste, spliced a slug with a potted plant, and then stuck his upper half on that and put the finished product in a freezer. He occasionally pounds these doohickeys on the ground for massive damage. My second fight proved to be anti-climactic. I hacked away at his "tendrils," ran whenever he coughed up crystals, avoided damage pretty decently, and eventually struck a deathblow. That was it. Seath slumped over, slain, and I walked away with his soul.

[progress to be continued in future blog]

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Feedback
honestgamer honestgamer - August 16, 2015 (09:27 PM)
Ornstein and Smough are, in my opinion, the most challenging bosses in the game. Fighting one or the other wouldn't be so bad, but dueling with both of them is brutal. I took a few dozen tries, as I recall. Of course, I went through the whole game without summoning any assistants to help me in battle, and I didn't bother with the flasks because it seemed like any time I took a drink, I would also get hit by the bad guy and then I'd be worse off than when I started. I used the pillars a lot in that battle, not to prevent myself from taking damage, but to give myself just a tiny bit more breathing room. Like I said, it was (for me) the toughest battle in the game. I even beat the optional asylum demon with less difficulty... though he's definitely still a punk.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - August 17, 2015 (12:41 AM)
I actually didn't have a problem with the Stray Demon. Of course, I went back to the asylum when I was way overpowered and it didn't take much to bring him down. The Ornstein and Smough fight wouldn't have been so infuriating were it not for the cornering. Like, if they had beaten me without it more often than not, I probably wouldn't dislike the fight so much.

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