THAT ONE F***ING SECTION IN ANOR LONDO
Just like the previously mentioned Blightown, the golden city known as Anor Londo has a particular liking towards making the players travel on small platforms hundreds of feet above the ground with the slightest misstep that can turn someone from to is to a was. For the most part, it’s actually pretty manageable.
Until the Silver Knights pull up to tell you that you’ve stepped into the wrong neighborhood. The little brothers of the Black Knights can make for a dangerous adversary. But what separates them from the Black Knights is that have a preference for ranged weaponry. By that, I mean they use bows that are almost as big as they are and use javelins for arrows.
These knights become the bane of any player’s existence when they cross a buttress that is just barely wide enough just so their character doesn’t fall on. And two knights that have been trained to shoot anything that moves on sight. If you can’t get past them and they just hit you once, well you can guess what happens next.
Get past this short section of the level, however, and Anor Londo becomes much easier.
Ornstein and Smough
This is it. The boss that separates the men from the boys. The peak of Dark Souls where it truly tests your ability to play this game. The stuff of legends. You get the point.
Explaining why this fight is hard is actually easy. It’s a gank fight. Unless you bring an NPC or another player with you, you will be going up against two of Anor Londo’s greatest knights in a fight to the death. Both of them sync with each other really well and both will require constant attention less you want to have one of them ambush you while trying to take care of the other one.
Kill one of them, and the one who is still alive will take the life essence of their deceased comrade and get even stronger. Orenstein in particular gets much bigger and has several new attacks to accommodate his size. And if you happen to die while fighting the surviving one, you’ll have to start the fight all over again.
Fighting them solo is difficult, but not impossible. Their arena is huge with plenty of room for the player to properly position themselves to prepare to attack or fend. There are also several pillars that make for great defense or provide brief opportunities to separate them. As hard as it can be, the boss is also extremely cathartic to overcome. Beating Ornstein and Smough is truly where Dark Souls hit its highest peak and the game more or less tells you that you are ready to face whatever awaits you in the second half of the game.
Tomb of the Giants
Tomb of the Giants is such a polarizing level for me. On one hand, it provides for arguably the scariest segments to play as the players travels along near pitch-darkness with only brief glimpses of light shining through here and there. Walking through the Tomb of the Giants and seeing the tiny white eyes of any enemy is directly staring at you is genuinely chilling.
On the other hand…
YOU CAN’T SEE A D#MN THING!!!
Unless you come packing with light casting magic or use the skull lantern that the level provides you as some sort of mercy, you will struggle to make out where you are suppose to go. But all the enemies waiting to turn the player into an obituary. They get 20/20 vision because why not? And while the skull lantern is useful, it also means that whatever you had equipped prior had to be switched out in order to use it. And if it’s a weapon, having to switch back to it while fighting an enemy is the difference between life and death.
The second worse thing besides not be able to see are these giant skeleton beasts. They can hit hard and move deceptively fast. And if one is unlikely to get pinned by more than one of them, then feel free to get ready to throw that controller because it’s going to happen.
The Bed of Chaos
So Dark Souls, right? That one game that was praised in particular for its combat? That one game where platforming is barely emphasized? Well how about a boss fight that throws the former into the trash can, and turns the game into a poor’s man platformer.
Several years ago, I wrote a post about bosses in Dark Souls 2. One trend you can find in that article is that I said that a lot of them weren’t very good for various reasons. There is one thing I can say as a positive. For all of their faults, they at least feel like a Dark Souls boss. I hate fighting them, but I won’t say they go against the game’s fundamentals.
There is no boss that is hated like the Bed of Chaos. Most lists ranking the series worst bosses will deemed it the lowest point in the franchise. Mine would too. In order to beat the boss, the player must destroy the shield guarding its true form by losing its roots on the far sides of the arena. Hitting the first one is simple enough. It is also when the player will find themselves in the newest circle of hell.
Because the arena will start falling apart, forcing the player to carefully walk along what’s left were praying that the boss will not use its now free arm and send them down the abyss. Hitting the second arm will make the boss venerable for a one-hit kill, but getting to it is not easy. You have to jump off the arena onto a branch in order to reach it and run as fast as possible before it unleashes a lava attack that can one-shot them if their health isn’t high enough.
The only good thing is that, unlike other bosses, your progress is saved so you don’t have to redo everything all over again. And that’s it.
If the golden duo was the highest peak, then the Bed of Chaos makes for the lowest point in the entire game and arguably the trilogy as a whole.