Tales of an Impatient Gamer is essentially a log of all my experiences with Dark Souls, a game I wouldn’t normally play due to its notorious difficulty and the patience needed to succeed. It’s going to be a spoiler-filled write up of all of my horrendous failings along the way, so reader beware. This week, I make my way through some sewers. Ugh.
Dear Potaku readers,
Greetings, from…sewers? I never signed up for this!
There’s nothing like a good slog through some sewers to really bring down the mood. Suddenly I miss the Undead Burg. Remember those weak skeleton guys? They were alright, in an ‘easy to kill and therefore boost my ego’ kind of way. Most of the enemies in this place, The Depths, aren’t too bad. They’re just creepy. Balls of slime on the ceiling just waiting to drop down on my head? Ahaha, no thanks.
And when faced with googly-eyed insect things down one path and giant rats down another, I think I’ll take the giant rats.
In fact, I found a super giant rat down here. Apart from being a super giant rat, it had a few problems, like a horrible eye disfigurement, but most importantly an inability to react when I fired arrows down on it from above. Another encounter cheaply evaded!
Sewers are horrendously designed places, I’m sure you already know. Winding chambers, long empty corridors, labrynth-like layouts. I got lost a few times, which is a very bad thing when those googly-eyed freaks are waiting around the corner for you. There were traps and enemies hiding in boxes and a maniacal sorcerer who had the power to make large rats slightly larger, and despite all these horrors nothing could really prepare me for the horrifying beast that waited in the deepest part of The Depths.
What a friendly guy.
The Gaping Dragon didn’t have much in the way of intelligence, preferring to charge forward even if I was completely out of his range, and barely reacting when I took a few good slices at his tail each time. The only concern he caused was when he tried to eat me. He’d take a couple of horrifying bites, sickening crunches, then spit me back out, but usually that was enough to kill me. After you’ve been nearly eaten by an Eldritch abomination a few times, you get a little tired.
Either the Taurus Demon was an insanely overpowered monstrosity and I am a god for defeating him or my skill with a sword has gotten much better, because it wasn’t very long before the dragon was slain and I was left alone in a giant arena to celebrate. He dropped a key to some place called ‘Blighttown’? Can’t say it sounds too friendly, but I’m closer to ringing that second bell now, and I’m not gonna let anything stop me. Like, say, for example, a giant spider queen.
Like those exist, right?
I’m going to be completely honest here, I used a walkthrough for bits of this part (and Blighttown as well). Everybody hates videogame sewer levels, right? I wanted to get past this section quickly. But the most important reason for using a walkthrough was to let me know the exact whereabouts of the Basilisk enemies.
For the uninitiated, Basilisks are the googly-eyed monsters I mentioned above, and they spit out some strange substance that quickly causes what has to be the worst status ailment in the game, Curse. It’s really easy to be Cursed, and the result is immediate death. Not too bad, but when you return to life, your health meter has been cut in half, which might, just might, impede your progress for a while. There are specific items you can use to cure it, and apparently a whole sidequest as well, but let’s remember that I’m impatient, and at the time really wasn’t in the mood to deal with that kind of thing. And so it was that I made it out of The Depths without once suffering from Curse. Hooray!
I think that Dark Souls is the kind of game where it’s absolutely okay to use a walkthrough at times. I’m not a big fan of walkthroughs during the first playthrough of a game, because obviously you’re going to have more fun and be more surprised by playing a game without reading ahead, but Dark Souls is a little different. Particularly here and in Blighttown, the level design can be a bit confusing, or overwhelming in size, and despite referring to a walkthrough every now and then I did enjoy these sections. The agony that might have come with dealing with the Curse ailment might have been too much for me, so I don’t have any regrets about this.
Walkthroughs don’t really help with bosses, though. With the Gaping Dragon, it’s easy to read about his attacks and see some suggestions for the best ways to take him down, but it’s harder to put that into action in the heat of the moment. I found it better to just ignore the walkthrough and deal with him on my own. I felt the same way about the Capra Demon earlier – I got a few suggestions about how to defeat him, but found that none of them really worked for me – in the end, I figured out how to defeat these bosses on my own.
While glancing at one of these walkthroughs I read a bit about summon signs and realized I hadn’t used one at all (and still haven’t). Besides being terrified of other human players and expecting them to be overlevelled griefers looking for a laugh, I like the idea that the journey my character is taking is a solitary one, so even characters like Solaire and Lautrec don’t get summoned before boss fights. It’s a bit stubborn, but that’s just the way I want to play, and it hasn’t caused any real problems so far. I hear that Ornstein and Smough are more difficult to solo, though.
But Anor Londo is a ways away still.