We return to Boletaria after falling to the Tower Knight. By “we” I of course mean “me.” But not really “me” either. Digital me. His name is “Ded.” Well, “Ded 2” to be precise. I can explain. Really. I’m just not going to right now. Also, his name is going to change by the end of this story. Anyway, here we go again with my Return to Boletaria: Tales of a Born Again n00b!
“How Armored Can A Spider Get?”(1)
After being killed by a mistaken item swap, I decide I’m currently too lazy to go past all those bridges again to gain vengeance on the Tower Knight.
Clearly, it’s time for Stonefang Tunnel(2). A jaunty ascent up the stairs and I’m greeted by a faint blue glow to the left. I summon all my courage and BRAVELY attack a small lizard with my long sword. Two handed R2 of course. It slashes downward better. You just gotta be prepared for dangerous creatures like this(3).
I talk to the merchant at the beginning of the level and decide that I’m not interested. “Not interested” is code for: “Remember I didn’t feel like going back and getting vengeance on the Tower Knight so therefore didn’t get my souls back or anything (4).”
On to the two guys chucking rocks at me from way up high. Ha ha ha……fools. I have a bow from earlier. Remember? I shoot the guy on the left and only have to deal with ONE boulder at a time. Genius. Let’s get that elevator rocking. True fact: The first time I played this game it took me forever to find the switch. Like, an embarrassingly long time. As in, “how the hell did I not notice that there’s a lever RIGHT BY THE DOOR for several weeks embarrassing.” Well, this time I’m good at least. The Minister(5) at the top necessitates some hiding behind the door frame but I get him. Ha ha ha!
Back down the elevator we go. I don’t recall all these guys being so darn passive. Only the pickax guys attack me(6)? I thought they all did. Maybe I pissed them off the last time I played or something. I see a faint glow. It’s a message on the floor(7) making me aware that there’s a trap ahead. Waaaaaay ahead of you buddy. It’s a group of dogs. Thanks for the message but I think I know what I’m doing. I’m so pro, they only kill me twice.
I take my revenge on the Minister behind the dogs (how was he the easy part of all this?). None of the lurking miners hoping to surprise me pose much challenge. I kill the next Minister with my trusty bow from afar. It’s the guy across the wooden bridge. I see treasure. I’m about to go get it. Then I recall that this will fall on me. I ponder “sprinting(8)” across. I estimate the distance. My expert calculations put it at precisely “no chance of being able to sprint across.” Then I recall that knights are always expert gymnasts. I walk on the side of the bridge and when it falls I do my best Wallenda impersonation across the support beam. Yay memory!
Sadly, most of the rest of the level poses little challenge. I get to the blacksmith(9) uneventfully. The salamanders pose less problems than I recall. My newly upgraded longsword makes short work of the miners. The next Minister makes me use some grass but nothing too major. Feeling like a champ….I assume it’s time to:
Stop! Spider Time!
I have turpentine(10) and sticky white stuff. I’m pretty confident I remember lava spewing in this mix somewhere. I go with the sticky white stuff (that ballad from Part 1 makes more sense now huh?). I confidently enter the fog gate. I fat roll through some fire like a boss. I get hit with a spider web. Crap. I get hit with fire. I use some grass. I get hit with a spider web. I get hit with fire. I use some grass.
All in all, I think things are going pretty well.
I finally manage to get out of the web/fire combo and fat roll my way to the spider. Now we’re cooking. Well. I am. The spider seems to feel a little pressure but to be fair I was the one who was most recently on fire. I go after it with the sticky white longsword.
I get stepped on a few times.
I need some grass but all ends well. Me 1: Spider 0
There’s always next time Spider. For now, you can stay murdered.
Interlude to Chapter 3
Somewhere between the Phalanx and the Spider, I had decided I needed a quick stop at the summer destination for Shadowmen, the Shrine of Storms(11). Why is that do you ask? Well shut up, I was just about to explain.
One of the great things about the Souls games is their willingness to buck convention. For instance, in Dark Souls I was met with a choice of three directions right after the tutorial. I went to the Burg. I killed some hollows. I decided to turn around and try the other directions. I went to New Londo. I got killed by a ghost. That makes sense. I can’t hurt ghosts. I need to come back when I have a better grasp of the situation. Logical. I went to the third choice, the graveyard.
Silly bones on the ground. You’re not fooling anyone. I’m about to get attacked by skeletons. I destroyed those hollow soldiers, what chance do you have? Prepare to feel my……screams of agony? Wait, what? Skeletons are, tough? Nope. I refuse to believe it. I’ll show them. I got you, first two skeletons. Time to push on. My….now that’s a big skeleton!
Time to explore the Burg better.
Back to Demon’s Souls. The Shrine of Storms will always hold a special place in my heart. You see, I held the same stereotype back then. Except THESE skeletons were even more bad*** than the Dark Souls ones(12). The area leading to the first archway in the Shrine of Storms in Demon’s became my proving grounds. I went back. Repeatedly. To test my gear. To test my strength. And most of all….
To test my skill. By the time I could take them down with ease? I knew I was ready.
It wasn’t some unimaginable monster that embodied the struggle of this game. It wasn’t a gigantic demon that could destroy most brave knights with a single blow. It was the normally lowly skeleton. The horror of the game, while masterfully done during boss battles, is not exclusive to these fights. Every step of the way requires patience and skill.
Souls games: Because Skeletons
(1) This is a reference to the first boss of the second area, the Armored Spider. It’s a big spider with some good defense. And a web. Also fireballs. There’s a lot going on here.
(2) This is the second area. Basically the land of dwarves for this game.
(3) They can’t hurt you. Unless they trick you into running off a cliff. Not that I’ve done that. Nonchalant whistling! Engage!
(4) When you die in this game you lose all your souls which are currency for literally everything. Need a level? Souls. Want some arrows? Souls. Anyway, you get one chance to retrieve them from the spot of your death. Good luck
(5) If you have an overweight weird uncle who laughs at the most inappropriate times you know what these guys look like. If not then, uh, they wear a top hat
(6) The main population of this land are miners. Guys with bags are busy collecting seashells or something to impress their girlfriends but the pickax guys are out to collect bone fragments or something to impress…someone I guess.
(7) Players can write messages on the floor from a set list of vocabulary words. There’s no control over who sees your messages but it’s nice to think you’re helping someone. Or hurting them.
(8) Ugh….I’m moving sooooo slowly. I need to find some lighter armor.
(9) Um…he’s a blacksmith. He uses “fire” to work with “iron” and “steel” to make “things.” More specifically this one can upgrade your weapons in many fun ways and create unique weapons from the souls you steal from bosses by murdering them.
(10) It’s the ultimate sparkler, making your weapon light on fire.
(11) The fourth area in the game and my personal favorite for atmosphere. The Shadowmen live there. I’m not sure if they’re the skeletons or the wraith like beings later on. Maybe both.
(12) Skeletons are better at rolling around looking cool in Demon’s Souls. The joke being that they roll around in both games, but they’re better at looking cool doing it in Demon’s