That’s not entirely accurate is it? I did that at first. Then she decided to gang up on me and I hid behind stuff and shot her. Still though, way to go me! This is of course after I destroyed a phantom lying in ambush (the second time) and absolutely did not get killed by a crossbow tower in a horrific shower of pointy things. How confident in my abilities am I after these enormous feats? Glad you asked, stay tuned, I intend to take on A GOD!!!
Because Numerical Order is for People Who Pay Attention!(1)
I started the night with a bone to pick. But a Flamelurker(2) stood between me and it.
I decided to take the shortcut. I get to the pit easily. The path is pretty well remembered at this point. I take a slight misstep anyway. I fall further than I’d like but breathe a sigh of relief when I hit a ledge and start to stand up.
The 1.342 centimeters your character steps backward as he stands must have been the exact amount of boot I had gripping that particular plank. I plunge to an unfortunate demise.
On my way back I decide to get cute and parry the miners. I’ve been playing Zero Escape for the last couple weeks (got a platinum on an amazing game so that was well worth the time) and I’m as rusty as the spike that pierces my chest. Second time isn’t the charm. Hello again archstone.
I make it to the bottom this time and I’m ready for this. Ring of Flame Resistance? Check. Water Veil? Check. Memory of his particular moveset? Um…..crap.
Let’s try this again. I remember why I didn’t bother with Water Veil a whole lot before. It doesn’t seem to do me much good. I sneak out a win that involves only a little ribcage circling. I try not to go cheap and let him get hung up but my personal style of fighting does use obstacles to my advantage when I can. So I sneak a few arrows into his heart like Cupid when he’s busy pondering “left or right” around the spare ribs. I don’t think it instills any love though. I’m not a very good Cherub.
I take his soul to make me feel better about it.
Onward to that bone I needed to pick. Well, after a Nexus suicide trip. I also got the ledge treasures(3) while I was jumping off things in there.
I enter the fog and can’t believe how much awesomeness this part of the game has. How did I ever lose my sense of the coolness of that long descending stair. I hear a sound and pause. The Dragon God(4) sounds a little bit pissed. Even the audio is amazing. Everything screams epic so far. It’s been a looooooooong time since I’ve been face to face with this. Now that I am, I find that I intuitively hide behind the little outcroppings of the wall. I don’t think about it, it’s instinct. The depth of field is excellent. You know you’re still nowhere near him and yet he still consumes the screen. The music is eerily calm. Yet sinister.
I sprint in and hide. It’s at this point that I feel like I should interrupt the details of the story for a minute. Everyone talks trash about this “fight.” I’ve recently defended it and after this latest experience I’m more prepared to do so.
This fight isn’t about fast twitch muscle response and technique (Artorias in Dark Souls). It isn’t about making your fingers exhausted from constant and prolonged use (Kalameet in Dark Souls). It’s about the emotion. It’s about the story. And it’s amazing.
I got hit twice in this fight. I survived each time, barely, and healed up behind a pillar. But the effect of seeing the fist just leads me to my main point about this boss. It’s about showing you that no matter what:
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOURSELF
Most bosses are physically bigger than you (even the “small woman” I just killed). But that’s not what this is. You can beat them. Straight up. No gimmicks. Just one on one. For gameplay that’s necessary. But this boss you can’t. He shows you that the world can always crush you. You’re caught in the forces of this land. You cannot rise above them. You cannot alter them. You can be reborn. But you are always at the whims of something far bigger than yourself. That’s what this fight is about. And it does it spectacularly.
Back to the story but I’m not done with this point just yet.
After hiding I sprint left. I’m hoping I’ve swung the forces of this world(5) in my favor for that bone I keep mentioning. I did. It’s now mine. The Dragon Bone Smasher(6). I think I might start using this weapon some(7). It’s definitely out of my comfort zone and I’m learning that I still think magic kinda sucks. I’ll use it some more, but some new gear is wise too.
For speed’s sake I still stick with my longsword for now. I run back across and see if arrows can break the pillars. I don’t think so since I remember aiming with a bow then using soul arrows before. I’m right and I don’t have soul arrows on me. I dash in and attack with the sword. Before I can make it back to safety I get punched. By a wall. Not literally, it’s just that his fist is gigantic. The fist alone could be a boss (this sentence is literally).
Now think of the visual impact of this fight. Here I am….in this enormous cavern whose ceiling and back wall stretch so far as to make mere human vision insufficient to adequately judge it’s size. I’m on a walkway that’s plenty big for me but tiny in comparison to the arena. I can see my foe clearly. Because it’s most of my screen. I view him out of smallish portals as I go from behind one hiding spot to another. He easily loses sight of me if I do something fast and hide. When I draw his wrath through a mistake, his fist comes crashing in and shows me the full scope of his size up close and personal. If he flattened me and stretched me out like taffy, I might be tall enough at that point to make a bracelet for that arm.
Have you ever chased a mouse? They run and hide. If they do something quick you can easily lose track of them. If they draw your wrath and fist, you might flatten them. If you take away the tail, they’re not tall enough to make a bracelet for most of us unless we could stretch them like taffy. If you were to hit them, they might survive. But it’s not something the mouse would gamble on I think.
Those aren’t spaces between pillars you see the Dragon God through. They’re mouse holes. Run little mouse run. You might be able to get close enough to bite him. You might even make it bleed a little. But making that thing angry doesn’t seem like a good idea.
Which brings me to my next reason why I love this fight. You don’t kill the Dragon God. Those that came before you do. Because someone decided that the mouse should be handed a couple WMDs. Can a mouse kill a human? Normally no. But if something else were to make that human 99% dead already? Sure.
After getting punched a couple times this mouse made it to the first magic spear of doom(8). You know most of the rest of the story (maybe). I repeat this process and then the battle is mine. But along the way, nothing shook the feeling of being in a mouse hole. Nothing completely alleviated the fear of being exposed. That last dash up the stairs to break the last bit of rubble? I didn’t get hit. But I was waiting for the shoe to drop every step. It made the second or two of dashing feel like 10 or 20.
And that’s why this is such a great fight. Because it’s not a fight in the first place. It’s about a mouse that gets lucky. If you could skip the spears and stand before him in all his glory. Well, I think he’d kill you so bad the Nexus would lose you.
After you press the switches on the spear you should take a look at the spot where the magic trigger was. It’s pretty cool the level of detail that went into these mouse WMDs(9).
I gloated a bit (see below) and smacked him in the face with the Dragon Bone Smasher. Victory: Mouse
After beating the Dragon God I decide to storm Boletaria’s castle a little further. I didn’t get too far (a knight on a walkway killed me when I thought I could parry him) but it was semi-eventful nonetheless.I forget how many dogs are feasting on the fountain corpses and approach cautiously. Turns out they’re not much of a hassle anyway this time. The ones trapped in the wagons make for some chilling atmosphere though. I take a look at the pile of bodies. It’s amazing how much unique equipment these guys have on. Rather than just throw a few repetitive corpses around they make just about every one of these an unspoken character. The souls you pick up in this pile remind you that every one of these corpses had a story to tell you if they hadn’t met their end here. Up the stairs I go. Avoid the trap. Shoot the minister in the face with an arrow. Kill some goons then a lizard. Kill a couple more goons on the way. Show an assassin why cartwheels aren’t good for your health in narrow hallways (these guys don’t “ninja flip” either)(10). Onward and upward. I use my well practiced bow skills to take out the archers across the gap. I remember the red eye knight and the second guy hiding in the doorway to the merchant. I walk in forgetting about the third guy. I beat him but he hit me pretty hard first. The merchant has nothing I want but the greatsword on the balcony is intriguing. I’m almost strong enough to start using it. My switch to strength weapons might be very close(11).I go through some fog and almost kill a knight (the one that I already told you that I died to). Since I didn’t and it’s late, I call it a Knight (in his honor, but seriously it’s time for sleep).
(1) When I first wrote this serialized playthrough novella I finished up chapter five, played some more on a different night and then immediately came back and wrote chapter 7. Wait, what? Oh well. The chapters have been fixed here numerically but I’m not going to let myself live that mistake down and kept the chapter title the same. This was actually chapter 6 originally, despite you know, being the seventh chapter
(2) I’m pretty sure I already told you about this guy. Pay attention please
(3) Nothing is more enticing than shinies on ledges. Must, get…shinies…. The Nexus has a few that require some very careful falling
(4) I’m pretty confident the rant I’m about to go on will explain the Dragon God better than any footnote
(5) I’m talking World Tendency. If I do enough “good” deeds it will be Pure White Tendency which opens a path to footnote #6
(6) The Dragon Bone Smasher is theoretically a sword or something. It looks like someone took a cross section of a bone and attached a handle to it to swing around. If you want better imagery, imagine those cheap dog treats that are shaped like a “bone” and add a toothpick to the end for a handle. BAM! Milk Bone Smasher
(8) The only way to win this fight is to get to two spears. These aren’t ordinary spears though. They’re drastically large, magic, super harpoon guns. When fired they pierce and chain the Dragon God down so you can successfully pinch his cheeks
(9) Seriously, go take a look. They did some phenomenal work for something most people press “X” for and then run off without a second glance. I’m not gonna describe them, just go buy the game (it was free with PS+ which was nice) and have a look-see
(10) There’s few terms that creeped up into the Dark Souls community that I hate more than “ninja flip.” A flip requires a full 360 degree rotation. The use of one’s hands during this motion separates it into two 180 degree movements and is a HANDSPRING!!!! And the lateral movements with the Dark Wood Grain. Don’t get me started. Cartwheels are the domain of kindergartners and should be easy enough to recognize. Seriously, how do you get “ninja flip” from “cartwheels with an occasional handspring.” Sheesh. That reminds me, my daughter is about the right age to start cartwheels soon. That’ll be fun.
(11) So I went through this area very quickly with text and I bet you think I’m going to explain better down here. Instead of that, here’s this thought: I was eating some peanut butter cups while doing this and went to take a bite of one. Have you ever had one with TWO paper cups? That just happened to me and I almost bit into the extra piece of paper. That woulda sucked
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