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Dark Souls - how to beat the bosses

by Steven Williamson on 6 October 2011, 17:22

Tags: Namco (TYO:7832), PC

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The bigger they are the harder they fall

As detailed in our Dark Souls review, From Software's action-RPG is a tough game. Beating the first three bosses took us in excess of 12 hours yet we still haven't scratched the surface of what horrors are in-store. Many of you will enjoy the challenge of beating these bad boys for yourself, but they'll also be plenty of gamers who will find themselves close to throwing in the towel.

This boss guide is intended to help those who are struggling getting past the initial stages of Dark Souls such that they can experience more of what it has to offer and perhaps learn that success is down to acute observation skills and pre-prepared tactics. If that's not you then turn away now to avoid spoilers.

1. Boss – Asylum Demon
Location – Undead Asylum
Reward – Big Pilgrim's Key, Demon's Great Hammer

The first boss you encounter in Dark Souls is the Asylum Demon. He is an optional boss who you can avoid, but take him down and you'll gain great rewards.

When tackling any boss, the first thing to be wary of are the movements they make just before they attack.

The Asylum Demon possesses the following attacks:

Hammer smash – When standing in front of the Demon he may raise his hammer in the air. As soon as you see him do this roll to the side. He has two variations of this smash - one that has a short range and the other that has a long range. Back-stepping may not keep you safe.

Hammer swipe – When standing to the side of the Demon he may take a swipe at you with his hammer. It's a slow manoeuvre so watch carefully and back-step out of the way.

Jumping hammer smash – The Demon has wings. When you see them flapping watch out for the jump attack as he'll lunge at you. As soon as you see him fly into the air, you must immediately roll to the side.

Ground pound – The Demon will fly in the air when you're really close to him and throw his body into the ground to squash you. You've got plenty of time to move out of the way, so back-step a few times. While he's recovering, get in close and take a few jabs.

How To Defeat The Asylum Demon

The simplest way to kill the Demon is to avoid him at the start and head to the exit out of the room. As you follow the pathway around you'll end up on a ledge overlooking the arena.

You can get off to a great start by using the plunge attack when he is close and jumping on top of him. This will knock his health-bar down significantly. On the ground you now have a better chance of defeating him.

Don't use the pillars as cover as the Demon will simply smash them. Keep on the move and watch closely for his attacks. Remember to take a swig of health potion from your Esthu flask whenever you see your health-bar hit the half-way mark.

It's best to stay close to the body of the Demon as he has limited attacks. Attack him with a heavy barrage in short bursts, avoid his attack and then repeat the process. Watch out for the ground-pound attack as it will give you a prime opportunity to finish him off.