[This post, the last of my Soul Diary, contains spoilers for the first two sections of the first world of Demon’s Souls]
Life Two, Soul Four
After my triumph against the Phalanx, I had some dough (souls) to spend. The one thing that sounded particularly appealing to me is upgrading my luck to increase the frequency and quality of the items that enemies dropped. To do this, I talked to the previously mentioned cute, blind goth lady who allowed me to buy increases in my attributes with the souls that I earned. I increased my vitality a bit but, mostly, I spent all of my souls on some luck because, let’s face it, I need it.
Once I was finished in the Nexus, I activated the Archstone that would transport me back to the place where I killed the Phalanx. I had more level to get through.
The first area I went to had more of the blobby shield-head enemies. By this point, I was a pro at dispatching these little fellas. These blobs also dropped a number of what I assumed to be crafting items (they were, I would use these later, along with souls, to upgrade my equipment). This area used these spear-wielding enemies to create a surprisingly strategetic encounter space where I had to maneuver to attack a monster’s back, strike, dodge an incoming spear, attack again, and then move quickly on to another blob in order to dodge yet another spear.
After this room, I appeared to be on what looked like a subset of the Great Wall of China. There were a number of bridges in front of me (and in the distance), and a tower connecting each bridge. As I looked around, I noticed something which made my soul weep: a charred pile of bodies. I thought: oh, this again. I waited at what seemed like a safe spot — because a player message was there saying “This is a safe spot” — and, sure enough, the dragon flew by and roasted the entire bridge. This is easy, I thought, so I ran across. I also stopped to get an item thinking I had time to spare.
Life Two, Soul Five
How I thought that was a good idea is still a mystery to me. After my first roasting, I thought I was close enough to where I was originally to run back to there. I wasn’t. The second roasting killed me. And here I am, back at the Archstone. Human body number two, it was nice being reunited for those precious moments.
When I made my way back to bridge, I knew the pattern and I just had to run. And run I did. I made it to the tower, breathed a sigh of relief, and then went and explored the area this tower had to offer. I killed a few guys, picked up some additional healing items, and went back down to the base of the tower. I saw another bridge section ahead of me, except this one was filled with enemies. I wasn’t sure if the dragon would make his way back or not. I figured I was safe, the game wouldn’t put all these enemies there if a dragon was just going to burn them all to death.
Life Two, Soul Six
When I made my way back to the second bridge section, my new nemesis, I moved gingerly ahead. I was trying to find the “safe spot” that was as far forward as possible without getting flamed. When I thought I was good, I just stayed still for a few seconds and, sure enough, the dragon came. I watched with glee as every single enemy on the bridge was instantly killed by the dragon’s searing flame breath. I waited for the dragon’s next pass, then ran across the bridge. Oh, that green thing! That’s my soul. I should grab that real quick, I timed my run so perfectly there’s no way it could slow me down.
Life Two, Soul Seven
This time I managed to cross the second bridge safely. There were four crossbowmen a safe distance away from the end of the dragon’s strafing run, so I let my stamina bar refresh before taking them on, and then sliced the hell out of the group of them.
The new tower had only a couple crossbowmen at the top and both were dispatched with easy. Making my way into the lower level of the tower, I heard some dogs barking. The message on one of the two doors said “Valuable item.” I followed the path to its end and, sure enough, there was an item! I picked it up and received my first ring: a ring of Gash Resistance (bleeding resistance). I turned around and came back the way I came and, ahead of me, I saw a bunch of scurrying things. I moved forward a bit to see if my light would illuminate the dark hall and, in front of me, were three dogs. I tried attacking one, but his lunge was too quick. Only a small amount of damage, so I quickly attempted to strike back, but one of his compatriots then lunged at me. Rinse and repeat, dead.
Life Two, Soul Seven
Screw the dogs, I thought as I now faced the third section of the bridge. This bit tasked me with eliminating two lower-tier enemies, each of which took only a single hit to take down. I then walked up to a player message that said “This is a safe spot.” Moments later, the dragon’s fire breath pass started just feet in front of me. Once again, the dragon roasted every enemy on the bridge. There was, once again, much rejoicing. I waited for the next pass and then ran across the bridge. As I was nearing the end point, I noticed there were three crossbowmen in very close proximity to where I guessed the end of the dragon’s strafe run was.
This was confirmed when, while running and just a few feet from the crossbowmen group, one hit me, stunned me for a moment, and I was caught in the dragon’s strafing run. Frick.
Life Two, Soul Eight
This time I was able to take out the crossbowmen. They don’t have much life, so it’s kind of an unfair fight.
And speaking of unfair fights, as soon as I felt victorious, a knight decked out in silver armor and who was wielding an actual sword — as opposed to my unwieldy slab of metal — was apparently watching the whole time. He stabbed me. It hurt.
Life Two, Soul Nine
It hurt me to death. As I was running back to that position I got greedy on the second bridge trying to nab the items of the enemies the dragon killed. I was then killed.
Life Two, Soul Ten
I made my way back to the end of the third bridge, killed all of the crossbowmen, and this time was slightly prepared for the knight. Charging him proved to be a bad idea, though, as it appeared that he had a second knight watching his back. Killed.
Life Two, Soul Eleven-Fourteen
I should try this tomorrow or something.
Life Two, Soul Fifteen
Oh! Oh! I know what I can do. I can try fighting those knights with my ever-beloved Turpentine! Yes!
So I did that and it made eliminating the crossbowmen a trivial matter (one hit, I’m a big man now). I was able to whittle down the first of the two knights to near-nothing, but my decision to attempt to parry-and-riposte was a bit overzealous.
Life Two, Soul Sixteen
Okay, screw this. I’m using the super-rare item that brings me back to life, gives me my entire health bar back, and this should be just enough to get past this part.
Life Three, Soul Sixteen
Ah, much better. Before running across the bridge to meet my nemeses, I coated my poorly-tailored slab of metal with Turpentine, gave myself a little pep talk, did a circle-strafe dance, and was ready to go. I ran across the bridge, quickly dispensed all of the Crossbowmen, danced and parried like a complete badass. I killed the first knight.
At this point, before I got close enough to the second knight to make him feel the need to go on the offensive, I was nervous. I spent my super rare item on bringing me back to life, I’m close to finally getting past this evil concoction. Similar to the boss fight from the first section of the game, the pressure was on. I approached the second knight, let him make the first strike, and went in for the kill with a series of strong attacks. He hit me in the process, but I got three solid attacks off. Only a sliver of his health was left; I retreated a bit to use some healing items. He, apparently, chose that time to aggressively rush me. The healing item registered just before the hit and I was right back where I was before using it. I said “Hey, screw you, buddy.” And in typical action movie style, I capped that clever tag line with a sword attack. He died. I rejoiced. I’m sure my neighbors hated me for it.
In what I assume was either complete luck or the game simply taunting me, one of the two knights dropped the item that brings me back to life from soul form. I rejoiced again.
Walking forward a bit, I saw a plane of fog ahead of me. I took a deep breath, walked through the fog, and was shown a cinematic of an absolutely enormous knight and his dozens of crossbowmen who had his back. Demon’s Souls called him the Tower Knight.
So, yeah, this is terrifying. To be fair, I was warned by the player message that preceded my entrance to this area: “A terrifying foe is ahead.” Thanks guy.
When the cut scene finished, I figured the first thing I had to do was to eliminate all of the crossbowmen that were in the area. I sprinted past the knight and into the upper-levels of the castle courtyard that surrounded him. I ran around the area and killed every crossbowmen that I saw (around twelve or so). It was actually a pretty simple affair, since most of the area had walls to block the Tower Knight’s scary-looking projectile beam… thing.
Now that the knight’s medieval snipers were all dead, I realized I had to face up to the task of taking down this moving fortress. The only option I had, since I’m not a ranged character, was to run down to the courtyard and swipe at the knight’s heels. I did this. I wore the knight down to about 75% his original health, but I was then caught in a double dose of his shield stomp area-of-effect attack and, well, you know.
Life Three, Soul Seventeen-Twenty
I’m not sure if it’s the game being mean (it is) or if it’s me getting lazy (it is). Either way: death.
Life Three, Twenty
I made it back to the entrance to the courtyard that housed the Tower Knight. I saw some blue scrawls in the area immediately preceding the plane of fog. In checking these out, I discovered these were all souls for other players who were looking to help a player with the boss fight. I activated a couple because, well, I could do with not ever running that death gauntlet that preceded this area again. While I was waiting for one of my summons to succeed (none of them would, since this feature is only for players who are alive), I explored this safe zone I was in and discovered a plethora of goodies. Including another charge of the item which can bring me back to life. When all of my summons failed, which the game doesn’t indicate is because I can’t use them since I’m dead, I contemplated using it, but I didn’t. I knew the Tower Knight pattern enough to humiliate him in front of his friends (crossbowmen) with only half of my health bar.
And I did. And it was glorious. When the Tower Knight finally fell, I grasped the Archstone that was in his place.
Life Four, Soul Twenty
After I went back to the Nexus and cashed in all of the soul items I found during my gameplay — though, as an aside, one of the comments on my last entry pointed out that you should not “cash in” the boss soul items as they can be used for crafting later in the game — I returned to the Archstone in the Tower Knight’s courtyard. I walked forward, to progress onto the third section of this first world and came upon a fog plane. The criterion for getting past this fog plane, though, was that I defeat one of the major, end-world boss monsters in another world. Since I hadn’t done that yet, though, I could not pass.
And thus ended my play-through of the first world. It was an unfortunately anti-climactic end due to the arbitrary gating of what I presume to be the final section of the first world, but I did have an absolute blast fighting my way to this point. And, now, we’ve reached the end of the Souls Diary.
And now I’m going to get started with World 2.