One of the issues I was concerned about starting this series is the fact that it is only entertaining to watch someone fail a certain segment of a game for so long. For a value of ‘so long’ that isn’t typically very long at all. And here I was, going at this video/blog-post cross-media thing starting out with Dark Souls. Not even a Dark Souls I’d done before and had knowledge of. Nope, the one I’ve never played before beyond the opening areas.

I actually don’t recall whether I’ve done the Taurus Demon in the past or not. The fact that I can’t recall though probably suggests that it doesn’t really matter either way — it was long enough ago that I certainly don’t remember it now.

And unlike the Asylum Demon of Part 1 where it was a one-shot even when I could barely remember the buttons to press… Well. That wasn’t a case to be repeated with the Taurus Demon who does more damage, has way more health and a rather tight combat arena to fight in.

I think I’ve found the solution I’m going to go forward with though! I’ll get to the detail of that soon. The other aspect I wanted to talk about before launching in earnest is just how long the write-up for Part 1 was. Just over 2k words all said and done. So I’m going to take some more liberties with the writing rather than the (almost) blow-by-blow take of Part 1. We’ll see how it goes- this whole playing to a schedule thing is still very much an experiment after all. :P

Oh! And one last thing — the title card for Part 2.5 makes me laugh. I didn’t even realise that the Taurus Demon looked up for the mace-in-the-face coming at him like that until I was watching the recording back. I feel like this is a detail that will never be visible in the YouTube title card usage, so here you go. ;)

Hehehe. I guess one can’t really say ‘He never saw it coming’ because he did. Just not quickly enough to do anything about it.

The Undead Burg

If there’s one thing that the approach to the Undead Burg from Firelink Shrine wants to tell you, it is: Go home. Wait- no, that’s not right. It’s ‘The tutorial is over. Hand holding time is done’.

As you climb the stairway to the aqueduct above which will become your entry point you’ll find a group of undead that support each other in the task of making you less alive than you were while approaching them. One will throw bombs while another acts as bait down below. There is even one that does a pretty good impression of my early plunge-attacks. (i.e., it misses and I’m not even sure if they remembered to swing the weapon while falling.)

They don’t get me though! Not this time! *taps nose* I’ve been here before you see. And while not much of my memory of playing this earlier remains, this bit did. Probably indicating ‘Bad Things'(tm) have happened to me at this spot on earlier attempts.

Anywho, once through the aqueduct and into the Burg itself, the theme of the AI playing co-operatively to make you dead continues. It’s rare that you’ll find yourself fighting just one thing at a time.

Up here, some of these guys know how to fire crossbows from afar. Some will just hang over handrails waiting in ambush. Yet others will form a shieldwall of sorts while yet more of the blighters stand on a wooden construction out of reach in order to rain fire bombs down upon you as you cross a narrow bridge.

Here’s the video! (The first one, at least — Part 2.5 will be further down)

Somewhere in amongst all that, I found a bonfire. A bastion of safety in an otherwise deadly world. I activate it like any sane person would but I’m not keen on the idea of respawning everything I just came through in order to actually rest at it yet.

But you see- either I’ve mistaken my memory of how bonfires work in the other Dark Souls games or they work differently in the first Dark Souls.

Pro Tip: Actually resting at a bonfire is required to make it your spawn point.
/foreshadowing

I carry on exploring the area, roly-polying into assorted barrels, tables and bookshelves on the off-chance they’re hiding something interesting, like a chest, or a mimic pretending to be a chest. Despite my exploration efforts though, I recall seeing a vendor somewhere in this area that I don’t find this time through.

It’s possible this is down to not taking the Master Key as my starting gift this time through but it’s also entirely possible in my desire to not spend too long treading the same ground I’ve just missed where the drop-off for it is. In either case, I’m not too worried just yet. The cleric starting gear is seeing me in pretty good stead for the moment.

Until, all of a sudden, it isn’t and I have my first death.

D’oh.

It is upon this death I learn, as mentioned above, that it is necessary to rest at a bonfire in order to make it your resurrection point. And because I failed to do that, I’m now right back in Firelink Shrine with my souls dropped on the ground quite a long way away!

After a bit of a perhaps over-cocky run up the stairs and through the aqueduct — and a quick check behind that I haven’t trained everyone after me — I start a more cautious and direct path to the bonfire and actually rest at it before carrying on.

Ultimately I get my dropped souls back successfully and note that I’m pretty close to the end of this section.

The Taurus Demon

I remember enough to know that he’s here and to be afraid.

I even remember enough to know that I should take the ladder behind me to clear out a couple of undead jerks with crossbows before attempting to cross the ramparts.

But I don’t remember how to fight him, or even whether I ever knew that.

And… I also didn’t remember to spend my souls on leveling up before passing the mist gate.

I had just shy of 4,000 souls upon entering, which, frankly, wouldn’t be the end of the world to permanently lose. But at this stage of the game it feels like a lot. And is worth several levels. But it’s do or die. I’m committed now. I’m here.

Dangit.

And for my second attempt, in my haste to recover the souls, I rush straight to them crossing the mid-way point of the rampart triggering the Taurus Demon to reappear before I’ve dealt with the crossbow snipers above and behind.

Suffice to say, this attempt is a debacle and I end up dead before landing even a single blow.

On the plus side though, I drop my souls right by the entry way.

The third and final attempt of the Part 2 video is the best attempt from a damage-done perspective. But still a far cry from success. Still not even half his HP down!

It is at this point I decide to take stop recording (I’d essentially hit the 30-minute part limit I’m imposing anyway) and take a look at some tips before coming back to try again.

The Taurus Demon – Coming Back and Trying Again

One of the things I learnt from my trip down guide-lane, was that you can do a plunging attack on this guy for a goodly portion of its health.

And heck, if you’re so inclined, it’s actually possible to kill the Taurus Demon with basically nothing but plunging attacks.

I wanted to do the fight ‘properly’ though, so had no plan on applying quite that much cheese to the situation. I’d seen it was better to keep distance from this guy rather than stay in close like I had been. And I felt I could get him done in one more attempt with this information in hand.

And technically speaking, I did.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The first thing I did was to run back in — get my souls — and then use a Homeward Bone to teleport myself back to the bonfire, souls still with me, and level up.

I picked up a mix of Vitality, Endurance and Strength for HP, Stamina and Weapon Damage respectively.

Then I made my run through the gauntlet back to the boss for the final showdown. *cracks knuckles*

What came next I can only really describe as a Pyrrhic victory. For whom isn’t exactly clear either. But I guess since I come back and he doesn’t — I’ll claim it. Through happenstance of positioning, the first strike of the battle I get hit with sends me sailing off the edge of the ramparts to my death. Had this hit occurred anywhere else I would’ve been fine.

Not content to let gravity do his dirty work for him though, the Taurus Demon, er, leaps off the edge after me. Also dying. So I saw a toast text sequence of, ‘You died’ and ‘Victory Achieved’ back to back.

in my bemused state while running back to verify that the boss was, in fact, dead — I allow myself to fall of another edge and die. So an alternate title for this part could be, ‘Naithin Plays Dark Souls: Remastered and the Tale of Three Falls’.

Anywho, that’s where I wrap things up for this week. Next week I’m truly into the unknown. So… That’ll be fun. ;)