Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Dark Souls boss battle scorecard

Because I had nothing else to do tonight and because Dark Souls is nothing if not fun to talk about, I decided to put together an informal grading system for the game's bosses. You'll probably only get anything out of this if you've played the game as well and actually remember these battles, but hey, write for yourself, eh? (Pictured above: Iron Golem.)

Asylum Demon
               -2 for being unbeatable the first time you meet him
               +4 for that not being the case on New Game +
               +2 for being a relatively easy first boss
               -4 for lack of color
               +1 pity point for being overweight
                              total: 1

Taurus Demon
               +5 for gorgeous scenery
               -8 for sneaky snipers in the tower behind you
               +5 for being slow and easy to read
               -3 for knocking you off the wall
               -3 for fooling you into thinking you'd be safe at the top of the tower
               -5 for no nearby checkpoints
               +12 for being an engaging common enemy later in the game
                              total: 3

Bell Gargoyle
               +5 for gorgeous scenery
               -6 because you'll be too angry to care
               +5 for a relatively fair first half
               -10 for calling in a second gargoyle
               -10 for second gargoyle cheaply spewing fire everywhere
               -5 for no nearby checkpoints
               +8 because you can technically save this battle for later
               -7 because most new players won't figure that out
                              total: -20

Capra Demon
               +2 for doggies!
               -2 because the doggies are kind of assholes
               -5 for small arena with potential camera issues
               +8 for being able to toy with him from the top ledge
               -1 for the jump attack
               +1 for the jump attack being easy to dodge
               -3 for being guarded by sneaky ninja bastards
               -5 for no nearby checkpoints
               +7 for being an engaging common enemy later in the game
                              total: 2

Moonlight Butterfly
               +4 for being pretty
               +4 for accompanying pretty music
               -5 for ridiculous magic spam attacks
               +10 for thoughtfully resting its head on the ledge so you can attack it
               -11 for that shockwave attack it uses when you do
               +7 for being visible atop the tower shortly before you fight it
               +5 for being optional
                              total: 14

Gaping Dragon
               +15 for being the best creature design in the game
               +5 for fighting in a big, open arena
               -3 for that gobble attack
               -4 for spewing weapon-destroying goo all over the place
               +8 for that introductory scene
               -5 for not doing a solid job of keeping players the hell out of Blighttown
                              total: 24

               +5 for boobs
               -6 for boobs with no nipples
               +10 for spewing lava
               -11 because the lava stays there and is actually really dangerous
               -5 for no nearby checkpoints
               -10 for making you wade through poisonous water every time you want to fight her
               +4 for having a cool-looking lair
               -5 because said lair is guarded by giant bastards throwing boulders
               -1 for the shockwave attack
                              total: -19

Stray Demon
               -10 for pulling you into the fight via sneaky collapsing floor
               -5 because you'll also take damage from the fall
               +3 for being large and relatively slow
               -5 for that shockwave attack with the pink particle effects
               +8 for the satisfaction of just staying behind him for the whole fight
               +5 for being optional
                              total: -4

Great Grey Wolf Sif
               +25 for being a giant wolf carrying a sword in his mouth
               +10 for continuing to protect his master even after said master dies
               +5 for fighting in a big, open arena
               -8 for that double spin attack
               +5 for his attacks being fair
               -5 for no nearby checkpoints
               -6 for being guarded by that spinning weasel thing
               +15 for making me feel sad when he started limping around at the end
               +5 bonus points for being the best fight of the game
                              total: 46

Iron Golem
               +20 for absolutely spectacular scenery
               +5 for relatively nearby checkpoint
               -6 because it's really hard to find
               -10 for the giant throwing firebombs on you
               +12 for being able to permakill said giant before battle
               -5 for knocking you off the edge of the arena
               +6 because that's really the only danger of the fight
               +4 for opening for the old "running between the boss's legs" trick
                              total: 25

               +5 for being optional
               -5 for neutrality's sake, because I missed this one and can't comment on it
                              score: 0

Ornstein and Smough
               +10 for sounding like a wacky comedy duo
               -10 for actually being a dragon slayer and an executioner
               +5 because at least they're both drastically different adversaries
               -12 because when you kill one, the other regains all of his health
               -5 for no nearby checkpoints
               +8 for the pillars making great cover
               +1 for Smough's ridiculously huge hammer
                              total: -3

Crossbreed Priscilla
               +5 for being optional
               +10 for explicitly giving players the option of leaving
               +2 for having a tail
               -12 for turning invisible
               +13 for the invisibility thing turning out to not be terribly cheap
               +5 for not having much health, all things considered
                              total: 23

Four Kings
               -5 for making you fight four of them
               +4 for at least having the courtesy of showing up one at a time
               -6 for the battle being set in a featureless abyss
               -7 for the contrived means of actually traversing said abyss
               -8 for making me kill Sif, you bastards
               -10 for basically forcing you to go on the complete offensive
               -15 for the nearest checkpoint literally being in another level
               -3 for the grapple attack
               -5 for the shockwave attack
               +5 because at least their armor looks cool
                              total: -50

Seath the Scaleless
               +20 for an awesome lair, and the slow-burning reveal of said lair
               -15 for the nearest checkpoint literally being in another level
               +15 because at least the scenery on the way is pretty phenomenal
               +10 for canonically being the reason I don't have to fight any other dragons
               -5 for having a curse attack
               +6 because the attack is avoidable enough that I never actually got cursed
               -1 for initially throwing you into a prison with a bunch of jellyfish monsters
               +3 for the ambition of seeking the secret to immortality
               -4 for said secret just being a crystal that can be smashed in one hit
               +5 because he can be lured into smashing it himself, which is hilarious
                              total: 34

               +5 because I beat him on my first try
               -5 because that actually makes him kind of forgettable
               +6 for making a bunch of clones
               -6 because he himself has barely any health
               +2 for the masks
               +2 for dropping one of them at the end of the battle
                              score: 4

Gravelord Nito
               +8 for having the title "Gravelord"
               -8 for his actual name sounding like "neat-o"
               +10 for being made of skeletons
               -6 for the massive enemies in the back of the arena
               +6 because those enemies won't attack you if you stay away from them
               -3 because that underground attack is pretty cheap
               +7 for being a massive boss with attacks that are easy to read
               -5 because you'll automatically take damage from the fall into the arena
                              total: 15

Ceaseless Discharge
               +10 for being called "Ceaseless Discharge"
               +3 for having a giant fiery octopus sprouting out of his back
               +10 for being able to instakill him by luring him to the entrance of the area
               -9 for the trick bugging out if you die and return
               -7 for the borderline-unavoidable fire breath attack
               +5 because he doesn't actually attack you until you steal his stuff
                              total: 12

Demon Firesage
               -10 for just being the Stray Demon with some orange paint
               +10 because you'll actually be ready for his attacks this time
               +5 for not using any dirty tricks to pull you into the battle like Stray Demon did
               +3 for fighting in a relatively large arena
               -3 for said large arena being full of spindly tree branches
                              total: 5

Centipede Demon
               +12 for fantastic creature design
               -10 for most of the arena floor being covered with lava
               -15 for the tiny strips of land sending the camera absolutely haywire
               +3 for the player who left me a note warning me about that
               +20 for there being a checkpoint immediately before this battle
               -7 for the shockwave attack
               -8 for throwing fireballs when I tried to lure him out of the lava
               -10 for this battle being insanely unfair to melee-centric builds
                              total: -15

Bed of Chaos
               -10 for the closest checkpoint being hidden behind an illusory wall
               -20 for basically doing the Gradius-style "glowing weak points" routine
               +30 for your progress actually not being reset when you die
               -25 for mandatory platforming
               +12 for an exploit wherein she can't hit you during one of the phases
               -100 for canonically being the source of every demon in this game
                              total: -113

               -20 for basically having no stamina limit
               +20 because you can just shield yourself with one of the stalagmites
               +10 because no one else seemed to figure that strategy out
               +10 which underlines the open-endedness of the combat in Dark Souls
               -8 for being guarded by a bunch of respawning black knights
               +5 for marking the triumphant end of your playthrough
                              total: 17

And here they are, ranked:

22. Bed of Chaos (-113)
21. Four Kings (-50)
20. Bell Gargoyle (-20)
19. Quelaag (-19)
18. Centipede Demon (-15)
17. Stray Demon (-4)
16. Ornstein and Smough (-3)
15. Gwyndolin (0)
14. Asylum Demon (1)
13. Capra Demon (2)
12. Taurus Demon (3)
11. Pinwheel (4)
10. Demon Firesage (5)
9. Ceaseless Discharge (12)
8. Moonlight Butterfly (14)
7. Gravelord Nito (15)
6. Gwyn (17)
5. Crossbreed Priscilla (23)
4. Gaping Dragon (24)
3. Iron Golem (25)
2. Seath the Scaleless (34)
1. Great Grey Wolf Sif (46)

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