Actually not dying for a little bit in Dark Souls

Last time on our adventures through death and pain in Dark Souls, we met a dude who didn’t immediately hate us on sight, took a dragon’s tail in exchange for its life, killed a boar in the cheapest way possible and took its skull as a trophy, and triumphed over the return of our greatest fear. Join us once again, as we lay siege to the undead’s church and try to ring bells because some guy who hates us told us to!


So, at this point, I’ve got a bit of a reputation. I’m kind of a big deal. Undead the world over are filled with fear at the knowledge that the Best Chosen One is coming for them, and only Geezer Zeus can save them. Case in point, this little zombie loser starts running away from me as soon as I take the stairs down into the basement of the parish. I rush down the corridor after him, but stop short as he enters this open area. My Chosen-Senses are tingling. Sure enough, fear was only half the reason he was running from me. Well, maybe two-thirds. 80%. Ok, whatever, the point is, he was totally scared of me and crying like a little baby, but he was also trying to lead me into an ambush. Another undead leaps at me from the left as soon as I enter the room. Luckily, I am a genius and expected this move, so I block his attack and make short work of him.

I’m assaulted by a bunch more of these guys, but really, let’s be honest here. The undead in this room are of the same class as the one they used as bait. You probably can’t tell by the picture very well, but these guys aren’t exactly the heavily armed soldiers we’ve been dealing with so far. They’re not even the leather-armored warriors we fought in the Undead Burg. No, these guys are pretty much the same as the hollows we fought in the Asylum; armed with only simple clubs and protected by nothing but the clothes on their back. If they swarmed me, then sure, they might be able to do some damage, but I’m able to keep them separated and mostly toothless.

However, there’s something much more sinister than these hollows lurking underneath the parish, trying to sneak up on me. I see it though, but I pretend to lay unaware. I wait until it comes close, then like a viper, I swiftly turn and strike.


The battle against these sinister barrels is over in just one strike. Know that you may walk a little more safely at night, for the world has been saved from their evils.

My civic duty thus completed, I scour the room. I find a mysterious key on a dead body laying in the corner. What is it with dead bodies and keys? Keys can go in other things as well. Like a chest. Or on a table. But no, if this game wants me to have a key, it has to be on a dead body. Even that knight at the beginning of the game had to drop a corpse in my cell to set me free rather than just giving me the key itself.

Anyways, having successfully defeated an ambush from the weakest enemies in the game, I rise through the light and head outside.


I’m confronted with this new type of enemy. He’s definitely undead, but he’s even more heavily armored than the soldiers, although he carries lighter and faster weaponry. Luckily, he’s just as vulnerable to pointy things entering his spinal column as the rest of his hollow brethren, so I kill him with a single backstab and move on. This guy was watching over a dead body, apparently waiting for it to rise again. That doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon, so I steal the corpse’s shield. Hey, given the demographics we’ve seen so far, chances are this guy’s either going to want to kill me or he’s going to be a total dick when he rises again, and in either case, I’d rather have the shield than him.

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Breaking into Dark Souls


I started playing Dark Souls recently.  I know, I know, don’t worry, my family and friends have already been notified of this self-destructive behavior, and I’m sure the interventions are being planned as we speak.  In the meantime, however, I figured I’d do something productive and chronicle my experiences with this famously difficult game.  This will last until this game breaks me down and leaves me in a weeping wreck, or I just get bored with the project and stop doing it.  Let’s see how long that lasts, shall we?  In the meantime, here’s a short-form stream of consciousness play-by-play of the game.  It’s almost like you’re right there with me, right?

So I’m playing the game on PC.  Steam mentioned something along the lines of a controller being strongly but really, it’s a 3rd person action game, I usually prefer WASD-mouse controls for those.

Time to create a character!  Yeah!  I love having homemade PCs!  Except the facial generator sucks!  Boo!  Even so, I make the most of it, and create a character with as close to my beauty as the engine is able to muster.  I know, it’s going to be a good long while before computer hardware gets advanced enough to be able to truly replicate my good lucks, but I’ll keep trying in the meantime.  There’s a couple different classes to choose from, who each have their own loadout of equipment and stats.  I pick the Wanderer, not for any tactical reason, that just fits best with the characterization I have in my head for this guy and YES I AM THAT TYPE OF PLAYER SHUT UP!!!

And now I get treated to the intro cinematic.  These things usually set the stage for the game, and… Dark Souls does not really do a good job of that.  It’s mostly stuff I can’t really make sense of at first.  But let’s summarize.  In the beginning, the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the earth, and there was nothing except rocks, trees, and dragons.  And probably lots of metal music, with a setup like that.  Then something happens, and all of a sudden there’s fire, and a bunch of dudes who are probably going to be important later come to take it.  There’s the Dead Dude That’s Made of Dead Dudes, Hot Witch, Geezer Zeus, and the Pygmy that nobody cares about and even the narrator says so.  Then Dead Dude, Hot Witch, and Geezer Zeus kick some dragon ass with the help of a traitor Fairy Dragon and everyone’s all happy and it’s a new age of fire, except that the age of fire has passed and everything’s starting to die.  Also, people are getting the Darksign which turns everything undead.  Then the game starts.

So, I had spent a good amount of time constructing my character’s face into something that’s actually nice to look at.  Well, the jokes on me, because the game spawns my character without any skin.  There’s nothing I can do to prevent him from looking hideous.  You win this one, Dark Souls.

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Doing Difficulty Right: Ninja Gaiden

Ninja Gaiden 1

So, the posts have kind of slowed down a bit, haven’t they?  Yeah, about that… Life’s been kicking my ass pretty good lately, and I haven’t had much in the way of time.  What time I did have for the blog, I’ve been devoting to the next post in my Saints Row Retrospective series, which, as you may guess, take a little while to finish up.  With luck, that should be coming down the pipe sometime this month.  I know that’s not going to be good enough for you, though.  I know you’re just pleading “Please, Aether!  I love your wit and intelligence and beauty!  Please give me some or your glorious content!”  Well, don’t worry.  I haven’t forgotten you.  In fact, I wrote this entire post, all just for you.  Yes, you personally.  This one’s yours.

I beat the Xbox Ninja Gaiden recently.  It’s kind of a hard game, you may have heard.  And it expects you to be just as hard in return.  However, there’s a lot of hard games out there.  That’s not unique.  What is unique is that Ninja Gaiden actually makes its difficulty fun.  It’s easy to make something hard, making that difficulty engaging takes a lot more work.  In this world of video games, there’s good difficulty, and there’s bad difficulty.  But what makes that difficulty good or bad?  Well, there’s a lot of ways to do it.  Let’s dive into Ninja Gaiden, and figure out how they made it work.

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