By Gav James-Weir
****Contains mild enemy spoilers for No-Man’s Wharf****
Let’s just got one little thing clear. This place is bloody GORGEOUS, not gorgeous in a ‘Oh my god I want to go on holiday here’, but gorgeous in that ruined world way Dark Souls so often is.
Coming across somewhere between One Eyed Willy’s cave in the Goonies and the City of Thieves from the episode of Adventure Time, the Wharf is a gloomy, oppressive, dank cave. Welcoming, right? As is the case with most locations in Dark Souls games, the design of it speaks stories out loud. Homes left abandoned to rot, all shadowy holes carved into the rock…and in those homes and holes I met something hideous, one of the only enemies in either Dark Souls to leave me shouting ‘WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!?’ at the screen.
There I was, taking intense, deep breaths after a fight with some of The Wharfs more ‘normal’ enemies, looking around, seeing where to go. I spot a house just to the left of me. It’s dark in there, but I’m in need of healing items…so I brave it. I peer into the shadows, something’s there…something terrible… its frame seemingly taking up the entire room. All limbs, hunched up around its tiny body, like someone crossed a spider with an ape and threw in a little of the Colverfield monster for good measure. It lurches out, it attacks. I freak out, it kills me. The Dark Souls Wiki calls them ‘Dark Stalkers’ I’ve taken to calling them ‘Those fucking horrible bastards’. They’re so horrifying I can’t even find an image of them on Google or a wiki, so I’ve drawn this:
By Gav James-Weir, aged 31 and a half.
There’s a house up on the cliff utterly crawling with these things. A warning message on the floor told me to ‘beware of fatty’ which I decided to ignore. Upon opening the door, I was faced with two of them…but they were stuck, too big to get out the door. ‘Ha! He can’t fit through…easy pi…BAMN. Him and his mate smashed the door down and then proceeded to hand me a swift kicking. Yeah, they can kick down not only doors, but entire fucking WALLS. Being scary as all fuck not good enough for you? Gotta be freakishly strong too, huh? No, …that’s totally fair. Oh, 25% bleed damage per hit? Yeah, why the fuck not…
I’ve still ran past that place every time, even now I’ve lit the giant torch. Even that burst of light only helps a little, they suddenly grow a pair of big-boy-balls when they’re inside, torch or not. Often, they’ll get enraged and come running at you screaming and batter the crap out of you, light or dark. Like the Super Furry Animals, The Man(creature/spider/thing) don’t give a fuck.
I really can’t place what it is about these things that get me. Maybe it’s the long, gangly limbs, the resemblance to some terrible, giant spider playing on my real life fears (seriously, a 6 foot tall spider? I’m gone. Out. Forget it). Or maybe it’s that fact that even with shield up, they still easily ruin your day, but No-Man’s Wharf has got in my head badly. Doesn’t help that the boss of the area is a dick too, bolt on the new weapon durability mechanic and wall of enemies to get through and son, this area is rank. I can’t get out quick enough.