Written by Gav Russell
*Contains minor spoilers with some boss discussion, area discussion and a half baked boss strategy*
So. Nearly two weeks in, close to 30 hours played and a bewildering amount of suffering and joy in equal measure under my belt. Where we at? Well, let’s turn to maths and graphs to give you a nice visual reference as to where my life and head is at right now. As you’ll observe below, a fairly full life doesn’t leave too much room for plodding around Drangelic.
But that can’t change the fact that on the inside, the situation is like this
But my progress feels good. Sure, some members of the DkS2 community on the Interweb and our Twitter feed have rampaged through it already and I’m probably only at the 25% marker but taking it slow and fearing every single step has been incredible so far. Anyway, some thoughts on…
FUCKING BELFRY GARGOYLES
Not the act of fucking them, no! Don’t be sick. But ‘fucking’ as in, those fuckers, those fucking bastards. Yeah, this fight has been my new Queelag. So many repeated attempts. So much repeated failure. So much anger. At one point I was attempting this boss while my son watched, and as I was failing he offered some advice and I shouted at him “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND, STOP TALKING”. It was at that point I decided that whenever he watches, I won’t be attempting bosses. It makes me A Bad Dad.
Located at the heart of The Lost Bastille, the gargoyle bosses are purely optional. From the Servants Quarter bonfire, head down the ladder and you’ll encounter a small room with a stray dog (kill it) and one of those creepy Pharros’ Lockstones. Insert your key, and you’ll gain access to Belfry Luna. Which is a wonderful name and hints at nothing of the pain and misery inside. Lore-wise, this place is fascinating. A decrepit bell tower at the center of an undead prison, protected by a covenant (Bell Keeper Covenant, joinable, but even after that you’re not granted safe passage) and watched over by dwarven guardians who will fuck you right up if you’re not too careful. Climb the tower, murder everything, ring the bell (echoes of the past here, big time) and you’ll unlock the fog gate. It’s the ringing of the bell that everyone has been trying to stop you from doing. According to official DkS2 lore, the bell here is a symbol of forbidden love. From Software getting into sex analogies? Don’t have sex else dwarves will kill you? Maybe? Either way, when you think about it, the guardians and the invading Covenant bros have been trying to do you a favour. Leave the gargoyles alone, they’re saying. But do we listen? Nah.
Remember how in the first game it was tricky fighting 2 gargoyles atop the Undead Chapel? Well, how about a few more. No less than 5 gargoyles will come to life during this fight, and you’ll usually be fighting at least 3 at a time. At one point I was fighting 4, and
loving it almost weeping. Maybe I tackled this slightly under-levelled, but once I’d started I was determined to finish it.
As is standard, on my first time in the arena, I lasted seconds, overwhelmed by the sheer amount of BOSS coming at me. After 6 attempts, I was faring no better and by this point not seeing how it would ever be possible. Y’see, everything I’d heard about them was that it’s a damage race: they share an overall health bar (think Four Kings) and the quicker you start killing them, the easier it’ll be. But all that the ‘rush them, kill them‘ strategy ever got me was a face full of death.But following some sage words on Twitter from a few upstanding members of TDkSC (the Dark Souls community, I hereby christen an acronym) a different approach seemed viable – take your time. Hang back. And in the words of The Offspring, “Keep ‘Em Seperated”.
Back to Majula I went to load up on crossbow bolts, with the idea to plug away at them with ranged attacks while I strafed and waited for an opening. I returned to the Belfry. It worked. My 2nd attempt with my new strategy in mind saw them fall at my feet and disintegrate into lovely Soul-y particles which I absorbed into mine own body. Nom nom. Basically, as soon as I entered the fog gate, and as the 2 nearest gargoyles roared into life, I ran to the other end of the roof. I allowed them to flex and brag and to start their routines. Hanging back, their move sets became clear; their habits suddenly quite predictable. I strafed, I backed away, I kept my guard up. A decent shield will repel any of their attacks without any issues; decent poise (get that Stone Ring) will see you take it without batting an eyelid. I had as many as 4 alive at one time, but it was suddenly no problem. I let them dart towards me and plunge at me with their blades, I let them fly into the air and barrel towards me. Back away, shield up, keep them at a distance, and rush in when there’s an opening and take a hearty, two handed swing. All the while, popping off crossbow bolts to fill in the gaps. Your bolts won’t do too much damage, but they enabled me to put down two of the gargoyles from a distance once their health was flagging.