Dark Souls Walkthrough

Praise the sun. Our Dark Souls Walkthrough provides tips for surviving the adventure, a guide to the entire world, and hints for slaying bosses.

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What's New:

  • October 18, 2011: Version 1.3. The walkthrough now covers all of the areas for the standard (good guy) storyline.
  • October 10, 2011: Version 1.2. Our walkthrough takes you all the way into Anor Londo.
  • October 5, 2011: Version 1.1. Updated the Equipping section with info about armor defenses and how to cure status effects.
  • October 4, 2011: Version 1.0 of the Dark Souls Walkthrough is here. We are starting with a Primer to get you started, but will be updating to a full walkthrough. Check back later for more info.

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Character Stats

In Dark Souls, each of your character's eight statistics determines your overall level. Instead of being limited to the RPG norm of level 99, you can gain upwards of 700 levels. You can level up at Bonfires and spend accumulated Souls that improve your abilities. Each overall character level costs more Souls than the last, so you should be mindful of which stats you build up.

Because you can lose your cache of Souls easily, it is handy to hold onto consumable items such as Soul of a Nameless Soldier or Soul of a Proud Knight. Using these items will instantly fill your Soul counter with several hundred or thousand Souls, topping you off for a new level or two.

Each level raises your defense against Physical, Magical, Flame, and Lightning attacks. Because of this, leveling in general makes things defensively easier.

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Vitality

Vitality improves your HPs, allowing you to survive longer in battle. The best strategy is to avoid taking damage all together, but even with the best evasion and shields you'll still probably wind up getting hit at some point. Because of this Vitality is recommended for all builds, but should be left alone until after both your primary offensive stat and Endurance are high enough.

Attunement

A higher Attunement score will allow your character to equip more types of magic. Unlike in Demon's Souls, where this was only needed for Sorceries, Miracle users will also need to boost Attunement to have more magic slots (Instead of just relying on Faith alone). Obviously, you should raise this stat to allow you to equip new spells; however, if you don't have an additional studied magic, leave Attunement alone. It's a useless stat for characters that plan on never casting at all.

Endurance

Determines your Stamina and Equip Load. This is probably the most universal stat, as any build can make use of more Stamina. Your Stamina meter allows you to withstand block hits, swing weapons, dash, and roll out of the way. Your big weapon or shield won't do you much good if you lack the Stamina to use them. Likewise, being able to escape an enemy's attacks will save the need to stop and heal; dodging should always be the prime strategy for those lacking heavy armor.

Equip Load is also great as it can allow you to move quicker with heavier items, but you need to put in a lot of points into Endurance: you might need upwards of 20 or 50 levels worth of Endurance to make a piece of armor lighter.

As an added bonus Endurance will also raise your resistance to Bleeding. Overall, raise Stamina after your main attack stat is a decent level (around 30 is a good start).

Strength

Strength is required to wield "powerful" type weapons such as swords and axes. Each point of Strength will also increase the damage of most melee weapons, even some which depend on Dexterity to equip. With enough Strength you can also hold two-handed weapons in one hand with a small damage penalty.

Strength is one of the key offensive stats. Because of this, you should either build up Strength quickly or forget it entirely. If you prefer to use brutish large weapon, consider a Strength build.

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Dexterity

Dexterity is needed to effectively wield more "advanced weapons" such as bows, spears, and daggers. These weapon types have the advantage of being much quicker or having range. Because of this, they are best paired when carry a lighter Equip Load, allowing you to move quickly and roll. This stat is also well suited for riposte counters and getting in back stabs.

Dexterity is one of the four main offensive stats, so much like the other three, you should either max out this stat or leave it alone. If you want a speedy, agile character go with a Dexterity focus.

Resistance

Resistance boosts your protection against poison. It also gives a few extra points of Physical Defense (But does not provide extra protection from Magic, Flame, or Lightning). Overall the worst stat, not because it's bad, but because every other stat has so many more uses. Still, you should raise this in places where you know there will be an absurd amount of unavoidable poison and you lack another means of healing.

Intelligence

Intelligence determines the power of your Sorceries and Pyromancies. This stat can also improve the damage of magic based weapons. Obviously this is the stat to improve if you plan on using either type of offensive spell or are looking to fight with magic weapons.

You will also need a Sorcerer's staff or Pyromancer's flame to cast your respective school of magic. Because of this you need to switch out your melee weapon often to cast destructive spells. In general, Sorcery catalysts gain large bonuses from Intelligence (A rank for even the most basic staff), while Pyromancy catalysts gain far less (E or no rank for early flames, C and B rank for very strong ones).

Like with Strength and Dexterity, either max this stat quickly or ignore it if you don't want to cast magic.

Faith

Faith controls of the power of your Miracles and divine weapons. The main stat for a defensive caster or healer. To use Miracles you'll need a Cleric Talisman in your right hand. Also, some Miracles will require you to kneel and pray, making them risky to use while already in combat.

You should either make your character based on Faith or leave the stat at the default level. Because Miracles are mostly defensive in nature, Faith builds can be challenging. However, you'll be a giant help when teaming up with other players.

Starting Classes

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The starting classes come with various equipment, possibly magic, and stats. They also have different levels, making leveling up further easier or harder.

Because of this, each class makes it slightly easier to specialize in something, or have some backup skills. For example, the hearty Warrior can be built to use both melee and range weapons, while a Thief might be able to dabble with magic after some training. Still, with enough grinding you can level every stat and gain all spells. It's just a question of how much of a starting boost you desire.

Class Level Vital Attune Endure Strength Dex Resist Intel Faith Notable Equipment
Warrior 4 11 8 12 13 13 11 9 9 Longsword, Leather Armor
Knight 5 14 10 10 11 11 10 9 11 Heavy Armor, Heavy Shield
Wanderer 3 10 11 10 10 14 12 11 8 Scimitar
Thief 5 9 11 9 9 15 10 12 11 Dagger, Master Key
Bandit 4 12 8 14 14 9 11 8 10 Battle Axe
Hunter 4 11 9 11 12 14 11 9 9 Bow and Arrow
Sorcerer 3 8 15 8 9 11 8 15 8 Soul Arrow Sorcery
Pyromancer 1 10 12 11 12 9 12 10 8 Fireball Pyromancy
Cleric 2 11 11 9 12 8 11 8 14 Mace, Heal Miracle
Deprived 6 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 Unclothed!

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Bonfires

Dark Souls no longer contains the Nexus of Demon's Souls. Instead, your safe havens are Bonfires placed around the world. These have several functions to help you on your journey, or may actually hinder your efforts.

Bonfires have three main functions just by resting at them: they will restore lost health, stamina and spells; upon death you will respawn at the last Bonfire you rested at; and most unfortunately, it will revive every non-boss enemy. Yes, the Bonfires are a double edged sword: you'll be restored to full, but in turn will have to battle through deadly opposition over again.

Additionally, resting at a Bonfire opens up a menu for various functions.

Leveling Up and Attuning Spells

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The Bonfire's main function is to customize your character. Any stored Souls you have can be spent on various stats to level up your skills. You should save consumable Soul items--such as the Soul of an Undead--until you're ready to spend them on a level up. After all, you don't want to lose those unlocked Souls to a careless death.

You can also use the Bonfire to equip spells to any free Attunement Slots. In a change from Demon's Souls system, both Magic and Miracles in Dark Souls use the same slots. Another major change from Demon's is the removal of MP. Instead, each spell that is Attuned has a limited amount of casts. For example you can only use Heal five times before you will need to return to the Bonfire and replenish your supply.

However, you can Attune multiple scrolls to different slots for more casting. If you purchase two Heal spells, you may equip both for ten casts.

Humanity and Kindling

At the start of the adventure you will be a Hollow: an Undead that is slipping away into a mindless zombie state. You can very well play through the game in this state, although you have various restrictions regarding both single player and joining online. Hollow players have only the base drop rates and are easily hit by curses. Also you can only join other player's Worlds, but cannot act as a human host.

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As you explore through the world and fight, you can gain Humanity points. When at a Bonefire you can spend one Humanity to restore yourself to Human form. As a Human you will gain increased drops, and this bonus is increased as you gather even more stored Humanity. Also, you can invite Hollow players into your game or invade other worlds.

Additionally, as a Human you can spend extra Humanity to Kindle a Bonefire. At a normal fire you can store up five Estus Flasks to recover lost health. However, Kindled Bonfires yield ten of these healing items. It is very wise to Kindle a nearby Bonefire before lurking into a strong monster's domain.

Revival and Reclaiming Souls

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Dying is a part of Dark Souls. Upon death you will return to your last Bonefire in Hollow form with no Souls or Humanity. However, back where you died will be a blood stain holding your lost goods. If you can make it back to this spot you may recover your lost Souls and Humanity.

However, if you fail to touch this blood stain, those Souls and Humanity will be lost forever. Because of this, try to lure your enemies as close to a Bonfire as you can. This way, you'll have an easier time recovering your Souls, while crossing paths with the least amount of danger.

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Shopping and Forging

Souls are not only your means of improving stats, but also the currency in Dark Souls. Merchants and smiths will offer their services for your hard earned Souls, but most aren't interested in buying old equipment. Keep this in mind, as spending a few thousand souls on a neat piece of gear might be a waste if you can't resell it.

You'll eventually be able to sell items for Souls to one important NPC, though they only appear in Firelink Shrine after completing the game's first main objective: ringing the two bells and opening Sen's Fortress.

Some NPCs (typically ones that have already set up shop) will remain stationary, requiring you to travel in order to purchase their goods. Vendors that start captured and are rescued on your adventure will often journey back to the safety of Firelink Shrine.

The different retailers carry various amounts of items, including consumable items, gear, keys, and spells. Some of them are distrustful of Hollows, and may require you to be in Human form to sell items. Others are wary of outsiders and will only deal with members of their Covenant. Listen to the dialogue of an NPC to get an understanding to why they are avoiding business.

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Other NPCs might be outright hostile to Hollows and rival Covenants. By changing into a Human form or joining another organization might turn an old foe friendly. Likewise, avoid outright attacking NPCs, as many will fight back, rending their services unavailable.

Forging

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Blacksmiths around the world can help repair, reinforce, and modify equipment. Each piece of your equipment has durability, and as they are used or hit, will require Souls to repair. With some materials of your own and a grinding stone, you can also do some repairs at a Bonfire.

Most basic pieces of weapons and armor use Titanite to increase damage and defenses. More complex items might require other stones, or even exotic Embers to customize your weapon. A good smith will also trade you such materials for Souls. Of course a blacksmith's services are not free and may demand several hundred Souls for the labor. Still, it is generally better to upgrade old gear instead of buying basic wares from other merchants.

Each of the smiths specializes in a different ascension and only accepts embers they are comfortable with. If the blacksmith down in the Undead Parish doesn't want to work on Crystal or Flame weapons, consider donating the embers to the smith within Anor Londo.

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Equipping

Before entering battle, you'll need to be armed for the fight. It is possible to fumble around the menus while already in combat, but will probably prove too distracting to be practical. The main thing to factor in is the size of your Equip Load, which will greatly affect your fighting style.

Equip Load

Your Endurance score will grant additional numbers to your max Equip Load. Each piece of armor your wear and weapon in your hands adds weight that will slow down your movement. When your Equip Load is less than 25%, you may run at high speed and will roll quiet far. At 26-49% your movement is slowed slightly, but still enough to dodge around enemies. When you have over 50% of your load, running is slowed down considerably, and your roll is more of a quick thud onto the ground. Finally, with over 100% of your Load, you will be unable to run and your rolling is replaced with a short forward stomp.

To help balance out your load, you need to be mindful of your equipment. Stronger weapons and better armor typically will weigh you down, but some of these items might be very powerful or prevent staggering. The Poise stat on heavy armor can help withstand the most potent attacks, allowing you to strike and heal even when being hit.

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Your movement and defense style really varies from enemy to enemy. In some cases you need that extra mobility to safely dodge those attacks. On other foes, straight defense will keep you from being pushed or knocked down. You should be prepared to change your armor and weapon sets depending on what you're up against.

Defense and Resistance

Each piece of armor has six different types of defense and four resistances. An armor will favor one or more of these properties, but will have a weakness in some area. Because of this, you should be mindful of what armor you wear for different foes.

An armor's physical defense is further broken down into three types: Strike that protects against blunt force attacks, Slash for swords and clawed swipes, and Thrust which guards against spears and arrows. When you check a piece of armor, it will only display its base physical defense, but you can hit the "Toggle Display" button to gain additional information. Armor will also reduce damage from Magic, Fire, and Lightning. In general, Lightning defense is the hardest to come by, so any piece that protects against shocks is valuable.

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Armor also has four types of resistances for abnormal status. The first value is Poise, which isn't a true status effect, but will help prevent being stunned and knocked down. Lighter clothes typically have no Poise, but heavy plates and stone mail offer high staggering protection.

Your equipment and natural ability scores will also protect against two types of damage over time: Bleed and Poison. Bleeding typically happens from getting hit by piercing daggers and other weapons. Poison is most likely part of an enemy's main attack, but can also be caused by stepping on poison ground or water. You aren't hit with either of these two status abnormalities immediately. Instead, a "build-up" meter will appear and when the gauge fills, you will be afflicted. Bought or farmed healing items--such as Moss Clumps from Darkroot Wood--can be used to cure Bleeding and Poison.

There is also the ever deadly Curse. You have no natural protection from this ailment, but can boost resistance from armor and by being in Human form. If your Curse build-up meter does fill up you will instantly die. Upon revival you will be at half health, and curses can stack until you're at an eigth of your life. If you do come under Curse, you will need to use Purging Stones sold by NPCs at the top of Undead Parish and Undead Burg sewers. You can also take a journey into New Londo Ruins for a cure that costs Humanity, but it can be very difficult at even high levels.

In Your Hands

You can equip up to four different items in your hand slots. All heroes in Dark Souls are right handed, so main attack weapons should be placed in the right, while off hand weapons and shields go in the left.

Main hand equipment usually have a normal attack and a slower, yet deadlier power attack. In some cases, as with the Halberd, this power attack delivers a sweep. Your shield and off-hand weapon can be used to block in coming blows, parry for a counter, or even quickly attack. While guarding with heavier shields will nullify all damage, blocking with a sword or dagger will still result in receiving some damage. Rapiers and other swift weapons typically parry instead of outright block, allowing you to deliver a powerful riposte.

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You also need to place spell casting items: staves, flames, and talisman in one of your free hands. This means that you have to forgo equipping an extra weapon to make up for these slots. If you're mixing magic school together, you might find that you have no room for even a melee weapon.

Additionally, you will need the required Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, or Faith to effectively wield a weapon. If you lack one of the key stats, your swings will be wobbly, weak, or you may simply scratch your head while attempting to cast. In some cases, weapons that are too wily for use in one hand can be used in two hands. You can quickly change to holding your right hand weapon in both hands, resulting in more control and power.

Not only does your hand equipment have requirements to use correctly, it also receives a different score from each of the four attack stats. You might pick up a rare holy sword that uses both C ranks of Strength and Faith to determine its power. Other items might have an A rank (or even S rank) in a single stat, making it only viable for builds that pumped up that stat.

Be Ready for Any Situation

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As with armor, you will need to change equipment to fight various type of enemies. You might find that some beasts are immune to Flame or Physical damage, while other creatures fly and require some kind of ranged attack. Other times you might need the biggest weapon to crack a foe's heavy defense.

For example, an agile spellsword might want to consider having a spear and casting staff in their right hand, while a shield and rapier are in their left palms.

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Combat Basics

Now that you're armed and ready, it's time to go over the fundamentals of battle. As mentioned previously, each enemy fights differently, meaning that you will have to switch tactics for every new foe in your path.

Be Mindful of Stamina

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Stamina governs many important offensive and defensive properties. You need Stamina to run, dodge, block, and even swing weapons. If you run out of Stamina, you might find yourself unable to avoid a painful assault. You recover Stamina faster while standing or moving normally, so put down your shield for when you need a Stamina recharge. This means that you typically can't just roll around or slash endlessly, and will need to pause to restore your lost energy.

Time Your Actions

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You can't just swing wildly in Dark Souls. You need to wait and attack when your enemy's defenses are down: mainly while they recover from an attack or block. Some fast weapons, such as daggers, can straight interrupt enemy attacks, while heavy axes might be able to even bash through shields.

Be aware of what stance an enemy is using. Some will attempt to goad you into attacking, only to quickly counter with an absolutely devastating strike. Others will start with a ranged swipe, but might switch to powerful grapples if you get in too close.

This holds true for your own attacks. You can often times use your shield or off-hand weapon to stagger enemies and get in a powerful counterattack. If you're fast enough you can also try rolling behind an enemy and backstab them for extra punishment.

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You also need some timing when casting magic and firing arrows. If you are too close, a Soul Arrow might fly over an enemy or you might not have time to cast at all. In general, Miracles force you to sit down and pray (Though some like Force don't require this), so you should cast them while out of combat. If you really need to heal, stick to your Estus Flasks.

Priority Targeting

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When fighting a single enemy you'll want to lock on to make combat easier. However, with multiple targets it's some times better to not use lock-on as this can make it hard to notice your other opponents. You can also lock on and off so that you can shoot guided magic one second, but move around freely the next.

Try to target the most fragile enemy, regardless of how deadly they are. For example, in the Undead Parish you might find yourself fighting several knights at once. Some will be wielding heavy shields and long sword, while others have rapiers and shields. It's actually the heavily armed knights that have less health and should be destroyed first.

Retreat to Favorable Ground

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You will often find yourself fighting in environments that put you at a disadvantage. These might include being on a narrow bridge, slowed by water, or surrounded by fire. In these cases, it is in your best interest to lure the enemy into a place where you have the upper hand, or at least an open playing field. It's also good to fight closer to a Bonfire, or simply in a place where you can't be ambushed.

Your weapon of choice might also effect how well you fight in environments. Large sweeping weapons will bounce against walls, leaving you exposed for a few seconds. In these cases you'll want to switch to a spear to thrust forward.

Danger is Everywhere

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Dark Souls takes place in a massive open world with very little direction of where to go next. This leads to a lot of exploration and discovery. Be warned, you're lack of familiarity with a new location can be incredibly dangerous. Traps are in places you might least expect, ranging from rolling boulders to fiery blazes. Thankfully, most of these will not reset after resting at a Bonfire. However, enemies will always be lurking around.

Worse yet are assassins and guards that hide behind doors and corners, ready to ambush as you walk passed; often sneaking up out of view of your camera. Move with caution, but be ready to quickly roll or block at anytime. The potential to suddenly be in deadly combat is extremely high.

Death is Inevitable

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Face facts: even if you're a high level with great gear and a plethora of knowledge, you will die at some point in Dark Souls. Enemies attack you in droves, often using tricky attacks that can completely breach your defenses. Likewise, other players will often enter your world and attack when you least expect.

This is all part of the experience. Embrace your deaths and use them to ready yourself for the next encounter. Try to recover your Souls and Humanity when you can, but don't get discouraged if hours of hard work suddenly get flushed down the drain. Dark Souls is an abusive relationship. You'll need thick skin and a masochistic heart to love your tormentor.

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Online Multiplayer

You might be alone in Lordran, but parallel worlds are all around you. As long as you sign into PSN or Xbox Live you will be automatically taken into Online mode. If you wish to play on your own, disable your internet connection.

There are several activates you may engage in with other souls: giving helpful hints, joining forces, or attacking other players.

Other Souls

As you roam around the world you may spot other players in Soul form as they attempt to complete their own quest. In some cases they may leave behind their own blood stains. If you click on a fallen player's blood stain, you can witness the last few moments leading to their demise.

Messages

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In the Undead Burg you can purchase various items from a merchant. Among them is an Orange Soapstone that will allow you to leave messages for other players. Even though you can buy multiple Soapstones, the item is not consumed when used.

You cannot fully customize your messages. Instead, you enter a number of statements from a list of dialogue choices. For example, you might leave a message of "Be wary of Right" to let people know that there is an enemy hiding behind the corner.

You can also use messages to outright lie, giving other adventures a false sense of security when trouble is abound. However, messages can be rated by other players. Messages that have high scores may reward the writer with bonuses or an instant heal. It's your choice if you want to aid or hinder other users.

Cooperation

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After defeating the Taurus Demon in Undead Burg you can encounter a white knight of the sun. He will offer you a White Soapstone that can be used to join with other players. To join other people's worlds place your White Soapstone down on the ground. You may do this in both Human and Hollow forms. As long as you stay within a minimum range and not near a Bonfire, you can be summoned by other players.

To invite other players you must be a Human. Locate the other player's Soapstones and summon them into your world. As the host you can invite two others to join your team. While working together you can defeat bosses and other enemies as a team. This can aid the Human to complete areas that were far too challenging. Guests are rewarded with bonus Souls and Humanity for aiding the host player.

A warning though: if the Human host should die they will become Hollow and all guests will be banished from his world.

Invasion

Eventually you can find Cracked Red Eye Orbs. These can be used to invade other worlds and engage in player vs player combat. Killing other adventures will allow you to steal Souls and Humanity, and also cripple their progress. Red Eye Orbs are consumed even when you cannot find a victim for invasion.

Your main goal as an invader is to kill the host, though disposing of any allied guests will make this process much easier. In general you should remain hidden and ambush when the host least expects you. In other cases you should attack while the host is already engaged with a strong enemy. This will leave them distracted and unable to defend themselves.

The host and his guests are most likely headed for a boss room, so you may want to head there if you spawn in a strange location. However, the host can chicken out of a fight by reaching the white light of a boss door and entering inside.

Be warned though, killing other players can lead to the wraith of the Darkmoon. Your victims can purchase Books of the Guilty from the Undead Parish and take revenge on you by adding you a hit list. By being on this list you may be constantly attacked by powerful black knight minibosses.

No Direct Communication

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Dark Souls is a lonely experience. Even with other players on your side or after your head, you cannot use built in voice chat. This means there is no forming a plan with your team or taunting your victims.

Instead, you will have access to gestures that will help get your point across. These start out as pointing in a direction or sulking in defeat. As you talk to various NPCs they may teach you more gestures to help interact with other players.

If you have a motion device--such as the PlayStation 3 Sixaxis--you can perform gestures without entering the menu. Simply hold your confirm button and flick your controller to make a gesture.

Covenants

Covenants are organizations throughout the world. Being a member of a Covenant has benefits both within singleplayer and multiplayer. There are nine Covenants total, each which have their own strengths. You should pick one wisely, as breaking their rules can cost you dearly.

One example of changes to multiplayer is from the Way of White. All members of this Covenant will be able to join each other easier and will be given benefits from Miracles cast around them. They are also better protected from enemy Covenants.

Some Covenants are designed to harm other players. Members of the Forest Hunter gain bonus Souls and are summoned to kill other players within the dark forests. Gravelord Servants can force extra enemies into other player's world and steal Souls, but can be easily invaded themselves.

Other Covenants don't have direct effects on multiplayer, instead granting access to new spells, extra healing items, or making allies out of enemies. Pick the one that best suits your play style and be careful to not betray their trust.

If you do break a covenant (or simply want to quit one), head to the top of the Undead Parish bell tower and speak to the black garbed NPC there. With his aid you can abandon a covenant for free, but it will cost many thousands of Souls to remove any sins commited.

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Northern Undead Asylum

You begin in a prison cell. After a body drops down from a hole in the ceiling, you are granted control of your character. Head forward and pillage the corpse to obtain the Dungeon Cell Key. Use it on the nearby door. Now start down the adjoining corridor. As you advance, there are points along the floor that look like scratches with red light oozing from them. You can investigate those points for a rundown of the controls.

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At the end of the corridor, stairs lead down into a lower room where you can target a figure who is standing against the far wall. To the right from there, a short passage leads to the base of a ladder. Climb the ladder and exit the small chamber to arrive in a small courtyard. Start forward and there's a sword protruding from the ground. This is your first opportunity to light a bonfire. You'll learn to cherish such opportunities later in the quest. For now, light the bonfire and then start forward again. Climb some stairs and start forward through a chamber. You'll come under attack by a monster known as the Asylum Demon.

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Your only goal here is to get away from the beast. It moves slow and slams the ground with a powerful weapon. You can head to one side of the room and dash along it (through some pots) and find an opening on the back left side. When you pass through the opening, bars slam down behind you and provide a barrier between you and the creature (who probably couldn't have fit through the door, anyway).

Descend the stairs and continue forward to find another place where you can light a bonfire. Do so, then descend some short steps. There's a note on the floor instructing you to get a shield. As you start along the next hallway, note the archer at the far end. He'll fire arrows at you, which you can easily avoid with a step to either side. As you start along the hallway, though, watch to your left. There's a slumped over corpse to the side. You can pillage that corpse to obtain the Cracked Round Shield, which you should immediately equip. In the same general vicinity, you can also find another weapon on a corpse.

After you've looted everything, continue along the corridor and rush up to the archer. He may retreat and you can follow and hack him apart with your weapon. Then ascend the stairs that he was guarding and you'll arrive at a wall of mist. Investigate it and step through into the next chamber.

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Follow the passage left to a ledge overlooking a large room. The left branch that you can take here is a dead end. There's a hint on the ground with instructions on how you can step back, which you are welcome to keep in mind as you start along the passage toward the right. There, you'll find a split in the path where you can head up some steps or down some other steps.

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Cautiously, start up the stairs and you should hear some movement. As you do, dodge quickly to the side. A boulder will roll down the path and damage you if you're standing in the way. After you dodge it, run up the steps and kill the fellow at the top of the stairs who rolled it toward you. Then descend the stairs and look at the wall. The ball will have crashed through it and you can enter the opening to find a hidden chamber. There, talk to the soldier on the floor and listen to his story. You'll be rewarded with five of the Estus Flask. It's an Undead favorite. You'll also receive the Undead Asylum F2 East Key, which is sure to come in handy.

Head back through the opening now and descend the stairs in the previous room. At the base of the stairs, look left to find a door through which you can pass. The opening leads out into the familiar courtyard where you can rest at a bonfire again. Then climb back up the stairs you just descended. Return to the area where the enemy rolled a boulder down the steps to try and crush you. The enemy will have returned if you rested at the bonfire, so kill him as necessary. Then use the key that you obtained from the soldier to open the door.

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Continue along the corridor and there are more hints on the ground about kick attacks and two-handed weapon wielding. Beyond those, the passage opens into a wider area where you can investigate a corpse to obtain the Pyromancy Flame. Nearby, there are two skeletal enemies that will try to hack you apart while beyond them, an archer waits. If you try to take out those soldiers without paying attention to the archer, he'll pelt you with shots from a distance. Lure the skeletons toward you so that they round the corner and you have less issues to deal with at once. Eliminate the skeletons, then head beyond them and tend to the archer.

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Ahead of and to the left of the archer's standard position, there's a wall of gray mist. You can pass through it, or you can head through an opening beyond the archer's corpse to find a room with an armored knight. You can prevent him from being an issue if you target him and then take him out with projectile magic before he gets near. Otherwise, parrying and riposte moves will prove necessary.

Behind the armored soldier is a locked door. You can't open it yet, so you'll need to backtrack to the wall of mist that you saw previously. When you pass through it, note that you'll immediately find yourself in the chamber patrolled by the Asylum Demon (the monster that you ran from earlier in the stage). Defeating him is your only way forward.

Asylum Demon

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The Asylum Demon is a huge monster who you very possibly can't see as you first enter the chamber. That's because he's stomping around far below you. However, that doesn't mean that you're safe. If you stand where you are on the ledge that grants entry to the room, he'll leap up and destroy the ledge, inflicting serious damage on you in the process. You'll die. It's not pleasant.

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To win the fight, you need to take the offensive. Jump from the ledge and brandish your sword or other such weapon as you plummet toward the ground below. With any luck, you'll land a fearsome blow that cuts away half of his health. Then you'll find himself standing nearby. The first thing you need to do, of course, is roll away so that he can't just immediately hit you with his massive spiked club. Then from a distance, target him with projectile weapons or move in close and hit him with melee attacks from the flank if you must. The demon may be halfway gone, but he'll still put up a fight.

As you battle, make sure that you roll away from his attacks. You can withstand a knock or two from the club, but once you take a hit it's easy to let yourself get cornered by the pillars or pots and then it's difficult to avoid taking additional damage. Try to keep moving and stay out of the range of his club as you plan and execute each attack. Once you hit him a few times, the fight concludes.

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Once you defeat the Asylum Demon, you'll receive the Big Pilgrim's Key as your reward (along with a bunch of souls). The double doors that lead to the courtyard with the bonfire will open, so you may want to use that resource before you proceed. Then you should head along the chamber where you fought the demon.

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On its far side of the chamber, there's a set of iron doors. You can open them with your new key and you'll arrive on a grassy trail. A hint on the ground congratulates you and instructs you to continue straight ahead. You're safe to do so. Just walk along the grassy path to the end of the cliff and you'll trigger a cutscene as you finally are allowed to leave the shrine and begin your proper adventure in Lordran.

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Firelink Shrine

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You'll finally have an opportunity to level up your character now that you've cleared the Northern Undead Asylum. Head to the bonfire and when you access it, you'll see some new options that you'll want to make use of for the game's remainder. Make sure that you level up your character using the souls that you've gleaned thus far.

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When you're ready to proceed, talk to the man who is sitting on the nearby steps, among the grass. He'll give you a tip about ringing a bell high in a tower and another one that is far below the surface. Then you should investigate the surrounding area. There are a number of items to find on corpses in the ruins at the top of the steps leading uphill from the bonfire. You can find the Firebomb and the Soul of a Lost Undead. There's also the Humanity that can be obtained from the corpse draped over the edge of the well, nearer to the bonfire. It's also possible to descend a trail left of where the man is sitting on the steps. That path leads to a lift that you can ride to a lower area where a blacksmith is located, but there's really no reason to go there just yet since you don't need his services.

The well at the center of Firelink Shrine is a good marker when you're ready to proceed. Beyond it, against the base of the high rock wall overlooking the area, there's a steep flight of stairs. Head up those stairs and near the top you'll find two swordsmen. Defeat them near the top of the stairs, without heading forward any more than you have to. Then when they're done, you can look forward. There are more stairs leading upward, with an enemy at their top who throws powerful firebombs down at you. On the lower level, there's also an armored soldier near a corpse where you can find another Soul of a Lost Undead. If you try to take him out without tending to the fellow overhead, you may wind up taking a lot of damage. Proceed cautiously.

Once you're ready, climb the stairs and take out the guy who throws the firebombs. There are more enemies on that high ground, so continue along that route and mind your footing. It's possible to step over the side of the ascending trail and fall to your death if you're not careful.

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As you reach a high point on that trail, more steps lead to the upper right and a stone walkway. You can climb those and take out the waiting soldier. Just past him is an opening. Ignore it and head along the walkway to its end to find a Soul of a Lost Undead on a corpse. You also have a decision to make at this point. If you like, you can head back down the steps and walk around to the back side of the stone wall. There, a grassy bank allows you to drop to a lower level of the wall. From there, you can head along the edge (there's just barely room to pass around a few stone columns, if you're careful) and find the Ring of Sacrifice on a waiting corpse. Then you can backtrack the way you came and step onto the lower bank near where you found the armored soldier a moment ago.

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Whether or not you take that detour, you'll eventually need to return to the high ground and head through the opening in the wall. There, you'll find yourself with a choice: do you go left or right? If you head left, you'll find a giant rat sniffing at a corpse. Kill the rat and investigate the corpse to find another Soul of a Lost Undead. Then return to the right and proceed in that direction. You'll find a scratch on the floor wishing you good luck, then a split in the path. The right fork reaches an immediate dead end at a gate you can't open from your current position. The left path leads up some stairs and into the next area, the Undead Burg.

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Undead Burg

As you arrive in the Undead Burg area, you'll see two armed enemies ahead of you. They shouldn't pose much of a threat, so save your magic if you have any left and rely on melee attacks instead. If you take the initiative, you should eliminate the foes without taking any damage.

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Beyond where you take down those soldiers, there's a pile of barrels and a path leading left. If you head left, you'll find a store room with nothing in it and two enemies, as well as a door of mist leading to the right (which you should ignore at present).

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If you instead approach the barrels, you can smash them and then drop down through an opening behind them to land on a ledge where you can loot a corpse to obtain a Large Soul of a Lost Undead. Then you can drop down from there. Watch out, though; in addition to the two enemies that appear ahead of you, there's one that will come from a dead-end alley behind you. Take care of the enemies in one direction and quickly turn to avoid being slashed in the back by the other enemy or group.

When you have cleared that lower area of enemies, you should head in the direction from which the two enemies came. As you head along that route, you'll cross through an empty room and then come out on another stone balcony area. There's a corpse with a glowing point on it, just ahead of you and to the left. That item is Rubbish. Don't let it distract you. As you near it, several enemies will jump down from a ledge overhead and to the right. Take care of them quickly so they don't slash you to ribbons. Then you can grab the rubbish before heading up the nearby ramp.

At the top of the ramp, you'll find a ladder. Climb the ladder, then head toward the right along the high stone ledge. You'll find Humanity on a corpse against the far wall. Grab that precious item, then backtrack and note the hole in the low wall to the left. You can drop through that opening and then head back to the right along the path you followed a short time previously. This time, you should go ahead and pass through the white door of mist.

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Through that wall of mist, you'll find an empty lower room. Look along the left side and there's a corpse that you can investigate to obtain a Soul of a Lost Undead. Along the wall that's ahead of you as you first enter the room, there are stairs leading to the building's higher level. Head up the stairs with your shield ready and start forward along the next balcony that you find. As you do, a dragon will swoop down to startle you. Its claw should just grace the stone ahead of you and then it is gone.

Continue along the walkway but be careful of the area ahead of you. There are enemies that lie in wait. You'll see a few of them, and one will crash out from behind some barrels. Take them out swiftly as you see fit, but note that there's an archer on a tower in the distance. He'll try to pelt you with arrows (and will succeed, if you let yourself be distracted). After you eliminate the enemies, you can head over to the tower, open the door and check inside to find a corpse on which rests a Wooden Shield.

Leave the small room and look along its side wall. There's a staircase that you can climb to reach the roof, where the archer is waiting. Hack him apart, then look off toward the left. In that direction, you can head through an opening and find a bonfire. Use it as you see fit so that you don't have to come all this way again, then consider backtracking to explore an are that you've not yet visited.

Remember the wide, open area that you crossed while avoiding shots from the archer? A ledge in that direction leads to a couple of armored soldiers with shields. You'll have to fight them carefully, as they're every bit as capable of blocking your attacks as you are theirs. Eliminate the two armored soldiers (from a distance with fire magic, if possible) and then look around the area that they were guarding. You can break apart some crates and find a stair that descends to a lower level.

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As you arrive on that lower level, keep up your guard. An enemy will burst out from behind some crates, but you can dispatch of him quickly. Head through an opening to the left and you'll find a stone balcony where a merchant has set up shop. He has a lot of merchandise, including the Residence Key (priced at 1000 souls) that you can use to open residences in Undead Burg and a Repairbox (priced at a hefty 3000 souls) that you can use to repair weapons and armor at bonfires. The Short Bow is also available for 1000 souls, a good projectile weapon that could come in handy in certain circumstances to come. Plus there's some other general-purpose gear that can boost your defenses.

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Purchase whatever you like from the merchant (you may have to come back a few times as you earn souls) and then return to the adjoining building. Head through the other opening to arrive at the top of some stairs. Descend the stairs to gain entry to a wide alleyway. Ahead, there will be two separate groups of swordsmen waiting. They like to charge as you get within range, so be sure to engage only two at a time or you may become overwhelmed. Past the soldiers, there's a ladder you can climb to reach a rooftop where you can salvage a Throwing Knife from a corpse.

Now you should backtrack. Make your way to the bonfire and now you're ready to proceed past it to see what else lurks in the burg.

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Head back out from the bonfire and toward the area where the archer was positioned on top of the tower. Beyond that point and to the left, there's a narrow walkway that leads to an enclosed room. As you head along it, you want to move quick because soldiers will toss firebombs at you if you delay. When you reach the far side, you'll need to clear a room of soldiers. Make sure not to let any circle around behind you and strike from behind.

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After you clear the room, head through the opening and along another open balcony area. Here, there's an opening to your right and just past it a stairway leading up to the higher level. Enter the opening first and take care of the waiting soldier. There are two more openings here, one straight ahead and one up some steps to the left. If you go straight ahead first, quickly turn left once you do and block an attack from a waiting soldier and follow that up with a killing blow. When he's gone, return and head through the other opening that was to the left.

In that direction, you'll find the Black Firebomb item in a chest. Then you can head outside of the building and climb the stairs that you previously ignored. As you reach the top of the stairs, you'll find an open area where three guards are waiting. One of them likes to stand back and toss firebombs, so be careful as you tend to him and his two cohorts. Then you have some options about how you proceed.

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There's a wall to the right with a ladder. Ahead, there's a locked door that you can open with the Residence Key if you purchased it from the merchant. To the left from there, you'll find a stone walkway leading down to an area with some waiting guards.

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Start by opening the locked door, if that's an option. Head carefully through the room along the right side to reach an outside balcony. There's a chest that you can open there to obtain the Gold Pine Resin. Then you can return to the previous area.

Next you should climb the ladder. At the top, walk around on the roof and investigate a corpse to find a Soul of a Lost Undead. Then return down the ladder. You're now ready to head forward to the left of the building (the one that had the locked door) and around the other side.

As you start in that direction, look to your left. There's an opening to a cylindrical tower. Enter and climb the stairs with your shield held at the ready. As you reach the top of the tower, you'll find an archer. Take him out, then descend the tower and resume your trek along the path. There are several armored soldiers waiting. You need to lure one of them toward you at a time, so that they don't overwhelm you. Eliminate each of them until all three are gone, then continue along the path that they were guarding.

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That path soon splits. There are stairs leading up and straight ahead, or you can descend some stairs toward the lower right. Start with the lower path. It leads down toward a long hallway. Near the end of that hallway, standing in a doorway, you'll see a knight with his back to you. This fellow is able to hit hard if you attract his attention, so make sure that you do so only when you are dealing a first blow. Sorcery works well to make sure that each hit does some good, especially if you can get him when he doesn't have his shield up. After that initial blow, you'll need to backtrack while making sure to block any blows he sends your way. When he misses on a lunge, that's your chance to hit him with an attack of your own.

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Once you defeat the knight, grab the Titanite Chunk he drops and then check the room that he was guarding. You'll find that it's a dead end, but you can obtain the Blue Tearstone Ring from the corpse. Then you should backtrack to the split in the path. This time, you're ready to consider the stairs.

As you look to the stairs, know that they lead to a trap. There's a boulder at the top of the stairs and a soldier will push it down the stairs as you approach. Quickly backstep and dodge to the side to avoid it. Then head up the stairs and kick the soldier's butt. Beyond him, you'll find yourself in the base of a tower. Ahead, there's a locked door. To the side, a spiral staircase ascends a couple of floors to a mist-shrouded door. To open the locked door, you'll need the Watchtower Basement Key, obtained in the Undead Parish area.

If you come back later and open the door, you can head inside and find a ridiculously powerful enemy. Just descend some stairs that circle in a spiral as they descend. At the base of those stairs, you'll see a stone enemy. He'll spot you and give chase. You can get ahead of him and drop down from above to hit him with an attack, but even that doesn't do much damage. The enemy, meanwhile, is capable of hitting through your shield and doing tremendous damage with his stone club. You need to battle him in an open area where you can dodge the club and then counter with a few slashes before retreating and repeating the process. You need to try to hit it in the back if you want to do any real damage, but even that can be tricky.

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On your first visit, of course, you won't have that key. Climb the stairs that lead to the upper floors instead. Pass through the mist on the tower's third floor and you'll emerge on a lengthy walkway. The walkway is guarded by some archers who are positioned on the tower that you've mostly just climbed. They'll try to hit you from behind with arrows as you head along the walkway, but you can climb up a ladder on the side of the tower to reach their level. Once you've arrived, block any opening attacks (they'll see you coming up over the ladder) and then take out the two archers.

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Now is your chance to catch a breather. Refill your life and steady your nerves, then descend the ladder and start down the walkway. As you near the far end, you'll attract the attention of a powerful new boss monster: the Taurus Demon.

Taurus Demon

The Taurus Demon will charge you on sight. There are a number of strategies that can work against him, but first we'll offer some notes on how things will go if you try to battle the Taurus Demon the “fair” way.

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If you fight the Taurus Demon using standard melee attacks (which is not the best way to defeat him), keep in mind that his spiked club isn't the only hazard. He can also knock you around with his feet and legs, which are girded with spiked gauntlets. You need to try to avoid both attacks, of course, but there's limited space. Lock your target onto your foe, roll around (or between) his legs and slash at his feet or tail when you can get in a hit without leaving yourself open to take a possibly-fatal hit from your massive foe. You need to be ready to dodge out of the way if he tries to pounce you, too.

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None of your weapons do enough damage to really matter as you battle the demon, and your magic also isn't especially useful, either. Therefore, some cheating is in order. You have two options. The first is to trick him into charging through the hole in the wall partway along the tower. If you can get him to rush through it (without falling yourself), that's an easy kill.

A more consistent method is to hit the demon from the roof where you killed the archers. When the fight begins, as soon as the demon lands, rush back toward the tower and climb up the ladder. If you didn't move quickly enough, he will damage you but you should still be able to get to the top of the tower. Now turn and face the edge of the tower. You'll see the demon standing below you. Quickly step off the edge of the tower and press the required button to use your weapon as you descend. It will strike a fearsome blow to your foe. As you land, gulp down a potion if needed and then roll between his legs. Run away from him and when he follows, you need to lead him toward the other side of the wall. Then roll through his legs and run like crazy back for the tower so that you can repeat the process.

It's important to note that if you take too long climbing the tower and jumping down (if you stop to enjoy a potion, for instance), there's a chance that the demon will leap up to the tower and join you. Of course you don't want that. So move fast, get in your hits and finish the fight in style.

Once you defeat the demon, head along the walkway he was guarding. You'll soon reach a set of stairs that descend toward a lower floor. At the top of the stairs, there are some crates you can break open to reveal a corpse. Investigate to obtain a Large Soul of a Lost Undead, then descend the stairs.

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At the base of the stairs, you can head left (down another wide rampart) or right. Start by heading right. Descend some steps and meet with a knight named Solaire. Talk to him twice and (as prompted) agree to his suggestion that the two of you should work together. You'll receive the White Sign Soapstone for doing so. You can use the item to summon Solaire to assist you.

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Head back up the steps to the area at the base of the stairs. Since you can't open the nearby door (it's locked by the Basement Key that you'll find in the Undead Parish area), you'll need to start along the guarded walkway ahead of you. However, there are unexpected complications. Rather than just walking forward, which will attract the attention of archers, you should run forward with your shield held high. Halfway down the corridor, you'll see two stone railings that extend to either side of the main walkway. You want to veer right (ignoring the archers) and head down some stairs that wait there. If you move fast enough, you'll beat the dragon flames that come scorching through the area just behind you.

Descend the stairs now and you'll arrive in a square room with two doors branching off from it in different directions. One door leads to the top of a flight of stairs. The other will take you outside, where you'll see that you're on a high ledge with drop-offs to either side. Start by following the first route, down the stairs. You'll come to the top of a ladder in a room with a bonfire below you. Stand near the ladder and press the button prompted on-screen to kick the ladder. You'll cause it to extend so that you can descend to the bonfire, which is the one that you used prior to your battle with the Taurus Demon. You've just created a helpful shortcut. Now climb back up to the room beneath the dragon and this time head out the door that takes you onto the outside ledge.

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Now it's time for a special activity that's completely optional and completely recommended. If you have a bow equipped and you're carrying plenty of Large Arrows (it's not a bad idea to have at least 50, though around 30 or 35 will kill the dragon; remember that you can purchase the large arrows from the merchant not far from the bonfire for 50 souls apiece), you can obtain the Drake Sword.

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To claim the sword, head along the right edge of the outside area, just near the door that you use to arrive. Look ahead and you'll see the dragon perched on the tower with his tail handing and swinging back and forth like a cat's tail. You can hit it with an arrow from this distance (a few shots are almost sure to miss, but you should be able to hit it on most attempts). If you hit it enough times, you'll receive the item as a reward. At this stage in the game, there's simply not a better melee weapon, though you'll need a STR attribute of 16 or higher in order to wield it.

When you're ready to actually proceed, you can head along the left or right side of the ledge. There are huge stone columns along the way, so watch them as you proceed. Ahead and along the left side of the outside wall, you'll see an armored soldier waiting. As you approach, keep an eye to your right. Another soldier is waiting there behind the stone column. Round that corner with your shield ready and take care of him, then turn toward the other soldier who likely saw you coming and will by now be approaching to try and kill you.

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When the soldiers are slain, continue along the route they were guarding, beneath the dragon's overhead perch. Ahead, you'll spy an opening in the wall. There are several ways to proceed here. You can enter the opening slowly, which will lead to a group of rats rushing you and possibly pushing you back out the opening and to your death (by way of a long fall). You can instead rush the opening yourself, roll into the room and try to slay the rats as a group. Their attacks have a chance of poisoning you, and you're all but guaranteed to get poisoned if they mob you. That's just not good. Therefore, you may prefer a third approach to the chamber.

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From where you killed the armored soldiers, you can stand on the edge of the ledge and notch an arrow. Then you can aim in the cave and you should see one of the rats. Release the arrow and if it hits the rat, the critter will rush out and charge you by itself. This allows you to kill it and you can repeat the process for a second rat, as well. Then it's safer to enter the area where the rats were gathered and to kill a third rat that will be waiting for you.

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After you kill the rats, you can climb up a ladder and then you have two choices as to how you will proceed. One option is a narrow staircase leading upward, while another option is a wide passageway with a waiting soldier. If you head for that soldier, you'll arrive in the Undead Parish area.

You can proceed however you like, of course. If you decide to climb the stairs, you'll find that they ascend for quite some time before finally arriving at the top of the tower. There, you'll find a heavily armored knight like the one that you may have defeated earlier in the stage in order to reach the Blue Tearstone Ring. You can try your hand at him and perhaps win a Titanite Chunk as a reward for defeating him, or you can go ahead and enter the Undead Parish.

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Undead Parish

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When you arrive in the Undead Parish, it likely will come as a bit of a relief. However, you're not safe yet. You still haven't found a bonfire, and you won't yet for awhile.

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From the entrance to the parish, start forward. There will be an armored soldier or two waiting in plain sight. Take out any of those characters and start into the wider arena ahead. You'll see a giant boar situated on the distant steps. It is surrounded by enemies that you don't want to have to face. You can lure them toward you one at a time by pelting them with arrows and then letting them charge you.

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Once you have dealt with those soldiers, start forward through the high archway. Look quickly to your right, as another armored soldier likes to hide in the corner. Deal with him carefully; he has stone columns that make it difficult to approach him, but he's good at spearing you from his point of relative safety. Once you take care of him, head left along the wall where he was positioned and you'll find some steps leading up to a higher floor.

As you arrive on that higher floor, there's a soldier with a shield and lance ahead of you. Beyond him, there also are two archers. You should rush around the armored soldier and take out the archers first, so that they don't pick you apart. Then head back around the armored soldier and look nearby to find another standard soldier who is hiding in the area. Deal with him and then finally the first armored soldier that you found. Then you're free to loot bodies. At the end of the archway where the archers were positioned, you'll find the Alluring Skull lying on a corpse.

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Now you're ready to deal with the boar. He's still positioned below. If you made a lot of noise and caught his attention, he may be pacing around the area. Stand near the drop-off area and toss an alluring skull on the ground. The boar should come to investigate and will be standing roughly below you. Quickly drop down from the ledge and use your weapon as you do so to land a fierce blow. With any luck, that will instantly kill the boar. If it doesn't, you'll have to dance around him as he charges and then hit him with your melee weapon to slowly drain his life meter. He's not especially difficult, actually.

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When the boar is toast, you can freely investigate the surrounding area. Near the burning corpse, there's a set of steps that descends toward a new chamber. Start down those steps and as you round the corner you'll see an enemy waiting in the hallway. He's likely to run upon spotting you, but don't follow. He is trying to lead you into a trap. Instead, slowly approach with your shield raised. You should see a ledge ahead of you in the room. There's another enemy waiting there. You can hit him with an arrow to draw him toward you. Then, quickly prepare your shield and tend to him as he gets near. The ruckus may draw two more enemies toward you who are waiting in the next room. Deal with them in the usual manner, then head into the room and climb to the level where the one enemy was standing near the tables.

As you climb to that level, note that there's probably a guy still waiting to the right in some barrels, and another may rush you from the left. Work quickly to take care of both of them, then head past the tables and descend to a dead-end corridor where another goon is waiting. Take him out, then investigate the body just beyond him to obtain the Mystery Key. Now return to the upper level with the tables and look along the back wall. You should see a red ladder. You can climb it to an overhead chamber.

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At the top of those stairs, two weak enemies are waiting. Take them out, then look to the left. Ceiling beams lead in that direction and you'll spy a corpse with a glowing item. If you head out onto the beam, you can retrieve a Large Soul of a Lost Undead from the remains. Then you should return to the ledge at the top of the ladder and climb a second ladder. It leads to a higher area with more tables. There are no waiting enemies here, just a mist-shrouded doorway. Step through the doorway.

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On the other side, you'll come almost immediately to a 'T' in the path. Start by heading left and up some stairs, but move cautiously. As you reach the top of the stairs, look toward the right. There you'll see an area to the left where an armored soldier is waiting. Throw a firebomb at him or hit him with magic to make any conflict easier, since he otherwise can be difficult to fight in the cramped quarters.

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Then you're ready to continue down a short hallway to the side. Note that it will come to another 'T' in the path and you don't want to linger long because soldiers will rush you from both sides of that 'T.' If you like, you can attract the attention of the guy to the right and lure him toward you, then kill him before you worry about the guy who waits to the left. The guy on the left is a knight with a cape. He's a new enemy and he packs quite a punch. He also has good armor, the Balder Armor, which you can sometimes obtain for yourself if you defeat him. Your best shot in combat is to wait for him to overexpose himself, then hit him with a flurry of slashes and hope your stamina lasts. Blocking more than one of his blows isn't really an option because he drains your stamina too quickly.

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When you defeat the knight, head in the direction where he was positioned and look for a passage leading left. Head along that passage and you'll descend some stairs. At the base of the stairs and to the left, you'll find a more open area. Proceed cautiously and don't head too far forward. Veer left down the steps to find the Basement Key on a corpse in front of a portcullis (you can use it later to unlock the door at the base of the high bridge where you battled the Taurus Demon). Then look to the right and you can activate a lever to raise the portcullis, which creates a shortcut to your location (it's the area that was guarded by the boar).

When you're ready, head up the steps and as you do you'll probably alert another of the caped knights. Defeat him, then check the corpse to the left for the Halberd weapon.

Now it's time to ponder an approach on the area the knight was guarding. While you can head through the opening and almost immediately attract the attention of another caped knight, it's not recommended. Instead, head along the alleyway to the right (which you used a moment ago) and then take a left and continue along it. You'll head along the side of the cathedral area and as you come around the far side, the path widens. There, you can take on a group of weaker soldiers. Hit them from a distance with firebombs or magic if you like, while watching for a distant archer. Melee attacks also work, naturally, but they require you to go up against multiple foes at once and that's always risky. When those enemies are tended to, you can approach the cathedral through an opening along its back side.

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Before you do that, though, head to the right. There's a long trail that descends in that direction. You can follow it to finally find a new bonfire in a room. Use it if you like, then note that you can proceed along a path to a locked door or you can descend. If you descend, you'll find a blacksmith who can repair or upgrade your gear. He'll also sell you reasonably-priced items that allow you to do some of your own smithing at bonfires and a less reasonably priced Crest of Artorias that can be used to break a seal in Dark Root Garden (it costs 20,000 souls). The variety of options makes this a wonderful area to farm souls (you can do so by battling the enemies above, just outside and possibly inside the cathedral) so that you can invest in upgrades. As for the path leading out of the room with the bonfire, it only takes you to a portcullis that presently bars entry to Sen's Fortress. Keep the location in mind for later, after you clear Quelaag's Domain, and return to the back entrance to the cathedral. Enter it.

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Here, you will find a heavily-armored foe waiting just to the right. Approach so that he notices you, then quickly retreat to the area where you just took out the armored soldiers and archer. The knight should follow you and that's good because you need a lot of space in which to fight him and you don't want your battle to alert other enemies to your presence.

To battle this armored guy, draw out his attacks by moving around in front of him until you see him readying himself to swing. He has long range, so quickly roll back and out of the way. He may use a vertical strike that hits directly ahead of him, or he may swing wide. You can block both attacks with your shield, but doing so depletes your stamina and you'll need to quickly back away before any follow-up blows can crush through your defenses. Assuming that you dodge and the knight misses, you can roll forward and hit him a time or two before you retreat and repeat the process. When you have his health low, your foe will try to drink a potion to restore himself. Quickly move in to use another strike or two and finish the job. He'll drop a Titanite Shard.

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Now you can enter the cathedral properly, though you should still move cautiously. There are some enemies to worry about and you still don't want to draw them to you until you're ready. Proceed into the building past where the heavily-armored knight was stationed to the right. You'll find a waiting altar with a corpse. Investigate the corpse to obtain the Fire Keeper Soul, an item that will improve the ability of your estus flask. On the wall nearby, you'll also notice a couple of elevators. One is open, so step into it and you can ride it down to Firelink Shrine for a brief but important detour.

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Back in Firelink Shrine, head along the route that leads to the lower left. Make sure to use the bonfire so that your recent route doesn't need to be retraced if you fall in battle. You can also visit the man who is waiting in the side corridor. Talk to him and if he hasn't already, he'll give you a Copper Coin (talk to him two or three times if necessary). You can talk to him again after that and he'll offer to enter a Covenant with you, if your Faith is sufficient. This allows you to learn miracles. The man only has a few available, but they're darned useful. There's the Heal ability available for 4000 souls, for instance (it does what you'd expect and has five uses) and the Homeward ability for 8000 souls. The latter will return you to the last bonfire that you used.

Once you have invested in any miracles that interest you, should head down the steps that descend along the side of the area (just to the left of the place where the man is sitting on the short wall, not far from the bonfire). Down those steps, you'll find a lower area where there is a woman resting behind some iron bars in a cave. She's mute, but if you interact with her you'll be provided the opportunity to upgrade your estus flask. To do so, you'll have to use the Fire Keeper Soul that you obtained on the altar in the Undead Parish area, a short time ago. Updating your flask was your primary reason for descending to Firelink Shrine (besides the bonfire), so now you're ready to ride the lift back up to Undead Parish.

As you arrive back in the Undead Parish area, you're now ready to resume your exploration. Step off the elevator and head up the nearby stairs. Deal with the caped knight in the usual manner, then start into the room that he was guarding. Head forward and toward the right, where you'll note that the hallway enters a larger room. You should see windows and there are enemies moving in them.

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You definitely don't want to fight all of those enemies at once. There is a whole mob of them. You can lure the first few toward you and fight them more easily, then let more keep coming and take care of them a few at a time. One of the enemies is a tall, cloaked magic user. He'll go down quickly once you're able to get to him and hit him with a few attacks, but rushing into the room doesn't make sense if you can help it. Tend to the enemies carefully and you'll have a better day. Note that fire attacks work well against them if they're stuck in the cramped hallway.

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Once the room is cleared, you can explore again. To the left, there's a hallway that leads back in the general direction from which you just came. As you start down it, another caped knight will rush you. You can back out into the large room and deal with him where you have more space. Then head back down the hallway and climb some stairs. There, you'll find an area with a boarded over door to your right. Head beyond it for a moment and break the barrels to find a Humanity item. Then return to the boarded over doorway and break it down with your weapon.

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In the hidden chamber, you'll find some stairs. Climb the stairs and at the top, you'll find a cell. There's a prisoner waiting inside. If you have the Mystery Key on you, it's possible to open his cell. Before you do that, though, make sure that you've cleared the area (including the lower cathedral and possibly even the outside areas) of any enemies. Then open the door and attack the prisoner. He'll get up and slowly start toward you, but soon he'll move more quickly You should retreat to an area where you have a lot of room to battle, such as the lowest floor of the cathedral or the area just outside of it.

The prisoner has a few attacks. If you try to attack him when he is guarding, he'll thrust aside your attack and skewer you with a sickle move that does a lot of damage. The best thing you can do is let him swing twice at you and miss. Then you can retaliate with a quick stroke or two of your own before backing swiftly away and repeating the process. Your foe is able to roll around and move quickly to strike you, which is why it's nice to have a lot of room in which to battle him. If you manage to win, you'll be able to pick up some Humanity and also the Ring of Favor and Protection, a powerful item that boosts your stamina and HP while allowing you to carry more items. If you decide to equip it, be sure that you won't want to remove it later; the ring breaks if removed.

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Also, the time is right for a word of caution: if you free the prisoner but kill him, you'll miss out on the fantastic item that he carries. He'll eventually extinguish the bonfire in Firelink Shrine, but it is worth getting the reward later in the game. It's best to free him and let him live. If you leave him rotting in his locked cell he'll escape on his own.

When you're ready to proceed after the optional battle with the prisoner (you may wish to visit the local bonfire first), return to the room where you battled the magic user and his minions. Head across that chamber. There are two adjoining rooms on the back side. The one on the left contains a corpse that you can investigate to obtain a Large Soul of a Nameless Soldier. The area on the right side is more interesting. A red ladder ascends to another small chamber with a second red ladder. Climb that ladder to reach a mist-shrouded door. When you pass through the door, you'll be in the boss area.

Bell Gargoyle

When you first enter the battle with the gargoyles, there will be only one of them. You want to take advantage of that fact. Quickly get close to the gargoyle's body, near the base of its tail (not the dangerous tip) and start hacking away at the body or at the tail. You should be able to quickly inflict enough damage that the gargoyle collapses, and you shouldn't have to put yourself at terrible risk to do so.

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When you kill the first gargoyle, or before you finish doing so if you're not quick about it, a second gargoyle will arrive on the scene. It approaches from the far side of the roof and it will breathe fire in your direction. Face it and use your shield to block it if you must, or roll out of the way as an alternative method if that's doable. Then you can move in close to attack before the gargoyle can try and toast you again.

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Note that if you break the second gargoyle's face (risky, since it breathes fire), you can obtain the Gargoyle Helm. Another thing to note is that while both gargoyles are capable of inflicting heavy damage, neither of them have especially good defenses (this despite being made out of stone). If you have a good weapon equipped and your Strength rating is at a decent level, this should prove a decidedly easy battle.

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Once the gargoyles are toast, head forward to the bell tower. There, you can climb a high ladder and work your way up the building to a lever at the top, just beneath the huge bell. Pull the lever to ring the bell, then carefully descend the way you came (you don't want to get in a hurry and accidentally jump to your death, after all). At the base of the bell tower, you'll meet with a character who identifies himself as Oswald of Carim. From him, you can purchase an item known as the Purging Stone. It costs 3000 souls and will cure you of the effects of Curse, a debilitating attack that enemies employ later in the game. If you have the funds to spare, you may wish to purchase several of the item and you may want to earn more souls and come back and purchase still more of the stones. You can also pick up Velka's Talisman for 5000 souls, if you're in need of a talisman.

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With that done, you have a choice about how to proceed on your quest. You can head down to Darkroot Garden (an excellent option because it includes a sealed area where you easily can grind levels to your heart's content) or you can head back to Undead Burg. There, you'll find that you now have a key to unlock the door at the base of the stairs you descended after battling the Taurus Demon (at the end of the long stone bridge opposite where the red dragon is perched). If you use the Basement Key on the locked door to view a new portion of the burg.

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Darkroot Garden

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From the blacksmith shop in the Undead Parish, you can head down some stairs and pass through a large chamber with a monster. Note that this can be done just about any time you like, as long as you're feeling hearty enough. You don't have to first clear the Undead Parish.

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Keep your distance from the monster as you cross the wide chamber. It throws bolts of lightning at you when you are out of its normal range, but you can easily roll out of their way. If you get closer, it can lash out with a far-reaching melee attack or it may try to pounce you. Roll out of the way of either attack and keep going to the opposite end of the chamber.

Once you move past the beast, who you can kill for 1000 souls and the Demon Titanite if you're feeling gutsy, you'll be able to pass through an archway and into the Darkroot Garden area. It's a grassy area deep within the forest. The main enemy you'll encounter here is a walking monstrosity formed from various roots and leaves. It's actually not all that powerful. Fire attacks work well against it, or even moving in close and blocking its swinging roots before using a quick melee attack. The root creature is surprisingly agile and capable of bending to avoid your attacks, so work swiftly.

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Head left through the swamp area and you'll encounter several of the beasts. There are glowing points all throughout, but mostly those are just flowers except one point just behind a large boulder (overlooking a ravine to the left where you can see a higher ledge with a corpse and item waiting). You can check the corpse behind the boulder to find a Large Soul of a Nameless Soldier. That's worth snagging.

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Near that boulder, there's also a ledge that leads to the right. You'll see an outcropping overlooking a lot of forest. There's a glowing flower near the edge of the ledge. Though it's not easily visible, you can head right from the flower, then circle back left and descend along a path. However, that path leads to a different area known as Darkroot Basin. Keep it in mind but you're not ready to go there just yet.

For now, continue along the main trail past the point where you find the soul of the nameless soldier and you should soon find a glowing point on the wall. It's a moss-covered doorway that you can't pass through unless you have the Crest of Artorias (purchased from the blacksmith in the Undead Parish area for 20,000 souls). Beyond the seal is an extremely lethal area, so you should ignore it for now even if you have the crest. To the left of that sealed doorway, note the brick wall. You can slash at the wall a time or two and destroy it to reveal a hidden ledge with a bonfire waiting. Use that bonfire as you see fit, then turn back the way you came. Near the glowing door, there's a side path.

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Follow the side path and you'll find a narrow trail that leads through a defile. Start along it and you'll come to a branch in the path. Along the left route, there's a fog-shrouded door. To the right, you'll see that the trail widens into a clearing. You should approach that clearing cautiously. There's a body with a glowing object waiting for you at the center of the clearing, but it's a trap.

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Start into the clearing and when you're ready, loot the corpse to find a Large Soul of a Nameless Soldier. As you grab the item, the ground around you comes to life and three of the root creatures attack you at once. Target one and circle around it so that you can see all of your threats. You need to focus on trying to take them out one at a time, perhaps with fire magic or a firebomb to make things go more smoothly.

When you have eliminated all of the root monsters, head back to the bonfire and use it if you like. Note that this is a great place to farm for souls. Every time you use the bonfire, the monsters in the dead-end clearing regenerate and you can take them down again from just outside the clearing with a flurry of fire spells. Just stay away from them when they lunge or one may grab you and suck life out of you. Each of the moss creatures generate 100 souls, so you can see how easy it would be to build up a lot of souls.

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Then when you're done with that exercise, you can go ahead and pass through the mist-shrouded opening. As you start through the clearing, you'll wake a slumbering enemy stone knight. You can't attack him until he stands up. Once he does, you'll find that he's a tough fellow who moves very slowly. He carries a huge sword and a powerful stone greatshield that he may drop if you're fortunate, so steer clear of the weapon and try to strike from the flank or behind. Usually, he'll swing two or three times and then you can move in and get two or three hits in before rolling away to avoid his follow-up. Watch out when he casts a spell, though; you won't be able to roll or move quickly after that until its effects wear off. Fortunately, the spell takes time to cast. You can move in and get in a few hits while he's casting it, potentially allowing you to finish him off before you have to worry about its effects.

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Take care of that enemy and continue to explore. Along the edge of the area, you'll find a moss-covered tree that you can attack repeatedly. As you do, notice that it has a life meter. Keep attacking until the tree disappears in blinding light, revealing a hidden path behind it. There are other paths nearby, as well. One leads to a Partisan that you can find on a corpse ahead of a tree, but be careful. The tree has limbs that come to life and can inflict poison, plus one of the vine creatures may follow you and try to attack from the rear.

Grab the weapon and head back out into the main clearing. Note that in this general vicinity, there's a second one of the lumbering giants. Deal with it as you did the first one and head around the area. You'll likely come to a point where there are two of the stone knights sleeping. As they awaken, just run past them and look for a corpse. If you can loot the corpse, you'll find the Elite Knight Helm, the Elite Knight Armor, the Elite Knight Gauntlets and the Elite Knight Leggings. They have terrific defensive properties.

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When you're done looting, you can continue exploring and you'll likely find a stone archway where it's possible to enter and fight a boss. You're not done exploring and grabbing items yet, though. For now, return to the place where you hacked apart the tree to reveal a secret path. Head along it and you'll find an enemy that skitters along the ground and looks a bit like a red and black manta ray. It's easily hacked apart, but make sure that you're not being chased by root enemies that will try to hit you from behind if you're not paying attention.

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Past that monster, you can find another narrow ravine. Proceed along it and you'll find a spinning tree. You can head around it without contact and then continue through the forest to reach a series of stone steps leading up through a cave. This is a dangerous trail, but one that you need to take. Ascend and watch for another of the stone knights at the top. It will fight you on a narrow ledge. Nearby, there's a corpse you can investigate to obtain the Wolf Ring. You're now on a ledge overlooking the starting point of the stage. There's a bottomless gap ahead of you, though you may be able to leap over it and land on the lower ledge ahead of you, then travel left to return to rest at the bonfire.

Now you're ready to look into fighting the area boss. As a reminder, the route to find him from the bonfire is to head through the area where you passed through the mist, past the sleeping stone knights and toward the back side of the open area they guard. A final stone knight is asleep in front of the doorway you need to enter. Roll past him and then you can climb up some steps in a tower and at the top, you'll be able to pass through the mist and into the area where the boss awaits you.

Moonlight Butterfly

This battle is a slow-paced one and you should have only moderate difficulty winning it if you follow a few simple strategies.

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When the Moonlight Butterfly first appears, it is floating slowly to the side of the long bridge where the battle takes place. As it floats in the air, you can't reach it except with projectiles or magic. However, it can hit you. Periodically, it charges up a ball of green light and then it fires a homing shot at your current location. You can roll out of the way to easily avoid it if you have enough stamina. This shot can one-hit kill you, so it's the most important attack to avoid. Sometimes, the butterfly also fires a spread shot or it will fire a laser that sweeps back and forth and tries to find you. Make sure that you roll away from that laser as possible, since it inflicts fairly severe damage. The spread shot will only inflict moderate damage if it hits, so you can withstand that. What's most important is that you dodge the spread shot.

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After you dodge its attacks for awhile, the Moonlight Butterfly will be tuckered out. It will stupidly descend to the ledge where you are positioned and will rest there. Rush over to it and hit it with your weapon of choice until it starts to glow. That's a sign that it is about to send a shockwave outward from its location. Quickly back away so that you're not hit by the explosive wave.

The butterfly will now take to the air and the whole process will repeat. If you equip your weapon with two hands to increase the damage it inflicts, you can likely take down the butterfly in only a round or two. It's an easy battle if you know what you're doing.

When you win, you'll receive the Soul of the Moonlight Butterfly. Head along the walkway that it was guarding, then ascend the tower. At the top, you'll find a corpse. Loot it to obtain the Watchtower Basement Key and a Divine Ember.

If you're interested in a final detour, now is a time to consider entering the sealed door near the bonfire. If you do enter it, you'll find that the area is populated by fearsome enemies. Many of them are human, but they're wearing cloaking gear that makes them difficult to see (and makes it impossible to lock onto them as a target). Not only that, but they have spectacular defenses and you'll have to hit them quite a few times to drain their life meters.

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If you like, you can run from those enemies (along with other more familiar enemies in the area) and make your way toward the eastern slopes, which overlook a distant castle. There, you will find a corpse on the ground that you can loot for the Eastern Helm, Eastern Armor, Eastern Gauntlets and the Eastern Leggings. It's powerful armor.

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The area is also a good place to farm for souls, if you're ready to get cheap. When you first enter, you're standing at the top of some stone steps. You can descend the steps and start forward into the trees to lure enemies toward you. Once an enemy or two is rushing you, head back toward the exit. As you're facing the steps that lead up to the exit archway, head around their right side on the lowest level. There's an extremely narrow ledge there, but you can follow it to its end and hug the wall. Any enemies that are chasing you will climb the steps and try to drop down on you from above, killing themselves in the process. You can get around 7000 souls per run in this manner, making it easy to build levels. It's cheap, but it works most of the time. Sometimes enemies will land on the ledge next to you and you'll have to knock them off, or the magic user will follow you around and pelt you with magic from a distance, but that's the exception rather than the rule.

Once your equipment is much better and your levels higher, it's worth coming back to the area to find a special boss, the Great Grey Wolf Sif. To find the wolf's lair, head forward from the entrance to the area. Proceed straight forward through some trees and past where you battled the four tough enemies. You'll come to a walled area. As you first enter, look to the left and there's a cat sitting in a window high on the wall. You can talk to her to join her covenant and receive the Cat Covenant Ring that lets you attack unwelcome players who enter the vicinity. Note that if you join the covenant, you're not to harm any creatures in the area, only unwelcome players who you can battle when you have the ring equipped. The exception is the wolf who lurks at the end of the forest.

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There are some ruined stairs ascending ahead of you as you work through the area, but you can veer left and descend some stairs through the area to arrive at another chunk of forest. From there, you can either continue forward to find a rock ledge, or you can head to the right through the forest and find mushroom characters and a dangerous cat-like animal that will attack you even if you're in Alvina's covenant. You should avoid it if you want to remain on good terms with Alvina. If you decide to fight it instead, know that it is capable of taking a tremendous amount of damage, plus you aren't allowed to brush against it (even when it's not charging) because it has quills that will inflict damage on you. Try to take it out from a distance with fire magic, and make sure that you target it so you know where it is positioned and can dodge out of the way of its rolls.

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If you go for the rock ledge, you can jump down from the rock ledge and head forward again to reach a mysterious gate. It's easily opened without any special equipment. Through the gate, you'll find a hauntingly quiet area. Ahead of you, near the edge of some water, there's a huge sword. When you approach the sword, a scene is triggered and then the boss wolf attacks.

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Before you try to kill Sif, it's not a bad idea to join Alvina's covenant and to kill a few players who venture into the forest. Three or four ought to do the trick, but do yourself a favor and only attempt things when more players are likely to be online than just high-level players (the early AM hours can be brutal, with players that are leveled up to the point where they're essentially impossible to beat). Then you can talk to Alvina again and she'll ask you to hunt down the wolf on her behalf. It's an extra step, but one worth taking if you want a nice reward.

Grey Wolf Sif

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Battling Sif can be tricky, as the creature has amazing range with the huge sword that it carries around in its mouth. Mostly, it will prance around the clearing and swing the sword back and forth, but occasionally it will pause and shake it briefly before resuming the swinging efforts.

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You need to avoid being struck by the swinging sword at all costs. It can take away a lot of your life and even blocking a hit mostly drains your stamina. Your best bet is to roll out of the way at the right moment and get close to the wolf, at which point you can strike at its flanks.

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Darkroot Basin

You'll find the trail that descends into Darkroot Basin along the edge of Darkroot Garden near the blacksmith in Undead Parish. If you start from the smith and head along the trail, there's a sharp right you can take after the first root monster attacks you. There, you'll find a glowing flower. You can head around behind it and descend along a precarious ledge that leads into the basin.

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You can descend along the trail for some distance and then ahead of you, you'll see a glowing enemy. It's a rare lizard that drops a valuable item if defeated, so try to take it out swiftly before it has time to run away from you. Then continue your descent. The trail will double back on itself and you'll see two paths descending ahead of you. One descends less steeply than the other. Head along it to a wide ledge, then drop to a lower ledge and check the corpse to obtain the Leather Armor, Leather Gloves, Leather Boots, Longbow and sixteen of the Feather Arrow. Then drop down again and now you're on the trail you saw descending more steeply.

As you continue along the trail from there, you'll reach another split in the path. Here, you can head either left or right along a precipice. Wide trails lead in both directions.

Start with the area to the right. Proceed cautiously, though, because you'll face one of the black knights. Hit him from fire with a distance, if possible. Then when he's defeated, grab the Blue Titanite Chunk that he drops and descend the trail to find a corpse resting at the end. Loot it for the Grass Crest Shield, then start back uphill. As you do, you'll notice an opening where you can head into the cliff. If you head up through that opening, you'll find a bonfire. Beyond that bonfire, there's a lever that you can pull to activate an elevator.

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The elevator leads to an area known as the Valley of the Drakes. You can head there, of course, but you still have business in Darkroot Basin that you may wish to tend to first.

Return to the overhead ledge where you had gone right at the fork in the trail. This time, you'll want to proceed along the left route, which is straight ahead of you as you approach it now after ascending from the bonfire. Along that route, you'll reach a much wider area. As you look ahead, you'll see white giants made out of crystal. There are around four of them, positioned along the sloping hills ahead of a large body of water.

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Manage your approach by heading forward along the left side of the area, along the higher ledge. Move forward and you can likely throw firebombs or use fire magic from that vantage point to take down the nearest of the crystal giants. Then you can lure another one toward you. Target them and back up the slope, hitting them with your attacks to easily eliminate each one. Then you should continue forward and lure any others down toward you, one at a time.

After those crystal giants are out of the way, you can head right to find the Large Soul of an Undead Soldier on a corpse, and past that an area where there's a locked door. Use the Watchtower Basement Key on it and you can unlock it, providing a shortcut to Undead Berg (though it's guarded by a fierce warrior).

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Spare yourself a moment for that detour and possibly kill the fellow on the stairs (use attacks from behind, and you probably shouldn't risk magic unless it's really powerful). You'll receive Havel's Ring as a reward. When worn, the ring increases the amount of heavy equipment you can easily carry around with you.

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Return to where you fought the crystal enemies and proceed toward a shallow lake shore. Near the right side of that lake, you can check a corpse to find the Knight Helm, the Knight Armor, the Knight Gauntlets and the Knight Leggings. The loot is guarded by a hydra, which packs quite a punch unless you have really good defenses. It will try pelting you with projectile attacks and it will sometimes send its heads to the shoreline, which is the place from which you should mount your attack. Let any heads crash down on the shore beside you and hack them off, one at a time. Otherwise, face out to the water and either dodge magical projectiles that the beast fires or block them if you have a capable shield.

When you defeat the monster, you will receive the Dragon Scale and the Dusk Crown Ring. Then you can head left along the shallow lakeshore edge (if you venture too far into the center, the water gets deeper and you'll plunge to your death) and find a ladder. Climb the ladder if you want to reach Darkroot Garden, in the area beyond the sealed gate.

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Alternatively, you can exit the area and then return. Proceed to the area where you fought the hydra and advance beyond it to find another of the crystal giants. It is a tougher one than the others, but still shouldn't pose any real problem. Defeat it to free Dusk of Oolacile. Answer “Yes” to her question and you'll be able to summon her when needed. Now you're definitely done in this area and should head elsewhere, perhaps to the Valley of the Drakes.

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Undead Burg Slums

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When you clear the Undead Parish, you'll need to return to the Undead Burg. Make your way to the area where you battled the Taurus Demon, then descend some steps in the tower that he was guarding. You'll come to the area ahead of the long stone bridge, where the dragon breathes fire from its perch on the distant roof. Ahead of you as you stand at the base of the stairs that you just descended, there's a door. You can use the Basement Key (obtained partway through the Undead Parish) to open it.

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Past the door, stairs descend to the top of a ladder. You can descend that ladder and then a series of steps to arrive in an open area. There are some stairs that climb to the upper right. Ascend those stairs and then follow them back to the left to reach a locked door. There are enemies waiting behind the door. Open the door and then roll into the room. Take out the enemies quickly and head toward the far door. You'll see a familiar walkway that leads to a similarly familiar bonfire that you've likely used many times before. Take advantage of it, then return to the door that you just opened.

Descend the stairs that you climbed a short time ago and at the branch in the path, look down along some steps that descend past a massive blaze. You can start down those steps, but only advance to the first landing and then wait. You'll likely attract the attention of one of the hounds that roam this area. They move quickly and are capable of poisoning you, so you don't want to have to deal with more than one at once if you can help it. Stand on the landing and let them approach you. Block their leap with your shield, then counter with a sword swipe.

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There are three hounds, so take them out as you see fit and then advance toward where a cart is waiting in the street. You can break it apart or leave it where it is, though presently you may wish to use it for cover. Just past the cart and to the left, there's a doorway. It's locked, and so is one to the right. If you advance along the alley, though, the doors will fling open and three assassins will rush you. They carry poison-tipped daggers. In a group, they're fearsome opponents. Don't let them get behind you or they'll try to slit your throat (perhaps successfully). Be careful to keep your shield up to deflect any daggers they might try to throw, as well. If you didn't break the cart, you can use it for shelter to make it easier to battle only one or two assassins at once.

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When you have killed the assassins, you can check the buildings from which they emerged. In the first recently opened building to the right, you can find the Mail Breaker weapon on a corpse. You can also head back toward the blaze but watch to the left. A path in that direction leads past some buildings. You can open the door on one of those buildings to find Griggs of Vinheim, a sorcerer. Talk to him and he'll announce his plans to head back to Firelink Shrine, which is convenient. You can roll through the barrels to the right, as well, to obtain a bunch of loot from a corpse that falls out of one: the Sorcerer Hat, the Sorcerer Cloak, the Sorcerer Gauntlets, the Sorcerer Boots and the Sorcerer's Catalyst. If you head further down that side alley, you can beat a bunch of torch-wielding enemies and investigate a corpse they were guarding to obtain a Twin Humanities item, as well. Then it's time to return to the main path.

Continue along that main path through the burg and you'll find yourself approaching a grassy basin. That grassy area should not be approached too quickly because as you start down the steps, a hound will rush you. Block its attack, then hit back. Slowly start forward again. Check to the left to find a small recess in the wall where a corpse stands upright in a barrel. Break the barrel apart to obtain a Large Soul of a Lost Undead and then return your attention to the area not far ahead.

You'll notice there are huts on either side of the grassy walkway. As you get near enough, enemies will emerge from the huts. Again, let them come to you and hit them with whatever attacks you like. Then investigate the corpse in the second building on the right to find the Thief Mask, the Black Leather Armor, the Black Leather Gloves, the Black Leather Boots and the Target Shield. Note that heading forward may call another of the poisonous hounds to attack, so be ready for that.

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Proceeding forward, you'll notice a mist-shrouded archway ahead of you. Through that archway there is a boss encounter, but you're not ready for that just yet. First, you should continue exploring.

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To the right of the mist-shrouded door, you'll see stairs that descend in that direction. Head down those and to the first landing, then look ahead of you at the steps that continue their descent. Ahead of you, in plain sight, there waits an enemy. From the landing where you're currently positioned, you can fire an arrow to snipe him. Draw him to you in that manner and take him out, then start forward again but keep an eye on the left wall. As you are most of the way down the stairs, an assassin will attack from a recess there. Be ready for him and hit him with whatever attack you like. Then continue forward toward where you shot the poor fellow near the base of the stairs.

After his corpse, there's a wide alleyway ahead of you. Stairs lead up to a door to the left. You can climb those stairs and then enter a tower with a spiral staircase. Put up your shield and head up the stairs. An archer on an upper platform will try to kill you, but he's easily defeated. Keep climbing from there to the next floor and you'll see an opening ahead of you. Stairs continue to ascend to your left, but permit yourself a detour to the opening and talk to the person behind the bars to the right after passing through that opening. He is a merchant. You can purchase a variety of items from him, including the Purging Stone (his price is steep, though) and precious Humanity. The moss items that he sells can easily be obtained for free by defeating enemies in the Darkroot Garden area, so there's no point in buying them here.

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If you head left from where you meet the merchant, down the long tunnel, you can find and open a door. It doesn't require any special key. Opening the door activates a shortcut to Firelink Shrine for possible future use (it's handy if you want an easy route to the nearby boss from a convenient bonfire without having to travel through most of the burg, for instance). Then you should return to exploring Undead Burg.

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Continue along the alley and at the end, you'll find a corpse that you can pillage to obtain a Large Soul of a Lost Undead. Just ahead of that, there's a doorway that leads into a room to the right. When you first find that door, it's likely locked, meaning that you've presently explored as much of the area as possible until you defeat the boss. Head back up the stairs to face him now.

Capra Demon

You'll find a relatively easy boss waiting in this chamber, along with two of the poisonous hounds. While it's true that the demon is capable of dealing the most damage with his massive swords, you actually have more to fear from the hounds (particularly if two of them corner you at once while you're trying to take down their master). Do yourself a favor and tend to the four-legged critters first before you focus on the main target.

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Once it's down to just you and the demon, you'll find that he's not a huge threat. You can block his swings and the worst you'll suffer is some stamina loss. You can get in close and hit him a few times after he misses with a series of swipes. Then you can back away and give yourself some distance if you need to gulp down an estus potion.

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There are some high stairs along one side of the room, which is another thing to keep in mind. You can jump from the top of the stairs and slash down on your foe if you get the positioning right, though you may have a simpler time just going up against him the old-fashioned way. Still, the stairs are obviously there for your benefit. Use them as needed and soon you should turn your worthy foe into a less worthy corpse.

When you defeat the Capra Demon, you'll receive the Key to Depths. There's nothing more to do in the chamber where you fought the Capra Demon, so exit and take a sharp left turn to follow some stairs down into the alley that you explored a short time previously. Remember the locked door? You can open it now to reach the next area: Depths.

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Depths

When you arrive in Depths, you'll descend some stairs and then arrive at a large balcony area. There are some obvious enemies ahead of you, as well as one that may try to ambush you from behind. Block their attacks and then easily counter with some blows of your own. Once the ledge is cleared, check back behind the stairs you just descended to find a Large Soul of a Nameless Soldier.

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Once you've gathered that loot, it's time to head to the far end of the ledge. There, some stairs descend back toward the right and toward some waiting enemies brandishing torches. Take them out as you see fit. You can retreat up the stairs to force them to come at you single-file, if you like. Be careful, though, because they'll come at you from basically all sides of the staircase and it's easy to forget to look behind you.

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After you clear the area of those enemies, you can descend toward the left where it looks like a blacksmith is pounding on a forge. That's actually an enemy pounding a slab of meat with a cleaver, not a friendly blacksmith. As you approach, some of the poisonous hounds will rush to meet you. Block their attacks and pet them with your favorite melee weapon. Then you have to deal with the ogre. He swings a huge cleaver. It does a lot of damage if it connects, but the ogre is slow and you should be able to easily dance out of the way before moving in and hitting him with your sword a few times. Then you should back away again and repeat as needed.

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When you defeat the ogre, check the treasure chest against the wall, next to the barrels. You'll find a Large Ember to reward you for your troubles. Breaking the barrels also reveals a hidden opening. You can drop through that opening in a moment, but for now you have other things to do. Since you have the ember, you should head back the way you came, keeping to the lower level.

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As you proceed through the fetid water, watch for more of the hounds and more of the torch-carrying goons. It can be difficult to see, since the wooden planking overhead gets in the way of the camera, so make sure to lock onto a target and circle around with your shield raised so that you don't lose track of a threat.

When you near the edge of the area, another of the goblins with a set of cleavers will surprise you. This one drops from the rafters to attack. If you haven't cleared out the other enemies, this can make for a hectic fight. Even still, the goblin has a way of bringing a nasty surprise to the occasion. Move carefully around him and make sure that you avoid his cleaver. Dance out of his way until he slams the ground in front of him with the cleaver, which leaves him briefly stunned and lets you attack safely. Don't lose your cool and you should come through the scrape in relatively good shape.

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After clearing out the enemies, head toward the back wall and up some steps. You'll come to a split in the path. If you head left, you'll find a store room full of barrels. A man in the back corner is asking for your help. You can roll through the barrels (there's no need to use a weapon) and free him. Talk to him and he'll reveal that his name is Laurentius, of the Great Swamp. He now is in your debt.

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Return to the branch in the path and this time follow the other route. You have a few points of danger along this route, but it's an important one to follow if you want to reach the bonfire. As you head along it, you won't have anything to worry about first. Proceed along a stone corridor until you descend some stairs to a small, square room. To the left, there's a corpse resting on a ledge. Resting on the corpse is a Soul of a Nameless Soldier, but it's a trap. If you approach, slime will drop from the ceiling and try to absorb you. An enemy will also attack, so it's easy to take a lot of damage here if you fall for the trap.

Head along the passage until it takes a right turn that fines you looking down another long passageway with a skeleton near the end. This is a treacherous area because there are more of the slime blobs on the ceiling. They'll drop to hit you if you move slowly, so you need to either rush past them in a dash or you need to lure them down. A dash is risky but can definitely work if you head along the middle of the path to avoid the first two slimes and then dodge left or right to avoid the third one. Then you can roll forward take out the enemy at the far end of the passage before turning around and pelting the enemies with firebombs or magic. Fire works really well on the moving slime and it will occasionally drop the Large Titanite Shard that you need for upgrades.

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The door at the end of the passage is locked (and leads eventually to a bonfire), but you can turn left from there and descend more steps to reach a grated area. Here, there are some crates you can destroy to reveal a ladder, but if you descend the ladder you'll only find a door that must be opened from the other side later in the stage. For now, ignore this lower route and remain along the higher rout to reach a tunnel that leads to a dangerous 'T' in the path. Here, you can either head right toward a swarm of waiting rats or left and take your chances with more of the poisonous gelatin. Neither route is likely to end well for you unless you prepare yourself and fill your health. You can help yourself with the rats by luring them toward you with arrows, though. It's best not to rush them all at once if you have a choice.

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Once the rats are cleared out, check the nearby corpse for a Greataxe. Then turn and head back toward the left. You can actually run past the oozing slime, since it's on the floor and only moves slowly. Past the slime, though, you'll find crates. A rat bursts out of one of them, so hack it apart quickly and round the bend. There, another rat appears and runs from you. Watch where it goes, down some steps to a fetid pool of water. You can fire arrows at the rats from your vantage point to force them back up the steps, enabling you to destroy them one at a time while they pose a smaller threat.

After clearing the lower area of rats, descend the steps and look to the left. There's some grating positioned there, with a corpse lying on the other side. Make sure you kill any rats that might have survived your arrow attacks, then check the corpse to obtain the Sewer Gate Key.

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Backtrack the short distance to the locked door. The key that you just found will work on that door. Use it to open the door, then head down the waiting corridor. At the end of said corridor, you'll find a bonfire waiting for you to use it. This is terrific because you're in an area where it's easy to farm the Large Titanite Shards (by killing the slime that appears on the ceiling in the corridor near where you find the bonfire) that you can use to continue upgrading armor. Depths is good for something after all!

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Now that you've lit the bonfire, it's time to resume your exploration. While it's easy to feel good about your progress, though, you're coming up on an area of the game that can really try your patience. It's important to be extremely careful as you continue exploring.

Start by backtracking to the area where you fought the first goblin with the meat cleaver. If you've killed him once, he's no longer there. You'll still have to deal with the dogs and other enemies, however. When you reach the area, break the barrels to the right of the treasure chest that you emptied, revealing the secret passage again. Now drop through the passage to land on a high ledge along one edge of the room.

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Ahead of you, the ledge drops to lower ground. Don't drop down just yet, though. Instead, look around. Ahead of you, there will be a giant rat roaming around on the lower level. You can fire arrows at him from your vantage point on the high ledge and inflict damage. It's possible to kill the rat without ever needing to drop down to his level. Then you should head around, still on the upper level, and check a glowing point on a corpse to obtain the Spider Shield. After you have that item, go ahead and drop down to where you killed the giant rat.

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On that lower level, collect the Humanity that the giant rat will have dropped. You can also find a Soul of a Nameless Soldier near one corner of the chamber, not far from the top of a waterfall. Keep that waterfall in mind as you will be returning later, but for now you should look along the opposite side of the room and there's a narrow passageway. Start down it and grab the Soul of a Nameless Soldier from a corpse. From there, you have a choice. You can either head left, where a rat wants you to follow it to your possible doom, or you can continue straight ahead and fall down a shaft.

You do not want to fall down the shaft, especially not just yet, so begin by heading along the left route. The rat will lead you to a 'T' in the path where a second rat waits. At that intersection, you can choose to head either left or right. Start by going to the right to find another intersection. To the left, there are some rats waiting along with a magic user. If you're ready for a group of rats, you can head in that direction. Or you can lure the rats toward you and eliminate them, then start forward again.

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There are a lot of rats along that route, around four or so in the nearest area. There's also a spellcaster who hangs back and will try to pelt you with magic. As you follow him, note that more rats will break out of the crates to attack. Be ready for that and deal with them while you avoid the much more lethal magic from the magic user. Then tend to him (he won't come back after you take him out now, thankfully) and investigate the area beyond him for the Large Titanite Shard on a corpse in the corner of the high ledge where you're now positioned.

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Note that along the left side of this ledge, you can also find a glowing, mist-shrouded doorway. It doesn't lead anywhere that you haven't already been at this point, but go ahead and pass through it so that it's not a distraction later. Then head back the way you just came and return to the area where you fought the giant rat. Along the edge of that chamber, there's a steep slope where water rushes down into a gap in the floor. To the left of that is a stone surface that also descends in that direction. You can slide down that stone slope and if you perform it properly and veer left, you should drop safely to a lower area.

This area is the same general area where you would have appeared if you dropped through an opening that we suggested you avoid earlier, but you've entered it by a safer route. Now you can find out what to expect from the area.

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Begin by heading around carefully and watching for what looks like a large frog. The frogs seem like no big deal, but be careful because they can inflict you with Curse. If you are cursed, bad things happen. Your health is halved and that remains the case even if you die and return to a bonfire. You'll have to use an expensive Purging Stone to cure yourself, if you even brought one (you should have a few in your possession if you've been following this walkthrough from the start, but it's still no fun to have to use them). To fight the frog, either hit it with fire magic from a distance or let it get close. Then dodge back out of the way, wait for it to breathe noxious fumes, then hit it as it starts forward again. Avoid standing in the vapors or you will likely be cursed. Your likelihood of being cursed increases if you are not in human form, as well.

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Head forward along the main corridor after you take care of the frog (don't head along the left corridor or you'll find a bunch more cursed frogs). Watch out for a number of rats that are in the area along the main route, as well as slimy blogs that drop from the ceiling to try and surprise you. Remember that you can take them out with fire attacks. They'll go down quickly to that particular element.

Continue around the passage and you'll find grating through which you can pass. There's a hole in it. On the other side of that grating, you'll find a merchant who you can talk with to purchase items such as the Bottomless Box (for inventory management at bonfires) and the Crystal Straight Sword and Crystal Shield. He also offers the Crystal Greatsword and the Armor of the Glorious. The armor is the most expensive item, with a cost of 15,000 souls. It's clear that this merchant is after some real riches.

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Purchase what you like, then turn around and pass back through the grating. To the left just after the grating, there are some stairs you can climb to an area outside the castle that you're exploring at present. If you head up those stairs (which you shouldn't do just yet), you'll find the route that leads to the area boss. Before you do that, though, it's time for a little bit more backtracking.

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Head back to the lower chamber where you fought the frog. Continue left and you'll find another set of stairs that leads upstairs. Follow those steps to find a doorway. You can open the door to create an important shortcut. Head through the door, climb a ladder and you'll appear in an area that should be familiar to you. It's the grating area that overlooked the large rat that you killed previously.

Now you can simply turn around, head back down the hall, kill the waiting skeleton, take a sharp right and head down to the room with the grating, descend the ladder and then head down the steps through the door that you recently opened. If you killed the frog already, it'll be gone. Remember to watch for the rats and slime, though. Take the next opening to the right and climb the stairs to reach the outside area again.

You're now ready to proceed to the right, through that area. Fortunately, there are no waiting enemies. Just head around the castle tower until you find some stairs that descend one level. Head down those stairs and then to the right. There are more stairs there. At the top of the staircase, you'll see a patch on the ground where you can summon Soltaire if you like. You can head left around the corner from there to find a Heavy Crossbow and a Heavy Bolt waiting on a corpse, if needed. Then you can return and descend the stairs to reach a mist-shrouded doorway. If you pass through that doorway, you'll find a boss battle.

Gaping Dragon

This battle should go fairly easily for you. The monster that you'll fight, though huge, moves slowly and doesn't have any projectile attacks. You can avoid taking damage almost entirely just by staying at a distance, but the best way to kill the dragon (naturally) is to get in close and hack at it a few times, then retreat to avoid taking damage.

When the dragon first appears, it doesn't look like much of a threat at all. Then you see its full size emerge from the water and it becomes much more imposing. Your first order of business should be to hack of its tail, which should only take a few hits if you have a good weapon equipped. The first time you do that, the dragon will drop the Dragon King Greataxe. Be sure to pick it up and then return your attention to the battle at hand.

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The dragon likes to lift its torso back, then slam down on the ground and spread out a yellow mist that you definitely want to avoid. When it finishes doing that, you have a brief moment and then the dragon will charge you. Definitely get out of the way. Try to stay on dry ground rather than wading through water, since you'll be able to move better. Note that sometimes the dragon will lift up from the ground and fly a short distance. When you see that starting to happen, roll like crazy to get out of the way. If the dragon lands on you, the damage it will inflict is significant. If it manages to grab you with a swipe of its paw (which shouldn't happen unless you get especially careless), it can swallow you and inflict severe damage, but that attack is easy to avoid as long as you don't get greedy about hitting the dragon too many times in a row.

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For the most part, it's a pretty easy fight that ranks among the easiest in the game. Just move in and hit the dragon in the flank two or three times with a quick weapon such as the Drake Sword, then back quickly away as the dragon retaliates (it can bend over backward to hit you if you just remain in one place and keep hacking). It's an easy process to perform and to repeat throughout the fight until you win.

Once you defeat the dragon, you'll receive the Blighttown Key. It's also safe to check the corpse that you've likely noticed in the area, from which you can pillage the useless Standard Helm, Hard Leather Armor, Hard Leather Gauntlets and Hard Leather Boots gear (no wonder the poor sap died!). Then you can head back through the dungeon to the area where you found the merchant. Nearby, there's a locked gate that the key will open. It leads to a new area: Blighttown.

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Blighttown

When you arrive in Blighttown after using the key that you obtained by defeating the Gaping Dragon, the first thing you should do is equip the Spider Shield that you obtained in the Depths area. It provides powerful protection from poison attacks, which are common in the coming dungeon.

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From the entrance, head left along the stone rim and you'll reach the top of a red ladder. Descend it. From the base of the ladder, start forward and look for the top of a wooden ladder to your left. Descend along that to a lower platform and then start forward to where an enemy will be waiting. It is a powerful enemy, but slow.

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For this particular enemy, your best strategy is to let it attack. It will typically use a heavy vertical strike and follow it up with a swing or two. Block or dodge the initial strikes, then get around behind your adversary and stab him in the back a time or two, or just hit him quickly with your weapon a few times. Then repeat the dance. It's possible also to easily lure him to the side of the wooden planking and then let himself rush to his doom by way of a fatal fall. Just make sure that you don't make the fall yourself. Note that sometimes the monster will stop to bellow and you can get in a few easy hits, but you should be ready to back away when he finishes his bellow or he'll possibly hit you with a melee attack. He can also break your stamina down pretty easily if you take too many hits, so try not to let the monster hit you too many times in close succession. He often drops the Dung Pie when defeated, and less often the Large Club. Sadly, he will reappear in the area if you use a bonfire.

Continuing down the planking, you'll soon encounter a second of those same monsters. Don't push too far forward as you fight him, though; enemies below may notice your fight. You might not see them, but they can run around, find a ladder and climb up to give you trouble. You really only want to fight one enemy at a time, where possible. There's a third of the huge monsters after you defeat the second, as well.

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After you've taken out the third of the goblins, you'll meet a new type of enemy. This one is faster and lizard-like. You have to treat it with more caution, but it's not a real threat if you're careful to block and counter. Keep your distance and let it swing its weapon at you, then move in for a killing series of blows to make the job easy.

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Past the first of those more agile enemies, you'll soon find a more dangerous threat. There are some enemies nearby that are obvious, and there's one that will throw poison-tipped daggers. If these hit you, Toxic effect will take place. Your life meter quickly drains unless you use the Blooming Purple Moss Clump, found in Darkroot Garden when you defeat the walking tree roots. You can also buy it from the merchant near Firelink Shrine (up the tunnel that you explore on your way to Undead Burg). Make taking out any dagger-tossing enemies your priority so that you have to worry less about the toxicity.

When that's tended to, resume your trek forward. You can head right here, or left. If you head left, some enemies will rush you. Defeat them, then look down over the edge of the ledge that you have reached. You'll see a lower platform with a skeleton lying on it. The only way to reach that platform is to make a running jump from the corner of the higher ledge to the beam that extends from the lower ledge. Then you can walk along it and investigate the corpse to obtain the Iaito blade. Note that it's a tricky leap to make and you'll likely die if you fail, so keep that in mind and decide just how badly you want the sword.

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Drop down from the right side of the platform next and you can head a few steps in that direction to find something wonderful: a bonfire. Naturally, this is a terrific base of operations as you consider your journey through the remainder of the area.

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There are two direction you can follow from the fire. One is to head away from the fire, with the ledge where you found the Iaito blade to your back. That route actually leads to some ladders (positioned just to the right along some wooden planking) that you can climb to reach the overhead series of planks where you first started the level. It's the route you would have taken down to the bonfire if not leaping to the platform for the weapon. Along that route, keeping to the high road, you can find the Large Soul of an Unknown Soldier. The way to proceed through Blighttown can also be found if you head in this direction from the bonfire and just keep to the low road along the stone bridge (where some dogs are standing guard), but before you continue your descent you might want to explore in the area to the other side of the bonfire.

Your other option from the bonfire is to head back in the general direction of the high ledge where you found the Iaito blade. Head around the base of that ledge and you'll find the top of a ladder. You can peer over the edge to possibly attract the attention of some enemies lingering below. Let them climb up to you and then hac