FromSoftware’s games are known for their boss fights, to the point where the average Soulsborne prides himself more on how many bosses there are in-game rather than their overall quality. As the first game of its kind, Demon’s Souls doesn’t have as many bosses as Dark Souls or Bloodborne, but the ones present offer gameplay challenges unseen in FromSoftware’s later work. Where Dark Souls has come to embrace fast paced, one on one duels as a norm, Demon’s Souls takes a more acade-esque approach with its bosses.
Boss fights in Demon’s Souls are genuine tests of the in-game mechanics and concepts, demanding more than just basic mechanical mastery. Understanding how Tendency works, the value of a varied build in PvE, and exploiting how ferociously unbalanced Demon’s Souls ultimately leads to an unforgettable roster of bosses. Keep in mind that any boss strategies will not take specific builds into account, instead encouraging players to invest in different stats or use weapons designed to counter bosses.
Taking into account that Vanguard will one-shot just about every starting class, it’s important to unequip all armor to have as fast a roll as possible. Defeating Vanguard requires dodging through all its attacks and very patiently chipping away at its health, always ensuring there’s enough stamina to roll away.
Players who pick Fire Bombs as their starter item can also throw them here for an advantage, but they’re arguably better saved for Phalanx. Thanks to starting out with Soul Arrow, the Royalty class in particular has an easier time against Vanguard – able to cast from afar while saving stamina to dodge.
Phalanx’s body is surrounded by multiple Hoplites that shield her from being damaged directly or right away. The Hoplites need to be killed first, exposing her flesh and creating an opening. Make sure to kill the stray Hoplites around the room first, however, to avoid any possibility of getting harpooned from behind.
Once all the Hoplites are killed, turn your attention to Phalanx. If playing a mage, simply use spells from afar. When playing a melee character, chain a small combo into the Hoplite surrounding her body before rolling away (while keeping an eye on stamina.) Anyone who has access to Fire Bombs can pelt that at Phalanx right from the get go, instantly killing several Hoplites on contact while doing massive fire damage (which Phalanx is weak to.)
Tower Knight (1-2)
While intimidating, the Tower Knight is an incredibly simple boss to defeat. Immediately rush up one of the two staircases and start taking out the crossbowmen. They’ll shoot arrows at you from afar, and the Tower Knight will cast magic, but there are enough obstacles where damage can always be avoided. Once the crossbowmen have been killed, rush back down, attack the Tower Knight’s ankles to knock him down, dodge the fall, and attack before he gets back up. Repeat the process until he dies.
Armored Spider (2-1)
The Armored Spider is intimidating, but actually fairly simple to defeat. Stick to the left side of the entry hallway to avoid its flames and then try to roll past its legs once in the arena proper. It’s actually possible to sneak behind the Armored Spider where it won’t be able to fight back.
For those who can’t get the timing right, the Armored Spider isn’t too daunting a fight. All of its attacks are clearly telegraphed, it doesn’t do that much damage, and there’s always enough time to heal up.
Flamelurker is arguably the first real challenge in Demon’s Souls and an enormous spike in difficulty. He’s fast, hits hard, and can easily long players into combos from afar. As most will fight Flamelurker early in the game, it’s easy to come into the boss battle without enough stamina to dodge all his attacks.
The easiest way to get around Flamelurker is to learn Soul Arrow. For as powerful as Flamelurker is, he’s also weak to magic and will lose chunks of health from a single Soul Arrow strike. Keep your distance and just fire from afar, saving stamina to dodge and roll away when applicable.
Dragon God (2-3)
Considering how much fanfare the Dragon God gets in Demon’s Souls’ marketing, along with being the boss who kills players should they manage to defeat Vanguard, it can be disappointing that his fight is more of a gimmick than anything else. Players need to stealth their way through the Dragon God’s arena in order to arm ballistas that’ll eventually pin him down.
The Dragon God slowly seeks out the player, attacking on sight. It’s important to take your time and go slow. Break down pieces of rubble one strike at a time so not to alert him. More importantly, make sure to unequip enough armor to get a fast roll. The Dragon God is strong enough where any attack is basically a guaranteed game over. Prioritize speed and move strategically.
Fool’s Idol (3-1)
Should players fail to kill the Dregling enchanting the Fool’s Idol at the end of 3-1 (sitting in the tower right by the fog gate,) it’ll actually be impossible to kill the boss. Any attempts at downing her will result in the Fool’s Idol perpetually getting back up. She can only be killed if the Dregling is dead, so always make sure he is before challenging the Fool’s Idol.
In the fight itself, the Fool’s Idol will summon duplicates of herself to confuse the player. All her doubles fire the Soul Arrows while the real Fool’s Idol fires a thick Soul Ray. Pay attention to the Fool’s Idol’s attacks, dodge the Soul Rays as they come, and chop her down in a few short combos.
Along with Flamelurker, Maneater is arguably the hardest boss in Demon’s Souls. As is, the fight is fairly difficult. Fighting a gargoyle on a narrow bridge while most of its attacks do insane knockback is tense, and it’s made worse when a second Maneater – on cue – swoops in halfway through the first for FromSoftware’s first double battle.
The original Demon’s Souls featured an exploit where players could snipe the first Maneater from outside the fog gate, but that isn’t possible here. The safest way to defeat the Maneaters is to be aggressive in the first half (while always conserving enough stamina to dodge) in order to kill the first Maneater as quickly as possible. Once the second swoops in, simply be patient, dodge through his attacks intelligently, and stick to short combos.
Old Monk (3-3)
The Old Monk is the most memorable fight in Demon’s Souls as there’s actually a chance a player will be summoned to fulfill the role of the Archdemon. Anyone actively playing in 3-2 or 3-3 can be whisked away by the Old Monk to fight on his behalf. There’s no reliable strategy to the Old Monk other than going offline, in which case he’ll spawn a fairly weak Black Phantom. That said, the fun of the Old Monk is going up against other players, so indulge in the boss’ unique gimmick.
The Adjudicator should be intimidating, but it’s a massive boss with wide strikes that are easy to dodge (or outright avoid) who’s confined to an incredibly tight arena that actually works in the player’s favor. The Adjudicator itself isn’t the giant enemy players are seemingly fighting, but the bird atop its head. Either attack the bird from long range with magic or a bow, or stagger the Adjudicator by hitting the sword that’s stuck in its body. When done enough damage, the Adjudicator will lower its head for a few moments.
Old Hero (4-2)
The Old Hero is one of the most creative fights in Demon’s Souls. An extremely aggressive warrior, the Old Hero is blind and fights exclusively by listening to his surroundings. This is the rare stealth fight in a Souls game, requiring players to quietly stealth around the Old Hero in order to attack him.
Whenever he’s struck, he’ll immediately react and start attacking in your general vicinity. It’s imperative to create distance and rush to the other side of the room. Make as much noise as you want while he’s attacking, but make sure to stop and ease into a slow stride to lose his focus. Keeping the Old Hero’s attention ensures a swift death. Otherwise, he’s perfectly manageable.
Storm King (4-3)
Like the Dragon God, the Storm King is more of a gimmick battle. There’s no real strategy or cheat to it, as there’s an intended script for the fight. Players are meant to run down the hill to grab Storm Ruler – a blade which fires ferocious gusts of wind whenever it’s slashed. With countless Storm Beasts circling the area, the Storm Ruler is used to cut them down while getting periodic hits in on the Storm King himself.
It’s genuinely difficult to die fighting the Storm King so long as you observe your surroundings. The Storm Beasts always make a noise before firing, so keep those ears peeled, and the Storm King moves in a pattern where there are always enough openings to heal between attacks.
Leechmonger does not live up to the Valley of Defilement’s reputation, offering a rather easy boss fight after an incredibly tense stage. Leechmonger has the potential to slow the player down with its leeches while restoring health in the process, but it’ll likely never get the opportunity to do so on account of being so weak.
Leechmonger is incredibly vulnerable to fire based attacks. Spells like Firestorm will rip the obliterate the boss in no time flare, and any player with a fire enchanted weapon can watch Leechmonger’s health drain through a single combo. Even regular spells can throttle Leechmonger from afar.
Dirty Colossus (5-2)
Dirty Colossus plays out more or less like Leechmonger 2.0 in that it’s an easy boss following an extremely hard stage. Dirty Colossus is arguably a bit harder, especially since players need to make their way down to the arena before they can actually fight the boss – all while dodging attacks – but there are enough vantage points from up above where long range characters can comfortably kill the Colossus. Similarly, Dirty Colossus is aggressively weak to everything fire, losing massive chunks of health. A single Firestorm could realistically kill the Dirty Colossus on the stop.
Maiden Astraea (5-3)
Despite the incredible atmosphere and music surrounding the fight, Maiden Astraea is arguably the easiest Archdemon in the game – if only because you don’t need to kill her directly. Instead, it’s possible to defeat her by going after her sworn knight, Garl Vinland. Garl can be very easily parried on account of his slow attack swings, but it’s also possible to stunlock him with strikes from heavy weapons like the Dragon Bone Smasher. Garl Vinland also won’t put up much of a fight against magic, ensuring any skilled player can tear through his HP. Maiden Astraea will then kill herself when confronted, dropping her soul to be consumed by the player.
Doubling back to the Archstone of the Small King, 1-3 can only be accessed after killing at least one Archdemon. Notably, Penetrator is the only boss fight in Demon’s Souls where players can get outside help offline. By rescuing Biorr in 1-2, he’ll actually jump through the fog gate right after you and aggro Penetrator himself. While Biorr can cut through most of the boss’ health alone, there’s a very real risk of him dying so keep a close eye on both of their health bars and aggro Penetrator when necessary. Basically a warm up for Allant, Penetrator is more than manageable so long as Biorr is around.
False King Allant (1-4)
False King Allant isn’t as threatening as his Dark Souls successors, but he’s an excellent way to cap off Demon’s Souls. Ostensibly the closest thing the game has to a final boss (in spite of the fact he can be fought before the halfway point,) King Allant punishes players who fight too aggressively by using Soulsucker – a technique which delevels your highest stat on the spot.
Defeating King Allant requires a quick eye for telegraphs, knowing when he’s going to do his AoE attack, lunge forward, or cast Soulsucker. Keep close to Allant, but never for too long. It’s best to focus on combos that only deplete half the stamina bar, leaving just enough to create distance. With enough patience, Allant will go down. Keep a steady hand and don’t lose your nerve.
Old King Allant (Nexus)
Old King Allant is a pathetic shell of a man who poses no real threat to the player. He’s a representation of the corrupting power of the Demon’s Souls that have been fueling the Slayer of Demons on their journey, the logistical endpoint for anyone consumed by so much greed. Players are left with no choice but to cut down King Allant as he squirms on the ground, barely able to fight back with Soulbrandt – a blade he once carried with nobility. Allant dies alone below the Nexus, made a mockery of by the Old One.
Old King Doran (1-1)
Old King Doran is the single hardest boss in Demon’s Souls and fighting him legitimately is asking for a whooping (though managing to defeat Doran is in itself a massive badge of honor.) Doran is fast, regenerates stamina quickly thanks to his Stamina Ring, and deals quite a bit of damage with Demonbrandt.
Thankfully, there is an extremely easy way to defeat Old King Doran. Simply cast Poison and Death Cloud onto him and watch as the Poison & Plague status effects rip through his health. Doran will drop dead without a fight and you’ll walk away with his Stamina Ring, Demonbrandt, and Ancient King armor set.
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