Bullsh*t Boss Battles – Dark Souls

A while back I came up with the idea for a series of posts in which I would showcase various boss fights that I enjoyed in no capacity whatsoever. Boss encounters that do little more than annoy the hell out of me. That’s right, for today’s rant post is about another bullshit boss battle. My previous post was all the way back in June of 2020 and I spent a few moments expressing my aggravation with that godawful AT-ST fight in Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire. I’ve always wanted to return to the idea as there’s no shortage of instances to choose from in which to wax hyperbolic for a hot minute, so…let’s begin, shall we?

**deep, calming breath**

For those who haven’t been subjected to my Twitter feed or recent blog posts…I respect for the display of wisdom(INT +10). Secondly, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time playing From Software games over the past year. It started around this time last year with Elden Ring, after that I jumped straight into Bloodborne…again. Shortly after finishing up another playthrough of Bloodborne, I made my way through both Dark Souls: Remastered and Sekiro before finally getting around to Dark Souls III, which I finished a couple weeks ago. Lately, I’ve been replaying Dark Souls in order to finish up some trophies I still need for the platinum. It was during this time that I found myself increasingly irritated…again, by what has to be the worst boss fight in the entire game, a “battle” that has become infamous within the Souls community…

Motherfuckin’ Bed of Chaos

The setting: You’ve made it over halfway through Dark Souls and have found found yourself in Lost Izalith – the loveliest ruins placed in the middle of a lava bed you’ll ever see, to obtain one of the Lord Souls from the Witch of Izalith. Once you hot-foot your way through the lava surrounding the area, it’s simply a matter of getting past a small army of fire-breathing demon statues and a not-so-friendly pyromancer before deciding it’s time to slide down and face the Bed of Chaos. The “fight” is against a giant, tangled mess of tree-like limbs and roots where the Witch of Izalith – the *reason* you’re here, is hiding within. Upon entering the arena, you’ll notice the glowing orbs on each side of the main cluster, which must be destroyed before the small tunnel in the center can be accessed. Inside the Bed of Chaos, you’ll find a small bug-like creature which is believed to be the Witch of Izalith, who has since been devoured along with her daughters while trying to recreate the First Flame.

Sounds pretty straightforward….just another puzzle boss, right?

Okay, so…lemme tell you why this boss fight annoys me to no end. The fun begins as soon as you destroy one of the two adjacent orbs, which causes large sections of the floor to give way beneath your feet and causing you to plummet to your demise while making your way to the other side of the arena if not careful(or even if you are). No big deal, right? I’ve played enough Mario Party minigames to not be overly concerned about some shaky footing. What causes a greater sense of frustration here is the fact the large sections DO NOT BREAK AWAY until you you are almost *directly* on top of them, which means there’s a bit of trial and error involved. Fortunately, once the sections have crumbled they will remain that way on subsequent attempts. Finally, once the second orb has been taken out it’s simply a matter of accessing the innards of the boss where the Chaos Bug can be taken out with the slightest nudge from your giant anime sword you’ve undoubtedly clung to in the game so far. This is where shit gets extra chaotic as the entire. goddamn. center of the arena will collapse, leaving a gaping chasm between you and the Bed of Chaos. Those who possess the power of observation may notice there’s a large tree root below the ground floor; the trick here is to gently land on said root and stroll upwards toward your newest destination.

The single worst aspect of this fight isn’t that it’s an underwhelming puzzle of a boss fight; it’s the fact this is to be accomplished while the boss is frantically swatting at you with its overgrown root arms. Once you enter the arena, the Bed of Chaos will begin sporadically throwing hands and casting AoE fire attacks, but this gets turned up a notch upon destroying the first of the lesser orbs. After the floor begins the collapse beneath you, this fight becomes even more of a goddamn joke as you get to run back into the arena and hope you don’t get randomly slapped into a bottomless pit before you reach your target. I’ve read multiple accounts from multiple people who will either opt for movement speed and unequip everything as they make a mad dash across the arena in their underwear, or equip a set of heavy armor such as Havel’s Armor, with the idea of a boosted poise stat equals less being tossed around like a rag doll. I’ve tried both in the past with minimal success. I’ve played the Bed of Chaos fight a number of times throughout my recent playthroughs of Dark Souls and I always end up saying the same thing…

“Bed of Chaos is fucking bullshit!”

Perhaps my biggest grievance against this gimmicky shit fight is that it doesn’t ask much of the player besides…luck, to beat it? It isn’t a boss fight that tests your grasp of gameplay mechanics thus far and it sure as hell isn’t a puzzle requiring any sort of outside-the-box thinking to solve. It’s just kinda…meh. The fact that you will (most likely)face multiple cheap deaths because of being pushed around as if you’re standing on a sheet of ice is just another reason why Bed of Chaos my easily *least* favorite boss encounter in Dark Souls, a series known and loved for its challenging boss fights.

Maybe next time I’ll write up a Dark Souls boss tier list…

Thanks for reading!

Bullsh*t Boss Battles – Shadows of the Empire

Boss battles have a significant place in gaming, it can act as a test of everything we have learned in the game thus far or it can simply be the final(albeit stronger) enemy between you and the end of the level. The Legend of Zelda games have provided some memorable moments whether its Link’s encounter with Gohma inside the Great Deku Tree or delivering the final blow to Ganon and saving Hyrule. One of the most memorable moments in Super Mario Bros. for many is reaching the end of the castle only to have Bowser standing between you and the Princess(?) as he spews fire towards you. In Super Mario Bros. Bowser acted more so as another obstacle to overcome as you progress from point a to point b. Boss battles can be a litmus test as to our grasp on game mechanics and overall skill, just ask any Dark Souls fan. They can be both exhilarating and intimidating, but what about boss battles that…don’t do any of that. How about level boss encounters that aggravate us more than challenge us? Those instances in games where we find ourselves saying, “ok, this is bullshit…” An idea for a blog post that occurred entirely due to my sheer frustration with a particular boss encounter – the AT-ST boss battle in Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire.

Shadows of the Empire was released in December 1996 on the Nintendo 64, a couple months after Nintendo’s 64-bit, three-dimensional game machine was released in North America. The game takes place in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi as you control Dash Rendar, a bounty hunter hired by Princess Leia and Lando Calrissian to aid in the recovery of Han Solo, who has been frozen in carbonite and taken aboard Boba Fett’s ship – the Slave I.

Despite starting the game piloting a Snowspeeder in the Battle of Hoth, the majority of the game is set in third-person view as Dash makes his way from Echo Base on Hoth, across the Ord Mantell junkyard, the Tattooine desert, and Coruscant – home to the menacing Black Sun organization. The game itself was fun to play, though its graphics, camera and controls haven’t aged gracefully. Going back and playing the game, I still enjoy many aspects of it, with its clunky camera and clumsy controls. I still stand by my assertion the boss encounters in the game are pretty weak, I’d even go so far as to say they kinda…sucked. One of the most memorable frustrating of which would have to be at the end of the second level – Echo Base. The Imperial troops have breached the rebel installation as Dash must make his way to his ship – the Outrider, located on the other side of the base. As you make your way through Echo Base and blast countless Stormtroopers(and Wampas), you have one final enemy blocking the hangar where your ship is located – an AT-ST. That’s correct, a lone bounty hunter armed with merely a blaster must square off against an All Terrain Scout Transport.

In Shadows of the Empire, larger enemies are given a percentage indicating their remaining life. A Probe Droid will start will 100% health(armor?) as you keep blasting away it will decrease down to zero before finally exploding. When engaged in a lopsided gunfight against an AT-ST, it only makes matters worse when the “legs” of the AT-ST are such a small target and very, very hard to hit with your standard blaster; add to this the fact you only do another damage percentage every 20-25 hits. The trick to the entire boss battle is aiming for the “head” of the AT-ST, but you are only able to aim your blaster slightly higher or lower than straight ahead of you, resulting in an over-reliance on aim-assist which doesn’t “assist” nearly as much as you’d think. The combined problems can make for a boss battle that is anything but exciting as you typically have to resort to running circles around the AT-ST and staying behind it so it can’t hit you(see below). When playing this recently, I stumbled into the fight with only two lives left and said there’s no way I’m replaying this entire level again, so I had to “cheese” my way through it. I believe it took me somewhere around 35 minutes just to pew-pew away at its legs until it finally collapsed, allowing access to the Outrider.

<Angry Video Game Nerd voice> yeah, that’s right…you have to fight an AT-ST!

I still enjoyed playing Shadows of the Empire, one of my favorite Star Wars games growing up, but I question whether or not the game would have been better off without some of the boss battles that seemed only to emphasize the game’s shortcomings back in the 90’s. The annoying AT-ST encounter isn’t an isolated incident as just a few levels later you find yourself in a duel of bounty hunters against IG-88 in the Ord Mantell junkyard, or finally reaching the end of the Gall spaceport canyons, only to square off against Boba Fett in the Slave I….seriously? I could probably write multiple posts about the boss fights in just THIS game, huh?

I think that’s all for now….what are some boss battles in games that you found infuriating despite enjoying the rest of the game or simply made you say “ugh…this is bullshit”? Thanks for reading!