I hope this doesn’t become an issue…

Continuing to nurse my Demon’s Souls addiction, I sat down today with the mind to throw myself at 3-1, The Tower of Latria.  The thing about World 3 is that there are these “mind flayer” demons walking around that can completely ruin your day if you’re not careful.  Casting a spell like Anti-Magic Field makes them effectively harmless, but I don’t have that spell yet and I won’t be getting it until so late in the game that I decided I should man up and just get in there.

Then I discovered that I could kill a Mind Flayer with three Soul Arrow hits.  Of course, I had to get the drop on the beastie, which meant that I had to either move very carefully or just memorize their patrol routes, both of which are accepted strategies in this game.

Turns out the Tower of Latria has a few difficulties to conquer.  The first is that the level designer knew that you’d be trying to get the jump on these Mind Flayers, so he positioned them in such a way to make that incredibly difficult.  You can hear them coming from a way off, because they ring a little bell they hold, but that sound penetrates walls, so you may not necessarily be hearing one that’s actually close to you.

There are other monsters in the Tower, namely these strange, half-dead people called “Prisoners,” who are incredibly easy to kill, and don’t do much more than moan and run towards you, waving their hands in the air.  They don’t even attack you.  However: again the level designer’s insidious nature shows through, because he puts them in small packs of six or eight and then gives a few of them small daggers and a malicious attitude towards wandering adventurers.  Or hides them in a cell and has them poke out of the bars at you with long spears.

And then, for the hell of it, you run into a giant ball comprised entirely of corpses that shoots laser beams at you.  What fun!

And as if that wasn’t enough, and it never is in this game, the entire level is incredibly easy to get lost in.  Pitfalls that are hard to see in the dark will completely screw up your sense of progression.  A gigantic mechanized ballista that looks like a statue of a priestess will kill you instantly if you walk in front of it.  Although there are literally dozens of bodies in its path, scattered there as though to say: “You may prefer not to walk here just now…”

Just as you’ve cleared all that, you get the privilege of fighting an unnamed Black Phantom character on the steps leading up to a Chapel where the boss waits.  Thankfully there was enough room there so that I could resort to my patented “stab and strafe like a coward” tactic.

But then at last you arrive at the boss.  A strange, floating priestess woman who duplicates herself along the length of a chapel.  Her copies have their own health so you have to take a few shots at each of them before you figure out which is the real one.  And that’s not so bad except that they’re all shooting at you the whole time, and two hits from any of their spells would kill me.  Plus the magical “mines” that are strewn around the place that freeze you when you walk on them.  And a ton of little Prisoners in the chapel that steal my auto-targeting focus so it’s hard to always keep her selected.

I died a lot.  Oh and I’d be remiss not to mention: If you don’t go through a very roundabout path late in the level and kill a Prisoner who actually begs you not to kill him, he’ll resurrect the boss over and over again until she eventually kills you.  How are you supposed to know to do this?  Read the cryptic clues on the floor while you’re fighting the boss.  Like you don’t have anything else to do at the time.

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