Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Dark souls boss profiles: The Four Kings

The Four Kings
HP: 2354 each

Skills: Sword swing combo*, Sword thrust, Grab*, Homing missile*, Soul explosion*
Souls: 60000

Difficulty: 4.5/5 
Times died on 1st playthrough: Countless

With only 2 soul lords left, there's not much left to go for. Head for the New Londo Ruins and begin traversing your way through the ghost ridden passages. Its a treacherous level, but not the worst you've seen. Raising the flood gate opens your way to the dark wraith enemies, and into a whole new area of the level. Make your way to the end and into the fog gate to enter the stairway for the abyss. If you've already defeated a previous boss, Sif, you should have the covenant of Artorias. Equipping the ring allows you to traverse the abyss, and without the ring, you cannot fight The Four Kings as you will die the moment you fall into the abyss. Equip the ring, fall down, and meet your maker.

Behold the awesomeness that kills you

The Four Kings is one of the shittiest boss battles in the game, simply because how stupid it is to fight them alone. As the name describes, you have to battle against 4 boss level enemies. That's right, Ornstein and Smough isn't bad enough, you have to fight 4 now. However, The Four Kings are fought differently, while you are indeed fighting 4 bosses, they appear 1 by 1, and if you kill 1 before the next one spawns, you can maintain this steady 1 on 1 combat until you defeat all 4. However, if you kill 1 too slowly and the next one appears, it will quickly become a shit fest, as a single king is more than enough to screw you 10 times over.

Sword swing combo* - Can pretty much instagib you if you are hit by the blade. The length and range of this attack is pretty huge, but if you're standing right in front of him, you will be hit by the sword's handle and take reduced damage. If you are hit by the blade, its pretty much 2 hits and you're gone. Can be dodged or blocked, but the timing is tricky for dodging.

Sword thrust - Just a simple forward poke. He follows this up with a combo after the hit connects most of the time.

Grab* - He spins around and flies towards you, grabbing you and dealing massive damage. As far as I know it is impossible to dodge or block this. I've only successfully gotten away by running away once the animation for his spin starts. Dodging away won't help unless you do it immediately when he starts to spin and you're a moderate distance away.

Homing missile* - He charges his arm back, then conjures a magical missile and tosses it at you. This stupid missile homes at you, and still comes at you even when you've dodged it. You can block it, but you'll still take some good damage upon shield impact. It lasts for quite awhile, 15 seconds according to Dark Souls Wiki.

Soul explosion* - He spins around, draws in some magical energy towards him, and sends out an explosion that does massive damage in a huge AOE. Like the grab, dodging is only possible if you start running away immediately after he does his spin, as the AOE is immensely huge. Blocking is possible, though you'll still take some good damage upon shield impact.

As you can see, he's pretty much dangerous as hell when he's alone, fighting more than 2 at once is bonkers. With only slightly above 2000 HP per King, its important that you equip a powerful rush down full DPS weapon and start wearing the first King down the moment he spawns. Its ideal to kill a single King before the next one spawns, as having to fight 2 of them is already crazy enough for you to pull your hair out. However, if that one Kings decides to go cheap mode, you're still pretty screwed anyway.

A grab attack.

His sword swing combo is his basic bread and butter skill. Because of the range of the sword, this is a major problem. Throughout the entire fight, you'll want to stay at a medium distance away from the King, because 2 of his most dangerous attacks, soul explosion and grab, cannot be avoided at close range. However, because of the structure of his sword, staying at medium range is deadly. If you are hit by his sword combo, the damage you take differs from where you are hit. At medium range you are hit by the blade, and you'll suffer major damage. At close range you are hit by the hilt, and you take minor damage.

Of course everything is fine if you know how to avoid these slashes (the timing is awkward as hell), but if you are willing to take a risk and fight the King at close range, his sword swings pose little to no threat to you. However if you do this, you are sure to be a victim of his grab and soul explosion, so there's huge risk involved. If he spams sword swings all the day long, you've got this. If he starts using any of his other moves, you're in trouble. He'll throw in a thrust that has longer range than normal occasionally, but those usually just lets him follow up with another combo.

Time for his cheap moves. All that I've said matters if you fight him at close to mid range, what if you take it from far? Not only will he charge towards you at great speed, he may use his homing missile ability, which is a complete bitch to deal with. It homes in on you continuously, and you still take good damage when you block it. Worst comes to worst, you have to dodge all his other moves with a stupid missile still following you around, and if he connects his moves in rapid succession, you will die.

His spin related moves are grab and soul explosion. When you see him spin, its time to book it. If you're at medium range, you can escape if you're fast enough, if you opted for close range combat, you'll definitely get hit by these moves. Grab homes on you at insane speed, and once grabbed, you'll take massive damage. What's worse is that - 1: you'll be left in a knockdown state after the attack (you cannot heal immediately) and 2: he can follow up with another powerful attack to finish you off.

1 vs 3? GG

Soul explosion's AOE is so huge that you'll probably not get away no matter what. Blocking is your best option, but you still take good damage upon impact. If he follows his up after a grab, you're most likely a goner. Combining all these moves together makes him one cheap bastard. And if you're fighting multiple Kings at once and all of them go cheap mode.....its needless to say that you definitely will not stand a chance whatsoever.

So that's The Four Kings! If you beat them, give yourself a pat in the back for one of the shittiest boss fights in the game! There are multiple strategies to beat him, but rush down is the best in my opinion. Bring tons of estus flasks, and just rush down the kings at they appear one by one. 60000 souls is the reward, though I think we deserve more after beating these bastards.

Next time we go deep into the Demon ruins.