Dark Souls: Checkout Passing the Midterms in Anor Londo - The Toxic Gamer (2023)

One of Dark Souls’ show-stopping moments is arriving at Anor Londo. I’m carried up by a trio of gangly, winged demons after defeating the Iron Golem, and deposited on a parapet with a stunning sunset view of the city. A gleaming hillside metropolis stretches out before me, with carved marble and gold towers and flying buttresses piercing the skyline. Following the degradation and filth of the locations I’ve visited – Undead Burg, the Depths, Blighttown, and Sen’s Fortress – I feel as though I’ve arrived to a prestigious dinner party, grossly underdressed, coated in dirt, and wheezing.

After finding my way to the area’s first bonfire, I step back out onto the high wall to get my bearings. It takes a little while to get over the sheer grandeur of the view, but as I venture forward, I notice something: Anor Londo isn’t designed for humans, at least not primarily. This place is built on a much larger scale: a chapel housing a gigantic painting soars to dizzying heights, while the main stairway up to the imposing central structure has steps that any normal-sized person would struggle to climb. It’s a city for giants.

My ultimate goal in Anor Londo is dead ahead of me, in a straight-line path up to the doors of the ornate cathedral in the distance. I’m going the long way around, though, becausesomeoneforgot to reset the rotating pillar that holds the bridge up.

Orange soapstone messages from other players who’ve already been through guide me to a ledge set down and to the side of the city’s main thoroughfare, where a flying buttress joins the bridge I’m standing on to theclerestoryabove. Here, I can enter the chapel through a broken window and clamber across the rafters to the other end of the nave, where there are ladders down to street level.


Dark Souls: Checkout Passing the Midterms in Anor Londo - The Toxic Gamer (1)

Clambering up to the church’s topmost level feels like breaking some golden game rule: what, you mean I have to walk on a path that isn’t clearly marked and flat? Surely not! But that’s the only way through this section, and it’s nothing compared to the section that’s to come. Once I’ve raised the bridge, I can approach the main cathedral – but the heavily guarded gate is locked tight and I’m forced out onto yet more flying buttresses, where I’m beset by demons and fired on by silver knight archers with great bows that are taller than me – if one of these harpoon-like arrows hits me then I’m tumbling straight to my death.


This is one of the most legendarily infamous sections of pure bullshit in the wholeDark Soulsseries. Eventually, after sprinting and rolling through a gauntlet of insta-kill arrows, I reach a ledge hugging the wall of the cathedral. This is the worst bit. Here, I face one silver knight head on, while the other fires at me from behind. Once I’m close, he draws a sword and shield and does his level best to keep me from getting around the corner he’s guarding. This all takes place on a ledge that’s less than a metre wide.

There’s no room for error, but even when I do everything right I get butchered. Sometimes I’m impaled by an arrow from the other silver knight archer, or I mistime a roll, or I get staggered by a heavy blow from the first archer and subsequently killed by the second. Back to the bonfire to run the entire length of the zone again – rinse and repeat until, by some miracle, the big bad knight puts a foot wrong while trying to brain me and plummets to his death.

Dark Souls: Checkout Passing the Midterms in Anor Londo - The Toxic Gamer (2)

When that happens, it feels like something’s broken, that I’ve somehow snuck through a gap in the game’s rules. I don’t mind – I make my way around the corner, drop down to a nearby balcony, and open a fog door leading inside. There’s a bonfire waiting for me just a few doors down the long marble hallway ahead, along with my old pal Solaire.

Anor Londo is a beautiful, impressive place, but it also feels unfinished. There’s an awful lot of unused space, and many of the rooms inside the cathedral feel haphazardly dressed. There’s plenty of valuable loot to find and even some interesting scraps of lore, but there’s an odd, empty feeling to the whole place. Parts of Anor Londo look and feel like the greybox versions of the level were given textures and sent on their way. Up close, I can see where the veneer peels away, revealing the cheap plywood set pieces holding everything up.

The wide-angle view, however, is awesome. The view of the sun setting over the city from the beginning of the area, where the demons dropped me off, is one of those videogame vistas I know I won’t forget – it’s breathtaking. That’s also a good word for describing the boss fight I’m about to head into, as it happens. Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough are about to make me stop breathing several dozen times, in fact.

Dark Souls: Checkout Passing the Midterms in Anor Londo - The Toxic Gamer (3)

This is it, the fight everything has been leading up to. There are plenty of boss fights to come, sure, but Ornstein and Smough are Dark Souls’ real showpiece battle.

Once I’ve made my way through the cathedral and unlocked all the doors in the residence, it’s a quick shot from the bonfire to the grand entrance hallway that leads to Ornstein and Smough. They’re set up in the cathedral’s chancel, and they charge at me as I pass through the fog door: the lithe Ornstein darts towards me with his lance as Smough lumbers up from behind, ready to deliver a punishing blow with his mighty brass hammer.

This is Dark Souls’ midterm exam. Everything I’ve learned about stamina management, dodging, and split-second camera control come into sharp focus during this fight. It feels like I’m wearing a groove into the path from the bonfire to the arena: every night, I wake up to see Solaire keeping warm by the fire, practice my shield parries on two unavoidable silver knights along the way, and then get pummelled to death by the Abbott and Costello of pain.

Dark Souls: Checkout Passing the Midterms in Anor Londo - The Toxic Gamer (4)

The fight feels insurmountable in my first handful of attempts. I can’t read what’s happening, and I don’t know what kinds of moves these two intimidating armoured giants are going to throw at me. Do I focus on one, both, or none? How do I heal when one of them is always about to attack me? A few times, it feels as though I’m demolished before I even have a chance to act. But with each attempt, that changes.


Patterns reveal themselves. I can dash behind a broken pillar to quaff an estus potion, and rolltowardsmy enemies during some of their seemingly unavoidable attacks to get in some punishment of my own. I learn how far I can push it before I need to back off to avoid being trapped and skewered (or flattened, if Smough’s on the scene). I learn to be intentional about my use of the lock-on camera, and careful when turning my back on the duo.

Every night I give myself an hour to run the boss fight. My first attempt is usually a warm-up, in which I get a few hits in on Ornstein before making a poor positioning choice and getting walloped by a combo I can’t recover from. Each night, though, I get one ‘good’ run: everything will go my way, and I’ll see the pieces sliding into place before me. It’ll start well before I even reach Ornstein and Smough, with a perfect parry against the first silver knight, and end with me dispatching Ornstein and watching Smough absorb his fallen partner’s lightning powers and leaping at me. Every small triumph sees me get closer and closer to victory.

Dark Souls: Checkout Passing the Midterms in Anor Londo - The Toxic Gamer (5)

My winning run arrives early on a Saturday morning. I get out of bed early to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee and the view of our snow-covered yard, and I suddenly realise I want nothing more than to try the boss run just a couple more times while my wife and the dogs are still asleep. Dark Souls had successfully wormed its way into my brain.


The fight had stopped feeling unbeatable long ago – collapsing from a chaotic and terrifying dual assault down to a handful of understandable moves from each enemy. I know how to counter everything they throw at me, I just need tonot screw up. And, eventually, I string it all together without any critical errors.

The battle with Ornstein and Smough cements an important principle of Dark Souls: knowledge is power. Understanding what’s coming, what both enemies have in their arsenal, and knowing where I can dart in to chip away at their huge health bars – all of that comes gradually, and it’s far more effective than any stat boost or weapon upgrade. Almost everything in Dark Souls is like this. The difficulty comes from not knowing, and filling in those gaps is the process that makes the seemingly impossible become, bit by bit, achievable.

Dark Souls: Checkout Passing the Midterms in Anor Londo - The Toxic Gamer (6)

Hands still vibrating from adrenaline, I head out of the demolished chancel and find a door to an upper level of the cathedral. There, I accept the Lordvessel from Princess Gwynevere, a giant woman in surprisingly comfortable repose. She tells me I’m to succeed her father, Lord Gwyn, and end the “eternal twilight” that’s been cast over the world of Lordran. The strange primordial serpent, Kingseeker Frampt, has more information for me back at Firelink Shrine.

This is a real inflection point in Dark Souls. So far, I’ve had to walk between bonfires, and that’s been an incredible exercise in constructing a mental map of the world. Now that I have the Lordvessel, I can teleport between areas where I’ve lit bonfires. It’s going to change the game in a profound way – something I’ll discover first-hand very soon.

To be continued…


Can I get back to Sen's Fortress from Anor Londo? ›

You can go back from Anor Londo, to Sen's Fortress to reach Andre by going to the glowing Yellow ring where you entered and heading down the Shortcut.

What to do after killing gargoyle Anor Londo? ›

When they're both dead, head to the chest and open it to find Demon Titanite. From here you should turn around and head straight out into the main courtyard. You have a choice of direction here - straight on, left, or right. Choose left first and head down the stairs to find Anor Londo's first bonfire.

What do I do when I get to Anor Londo? ›

Light the Anor Londo bonfire

Collect the Ember from the corpse, then pull the lever to rotate the nearby tower. Climb the spiral staircase, push the lever attached to the large wheel in the centre, and when the tower comes to a stop, head towards the large steps ahead to find the Anor Londo bonfire.

Where can I find Ornstein and Smough? ›

The Bosses Ornstein and Smough are main Bosses found in Dark Souls. The two can be found in Anor Londo.

Who is the hidden boss in Anor Londo? ›

The Dark Sun Gwyndolin is one of the Bosses found in Dark Souls. This optoinal Boss can be found in Anodr Londo. To gain entrance you either need the dark moon seance ring from the catacombs or you can kill Gwyneverre. If you kill Gwynevere you can just warp straight to the dark moon tomb to challenge Gwyndolin.

What level should you be for Sen's fortress? ›

50 is the sweet spot for Sen's.

What ring do I need to fight Gwyndolin? ›

To get to the hidden boss, Dark Sun Gwyndolin, first ensure that you do not want to join the Blades of the Darkmoon Covenant. From there you will want to ensure that you have the Darkmoon Seance Ring from The Catacombs and have it equipped.

Do I have to defeat Valiant Gargoyle? ›

Valiant Gargoyle is a Boss in Elden Ring. These large stone gargoyles wield various weapons and move with considerable dexterity for their size. This is an optional boss, as players don't need to defeat it in order to advance in Elden Ring.

What is Aldrich's weakness? ›

Aldrich is weak to Lightning attacks which means players can make quick work of the boss with this sword. Players can acquire the Lothric Knight Greatsword as a drop from Lothric Knights.

Can you revive the firekeeper in Anor Londo? ›

If you've been following this guide you should now have also slain Lautrec in Anor Londo, and gained Anastacia's Firekeeper Soul in the process. You can now revive her simply by interacting with her corpse and using the soul. Doing so will reactivate Firelink's bonfire and give Anastacia the ability to speak.

What is the best way to get humanity in Anor Londo? ›

To get humanity go down the spiral staircase into a room full of white-robed guys. Kill them over and over for soft humanity (can get 10 this way). Another way is to drop a white sign soapstone down to help others with the boss.

Are Ornstein and Smough that hard? ›

Independently known as Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough, they are mentioned in the lore of every game in the series, but are predominantly known for their appearance as an asymmetrical boss fight considered one of the game's most difficult.

Which bonfire is better for Ornstein and Smough? ›

The best bonfire to go for is after the stairs shortcut, where you have to do a bit of a fiddly jump over the stairs, and there will be a room on the left with Solaire in it.

Is Ornstein a female? ›

Ornstein, however, is male. Artorias is male, while Hawkeye is unknown. Those are the four knights of Gwyn.

Who is the secret final boss in Dark Souls? ›

Gwyn Lord of Cinder is a Boss in Dark Souls and Dark Souls Remastered. He is the final boss of the game, and the game will end automatically after you defeat him.

Who can you summon for Aldrich? ›

Anri of Astora can summon the player to their world for assistance with this boss fight if their questline has been fulfilled.

What boss is the nameless king? ›

The Nameless King is a secret boss found very late into the journey of Dark Souls 3. He resides in the legendary Archdragon Peak, and it seems he has befriended the hot-headed lizards there. The Nameless King is a formidable foe; he even fights with one of the legendary armaments of the Dark Souls timeline.

Can you skip Sen's Fortress? ›

The Sen's Gate Skip is a sequence break in Dark Souls that allows the player to skip the main gate of Sen's Fortress (and in this way also ringing the two Bells of Awakening to open it) by getting darksouls:Deathcam in Undead Parish.

Where do you grind before Sen's Fortress? ›

My suggestion is to go to the depths. Start from the bonfire, throw down your summing sign outside, and kill the slimes, rats, and basilisks.

What level should I be for SIF ds1? ›

I believe most people fight Sif around SL40 to 60. So at SL50 you'll probably be able to fit most summoners. That said, I don't think there are many players who dare to step into the Garden while human because of the forest covenant.

What do you get for beating the Great Jar Knights? ›

Each adversary will drop a Furlcalling Finger Remedy and a variable amount of Runes. Upon defeating all three of these adversaries without dying, talking to the Great-Jar again will have him shake a bit, as if he is laughing, and reward you with the Great-Jar's Arsenal Talisman.

What do you get for beating beast clergyman? ›

If defeated, drops: Ancient Dragon Smithing Stone. Dialogue will not advance after the fourth deathroot unless you walk away or rest to trigger an event.

Can you get sunlight blade without killing Gwyndolin? ›

it is impossible since there is a wall between the magic extensible corridor, and the actual tomb with chests. if you try to run you ll reach the wall i talk about. this wall vanish litterally when gwyndolin dies.

What is the reward for killing Gwyndolin? ›

Rewards For Beating Dark Sun Gwyndolin

After killing Dark Sun Gwyndolin, he'll drop 40,000 souls and the Soul of Gwyndolin. This can be consumed for an extra 16,000 souls, sold to Frampt for 20,000 souls, or turned into the Darkmoon Bow or Tin Darkmoon Catalyst at the Giant Blacksmith in Anor Londo.

What does the Dark Moon Ring do to Ranni? ›

Dark Moon Ring is required to finish Ranni's quest. Key Items in Elden Ring include a wide variety of items found in specific locations or are given by a related NPCs which are used to unlock areas, quests, and to further progress the game's story. Ring depicting a leaden full moon.

What are gargoyles weaknesses? ›

Thankfully, the Gargoyles are fairly weak to Magic damage, at least relative to other elements. The Intelligence-based builds that typically make use of Frostbite can easily pivot to weapons like the Dark Moon Greatsword or Bastard's Stars.

What is the best weapon for Valiant Gargoyle? ›

Optimal weapon arts for such a build would be Miquella's Ring of Light from the Halo Scythe or Nebula from the Wing of Astel. These ranged abilities are highly effective against the Valiant Gargoyle and can make the boss fight much more manageable.

Can you summon help for Valiant Gargoyle? ›

Valiant Gargoyle Overview

It is located directly behind the Hallowhorn Grounds landmark in the Ancestral Woods. You must jump down from a cliffside to enter the Siofra Aqueduct. At the end of this small area will be the boss room. D's twin brother is a possible NPC summon for this boss fight.

Did Aldrich eat Gwyn? ›

Aldrich is confirmed to have eaten Gwyndolin, which is why he doesn't look quite as nasty as he could have in his true form.

What is the Dragonslayer armor weakness? ›

The Dragonslayer Armour's only 2 weaknesses (besides that of being an abyssal creature) are frost and strike damage, making Vordt's Great Hammer, which does both, an optimal choice for annihilating this armor.

Should I give the firekeeper her eyes? ›

For players looking for the true ending of Dark Souls 3, returning the Eyes back to the Fire Keeper is a must. After giving her the Eyes, continue the game as usual and defeat the final boss, Soul of Cinder. You will have the option to summon the Fire Keeper and choose the ending you want.

Should I give the firekeeper her soul? ›

Give to Fire Keeper to sooth the dark sigil. With this, you can pay a number of souls to completely remove a Dark Sigil, and stop the progression of Hollowing.

Why can't the firekeeper speak? ›

Anastacia is the Fire Keeper of Firelink Shrine and is bound to the bonfire to keep it lit. Initially, she is unable to speak due to her lack of a tongue.

How far through the game is Anor Londo? ›

Of course, like so many things in the original Dark Souls, getting to Anor Londo will not be easy. Depending on your chosen path through the game, you're looking at somewhere in the area of 20 to 30 hours of gameplay before reaching the City of the Gods.

What does soft humanity do? ›

You lose “soft” Humanity when you die, just like the Souls you're carrying. You regain it if you reach and interact with your bloodstain — again, just like Souls. As long as you have “soft” Humanity, you can use it to Reverse Hollowing and become Human, which we'll cover in the next section below.

What is the fastest way to farm humanity Dark Souls? ›

One easy method to farm humanity is to warp to the bonfire in The Depths. The surrounding areas contain undead rats. If you have the Covetous Gold Serpent Ring equipped, the chance of a rat dropping Humanity is relatively high. Having a high humanity count (up to 10) also increases your item discovery rate.

Who is the hardest boss in souls like games? ›

Souls-Likes: Ranking The 13 Hardest Boss Fights
  1. 1 Dragon Slayer Ornstein & Executioner Smough - Dark Souls.
  2. 2 Malenia, Blade Of Miquella - Elden Ring. ...
  3. 3 Guardian Ape And Brown Ape - Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. ...
  4. 4 Maliketh, the Black Blade - Elden Ring. ...
  5. 5 Orphan Of Kos - Bloodborne. ...
  6. 6 Yatsu-No-Kami - Nioh 2. ...
May 27, 2022

What is the hardest achievement in DS1? ›

Because it requires players to beat an incredibly difficult game multiple times, beat all its bosses multiple times, and farm for hours, the Knight's Honor achievement is easily the most difficult in all of the original Dark Souls game.

What is Ornstein's weakness? ›

Ornstein is weak against fire, using a +5 fire weapon in this fight will be significantly easier. However, if you do not have easy access to the Fire Ember or the Chaos Ember, Quelaag's Furysword is also a good alternative. Pyromancies are therefore also quite effective.

Were Smough and Ornstein friends? ›

It's often assumed that Ornstein and Smough must have been friends, or at least welcoming to one another. Evidence seems to suggest that they were simply co-workers tasked by Lord Gwyn to work with one another.

Is Ornstein weak to bleed? ›

Bleed is exceptionally effective against Smough (not so much against Ornstein) and a fast weapon such as Priscilla's Dagger or Gold Tracer (DLC) can keep him staggered as long as you have stamina.

What is Smough and Ornstein's weakness? ›

Smough is particularly weak to fire, and Ornstein isn't much of a fan of it either. Lightning based magic will not work well here, and the various Soul Arrows can do some damage, but you will need quite a few shots to drop these bosses.

Who is stronger Ornstein or Artorias? ›

Artorias the legendary Abysswalker is victorious.

Is Bahamut a female? ›

In the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) role-playing game, Bahamut (/bəˈhɑːmət/ bə-HAH-mət) is a powerful draconic deity, who has the same name as Bahamut from Arabic mythology.
Bahamut (Dungeons & Dragons)
TitleThe Platinum Dragon, King of the Good Dragons, Lord of the North Wind, Wyrmking
AlignmentLawful Good
11 more rows

How do I get to Sen's Fortress? ›

Once you've braved Blighttown, defeated the Chaos Witch Quelaag, and rung the second Bell of Awakening, the door to Sen's Fortress will unlock. This area ultimately serves as a way to get to the next area of Lordran, but you have to navigate a gauntlet of puzzles, traps, and tough enemies first.

How do you get to Sen's Fortress? ›

These large gates are created just across a bridge next to the Bonfire in the Undead Parish. Now that you've rung both Bells of Awakening the gates will have opened, giving you entry into Sen's Fortress. Cross the bridge whenever you're ready and go up the stairs.

How do you get into Sen's fortress early? ›

The Sen's Gate Skip is a sequence break in Dark Souls that allows the player to skip the main gate of Sen's Fortress (and in this way also ringing the two Bells of Awakening to open it) by getting darksouls:Deathcam in Undead Parish.

Can you go back to the asylum Dark Souls? ›

How to Return to Undead Asylum. Unlock the elevator shortcut from Undead Parish to Firelink Shrine. Activate the elevator, then face the Firelink Shrine.

Where do you grind before Sen's fortress? ›

My suggestion is to go to the depths. Start from the bonfire, throw down your summing sign outside, and kill the slimes, rats, and basilisks.

What is the point of Sen's fortress? ›

Sen's Fortress is an area in Dark Souls and Dark Souls Remastered. This dark castle is guarded by monstrous reptilian guards, boulder-throwing giants and numerous traps such as massive swinging axes, boulders and pitfalls. It serves as the gateway to Anor Londo.

How do you free Logan in Sen's fortress? ›

He will ask for the player to free him. Progress through the Dukes archives as normal and be sure to explore all of the area's once you open the shortcut to the crystal caves. The key to again rescue logan will be in a room behind the bookcase shortcut you open right before the crystal cave.

Are there illusory walls in Dark Souls 1? ›

There is 1 Illusory Wall you can find in Lost Izalith. When you reach the second large structure in the lava-filled area, you can find an Illusory Wall here that leads to a hidden Bonfire.

What is a titanite demon weak to? ›

Titanite Demons are weak to weapons imbued with lightning, either elemental or Gold Pine Resin.

Is there a fire in Sen's fortress? ›

The only bonfire in the area is located near the top of the fortress, in the area where the Giant throws firebombs down toward the player. To reach it, the player must immediately turn left upon crossing the mist barrier and spotting the first giant.

How do I get to the second bell of awakening? ›

Go down the path, ignoring the docile egg-men along the way. From here, you will encounter a boss gate to the next boss, Quelaag. Once you've killed Quelaag, head inside the building and turn the level to ring the second bell of awakening, which will open up the gate to a fortress that was next to Blacksmith Andre.

Where is the boss in Sen's Fortress? ›

This boss is located at the top of Sen's Fortress. The Iron Golem is a large, heavily armed enemy. However he is quite slow and there is a quick method to beating him. Melee characters should run up and attack his legs as quickly as they can.

Where do you go after Blighttown? ›

Take the elevator up and follow the path up to Firelink. Talk to Laurentius if you rescued him, and when he asks you about the pyromancy, say no. Then head to Andre and rest at that bonfire. If you didn't already, beat the boss of Darkroot Garden for the divine ember.

What happens if you say no to Frampt? ›

If this happens, the player loses access to his feeding service and must either place the Lordvessel with Kaathe or do it alone by dropping down the hole Frampt was in.

What do you get for beating Stray Demon? ›

Stray Demon is an optional boss you can fight when your return to the starting area of the game - the Undead Asylum - in Dark Souls. Defeating the Stray Demon allows you to get the Peculiar Doll, and item that allows you to access another optional, locked away area in Anor Londo.

What happens if you abandon a covenant Dark Souls remastered? ›

It is possible to leave or abandon a covenant by joining another covenant. However, abandoning a covenant in this manner will count as a sin, which will make the player the target of Dark Moon invasions unless they absolve their sins via Oswald of Carim, for a fee equal to their level times 500.

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