It’s a common occurrence for the bosses in Demon’s Souls and Souls games, to receive ranked lists. And for good reason.
The in-depth discussions that sprout after each one of their releases always manage to feel like a community coming together.This title, in particular, is responsible for spawning a whole genre of games. A genre now popularized by a punishing, sometimes obtuse design that sees players descend into the deepest pits of madness. These games forgo waypoints and tips, in favor of players learning through their mistakes and cashing in on their new-found knowledge.
One of the most defining components of these games is their boss fights. Each, wholly unique in both mechanical and visual design. They often act as a cruel reward for players after surviving a grueling gauntlet of a stage. Of course, Demon’s Souls is no exception. The game set the foundation for the future but nevertheless, these bosses deserve a look as well.
With the recently released Demon’s Souls on PS5, we have the perfect chance to do so. So, without further ado, let’s go through my list of the Demon’s Souls bosses ranked by their difficulty!
Ranking The Bosses in Demon’s Souls
17. True King Allant
You’ve made it. You’ve reached the end of Demon’s Souls. In your journey, you’ve slew countless demon’s and gone through numerous hardships. So, what’s your reward for reaching the end of such a hard fought trek?
The goddamn weakest boss in the game.
Read any boss ranking and I’m sure, that you will find the True King at the bottom. He’s the consensus weakest boss in the game because he simply flops around like a dying fish. In this, pile like state, Allant’s attacks do little to no damage, he moves incredibly slow and has the health pool of an early game enemy.
While the lore surrounding the King’s downfall is interesting, it’s telling when said lore is more intriguing than the fight itself. If you’ve managed to reach this far, the True King should pose absolutely no threat.
Yeah, this one isn’t much better.
Aside from a leech ball attack that drains hp, Leechmonger won’t keep you up at night. Now, this boss does have the ability to heal itself over time which, could prove annoying if you’re not quick enough to put him down. However, he does have one glaringly weakness: fire. So, if you managed to bring some pine resin, this boss fight should be a cakewalk.
Design-wise, you’re not getting too much here. Leechmonger sounds exactly as his name details: a mere mass of leeches. Coincidentally, his name is as boring as his actual fight.
He’s no Cleric Beast or Gundyr but, Phalanx is a decent enough first boss.
Phalanx is a large blob-like mass, made up of even smaller spear-wielding blobs. Similar to Leechmonger, Phalanx is weak to fire. Stock up on pine resin and fire bombs and watch his health drop it like it’s hot. (Sorry.)
However, you don’t want to approach Phalanx too relaxed. The blobs that make up his body can splinter off and move freely. Although they move incredibly slow, they can still prove a threat if taken lightly. You don’t want to find yourself backed into a corner, then speared to death by the sheer overwhelming number of the blobs. Stay on the move and use those fire attacks!
14. Old Monk
This fight is one of the more unique fights in the game. Essentially, the Old Monk boss is a PvP fight to the death. Meaning, unlike the other bosses, this one is a fight between you and another player. Naturally, the difficulty of this fight depends on how good of a player your match ends up being.
Just as you’d expect, the player can heal, buff their weapons, etc. just like you can. Turning what might’ve been a typical boss fight, into a true battle of endurance. Again, this is fully dependent on who you fight. Making this boss, one that will wildly vary from list to list.
13. Storm King
At its core, the Storm King is more spectacle than anything resembling a hard fight. Personally, the arena coupled with the pelting rain and bombastic soundtrack makes this one of my favorite fights. The real kicker here is the Storm Ruler. A massive claymore that calls upon the weather to unleash a powerfully concentrated blast of wind.
You could resort to a bow, but the Storm Ruler is crucial in bringing down the massive Storm Beast soaring through the air in a timely manner. And, I mean, it’s way cooler, so why wouldn’t you?
While you’re running aimlessly about, the King’s assisted by an army of smaller Storm Beasts. Alongside the King, they too will fire a barrage of arrows at you. But, frankly, there’s not much else to the Storm King in way of attacks, aside from that. Raise Storm Ruler towards the heavens and bring down those wind slashes on the King a few times and that’s pretty much it. Although, Storm King ranks low in difficulty, the sheer spectacle more then makes up for it.
12. Dirty Colossus
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have one of the more forgettable fights in the game. Which, adds insult to injury since this comes off the heels of the worst area in the game. It’s poetic that the area is capped off with one of the game’s worst bosses then.
Similar to Leechmonger and Adjudicator, he telegraphs his attacks years before they actually hit. His attacks consist of punches and AOE’s that coat you with flies that drain your health. As long as you run over to the torches in the area to cleanse yourself of them, you’ll be fine. Especially since he moves incredibly slow, so you won’t have to worry about him chasing you. Mainly focus on sticking to the colossus’ back and just wail on him until he goes down.
This might be one of my contentious picks, so let me explain.
My reasoning has nothing to do with the boss itself but rather, something I managed to do unknowingly. Without knowing what the future implication would entail, I freed Biorr of the Twin Fangs from prison. Funny enough, he actually show’s up during the Penetrator fight, a boss I was seriously looking forward to.
There were a few isolated moments where the Penetrator and I were separated from Biorr. And in these moments, the fight resembled an organic ballet of swords clashing. You can tell the Penetrator laid the framework for what Knight boss fights would later become. But, good ole Biorr came in and took all the attention away from me as the Penetrator shifted his focus, exclusively to him.
Biorr’s inclusion wouldn’t have been so bad if he didn’t do so much damage. Honestly, I maybe got to hit the Penetrator, three or four times before Biorr finished him off. And the lore between these two friends is interesting, there’s definitely a narrative bonus for having Biorr here. Yet, I can’t help but feel his inclusion robbed me of the chance of a truly epic fight.
10. Maiden Astraea
The pure unease you get from Astraea is unmatched. There’s a palpable sense that this boss has a tone uniquely more somber and cautionary, to what you’ve fought up to this point. This unease is supported by a number of layers, which results in one of my favorite bosses ever. The valley’s dwellers, non-hostile for a change, worshipping the maiden for one. A tale of a man’s final stand to protect the one closest to him is etched into a haunting, yet beautiful soundtrack. Lastly, the desperate plea’s from the boss and her knight, to turn back and leave this place.
All of this coalesce together to form a boss fight, I’ll never forget. Unfortunately, this doesn’t translate to difficulty. The real fight is between the player and Astraea’s guardian, Garl Vinland. His attacks can do serious damage and he even has the ability to parry which will cause a ton of damage. There’s also the added bonus that the narrow walkway you meet him on, isn’t the most ideal place for a fight.
If you take him into a wider area to fight, you’ll have more room to play around in. And that makes all the difference. Or you can stick to the narrow walkway and cheese the fight since he won’t have much wiggle room to move.
Keep your distance, jump in after he takes his swings and just like other enemies, Vinland is vulnerable to backstabs. Take your time and utilize those and he shouldn’t be too bad.
9. Fool’s Idol
The key to this fight is getting rid of the healer at the top level of the church. Without that, get ready for a fight that will repeat, again and again. The healer will actually revive this boss each and every time you defeat it, which the game doesn’t tell you about, you have to figure this out yourself.
The gimmick to the Fool’s Idol is that she can duplicate herself after she’s taken a fair bit of damage. Her clones will fire soul arrows at you and lay down some traps on the floor. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I ran into my fair share of those traps. Running into one incapacitates you for a few seconds and also leaves you vulnerable to a soul arrow attack. Whether it’s poor positioning from trying to hide or just forgetting where the traps are, you’ll definitely run into your fair share of them too.
You can discern which is the real boss, by studying whoever is firing off a bigger soul arrow. Once, that’s done, stick to that formula until she goes down.
8. Tower Knight
Similar to Storm King, Tower Knight is more about the spectacle than the fight itself for me. Tower Knight is an absolute marvel to look at. It’s one thing to see him in trailers, it’s an another to see him up close and personal in the game. Each intricate detail carved into his armor and shield is beautifully realized in the remake. And again, the scale alone makes him incredibly memorable.
First and foremost, you want to get rid of all the archers on the parapets. While you’re doing this, Tower Knight will fire off soul arrows to try to stop you but, they’re pretty easy to dodge. Once, you rid yourself of those nuisances, you can focus on the knight. He has some sweeping moves and an attack where he slams his shield down on the ground, generating a wide range of damage. Which, again, is just the coolest thing to see him slowly raise his arm up, then slam that massive shield down.
He has a lot of range with his weapon, so I generally tried to stay somewhat close and behind him, only running away when he rose his shield. There’s a pretty cheap exploit that sees you hacking away at his ankles until he falls over and exposes his head. And you better believe I used it. The head acts as a weak point and he dies pretty quickly after a few hits there, just like Adjudicator.
7. Old Hero
The thief ring makes all the difference with this big boy.
The Old Hero’s gimmick pertains to him not being able to see you. In turn, he’s incredibly sensitive to all manner of sounds. Essentially, running will be met with a swift reminder to your health, to not try that again. With the ring equipped you can walk around a little more assured that your movement will go unheard. Not completely unheard, so don’t go sprinting round everywhere.
Stay behind him, tease him with some arrows from long range, smack him a couple of times then get out of his vicinity. The Old Hero packs a punch and even has a few lunging attacks that will quickly close the distance between you two. The trusty hit and run tactic will be key here.
6. Armor Spider
Although there’s an easily remembered pattern, there’s still a lot of fun to be had here.
There’s a nice variety to the move set, that ensures you’re kept on your toes. But once you learn the rhythm of it, it doesn’t deviate. Sit back too idly and the spider will shoot webs at you that impede movement. As you progress forward, it will hurl fire at you that makes the trek a cautionary one, rather than a sprint. Get up close and personal and you’ll receive a couple of pincer slashes to fend you off. It’s all capped off by a move that engulfs the entire floor with oil, then lights it on fire, when you’ve hurt the spider enough.
The fight is pretty much a rinse and repeat of all this. But, one misstep can unravel a rather straightforward pattern and cause a domino effect of disaster, if you’re not careful.
5. Dragon God
Simply put, Dragon God is one of the worst bosses in Demon’s Souls. Kudos, I guess for trying something different but, it doesn’t work.
You’re tasked with fighting a massive dragon but the battle is ground to a screeching halt with a boring stealth gimmick. Stealth, might I add, that’s inconsistent at best. You have to hide behind stone columns before the Dragon sees you. Stone columns that are pretty tough to make out which you can hide in. The color of the eyes will indicate your visibility to the beast as well. But, there were plenty of instances when I thought I was hidden and the Dragon hit and killed me anyway. This is made worse by the piles of rubble impeding your path throughout the arena. You have to destroy them before moving to the next area, which takes you out of cover, meaning you’re gonna get hit.
And Dragon God hits HARD.
The Adjudicator is a massive, pot-bellied demon who wields a cleaver and a wind-up time that even a turtle can dodge. By hitting the wound on its stomach, this will drop the demon to its knees revealing the golden weak spot on its head. Then, with the weak spot out in the open, you can attack to your heart’s content until it stands back up. Rinse and repeat until the damn thing goes down for good. He’s one of the game’s easiest bosses if you choose to use this method. Of course, I chose not to.
There’s a trophy exclusive to the remake that awards players for defeating Adjudicator by using ranged attacks. So, I got up to the highest floor of the boss arena and started firing off spells and arrows at the weak spot on its head. However, just because you’re up there, doesn’t mean you’re safe from the demon’s attacks. The Adjudicator shoots out a tongue attack that reaches up to where you’re hiding, but the best part? The tongue clips through the floor!
I did end up getting the trophy, but not before burning through TONS of spices and grasses. And not before banging my head against a wall wondering how in the world was the tongue hitting me. The tongue itself was WILDLY inconsistent and caused TONS of damage. You could hide in the furthest corner of the top floor and you would still get hit. The other spots closer to the edge? You’re safe, for whatever reason.
This was one of the more frustrating fights, but I’m damn proud of that trophy.
3. False King Allant
False King Allant is the culmination of everything you’ve learned up to this point.
You’re treated to a foreboding introduction via a cutscene, followed by a bombastic soundtrack meant to usher in the ending to a long journey and a backdrop consisting of a throne room in shambles. The atmosphere is immaculate. From the moment the king begins to simply walk towards you, you have a feeling that you might be biting off more than you can chew.
He wields a large variety of sword combos, coupled with wind attacks that slash vertically or horizontally. Not to mention, his AOE attack, wind attack’s and there’s even a move that STEALS an entire soul level from you. His move set is complex, to say the least. Similar to Flamelurker, I found his aggression to be, almost as pressure ensuing. With lunge attacks, that see him clear the entire length of the room at the snap of a finger, to ranged attacks and AOE’s, the chance’s to rest, are slim to none.
Although I defeated him on my first try, he strained every last bit of me. Allant required the application of hours upon hours of experience to put him down and tested my reflexes and patience like few had.
When I think of the bosses in Demon’s Souls, Flamelurker immediately jumps to the forefront. He is, bar none, my favorite boss in the game, coupled with my favorite theme in the game.
There’s no set pattern of moves like the Armor Spider, for instance. Instead, we have, by far the most chaotic and erratic boss in the game. You FEEL every punch, every lunge, and every slam. Flamelurker exudes such wild and aggressive behavior, that nearly makes him unpredictable in the fight. To such a point that you’re never really sure when to jump in for an attack or when to back off.
Similar to the Maneaters, there’s no time to really breathe. His aggression ensures that the player needs to pick and choose their time to heal wisely, otherwise, Flamelurker will take advantage. If you’re a magic build, keep your distance and fire off those spells whenever the chance presents itself. If you’re a melee build like me, then this boss may take some time.
Aside from the False King, I had the most fun with Flamelurker and it truly felt like a triumph when I finally put him down.
Was there ever any doubt?
Where to even begin with these? We can talk about the god awful AI that sees these creatures floating aimlessly and not engaging you. Floating just high enough that your spells can’t reach them, but they can still hit you, to make matters worse. We can mention the absolute abhorrent boss arena, that’s just a long, suspended walkway, meaning the slightest misstep, will see you fall to your death. We can also talk about how after you’ve pretty much killed the Maneater and begin to sigh with relief, a goddamn second Maneater appears!
If you haven’t defeated the first Maneater by the time the second appears, then you’re in for a world of pain. Literally.
They hit absurdly hard, coupled with their relentless aggression, you have the perfect receipt for a fight requiring lots of rolling. Which, in this arena, leads to death. Their arsenal includes both ranged and close, up in your face attacks that will devastate even the best builds. The key here is to prioritize one and use the brazier in the center of the walkway to distance yourself from the remaining Maneater. If you managed to defeat the Maneaters, you have my utmost respect.
Demon’s Souls is one of the best experiences I’ve had in recent memory. Many factors contribute to this conclusion, one of the most integral, being the bosses. I adore some, more so than others. But overall, meeting the bosses waiting at the end of each level for the first time, always felt fresh and exciting. In some instances, like the Maneaters, they felt like some cruel, sick reward for beating a level.
Despite that pain and suffering, I wouldn’t have it any other way.