Twelve days after defeating the Bell Gargoyles, I finally defeated the next boss in Dark Souls–the Capra Demon.
Bosses in games aren’t usually worthy of a blog post all to themselves, but when you spend so much time crafting and practicing a strategy for defeating one, it’s a really big deal. Such is the case with the Capra Demon, the fourth boss I’ve encountered in my Dark Souls saga. It seemed like a fitting tale to start off Blaugust.
The first time I walked through the white light to face this guy, I was dead in about five seconds (literally–I have the video). So began a journey of I-don’t-even-know-how-many steps to kill this Capra Demon. I have 24 recorded video files, many with multiple attempts, and I know I didn’t record every attempt. So I would guess at least 40 attempts before victory was achieved. (I should actually keep count for the next boss.) Very few of those attempts lasted more than twenty seconds.
Whereas the fight against the Bell Gargoyles took place atop a church roof with plenty of wide open space to run around in, the battle with the nasty dual-machete-wielding Capra Demon constrains you to a tiny little room. The camera constantly hides behind trees and bumps against walls so visual disorientation is at a maximum.
As if the demon himself wasn’t bad enough, there happen to be two undead attack dogs in there with him. The dogs are easy to kill by themselves, but they are an incredible pain to deal with at the same time that a gigantic demon is slugging away at you with massive machetes. You basically have to dispatch the dogs immediately to have any chance of fighting the Capra Demon. (I would say don’t bother trying this boss until your weapon can one-shot the dogs.) Be prepared to deal with the first dog running for your throat the second you enter the room, while simultaneously dodging the demon’s first massive (unblockable) strike. If you move into the room too far, the second dog will join the first.
For the final battle I equipped my Knight with his trusty Halberd +4, which is my favorite weapon so far (at least among the weapons that I can use effectively). Not only does it do a ton of damage (more than the Battle Axe +4) but it has a long reach to keep the monsters at bay. (And it is super fun to use two-handed.) For this particular attempt I was going to try something new: Sprint to the left toward the stairs in an attempt to get around the demon’s first attack. (Usually I just try to roll to the side.)
I entered, sprinted, and ran headlong into the first dog which stopped my run, and received a bite in the face. (The first dog comes running down the stairs, so I should have known that would happen.) But by pure luck I managed to roll just in time to avoid the demon’s first attack (even though I didn’t actually roll anywhere since I was already at the wall and the dog was in the way). Most other times I got nailed right away and have to start right from the beginning with a severe health deficit. So that was a great start to the fight.
Since the first dog was right in front of me and I had him targeted, I speared him and took him out. That improved my chances dramatically. Sometimes the dog will jump aside and you have to chase after him, and that usually spells doom for the fight. Unfortunately just as I speared the first dog, I saw the second dog lunging for me, and my friend the Capra Demon had started in on his series of four slashing attacks.
I took a nip from the second dog and one slash from Capra but luckily avoided the second. I circled around behind him, but I lost sight of the second dog. Even though things had started out well, I still didn’t think this attempt would go any differently and I would probably die soon. I figured the second dog would hit me in the back any moment and that would be the end of this boss fight. (I hadn’t planned on the second dog joining the first one so soon.) I tried a strong attack, which using the Halberd does a wide AoE-like backhand slash, hoping maybe I would catch the second dog in it even though I couldn’t see it. It was a desperation move, because Capra was already starting in on more slashes.
I missed everything with my backhand, and Capra nailed me with his first slash. Of course just then my target reticle switched to the second dog, which turned out to be stuck among the columns to the right of the door as you come in. Since I automatically turned to face the dog, it left my right flank exposed to Capra just in time for his second swing. It completely disoriented me. (I hate the target system in Dark Souls sometimes.) Dumb luck was with me again, however, and Capra delayed his attack long enough for me to switch my reticule back to him and get my shield up to block.
The frantic first twenty seconds of the fight were over and it was time to start taking control of the situation. With only a bit of health left, I backed up the stairs and drank a potion. It didn’t work. Capra wound up his big jump attack and hit me right after I finished drinking, putting me almost back where I started. I rolled off the stairs and that’s when I took advantage of something I’d noticed in my many previous attempts: Capra apparently can’t hit you with his big jump attack if you’re on the floor and he’s on the stairs. I drank another potion and topped off nearly to full health. I backed away toward the door, filled with confidence and ready to start taking the fight to him.
That’s when I remembered the second dog was still alive. He unstuck himself and jumped out of the corner, nipping me in the back. I stabbed him quickly. The dog hadn’t done much damage, but it distracted me enough to get me out of my rhythm. I failed to dodge one of Capra’s big two-handed attacks and lost half of my health. I thought this promising start would end in another frustrating death.
But I went on the defensive again and worked my way back up the stairs, waiting for my chance. Eventually I was able to roll off the stairs and drink a potion before Capra could get to me, and topped back up to full health. That’s when I knew I was going to win this fight. With no more dogs to worry about I could block and dodge every attack Capra threw at me, and I had practiced enough by then to recognize all of his patterns. I played it conservative and patient and waited for just the right moments to strike–after Capra’s left-hand machete swing there is enough time to stab without any risk.
And that was how I defeated the Capra Demon. With much practice and patience.
Once the Capra Demon is dead, you get a key to a door that takes you down into The Depths, a very repulsive sewer occupied by rats, slimes, and weird eyeball monsters (aka. basilisks). Presumably the second bell I need to ring awaits somewhere down there.