Dark Souls’ Awful Basilisks Taught Me How To Play The Game
Persisting in the face of adversity (they sprayed their juices on me)
Ignore the obvious innuendo here and avoid standing in basilisks’ cursed fumes whenever possible. If your curse-resistant armor set and strategic jabs at their weak bellies aren’t enough, take the opportunity for a deep inhale, exhale and try not to lose your mind when you see your health bar get slashed in half. You can remove the cap with a purging stone, which you can buy from scattered merchant NPCs at exorbitant prices or, in the interest of saving your in-game currency, find some cracked red eye orbs and trade with the invisible bird players have dubbed Snuggly the Crow.
You can find Snuggly in the Northern Undead Asylum, and you can trade for purging stones by dropping one orb into its nest, quitting the game, then reloading to pick up the two purging stones the crow dropped in exchange. It’s a little elaborate, but it works when you have nowhere else to go.
But, more broadly, if you reach a section of any video game that makes you feel like you’re not good enough to make it through, once again do that inhale, exhale, then remember that all skills are acquired. Even if you need time, you can master the skill necessary for whatever bind you’re in.
This isn’t me just saying “get good,” by the way. That phrase often feels like a dismissive way to build the mythology around difficult games and push people away from them.
Because of “get good,” when the basilisks first squatted their frog butts all over my health bar, I felt frustrated by what I saw as my own inadequacy. Dark Souls intentionally punishes you for getting cursed, too, by making purging stones hard-won. There was a voice in my head saying that finding a purging stone wasn’t worth it because I’ll just get cursed again. “It’s probably best to just quit the game,” I thought.
But I stuffed that voice in a hat box in my closet! I welcome the possibilities that come with learning. When I gritted my teeth and got both thumbs back on my controller, I realized that getting cursed taught me Dark Souls’ winding, connected map as I searched for stones. It pushed me to be strategic in choosing pathways as I avoided running into basilisks, and it encouraged me to have no mercy when I inevitably encountered them. I used these skills for the rest of my Dark Souls playthrough and, particularly with strategy and aggression, continue to use them in all FromSoftware games to great effect.
They helped me savor my gaming problems. When I made the choice to keep playing, I stopped seeing Dark Souls’ aggravating basilisks as deterrents and began viewing them as playful motivation. They were crafty, but uncovering how to deal with them made me feel more committed and passionate about video games overall.
Wow, that is a beautiful example of using strife as a vehicle for self-improvement, as well as perhaps a metaphor for humanity cooperating with nature in pursuit of a common goal: beating Dark Souls.
Thanks! I completely agree. I suppose I did learn to comply with the gassy basilisks instead of viewing them solely as an obstruction. They’re a hallmark of FromSoftware’s intentionally challenging gameplay. But if you keep a level head, Dark Souls basilisks or any other video game obstacle will steer you to victory.