From Demon’s Souls To Elden Ring: The 9 Scariest FromSoftware Bosses

From Demon’s Souls To Elden Ring: The 9 Scariest FromSoftware Bosses

FromSoftware has a penchant for creating horrifying enemies in its games. Usually either bloodied, deformed, or both, the developer’s grotesque monsters from Demon’s Souls to Elden Ring perfectly lend themselves to nightmare fuel, designs that almost always scare the shit outta me. They’re also perfect Halloween fodder, which is excellent we celebrate Kotakuween here on the site.

Did you know that, according to National Geographic, the number nine is feared in Japan? The superstition goes that because nine in Japanese is sometimes pronounced “ku,” which shares the same pronunciation as the words for agony and torture, the upside-down six is largely considered an unlucky number. It’s so unlucky, in fact, that combs, written out as “kushi” in Japanese, aren’t given as gifts to people. Imagine that. Combs are deemed haunted.

So, in not wanting to use the clichéd number 13 this spooky season and to honour Japanese superstition, here are nine of the most unnerving FromSoft bosses.

Adjudicator – Demon’s Souls

FromSoft is no stranger to using obesity as body horror, and the Adjudicator is the OG of the developer’s rotund monstrosities. This thing is gross! Its large body and even larger breasts are exposed and flabby, riddled with open wounds, wiggling with every movement. It’s got a big, sharp-toothed mouth and a long, salivating tongue that can attack you through walls. And its body is so blubbery that attacking it deals no damage. Not to mention that you fight the thing in some claustrophobic underground crypt while the strange, glowing bird on its head screeches at you endlessly. Think Lickitung but make it horror and you’ve got the idea. Terrifying shit.

Manus, Father of the Abyss – Dark Souls 1 (DLC)

The introductory cutscene for Manus, Father of the Abyss is horrifying enough, with the mutant, multi-eyed creature dragging you down to some, well, abyssal cavern. But then the cinematic ends, you see the vile thing for what it is, and scream in abject horror as the towering beast saunters toward you, its eyes glowing red with bloodlust. It’s frightening, and not just because Manus looks like an overgrown Groot turned evil. He’s big, sure, but so are most FromSoft bosses. What makes this fight particularly terrifying is the dark arena you battle Manus in, which obfuscates his position and gives him the advantage of surprise attacks. It’s cheap. He’s also got hella health and hits hella hard, making him the perfect culmination to the Artorias of the Abyss DLC.

Duke’s Dear Freja – Dark Souls 2

Come on, look at this abomination! It’s not just one big-arse spider but two, grafted together at the abdomen like some nightmarish Human Centipede proof-of-concept. A two-headed beast from hell, the Duke’s Dear Freja is unnerving, its massive legs sharp and multiple pincers even sharper. It calls upon some annoying spider buddies to assist during the fight, deals a ton of damage despite being pretty slow, and is highly resistant to damage, making this a pretty long, unsettling bout. Oh, it also shoots laser beams because why not? It’s not like spiders aren’t scary already or anything.

Aldrich, Devourer of Gods – Dark Souls 3

I’m less put off by what Aldrich, Devourer of Gods looks like — though he is disgusting, a mass of flesh and skeletons trailing his body like a grotesque shadow — than by what he represents. He swims in a pile of his own swirling waste and excess, the lowest of the low, eating whatever and whoever he wants and letting the remains rot around him. In eating them, he grows from his victims’ power like a parasite, or perhaps like a coward. When I realised this, avoiding attacks from the slumped-over body of Gwyndolin, the once-noble god Aldrich ate and uses to deliver powerful magic during his fight, became easy. Step into his mud and destroy it. Kill it with fire if you have to. – Ashley Bardhan

The Amygdala – Bloodborne

I’ve already blogged about how terrifying I found the Lesser Amygdala, a spidery-looking, multi-armed monstrosity that clings to walls like some alien insect. I also talked about the boss version of this grotesque creature, the Amygdala, which still gives me nightmares after all these years. I mean, how could it not? It’s ghastly as shit, bones protruding through the skin, a fleshy cage wrapped around its gelatinous brain. It’s the stuff of eldritch nightmares and looks like a distant relative to H. P. Lovecraft’s most recognisable cosmic entity, Cthulhu. Oh, and like the Duke’s Dear Freja, the Amygdala also shoots lasers. Beam me down, why don’t you, daddy FromSoft? I like it like that.

Ludwig, the Accursed / Holy Blade – Bloodborne (DLC)

Another perturbing cutscene introduces you to the horror that is Ludwig, the Accursed. A rotting man that’s somehow part horse, part wolf, and mostly corpse, Ludwig is clearly in a lotta pain, as evidenced by his guttural shrieks during the fight. He’s quick, thanks to his, like, six legs, and is aggressive as all hell, spewing blood and saliva to inflict massive amounts of damage while cornering you in the church you battle him in. And once you deplete half his health, he picks up the Holy Moonlight Sword and becomes Ludwig, the Holy Blade, kicking off the second phase of his fight. This is maybe the most unsettling section of the entire encounter, as he stands on his bloodied and deformed hind legs to cut you up. There’s nothing holy about this dude.

Demon of Hatred – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

This is more tragic than terrifying, but that doesn’t mean the Demon of Hatred isn’t a frightening encounter. The Sculptor who gave Sekiro his prosthetic arm and offered copious equipment upgrades throughout the game, this important NPC devolves into this flame-covered devil after becoming consumed by wrath. He’s frenzied, blinded by rage, and covered in fiery red hair as his body slowly decays. He’s also unpredictable, using the anger inside to fuel his bloodlust and burn you alive. That’s what makes him so daunting: his sheer, unrestrained hatred for everything. And unfortunately, despite being such an ally in the beginning, you must take the Sculptor down in the end. It’s quite sad, really.

Guardian Ape – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Ugh, I hate this boss so damn much! A white-haired hellspawn, the Guardian Ape is the bane of my existence and one of the most horrifyingly intimidating encounters in the game. It doesn’t look that frightening at first, but get up close and you’ll see this big-arse sword lodged through its neck as it attempts to poison you with its poop. It’s that blade that makes the Guardian Ape scary, as when you use it to chop the thing’s head off, the ape picks both the sword and its head up to attack in its second phase. It becomes unpredictable, swinging the blade erratically and flinging its body at you. It also, in some improbable way, “reattaches” its head to let out a deafening howl before going back to chopping you to bits. The whole fight is unsettling, one that gets on my last nerves.

Astel, Naturalborn of the Void – Elden Ring

I’m not sure what to say about this eldritch lifeform other than that it creeps me out! A scorpion-like monster with gigantic pincers connected to the cheeks of its human skull, Astel, Naturalborn of the Void is truly an otherworldly abnormality. Its body is made up of star debris. Attached to its body are these ethereal dragonfly wings. In the centre of its skull is this huge, interstellar-looking eyeball. And, thanks to its ability to control gravity, it can teleport around the arena and rain down meteors. Did I mention it can shoot laser beams, too? Because it can shoot laser beams, too! You also fight it in this starry environment, making it the perfect galactic graveyard for your Tarnished.

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