General Overview: Did you think that you might finally make your way to the fabled Irithyll after cutting your way through the Abyss Watchers? Well, you were worng. Instead, your next stop is a series of catacombs, which is different from DS1's catacombs, because these ones are 100% more “of Carthus”. This area has lots of skeletons and traps...ok, maybe it’s not all that different. At least, there are none of those damn explodey skulls in this version.
Design Notes: Maybe I was a bit harsh in calling this a copycat level. I do appreciate that the way forward is a bit more straightforward this time; I was never quite sure I was going the right way when I did the DS1 version. And they’ve gotten rid of the whole necromancer/skeleton-controller mechanic, opting instead for a glowing eye mechanic to indicate the skeletons that will get knocked down but get back up again. I’m not quite sure whether this is an improvement or not; it certainly makes them more manageable, but I feel like it misses out on the challenge of making a mad dash to take out the necromancer.
There are a few new skeleton types—a kukri-throwing one with some sweet moves and a big, more aggressive red-eyed version—but they are basically the same skeletons from DS1. That’s not an insult because I love the animation on these Ray Harryhausen extras, particularly the way they pick up their head last while reforming.
Nitpick: I wasn’t really bothered by the two-way-rolling skeleton balls. Some might think that it is an example of the developers trolling the players; I like to think of it instead as an “assumption check” (“Oh, you thought boulders only ran one way?!?”), a way to keep even veteran players on their toes. However, I would be surprised if many players figured out sans internet that the goofy, hat-wearing (or goofy-hat-wearing works, too) skeletons were the ones controlling these hazards. Nothing seems to indicate this is their function, except their oddness amongst the other skeletons, unless their hat (it looks like a paper hat a child might make) is supposed to be the tip-off.
Very Speculative Lore Notes: Aside from the superficial similarities to the DS1 version, I’m not sure there’s a direct link. Outside of that, I don’t have much. Carthus gear seems to be associated with curved swords, kukris, bleed effects, a quick combat style, and a bit of pyromancy. Their leader, as I will detail in the next post, is a giant skeleton wearing a crown. One might assume that Carthus is some long-conquered realm, as there is no area bearing its name elsewhere in the game. Perhaps it once was located where Irithyll or Farron Keep stands now.
The Tourism Board recommends: Well, if you’re being chased by a horde and you see a rope bridge, you might want to try recreating this scene:
The Misanthrope’s Pro-Tip: Watch where you roll. I know that pot-rolling is a cathartic release for Dark Soul players, but some of these jars fight back!