It's safe to say the Dark Souls trilogy sparked a new sub-genre of gaming. The series has continued to challenge players like never before through its high levels of difficulty which at times have bordered on unfair. However, we love it all the same as it made us work for those glorious victories. The sense of achievement after defeating a boss that felt like we'd never conquer is one of the best feelings in gaming. Even more, 2021 serves as the 10 year anniversary since the series was born (not including Demon's Souls).
You may have caught our Top 10 Best Dark Souls Trilogy Bosses, covering the best of the best bosses that remind us why we love the series so much. But, the bosses are not always full of cheers, so today we are being pessimists and looking at the Top 10 Worst Dark Souls Trilogy Bosses.
The way we determined the ranking is that we had previously asked our readers to rank their favourite bosses, so naturally those scoring the lowest had a head start for this list. Those scoring the lowest from that list were competed against each other by asking the community to choose their least favourites. After just 3 rounds, we had a clear ranking order!
10. Mytha, The Baneful Queen - Dark Souls 2
In theory, Mytha has an interesting and tragic backstory as she was once engaged to the ruler of her kingdom (believed to be the Prince of Alken), but unfortunately, he had no feelings towards her. Mytha was exceptionally beautiful and was unable to handle the fact that the ruler had no feelings for her, which then drove her mad. She started consuming poison in order to make herself more beautiful because that's apparently a thing. Understandably, this didn't work and she eventually turned into the serpent-like naga monster you encounter in the game. It is believed that throughout this, she cut off her head in an attempt to replace it with a more beautiful one, hence why she chucks her screaming head at you.
Sadly, her boss fight didn't have even remotely the same level of intrigue. In fact, this boss fight can be a pain in the ass. Not specifically to do with the boss fight itself, but more the boss arena, which is going to be a recurring theme in this list. Why is the boss arena awful, you ask? Well, Mytha was exiled to Earthen Peak and to keep herself immortal, she pumps poison into her chamber, and that is why this arena sucks. The poison is disastrous for your health, and worse, it heals Mytha in the process. You can get rid of the poison pool prior to the boss fight by burning the windmill near the bonfire in Central Earthen Peak, but there will still be poison around the outside.
Firstly, Mytha at least feels somewhat original in terms of appearance and concept compared to other fights on this list. She attacks with her spear, her head and magic, so at least there's a variety to watch out for. However, her move sets aren't particularly difficult to dodge and most of her moves aren't that original either. She will jab at you with the spear, cast a slow-moving soul beam, or chuck her screaming head at you that generates an explosion. Mytha will occasionally spin around or swipe at you with her tail, but overall, the vast majority of Mytha's move set could easily belong to a fairly regular enemy. The exception is with her Tail Grip attack which at least makes the most of her serpent form as she'll warp you up and squeeze you, causing a lot of damage. Likewise, her boss arena isn't that exciting with or without the poison, there's no distinguishing features or breathtaking scenery it's just a dungeon arena. It's a shame because Mytha's boss fight had the potential to be exciting and unique.
9. Scorpioness Najka - Dark Souls 2
Scorpioness Najka, also known as knockoff Chaos Witch Quelaag, is a case of trying to copy a previous boss, but with a much worse result. Much like Mytha, Scorpioness Najka actually has an intriguing and sad backstory, so it's such a shame that the boss fight didn't live up to the lore. Essentially, Manscorpion Tark explains that he and Najka were created by a master and implies that they were experiments. They are the only two of their kind that can speak the human tongue. Najka and Tark were a couple living in peace, but Najka eventually began to go mad and became increasingly violent and impulsive. As a result, a war broke out between Tark and Najka, which has lasted for many years. In fact, you can summon Tark for the boss fight if you use the Ring of Whispers to speak to him.
Unlike Mytha, Najka at least has a cool looking boss arena, in the form of a dark and gloomy pathway through the Shaded Woods. However, fans will soon notice upon encountering the boss that her large scorpion appearance is very reminiscent of Quelaag in the first Dark Souls. Once Najka comes out of the ground, her move set will mainly consist of her striking at you with her sword and stingers, and using those good ol' Soul Arrows and Soul Masses to attack you from afar. The move set sounds similar to Quelaag's right? Najka's moves are predictable and easy to overcome from long-range players, while some of her attacks pose more of a threat to melee players, they are predictable and easy to avoid. Although Quelaag arguably has a predictable move set, the spewing lava poses more of a threat to keep players on their toes. Likewise, Quelaag's fire-focused atmosphere makes for a visually stunning boss fight, but Najka lacks this.
Much like Mytha, in theory, Najka could have been an exceptional boss fight with her imposing scorpion appearance. While Najka has some unique moves with her stingers, most of the stinger attacks actually allow you to get in a bunch of hits as she delays after the attack. This just results in a fairly easy fight. Again, there's fantastic lore behind it, but the fight itself is lacklustre. Najka is essentially an easier copy and paste version of Quelaag without the atmospheric visuals and memorability.
8. Covetous Demon - Dark Souls 2
Oh Covetous Demon, why are you a thing? Once upon a time, this boy was a man who fell in love with our girl Mytha, but she didn't have feelings for him just like the ruler didn't have feelings for her. So what did the Covetous Demon do? He turned to excessive eating to express his love which eventually turned him into the Jabba The Hutt-esque beast we encounter. To be fair, the Covetous Demon fight is original, but in all the wrong ways.
Like Mytha, the boss arena is nothing particularly special, there's the same dungeon appearance as found for Mytha, which makes sense given that they're both in Earthen Peak. The boss arena has pots hanging around which contain labourers where if you shoot them, the labourer falls out cowering. The Covetous Demon cannot resist and will devour them, giving you an opportune moment for attack. The thing is, the boss is so easy, you really don't need to do this. That is the primary flaw of this boss, he's so predictable and easy, every attack is clearly cued so you can dodge them without any issue. That being said, if he does get you with the Body Slam or Roll, then you will take a lot of damage.
After his attacks, you've got plenty of time to go in for a counter-attack as he is a slow-moving boss. Overall, there's next to no challenge involved and your attacks pack a punch meaning that the fight is most likely over in under two minutes. Long-ranged players will get through this fight in a breeze as most of his attacks are short-ranged, melee players may have more difficulty but as the attacks are predictable and easy to dodge, it shouldn't be hard. In fact, the only move that might be an annoyance above all else is the Covetous Demon's grab attack where if you are standing in front of him, he will grab you and then chew on you causing your items to be unequipped. But even in this situation, you can use a labourer as a distraction.
7. Dragonrider - Dark Souls 2
As with a lot of these bosses, the lore behind the foe is actually fascinating, but the fight just doesn't deliver. In Dark Souls 2 you can encounter a total of three Dragonriders, but we will be focusing on the lone boss fight at Heide's Tower of Flame. The Dragonriders faithfully served King Vendrick, and as the name suggests, they rode wyverns and were known to cause mayhem in battle due to their immense strength. To become a Dragonrider was a brutal challenge as those wanting to take up arms had to undergo perilous training. This is because those who failed the training were torn apart by their wyverns, I can't think why there's only three left.
This is a boss fight that has a few prominent issues. Firstly, the arena in theory looks cool given it's a one on one fight, but the mechanics are not in your favour. For a start, if you're in the wrong (or right place depending on how you look at it), you can make the Dragonrider lunge for an attack and fall into the water. This is assuming you haven't activated any of the switches. Aside from this, the Dragonrider doesn't have any particularly unique attacks, and these are generally all quite predictable and slow-moving so you can easily get in counter-attacks. You can parry the boss which is a good touch given the lore and appearance of the Dragonrider. However, there are so many tactics you can use to easily beat this guy, so you don't really have to rely on parrying. For example, you can circle him or stick behind him and the fight will soon be over.
Essentially, the Dragonrider doesn't feel like a boss, more like a mini-boss or one of those brutish normal enemies you may encounter from time to time. The strategies to overcome the Dragonrider are foolproof, so much so that it can sometimes just feel like you're cheesing him. But with slow, easy to avoid attacks, the Dragonrider really doesn't offer anything special in terms of a boss fight. Given the lore behind the Dragonrider, you'd expect a much more formidable enemy.
6. Royal Rat Authority - Dark Souls 2
The Royal Rat Authority basically follows the same flaws as the Dragonrider, but we'll get into that shortly. To be fair to the Royal Rat Authority, it is an optional boss and that's about the only thing working in its favour. The Royal Rat Authority (which admittedly looks more like a wolf) is basically one of the faithful subjects of the Rat King whose purpose is to test your worthiness to join the Rat King covenant. And that's about it.
Great Grey Wolf Sif performed very well in our Best Dark Souls Bosses article, and the Royal Rat Authority attempts to do the same thing without the emotion, the lore, the atmosphere, or the impressive move set. As you enter the fog door, the boss will not appear until you have aggravated the smaller rats, which should be taken out first to avoid further hassle. The arena itself is just a lot of open space, so it's not particularly inspiring or memorable. The Royal Rat Authority uses a lot of sweeping paw attacks, which can be avoided by sticking under it or by the hind legs, similarly to Sif. Also, like Sif, the rat will hop back to carry out mid-range attacks such as lunges and head butts, but without the excitement of wielding Artorias' Greatsword. While it can be hard to tell exactly what attack will be next, you are able to dodge in plenty of time as the rat prepares its next strike.
The Royal Rat Authority can have a nasty spinning attack with the headbutt also being quite damaging. At least in this sense, you are kept somewhat on your toes rather than the boss fight being a walk in the park. Much like Sif, once you whittle the rat's health down, he will start to limp. Also at this point, the rat may vomit which can degrade your gear. While it switches things up, you can't praise this boss much given that it is just a poor copy of Sif.
5. Champion's Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf - Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 2 can take a break for a while! However, Sif's legacy is not catching a break. Dark Souls 3, on the whole, has a fantastic selection of bosses that challenge players through a unique move set, atmospheric arenas, captivating lore, and the right level of challenge. However, Champion's Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf is the boss that misses the mark. Available in the Ashes of Ariandel DLC and is luckily an optional boss too, the Champion's Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf lacks the creativity of other bosses in the game. The story behind the boss is that an undead announced a tournament where fellow undead would fight to their repeated death with their worthiness being measured in their deaths. The idea was that a fight with no end would be seen as a good use of their immortality as they'd have a purpose, without which they'd go hollow. Anyway, the Champion of the Undead Match eventually went mad and died. A young fighter who was training under the champion and the greatwolf remained to protect the spirituality of the grave. They then continued their task in the Painted World.
The arena for this boss is actually decent, it's spacious and fits the snow-ridden theme of the Painted World, plus the soundtrack and visuals are fantastic. It's just a shame that the fight itself doesn't live up to it. As with most Dark Souls 3 bosses, the Champion's Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf consists of two phases. The first phase pits you against the Champion's Gravetender and three normal wolves, with the Gravetender having an aggressive mode of attacking and can be quite damaging, but he could also easily be compared to an invader NPC. It is best to dispose of the wolves as quickly as possible and whittle down the boss's health. Once the Gravetender reaches around 50% health, he will summon the Greatwolf, who is even more aggressive than the Gravetender. It's then best to kill the Gravetender as quickly as possible as the Greatwolf is pretty relentless. You have two boss health bars here, so think of Ornstein and Smough in that sense.
The Greatwolf uses a lot of spinning and charging attacks and headbutts, similar to Sif and the Royal Rat Authority. The main difference is its heightened aggression and the added difficulty of the Gravetender. However, in terms of originality, this boss fight doesn't offer much. As mentioned at the start of this entry, the score and the visuals of the fight are astonishing, so it's more of a disappointment that the boss itself felt lacklustre.
4. Pinwheel - Dark Souls
Ahhh, Pinwheel, if only I knew what happens in this fight beyond the 10-second mark... Unlike some of the other entries which at least pose a challenge, Pinwheel is a boss fight that lasts about as long as his cutscene. Pinwheel is a pivotal part of the game as defeating him earns you the Rite of Kindling, so it's hilarious that the fight to get it is so easy. In terms of lore, Pinwheel is a bit of a mystery. He appears to be a necromancer and have three separate personas given the way the masks interact with one another. It is also said that Pinwheel stole the power of the Gravelord and therefore is the ruler of the Catacombs.
When you get to this boss fight in the catacombs, you are already likely to be at a fairly high level but to say Pinwheel is a walk in the park is an understatement. If you manage to get through the challenges in the catacombs early on, admittedly Pinwheel can be more of an enjoyable fight. The ambience of the boss arena is actually quite unique and interesting given all the books, candles, skeletons, and necromancy work that are present. Pinwheel's fight also has a good score, it's just a shame you never get to enjoy it! How the fight works is that Pinwheel will clone himself, but this doesn't pose much difficulty as you can tell which one is the real Pinwheel, by just well, paying attention. Even then, the clones die with one hit anyway. Pinwheel will hop and spin around the room and throw fireballs at you, and that's about it. Depending on your level and weapon strength, you can easily defeat Pinwheel in three to five hits.
The trouble with Pinwheel is that he has far too few attack variations, his health is so low, and he's just an easy boss for where you'd have typically progressed to by the time you reach him. Given his importance in delivering the Rite of Kindling makes this even more frustrating, hence why he's so high up on this list. Pinwheel had the potential to be a distinctive boss given the creepy atmosphere you find yourself in once the fight starts.
3. Belfry Gargoyles - Dark Souls 2
Knockoff, is that you again? If any of the other bosses felt like a copy and paste, then the Belfry Gargoyles are on another level. The gargoyles were essentially stationed to prevent anyone from stopping the bell from ringing, and that's about it. The Belfry Gargoyles share an almost identical resemblance to the Bell Gargoyles from Dark Souls with the boss arena, move set, and even soundtrack being almost the same. The only difference is, there are more gargoyles and they're faster and more damaging. Thankfully, they are an optional boss fight.
What's frustrating about the Belfry Gargoyles is that there are up to six gargoyles which bring on the debate of challenging vs unfair as you're seriously outnumbered. Given how similar the fight is to the Bell Gargoyles, you can understand why this fight is so frustrating. For ranged players, the fight is a lot easier due to the mob-like size of the boss, but for melee players, it can be a real headache. The gargoyles' move list consists of striking you with their halberd, sweeping at you, breathing fire, and even sending off electric bolts. The fight starts with just two gargoyles with the boss sharing a joint health bar, but with each gargoyle also having their own. As the health goes down, more gargoyles join the fight so it is best to focus your efforts on one gargoyle at a time or you could end up fighting five at once.
The main issue with the Belfry Gargoyles is that the fight just seems so lazy. You can almost imagine a board meeting of 'how can we make the Bell Gargoyles more difficult?' 'I know, let's have six of them!' The boss just adds nothing new.
2. Prowling Magus and Congregation - Dark Souls 2
'Are you sure this is a boss?' I'm pretty sure is one of the last things you want to think about when the boss health bar appears. Prowling Magus and Congregation consists of the Prowling Magus, two Hollow Priests, five Undead Labourers, and three Undead supplicants, so you can see why you may be raising an eyebrow. Essentially the lore behind the boss is that the Magus was a warlock from Aldia's Keep who engaged in forbidden rituals which corrupted him with dark magic. The Magus leads the congregation of hollows who act under his will.
As mentioned, this boss seems like less of a boss and more like a room of special mob enemies. The room itself is a headache, it's a chapel that doesn't offer anything particularly unique, exciting, or memorable, but you can use the benches to create a divide between you and the enemies. As for the fight itself, you'll find that the Magus has his own healthbar and the Congregation has their own combined healthbar. The challenge of this boss is simply that there are a lot of enemies in one small room, but each enemy is easy to defeat. The main goal is don't get cornered as you may be swarmed. For the fight, it is advised that you aim to take down the priests first as they can heal the hollows and then go for the Magus as all that is left are hollows that can be defeated in no time.
The priests are the more challenging element as their Lightning Miracles can be damaging, but the Magus's moves are slow and ways to dodge. In short, this boss will be over in no time and again begs the question, did this really need to be a boss? Overall, the soundtrack is just a repeat from the Covetous Demon, the arena is nothing exciting, and the boss fight feels lazy like it was just shoehorned in.
1. Bed of Chaos - Dark Souls
The Queen of Bullshit herself! The Bed of Chaos is renowned for being just awful. From the excruciatingly long run to the boss room to the design of the 'fight', there's a reason why the Bed of Chaos is despised. The sad part is, the lore behind the Bed of Chaos is fascinating and could have been an awesome boss if handled differently. The Bed of Chaos even has a huge role to play in the lore and story of Dark Souls, another reason why it takes the number one spot. The boss stems from the Witch of Izalith who attempted to remake the First Flame, which failed as the flame grew unstable and consumed her. During this time, she became responsible for the creation of demons and the flame itself manifested into the Bed of Chaos.
Unlike a traditional boss fight, you are not breaking down the Bed of Chaos's health, instead, the fight works more like a platforming game by you hacking away at the vulnerable roots indicated by glowing orbs. Upon doing this, the Bed of Chaos grows arm-like trunks which it uses to attempt to sweep you into opening holes in the arena. The ground shakes and breaks opening up more holes as you're running to the other orb. You also need to avoid what can only be described as a fire laser which is what one of the arms turns into. Once you've managed to take out both orbs, you now need to jump onto a branch to lead into the Bed of Chaos and destroy the bug. However, this is easier said than done as once both arms are free, the Bed of Chaos uses erupting attacks to spew flames up from the ground and it has two fire laser arms. The only redeemable part of this boss is that the orbs don't reset upon death so you don't have to constantly start over again like with other bosses.
As mentioned, the run-up to the Bed of Chaos is also terrible. The trip takes a good few minutes and you're constantly encountering less than savoury enemies to just drag this slog out further. A big reason why the Bed of Chaos ranks number one on this list is that it seems to be about luck, especially for new players. While there is a degree of learning the boss's moves, the fact there's no actual fight and more a case of 'will I get swept into the hole again' is incredibly frustrating especially given the torturous run to the boss. What's disappointing is that a fight with the Witch of Izalith who was teased at the start could have been incredible, complex, and creative, so to end up fighting the Bed of Chaos feels like you've been cheated out of something epic.
Are these the worst of the worst? Is there another boss who just sucks all the fire out of the series? Let us know in the comments or hit up our Twitter!