Dark Souls Guide: How To Get Past The First Three Hours

Adam Barnes


Dying too easily in Dark Souls? Then take heed of these handy tips

Published on Oct 5, 2011

Prepare To Die. That’s the motto surrounding Dark Souls and, on its release, it’s probably an adage you initially underestimated. So, if you’ve died more times than you care to count and are still yet to get past that first boss then these are the tips for you…

Pick A Sensible Class

The first thing you need to do in Dark Souls is choose your character. Don’t be an idiot and choose the Depraved class: this game is not a walk in the park, and choosing the naked guy with a wooden club is only going to cause you problems.

We’d recommend the Pyromancer, whose low level and varied equipment and stats make him formidable to begin with. He also comes equipped with the Fireball spell, which can help against tougher opponents. The choice is yours, however, so pick a class you think better compliments your play style; just not the Depraved.

Choose The Master Key

While creating your character you’ll also have the option to pick a ‘gift’. These vary in uses – some more explicit than others – but the item you’ll want to pick is the Master Key. For minor locked doors, usually the ones concealing shortcuts and treasure, the Master Key can unlock the way without needing the necessary related item.

An important note, however, is that the Master Key is automatically given to the Thief class – so if this is the class you decide to opt for then remember you can pick a second, different gift to aid your journey.

Defeat The Undead Burg First

After the tutorial section in the Undead Asylum you’ll find yourself in Firelink Shrine. The nearby NPC will tell you of your ultimate goal – to ring the two sacred bells of Lordran – and that one is above ground, in the Undead Burg, while the other is below. 

We’d recommend choosing to stick to the Undead Burg first, since many of its early enemies are a little simpler to defeat. If you’re not sure how to get there, look towards the large bridge that can be seen from the Firelink Shrine’s bonfire – that leads to the Undead Burg.

Always Use Your Shield

Unlike Demon’s Souls, every class begins with a shield. Regardless of whether it’s heavy iron or a small buckler, and it will quickly become your most important piece of equipment. 

With it you will be able to block incoming projectiles as well as melee attacks, providing you’ve got a strong enough shield. Weaker shields, like those made of wood, will still cause slight damage to yourself from attacks – so if you find yourself using them a lot, consider looking for a replacement. 

The first decent replacement can be found behind a locked door beneath the archer near the first bonfire in the Undead Burg – but you will need the Master Key to get to it.

Kindle Bonfires

Estus Flasks are important to your journey through Dark Souls, acting as a set of rechargeable health potions for you. You may have noticed that the bonfire at the Firelink Shrine actually provides 10 flasks, rather than the usual 5.

This is because the bonfire here has been kindled, and any other bonfire can be too. To do so you’ll need to earn enough Humanity to revert to human form and kindle the bonfire in the related menu. Humanity (the number next to your health bar) is gathered from items and killing mini-bosses, but is still quite rare: be sure to keep on to it.

Save The ‘Fire Keeper Soul’

If you happen across any of these items make sure you keep on to them! You could use them for a boost of extra souls – which is always handy if you want to level up quicker – but there’s a much more important use for these rare objects.

Return to the Firelink Shrine and take the concealed steps near the bonfire leading downwards. Here you’ll spot a lady trapped behind a set of iron bars. Interact with her and you can upgrade your Estus Flasks, providing more health per drink. Very important, you’ll no doubt agree.

How To Kill The Taurus Demon

This is the first, proper boss of the game – at least if you battle through the Undead Burg before anywhere else. When exploring the Undead Burg you’ll come to a tower with a spiral staircase inside. This leads to a fog gate, which in turn takes you to the boss fight with the Taurus Demon.

After exiting the fog gate, however, make sure you climb the ladder immediately on your right. At the top of the ladder are two standard soldiers who should be killed first before continuing to fight the Taurus Demon. 

When battling the brute, however, try to avoid locking on. As he attacks, roll behind him and get a couple of cheeky swipes into his back – but don’t get overconfident, he will recover quite quickly. Don’t get too hasty, learn how best to evade his powerful attacks and roll the correct way to avoid taking damage.

How To Get Past The Dragon

After the Taurus Demon fight you’ll arrive at a long bridge with a few enemies in the centre. Start crossing and a dragon will cast flames across the entirety of the bridge, with nowhere for you to hide. 

Survive this by regularly rolling, somehow evading the fire that’s covering the ground and reaching the set of stairs to the right of where the enemies were standing. Take this as quickly as possible, then locate the set of ladders downstairs to create a shortcut to a bonfire.

Learn When To Run

There’s no need to be ashamed. You’re not going to defeat everything first time. In fact, you’re not likely to defeat all things early on anyway. The tall, dark knights or armoured boars are just two examples of enemies that can – if you don’t have the stats or equipment ready to defeat them – be left well alone. You can always come back and defeat them once you’ve levelled up a bit anyway.

Also, Don’t Run

In this sense we actually mean don’t physically run everywhere. In areas where you know you’re safe, by all means hold down Circle / B and sprint to your destination. Falling from things is likely to be a big killer in Dark Souls, don’t increase this likelihood by dashing across thin beams or narrow cliff-side ledges. Take it slow and steady with your shield out at all times, it’s the only way you’ll survive.




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