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Video Game / Demon's Souls

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Brave soul, who fears not death...

"Soul of the lost, withdrawn from its vessel.
Let strength be granted so the world might be mended.
So the world might be mended."
The Maiden in Black

Demon's Souls is a PlayStation 3 Action RPG developed by FromSoftware with assistance by Sony's JAPAN Studio, directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, and published in the US by Atlus, Europe by Bandai Namco Entertainment, and Japan and SE Asia by Sony. It is most notably the Trope Maker for the entire Souls-like RPG sub-genre.

The game is set in the Kingdom of Boletaria, which was led to great prosperity by King Allant XII with the use of the power of souls, until it was beset by a strange colorless fog that isolated it from the rest of the world and brought soul-hungry demons with it.

After the world was let known of Boletaria's plight, legend spread of the chaos within the kingdom wreaked upon it by a beast from the Nexus and of the demons that grew ever more powerful with each soul they devoured. Many people went to Boletaria, either to save it from its plight or lured by the prospect of the power of souls, but all were lost in its chaos.


You are one such person, like many others now dead and trapped in the fog with your soul bound to the Nexus. From there, your journey begins...

The game introduced a unique online multiplayer mode that limits direct interaction. Non-interactive "ghosts" of other players atmospherically fade in and out of the game. This includes interactive bloodstains, which shows a ghostly replay of how other players died. Players can also leave short messages for each other, with those rated positively granting the message writer a temporary power boost. This doesn't stop some players from giving deliberately bad advice For the Evulz, however. Under certain conditions, you can receive direct help by sending out a summons that will randomly pull another player into your world, while others are out to kill you for the Souls that you hold and can enter your world uninvited. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. On November 27, 2017, it was announced that the multiplayer servers for the game would be shut down on February 28, 2018, after around 9 years of being online: 9 years 23 days for Japan, 8 years 4 months 22 days for the US, and 7 years 8 months 3 days for Europe. Not that it's stopped hardcore fans from going as far as to set up their own private servers.


A Spiritual Successor, Dark Souls, was released in 2011, and it was the first of a trilogy. A second Spiritual Successor for PlayStation 4, Bloodborne, followed in 2015. Meanwhile, an outright remake for the PlayStation 5 by Bluepoint Games and SIE Japan Studio was released as a PlayStation 5 launch title in 2020.

This game provides examples of:

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  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The highest level for any single stat is 99, making the highest possible Soul Level 712, with all individual stats at 99. The maximum is far beyond what's needed to complete the game.
  • Always Night: Tower of Latria and the Valley of Defilement.
  • Antepiece: Several. Generally speaking the level following each archstone will teach the player how to deal with elements that will appear in the boss for that area:
    • 1-1: After opening the gate to the Phalanx, the staircase down to the gate has several individual Phalanx Soldiers, in order to teach the player how to deal with their shielded fronts.
    • 1-2: About a dozen or so crossbow archers are fought in this level, allowing the player to get good at facing them. The boss, the Tower Knight, has several archers hanging out outside the main arena, which you can kill to make the boss easier.
    • 2-2: Introduces enemies that are immune or highly resistant to fire attacks, but non-fire spells work well against them. The Flamelurker subsequently has the same resistances and weakness.
    • 3-2: Has Gargoyles as a key enemy, forcing the player to adapt to enemies that switch between ground and air, and often attack in multiples. The Maneaters are a paired boss that are highly aggressive and use similar moves to the Gargoyles. In the same level, you can tear off the the Man Centipedes' tails to disable one of their attacks, hinting you can do the same to the Maneaters' snake tails.
    • 4-1 and 4-2: Have several instances of only one or two Storm Beasts hanging out in the sky, tossing spears down onto the player. The player has to take them out with ranged weapons or magic. The Storm King boss has hordes of Storm Beasts protecting it. The weapon designed for killing the Storm King has very limited durability, so the player is encouraged to use ranged weapons or magic against the Storm Beasts.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Bluepoint's remake added quite a few, polishing the game's somewhat archaic systems without changing the core gameplay structure. Many of these were taken from later entries in the Souls series, such as Dark Souls II and Bloodborne.
    • The remake allows for omnidirectional rolling, in contrast to the original title only allowing for four-directional. This makes it a lot easier to dodge and counter enemy attacks.
    • The player is able to use multiple soul items at a time, rather than being forced to go into the menu again and again after each use.
    • While inventory weight is still present, the remake now gives the player an option to directly store items in the Nexus, rather than being forced to drop them to make room in the inventory.
    • The player inventory groups and sorts weapons/armor by how powerful their stats are.
    • Weapons all now have a small durability bar underneath their icons displayed on the item selection portion of the screen, and is especially useful for low durability equipment like the various katana's.
    • You no longer have to return to the Nexus to reset monster spawns; you simply have to go to an archstone and select the stone you are at, which will cause the world to reset. This makes farming much less tedious.
    • You can also now select an area to warp too when resting at an archstone as long as it's in the same world.
      • You can actually warp even between worlds.
    • Loading screens have been more or less removed due to how fast everything loads in now, making the game flow much more seamlessly, killing the previous maligned Loads and Loads of Loading when farming and dying.
  • Anti-Villain: Maiden Astraea and her protector Garl Vinland. Astraea took residence in the Valley of Defilement and became a demon to help its inhabitants, and Garl is there to protect her.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 1. The last time the Old One was released, the world went from a united utopia to a collection of small kingdoms, each given an Archstone to be ready in case it ever woke up again. The rest of the world was destroyed, though the other regions still seemed to do well enough. The regions players travel to throughout the game are all that's left from the last time the Old One woke up, and even among the six Archstones, something happened to the northern giants that prevents their lands from being visited, as their Archstone is destroyed in the Nexus.
  • Armor Is Useless: The difference in defense provided by clothing and metal armor is surprisingly small—it matters a little in the early game, but is utterly dwarfed later on by how much defense you get from leveling up. By contrast, the equipment burden difference is enormous (the Fluted Set weights over three times as much as the Leather Set), going above 50% gives you a worse roll and slower stamina recovery, and heavy armor has its own stamina regeneration penalty even apart from equip burden percentage.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Adjudicator boasts not one, but two weak points — a giant gash in its side, and the bird on its head.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Some of the gear you get later in the game, like the Brushwood Armor set have high stats, but they're incredibly heavy and have high stamina penalties.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: At the end of 1-3, you find a typical Fat Official, the likes of which you've been fighting as regular enemies before. At first it looks like he would be the boss (on account of him having been the subject of more cutscenes than the Maiden in Black)...but suddenly he gets stabbed from behind and thrown out by the real boss, The Penetrator.
  • Bald of Evil: Sported by Patches the Hyena, an untrustworthy fellow who has set a trap for the player.
  • Batman Gambit: The Maiden in Black can wait for someone or a collective to clear the way so she can lull The Old One back to sleep. Of course, the player can decide to double-cross her at the end, making him/herself the Spanner in the Works.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The Depraved Ones in the Valley of Defilement viciously attack the player to protect the Demon Maiden Astraea, because she was the only person so show them kindness.
  • Beef Gate: Happens a lot in this game, Shrine of Storms being a notable example. Even the basic enemies of the level, the silver skeletons, are absolutely ruthless, and can easily kill an unprepared player.
  • BFS:
    • A few of the two-handed weapons, such as the Northern Regalia or the Dragon Bone Smasher. The latter doesn't even have a blade, it just crushes enemies.
    • Some enemies can also wield this, such as the Penetrator and the Gold Skeletons in the Shrine of Storms world.
  • Big Bad: The Old One.
  • The Blacksmith: The brothers Ed and Boldwin. The former resides in the Nexus, and the other is hidden in the Stonfeang Tunnel, and is able to enchant your weapons.
  • Bladder of Steel: You cannot pause the game. At all. The game continues to run whether you're checking your inventory, writing messages, or even changing game options. The only way to stop the game is to quit from the menu. However, enemies don't respawn or chase you without attracting attention, so it's generally safe to park yourself somewhere...well, unless you were playing online and a black phantom invaded your game.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Fixed in the USA and European localisation. But in the Chinese/English version, while the NPCs and most important information show Surprisingly Good English, some of the flavor text is borderline gibberish.
  • Blob Monster: Phalanx. Played with, however, since it's actually some kind of magical glowing mass of gunk, covered in slug-like, shield- and spear-wielding Hoplite monsters. Once all the Hoplites are dead, Phalanx itself is completely helpless.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: Possibly the creepiest fight with a demon happens in the church in the Prison of Hope.
  • Body Horror: Many enemies in the game, but especially the multi-human-faced scorpion/centipede things in the Tower of Latria, who are implied to be the result of ghoulish experiments on the prisoners there.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Biorr of the Twin Fangs, one of Boletaria's mightiest warriors and an eager friend to you.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • You can get through certain stages by sniping the demons to death. It takes a long time, so you better have a lot of extra arrows in case you miss. And even then, you might need to go back and get some more.
      • The official strategy guide even flat-out states that the easiest way to kill the red dragon is to do this. Sure, you can kill it with melee weapons, but why the hell would you when it can kill you with one swipe of its tail?
    • Spears. Sure, you can use all kinds of exotic and/or gigantic weapons, but the simple combo of excellent range and accuracy is hard to pass up. Not to mention the ability to poke your opponent from behind a shield, especially if you have the Endurance to block boss-swipes and still attack without lowering it.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: The Dragon God has parked itself right in front of two ballistas, which were placed there by the Burrowers to be used in the event it ever resurrected. They perform their duty admirably.
  • Boss Battle: Happens at the end of every section of every level.
  • Boss Corridor: A tunnel leads up to the room where you battle Maiden Astraea and Garl Vinland. The corridor leading to where you fight the Dragon God gets extra points for giving you a view of the boss and its primary attack in all its glory. Finally, an example before the False King, after the Blue Dragon. Partial examples before the Storm King and the Old Monk — they are only empty after you fight and beat the Old Hero and Maneater in each corridor, respectively. There's also the Armor Spider, whose boss arena is a giant corridor.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Black Phantoms, who are created similarly to your own character and generally have better stats than you. The Giant Maneaters in the Valley of Defilement are another infamous example.
  • But Thou Must!: When the Monumental tells you its plan to defeat the Old One, you get to decline to help it. It then points out that your only other option is staying in the Nexus for all eternity, slowly withering away.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp":
    • No, they're not manta rays, they're Storm Beasts. Granted, in Real Life, manta rays don't fly, but they're visually indistinguishable from the former.
    • The Mirdan Hammer, which is called a Lucerne hammer in the real world. Then again, the world of Demon's Souls is not our world, and thus has no Lucerne, Switzerland.
  • Call-Forward: Bluepoint added several to the Remake as Continuity Nod towards the game's famous Spirtual Succesor, Dark Souls.
    • The Archstones were redeisgned to include a fiery, inferno motiff to their stonework. It makes them resemble Dark Souls iconic Bonfire Of Comfort.
    • Crests depicting a stylised sun have been added to the Royal Knights armor with their newly added Flavor Text mentioning the royalty bears the sun as their crest. The Sun was a very promient Arc Symbol in Dark Souls, and was the primary thing associated with the Royal Family of Anor Londo.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • The assassins that you see after the Tower Knight's arch stone look a lot like Altair.
    • The Tower Knight himself bears a striking resemblance to Grunbeld.
      • The Knight also bears similarities to Talos — both are colossal figures clad in metal, with powerful long-range attacks and defeated by wounding their ankles to release their vital force.
  • Cherry Tapping: Ever killed a boss with a broken sword?
  • Competitive Balance: Each character class has (or at least, starts with) its own specialty so as not to make any single one stand out (at the start). It should be noted classes really only affect your starting gear and stats, and the player is open to any other playstyle as long as their willing to invest souls into them.
    • Fragile Speedster: The Thief, The Wanderer. The Thief is focused more on the dodging and running aspect, while the Wanderer get's enhanced damage with their Falcion and Dagger.
    • Glass Cannon: The Barbarian. Armed with a club and heavy strength, but quite possibly the worst starting gear otherwise.
    • Magic Knight: The Magician, The Priest. The Magician focus on Magic (hence mostly damaging magical projectiles) and has high intelligence, while the Priest uses Miracles (various healing spells and buffs to the player) with high faith.
    • Jack-of-All-Stats: The Soldier, The Hunter. The Soldier is more or less completely balanced, with a focus on melee combat with their decent armor, weapons, and shield. Can be spec'd later in most class archetype. The Hunter is similar, but with a focus on ranged, due to starting with a bow.
    • Mighty Glacier: The Temple Knight, The Knight. The Temple Knight is this crossed with Magic Knight; they have a very good set of heavy weapon, alongside a powerful halberd and shield, but also begin with a healing spell, with enough faith to wield it. The Knight is a pure tank; with ludicrous health, stamina, and one of the best armor sets in the game. Do not expect to move fast or be able to do anything but fat roll with either of these classes however.
    • Squishy Wizard: The Royalty. A slighty less intelligence focused spellcaster with a duel dexterity role; they begin with both magic missile, as well as a rapier, encourging alot of dodging mixed with magic usage. Most notably for the fact they start the game with the Fragrant Ring; which allows you to regen mana indefinitely, making it infamous for being a Game-Breaker and the class most new players should start with.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Two for the Maneater (body and tail), and an impressive five for the Storm King (both wings, tail, body, and head).
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In the Valley of Defilement, AI human black phantoms (who normally operate under the same limitations as you) are not encumbered (or poisoned) by the swamp at all.
    • Neither is any enemy, for that matter. That includes the Giant Depraved Ones, who can't be stunned, have loads of HP, and will relentlessly pursue and attack you with their heavy-hitting giant clubs. Their Black Phantom versions are probably the most hated enemy in the game.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: One lone human soul against a veritable army of demons...AHA! Those demons won't stand a chance!
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Mostly absent; status effects can help a lot (or even be gamebreakers with exploits) when fighting most bosses and strong normal enemies. They were also helpful in PvP.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The player can walk right up to the edge of lava without injury. Dragons' fire breath has a pretty messy hitbox and may cause damage without actually coming in contact, though a fire that size should still have a much larger area of effect.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Monumental and the player, depending on his or her choice.
  • Counter-Attack: It may be pretty hard to pull off (as in if your timing is off by a millisecond, you're eating whatever attack you were trying to stop) but you can parry the attacks of most humanoid enemies, at least those with weapons, if you're using a small shield, some weapons, or even with your empty offhand by hitting L2 at the right time. If timed right, it staggers them back and leaves them open, and hitting the light attack button immediately after a parry executes a downright brutal counterattack. Swords, spears, and other stabby weapons impale your enemy before you slam them to the ground for more damage than you could hope to do with any other physical attack, usually instantly killing the poor sap you just parried. Blunt weapons smash your target in the pelvis before slamming them in the chest and crushing them to the floor, doing, wait for it, just as much damage as their stabby counterparts. Oh, and the one boss of 1-3 that's human? And the sub-boss Garl in 5-3? Yeah, these work on them.
    • You are, however, advised not to attempt to parry Garl's Bramd when he starts two-handing it. He'll just plow through your parry and kill you. Similarly, the Penetrator's most dangerous attack, the lunging impale stab of death that autotracks to an extent, is unblockable and can't be parried, and will almost certainly kill you on the spot if you try.
  • Crapsack World: Let's see: there's Boletaria, a kingdom that is considered a paradise on Earth in comparison to other lands, but is supported by an army of slaves (the Dreglings). The land of the burrowers is a dangerously difficult-to-navigate system of mines and caves that go all the way down to molten magma, wherein lie a powerful fire demon and the bones of a dragon god that the burrowers actually expected to revive one day (given that they created a sword with the sole purpose of killing it, as well as two giant javelin launchers to pin the sucker down). The Tower of Latria was taken over by a madman an unknown amount of time ago, but couldn't have been a land of sunshine and roses before the Old Monk showed up, seeing as the place had obviously been set up as a prison from its construction. The land of the Shadowmen is the home of a long lost tribe of warriors who gave far more care to the dead than they ever did to the living, and whose "gods" include a gigantic man-eating monster and a monstrous flying manta ray. Finally, there's the Valley Of Defilement, where all the garbage is sent, whether it's things, animals, or people. It's the garbage dump of the world, and it was a nightmarish place even before the demons came: when the Maiden Astraea came and became a demon, conditions actually improved. The water is toxic, poisoning anyone who isn't a local, and there are plague rats, gigantic man-eating insects, the nightmarish plague babies, a monster that is nothing more than a horrendous mass of leeches, and apparently, some of the garbage was there so long that it actually gained sentience and started moving around! And let's not forget: There is no God, only the Old One. This game brings "Crapsack" to a whole new level.
  • Creepy Crows: They're present in various locations, usually feasting on the abundant corpses. The Shrine of Storms implicitly even has a talking crow (popularly called Sparkly) who you can trade "sparkly" items with (see also Thieving Magpie).
  • Critical Hit: Counter-attacks and backstabs are the most basic ways of achieving this, however, some weapons have 'sweet spots' that deal extra damage when you strike an enemy with a certain part. Note that counter-attacks can be triggered on any enemy whose attacks you can block; those Blue-Eyed Knights? One good counter-attack (which is actually easy enough to do consistently) and they're down for the count. You can, in fact, kill almost everything in 1-1 with a single counter-attack before you even level up.
    • The epitome of this is the Secret Dagger, whose sweet spot damage triggers (and thus adds onto) backstab and counter-attack strikes. Add to this that this dagger can have its damage in this area further enhanced by imbuing it with Marrowstone, and your potential for massive damage sky-rockets.
  • Cthulhumanoid: The Tower of Latria, now converted into a prison, is guarded by Mind Flayers, who have tentacles growing from their faces and appear squidlike in general, even having the tiny beak associated with octopi. They wear long robes, wield bells and cast magic spells to paralyze the player, then grab them with their tentacles.
  • Cute Witch: Yuria; with her almost adorable face, Nice Girl personality, and sterotypical Witch outfit undercuts she's supposed to be a dangerous hedge-mage.

  • Dark Action Girl: Mephistopheles, Oolan, Miralda, several unnamed Black Phantom invaders. Most of the women capable of fighting in Demon's Souls appear to be baddies.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Maiden in Black. She has a pretty sinister moniker and an overall creepy vibe (what with her wax-covered eyes), and happens to be one of the most powerful demons around. However, she is the only one who can lull the Old One back to sleep, and wants nothing more than to do so.
    • Astraea, the maiden saint; you find her on a pile of human corpses in an enormous pool of plague-infected blood, surrounded and worshiped by the vile things dwelling in the swamp. On the other hand, she seems to genuinely care for the poor once-people in the valley, she doesn't attack you at all, and it's very likely she killed only in self-defense.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: You can die as many times as you want; the only penalty is loss of your currency and a shift in your World Tendency. In-story, this is explained as a phenomenon that only happens when one dies in Boletaria, and continues after the soul is bound to the Nexus.
    • It becomes a lot less cheap if you take the World and Character Tendencies into account. The more you die (except for spirit form deaths, if you've patched), the blacker it gets, and when it's all dark, it becomes harder.
  • Death by Despair: The Crestfallen Warrior, the blue phantom in the Nexus, slowly becomes more and more depressed as the game goes on and if the player keeps talking to him he eventually loses his mind and fades away leaving only a storied hero's soul behind. It is implied that this happened because he lost the will to live or he was separated from his physical body for too long, which begs the question if this will be the same fate as your own character.
  • Death Mountain: World 2, the Stonefang Tunnels, complete with falling rocks, hot lava and multiple opportunities to fall to your death.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: The giant bearbugs explode once you kill them.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • In the Bluepoint remake, there's an unmarked sidequest to collect 13 Ceramic Coins to open up a hidden door. If you try to trade with another player to get 13 coins without collecting them, the coins shatter from being dropped on the ground.
    • Furthermore, if you try to glitch into the area via the open balcony the quest ends at, you won't be able to enter due to an invisible box around the place. The only way in is through the door, the only way through the door is with the key, and the only way to get the key is to get the coins.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: If some of the bosses have names like Dragon God, then defeating them counts as this.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Some of the higher level spells and miracles, like Firestorm, Soulsucker, and God's Wrath, fall under this in PVE. They do huge amounts of damage to enemies, up to one-shotting the final boss. But their charging times are some of the longest in the game (Sometimes reaching up to 4 seconds) and can only be done at very close range. So using these spells correctly requires careful planning and a lot of knowledge of enemy attacks, so that you can time these attacks well.
  • Dirty Coward: After you survive his trap Patches the Hyena is quick to placate you with a gift.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The crescent falchion in 4-1. Although it can carry you pretty far into the game if you know what you're doing.
    • For a faith-based character the blessed mace found in 5-1. It'll probably be your primary weapon for a while since the only place to get faintstone (which is required for blessed weapons) is one of the harder worlds.
    • And for a strength character the crushing great axe in 2-1. It can be obtained within soon after Stonefang becomes available and can even be upgraded once or twice if you progress a bit and are willing to do some grinding.
    • Another disc one nuke, albeit it takes far more effort to get than the above, is the Dozer Axe. The weapon is very heavy and possesses no stat scaling, but it does impressive base damage for an early STR build character.
    • The Noble background starts with a wand, the Soul Arrow spell, and most importantly, a ring that constantly regenerates magic. The official guide packed in with the US release outright states that this is overpowered and encourages the player to abuse it. With sufficient Magic and Faith, the Noble is almost unkillable, thanks to long-range attacks from Soul Arrow, an easy method of healing with a healing spell (easily obtained quite early), and inexhaustible magic from the ring.
  • The Dragon:
    • Garl Vinland is this to Maiden Astraea, the Big Bad of the Valley of Defilement. When he's gone, she doesn't even bother defending herself.
    • In Boletaria Palace, you'll have to slay (or at least evade) two literal dragons serving the False King Allant.
    • The Real King Allant to the Old One, with the False King Allant serving as a Dragon-in-Chief and the Final Boss.
    • Essentially, the game revolves around you slaughtering your way through the ranks of the Old One's flunkies so you can become its Dragon. Of course, you end up betraying it. Maybe.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Ostrava kills himself, after seeing his father as a demon.
    • Saint Astraea kills herself too, if you eliminate her knight Garl Vinland first and then talk to her.
    • Likewise, Garl Vinland will kill himself if you kill Astraea first.
  • Drone of Dread: A faint, pulsing drone can be heard in the background for the second level of the Tower of Latria, which is implied to be the beating of the Old Monk's enormous heart. It really helps sell the evil atmosphere of the level.
  • Drop the Hammer: Garl Vinland's hammer, Bramd, hits like a truck and gives him super armor during the attack animation (meaning he isn't interrupted by incoming damage and can't be staggered while he's attacking). Kill him and it's yours.
  • Dual Boss: Maneater, to the dismay of many a player who did not expect last-minute reinforcements
  • Dual Wielding: Can be done if you want to, although you need the strength to be able to properly wield both weapons one-handed. And if you want to get ridiculous, you can dual wield two-handed weapons.
    • Dual Wielding in-game is about like Dual Wielding in Real Life: Awesome, but Impractical. While you can do all sorts of nifty attacks with the weapon in your right hand, the weapon in your left can parry and do a single, half-inept slash.
      • When the online servers were still up, Dual Wielding Katanas was a very viable strategy in PvP, as the offhand Light Attack has decent range and is very quick. It's used to set up combos.
  • Duel Boss:
    • The Old Monk is a multiplayer duel against another player. However, when playing offline, you just have to fight a fairly weak and unintelligent generic Black Phantom.
    • The Penetrator, a sword duel against a knight wielding a massive BFS. You can tip the odds in your favor by freeing Biorr from prison, however, in which case the battle can be trivialized, as Biorr is an absolute tank.
    • The Final Boss, False King Allant, who wields the cursed BFS Soulbrandt.
  • Dug Too Deep: Implied in the backstory of Stonefang, when the precursors uncovered the Dragon God... and ever since, took measures to ensure it does not get out.
  • The Dung Ages: The entire game world (spearheaded by the Valley of Defilement) seems to contain nothing but pain and despair. Made obvious through the vendors, who in several cases are covered in crap and seemingly unable to stand upright. Most of the Mooks have the appearance of terminally ill humanoids.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Being the first "Souls game", Demon's Souls has a lot of oddities in its design, which would be refined by later FromSoftware games, as well as features exclusive to it.
    • All HP restoration is handled by a selection of dedicated healing herbs, which come in five different tiers of effectiveness. Enemies can drop the herbs, but this is mostly limited to Boletarian Palace, making them a commodity in other worlds where they need to be bought from local vendors. Dark Souls introduced the Estus Flask to allow for limited but infinitely restocking healing, and the only game to solely use consumables since then is Bloodborne and its Blood Vials, which come in one variety that scales to maximum health and is dropped more commonly.
    • The player character and the game's stages are altered by the Tendency system, which was tied to both multiplayer and single-player. Negative actions (invading players, dying while in human form) would shift a player/world towards Black tendency, while positive actions (helping players, killing boss demons and enemy phantoms) pushed towards White tendency. This would have various effects on the world, like making monsters stronger or weaker, opening routes to various pieces of treasure, and revealing NPCs. Moreover, your personal tendency would affect the "Global World Tendency" toward White or Black. To date, no other FromSoftware games have included a world-altering mechanic like this, and item/sidequest availability is mostly dependent on player choice.
    • Unlike the later Souls games where you can opt to limit your matchmaking to your region, but ultimately everyone worldwide plays together, Demon's Souls has stridently segregated regional servers due to how it was published in each region.
    • The Endurance stat increased both your Stamina bar and your equipment weight threshold. Games that followed uncoupled the two and tried various other solutions for equip weight (including Bloodborne discarding it altogether).
    • There were only two kinds of equip-weight dodge rolls: normal rolling at under 50% and "fat rolling" at over 50%. Later games would get more granular with the dodge mechanics and how it tied to weight.
    • Since the game was patterned after "older" RPGs (like From's own King's Field), your inventory didn't exist in a complete Hammerspace. In addition to equip weight, you had to worry about the overall weight of your inventory, and would be unable to roll or run over 100% capacity. Healing herbs and bow ammunition also counted towards this weight. Every following Souls game would make inventory capacity nearly or completely unlimited.
    • Spellcasting was radically different from later Souls games. The biggest was a dedicated magic bar instead of the Vancian charges-per-rest system of later games or Bloodborne's more granular ammo system (though Dark Souls III would bring this back), and MP is easier to restore due to the presence of restorative items and an MP regeneration ring. Moreover, casting catalysts weren't honed—spell power was determined purely by your magic stat and by the base power of the spell itself. Even weirder, there were no stat requirements for the spells—the strongest Catalyst had a mild stat requirement, and you'd need enough Intelligence to have the MP to cast certain spells, but that was it. Lastly, casting didn't freeze your movement until the spell was fired. Later Souls games would make serious changes to how spellcasting worked and make it more balanced, with Bloodborne almost throwing the concept overboard entirely until the Old Hunters expansion.
    • Character death was a bit odd—you have a "dead form" like other Souls games, but here not only does it make you simply a semi-translucent "soul" instead of a walking Hollow, the dead-form penalty is losing half your max HP. However, most enemies and bosses are balanced around you being in Soul form and thus will do quite a bit less damage than veterans of later games might expect, and the Cling Ring found very early on reduces the penalty to 20% reduction while equipped. This penalty isn't present in Dark Souls. Dark Souls II played around with the idea of decreasing health on death, but it happened gradually as you died, and it also made sure that "re-humanizing" was much easier than in Demon's Souls (where revive items are rare, and co-op was a bit harder to pull off). Dark Souls III would later reintroduce the mechanic, but frame it differently: rather than halving your health after death, your health is increased when "embered", the equivalent of being in body form.
    • Tying into the "you're a soul spirit" idea, fall damage was vastly more lenient here than it would be in later titles, barring Sekiro, whose "You are a master shinobi" logic allows you take falls from up to a hundred feet without damage. The idea seems to be that, as a semi-incorporeal ghost, falling down isn't as big a deal for you, though you can still take equally big plunges as a human. Taking levels in dexterity allows you to take even less fall damage. There's a few places where the game even expects you to make use of your generous fall damage allotment. Fall damage also works differently in that falling to a certain distance will cause you to always die, no matter how high your health is. Later games would only tie this mechanic to specific, scripted locations, for example to prevent a player skipping the majority of Blighttown.
    • This game lacks plunging attacks, a technique present in all other Souls games. You can't attack at all while falling; the most you can do is land on an enemy, which will do a little damage and probably stun them.
    • A number of armor sets were gender-specific, or changed appearance based on gender. Every game after Demon's featured fully unisex outfits, with a tiny number of exceptions.
    • The game is structured into five worlds that are teleported to from a Hub Level, instead of being a connected open world, which is unlike anything in the Souls series since (games like Bloodborne and Dark Souls III included central hubs, but their worlds are still interconnected). You have nearly complete freedom over where to go after defeating Phalanx, with the only restriction being that the second half of Boletarian Palace is locked behind fully clearing any other Archstone. While there is an intended final challenge in the form of Old/False King Allant, the game otherwise can be ended anytime after finishing all of the Archstones, with no dedicated end-game. The later Souls games and Bloodborne still allow for freedom in exploration, but tie things into a more solid progression structure with a beginning, middle, and end.
    • "Ignores Shields" is a property that weapons can have, which is either very rare or nonexistent in later games, with exceptions such as the Shotel's heavy attack in Dark Souls.
    • The game only has sixteen bosses and none of them are optional, except for the Vanguard in the tutorial, which the player is meant to die to and not defeat. The game also largely falls into Hard Levels, Easy Bosses compared to the games that came after it; while reaching bosses is difficult due to a lack of checkpoints except after defeating a boss (which broke the game up into fairly clear-cut "levels") and a lower amount of shortcuts, most of the fights are fairly simple and slow-paced with a few exceptions. Later games in the same style would make bosses more challenging and more prominent.
    • Story-wise, the game has a pretty cut-and-dry, distinct good and bad ending that is decided by a last-minute decision of the player. Later games in the series and by Miyazaki would have the player instead choose between several flavours of Downer Ending, with multiple endings unlocked by Guide Dang It! levels of specific item hunting and side quests.
    • The density of background lore in item descriptions is lower in comparison to later games. For example, this game's Silver Demon's Soul has no lore in its item description, reading: "The Soul of the Demon 'Penetrator'. It radiates a strong power… Grants the holder a large number of Souls when used. Alternatively, it can be made into spells, miracles, or weapons." Dark Souls's Soul of Priscilla provides a bit more than a list of things that can be done with the soul, reading: "Soul of Priscilla the Crossbreed, trapped inside the painted world of Ariamis. Special beings have special souls. Use the soul of this crossbreed bastard child and antithesis to all life to acquire a huge amount of souls, or to create a unique weapon."
    • The game allows you to climb up certain shallow ledges by walking into them for a moment. later games played Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence completely straight until Sekiro and Elden Ring outright added a jump button.
    • The game's Ladder Physics do not allow you slide down or jump off. Once you've committed to climbing a ladder, you have to take it a step at a time to one end to get off.
  • The Eeyore: The Crestfallen Warrior.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The final boss of Shrine of Storms, the Storm King, a gargantuan sting ray.
    • In the second part of the Tower of Latria, there's the giant heart made of the bodies and fueled by the souls of the prisoners, which seems to be the only thing keeping the Old Monk alive.
    • And of course, the Old One, a gigantic, foliage-covered, formless god who is also the source of the Eternal Recurrence.
  • Elite Mook: There is usually one of these per world:
    • In Boletarian Palace, the Red-Eyed Knights which deal and take a lot of damage.
    • In Stonefang Tunnels, the Giant Bearbugs are huge and heavily armored, but extremely slow, and they deal fairly low and easily dodge-able damage. However, some of them block the way so you can't just go around them.
    • In Shrine of Storms, both the Dual-Wielding Black Skeletons and the Golden Skeletons.
    • The Tower of Latria's prison guards. They have powerful long-range attacks that will tear you to bits if your character doesn't have good magic defense, and if you try to close the distance, they can hit you with a paralyzing attack before running over and eating your brain.
    • In Valley of Defilement, the Giant Depraved Ones, who are extremely powerful and fast. Their attacks power through your attempts to block them and they are completely unimpeded by the swamp water, which slows you to a walk and takes away your ability to dodge.
    • The Black Phantom version of any enemy will deal and take much more damage than most regular enemies.
  • Equivalent Exchange: A demon's soul for your life.
  • Escort Mission: Luckily of the non-mandatory variety. There are spots in World 1 where you have to save Ostrava from some sticky situations and where he'd likely be killed without your help. Failing to save him doesn't penalize you or stop you from progressing; in fact, letting him die effortlessly nets you a valuable key much sooner than you'd normally get it. But if you do want to keep him alive you have to be careful if you die and return to a level he's on before you've completed it, since in 1-1 and 1-3 he'll still be around and blunder right into the respawned enemies.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Patches, the backstabbing thief, will warn you to stay away from Yurt the Silent Chief.
  • Evil Is Easy: The only way to obtain Pure White Character Tendency is to kill certain Black Phantoms, those being either the Black Phantom versions of NPCs that appear in Pure White World Tendency, or invading players. This means you either have five chances per cycle to raise it, or you'll have to fight actual players. To obtain Pure Black Character Tendency instead, all you have to do is pick some NPCs to slaughter (though invading as a Black Phantom and killing the host works too), with there already being three or four in the Nexus that you won't particularly missnote . Considering that Evil Pays Better as stated below, it's hard to see from a purely mechanical standpoint how sticking to Pure White Character Tendency is really worth it.
  • Evil Mentor: Sage Freke can become one to you, if you follow his advice of killing the Maiden in Black at the end to seize the Old One's power for yourself.
  • Evil Overlord:
    • The Old Monk, master of the Tower of Latria, who overthrew the rightful Queen of Latria and began to conduct foul magical experiments on their people, turning them into the army of demons you face in the level. He's eventually revealed to be a mere pawn for the possessed magical robes he wears, which are the real demon you need to face.
    • King Allant, who effectively caused the entire mess by awakening the Old One.
  • Evil Pays Better: The reward for gaining Pure White Character Tendency is the Friend's Ring, which increases damage dealt as a Blue Phantom by 20%. Neat if you tend to do that sort of thingnote , but you ultimately only need the one since you can't equip two of the same ring. For keeping Pure Black Character tendency, you get the Foe's Ring, which is the same thing but as a Black Phantom, but on top of that you get two extra Colorless Demon's Souls, which are difficult to acquire upgrade components of which there are only ten per game cycle, including these two. Not only that, but considering that Evil Is Easy and your Character Tendency has nothing to do with the ending you get, it's certainly the more attractive option between the two.
    • At the end of the game, you are given one of two Demon's Souls. For doing as you're told, you get the Maiden in Black Demon's Soul, which gives 60,000 Souls when used or can be given to Yuria for the Soulsucker spell. Instead killing her will get you the Beast Demon's Soul, which has no use for weapons, spells, or miracles, but confers a hefty 200,000 souls when used. Seeing as how once you get any spell you have it for keeps, it's most profitable to be good once, then turn to the dark side for the end of every other cycle. Then again, it's not that hard to make 200,000 souls anyway thanks to the Reaper, so the difference isn't as big as it sounds once you have Soulsucker. note 
  • Evil Plan: The Old One has a simple one: collect souls for eating. Allant found this out the hard way.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Tower of Latria.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Most boss names say it how it is: Tower Knight, Armored Spider, Phalanx, Penetrator, to name a few.
  • Experience Points: Souls are both these and currency.
  • Exploding Barrels: Found around the place, although they explode only when set on fire. Hitting them with regular weaponry just breaks them.
    • Of course, God help you if your weapon is on fire when you hit it.
  • Fake Difficulty: Normally, the game avoids this. Deaths are due to mistakes, and generally your own fault. However, it's in full swing in the Valley of Defilement. The problem is that your enemies are fast, painful, and hardy. You can be painful and hardy, but 95% of the second stage severely inhibits your movement, disallowing you from running normally, sprinting at all, and rolling, which is the only thing that keeps you alive in this game. The result is being forced to get smashed by giants with clubs when you're barely able to evade them, and even less able to retaliate, the only exception being if you can engage the enemy on the very scarce land, which isn't possible in some cases. Your best option is to avoid combat by staying away from enemies while wading through the muck with a Ring of Poison Resistance until you get to solid ground.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: The Blue-Eyed Knights. They can do a lot of damage to you early in the game, but their attacks are predictable and they're quite easy to outmaneuver.
    • The fireball-using Fat Officials in Stonefang Tunnel can count as this to players who first meet them, as they are the first enemies that use spells if the player hasn't been to the Tower of Latria yet.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The tutorial ends with you coming face-to-face with the monstrous Vanguard in a very enclosed space. You're supposed to die so that your soul can be bound to the Nexus. If you're good enough, however, you can kill the Vanguard, which nets you a lot of soul items. And then you die anyway, so that your soul can be bound to the Nexus.note 
  • Fat Bastard: The Fat Officials, the Adjudicator, and the Vanguard demons.
  • First Episode Resurrection: The tutorial ends with your death, and The Maiden in Black brings you back to life in your soul form.
  • Flaming Sword: Just add turpentine. Then there are the Dragon weapons, which have permanent fire effects.
  • Flunky Boss: The Phalanx Demon and The Tower Knight. For Phalanx, the boss itself is completely helpless, relying on the swarm of shield-bearing Hoplite soldiers that surrounds it for protection. The Tower Knight is quite formidable on his own, but is assisted by a squad of crossbowmen who constantly fire at you from the ramparts that you need to deal with before you can duel the Knight himself.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the spears you can find is called a revelation from god. It's made completely from wood. Since there is no god, only the Old One, that means the spear was made from a piece of the Old One himself.
  • Friendly Fireproof: An arrow launched at you by an enemy will just pass through other enemies, though the Blue Dragon will toast anything, allied or not.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: The Monumental is the only NPC that reacts to being attacked without taking damage and it chides you for wasting your energy.
  • Gender-Restricted Gear: Male and female avatars have 4 complete armor sets to their genders. In addition to this, female avatars have an exclusive pair of gloves that boosts their soul gains.
  • Genius Bonus: The name Boletaria sounds like a standard fictitious name. It's a play on a category of mushrooms.
  • God Is Evil: There are hints implying that God, the deity venerated by Urbain and his followers, and the Old One responsible for this whole mess, are one and the same.
  • Giant Flyer: The Storm Ruler. Because giant flying doom mantas just aren't giant flying doom mantas unless they're big enough to sweep most of the arena in massive spines in a single strafing run.
  • Gradual Regeneration: The Regenerator's Ring, Adjudicator's Shield and any type of blessed weaponry have this power. They can be stacked.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Blacksmith Ed. Boldwin counts, too, but isn't nearly as grumpy as his brother.
  • Guide Dang It!: The official strategy guide is only available in the Deluxe edition. Of which production ceased two weeks after the game was released.
    • There are items that cannot be found without the right World Tendency. Plus there are several visible side areas that can't be accessed and NPCs with side quests that can't be completed without the right Tendency. It's easy for players to get stuck trying to figure out a side quest or how to get into an area without realizing that they need to change the Tendency (which is itself a Guide Dang It!). Probably the most notorious example is Lord Rydell in the Tower of Latria. You find him in his cell easily and you're given a definite clue as to where the key to his cell is, so you just need to find it, right? Wrong. You need to get Pure White World tendency for World 3 and then locate the key in World 3-2. It doesn't help that keys to cells and floors are already all over the first stage of the Tower of Latria and the clue you get can easily be interpreted as hinting that one of the Fat Officials in Worlds 1 or 2 is holding the key (and Fat Officials in 1-3 already have keys to prison cells holding other NPCs). The Internet is still rife with gamers demanding to know how they can save Lord Rydell after they've wasted hours trying in vain to find the right key.
    • Getting the Penetrator Armor Set in the remake requires figuring out that seemingly unrelated elements introduced in the Remake are actually connected. The set is behind a hidden locked door. Finding the door isn’t difficult but the game doesn’t tell you or even hint at how to unlock the door. The key required to unlocked it requires trading in several Ceramic Coins, an obscure item only found when entering the Fractured World, which is a game mode that mirrors the game horizontally but doesn’t appear to do much else. The coins are hidden behind Pure White or Black Tendency (both are required to maximize the number of coins found) and don’t have much use aside from restoring a pitiful amount of health. They turn into broken coins when dropped and picked up, save for the one location where they need to be traded at (which itself is in a different world than the locked door). Even if you know all of the above, you won’t be able to get enough coins to obtain the key without going through multiple New Game Plus playthroughs. Suffice to say, a new player isn’t going to stumble on the solution by accident.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: In general, the bosses in the game are the easiest in the series, with simplistic attack patterns and not much in the way of clever trickery. The levels, on the other hand, tend to be a major ordeal, with the difficulty of some bordering on the hellish, a matter not helped by checkpoints only coming whenever you defeat a boss.
  • Hellhole Prison: The Prison of Hope, which is filled with torture chambers, manned by sadistic Mind Flayers, and contains cells so small that prisoners can't sit down.
  • Heroic Fantasy
  • Holiday Mode: Halloween 2009 temporarily made it harder by upping the damage of the monsters.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The Vanguard at the end of the tutorial, to serve the plot. Beating him is acknowledged by the game, earning the player a decent reward for his or her trouble...and also nets the player the privilege of being killed in a cutscene encounter with the Dragon God, end-boss of Stonefang Tunnel.
  • Homage: Tower of Latria's swamp looks a lot like ActRaiser's Bloodpool, down to the red bloodied waters.
  • Implied Love Interest: Maiden Astraea and Garl Vinland seem to have more than just a bodyguard relationship, and care about each other to the point that if the player kills one of them, the other won't attack and will kill themselves out of grief.
  • Infinite Flashlight: The light stone on your belt.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Meat Cleaver, a large sword made from the Adjudicator demon's soul, has the best stat boosts in the game (it gets boosted by YOUR stats, not the other way around), having A's in strength and dexterity, and an S in Faith, meaning that as long as you work on those stats, its damage scales up much faster than any other weapon in the game. Although it is a bit bigger and slower than other swords, once the player passes a certain threshold, its damage leaves all other weapons in the dust.
    • The Blueblood sword is probably closer; it requires you to finish arguably the hardest world before it can be forged, it requires a large spread of stats, and its true power requires an unorthodox stat-spread (it scales best off Luck, which is otherwise considered useless). It's quite fast, has massive power, and can be enchanted (most of the other candidates can't be), making it an almost instant gamebreaker. As a bonus, it requires forging from a broken sword.
    • While not necessarily superior to either the Meat Cleaver or Blueblood Sword in performance, some of the fully upgraded weapon paths can fall under this due to how many of them require farming for ore to forge. The fully upgraded "Sharp" path is particularly infamous as it requires getting a rare ore which can only be dropped by 2 types of enemies (of which there can only be one of each in the area they drop them) and the possibility of them dropping is incredibly low. Comparatively speaking, forging either the Meat Cleaver or Blueblood Sword is relatively simple (or at least less of a test in patience).
    • The Dragon Bone Smasher. While it has "only" a B scaling in strength, it also has the highest Base Damage in the game, and can be enchanted. It's a bit held back by being very slow, but also has humongous swing arcs.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: You can't jump even by running off ledges, and just about any ledge higher than your knees is off-limits, but with short ledges that aren't meant to block off out-of-bounds areas, you can move against them and hoist yourself up.
    • The area below the Nexus has insurmountable knee-high stone blocks that keep you from just wandering off into the wastes.
  • Jerkass: Patches the Hyena, Satsuki, Sage Freke's disciple, and the Filthy Woman.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Sage Freke originally starts out as a wizard seeking to understand the power and nature of souls. The further into the adventure, the more... disturbingly fascinated he becomes with the power and knowledge they grant him, until at the end, he urges the Player Character to not lull the Old One to sleep, and let the world continue on in its broken, chaotic state, so he can continue to utilize the Soul Arts. By following this advice, the Player Character does as well.
  • Justified Tutorial: It's your entrance into Boletaria. It can be skipped, though, but it's recommended to go through it for the souls and extra items.
  • Karma Meter: Soul Tendency.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Katanas are only better if you have the DEX to back them up. They also have some of the lowest durability in the game, making you a fine target for those that enjoyed the Scraping Spear. They are, however, very good on your stamina, have a very long range, and could exploit a tactic called pushlocking in PvP to make it all but impossible for the player it's used on to strike back... until they figured out that the easiest way to break pushlocking is to switch weapons.
  • Kevlard: The Adjudicator qualifies, although the Meat Cleaver stuck in his chest was a pretty good indicator of where you had to hit him.
  • Kill It with Fire: An effective tactic against the Phalanx demon.
    • And every enemy in the Valley of Defilement. All that filth must be very very flammable.
    • The three primary damage types are physical, magic, and fire, 'nuff said.
  • Lady and Knight:
    • The Slayer of Demons and Maiden in Black have this going on, with their titles being very self-explanatory. The Slayer must venture forth to kill the demons, which would be an impossible task if not for the Maiden's assistance.
    • Maiden Astraea and Garl Vinland, are a more traditional example. Astraea commits to her sacred duties as a saint of the church, and Vinland protects her. Both are utterly devoted to one another, to the point where if one dies, the other can't go on living.
  • Large Ham: Biorr of the Twin Fangs.
  • Last of His Kind: The Monumental. It sits on the higher of two floors, each with long walls lined with dozens of its similarly-dressed companions, all dead, each with a snuffed candle in front of them. The one living Monumental is the only one with a lit candle.
  • Level in Reverse: In the remake, interacting with a statue in the Nexus switches the game to Fractured Mode, which mirrors the entirety of the game, similar to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest.
  • Light Is Not Good: Maiden Astraea. A once pious person, she did not take it well when her faith shattered, taking on the soul of a demon and ruling over the corrupted denizens of the Valley of Defilement. She is described as having "the most impure soul."
    • Granted, her alleged impurity becomes more of an Informed Flaw when you realize that switching her loyalty from God to demons wasn't really much of a change at all — see below.
    • Miracles may seem all dandy and righteous, but when you realize they require demon's souls to learn (not at all unlike spells) and that God might not exist or even be the Old One, well...
  • Light Is Good: Astrea's soul is impure because she is absorbing as much of the filth as she can, to make the Valley a slightly better place for the denizens. She is not so much ruling over them as comforting them.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Any boss that's sufficiently fast is this due to the high damage output in the game. Notably, the Flamelurker can access anywhere in the arena in seconds and uses its speed to overwhelm the player by closing any safe distance. The Maneaters meanwhile are highly aggressive and frequently charge the player. If they take enough damage, they fly off near-instantly to escape the hits and come back just as hard. And there's two of them.
  • Living Currency: Souls are the standard currency in the game.
  • Lord British Postulate: The Hopeless Boss Fight at the start of the game has a health bar just like all the other, non-hopeless bosses. The dev team anticipated this trope and added a scripted kill-the-player-instantly sequence in the very next hallway, just in case.

  • Made of Iron: All of the NPCs are incredibly sturdy and have a lot of health, but special mention has to go to Biorr. He helps you in your fight against the Penetrator and the Blue Dragon, and both times, he takes the brunt of the punishment, the kind which you'd die from easily, yet he can keep taking all the damage and keep standing up to charge.
    • To put that into perspective, when you see him the second time, Biorr takes repeated blasts from an enemy that would kill you in one hit (at around 600 HP). Biorr takes 20 HP from the attack. This becomes less fun when dealing with enemy unique NPCs (Rydell has more HP than you can max out at in the game).
    • This is because has the full Brushwood set, a Purple Flame Shield, and possibly a Flame Resistance Ring, meaning that he laughs at flame attacks. This set up can, in turn, make Flame Lurker reasonably easy as barring his claws, he loses much of his firepower.
  • The Magic Comes Back: The awakening of the Old One marked the return of the long-forgotten Soul Arts. Magic could be cast and miracles of God could be invoked again.
  • The Magic Goes Away: When the Old One is lulled back to sleep, the Soul Arts disappear once more.
  • Magic Is Evil: Played surprisingly straight. Magic, or "The Soul Arts" being rediscovered is what leads to the second Scourge, and most magic is born of demons. Sage Freke, the most powerful mage you meet who has a reputation as wizarding wunderkind, goes insane at the end of the game and asks you to kill the Maiden in Black and let the colorless fog engulf the world just to keep the Soul Arts around. You can also purify demon's souls to make miracles as countersigns against them, but according to the Talisman of Beasts, God is just the Old One, making miracles the same thing as magic.
  • Magic is Feminine: Women in the setting have an intuitive understanding of the demons' (or rather the Demon's) soul-based magic, as explained by Yuria the Witch, and evident in the majority of powerful human magic users being female, from the Maiden in Black, through Maiden Astrea, to the Monumental. Men, by contrast, obtain their magical power from a long-term study of the souls (like Sage Freke) or from intense ritualistic practices of the Church (like Saint Urbain).
  • Magic Knight: The game has a Point Build System where you're free to increase magic stats alongside physical ones. An even distribution will make you a Master of None without excessive Level Grinding, but even the minimum investment Intelligence (for Spell slots and Mana) or Faith (for Miracle slots) unlocks a number of useful abilities, as spells have no direct stat requirements, while Moon and Crescent weapons can give any mage power in a melee fight.
  • Mephistopheles: A woman named Mephistopheles will appear in the Nexus if the player saves, then kills Yurt, the Silent Chief. It seems she's from a mysterious group of assassins tasked with hiding the secrets of the Soul Arts and thus, she tasks you with offing several NPC's (many of whom are important merchants.) Yurt would have done the same thing, but with him gone, she needs someone to fill in his position. Naturally, at the end of her quest line she attempts to assassinate you.
  • Messianic Archetype: Astraea has elements of this, as she willingly suffers for the inhabitants of the Valley of Defilement by absorbing their impurities into herself, healing them but making herself increasingly corrupted.
  • Mighty Glacier: A few. The Tower Knight shuffles more than it actually walks, being a giant suit of armor that creaks as it moves. Garl Vinland is very heavily armored, moves slowly, never rolls and carries an extremely heavy hammer that can kill in one hit. And the Phalanx, Dirty Collossus, and the real King Allant are so slow-moving they border on being Stationary Bosses.
  • Mirror Boss: Old Monk, of the "equivalency" rather than "identical" type. You actually fight another player in Black Phantom form if you played online.
  • Mook Chivalry: The dreglings in the intro cinematic are polite enough to attack the Slayer of Demons one at a time despite surrounding him. The enemies in the actual game won't extend you the same courtesy.
  • Mook Lieutenant: The Fat Officials, who appear to be in command of the various mooks you encounter in Boletaria and Stonefang.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The Dragon God.
  • Multiple Endings: Of the Last-Second Ending Choice variety. Unlike Dark Souls or Bloodborne, all choices are open to you immediately.
    • Good Ending: The Slayer of Demons leaves the Maiden in Black and allows her to lull the Old One back to slumber. The Soul Arts vanish not long afterwards, and the colorless deep fog dissipates. The Slayer of Demons remains and becomes the new Monumental watching over the Nexus.
    • Bad Ending: The Slayer of Demons kills the Maiden in Black, continuing what Old King Allant started and embraces their new role as a soul-devouring demon under the Old One.
  • Mysterious Waif: The Maiden in Black.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Mephistopheles (she will task you with killing the other inhabitants of the Nexus, and will attack you with the Soulsucker when you've accomplished it), Miralda the Executioner (will attack you whether she's alive or a Black Phantom), and Yurt the Silent Chief (one boss fight after you free him in the Tower of Latria, he starts assassinating people in the Nexus).
    • The Penetrator.
    • The Dragon God.
    • The Maneaters, especially being widely considered one of the most difficult boss fights in the game.
  • New Game+: After completing the game, you return to the beginning with all your stats, souls, items, equipment, and spells on hand. And the enemies are even tougher now.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: In the original version, Vanguard is a direct model reuse of the "Drabrad" Golem in Enchanted Arms.
  • Nice Hat: The Fat Officials wear them. Also, in order to rescue Yuria, the player has to wear one of these hats as a disguise.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game demands impeccable timing to attack and block in a sea of enemies who'll stun-lock you to death - if they won't nail you from afar.
    • The series as a whole is considered the modern reigning champion of this trope, along with the Shin Megami Tensei series. Oh, and DS was published by Atlus, ShinMegaTen's developer. Coincidence? Pfft, no.
  • Noble Top Enforcer: Garl Vinland.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Release Yurt from his prison, and he will happily begin butchering all the various helpful NPCs in the Nexus. And when he's done with them, he'll come for you!
  • Obsolete Mentor: In a weird gameplay sort of way, rather than a narrative one. Freke's Apprentice will teach the player basic spells that only require regular souls to learn, and can set or change the player's loaded spells. When Freke is rescued, he does the same things on top of having a selection of spells that use boss souls instead, so Freke's Apprentice becomes the obvious obsolete mentor (The Disciple of God doesn't count, as he disappears outright once Urbain becomes available). The weird part is that this also applies to Freke himself, as Yuria also allows the player to manage their spells, including those taught by Freke, meaning that if you bought all of Freke's spells then there's nothing he can do that Yuria can't do just as well. Why this pushes Freke toward this position instead of Yuria is because of Mephistopheles. In order to get the Colorless Demon's Souls rewarded to you for killing Patches and Biorr, you also need to take out Freke and Urbain first. Yuria, on the other hand, is the final target given to you by Mephistopheles and killing her gets you the Foe's Ring, which on top of being useless offline is something that you would only ever need one of since you can't wear two of them at once (whereas Colorless Demon's Souls are used to upgrade special weapons and shields, and the ten per playthrough you can get is only good enough for two items). Thus, spellcasters who already have all of Freke's spells have nothing to lose by killing him for Mephistopheles since Yuria has them covered on everything, making him the second obsolete mentor.
  • Obviously Evil: Yurt the Silent Chief. The menacing voice... the Sauron-like armor... the sinister sickle-like weapon... the statement that "Life is not so precious." Really, though, he's in a cage when you meet him. If he is anything, it is not good.
  • Ominous Fog: One that carries soul-devouring demons in it as well. When Allant woke the Old One up, the "colorless deep fog" spread all across Boletaria, with few able to escape its clutches and even fewer able to break into the fog.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: Only when you impress King Doran with your fighting prowess will he let you have the Demonbrand.
  • Our Demons Are Different: All demons spawn from the Old One, a giant plant monster with a mindless hunger for souls. They take on a variety of forms, ranging from conventional monsters to Humanoid Abominations. They can manifest from nothing, take possession of corpses (like the Dragon God and the Old Hero), can be humans turned into demons (like Boletaria's Knights and Maiden Astraea) and can even manifest in the forms of human belief (the Adjudicator and the Storm King originally gods from the Shadowmen's faith).
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: When you die, you return in "Soul Form" (this will probably happen a lot). There are also friendly blue phantoms as well as hostile black phantoms, unusual in that players as well as NPCs can become them. While NPCs and their black phantom incarnations are gone for good when you kill them, there are a number of ways for players to come Back from the Dead.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Donning just the hat looted from the Fat Officials is enough to fool both the Fat Official holding Yuria the witch prisoner—who will lower a ramp for you and avoid attacking unless you take it off again—and Yuria herself.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • In the first stage of Boletarian Palace, there's a Red-eyed Knight. You are not supposed to casually take them on until about 30 character levels later. You can, however, position yourself so the character AI walks off a cliff and kills itself from falling damage. This enemy respawns every time you enter the stage, and you get a lot of souls from it.
    • The beginning of the second stage in the Shrine of Storms (4-2) has a nearby flying manta and a soul-summoning reaper-esque enemy that are collectively worth a solid 7,000 souls when killed while wearing the Ring of Avarice, a ring that gives you more souls for your kills. Just start 4-2 with a bow and some decent arrows and take out the flying manta when it flies close. Right after that, run inside to the ledge between the two narrow bridges and snipe the reaper enemy waiting in front of the altar below. Collect your 7,000 souls, return to the Nexus, come back, repeat.
    • The Storm King Archstone (4-3) after you defeat said Storm King is a prime spot for racking up souls by using the Storm Ruler to kill the large flock of flying mantas. Since there's an archstone right there, it's easy to teleport back to the Nexus and return for another round of manta killing. With the Soul Thirst spell you can get up to 35,000 souls per round, but even without Soul Thirst it's a simple and safe way (that is, by Dark Souls standards) to grind quickly.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Many, many items and demon souls. The main reason for this is because reloading a previously saved file does not mend your mistake; once it's done, it's done for the entirety of this playthrough. For example, if a crucial NPC dies, anything related to them are lost until you start New Game+. In some cases, you have to make a choice on which item to obtain, losing the other in the process. World Tendencies also seem to affect this greatly. One of the biggest replay values of the game is trying out different options and collecting previously unobtained items. However, the Monk's Head Collar became the only completely unobtainable item in the game after the online servers shut down at the end of February 2018; while the only other item that requires being online to get is an Ephemeral Eye Stone found in the pantheon at the very top of the Nexus, it's not a completely unique item.
  • Photo Mode: The Video Game Remake adds one to the Toolbelt and allows to hide the player or gear, pose and apply a variety of filters.
  • Piñata Enemy: The miners with sacks and the Crystal Geckos. Both appear only a set amount of times per playthrough, making them very, very valuable.
  • Player Killing: Invasion is a mechanic allowing Soul Form players to enter the games of Body Form players in order to revive into Body Form themselves. Invaders are called "Black Phantoms" and use the Black Eye Stone to engage in this mechanic.
  • Power Copying: You can learn powerful magic or abilities from boss demons by taking their souls to Sage Freke, Yuria or Saint Urbain. By taking them to Ed the Blacksmith you can make powerful unique weapons with different effects and uses.
  • Pun: "Prison of Hope" ironically puns on Zechariah 9:12's "prisoners of hope", both emphasizing how religion structures the prison and how the prisoners will find no deliverance.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Gender doesn't affect base stats; though it does affect which armor the player can wear. Female characters have exclusive access to Silver Bracelets (a gauntlet which increases the amount of souls you get every time you kill an enemy), the Binded armor set (light armor with high fire resistance, zero stamina regeneration penalty, and can be acquired as early as after the first boss) and others. On the other hand, males have exclusive access to the Old King armor Set (heavy armor with high fire resist and no stamina penalty), Dark Silver armor set (heavy armor with remarkably high magic resistance), and others. Overall, men get more suits of armour.
  • Recurring Boss: In a manner of speaking. The three Black Phantoms encountered in the room right after the Penetrator boss fight are actually the three bosses you had fought in the Boletarian Palace so far - Phalanx, Tower Knight, and Penetrator - only as their former human selves.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Red-Eyed Knights, The Black Phantoms and The Dragon God.
    • One sure way to tell a strong enemy from the rest is whether or not its eyes glow.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The two dragons in World 1-1. The red dragon is standing at its nest in an attack position, searching for prey, and will immediately come after you if you dare set foot on the bridge several hundred feet away. The blue dragon, meanwhile, is taking a nap.
    • Yet, when you get close to the blue dragon, it's swinging tail will suddenly aim at you & try to crush you. Maybe he's just pretending to take a nap.
  • Role-Playing Game: An Action RPG, which is made by the East, but also has elements of the West (sort of).
  • Royal Rapier: The rapier is treated this way, as the Royalty class uses one as their starting weapon.
  • Sequence Breaking: Normally, while advancing in a world, the player has to go through fog gates, usually 3. In world 4-1 it is possible to bypass all 3 fog gates and finish the level in 5 minutes.
  • Serial Escalation:
    • Depending on how you play the game, you may end up facing the final boss with the following equipment setup: The armor of an ancient demigod king, a shield dedicated to the judge of fallen warriors, a spear that is considered a Revelation From God (and boosted five times from the souls of demons), a bow forged from the soul of a Demonic Spider, and a divine talisman crafted in the image of the Big Bad. Need I go on?
    • The game itself pulls one on you: having New Game+ means that you can now go slaughter all those hapless Demons with your overpowered stats a la traditional JRPG, right? Wrong, with each successive New Game Plus you take, the game gets harder!
    • Another example is simply having 99 on all stats, due to the insanely curving amount of Souls needed to upgrade the more you go on. Full Brushwood Armor set (heaviest in the game) and dual wielding the Dragon Bone/Keel Smasher (also the heaviest in the game), and still able to keep it under half maximum equip burden for normal rolling? Experienced players' responses would be somewhere along the lines of: "Been there, done that."
  • Serial Killer: Yurt, who begins killing people in the Nexus if you free him and do not immediately kill him.
  • Sinister Stingrays: In the Shrine of Storms stage, the sky is populated by manta ray-esque Storm Beasts, which glide through the air and fire crystal barbs at players. The final boss of the area is the Storm King, the massive progenitor of these monsters that is large enough to have easily a dozen Storm Beasts clinging to its back and underside.
  • Shoot the Dog: No matter how you cut it, killing Maiden Astraea and Garl Vinland, who only want to bring comfort and salvation to those abandoned in the Valley of Defilement, is a morally reprehensible act, but it has to be done in order to reach the Old One.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The kingdom's name is Boletaria, a play on "bolete": it's literally a Mushroom Kingdom.
    • Many fans are convinced that the game is full of references to Berserk, although most of these things are widespread enough that they could have come from other sources and Miyazaki's mention of Berserk in a certain interview has been blown out of proportion by the fans.
    • You can get some Old Spice in the original game (it was renamed "Aged Spice" in the remake).
    • The Large Sword of Moonlight is this game's entry in the lineage of powerful melee weapons named Moonlight in FromSoftware games.
    • Some of the character names are references to Armored Core: For Answer. Examples include Ostrava/Otsdarva, Old King Doran, Patches the Hyena/Patch the Good Luck (bonus point for both being dirty cowards) and Risaia of Istaril.
    • The Old Monk was once married to the Queen of Latria, and his most prominent feature is the yellow robe he wears. This would make him a King in Yellow.
    • The Prison of Hope's name is a reference to the Book of Zechariah's phrase "prisoners of hope".
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Hoplites, most Blue-Eye and Red-Eye Knights, certain Black Phantoms. Also includes a Shield Bearing Boss: the appropriately-named Tower Knight, who bears an appropriately-sized tower shield for his stature, and spans several stories in height.
  • Slasher Smile: The Fat Officials sport permanent rictus grins.
  • Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship: The various straight swords (with the exception of rapier-type weaponry) can be used to both slash and thrust, although their effectiveness in doing so varies. For example, the long sword is a balanced weapon and can be used to slash and thrust, although it's not as effective at slashing as the falchion and not as effective at thrusting as the rapier.
  • Socketed Equipment: Almost every weapon and shield in the game can be imbued with "Transmogrified sprites," or shards of special stone, that can affect how weapons deal damage, what sorts of damage weapons deal, what player abilities can affect a weapon's damage output and by how much, etc.; and can even confer small bonuses to health or mana regeneration. By imbuing mundane weapons with certain demon souls, you can change weapons into special unique versions with vastly different properties. These and other special weapons you find throughout the game can be further enhanced by applying the souls of infant demons.
  • Soul-Powered Engine:
    • Magic is fueled by the energy of souls. The NPCs are pretty verbal about this, and is part of the reason why magic in any form is considered a dark art by the church.
    • To a degree, the player character and demons. The level-up system works by absorbing the souls of the fallen into one's own soul, thus bolstering it.
    • The Old One is a being that has a literally infinite appetite for souls. It's never said that it actually grows stronger or is fueled off of these, though; rather, a place devoid of souls is open to invasion by the deep fog.
  • Speech Impediment: Scirvir the Wanderer has a stutter.
  • Spiritual Successor:
  • Stationary Boss: The Armor Spider, Dragon God, and Leechmonger are all stationary, and the Adjudicator is so slow-moving and has so little room to move around in that it might as well be. Borderline cases include the Phalanx, the Dirty Collossus, and the real King Allant. Whether or not Maiden Astraea counts depends on whether you consider her the actual boss of her level at all.
  • Stationary Enemy: "Primeval Demons" (often incorrectly labeled as a boss, even though they don't get any of the usual boss cues) — a bloated creature that is immobile and can only attack straight ahead without turning. They spawn only in Pure Black World Tendency and serve primarily to revert their respective world (there is only one in each major game area) back towards White Tendency.
  • Storming the Castle: The entirety of the Boletarian Palace is essentially this spread over the whole game. Along the way, you'll end up killing most of Boletaria's remaining knights and soldiers.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: In order to save Saint Urbain, you are required to fall for the exact same painfully obvious trap that he fell for – one which his disciples warn you about multiple times, in fact – though you can play it as a more straightforward break-in and -out if you kill Patches along the way.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    Patches: Nothing here is stolen, I swear. I no longer partake in the whole "corpse-robbing" thing. Yeah… No, I'm completely free from my vice. My old mother would be proud indeed!
  • Swamps Are Evil:
    • The Valley of Defilement is a sprawling toxic swamp, populated by all manners of fetid creatures, from giant blood-sucking mosquitoes, depraved mutants, plagued rats, and is home to the most "impure soul of all", Maiden Astraea.
    • The fetid swamp at the base of the Tower of Latria is another one, filled with the mutant castoffs from the Tower itself and dead torture victims affixed to hobbling wheels.
  • Teleport Spam: Fool's Idol, combining with Doppelgänger Spin for Shell Game shenanigans.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: This starts happening in the Nexus after you free Yurt the Silent Chief. From that point forward, every time you kill a boss Yurt will kill someone, starting with two anonymous corpses and then progressing to important vendors. The only way to stop it is to find the killer's hiding spot and kill him, but he'll stop on his own after killing 5 people, leaving really important NPCs like Stockpile Thomas and Boldwin alone.
  • Tin Tyrant: Many enemies and bosses are covered in armor, including the Tower Knight and the Penetrator. You can also get full armor sets for the player character.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The death penalty promotes using souls up whenever you get the chance, but it's also easy to start hoarding other items, even in situations where they would be very useful.
    • The Stone of Ephemeral Eyes can instantly revive you in soul form. But there is only a small, set number of them per playthrough, and the only enemies who have a chance to drop them are the Giant Depraved Ones and the Plague Babies, both located in the much-hated Valley of Defilement. Then there is the fact that defeating a boss has the exact same effect, so often you might as well save the stone and defeat the boss in soul form (unless you want to shift the world tendency). The only merchant who carries and restocks them is the Old Woman in the Valley of Defilement, but only if you're out of them.
  • Torture Cellar: All around the Tower of Latria. While the Prison of Hope (3-1) is this period, there's stuff like breaking wheels down in the mini-swamp at the bottom of 3-2.
  • Tragic Villain: Maiden Astraea, who is only considered a demon because she willingly absorbed the impurities of the Valley of Defilement to try and relieve the pain of its inhabitants.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Fitting the game's "hard but fair" image, you're encouraged to repeatedly try against bosses and enemies to try what they're weakest against, and also be aware of what happens if you have to play through a section repeatedly. Messages from prior players can help with this, but there are indeed a few trolls among them.
  • Troubled, but Cute: The Maiden in Black. She's gloomy, she's blind, but her voice and demeanor are just precious.
  • Turns Red: When his health is getting low, the Flamelurker burns brighter and he attacks a lot more aggressively.
  • Undead Child: The Plague Babies are this trope ramped Up to Eleven. Why? They're undead aborted foetuses.
  • Unexplained Accent: Just what kind of accent does the Maiden in Black have anyway?
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The more you die (except for spirit form deaths, if you've patched), the blacker it gets, and when it's all dark, it becomes harder. It's not too bad as you don't lose your items, plus some good things only appear when the world is Pure Black.
    • In the remake, defeating enemy phantoms pushes you towards White Character Tendency. Additionally, if you push an area's World Tendency towards one of the two extremes, special NPCs and enemies will appear in that area; killing them will push the World Tendency in the opposite direction.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Ed, who can upgrade weapons using every kind of ore. And he's one of the few remaining lucid people in Stonefang.
  • Useless Item: The Blue, White, Red, and Black Eye Stones, the Friend's Ring, and the Foe's Ring became this once the online servers for the game went down. The Eye Stones are useless during offline play anyway, while the Friend's/Foe's Rings are useless for the boosts they give to Blue/Black Phantom forms respectively: all six items are only useful for 100% item completion purposes.
  • Vader Breath: The Blue Eye and Red Eye Knights.
  • Warrior Prince: Ostrava of Boletaria, but he tends to be in need of rescue when you encounter him so it stretches this trope a bit.
  • Was Once a Man: A number of bosses and enemies were normal humans before the fog consumed their souls and turned them into demons, for example the trio of black phantoms you meet after the dead dragon in 1-4. They were the humans that turned into the bosses from 1-1 to 1-3.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Adjudicator has one major weakness: people moving clockwise. Every one of its powerful attacks can be dodged if you run clockwise around it.
  • Wham Episode: The final stage of the Valley of Defilement. All the previous zones have had massive, near-godlike Archdemons as their bosses, demonstrating that the Fog is capable of corrupting damn near anything into a serious threat. The Valley's Archdemon is Maiden Astraea, the helpful White Mage you've been hearing about. In a twist, not only is she still in control of herself, but she's actually helping the Defiled Ones of the valley and easing their suffering. Unfortunately, you still need to put her down since the mere presence of the Archdemons is corrupting the world. As the player approaches Astraea's abode, her protector Garl Vinland fights them delivers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the player and Boletaria in general for abandoning the people of the Valley, and Astrea's entourage, to die in the terrible conditions of the swamp.
    ''You will not turn back, will you? I shall let not harm come to dearest Astraea...How dare you persist in intruding upon our haven? You abandoned us long ago; what right do you have? We live humble lives. Leave us be!
  • Whip It Good: Fat Officials in Stonefang carry riding crops instead of their signature Great Axes. They don't hurt a lot, but if you block it, expect it to take off about 3/4ths of your stamina bar, if not completely guard break it.
  • With This Herring: You go into Boletaria alone, at no one's behest, so you only have the equipment you came in with, which you get to keep after the Vanguard kills you. You also wouldn't know that the currency of the Nexus is souls, so what currency a standard adventurer has would be worthless.
  • The Worm That Walks: The Leechmonger.
  • Wreaking Havok: There's plenty of destructible set pieces in all the worlds, but the real fun comes from killing basic enemies and running into their corpses and enjoying the subsequent flailing of disturbing creature's ligaments.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The majority of the game involves the protagonist doing the legwork for one, since the Old One will not allow the player near it until there are no longer any demons left to feed it souls. The protagonist has to go out and do the killing before anything can be done about the Old One. So either you feed it souls like it wants, or refuse and wander the fog until you wither away or something kills you, which would also please the Old One.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The Maiden in Black speaks like this.
    • So does Old King Doran.
  • You Bastard!: When you attack Maiden Astraea, she calls you out on such offensive dickery.
    "We have done nothing to you! Leave us be!"
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Maiden Astraea, if you kill Garl Vinland.

Phantom, you were not able to achieve your goal.
You must leave this world.


Video Example(s):


Demon's Souls

The Trope Maker. The game is set in the Kingdom of Boletaria, which was led to great prosperity by King Allant XII with the use of the power of souls, until it was beset by a strange colorless fog that isolated it from the rest of the world and brought soul-hungry demons with it.<br><br>After the world was let known of Boletaria's plight, legend spread of the chaos within the kingdom wreaked upon it by a beast from the Nexus and of the demons that grew ever more powerful with each soul they devoured. Many people went to Boletaria, either to save it from its plight or lured by the prospect of the power of souls, but all were lost in its chaos.<br><br>You are one such person, like many others now dead and trapped in the fog with your soul bound to the Nexus. From there, your journey begins...

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