Asylum Demon is the first boss encounter of Dark Souls, found within the Undead Asylum.
It feels like the game is throwing you in the deep end with a screen-filling foe, and though it does pack a bunch, you can take it down swiftly with the right approach.
Asylum Demon boss strategy
So, this is your first boss fight. Luckily for you, the Asylum Demon is ludicrously easy to telegraph. If you're unarmed and not running away to get the Demon Great Hammer, you'll be doing very little damage per hit, but watch out for its wide sweeping attacks in addition to the short-range attack that launches straight forward. In addition to this, the Asylum Demon has a Ground Pound attack that will leave an area of effect attack in its wake.
All of these attacks have significant windup animations, like the ground pound kicking off with the Asylum Demon flying into the air. This means that you will be able to dodge all of its attacks pretty easily.
If you're armed with a weapon, you should be able to take off chunks of health at a time, kicking off the fight with a drop down from the ledge, where you can do a drop attack which will take out a third of its health, again, if this is still your first encounter with this demon, you'll not be able to do this.
Stick to the monster's rear and wail on it, while looking out for the hammer's sweeping attack and the giant ground-pound. If you're having trouble, try to hide behind the pillars and use your Estus to heal in the window that it takes to get to you.
Stick behind its tail, and we'd also actually recommend not locking on to the target for this fight, since it's fairly large size will actually hamper your ability to move and dodge away from its wider area of effect attacks with the hammer and the ground pound.
You are also able to use the long windup of the ground pound to get away and recover stamina and recover if you manage to get a fair distance away from it.
Unarmed, this fight is more of a slog than a challenge, keep to the rear and press Triangle / Y button (on PlayStation / Xbox) to use the broken sword in two hands to double your damage output, it should make the fight go slightly faster, but keep an eye on your stamina, so you're able to react quickly to any follow up attacks it has.
Be sure not to fall into the trap that many Dark Souls newbies fall into and relentlessly attack until your stamina is depleted, this will mean that you won't be able to effectively dodge the Asylum Demon's attacks, and literally get stomped. There is no shame in running away defensively to recover stamina, or taking a moment to heal when you find a window.
If you're looking for more help, our Dark Souls walkthrough and guide can help with all other areas of the game, including the dreadedTaurus Demon, Capra Demon, Ornstein and Smough bosses. Meanwhile, we have explainers on how to access DLC Artorias of the Abyss, the best gift and best class in Dark Souls, Dark Souls' best weapons, Dark Souls Covenants, Dark Souls Estus Flasks locations, Dark Souls Titanite Slab locations and NPC quests including Lautrec of Carim.
Additionally, if you get caught in the Asylum Demon's ground pound attack, you will want to wait a little for the boss to do a followup sweeping attack. It can be tempting to immediately heal after seeing the amount of damage that it deals, but patience is key.
If you want to keep your distance away from the boss as well as attack from a safe distance, you will be able to use a ranged attack if you have selected a class that has that option available to them. If you have followed our advice and picked a Pyromancer when starting out, then you will be able to use your Fireball attack to hurtle your ungodly flames at it.
The Asylum Demon is one of the most straightforward bosses there are in Dark Souls, so this is more of a test to see if you've learnt everything that the tutorial has said rather than anything else- put this first test of skills and use everything to your advantage in order to win and eventually make your way into Lordran and the Firelink Shrine.