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Dark Souls 3 - Smouldering Lake and the Old Demon King

Optional area and boss: our comprehensive walkthrough for the Smouldering Lake, and how to defeat the Old Demon King in Dark Souls 3.

There are five optional boss fights, and while we could have tackled this next one straight after the Catacombs of Carthus, the other two required killing all the Lords of Cinder, so we've saved it for now to keep them all in one place. (Also, as we're now heading toward the final confrontation, it's going to get a lot tougher - so it's nice to have something a little easier to relax with!)

From the High Lord Wolnir bonfire, head back to the wooden bridge. Hit one of the end posts a couple of times to knock it down, then stand next to the edge to use it as a 'ladder'.

Head round the ledge and fight the big fire demon - he's got a flaming sword and a few stomping attacks, but sticking close behind him is relatively safe.

[SPOILERS!] Dark Souls 3 vs Dark Souls 1 Graphics Comparison

Once he's down follow the steps to the lower level - there are a few skeletons in this area, and the Old Sage's gear is scattered around on a few corpses here and in the tunnel ahead, so collect it while you fight and light the bonfire in the next room.

Head down the rough tunnel ahead until you reach the water. This is quite a large area with plenty of things to do, but if you just want to take on the boss simply turn left, dodge past the worm, and push through the fog gate.

If you're up for adventuring some more instead, then turn right at the shore and wade your way through.

Exploring the lake

Someone's firing spears at you, so stick behind cover if possible, keep a watchful eye for giant crabs, and follow the edge of the water to a small tunnel. You'll find two gem bugs, and you may encounter a summoned spirit in the next chamber.

Return to the main lake and head straight across. As you get closer to the other side you'll see a brick patch just poking above the surface of the water, and as you reach it a spear will come crashing down and you'll be thrown into a hole. When you land head left, kill the enemy at the T-junction, and head left again to find another bonfire.

Head down the steps at the other end of the room, turn right at the bottom and grab the item from the short turnoff along the passage, and pass through the next two chambers, taking out the beasties on patrol as you go.

When you reach a T-junction, turn left and roll into the wall to reveal a secret area - there's a knight in here giving a beatdown to a lesser enemy, so quickly run in and attack while he's distracted, and then pillage the corpse.

At the other end of the tunnel is a large room filled with floating fireballs and large demons. The fireballs act as a sort of intruder alert system and once one has spotted you things can turn nasty quite quickly. The exit to the room is located down a short flight of stairs in an arch left from the entrance, but there's an undead bone shard in a corpse at the far left if you want to run the gauntlet.

Head through the sewers - there's the usual array of giant and super-giant rats and poison frogs here - until you emerge into a tall chamber with a long narrow stone bridge. Run across and deal with the knight, luring him into the next room if possible to avoid accidentally plunging to your doom, and climb the series of ladders until you emerge by the lake again.

Follow the path up the slope and deal with a handful of skeletons until you reach the ballista, and disable it.

Drop down to the lake and head towards the giant worm. It's pretty imposing, but if you get in the right position it's simple (if time-consuming) to defeat: stand between it and the fog gate and wait for it to do its attack that involves spinning round in circles. When it pauses for breath, run in and hit it a few times and then back away before it starts moving again. If you do get hit it doesn't do too much damage, but it's still best avoided.

Keep hammering away, and eventually it'll be no more and you can head through the fog gate to tackle the boss.

How to kill the Old Demon King

You're going to need all the fire resistance you can muster here, so equip some suitable armour - physical resistance is a plus, but avoiding actually being hit is going to be much easier than avoiding the trails of fire.

This is definitely a fight that it pays to take slowly; only attack when you're sure you're safe. There are a few bits of scenery to take shelter behind in the arena, and while they won't protect you completely they should provide a bit of breathing space if you need to heal.

In the first phase, he'll largely stick to sweeping his club in a wide arc or leaping towards you to do an overhead smash, following each attack with a blast of fiery breath. Dodge backwards to avoid the sweeps, and when he makes his leaping attack roll through it - you should end up between his legs and have time to get a couple of hits in before rolling away to avoid the followup.

- The next part of our walkthrough explains how to survive Dark Souls 3's Consumed King's Garden, Oceiros, the Untended Graves and Champion Gundyr.

- Alternatively you can return to the index page for more entries in our Dark Souls 3 guide.

About the Author

Mat Hall avatar

Mat Hall


Mat has been playing video games since the late 70s, and hopes one day to be good at them. Still believes the Amiga was the greatest computer ever, and is waiting for the current Windows and console fad to pass.


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