Experience the Brutal Difficulty of Dark Souls through Kahmul78‘s Lightning Fast Speedrun

Dark Souls is a game that thrives on its reputation. Ask any fan what draws them to the iconic fantasy action-RPG series and they‘ll likely mention the challenge. The dreary, monster-filled kingdoms of Lordran and Drangleic don‘t just punish failure – they seem to outright mock any player not prepared for the grueling tasks ahead. Yet since the first game‘s release in 2011, fans haven‘t been able to get enough.

Over a decade later, the Souls series has cemented itself as a modern classic in game design, with critics and gamers praising the methodical combat, cryptic lore, and of course, that unforgiving difficulty curve. Many titles have tried to capture the same hardcore appeal for their own fanbases. However, none balance sadistic obstacles and smooth, responsive gameplay quite like a Dark Souls game.

It‘s this razor‘s edge balance that makes the series such a compelling game to speedrun. On the surface, a game that can easily take 40+ hours to complete might seem ill-suited for fast-paced runs. But in skilled hands, the complex combat system and sprawling environments become tools for achieving incredible times.

In 2018, gamer Kahmul78 stunned audiences by completing a full "All Bosses" run of the original Dark Souls in 1 hour, 27 minutes and 28 seconds. This run didn‘t just require precise inputs or optimum routes through the world. To conquer every boss, Kahmul78 had to intimately know the game on a granular level – outpacing lethal foes, navigating narrow ledges over bottomless chasms, and entering complex sequences to activate shortcuts and exploits. Every misstep could cost precious seconds, if not the entire run.

For the uninitiated, trying to comprehend how someone beats the entirety of Dark Souls so quickly may seem impossible. Just what does it take to master such a famously unforgiving game? Let‘s highlight Kahmul78‘s world-record run from the 2018 Summer Games Done Quick marathon to find out.

Surviving Lordran Any% By the Skin of Your Teeth

To start, it helps to understand the different categories that Dark Souls speed runs are judged on. The most common is Any%, where runners simply have to finish the game as quickly as possible, often using shortcuts and exploits that completely break intended progression. Here, times usually clock in under 30 minutes.

Then there‘s the more controlled All Bosses category that Kahmul78 excels at. This run requires players to strategically tackle every single boss in their path. No warping or sequence breaking past sections here. Competitors have to employ razor sharp technique and strategy while navigating possibly hours of content.

As of this article, the All Bosses world record holder is Japanese runner Maarionete with an awe-inspiring 59 minutes and 10 seconds. For further context, my personal best time for a casual Dark Souls playthrough sits around 22 hours. Kahmul78 meanwhile sits at #2 on the leaderboards with his 1 hour 27 minute run. Let‘s examine what blistering gameplay at this caliber looks like.

Precise Movement and Punishing Combat Through the Early Game

From the first steps taken into the Undead Assylum, it‘s clear Kahmul78 has intrinsic understanding of Lordran‘s layout. He swiftly disables asylum demons and deftly leaps across gaps that would cause standard players instant death. Identifying key shortcuts demonstrates his granular knowledge of environment variables – tiny quirks that spell the difference between an Untended Graves bonfire or a perilous fight through hollowed soldiers.

Once the Asylum Demon boss falls, Kahmul78 wisely uses the opportunity to upgrade equipment and adjust strategy for incoming obstacles. Planning efficient routes between zones and minimizing backtracking exemplifies the holistic thinking speedrunners implement in these breakneck series playthroughs. One sloppy rotation around a trap-laden burg could sink the run‘s pace entirely.

As the run continues we seeKU mul pull off frame perfect dodges against iconic early bosses like the Taurus Demon and Bell Gargoyles. Knowing attack windups and windows for retaliation helps maintain momentum for time-conscious players. Interestingly, we also see moments where taking an extra hit prevents slow recovery animations, keeping the overall run swift and steady. This risk assessment comes from endless hours of practice.

Mastering Late-Game Areas Through Sheer Skill

Once the Lordvessel has been obtained and warp travel enabled, Kahmul78 truly demonstrates his mastery of late-game Dark Souls. Whereas casual players may still be struggling with basic Hollows at this point, our speedrunner gracefully traverses perilous terrain and topples legendary foes.

The battle with Knight Artorias is an artistic dance in which Kahmul78 perfectly predicts emerging threats then counters with strong yet strategic strikes. As one of the game‘s most lethal boss fights, seeing such flawless technique in real-time is jaw-dropping.

Areas housing multiple enemies like New Londo Ruins barely slow the player down either. It‘s second nature for Kahmul78 to lure dangerous Darkwraiths and Mass of Souls into optimal positions for rapid elimination. Elite players understand exactly how many hits each foe can sustain, and which attacks stun or withstand retaliation strikes. This expertise renders even the bleakest Lordran locales a passing inconvenience.

And who could forget the winding paths and deadly archers of Anor Londo? Many veterans consider the rooftop ascent to Lord Gwyn one of Dark Souls‘ toughest challenges. Yet even while fatigued after beating so many unrelenting bosses, Kahmul78‘s movements flow smoothly between cover positions. It‘s clear no obstacle will halt progress until the final Kiln of the First Flame.

Gearing Up For the Future of Dark Souls Speedrunning

Currently, only 38 seconds separate 1st and 2nd place for All Bosses world record times. And competitor Sabaku no Maiku sits less than 2 minutes behind in 3rd at 1:00:47. This means the difference between a legendary status speedrun and being mere seconds too slow comes down to minute factors.

Given how optimized current strategies are for top runners, even tighter play and improved luck seem the only means left for cutting down times. However, Kahmul78 has pushed the boundaries of what seems possible before. I for one can‘t imagine anyone conclusively proving they‘ve mastered Dark Souls more than his sensational run from 2018 Summer Games Done Quick. But for elite gamers, the desire to test skill ceilings keeps the fires stoked regardless.

For those wishing to experience Kahmul78‘s sublime command of the first Dark Souls game, ESASummer2018‘s Twitch archive has the full All Bosses speedrun on display. Grab your preferred beverage, settle in, and prepare to see Lordran beaten in the blink of an eye.

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