Tower of Latria
|Tower of Latria|
|Demon's Souls location|
|Created by||Hidetaka Miyazaki|
|Genre||Action role-playing game|
|Ruler||Queen of Latria (Former), Old Monk|
|First appearance||Demon's Souls (2009)|
Tower of Latria is a fictional level in the action role-playing game Demon's Souls. Consisting of a vast prison, a large grouping of stone towers and the poisonous swamp beneath them, it was formerly the seat of the power of the Queen of Latria before it was taken over by her demon-possessed husband, who imprisoned her and her family there. The level has been cited as one of the game's best by critics due to its difficulty and atmosphere, and served as the inspiration for the later game Bloodborne. Director Hidetaka Miyazaki personally designed and 3D modeled the first area of Latria, the Prison of Hope, and has stated that it was one of his favorite in the series, with the level's final boss, the Old Monk, being his favorite boss.
In the game's lore, Latria is known as the Land of the Queen's Ivory Tower. The queen of Latria is mentioned to had exiled her husband for his depraved acts, the man returning as the Old Monk while usurping her and imprisoning her family within the dungeons. The monk then created a demon in her image called the Fool's Idol to quell the amasses while taking those among them to experiment on and create more demons.
The player begins by warping to an Archstone inside a cell in the Prison of Hope, which is full of emaciated prisoners and is guarded by Mind Flayers eldritch demons with paralyzing magic who can impale the player if they get too close. The player explores the "dreamlike" prison, playing "cat and mouse" with the Mind Flayers, and finding various prisoners, like the Former Royal's Wife and the rescuable Sage Freke. After bypassing a colossal siege engine, the player gains access to the church where the Fool's Idol resides and can be prevent it from being revived by defeating the single prisoner in the church's rafters.
The player is then carried off by gargoyles while inspecting the church altar, brought to a collection of dark towers connected by walkways. The player must collapse a gigantic, demonic heart suspended in the main tower, by cutting the chains held by prisoners at each of the other towers. To do this, they must traverse a blood-filled swamp at the base of the towers, filled with magically created "abominations". The player must then fight the Chimera-like "Maneaters" and finally the Old Monk, revealed to have been possessed by his yellow robes and withered away upon summoning a new vessel for the robes.
While Miyazaki typically conceptualizes the vast majority of the areas in the Souls series, and has the staff create the actual 3D models and structure, he wanted to create the Tower of Latria himself, and created the rough 3D models for it. When showing the demo for Bloodborne, he compared the game's atmosphere directly to the Tower of Latria, saying "that's the kind of atmosphere we want to create", and the level has been cited as proof that Bloodborne is a spiritual successor to Demon's Souls.
The level ends with the player fighting the Old Monk, who wears a massive yellow head collar that was also personally designed by Miyazaki, and is a homage to The King in Yellow. The yellow scarf leaves the Old Monk and possesses a phantom controlled by another player, making it the only PVP boss fight in the game, a system that was experimental and faced opposition within the development team.
GameZone called the Tower of Latria "high fantasy meets Lovecraftian horror", saying that "very few games have realized atmospheres as unnerving as the Tower of Latria", and citing it as one reason Demon's Souls should be remastered on PS4. Phil Kollar of Polygon called the level the exact moment he realized he loved Demon's Souls, saying that it completely shifted his outlook on the game due to its "horrific atmosphere" and monster design. He stated that it "has always stuck out in my mind as the clear high point of the game and one of the best levels FromSoftware has ever designed".
Steven Strom of Waypoint stated that "the act of exploring and 'clearing' levels of the tower was devilishly twisted into a trap - one meant to draw me to my repeated doom [...] in typical Souls-like fashion". Patrick Klepek of Kotaku called the level "horrific and seemingly endless", calling the Old Monk fight against another player an "incredibly cool moment" with theoretically endless possibilities, but also remarking on the unfair nature of certain weapons and spells such as the Scraping Spear and Soulsucker when used during the fight.
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