Dark Souls 2 Guide: Explore the Black Gulch and Defeat the Rotten

Dark Souls 2 Guide: Explore the Black Gulch and Defeat the Rotten

There's treasure in that thar gulch... but there's also a fearsome foe waiting to tear your face off. We tell you how to beat The Rotten once and for all.

The Black Gulch

Head into the Black Gulch and enter the cave to the left. Light the bonfire and prepare yourself: there are many poisonous enemies ahead.

Leave the bonfire cave and head to the left. There are plenty of poison statues and black holes ahead. Destroy the statues as you come across them to prevent their poison spit from affecting you. Be careful, though, as some of them will still attempt to poison you as you destroy them. You can use Common Fruit to slow the effect of poison, and Poison Moss to heal it.

When you reach the first set of black holes, carefully approach them. If you have Firebombs, toss them into the middle and right holes. This ignites the holes and damages the enemies hiding within. Both enemies will come after you, so be ready to fight if the Firebombs don't kill them.

Head to the left of the first three black holes to find a cave. Take out the poison statue near the entrance, then open the coffer at the end to obtain a Shotel and a Great Magic Weapon. Coming out of the cave, only the first black hole to the left has an enemy hiding inside, so deal with it accordingly. Be careful moving forward because there are several poison statues along the upper ridge to the left that are difficult to destroy without proper ranged weaponry, however.

The cave to the left, just beyond the overhead statues, contains a worm-like monster different from what's normally found in the black holes. If you approach it, it lunges out of the cave. Back away slightly, just out of its attack range. It will attempt to attack and miss. As soon as it misses, move in to quickly strike, then dart back outside of its attack range. Repeat this process until you get the best of it.

Destroy the pottery next to the cave to find the Soul of a Nameless Solider, Scraps of Life, and a Torch. Another worm creature attacks from the hole ahead on the left wall, so deal with it the same way as before. After that, the next black hole on the ground is empty, but there are three holes behind it. The two holes on the right house creatures. Firebomb both, or get close, then back away to lure it out if you don't have any Firebombs. Another creature awaits in the middle hole in the next row.

The pottery here contains a Radiant Lifegem. Pick up the item, defeat the creatures, then head into the cave to the left. Destroy the statues, including the statue behind the chest at the end, then open the chest to find a Divine Blessing. Head back out of the cave to find another creature in the black hole across the room. This is the last creature in the room. Ahead is the mist entrance to the boss battle against the Rotten.

Boss Battle: The Rotten

The battle against the Rotten is more about the environment than the enemy. Beware the fire pits scattered throughout the battleground: if you touch any of them, you'll take considerable damage. If you continue to linger in the pits, you will certainly die a horrible, fiery death.

Most of the battle is spent locked on to the Rotten, which means you may have difficulty determining when a fire pit is behind you. To avoid backing into a fire pit, circle strafe around the fire pit in the center of the battleground. If you stay close to the center pit, you'll have plenty of room to avoid the others.

The Rotten only uses a handful of attacks. If you have a shield that absorbs 100 per cent damage, this is a much easier fight. However, even if this is the case, many of the Rotten's attacks drain your stamina bar completely, or at least very close to it. Your best course of action is to dodge the attacks with specific timing so you don't take any damage, then strike once or twice depending on the speed of your weapon. If you wish to take a more careful approach, only dodge the linear attacks and block the horizontal sweeping attacks. It's much easier to dodge the linear attacks, but you'll have fewer opportunities to counter attack, which will draw out the fight.

When the Rotten is close to you, it uses a single, horizontal sweeping attack that drains your stamina bar almost completely if it's blocked, so dodge it if at all possible. It also uses a single, linear chop, and three chops in rapid succession. The single chop is easily dodged to the left or right, while it's best to block the first two chops, then dodge the third one. You can actually dodge all three, but the timing is pretty strict.

If you back away from the Rotten, it uses a variation of the single, linear chop, but it has deceptive range. Also be ready to block or dodge when you see the Rotten pull its weapon back over its head. It's very difficult to get far enough away to avoid this attack completely. In almost all cases you must either block the attack or dodge it. If you block, it drains your stamina bar almost entirely. If you see the Rotten begin to regurgitate, back away to avoid two dark spits that happen back to back. As soon as the spits conclude, rush back in to counter attack.

Once the Rotten reaches approximately 50 per cent health, it adds two attacks to its arsenal. The first is a variation of the long-range chop. This time a dark fog emits from its weapon and extends outward rapidly. This is a linear attack, but it's difficult to dodge without precise timing. You must dodge to the left or right. If you dodge back, it will still hit. However, if you hug the Rotten, the attack misses completely. This can be risky if your timing is off though.

The other new attack the Rotten uses is a burst of dark mist that emits from its body. This happens when the Rotten makes a motion similar to the regurgitation animation. Simply back away from the Rotten to avoid this attack, since it doesn't have much range.

With the Rotten down, quickly move through the fire on the side of the arena where an item can be seen. Pick up the item to find a Fire Seed. This concludes your time in the Black Gulch.

If you need more information and help, the rest of our Dark Souls 2 walkthrough and complete guide can be found here.

This article was compiled with help from Prima Games

You can find many more hints and tips, plus strategy guides and over 65,000 cheat codes, unlocks, achievements, trophies, Easter eggs and secrets at Prima Games.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Read this next

A Lapsed Fan Rediscovers Dark Souls

As Kat throws herself into finishing Dark Souls 3, she's rediscovering what made her fall in love with the series in the first place.

Bloodborne: The Old Hunters PS4 Review: Sins of the Past [Update: Final Thoughts and Score!]

From Software proves once again that DLC doesn't have to be an afterthought.

Does It Hold Up?: Dark Souls II

We examine last year's triple-A games to see where they stand after twelve months.

Dark Souls 3 Closes the Book on the Series We Know

From Software's acclaimed RPG series won't be ending anytime soon, but this third chapter marks an important turning point. Here's why you should be excited.

What are the Souls Series' Most Brutal Moments?

USgamer's resident From Software fanatic checks in with the most punishing parts of this developer's infamous RPGs.

The Gateway Guide to Dark Souls

Wondering about the best way to approach FromSoftware's devious RPG trilogy? We've got you covered — now with video!

Bloodborne PlayStation 4 Review: Into the Nightmare

Does FromSoftware's latest measure up to the high standard set by Dark Souls? Bob shares his final thoughts on this vast and challenging adventure.

More Guides

Disco Elysium: How to Get to the Fishing Village and Close the Water Lock

We show you how to get across the water and into Land's End in Disco Elysium.

Disco Elysium: How to Find Your Gun, Badge and Bullets

We show you how to find your pistol and police badge ID after losing them.

Disco Elysium: How to Pass and Skip Time

We show you how to pass time, make it go quickly or even skip ahead in Disco Elysium.

Disco Elysium: How to Get the Hanged Body Down and Get Past Measurehead

We show you how to get the hanged corpse down from the tree, as well as how to get past Measurehead and into the harbor.

More on PC

Once the King of PC Gaming, MechWarrior is Now the Big Stompy Ghost of a Bygone Era

A legacy series returns, and there’s little else like it in gaming today.

Resident Evil's Newest Survivor is a Living Homage to "Jill Sandwich"

Martin should probably stay away from small rooms with descending ceilings.

The CEO of Japanese Indie Publisher Dangen Entertainment Resigns As Allegations of Harassment Mount

Ben Judd is stepping back from the publisher he helped found, as well as his "other industry endeavors."

The Game Awards is Launching a New Initiative Featuring Limited-Time Demos of Upcoming Games

Over a dozen games will have demos available for a limited time.

Disco Elysium: How to Get to the Fishing Village and Close the Water Lock

We show you how to get across the water and into Land's End in Disco Elysium.

More Indie Games

The CEO of Japanese Indie Publisher Dangen Entertainment Resigns As Allegations of Harassment Mount

Ben Judd is stepping back from the publisher he helped found, as well as his "other industry endeavors."

For Axiom Verge's Creator, the Switch Was a "Natural Platform" For the Sequel

Thomas Happ answers our most pressing questions about today's announcement.

After Four Years of Development, Here's the First Glimpse of Axiom Verge 2

Tom Happ's been working on a follow-up to his Metroidvania for 4 years.

Nintendo's Streaming One More Indie Showcase Before the Year's End: Watch It Here

The Switch gets one last shot of indie news for 2019.