Elden Ring players are still finding new ways to play FromSoftware’s latest notoriously challenging RPG. Some have beaten it while overloaded on equipment. Others have modded it to fight as non-canon Tarnished like Darth Vader and Homer Simpson. Now, speedrunner Christopher “star0chris” Campanella has taken to beating bosses in the Lands Between with a blindfold on! It’s wild stuff, with star0chris already slaying the Star-jerk Radahn and others.
star0chris is a newer speedrunner. He started posting runs of the virtual pets simulator Insaniquarium Deluxe to his YouTube channel in July 2018, with one of his first official world records popping up on Speedrun.com in June 2020. While he went on to get a first-place world record for Insaniquarium Deluxe two months ago on PC in the “Normal Adventure” category, star0chris has also been speedrunning Elden Ring. So far, he holds fifth place in the “Any% No Wrong Warp PC” category, in which a player can use any method to finish the game except for glitching to teleport from one spot to another. star0chris’ completion time was an hour and eight minutes. Not bad.
Though impressive, what’s truly mind-blowing is the harsh limitation he’s been imposing on himself: a lack of sight, as he blindfolds himself before pulling up to some of the toughest bosses roaming the Lands Between.
star0chris has got an entire playlist on his YouTube channel of these daring feats, resulting in copious footage of some truly stunning gameplay. He told Kotaku over Twitter DMs that while it isn’t easy, there are ways to practice.
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“This is the first game I have tried to do anything blindfolded in so it was a big learning experience at first, but after the first boss or two I got the hang of the process,” star0chris said. “Usually, when I start on a new boss, I’ll try things out against it without the blindfold to see how things go for about 10 minutes at most. After that, I usually just jump straight into blindfolded attempts as I found it easier to learn things from just the audio cues—and sometimes trying to visualize a scenario can backfire as opposed to just having the audio to go off of. In the first few attempts of blindfolded fights, though, I will go back and watch the replay if needed to better understand how things played out.”
Practicing involves dying. A lot. star0chris said he was killed more times than he’d care to admit. Sometimes it was the enemy’s overwhelming power, like the ruthless Fire Giant who can easily squash your Tarnished like the bug it is. Other times, it was the audio that dragged the fight out.
“I would say the hardest fight so far was Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon,” star0chris said. “Normally it’s a pretty easy fight, but blindfolded, it would take a while to track down each of the three singing girls to break the barrier for Rennala to fall down. That part I would say I got pretty good at, although the real hard part was locating exactly where she was once she fell down. These processes made each attempt take about 10 to 20 minutes, so it was very mentally draining having to locate and visualize everything in the fight. Phase 2 was much easier as it is much more of a straightforward fight, so it only took about five or so attempts of getting to phase 2 to beat her. The entire time it took was about eight hours of attempts to beat that boss.”
There are some additional rules he places on himself, too, as if being blindfolded wasn’t enough of a restriction in this punishing action-RPG. star0chris also prevents himself from using summons—so no Let Me Solo Her—and ranged attacks. This all makes for a challenge he said isn’t too far off from his speedrunning expertise, but he doesn’t think beating the whole game blindfolded is a possibility “unless an obscene amount of time is put into it.” For now, he’ll just keep killing bosses blindfolded. He’s “about 70% done with the main bosses” and is now eyeing a certain redhead.
“The bosses I’ve beaten so far are: Margit, Godrick, Red Wolf of Radagon, Godskin Noble, Rykard, Radahn, Draconic Tree Sentinel, Rennala, Godfrey the First Elden Lord (Golden Shade), Morgott, and the Fire Giant,” star0chris said. “I plan on beating all of the main/mandatory bosses blindfolded, as well as some of the extra optional bosses. I’m not sure about Placidusax, but the rest of the bosses I have left are: Godskin Duo, Maliketh, Gideon, Godfrey/Hoarah Loux, Radagon of the Golden Order, and the Elden Beast. After them, I’ll move onto the side bosses such as Mogh, Commander Niall and Loretta (because you have to beat them to get to Malenia), Placidusax (maybe), and Malenia, Blade of Miquella.”
FromSoft might’ve fixed Malenia after an earlier patch inadvertently made her self-healing abilities way too good, but she’s still a hard boss when you can’t summon LMSH to help. So while I have faith in star0chris’ talents, I do worry about his patience.