- Dark Souls, one of the greatest video games of all time, combined old-school gaming with modern nuances for a unique experience.
- Miyazaki, the game’s director, was a fan of dark fantasy work, particularly Berserk, which heavily influenced the world and character designs in Dark Souls.
- Dark Souls includes numerous references to Berserk, from similar character designs to nods to iconic weapons and armor from the manga series.
Dark Souls is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the greatest and most influential video games of all time. The gaming industry was completely rocked to its core with the release of this groundbreaking game, which combined all the facets of old-school gaming with modern nuances to craft a unique experience unlike anything ever seen before. Miyazaki burst onto the scene with the release of this title and has never stopped crafting amazing titles ever since.
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For a game as influential as Dark Souls, it’s certainly quite hard to imagine that this game wasn’t completely crafted from the ground up purely from the brilliant mind of its director. However, Miyazaki was an avid reader and a huge fan of dark fantasy work, which shows in the rich and detailed world of Dark Souls.
Berserk was especially beloved by Miyazaki, and he has made a ton of references to this iconic manga in Dark Souls. Here are the coolest references to Berserk in Dark Souls.
Updated January 21, 2024 by Ritwik Mitra: Dark Souls is one of the greatest video games ever made, and Miyazaki has made his inspirations clear as day for anyone to witness. Out of all the references present in this legendary series, the respect he pays to the late great mangaka Kentaro Miura is the most notable of the lot.
Throughout the Dark Souls series, there are several amazing references to Berserk, ranging from the weapons and outfits present in the show to the designs of some characters themselves, and so much more.
1 Dark Sun Gwyndolin
Looks Eerily Similar To Griffith
One of the easier bosses in Dark Souls, Dark Sun Gwyndolin’s importance to the central narrative is something fans are quite familiar with. However, another thing that people have noticed about this boss is his resemblance to Berserk‘s central antagonist.
Gwyndolin’s appearance is quite similar to Griffith’s, down to the white hair and feminine features. However, while Griffith grows to become one of the strongest apostles in existence, Gwyndolin’s weak magic attacks do nothing to convince players that he’s a threat in the slightest.
2 Darkwraith Knight
A Nod To Skull Night
The servants of the Four Kings who protect their lieges in the depths of the New Londo Ruins, the Darkwraith Knight’s appearance is one of its most iconic and notable aspects. Fans of Berserk have noticed that this character looks pretty similar to one of the most iconic characters in the manga.
The Skull Knight is easily one of Berserk’s strongest characters, and his history has been a source of great mystery and intrigue. The Darkwraith Knights owe their unique appearance to this unique character who has helped Guts out every second of the way.
3 The Pharis Set
Similar To The Armor Worn By The Apostle Irvine
The Pharis Set is one of the most stylish armor in the game that Fashion Souls aficionados are quite familiar with. The outfit itself is a solid set of leather armor, but the headwear is what helps it stand out as a great armor set that’s easy on the eyes.
Fans with keen eyesight and a nice memory are well aware that the Pharis Set looks quite similar to the outfit of one of the series’ apostles, Irvine. This character is extremely accurate with a bow, and its Awakened state is even more awe-inspiring to behold.
4 The Darksign
The Rebirth Of The Brand Of Sacrifice
In Berserk, the Brand of Sacrifice appears on the bodies of those destined to meet a dark fate. Those who have this mark seared into their flesh by supernatural means will one day become an apostle, or possibly a member of the hellish and powerful group known as the God Hand. Those with the Brand of Sacrifice will one day transcend their humanity, leaving it behind to become a powerful creature of darkness.
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Many of these traits are seen in the Darksign; an easily recognizable symbol from the Dark Souls games. In-game, they act as an item, though they are also a brand permanently affixed to the player’s skin. When used, one can teleport back to the nearest bonfire, though at the cost of all humanity and all souls. That the Darksign strips players of their humanity, and appears on their bodies, are undeniable parallels to the Brand of Sacrifice’s function.
5 Rapidfire Crossbows
Appear In Both Universes Multiple Times
Not only does Guts possess an incredibly fast-action crossbow on his arm but similar weapons appear in other parts of the manga, like when Ricket uses a turret-like one on his way to Falconia. The manga’s author, Kentaro Miura, seems to love this kind of weapon, and who can blame him? They’re very cool and deadly in equal parts.
FromSoftware’s director, Hidetaka Miyazaki, is also a fan of this technology, as repeating crossbows appear multiple times in the Dark Souls trilogy, though most notably in the boss fight with Slave Knight Gael. This aged warrior is yet another reference to Guts as he wields both a greatsword in his main hand in addition to an insanely fast crossbow in his offhand.
6 The Greatsword From Dark Souls 3
Looks Similar To Guts’ Dragon Slayer
From the huge, thick blade of black metal to the lack of a crossguard and the identical handles with cubic pommels, Guts’ tremendous weapon from the manga, named Dragon Slayer, has been faithfully recreated as the simply named Greatsword in Dark Souls 3.
The Dragon Slayer was made by the blacksmith Godot when his liege lord requested that he make a sword that could slay a dragon. Godot took the job seriously and forged just such a blade, though one that almost no one could even pick up, let alone wield. The Greatsword’s item description in Dark Souls 3 references this, saying that this ultra greatsword “tested the true limits of human strength.”
7 Wheel Skeletons
The Most Obvious Reference
One of the more well-known references to Berserk in Dark Souls can be seen in the design of the Wheel Skeletons, which are widely considered one of the most annoying enemies in the game.
These enemies are certainly inspired by the Wheel Skeletons in Berserk, so if you wish to curse anyone for the existence of these enemies, then don’t blame Miyazaki. Instead, point your finger at Kentaro Miura.
8 Red Eye Orb
Looks Eerily Similar To The Crimson Behelit
The Crimson Behelit is an important item in the universe of Berserk, so it was only a given that this would also be referenced in the world of Dark Souls. This item resembles the Red Eye Orb in Dark Souls, a pivotal item that one can collect throughout the game and utilize to engage in PVP invasions.
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Of course, the Behelit’s importance to the series is miles ahead of the Red Eye Orb, but that doesn’t take away from these comparisons. This tool is used to invade other players’ games, which is similar to the Behelit and how it summons a group of demons to invade and ravage innocents in the quest for power.
9 Taurus Demon
A Nod To Nosferatu Zodd’s Appearance
Nosferatu Zodd is an iconic apostle in Berserk, and Miyazaki certainly didn’t exclude this important figure while paying homage to one of his favorite dark fantasy series.
One can see a ton of similarities between the design of the Taurus Demon and Nosferatu Zodd, which is an interesting nod to Berserk. Just like Zodd, the Taurus Demon hits like a truck, and players must be wily and use plunging attacks to take out this boss without being taken off-guard on the bridge where the battle takes place.
Look Similar To The Snake Lord
The Man-Serpents in Sen’s Fortress are among the more iconic enemies in the series and can pose a significant challenge during the player’s ascent of this trap-ridden area.
These enemies share a resemblance to the Snake Lord, who just so happens to be another important apostle in Berserk. He’s one of the first apostles whom Guts obliterates with his powerful equipment and strength, showing just how strong and demented the Black Swordsman is.
Clearly Inspired By The Deific Image
Of course, the normal enemies in Dark Souls aren’t the only figures that Berserk’s apostles have inspired — many bosses in the series have also referenced the Berserk series in one way or another. One such boss is Pinwheel, who is widely considered by many to be the weakest boss in the entire series.
In Berserk, Luca stumbles upon the Deific Image when he accidentally ventures into the Egg apostle’s den. This location is full of candles, and the Deific Image is quite horrifying — being an unholy fusion of numerous priests in the worst manner possible.
Meanwhile, Pinwheel is a fusion of three people, who are encountered in a place full of candles and bears a heavy resemblance to the design of the Deific Image. This inspiration is pretty clear after looking at all the similarities.
12 Moonlight Butterfly
A Homage To Rosine
The second boss fight that references an apostle is the Moonlight Butterfly. While this boss is widely reviled as one of the worst bosses in the game, there’s no denying that the apostle it’s inspired by in Berserk is quite awesome.
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This apostle takes on the form of a giant moth, which is somewhat similar to the Moonlight Butterfly.
13 Ornstein And Smough
Inspired By Two Unnamed Apostles
On his way to defeat Rosine, Guts is attacked by two unnamed insectoid apostles. One apostle is large and powerful, while another is small and agile. This makes it hard for Guts to deal with these two combatants, making for a rather entertaining battle indeed.
It doesn’t take an expert to state that these two apostles share an uncanny resemblance to Ornstein and Smough when it comes to how their combat styles perfectly complement each other.
14 Andre Of Astora
An Obvious Reference To Godo
The aging blacksmith who helps the main character in their quest is a common trope seen across most fantasy works. This trope is present in both Berserk and Dark Souls, with the latter being very much inspired by the former.
Berserk has Godo while Dark Souls has the similar-looking Andre Of Astora. It’s a neat little touch that pays further homage to Berserk.
15 Siegmeyer Of Catarina
His Armor Looks The Same As Basuzo’s
Basuzo is a brash antagonist in Berserk with a rather unique set of armor. He poses a significant challenge to Guts before the latter finally manages to bring this beast down.
In contrast, Siegmeyer is a rather jovial knight who has become a legendary character in the fandom. His personality is the complete opposite of Basuzo’s, even though their armor is remarkably similar.
16 Artorias, The Abysswalker
His Pose Is Reminiscent Of Guts In His Berserker Armor
Perhaps the coolest nod to Berserk in Dark Souls comes from one of the coolest characters and one of the best bosses in the series.
Artorias the Abysswalker has one of the most tragic stories in Dark Souls, even though how he’s introduced to fans for the first time is quite awe-inspiring and not indicative of his backstory at all.
What makes this iconic piece of artwork more amazing is the fact that it’s an excellent tribute to the artwork of Berserk‘s Volume 28, where Guts is perched in a similar position while wearing the Berserker Armor.
- September 22, 2011
- Action RPG