Death Serpent

Unnatural horrors that can be encountered in From Software's 1998/1999 Shadow Tower Sony Playstation 1 roleplaying video game. The creature can emit spheres of searing light that are potent enough to melt steel and the Death Serpent's unearthly scream is so terrifying that it may instantly paralyze its prey with fear, leaving the victim completely defenseless. While these monstrosities slither about relatively slowly, they're quite large (almost ten feet tall), and their long necks give them a considerable reach, so, it'll take some artful dodging to avoid becoming a Death Serpent's next meal.

Death Serpents, three of them to be precise, can only be encountered in one section of the Shadow Tower video game: the Screeching Area, which is located in the Monster World region. Necron is the "boss" of said domain and presumably keeps these squirming abominations in his chamber as watchdogs. Needless to say, an adventurer would be wise to destroy the Death Serpents as quickly as possible, because Necron knows some potent magic and is trouble enough without having to worry about his pets too. On a more positive note, slain Death Serpents may drop the Arm Guard of Composure item (armor for the hands that decreases fire damage and increases your magic speed when equipped).

Death Serpent entry from the in-game Creature Book.
Note that there's a typo: it should be 9' 10" (3.0 meters) in height, not 9" 10' (3.3 meters).

Here's the unaltered papier-mâché model. It's hard to tell, from the angle of the Creature Book screenshot, exactly what the posterior of the Death Serpent looks like (I don't have the game, and it's been a long time since I saw the monster in action in a YouTube Shadow Tower boss montage video). While I initially made the model with just a thick tail in the back, that anatomy looked kind of awkward to me, so I added another pair of "flippers" to balance things out--the creature already resembles a Plesiosaurus anyway.

Smoothing and detailing done with a woodburner:

First coat of paint:

The finished product:

Newsprint, white glue, tissue paper, acrylic paint, fibers from a bath towel, colored pencil, and ink.

5.7 cm (2.2") wide x 5.5 cm (2.2") high

Start-to-finish, it took several hours to complete this project on September 21st, 2014.

9/30/14 Addendum:

I finally got the opportunity to play Shadow Tower and meet some Death Serpents "in person". I guessed right that the creatures have additional "flippers" in the rear, but, alas, they don't have tails. Also, the chin "beards" are supposed to be orientated side-by-side, rather than back-to-back. That said, my figure is close enough to being on model that those small discrepancies won't cause my OCD tendencies to bother me too much . . .

Oddly, as you can read for yourself near the top of this page, the game's Creature Book describes them as shooting light spheres from their eyes, but they actually spit those projectiles from their mouths. I never got one to paralyze me either (not that I enjoy being immobilized by hungry monsters or anything); all they did was whack me with their long necks and vomit up those luminous balls.

What's really neat is that, once you've encountered them in the main game, and added them to your Creature Book, you can then pit any of the monster species against one another, in a 2-Player battle arena game, which was doubtlessly inspired by Nintendo's Pokemon franchise. Here are two Death Serpents engaging in mortal combat:

And here's a little bonus that even I wasn't expecting: a Death Serpent animated memory card icon! After completing Shadow Tower, I was using the Playstation's memory card utility, to check how many save slots I still had free, and imagine my surprise when I saw that two of the icons were none other than the Death Serpent (a Shadow Tower save takes two slots on the fifteen slot memory card, which is why there's two duplicate icons for each save). Considering that there are 150 different creatures in the game, that's a pretty big coincidence!

Interestingly, each of my saves had a different critter/thing--I wonder if every monster has its own icon, or just certain ones? In addition to the Death Serpent, I also had the monsters Auriel, Fat Mole, Hatchlin, some random white cat (to the best of my knowledge there are no felines at all in the game anywhere), Ray Plant, and a Gaze Hopper. Oh, and if you're wondering, メモリーカード is Japanese katakana for "memori-ka-do", or, in English, "memory card". When I downloaded a Sony Playstation Bios file so that I could play Shadow Tower, I must have accidentally grabbed the Japanese one instead of the English version, hence the Japanese memory card utility screen.


  • various Shadow Tower guides/walkthroughs.

  •   Hardcore Gaming 101 King's Field article.

  •   Kings Shadow Tower bestiary. Unfortunately, it appears that this web site no longer exists, however, I saved all of the monster image files to my hard drive, so, I can still make use of them offline at home.

  •   Shadow Tower Sony Playstation video game.

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    This is a nonprofit web site.

    Any and all copyrighted imagery, terminology, etc., depicted on this page belongs to its respective holders/owners, namely From Software.

    The midi music playing is the King's Throne theme from King's Field: The Ancient City.

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