The Slitherfang stands among the most impressive new machines of Horizon Forbidden West. Fans got their first glimpse of this intimidating hybrid of a cobra and rattlesnake in a new trailer from The Game Awards. This towering serpent packs a wallop, and we got to watch Aloy go head-to-head with it.
A new hands-off look at a jaw-dropping boss fight against this mechanical serpent gave us a good idea of everything it can do. First and foremost, the Slitherfang can fire pressurized acid streams generated by a tank at the base of its throat. Given the extended range of this attack, firing arrows at the acid tank to disable this attack and other orange-colored components should be done as early as possible.
Of course, acid isn’t the only weapon at the Slitherfang’s disposal. The rattle on its tail fires bolts of lightning that produce a wide-reaching wave of electricity. We noticed the Slitherfang shakes its rattle shortly before firing, much like the warning sign of a real rattlesnake, which is a nice touch. The rattle is fragile, though, and skilled archers can detach the tail with a few well-placed arrows. Best of all, you can pick up and use the rattle as a weapon against the Slitherfang (although the machine does sport a resistance to shock damage).
Acid spit and a lighting tail are problematic for sure, but the Slitherfang’s “hood” might be its most dangerous element. Nodes covering its neck fire sonic pulses that temporarily deafen Aloy, slowing her movements and rendering her incapable of attacking for a few seconds. This can leave her vulnerable to a follow-up attack if players don’t scramble for cover. Game director Mathijs de Jonge described this attack as “hard to dodge,” so getting out of range when you see the attack being charged is your best bet.
Although disabling these weapons by shooting off certain parts can help de-fang the Slitherfang, so to speak, its sheer size and agility still make it a formidable foe. It can quickly whip its body and coil up structures to gain a higher vantage point for its ranged attacks. The Slitherfang’s attack pattern also changes depending on the state of its health, meaning you’ll need to stay alert and not rely on the same strategy throughout the fight. Furthermore, the Slitherfang is smart enough to knock Aloy off any perches she climbs upon, forcing players to keep moving.
Despite all we saw of the Slitherfang in this lengthy boss battle, de Jonge teases that we still might not have seen everything it can do. “The snake has a whole heap of attacks,” says de Jonge. Stealth attacks are not effective against it either. Like every creature in Horizon Forbidden West, felling the Slitherfang can be accomplished in many ways. It’s vulnerable to fire, ice, and plasma-based attacks, so it’s ideal to use weapons sporting those attributes. Seeing Aloy finally bring it down felt triumphant even from just watching, so we can only imagine the adrenaline rush we’ll get from doing it ourselves.
Trust us when we say that the Slitherfang looks fantastic, and the battle against it is a spectacle that should be a definite highlight for players. To learn more about Horizon Forbidden West, be sure to keep an eye on our coverage hub to read new features about the game in the coming days.