Horizon Forbidden West: How to beat the first boss (Slitherfang)

Horizon Forbidden West: How to beat the first boss (Slitherfang)

Horizon Forbidden West does a great job welcoming new players. That said, beating the first boss – a nasty Slitherfang – may still prove challenging.

Horizon Forbidden West is such a stunning experience that it’s difficult to stop once you get going. Its addictive combination of beautiful environments and wholesome storytelling will have you hooked in no time.

However, despite a well designed epilogue, new players may struggle to come to terms with the sheer number of gameplay mechanics thrown at you early on. Honestly, even as a returning player I struggled to take it all in.

And just as you feel like you’re getting on the game’s wavelength the first boss shows up to put all your newly learned skills to the test. Unfair? Not at all. Challenging? Quite right, friend.

So with that in mind, I thought I’d put together a short guide on how to beat the first boss of Horizon Forbidden West; who just so happens to be a giant, mean-spirited snake robot (Slitherfang).

Horizon Forbidden West gameplay screenshot
Imagine: Horizon Forbidden West / Guerrilla Games

How to beat the first boss of Horizon Forbidden West

The Slitherfang appears after roughly an hour into Horizon Forbidden West. You must first complete a mission to scale a tall tower and dislodge some canisters – hoping to crush Mr. Snake along with all his buddies.

After cutting the cables that hold the explosive canisters in place, the attached building loses all semblance of structural integrity and goes to shit. Aloy falls to the ground, using her impressive survival skills to avoid a grisly death.

Unfortunately, one of the Slitherfangs also manages to live to fight another day, and wastes no time in trying to exact some revenge on the main hero of Horizon Forbidden West.

horizon forbidden west sliterhfang
Image: Horizon Forbidden West / Guerrilla Games

Staying alive

The fight starts with you positioned behind a boulder, which you should use as cover while you get your bearings. While still safe use your Focus to scan the Slitherfang for potential weaknesses.

Once complete it’s time to start your dance with Horizon Forbidden West‘s first boss. Staying on the move is critical to beating the first boss; so be sure to utilise your sprint (hold down R3) and roll (circle button) functions.

Taking cover is a valid strategy, particularly when the Slitherfang shoots venom at you (although I found sprinting away from its trajectory equally effective). However, be mindful the boss can destroy the boulders, and hit you, with its lunging attack.

Horizon Forbidden West rewards you for staying on the move, and if you dwell too long in cover chances are the game will punish you. Alloy is a highly mobile fighter, so do your best to take advantage of it.

slitherfang first boss
Image: Horizon Forbidden West / Guerrilla Games

Damaging the Slitherfang

In the first phase of the fight it’s important to use all the weapons and skills you’ve acquired. First, note the weak points that were exposed when you scanned the Slitherfang. Aim for these areas (mostly located around its head and chest).

Aiming in Horizon Forbidden West is made much easier by the Concentration skill, which you can activate by holding R3 while aiming (L2).

That said, before using your bow I recommend unloading on the first boss with your Frost Bombs. The bombs will stagger the Slitherfang, giving you an opportunity to run in and and whack it with your powerful melee attack. They also have a wide area of effect.

Once you’ve run out of Frost Bombs alternate between shooting the Slitherfang’s canisters and running away. If it overextends itself with a lunge it may end up on the ground, once again vulnerable to your spear. Repeat until you trigger the second phase.

The second phase

After you’ve done a certain amount of damage to Horizon Forbidden West‘s first boss the second phase of the fight will begin. Essentially, the Slitherfang breaks free and is now able to chase you around the arena.

Don’t panic – maintain your distance by sprinting away and use the boulder in the centre of the arena for cover. While safe scan the environment, you should notice some special weapons scattered around.

Make your way to one of the weapons and pick it up by pressing the triangle button. Turn and face the Slitherfang and blast Mr. Snake back into the hole from which he came.

If you run out of ammo you can either finish him off with your bow, or simply go pick up another Coil Blaster and let fly.

And that, good friends, is how to beat the first boss of Horizon Forbidden West. We hope this guide has been helpful, and that you can now return to enjoying what will surely be considered one of the best games of 2022.