In Horizon, Cauldrons are these mini-puzzle areas that you need to navigate in order to unlock the ability to “convert” larger robots to fight for you. They follow a general pattern.
- Finding the place, which is shown on the map but the entrance isn’t straightforward
- Surviving the front door. Each Cauldron has a patrol in front of it. The last one I visited had 3 stalkers (giant invisible cats).
- Work out the interior puzzles. They are climbing and/or avoid patrol puzzles.
- Um, avoid the above patrols. You should be able to get to the last room without the need to kill anything.
- Enter the final room and kill the local mini-patrol.
- Kill the boss encounter.
- Cleanse the Cauldron.
- Leave without dying to the front door patrol.
The front door and last boss are the real challenges, mostly because you’ve probably never encountered that particular set of enemies before. I don’t consider it spoilers to say that the enemy on the cover of the box is one of those bosses.
The Thunderjaw is impressive. It’s pretty much a mechanical T-Rex, but with lasers, a mine launcher, fire breath and super speed. Feels like I’m fighting Grimlock.
This particular fight took about 40 minutes. The successful run was under 2.
I have a particular arrow that is quite effective at shedding enemy armor and equipment. The Thunderjaw has multiple things to remove. 2 mine launchers, radar, protective heart panels, shock panels, heat panels, 2 lasers beams on his head, his tail that takes 90% of your health, and finally his head protection. When you take off a piece, the enemy changes strategies to attack you. At first, he’s likely to stay at range and attack, but when you take those tools away, he charges non-stop and swings his tail. Take the tail away and he seems to enrage.
I stripped every piece off the guy and that only dropped him to about 75% HP. I threw hundreds of arrows into his weak spots, barely a dent. I could never get his shock or fire canisters to explode, no matter how much I shot them. Add to the fact that every physical hit I took was 75-90% of my HP pool, I was barely scrapping by with rolls everywhere.
Remember that camera issue from before? Well a giant T-Rex that’s charging at you, and that you can’t see, that’s not much fun.
After more than 20 attempts, I decided to change strategies. Some of the pieces that are knocked off can be used – in particular the min launchers. The downside is that it takes forever to pick up the item and you move like molasses when you have it. I took a practice run to figure out that – ah to hell with planning.
I died, and the next go, I simply shot off the launcher and stood next to it. When he charged, I rolled, picked up the launcher, turned on slow-mo-mode, and shot the entire clip into the bugger. I repeated the same steps with the other launcher. I didn’t take a single hit. It almost felt like a staged run.
I went from feeling like I was going to throw the controller in frustration to a perfect run. There’s a certain feeling of euphoria that comes from those types of events. Having to keep trying different things until it just clicks. It’s moments like those that clearly show why I like games. I’m going to remember this particular gaming event for a long time…