Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid series is known for having incredible boss fights. Whether the gameplay itself was fun or the character just stuck in our mind as particularly awesome, here are the top 10 Metal Gear Solid bosses.
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10. Metal Gear REX – Metal Gear Solid
The big encounter with the nuclear-armed bipedal tank, dubbed Metal Gear REX, brought a chilling edge to the final moments of the Shadow Moses Incident. Kojima and his team spent a lot of the story building up this potential nuclear threat. The fight itself was quite a spectacle, even by the graphics standards of 1998. The DARPA-built monstrosity had all the weapons: a mounted laser, rotating cannons, anti-tank missiles, and a token weak spot just like Star Wars’ Death Star. In fact, it was a hell of a fight, that jumped from gameplay to cutscene seamlessly, but the cruel twist at the end, where an old friend sacrificed himself in order to help Snake put REX down for good, made it memorable.
9. Cyborg Ninja – Metal Gear Solid
The first battle with the “Cyborg Ninja” (aka Frank Jaeger) is easily one of the most intense boss fights in Metal Gear history, but more than that, it’s downright creepy. At this point in the original Metal Gear Solid, we don’t know that locked deep inside that exoskeleton is Snake’s old friend Frank, but he certainly has a score to settle. During your hand-to-hand brawl, the Ninja backflips, he deflects bullets, he disappears into thin air. All the while, he’s taunting you, begging you to hurt him, dropping subtle clues that Snake should remember him. It’s a palpable tension, both narratively and in the gameplay. This battle made you sweat, and left you with more questions than answers about your formerly fallen comrade.
8. Shagohod – Metal Gear Solid 3
Whether you’re dodging the deadly water jet cutter of Ray, or going head to head against the madly named Sahelanthropus, there’s no shortage of Metal Gear’s to eliminate throughout the series, but Colonel Volgin’s Metal Gear progenitor, the Shagohod, has cemented it’s ranking by offering an over the top, twenty plus minute battle.
It features an intense on-rails motorbike chase while escaping the crumbling Groznyj Grad fortress, a sweat-inducing sniper section that tasks you with perfectly timing the detonation of a bridge and an explosive RPG-filled finale against the nuclear-armed tank itself. Oh, and after all that, you’ve still got to fight everyone’s favourite electrically charged Soviet. All of this culminates in an over-the-top boss-ending cutscene, involving a bolt of lightning, and one toasty Colonel.
7. Fatman – Metal Gear Solid 2
One of the franchise’s most bizarre enemies, this battle against the gluttonous rollerblading enthusiast was not only a test of marksmanship, but also our ability to multitask. Having to constantly avoid being shot or shoulder-checked by the fat man himself, while also attempting to disarm bombs and whittle away his health made for one of the most memorable (and infuriating) boss fights that Metal Gear Solid 2 had to offer… even if Fatman can’t seem to decide on which accent to use. It’s probably because of those wine coolers he’s so fond of.
6. Liquid Ocelot – Metal Gear Solid 4
It may be long and lacking checkpoints, but we can’t deny the satisfaction that comes from seeing Old Snake go punch-for-punch with his long-time nemesis Liquid Ocelot. This grueling test of Snake’s CQC skills finishes the Metal Gear Solid series much like it began, and pays homage to every game that came before it by using music, moves, and HUD effects from Metal Gear Solid 1-3. It’s a battle that marks the end of an era, and is a slugfest that we won’t soon forget.
5. Sniper Wolf – Metal Gear Solid
Kojima wanted you to think that Solid Snake’s second fight with Sniper Wolf was about revenge. The shootout took place during a snow storm, and was set to the soundtrack of Snake’s heartbeat as he searched for a clean shot. It was all about the hunt in this fight, as you frantically sought Wolf while she dodged behind trees, or carefully positioned herself on a hill. Yes, you could have used the Nikita and ended the fight quickly, but that would have only cheapened the incredible emotional payoff at the end of this battle. Sniper Wolf’s actual screen time was very short, but this final battle ranks among the most powerful in all of Metal Gear Solid.
4. The Sorrow – Metal Gear Solid 3
Snake’s fight against The Sorrow in Metal Gear Solid 3 epitomizes Hideo Kojima’s uncanny ability to throw unique, powerful, and unforgettable encounters at the player. The Sorrow isn’t amazing because of its challenge or reward, but rather in the way it critiques Snake, the player, and the medium of video games itself. When you enter Sorrow’s ethereal dream world and begin to trudge down his seemingly endless river, you’re forced to face the ghosts of each and every enemy you’ve killed up I that point in the game. Kept your pistol holstered? It’ll be a short hike. Killed every single thing that moved? Well, prepare to deal with the consequences.
3. Psycho Mantis – Metal Gear Solid
Who can deny the importance of Psycho Mantis? He’s the embodiment of all that is weird in the world of Metal Gear Solid: an outlandish rubber-clad ex-KGB Russian mercenary with psychic powers and a mean-looking gas mask, who spends the duration of the fight making you dodge spinning antiques. But it was his annihilation of the fourth wall – making you switch controller ports to avoid being mind-read, pretending to shut the TV off mid-fight – that helped cement Metal Gear Solid as a series to watch for its outrageous characters and story, just as much as its engaging espionage action.
2. The Boss – Metal Gear Solid 3
No encounter manages to hit on as many levels as Naked Snake’s encounter with The Boss at the end of Metal Gear Solid 3. Not only was The Boss pivotal in the events of Metal Gear’s faux history, but as Snake’s mentor and friend, she helped shape the man that he would eventually become. Aside from this, the fight itself was a tense, gorgeous battle that acted as the culmination of the camo and CQC mechanics that Snake Eater taught the player throughout the course of the game.
Among her final words to Naked Snake is this emotional statement that foreshadows the events of the rest of the series. “One must die and one must live. No victory, no defeat. The survivor will carry on the fight. It is our destiny… The one who survives will inherit the title of Boss. And the one who inherits the title of Boss will face an existence of endless battle.”
1. The End – Metal Gear Solid 3
Who could ever forget the Cobra Unit’s legendary sniper fight with The End in Metal Gear Solid 3? Stressful sniper fights have been a part of the series since the first Metal Gear Solid, but The End raised the stakes in an unprecedented way. The crafty, camouflaged 100(plus)-year-old sniper’s movements were tough to decipher. He could sit quietly waiting to pull the trigger or run towards a completely different site on the battlefield if he was detected. Kojima Productions gave us an epic one-on-one encounter with a sneaky AI-driven shooter in the wide-open jungle. And for the first time, all the Pentazemin in the world couldn’t remove the genuine feeling that you were the prey instead of the hunter.
The unique approaches you can take to defeating The End are what makes him so special, though. Being able to sneakily take him out hours earlier with a crack shot or simply waiting for old age to catch up with him are both valid, and very funny options, that set this great boss apart.
Agree with our ranking? If you don’t, then here’s a reminder to vote in our face-off of the top Metal Gear Solid bosses. And if you’re excited to play the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection why not check out how to play all the Metal Gear Solid games in chronological order.
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Author: Simon Cardy