Metal Gear Solid’s legendary reputation is one that series creator and director Hideo Kojima has devoted his entire career in building. It is one of the most established series in gaming and often held in high regard, but it has also developed a prominent reputation for being at the forefront of debates and controversy. With the imminent arrival of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes in Europe, here is a selection of the five best boss battles from Kojima’s illustrious series.
Metal Gear Rex vs. Metal Gear Ray
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots delivered an emotional conclusion to Solid Snake’s story. Kojima set out to create the best atmosphere for this emotional send off and it included a return to Shadow Moses Island – the location which established Snake’s legendary reputation for fans on the PlayStation One.
Spending an entire series fighting Metal Gear – a nuclear equipped bipedal tank – it was only fulfilling for fans to finally take control of one. Entering Metal Gear Rex at Shadow Moses Island and confronting Liquid Ocelot in Metal Gear Ray was one of the most exhilarating experiences from the franchise. With Rex’s payload of missiles, Gatling gun and laser to utilise, it was a confrontation which had the player strategically planning out their next move in the clash between these two mechanical behemoths.
Solid Snake vs. Psycho Mantis
Psycho Mantis’ legacy continued to endure even after the boss battle in Metal Gear Solid. Fighting FOXHOUND’s ESP member was always going to be a challenging task, but director Hideo Kojima made it one that players would never forget.
Mantis demonstrated his ‘psychic powers’ in a cutscene before the battle, which proceeded with him breaking the fourth wall and reading the player’s PlayStation One memory card and moving their DualShock controller via vibration. With Mantis’ ability allowing him to read the player’s every move during the battle, it left most gamers baffled with what to do next. Eventually realising that Mantis could only be defeated if the player switched their controller ports, effectively leaving his ability to read minds redundant, created an unforgettable boss battle.
Naked Snake vs. The End
Out of the initial membership of the Cobra Unit – The Sorrow, The Fear, The Pain, The End and The Joy – The End hardly seemed to be one of the hardest challenges for Snake (as you would expect from seeing an ancient Second World War sniper). However, Kojima left the player with a mission which required Snake to fight the veteran sniper across three separate districts.
The battle with The End had the ancient sniper call upon ‘the spirits of the forest’ to grant him strength in his final battle, resulting in abilities ranging from being able to recover health from the forest to moving extremely fast, especially for a man of his age. His Mosin-Nagant fired out tranquilizer darts that would drain Snake’s stamina and affected the player’s ability to fight. There was even the revelation that Snake could be captured by The End if the player prolonged their save during the battle. Kojima also left some amusing and well hidden Easter Eggs regarding The End, which included the ability to eliminate him early in the title and also fast-forwarding the PlayStation 2 clock during the battle, resulting in his death from old age.
Naked Snake vs. The Boss
This final confrontation in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is without a doubt one of the finest moments from the series. Snake’s final objective is to eliminate his mentor, The Boss, which would, as Kojima later explained, create severe repercussions in the series’ timeline. With the location set in a daisy field and with a 10 minute time limit, it was an engaging and remarkable final boss battle.
The Boss co-created Close Quarters Combat (CGC) with Snake, which required the player to effectively counter her attacks and use it in their favour. The final fight concluded with Kojima forcing the player to pull The Patriot (The Boss’ weapon) and ending her life. This was a boss battle which utilised the strength of MGS3’s gameplay and combined it with a tear-jerking narrative.
Big Boss vs. Python
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops is often the forgotten title in the series and it produced some memorable moments. It featured a unique set of characters and offered an interesting continuation to Big Boss’ story. The confrontation between Big Boss and Python stands out as one of the best fights from the series.
With Big Boss being opposed by his former wartime ally, it created the atmosphere for a truly chilling showdown. Python bared an uncanny resemblance with Pinhead from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and certainly fitted into the category of unique villains to feature in the series. With Snake being surrounded by a mist during the battle, leaving it hard to notice where and when Python would strike, it delivered a tense experience. Additionally, Python also possessed the ability to freeze the player’s equipment through his grenade shells coated in liquid nitrogen. Big Boss’ showdown with Python delivered an exceptional fight which was combined with brilliant character development.