Top 10 bosses in the Metal Gear Solid Series

June 12, 2009

Metal Gear Solid is considered to be one of the greatest video game series of all time and there are many good reasons for this. Not only does Metal Gear Solid have fantastic gameplay and original ideas but it is also extremely cinematic and has an amazing storyline. I know people who don’t care for the MGS gameplay but happily play through for the incredible story and characters. The music also adds to the cinematic feel that MGS is known for. Harry Gregson Williams did an amazing job with the music in MGS2 – 4. All the composers who worked on the MGS games have done an amazing job. The characters in MGS are also amazing. You really feel for all the characters in the game. Both the heroes and villains of MGS are incredible as characters with strong emotions being created for everyone in the MGS universe. This feature will be focusing on the villains however, more importantly the bosses. Another reason MGS is considered to be amazing is the incredible boss fights. To celebrate the one year anniversary of Metal Gear Solid 4: Gun’s of the Patriots, I have made a list of the top ten MGS bosses in the entire series. (No bosses from Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake though because I haven’t got round to playing them though.

Note: There will be spoilers for all Metal Gear Solid games ahead.

10. Olga Gurlukovich – Metal Gear Solid 2


When you start MGS2 and choose new game you are presented with multiple options which affect the difficulty options available on the first playthrough and whether you start the game playing in the Tanker or the Big Shell. Most people who played MGS2 had played the first MGS beforehand so they would choose one of the options saying that they had played the first MGS. This would mean that most players played the Tanker chapter first and played as Snake. The first Boss you fight as Snake is Olga Gurlukovich. One of the best things about the Olga boss fight is the design of the fight. You are fighting aboard a tanker ship and water is splashing on most sides. The rain is rapidly coming down and this makes the fight seem like something straight out of Hollywood.  The graphics were amazing at the time and was one of the best looking scenes in any video game ever. A one on one duel with Olga, rain firing down and water splashing all around you, you are ducking behind boxes and firing at Olga while she fires back. It is a pretty amazing scene. The boss fight plays really well too. You only have a tranquillizer so you are forced to deplete Olga’s stamina rather than health but she can deplete your health. You have to use the small area you have to your advantage by hiding behind boxes and popping out when she doesn’t know where you are and getting a few shots in. Olga sharpens up quickly though and moves the light into your direction which makes it much harder to see where she is. When you look into the light you need to turn away because of how bright it is and it really adds to the immersion. You can get rid of the light by shooting it. Then Olga will use a cloth sheet to hide behind, not for cover but to make it harder for you to spot her. The wind blows it about which obviously will get in your way so you need to shoot the parts where it is tied to the container to make it fly away.

The Olga boss fight is great as a first boss fight. It shows that the boss fights in MGS2 are going to be just as good as the ones from the first game. It creates atmosphere and immersion and lets the player know that MGS2 is going to be an awesome game.

9. Metal Gear REX/Metal Gear RAY fight – MGS and MGS2


Both the fights with RAY and REX are quite different but I wanted to have one of them in this list and couldn’t decide, so I chose both. Both fights involve firing stingers at Metal Gear. In MGS you have to defeat Liquid Snake who is in Metal Gear REX and in MGS2 you have to defeat multiple Metal Gear RAYs. The REX fight is the most cinematic with Liquid trying to finally defeat Solid Snake. The first of many duels between the brothers is extremely well done and the memorable “BROTHER!” line is created here. To make the fight even better though Gray Fox joins in to lend a hand. Gray Fox takes on REX and tries to destroy using speed, strength and his kick ass sword. However, even Gray Fox is no match for REX and is only able to distract it by allowing it to crush him. During this time it switches to the first person stinger mode, which you can control. Gray Fox is shouting at you to fire the rocket and destroy REX but Snake is unable to do it because it doesn’t want to kill Gray Fox. Gray Fox is then killed and Snake is left to fight REX. It’s one of the best moments in the series.


 The RAY fight is also fantastic. Raiden is left by himself in Arsenal Gear and has to destroy the oncoming Metal Gear RAYs. Otacon is available via codec for some advice but apart from that you only have your equipment. The fight is very fun and can be very challenging on the higher difficulties. The fight isn’t as cinematic as REX but it is very tense as you have a limited amount of rations and ammo. Ammo and rations are available to be picked up but there aren’t that many so it’s vital you manage to avoid taking too many hits and eliminate each Metal Gear quickly.

8. Metal Gear REX versus Metal Gear RAY – MGS4


You are probably wondering why I didn’t include this at position 9 with the other Metal Gear fight. The reason for putting it above is because of how awesome the fight is. Yes, the Snake vs. Metal Gear fights are great but fighting Metal Gear using another Metal Gear is even better. Ever since players saw Metal Gear for the first time, they wanted to use it to kick some ass and now MGS4 lets you. Before the boss fight, you get to control REX for a while where you need to make your way through the Shadow Moses escape tunnel and defeat Gekko along the way. This gives you practise for the boss and allows you to get to grips with the way REX handles. It feels really heavy which is a good thing and moves at a decent speed (You can dart in directions to speed this up though). REX is equipped with three weapons: machine guns, missiles and a laser. The machine guns are the “fast but not that powerful gun”, the missiles can do a lot of damage but they need to reload quite often and the laser is very good but needs to be charged before use (The longer charged, the more damage done). The RAY fight is really good. RAY is a stronger version of REX and Liquid has had more experience with RAY than Snake has with REX so Liquid starts off with an advantage. RAY can pull of similar moves to you but if you are quick enough you can dodge fire or shoot the missiles before they hit you. If you manage to ram into RAY you can perform some additional moves but Liquid can do the same. If you miss your ram Liquid will nearly always use the opportunity to attack you up close.

The REX versus RAY fight is amazing. Finally you can control a Metal Gear and even fight with another Metal Gear. REX controls extremely well and the atmosphere created by Shadow Moses nostalgia just makes the fight that little bit better.

7. Gray Fox/Cyborg Ninja – MGS


Gray Fox is one of the best villains in the MGS series, if he can be classed as a villain anyway. The Gray Fox fight is a close quarters dual to the death. Both Snake and Gray Fox only use their fists in this fight, no guns… or swords in Gray Fox’s case. What does make the fight interesting though is the fact that Gray Fox has access to stealth camouflage meaning that he can go invisible. A really fast, cyborg ninja, who can go invisible, sounds like fun. Fortunately Gray Fox doesn’t use stealth all of the time to make the fight fairer. When Gray Fox is attacking he will not use it and will be visible but after taking a few hits he will activate it again. Now you have to find Gray Fox, somewhere in the office the invisible ninja lies in wait. So how do you find him? Do you wander about, searching every possible location for an outline of some sort, as quick as you can? Or do you make use of the chaff grenades you have and deactivate the stealth and stun him at the same time? Or do you listen to his voice and track it, using sound? Each way can be effective and can lead to a very tense boss fight because if you don’t find him quick enough he will find you and do some damage. However, even though the first part of the fight is very well done and extremely fun, the highlight of the fight comes from the end of it. Gray Fox suddenly becomes crazy due to what appears to be a malefaction. He then starts banging his head of the ground and screaming, if you try to attack him an electrical pulse attack you back. Then the electrical pulse becomes even larger and will hit you unless you are far away from him. Gray Fox will be screaming with pain and shouting at you to hit him, he became crazy and witnessing this just adds to the overall quality of the boss fight.

6. Liquid Snake – MGS


Liquid is the main villain in MGS, the leader of FOXHOUND and also Solid Snake’s brother. Liquid is one of the best villains in the entire MGS series and the fight shows that well. After defeating REX Snake wakes up, injured and topless with Liquid standing above him. Liquid talks about his plan and informs Snake of what was going on, then the duel starts. No guns, no stealth, no grenades, just an unarmed duel on top of a half destroyed Metal Gear REX. The scene was done amazing, Liquid and Snake on top of REX, both weak but ready to fight. The fight consists of punching and dodging. You attack Liquid with your combo, dodge his and get some more punches in. The fight itself is good but it’s the atmosphere that really makes it. The duel of the two brothers with the amazing Metal Gear Solid music playing is one of the best events of the MGS series. Liquid’s British voice screaming “Brother!” also adds to this. The player really feels like beating Liquid as quickly as possible because of Meryl. Meryl is lying, unconscious and you can’t check to see if she is alive or not, until Liquid has been defeated. This makes the player want to ensure Liquid gets defeated, the player cares for Meryl and are desperate to find out whether she is alive or not.

5. Sniper Wolf – MGS


There are two fights with Sniper Wolf, both are really good. The fights take place of sniper duels and can be really intense. Sniper Wolf will wait until the right time for the shot while you are frantically searching for her. This creates tension and makes you try to find her as fast as you can but you don’t want to be searching too fast in case you miss her. In the first fight, Snake is at one end of a corridor and Wolf is at the other end. Both of you are equipped with Sniper rifles. Meryl had already been shot by Sniper Wolf and was then captured when Snake went to get a sniper. This makes you want to get revenge against Wolf. Unlike Sniper Wolf, Snake is not a trained sniper so he is nowhere near as good as Wolf. He shakes a lot which makes him quite inaccurate. To prevent the shaking Snake must use diazepam which makes Snake a lot steadier. However you only have a limited amount of diazepam so again you want to try and find her fast so they don’t go to waste. Since the fight is just down a corridor, it isn’t very difficult to find Wolf but she does move to cover and go prone to make it harder.

The second fight is the better of the two though. This time you are fighting in a big open field but at the time of heavy snow. There is also less cover this time so you can imagine that even more tension is created. Again diazepam is needed to have a steady shot and actually hit Wolf. This time Wolf hides behind tries, containers or will try to stay low so that it is hard for her to be seen. It is a lot harder to find her in the second fight but when you get the hang of it, Wolf won’t cause too many problems. After finally defeating Wolf and ending the epic sniper battle one of the most tragic death scenes in the game happens. Sniper Wolf was a good person and Otacon tried to convince Snake that she was. Otacon loved Wolf and seeing her die would be terrible but unfortunately it was necessary.

4. Psycho Mantis – MGS


No Metal Gear Solid boss list is complete without Psycho Mantis. It is one of the most innovate boss fight in a game ever. Psycho Mantis is a telepath so he can read your mind and find out about you or detect your next move. In the cutscene before the fight he reads your memory card and tells you what game you like to play. He also describes your play style; whether you are stealthy; reckless; fall in traps; whether you save often and more. As well as that he tells you to put the controller on the ground and watch him move it through the power of vibration. That is what makes the Psycho Mantis fight so good, it breaks the fourth wall and brings the player into the fight. In the fight you can’t hit Psycho Mantis, well you can’t at the beginning. Every time you fire a gun, throw a punch, throw a grenade etc he will dodge it and then attack you. So how do you beat him? You take out your controller and put it into controller port two. Then he can’t detect your moves and you can actually attack him now. Like I said before it really brings the player in and makes the boss fight an amazing experience.  

Changing the controller port isn’t the only way to defeat Psycho Mantis though. You can also equip the gas mask which prevents him from reading your mind and you can also destroy the statues behind him. Changing the controller port is the best way to do it though. As well as the actual fight with Psycho Mantis, he also controls Meryl. He will take control of her and make her either shoot you or herself. To prevent this you must co and knock he out with a throw or by hitting her enough times.

3. The End – MGS3

The end

Like Sniper Wolf, The End is a sniper duel. This time the fight is taken to a completely different level though.  Unlike the previous fight there is a lot more to fighting, using diazepam and avoiding being shot. There are many ways to defeat The End and each one is extremely tricky and requires a lot of skill, well most ways do. The best way to play is to have an all out, epic sniper duel. The End is hidden somewhere around you so you must try and find him. You could run out into the open and let him shoot you to find his position but that isn’t the best of ideas. You could look out for the glare on his sniper scope or use the directional microphone to hear his grunts (A 100+ year old man isn’t going to be quiet). After you find him you need to hit him with the sniper which, depending on your position will either will be easy or difficult. After hitting him in the first position he will move somewhere into one of the surrounding forest areas. Now to find him again. Don’t expect to quickly run to where he started off because The End is one hell of a runner, especially for his age. However, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. To find him again you can track his footprints by looking for them or using the Thermal goggles. You can’t just go running after his footprints though, you must make use of your camouflage and try to be as hidden as possible. Survival is the key to the end fight, making use of your camo and equipment; having patience; maybe even setting a few traps all help you defeat The End. Even though the epic, sniper duel is my favourite way to defeat The End the other ways can be just as fun.

Two of the ways are very simple but are worth trying just to see what it is like. After defeating The Pain you have to travel through a river. When doing this there is a point where you turn to the left and a cutscene starts. The End is in the cutscene and is sleeping in his wheelchair. When the cutscene finishes you can kill The End by shooting him in the head with the SVD. This prevents you from fighting him later and instead you will be greeted by some Ocelot troops. There is another amusing way to defeat The End. If you save the game during the fight and then switch off the PS2, when you load the game back up a special cutscene will appear depending on how long you waited. If you waited less than a week The End catches Snake trying to sneak up on him but if you waited more than a week you see Snake sneak up on The End only to find out that he has died of old age. That’s Kojima for you. The third way to defeat him is to sneak up on him. This can be very difficult but you can obtain The End’s camo and Mosin-Nagant by doing this. If you hold up The End and make him shake out his equipment you can get his camo. If you decide to defeat him by depleting your stamina you will obtain his Mosin-Nagant which is very useful as a long range, non lethal weapon.

The End is one of the most amazing boss fights in any game as it is completely different from every other fight out there. Skill and patience are both essential.

2. Liquid Ocelot – MGS4

liquid ocelot 

Now this is one hell of a fight. Old Snake and Liquid Ocelot both have gone through hell but are still determined to fight each other. It is an amazing experience and seeing the legendary hero and villain have one final fight (or should that be four) makes an incredible finale for Metal Gear Solid 4. The fight is split into four parts, each part representing one of the Metal Gear Solid games (1 – 4). Each fight involves using CQC and Ocelot will use different skills and attacks depending on which stage he is in. The CQC is changed for this fight though. The main combo you can perform is now longer and has more hits in it; the grab takes you into a special cut scene/quick time event where you can beat him up even more; you can perform a more powerful punch; you can perform a dash which will stun him for a second; you can perform a quick dodge in the form of crouching down; you can interact with the environment to perform more moves (e.g. Hitting Liquid Ocelot’s head off a big post). The first stage of the fight is the Metal Gear Solid (1) stage. This fight has the amazing “Encounter” Metal Gear Solid music playing and allows you to get to grips with the fighting style.  The CQC duel makes you attack, block, dodge and grab to win the fight. The health bars are exactly the same as they were in MGS too which is a great feature. The atmosphere in this fight is great; it really reminds you of the Liquid versus Snake fight in the first MGS. Even though you are fighting Ocelot, there is a resemblance to Liquid when he is topless. Outer Haven has a similar look to REX when you are on top of it which adds to the nostalgic atmosphere.

The second part of the fight is the Metal Gear Solid 2 part. This time the “Tanker Incident “ music is playing. This time Liquid Ocelot will frequently use an extremely powerful punch which can take off a lot of health. The fight is very similar but it has a completely different atmosphere due to the music which makes the fight what it is. Both if the fights can be really brutal since both Liquid Ocelot and Snake are extremely old and in extreme pain. Again the health bars have changed to the ones used in MGS2. The MGS3 fight is next and starts off with some cool, cutscene counters which were used by Big Boss and The Boss in MGS3. Ocelot also does his hand gesture which he done frequently in MGS3. This time the “Snake Eater” song plays. Ocelot fights with the pose that Big Boss and Ocelot both used in MGS3. Some of the CQC attacks from MGS3 are used in this fight by both Liquid Ocelot and Snake. One of the attacks that Liquid Ocelot uses can be countered by Snake in the exact same way Big Boss counters which is a nice touch. The health bars are now the MGS3 ones and the stamina bars are there too.

The MGS4 fight starts with Snake and Liquid Ocelot both punching each other at the same time. Then they both fall over. As they rise the music changes to the “Old Snake” music from MGS4. Liquid Ocelot then says, “It’s not over yet” and the final stage starts. Unlike the previous stages, there are no fast CQC attacks, grabs or health bars. As you stumble towards Liquid Ocelot and he stumble towards you, the music plays. Then one of you will manage to get a single punch in. There is no fast chain of combos, just slow punches being exchanged between the two brothers (If you count them as brothers). Both of them are in pain and are struggling to keep on going. Then with a few more punches, Liquid Ocelot finally falls over defeated. This is an incredible way to finish off the incredible game that is Metal Gear Solid 4.

1. The Boss – MGS3


The Boss fight is created and executed beautifully. At the start of the game The Boss is helping Naked Snake and there is a very deep connection between the two. Snake tells Eva that is more than what is normally felt between a man and women, that it’s deeper than love. Snake doesn’t want to fight The Boss and neither does the player but there is obviously no choice. The fight itself is amazing though. Both The Boss and Naked Snake created CQC together and CQC is essential to this fight. It starts and The Boss immediately runs towards you and tries to CQC throw you. You can counter by hitting circle at the right time then throw her to the ground yourself but if she gets you onto the ground she will unleash a stream of bullets from her Patriot. After you escape or she retreats back, you have a number of options. You could wait until she finds you and try to get a few cheap CQC moves in but you can’t treat The Boss that way. You could run at her and counter/attack her with CQC. If you don’t have a heart you may even shoot her. When you attack The Boss she will comment on your skill level which is a great touch that shows there is still a connection between the two. You only have ten minutes to defeat The Boss as she is calling in air strikes to bomb the place so that only one of them will get out alive and carry on the name of The Boss. Five minutes into the fight the “Snake eater” song starts and it really adds to the feeling off the fight. When Snake or The Boss is hit the flowers will change colour which again makes the fight even more amazing.

The fight is more than CQC; it is a test of survival and making use of everything that The Boss has taught you. You need to counter her CQC; avoid her bullets; sneak up on her; use camouflage if you think it would help. It is an incredible experience. Then the most amazing part of the fight happens. When you defeat The Boss and the cutscene starts, she hands you the philosopher’s legacy and tells Snake about EVA. Then she gives you the Patriot and tells you that there can only be one Boss in the world. Snake is now standing above The Boss, holding the Patriot, aiming it at her head waiting for the player to press circle and finish off The Boss. The player obviously has to but they don’t want to end the life of the legendary soldier. Even in death The Boss still had an influence in the world and her ideas were the basis of The Patriots.

I would consider the ending to MGS3 to be the greatest video game ending of all time. You see the moment when Naked Snake become Big Boss but he doesn’t seem to care now that he knows the truth about The Boss. EVA was told about The Boss by The Boss herself and was supposed to tell Snake the truth about the whole events. The Boss never actually betrayed Naked Snake, well she did but she had no choice. She was forced to do it; it was her mission as a soldier. The betrayal was all part of her mission which originally involved coming back to the US alive but after Volgin destroyed Sokolov’s research building the Russians blamed the US. The US government needed to cover this up by blaming it on The Boss and convincing the Russian government that she was a rogue agent. Then the Russians demanded that the US sent an agent into kill The Boss, along with Volgin. They sent in Snake. The Boss never wanted to fight against you, she was just following her orders as a soldier and the player is forced into playing a part in it all without even knowing it. The player has to kill the Legendary Soldier to please the government. Then Big Boss visits The Boss’ grave, places down the Patriot and flowers, and then has a final salute. It is extremely emotional and the perfect way to end the game.

The Boss fight was amazing which paid a tribute towards all The Boss’ beliefs and how she acted as a soldier. The fight is made even better by the fantastic ending that follows.


One comment

  1. Good read. Completely agree with your number one too. MGS3 was epic from start to finish and is my personal highlight of the series. The fight with The Boss was very emotional, especially when you had to pull the trigger yourself.

    Just one thing though, Vulcan Raven in the M1 tank is missing! Legendary fight!

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