. The name alone is enough to inspire either nostalgic goosebumps from fans or vein-popping anger from haters. To say that Metal Gear
is controversial would be an understatement; the mastermind Hideo Kojima basically invented the videogame "love/hate relationship", whether it be spouting out teases like "Did you like(rike) it?" or making a teaser site about the announcement of an announcement that would leave Sony fanboys flaming up a storm on message boards. But the one thing that cannot be denied about Metal Gear
is it's legacy of excellent and creative boss battles. That is why I am dedicating this Top Ten Saturday to the greatest of the greats; the Top Ten Metal Gear
boss fights. Now this list is only including post-Solid
bosses, which means from everything from 1998's Metal Gear Solid
to 2008's Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
, including the PSP-exclusive Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
. So without further adue, I give you the best Metal Gear
There will be spoilers.
Metal Gear Rex, Metal Gear Solid
, 1998, Sony Playstation
Let's start off with a fight that everyone remembers: Metal Gear Rex. This mechanical juggernaut gave a new meaning to overkill. After all, how was Snake supposed to take on a bipedal tank
capable of destroying nations? Well, with the sacrifice of Frank Jaeger and a few missiles, Metal Gear Rex was surmountable, but still a tough fight. It was a struggle to balance dodging devastating attacks and remaining still enough to accurately fire a missile at the weak point that was revealed thanks to Gray Fox. It was a total war of attrition, with no catch, no gimmick, and no help; it was a struggle for survival against a machine that could kill you in almost a hundred different ways. While the lack of any sort of catch to the fight was odd, especially for a Metal Gear
fight, the tense action more than made up for it. This wasn't about having your mind read or throwing grenades at just the right point; it was about devastating a weak point with rockets and living. That simple concept made for one great boss fight, thus earning it the number 10 spot on the countdown. R.I.P. Frank Jaeger ;_;
The Sorrow, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
, 2005, Sony Playstation 2
The beauty of this boss fight is that it really isn't one; there don't fight The Sorrow, you don't have any way to attack; in fact, the Sorrow is already dead. The Sorrow is a ghost that shows up throughout the game to creep Snake out and break the fourth wall (Kojima must really hate that wall, because he tends to break it a lot) and taunt him with simple hints, and his boss fight is almost as creepy as the bloody tears he sheds. The entire "fight" takes place in a shallow river right after Snake, now short one eye, escapes from Groznyj Grad. He's stumbling through the river when all of a sudden ghostly soldiers begin to appear and attack him. You can't fight back, use items, or even run; you just have to stumble past them and avoid them as best as you can. All the while, The Sorrow himself floats in front of you, occasionally blasting you with a Donnie Darko
-esque translucent energy attack. After being attacked by The Pain and The End, you quickly realize what's happening; you are avoiding every single enemy, boss or otherwise, that you have lethally destroyed in the game so far. This fight truly rewards those who went out of their way to stay in the shadows and avoid killing any enemy. However, the end of the fight has only one possible consequence; you die. Snake keels over and dies, and a Game Over Screen appears and everything. The trick? You take the revival pill in the item menu, the only item available to you.
The fight is just brilliant and it really shows the creative prowess of everyone's favorite crazy Japanese military otaku. The fight itself is really just a walk through the lives that you have chosen to destroy on your path to saving the country Snake has chosen to dedicate himself to. In fact, the fight itself brings up the pure message of the game itself; a soldier fights for the country he loves. The fight is teaching you that these people that you have murdered in the name of America were the same as Snake, just destined to be on the other side. To you, they're enemies, people who hate America and hate freedom. To them, Snake is a cold killer who wants only to bring harm to those who wish to protect the Motherland. It's a great message that is almost a little too subtle for a Kojima game where the message is basically given to you on a silver platter with a neat little bow tied around it. That kind of subtlety is endearing, so much so that this fight earns the number 9 spot on the countdown.
Fatman, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
, 2001, Sony Playstation 2
Fatman is a bastard. He is a maniac who gets his jollies from blowing places, and people, to smithereens. His first victim in the Big Shell incident? Friend to Raiden and "Plisken" and former bomb squad mentor, Peter Stillman. You witness Stillman's final moments as he talks to Raiden in codec before being crushed by the smoldering remains of the Big Shell facility that Fatman detonated. Named after the bomb that dropped on Nagasaki in WWII, this overweight pyromaniac preferred to taunt you and tease you instead of fight you, which if he tried, he would surely have failed at. The fight takes place on the roof of a Big Shell facility where you have to prevent various explosives that Fatman, now dashing about of roller skates while sipping on a drink, sets on key structural points. You have to freeze them with liquid nitrogen and then attack Fatman himself, who is quite difficult to hit because of previously mentioned roller skates. The fight is a struggle against time and Fatman himself, as each passing second gives Fatman another opportunity to set another bomb for you to freeze. The key is to just be quick enough to catch each bomb before he sets the next batch and to attack him as quickly and as brutally as possible in the seconds you have to spare. Tense, suspenseful, and high on calories, this fat bastard earns the number 8 spot on this countdown with pure, high in saturated fat madness.
Raging Raven, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
, 2008, Sony Playstation 3
In a game with some crazy chicks, this maniac takes the cake, if only because it's funny to reference her infinitely ridiculous saying ("SHOW ME YOUR RAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!"). Although as much as we can fun of her and the terrible post-boss explanations from Drebin that border on offensively stupid, there's no joke about the fight itself; this lunatic flies about shouting and launching serious firepower at poor aging Snake, who's only defense is the feeble stone that the walls are made of. This battle is a complete vertical affair, where the only way to stay safe if to keep moving up or down the flights of stairs, picking off her health anyway you have, whether it be by heavy artillery or nagging little pistol rounds. The fight was all about balancing constant movement with hiding in just the right foxholes where you could get a quick shot off on her when she slows down her assault. There really was no catch to the battle or any specific set way to defeat her; it was all about using your surroundings, whether it be rolling down stairs to avoid her rockets or firing through small holes in the roof to hit her where she couldn't hit you. If you wanted to add an extra bit of ironic fun to the fight, you could tune up your iPod and listen to some relaxing "Sea Breeze", which was juxtaposed against the occasional "RAAAAAAAAGE!" that flew overhead. All about the excitement, this fight took you and Snake to the vertical limit just to throw you right back down with a post-missile attack crunch, and for this, the fight earns the number 7 spot on this list.
Solidus Snake, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
, 2001, Sony Playstation 2
Solidus Snake is not really a bad guy; the "brother" of Snake and Liquid, this former-President seeks only for the United States to truly be free from the hands of the Patriots, who have determined the path of the United States for centuries. He sought to fight the oppression in the only way he knew how: directly. The "father" of Raiden, the battle between the two was fraught with the aura of destiny, which made the fight more than just a climactic ending to a convoluted plot; instead, it was a truly dramatic struggle between father and son, two men crafted and used by the Patriots their entire lives. The fight took place on top of the ruins of the giant Metal Gear and the remnants of a half-destroyed downtown New York City, a thematically appropriate setting. It was a pure one on one affair, where you had to avoid Solidus's dash attacks and retaliate with a surprisingly fun analog stick-controlled katana blade. The sword really added a ton to a fight which would have previously just been a retelling of the fight between Snake and Liquid at the end of the original Metal Gear Solid
. Although, in the end, the drama that surrounded the fight really was the most memorable part about the fight, which earns it the number 6 on this countdown.
Laughing Octopus, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
, 2008, Sony Playstation 3
If there is one past time that is universally played and loved by almost everyone on the planet, it's a good game of "hide and seek". That's why this fight was so fun and so memorable; it was a game of hide and seek that was veiled with the dramatic tension of a boss fight. Laughing Octopus hid camouflaged within the office of everyone's favorite scientist turned vengeance seeker, Naomi Hunter, and the only way to beat her was to find her before she revealed her hiding spot and retaliated against Snake. She would get progressively trickier as the fight went on, and near the end she was practically invisible. It wasn't enough just to run around firing wildly though; the only way to beat her was to look in every nook and cranny available to you and fire as soon as you find her to avoid an ink attack. Not the most complicated of boss fights, this one definitely made up for it with pure fun and universal appeal. Let's not forget that this was the first fight to reveal the always creepy, post-MGS4
boss fight routine of the crazed girl inside of the suit coming out of it and slowly lurching toward you to give a final kill attempt. From frantic fun to awkward sexuality, this fight was a delight just to expierence, thus earning it the number 5 spot on this countdown. Now if only Snake could get all the weird goo off of his body after she hugged him...
Metal Gear Ray, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
, 2008, Sony Playstation 3
This battle is the epitome of climactic set pieces. If you had any doubts about the abilities of Kojima to set up a truly awesome moment, it was immediately washed away by three simple words: Metal Gear Fight. It was a battle between Snake in Metal Gear Rex vs Metal Gear Ray, and for this cataclysmic show of power, an entire new control scheme for the mechanical giant was given, where you had to simply bombard Ray with your railgun, laser, and missiles until one of you called it quits. If you though the original fight with Metal Gear Rex was a war of attrition, this fight made you reevaluate the definition of the word. This one gave the Civil War itself a run for the right to be called a true war of attrition, where movement and dodging were no longer an option; the aging machine no longer functioned as it once did, leaving only tenacious assault with your weapons the only option. In reality though, this fight goes beyond simply being an awesome fireworks show and really cements the message of Metal Gear Solid 4
: Snake, the aging, dying, weak man has to give it his all one last time to show that he still has it. Rex, and to an extent the entire Shadow Moses stage, is a message on the advancement of technology. Rex, now a mere shadow when compared to the newer model Ray, is in the same situation as Snake. It has one last chance to prove that it can one up the more powerful, newer model. It's kind of beautiful in a way, and thankfully Kojima didn't spell it out too much for the player ("OH WAIT! Were on Playstation 3 now! No more need to change discs!" It drives me to drink every time I hear that terrible line...) Climactic, hectic, and surprisingly poignant, this fight truly deserves the number 4 spot on the countdown. Old dogs may not be able to learn new tricks, but who needs to rollover when you still have the teeth to bite?
Psycho Mantis, Metal Gear Solid
, 1998, Sony Playstation
I don't think this fight needs any introduction at this point. This moment has been so ingrained in the fabric of videogame pop culture that it often overshadows Metal Gear Solid
itself. 11 years later, and the fight is beginning to show it's age; after all, after the spectacle of the introduction, it's actually kind of a frustrating fight. The controls don't really allow quick movement that is necessary to dodge the area attacks, and his health bar is abnormally high, meaning that every shot feels like a mere chink instead of a good hit. But let's not forget why we all remember the fight; nothing had ever been done like it ever before and very little has attempted to top it after. After "telling your fortune" by judging your save habits, he"reads your mind" by telling you what Konami games you've played, like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
, and finally, he shows you his kinetic powers by asking you to lay your controller on the floor, which he then proceeds to shake with the rumble in the Dualshock controller. It was hilarious, groundbreaking, and even a little creepy, and when you find out that you have to switch controller ports when the "HIDEO" screen comes on, you really see why this fight was so endearing. It's been discussed for ages and even lampooned by Kojima himself in Metal Gear Solid 4
, and for the memories it has given videogame players everywhere, it earns the number 3 spot on the countdown. But what the hell could beat Psycho Mantis in a Metal Gear
The End, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
, 2005, Sony Playstation 2
I'll tell you who could beat that S&M douchebag; an old, wheelchair bound man. The End is truly a testament to the brilliance of Kojima, who designed one of the greatest boss battles of all time with The End. The End is the "inventor" of modern day sniping techniques, thus making him the greatest sniper in the world. In addition to this, he has become supernaturally linked with nature, a fact that makes him an even more dangerous foe. The fight is a sniper's duel between a rising national hero and a proven war veteran with a chip on his shoulder, and the fight doesn't need a Harry Gregson-Williams score to show how climactic the fight is; silence and the sounds of nature make the soundtrack to a tense standoff that is half about finding out where the old man has hidden himself rather than fighting him. One of the most technical fights in videogame history, there are several ways to approach him. For one, you could out snipe him, killing his bird partner, thus making it harder for him to spot you. You could go for the direct approach and hunt him down with the thermal vision goggles to reveal his tracks that will lead you to him, though after finding him, you have to chase him down while he lays mines behind him to take you down. You can even advance the clock on the Playstation 2 a week forward, and you will find that he will have died of natural causes. As if that weren't enough, you don't even have to fight him; you can kill him in an earlier area with an appropriate sniper bullet to his head. Multi-faceted, incredibely suspenseful, and filled with paranoia, where ever twig breaking could trigger you to fire off in any direction, this fight was truly groundbreaking, so much so, that the number 2 spot is humbly offered to this old veteran. But who could possibly beat that?
The Boss, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
, 2005, Sony Playstation 2
The Boss, like Solidus before her (Although chronologically afterward), is not an enemy. In fact, in the end, she is one of the greatest heroes in American History. She sacrifices herself to Snake so that the United States could avoid a nuclear fallout with the Soviet Union, and what is her reward? An unmarked graved that is tucked away within a cemetery where other heroes rest. Although the only one who knows this is Jack, Naked Snake, her student, and co-inventor of her CQC (Close-Quarters Combat) techniques. She was more than a mentor to Snake; she was a Mother, a friend, and an object of affection. For this, it was only appropriate that Snake himself was the one to take her life, as he's the only one that truly can. The fight takes place in a field of white flowers, where the only way to win is to out do the master. Whether you sneak about and fire at her from afar or take her on in a CQC duel, the entire fight was beautifully done. Every hit against her hurt you, as the knowledge of her heroism take to Snake's fingers with each hit he delivered. In the end, after the last punch is thrown, you are given the Patriot, the gun wielded by The Boss herself. Not Snake, you, the one with controller in your hand. The cinematic fades to a black bar screen of a wideshot of Snake holding the gun over her body, and you, not Snake, have to push the trigger. The weight of the square button is enough to crush anyone's heart, and this moment is one of the few in videogame history that can bring some to tears. Once the shot is fired, Snake and the steed she rode walk away as the field of white flowers blows away, turning red as the do. Beauty is the only word to describe the situation, a situation which carries the dramatic mass of an ocean. That is why The Boss is the greatest boss fight in Metal Gear
history, with all of it's sullen sadness and tarnished heroism.
LOOK WHO CAME: