Metal Gear Solid game anime adaptations
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Metal Gear Solid 3 had some of the series’ all-time great bosses

A deserved eulogy to the members of the Cobra Unit

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One fair criticism we can throw at Metal Gear Solid 3 is that most of its bosses went from being characters to just obstacles, but one thing we just can’t say is that those obstacles weren’t fun to destroy.

MGS3 features some of the most inventive and fun boss battles in the history of gaming, and it’s high time that we pay our respects to these deadly and dramatic foes.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Ocelot (before becoming The Revolver)

The first boss battle is by far the least interesting in the game. Ocelot and his unit don’t do anything special and don’t put up all that much of a fight, so just shoot them and don’t get hit, we guess. Jeez, that guy really was nothing before he started using a revolver.

One thing making Metal Gear Solid 3 boss battles stand apart from boss battles from other games is how Kojima usually leaves a secret easter egg that will totally devastate the boss. Sorry to disappoint you once again, but there’s not much of that here, either. It’s possible to shoot bee hives so that they sting Ocelot a little.

Maybe Kojima intentionally designed this boss so he could sabotage future lists attempting to celebrate the genius of MGS3’s boss battles. Nice try.

The Pain

We all know The Pain for his ability to control bees, but he’s also able to conjure up machine guns in his hands out of nowhere, something many would probably argue makes for a better ability. Still, he’s hellbent on defeating Snake by sending swarms of bees at him.

Luckily for Snake, these aren’t special bees, and our man is totally equipped with bug repellent, so this one won’t prove too hard. Shoot the bees that The Pain callously uses as body armor, then shoot him. Easy.

The Fear

The Fear is a master hunter whose special ability is, well, having slightly longer arms than a regular human. We kid. He can climb trees and he also has slightly better senses that a regular bedroom-based gamer. We can go up against him as we’d go against a regular boss, but there are way more fun ways to go about it.

Kojima allows players to poison The Fear by feeding him bad food, but there’s a twist here that not even Kojima could have predicted…

MGS3‘s best easter egg is one not even Kojima intended. One of the ways to defeat The Fear is by stunning him via grenade, but that should just allow players to get a free shot at him afterward. Players, however, can use his stasis to light up a torch and slowly burn his ass until his HP gets down to zero.

The End

The End proves the ultimate endurance test in the history of the series. Hideo Kojima really wanted players to display the resilience required to win a sniper battle, so this encounter forces players to search patiently for their enemy. Sounds easy enough, too bad we’re talking about the guy who essentially invented sniping — someone so gifted at his job that even his skin exhibits natural camouflage abilities. Fun fact, Kojima originally wanted this battle to take up to two weeks to finish.

Conversely, The End can also be the fastest boss battle in the entire series. Players have the opportunity to snipe him in the head before the battle even starts, or sneakily have him “die of old age” by moving the console’s clock forward by ten days.

The Fury

The Fury is an astronaut who went mad in space and yet still managed to convince someone he should own a flamethrower. Visually, the fight against The Fury marks one of the highest points of the acclaimed sequel — With flames that burn so bright and beautifully that the poor old PS2 hardware had a hard time keeping up. Mechanically, however, we don’t have much to say of note about this one.

The Sorrow

The Sorrow offers players perhaps the most off-beat boss in the history of the series. Instead of fighting a physical foe, players will be facing their own choices throughout the game. The fight consists in walking on a river and having to dodge a ghost representing each of the soldiers Snake had killed up until that point in the game. A fascinating and very unique idea.

It’s not a mechanically challenging boss, more of a morally challenging one. Oh, and it’ll also challenge the patience of players who kill every enemy in sight because man, that will take a while.

Colonel Volgin

Volgin is the true villain of the game, a madman with the power to control lightning. Players can defeat him in standard armed combat, but he doesn’t play fair, so why should we?

Instead, players have the ability to defeat Volgin by breaking his heart (figuratively). Volgin acts like a total monster, but he has enough love in his soul for one man: Ivan Raidenovitch, a Soviet soldier who just happens to look exactly like Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 2. Players who inform the game that they’re familiar with MGS lore before the campaign begins will start with a Raiden mask, so equip it to freeze Volgin and prevent him from attacking you for a while.

Kojima gave him this weakness for fun just so players could land one free blow, but we can use this window to plant a bunch of explosives in his vicinity and blow him up for good. Alternatively, players can fake their death with the fake death pill. This sneaky move will get Volgin to turn his back on Snake, assuming that the fight is over, and allowing us to repeat the explosive strategy mentioned above.


The battle against the Shagohod — Russian for “The Walker” — provides an interesting alternative to the traditional big robot fight. Unlike the previous games in the series, in which we fill the shoes of a regular person who’s somehow capable of dodging missiles, most of the battle against the Shagohod puts Snake in the gunner seat of a speeding motorbike.

Despite it turning into somewhat of an on-rails experience, the game makes up for the lack of freedom by creating a memorable set piece. Sadly, there’s no hilariously wacky way to beat this particular foe.

Metal Gear Solid 3 remake rumored at Konami
Screenshot by Destructoid

The Joy (The Boss)

The ultimate one-on-one battle. Naked Snake finally has to face off against his former mentor in order to earn the title of Big Boss. This encounter makes perfect use of all the awesome Close Quarters Combat mechanics that MGS3 introduced.

There’s no intentionally fun way to beat this one, and chances are most players will simply feel too sad at this point to even go looking for one.


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Tiago Manuel
Tiago is a freelancer who used to write about video games, cults, and video game cults. He now writes for Destructoid in an attempt to find himself on the winning side when the robot uprising comes.