Metal Gear Solid has cast a psychic, an elderly sniper, and a roller-blading mad bomber as bosses, but which was the most entertaining and deadly? Let’s find out…
While some may scoff at the sheer amount cutscenes, nanomachines, twist endings, and in-jokes in the Metal Gear Solid series, the franchise deserves respect for how much freaking work the developers put into the many bosses Snake takes on. Even when the scripts get convoluted, the gameplay is focused on crafting unique, multifaceted, and clever boss fights that challenge gamers just as much as they entertain. If that’s MGS’ only legacy, it’d be a worthy one, because the bosses in Metal Gear are some of the best in gaming history.
But how do you determine the best of the best? After careful consideration, replays, and excluding every MGS spin-off (sorry Senator Armstrong, maybe next time) we came up with our seven favorites. Also, this was written before we at Laser Time completed The Phantom Pain, so we might revisit this list when Metal Gear Solid 6 comes out in 2022. But until then, these are the most impressive, challenging, and memorable big bads we’ve met in Metal Gear Solid.
7. Fatman (MGS2)
Most of Metal Gear Solid 2’s boss fights haven’t aged all that well. After the original Metal Gear Solid changed how we think about boss fights, slowly sniping at Vamp and shooting a hairy Russian in the stomach just couldn’t compare. But Fatman is a killer of a different color – the color of a chunky rollerblader who moves much faster than you expect.
Named after an atomic bomb, you find Fatman on Big Shell arming bombs on the abandoned tanker. Stopping him takes tons of concentration and multitasking, as you have to disarm bombs, avoid his attacks, and shoot him in the gut while timers ticks down. While much of Sons of Liberty depends on long conversations, Fatman’s battle is a great break from the monotony with one of the series’ most chaotic battles; thus it earns it a place in our hearts and on this list.
6. Vulcan Raven (MGS)
This Native American behemoth is scarier than an elevator full of invisible ninjas thanks to his imposing figure and an even more imposing chaingun. Vulcan Raven is the biggest enemy in the iconic squad taking down Shadow Moses, and aside from his leader, he’s also probably the toughest. Whether in a tank or stalking you through a warehouse, Vulcan is a scary dude.
In your final encounter with Raven, the surprisingly speedy brute is hot on your heels at every turn, and he’s a real challenge after all the stealth skills you’ve scored throughout the game. Sneaking around is your only hope here, as his ever-present chaingun will tear you to shreds, making for an intense battle in addition to a well-earned victory when you finally knock him down. Raven even proves himself to be an honorable loser, giving up his keycard and some wisdom after Snake emerges victorious
5. Metal Gear REX (MGS)
Until Phantom Pain shows us otherwise, this is the best battle against the eponymous Metal Gear war machines. Yes, later ones are far more technologically advanced, and REX is downright immobile compared to the bipeds of Metal Gear Solid 4, but it’s tough to argue against the very first 3D incarnation of a Metal Gear. The drama, gravitas, and sacrifice at each stage of the REX battle makes it such a powerful fight.
The fight starts so hopelessly, with this impervious behemoth launching seemingly endless missles barrages at one small espionage expert. With Snake’s heaviest firepower barely leaving a scratch, the mysterious Gray Fox had to make a great sacrifice to blast open the cockpit and bring Liquid out of hiding. It took Metal Gear Solid’s biggest badass getting squished like a bug to even score a slight chance at defeating REX, but the stature of this bot made it seem worthwhile. It’s unlike anything else in the game, and after defeating normal-sized (but still insane) baddies, taking down a huge mecha is a real treat.
Crazy psychics and Solid Snake’s most frequent nemesis await on the next page!