Written by Jose Gonzalez
NOTE: The End will not be on this list as he can be killed without entering his boss battle.
The Metal Gear Solid franchise spans over 20 years and I can still remember the first battle against Revolver Ocelot with a tied-up Kenneth Baker or figuring out the pattern to finally beat Psycho Mantis. The franchise is known for many things, but two stand out; the story and the epic boss battles in every game (minus Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain because facing Sahelanthropus just wasn’t fun as far as a finale is concerned).
However, there are plenty of battles to choose from, so having to narrow it down to five means it must stand out. So here are my top 5 boss battles across the MGS franchise, and as always, if you have a dissenting opinion, feel free to let me know.
5.) Cyborg Ninja (Metal Gear Solid)
Grey Fox (AKA “Cyborg Ninja”) was one of Snake’s old war buddies who supposedly died in Zanzibar. He didn’t die though. He was experimented on for years and turned into an experimental genome soldier known as Grey Fox and given a ninja-like exoskeleton and wields a katana. His real name is Frank Jaeger.
His boss battle occurs when you’re inside the nuclear warhead storage building and you’re looking for Dr. Emmerich, though you first encounter him as he slices Revolver Ocelot’s hand off earlier in the game.
What makes it interesting and even memorable is the discouraging use of weapons and solely relying on CQC (Close Quarters Combat), though there’s a trick to get some free hits in if you use chaff grenades. While this battle does take a little time, once you beat him, he’ll go into a psychotic rage while teleporting across the room and only then is when you can get a few shots off on him with your handgun to finish him off as the electric bursts have a chance to kill you if you get too close while he’s in a psychotic rage.
It’s a unique battle because of the use of melee combat and the history between Snake and Grey Fox.
4. Liquid Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots)
Every protagonist has that antagonist that they mesh well with. They have that chemistry that surpasses anyone and everyone else within their medium. The finale between Old Snake and Liquid Ocelot from MGS 4 is one of those very battles.
Because of his hand being chopped off by the ninja, Revolver Ocelot needed a replacement. With the help of unknown sources to my knowledge, Ocelot had Liquid Snake’s arm grafted onto himself, thus creating Liquid Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty. Because of his arm, Liquid could take over the soul of Revolver Ocelot and thus the two would become one.
Snake and Ocelot wouldn’t meet again until MGS 4, as Ocelot would gain control of the Patriots and thus gain control of the system. Things come to pass atop Outer Haven as Old Snake and Liquid Ocelot have one final fight.
This is another CQC battle... but one that I would say is equal to the finale of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
Surpassing his feud with his brother, Snake and Ocelot had a chemistry that couldn’t be matched in the series, except for Naked Snake and The Boss. This battle is accompanied by the familiar sounds of past MGS games, and when I mean sounds, I mean familiar favorite tracks of the past games in the franchise. While the battle is a little scripted, that doesn’t take away from the sheer hatred these two have for one another and did have throughout the entirety of the game.
While the battle ends with Ocelot defeated, it doesn’t take away from the sheer greatness the fight provides.
3. Sniper Wolf: 2nd Battle (Metal Gear Solid)
Lying in a pool of her own blood, Meryl hung on for dear life after she had been shot by a surprise assassin. That assassin was known as Sniper Wolf.
Later in the game, you meet up with Wolf again outside the tower towards the end of disc one. She shoots Snake as a warning that this is the end of her hunt of him.
The battle between Snake and Wolf takes place outside and she can blend in with the environment, as she’s wearing a white coat. What makes this battle memorable is the difficulty spike from the first battle, as well as the cutscene that takes place once you defeat her.
Wolf is found moving from cover to cover and sometimes out in the open taking shots at you. It’s advisable you carry as much Diazepam as possible and be fully loaded with your sniper rifle as locking onto Wolf can be hard as she moves from cover to cover.
Once you finally defeat her, she and Snake engage in a deep conversation as she was meant for war, how the government turned a blind eye to her misery (and possibly the miseries of those in Foxhound and other soldiers fighting). What also makes this fight and scene memorable is the role of Dr. Emmerich. Otacon asked Snake if love can bloom on a battlefield and earlier said he interacted with Wolf and claims she’s a good person. Wolf kind of backs this claim as she never meant to shoot Meryl as she never kills for sport. It’s revealed that Otacon loved Wolf to a degree and shows this when he brings Wolf her rifle and sheds tears after Snake finishes the job.
2. The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)
The battle that started it all…Naked Snake vs. The Boss. As I said with Liquid Ocelot, some characters have chemistry that cannot be surpassed. The battle between Naked Snake and The Boss is more than proof of that being true.
At the finale of MGS 3, you’re forced to kill your mentor as it’s discovered she betrayed the U.S. but did it for the right reasons and not to just defect to the Soviets.
Outside of a white-flowered field, nothing else really can be said but sheer glory of the battle between student and teacher. The Boss was known as the greatest soldier to ever live and for Naked Snake to kill her and take her place as Big Boss, it proved to be a monumental step.
Once again, this battle is a CQC-only battle outside of the few bits when you’re able to take her down and shoot her a few times to damage her. When you finally beat her, the ending justifies everything you’ve been through in MGS 3 and everything The Boss did to protect not only you, but the country to obtain The Philosopher’s Legacy from Colonel Volgin’s control.
The battle between these two is an example of what a final boss battle should be. It’s literally the blueprint of a finale if you ask me. When he finally kills The Boss, it shows the shift of power and the creation of things to come of the MGS timeline.
Wait, if that isn’t number one, then what is?
1.) The Sorrow (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)
While this is technically a boss fight, there isn’t any way to “kill” The Sorrow. In laymen’s terms, The Sorrow is a ghost and a spirit medium. It’s hinted that Ocelot acquired some of The Sorrow’s spirit powers as per the bond with Liquid Snake thus turning him into Liquid Ocelot as it’s also hinted that The Sorrow is Ocelot’s father.
After being tortured by Volgin and escaping towards a waterfall, you’re bound within the spirit world where depending on how many enemies you’ve killed (bosses included), this “fight” can be anywhere from a walk in the park to Super Meat Boy levels of impossible to get through.
Your goal is to get through the water stream, avoiding the dead bodies of soldiers and bosses you may have killed thus far and avoiding The Sorrow’s “attacks.” In my opinion, this is the best battle because it gives you the opportunity to reflect on how you’ve played the game up to this point and an insight as to how deadly a killer Big Boss ends up becoming.
There are some battles I considered good, but not memorable enough to make the cut which include:
-Rex vs. Ray (Metal Gear Solid 4: Sons Of The Patriots)
-Psycho Mantis (Metal Gear Solid)
-Metal Gear Rex (Metal Gear Solid)
While those are my top 5 battles, you may have a different opinion and I’m fine with that. Whether you agree or disagree, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion on what boss fights you think stand out.