Your favorite boss fights

MGS is a series renown for a bunch of wacky nonsense. And when it comes to its gameplay, one of the most distinct qualities of the Metal Gear series were its unique boss fights. Each game had their own spin on battles, be them open-ended, outside the box puzzles, or whatever the hell the J-Pop fight with Metal Gear Pink was (there was no way my Zeke wasn’t gonna be pink).

What are some of your favorite fights in this series?

These are my personal top 10:

10.) Metal Gear Sally (MGSV) - I usually don’t like the actual Metal Gear fights as much as the rest of the fights. I liked REX and RAY well enough, and the REX v RAY fight is pretty fun. But I always generally prefer fighting people directly. Sally’s the one exception because this is an open world mech fight done wonderfully. Just take this bastard on however the hell you want, with tanks, traps, stealth, D-Walker, you can even CQC the thing by punching it to death in the shins with your blast arm. To me, both fights with Sally are what the Metal Gear fights should’ve always been from the start. A first boss fight early on where you gotta stealth to evade the thing, and have a massive desert base to hide anywhere from the thing, and then a rematch towards the end where you just rail into it and it doesn’t feel like a grind since it only takes a few minutes to kill with basic level 3 weapons. (God knows I ain’t looking to spend 20 minutes fighting a robot that pees fire because the fight exhausts all its moves eventually, and then becomes repetitive like Peace Walker’s final fights).

9.) Ocelot (MGS3) - This fight is just a really fun shootout. You got tons of environmental advantages, stealth options if you hide in the bushes (why that works, hell if I know), and tricks like shooting Ocelot’s hat, throwing a snake at his face, pissing him off by killing a goat (no one can convince me he wasn’t fucking that goat), or walking at the edge of the cliff and getting in a quickdraw duel. But even if you ignore all of that, just the act of running and rolling around to evade his trickshots and shooting him right back just feels really fun.

8.) The Man on Fire (MGSV) - I loved MGSV’s fights, just didn’t love how little variety there was. But Fire Guy feels like the same thing as Ocelot’s above. Not a hard fight, but just a really fun one where you can do whatever the hell you want to this guy and have any sorta boss you like. My favorite way of fighting him is by not going to the tunnels so he always knows your location and stunning him 3 times so I can shoot Mantis and fulton him. There’s just a really good feel to blasting into him or railing into his body with a jeep.

7.) Laughing Octopus (MGS4) - I typically don’t like the “action only” bosses as much as the stealth action ones. But if you’re gonna have a forced shootout, this is how you do it right. Octopus has a ton of different attacks, finding her in her hiding phases is fun, and the level is perfectly designed to make dodge rolling from her attacks so much so satisfying and effective than the rest of the game.

6.) Olga (MGS2) - Ocelot’s MGS3 fight was more varied, but Olga’s was more strategic. In fact, this is the single most strategic gunfight I ever recall playing in a video game. I love having to carefully navigate out of sight to hit Olga from the corners. And having to shoot at the environment to distract her or to get past her obstructions. Even the act of actively evading her gunfire and shooting is gratifying, albeit harder. And the Meryl variation of this fight is even more intense, thanks to her DEagle killing you in like two hits.

5.) The Fear (MGS3) - This is one of the most underrated fights in the series, I feel. It’s another forced action one but an incredibly versatile, well-designed one. Fear has tons of attacks, the environment has tons of traps that both work against you but also for you if you can get the Fear in his own spike traps. And there are so many different ways to take him down with traps, conventional firearms, or food poisoning. No matter how many times I replay this one boss fight, it’s never the same, and the basic act of evading his attacks and returning fire, like Ocelot and Olga, just feels really fun.

4.) The Boss (MGS3) - This is the single best final boss of any MGS game, far as I’m concerned. It’s a perfect final exam. You’re in this limited arena but can still use stealth, and have to be very strategic to lay The Boss out since she’s bulletproof when on the offensive. It’s the fact that this fight really relies on catching The Boss by surprise to get the drop on her that makes it so much fun. And the sheer variety of ways you can do that keeps it from ever feeling stale. This would be my number 1 pick, but the fixed camera is murder in this fight. The fact that it’s the one time you can’t use 360 camera in Subsistence or HD Edition is absurd and not to its benefit.

3.) The End (MGS3) - I don’t care about the many ways you can skip this fight because who would wanna skip it? I love this fight because it’s an excellent cat & mouse scenario. And there’s a great tension knowing The End can be anywhere if you hear his breathing over the mic. It’s the most entertaining hunt I’ve experienced in a video game, and I sincerely wish there were more bosses like this. Best part is, this isn’t some massive fight after your first run. Every subsequent replay, this fight’s only ever last about 7 to 10 minutes, which is a perfect length for this kind of hunter-seeker scenario. Only gripe is that The End fires tranq bullets which make me have to constantly sift through various menus any time I get shot. That isn’t fun or immersive. It’s fucking annoying.

2.) Raven (MGS1) - Raven’s another underrated gem. I adore this fight because, honestly, it’s what I wish every fight in MGS1 was like. Here’s this overwhelmingly powerful enemy, use every toy in your toybox to take him out. And it has a perfect escalation to it, between Raven getting faster and the paths getting blocked off the more all the containers crumble. It’s simplicity at its best, and an excellent example of what an arcade style stealth action boss fight should look like.

1.) The Fury (MGS3) - The Fury is basically Raven but better in every way. You have way more options to lay into The Fury. He’s a far more versatile threat with more than one move to his name. You have more ways of navigating and actually combating some of your blocked off paths by shooting the pipes above you. And his boss theme is probably my favorite boss theme of all time that wasn’t from Undertale.

I didn’t include any of the spinoff fights or anything from Revengers because those fights are a whole other type of boss battle, and it almost feels unfair to compare them. Monsoon is straight up the most adrenaline-inducing boss fight I’ve ever encountered. If I did a list of those fights, in no order, it would be:

  • Null (MPO (both fights))
  • Python (MPO)
  • Pyro Bison (MGGB)
  • Vince (MGA2)
  • Golab (MGA2)
  • Seth (Surviveance)
  • Monsoon (Revengers)
  • Sam (Revengers)
  • Sundowner (Revengers)
  • Armstrong (Revengers)
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Great write up. I agree with most, except I’d probably switch the top 3 a bit and put The End first. I only played MGS1-4.

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MGS2 Olga was such an eye opener for me.

The game walked you into interacting with the environment to affect her, like shooting the tarp cords to distract her and shooting out the lights. I still remember that feeling of ‘whoa this is sick’ after that moment, knowing how in depth and well made the game is.

Cinematically/emotionally - MGS Rex. ‘It’s no good, I can’t do it.’, ‘A cornered Fox is more dangerous than a jackal.’

Leading on from that, Gray Fox in the tech lab, taking away your weapons and having your opponent wield better stealth capabilities than you, very disarming. Then making that the key to victory, masterful.

Maybe not a ‘boss’ per se, but the weight limit elevator scare and charge up the Comms tower stairs, heart was in my throat the whole time. MGS has all the memories for me personally.

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The Boss, The End, The Fury and The Ocelot Unit (it’s in the boss rush mode in Subsistence so it counts) are my favourites.

I can’t think of many outside of 3 that i’d really want to replay. Vulcan Raven part 2 was good for reasons Departed has mentioned. Psycho Mantis has to be up there as probably the greatest gimmick boss of all time. I always thought Laughing Octopus was very well done for a gimmick boss too. Last three spots i’ll give to Crying Wolf, MPO Null, and ST-84. I haven’t played Rising which would have probably made this list easier to make.

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So let me reallly sit back and think about the fights that’ve had an affect on me, the fights where i’ve actually either completely enjoyed or just had that dopamine hit after completion.

Grayfox - As standard as this fight is i absolutely love the creepy lead up to this boss battle. let me be clear, when i first played MGS1 i was a scardy cat, i was not into scary stuff or anything horror and i had no idea what i was really in for. HURT ME MORE, has never left my mind either. I remember as a kid being creeped out by grayfox’s dialogue lol

The rex fight - mostly after witnessing the execution of Grayfox. What a spectacular fight, homing missiles and Liquid just hanging out in an open cockpit fighting you, what a freaking badass. I’m not the biggest liquid snake guy but I gotta admit he’s a cool MF’er. to this day it’s still my fav metal gear fight even if MGS1 isn’t my fav in the series.

Olga - this is just a straight up old school cowboy shootout, in someways even better than the Ocelot fight imo. You’re opponent doesn’t hesitate to use dirty tricks to gain the advantage of you, and Solid Snake is sooooo much of a bad ass he can still take you out with only a tranquilizer gun. If that doesn’t speak the the legendary status of Solid Snake’s gun fighting ability idk what will. love his back and forth with olga “scout knife with a surprise” “im a nomad too”

Tanker holds shootout - at this point, even if you were the stealthiest of stealth man in the whole universe you cannot avoid this encounter. Even here the enemy uses every tactic in the book to neutalize Solid Snake, Shooting out the lights, flash and frag grenades but you still just go toe to toe against a whole squad of bad dudes. not to mentions it’s one of the few places that really shows off the USP’s flashlight. it’s a kind of surreal firefight and probably one of the most thrilling forced engagements with enemies in cramped areas. it’s straight up survival. Again it just speaks to snake’s legendary status.

Solidus - Need i say anything More. one of the most “epic” boss encounters fucking katana fight in NY. i mean they gave you a FREAKING SWORD! flip the god damn switch!

The End - tracking this bastard was so fun. what other game out there has ever allowed you to play the cat and mouse game of the classic sniper vs sniper scenario. sure on subsequent play throught i’ve hunted him down and made him drop the goods but the times you’re actually just straight up sniping with him is extremly intense.

I’ll finish up this list very soon!i’ve got a few more!

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  1. Arsenal gear after you get you weapons back (MGS2)
  2. all the rays (mgs2)
  3. escaping shadow moses (MGS1)
  4. all the metal gear acid bosses (mga1/2)
  5. The End (MGS3)
  6. Olga (MGS2)
  7. Sam (MGR)
  8. The Fury.
  9. Ocelot (MGS1).
  10. snake and liquid on top of rex
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Aww darn i forgot all about MGR, the inital Ray fight is such a power trip though, I gotta add it to the list even though it’s like the first bosss lol.

I really like the Hind D boss fight against liquid in MGS1 and have always been impressed by how open and cinematic it feels on a PS1. I like the Harrier boss in MGS2 as well but Liquid is so much better than Solidus. Solidus is a whole different league mah boi

I like the boss fight against time itself in MGS4 when you have to sit through like 15 hours of cutscenes. Really uh immersive haha

The best boss fight against the Cobras in MGS3 I would say is the End because of how unique of a fight it still is even to this day. He is dying and has nothing else to do but try to kill you, and a dying man with nothing to lose in a huge jungle does seem like a higher stakes boss fight than say, The Fear who can skip across water like a fairy or something

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Just finished Snake Eater again and I forgot how enjoyable Volgin’s one on one fight was. It used to kick my ass back in the day but now it’s a really solid CQC fight. Being able to use the Raikov mask was a nice touch too. I was let down that I carried my chaff grenades all the way to the fight and nothing really special happened though.