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)