Metal Gear: 20 Years of Big, Bad Boss Battles

After 20 years of Metal Gear, we take a look back at our favorite bosses.



For 20 years, the Metal Gear bosses have been among the best in gaming. They've made Snake (Solid and Naked) as well as Raiden heroes worth playing, their games worth buying, and more than once, our controllers worth throwing. In light of the recent Metal Gear 20th Anniversary party, we decided it was high time these under-appreciated anti-heroes got some recognition outside of a sniper scope.

Without further ado, the following are our 20 favorite Metal Gear bosses, in honor of the fun we've had killing them.

Big Boss

In later years, he looks a bit like Sean Connery.

Appearances:

Metal Gear   Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake   Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater   Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Trademark:

Eye patch

A.K.A.:

Naked Snake, Saladin, One Eyed Uncle

Big Boss has quite a résumé. Not only was he the last boss in the first two Metal Gear games, but Solid Snake, Liquid Snake, and Solidus Snake were all cloned from his DNA. On top of that, he was the main hero in both Metal Gear Solid 3 and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Between his real self and his clones, the guy plays half the major roles in the series. While his many great acts for both good and evil make his death seem ignominious (he's burned to death by Solid Snake with a gas canister and a cigarette lighter), he's still the most important character in Metal Gear, and the biggest boss of them all.

Psycho Mantis

Trust us, the gas mask is an improvement.

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid

Trademarks:

Gas mask, fetish gear

Powers:

Telepathy, psychokinesis

He may not be a very important character in the grand scheme of Metal Gear lore, but Psycho Mantis is still one of the most ingenious and frustrating bosses ever created. Not only did he fuss with your controller, trick you into switching video inputs on your television, read your mind (or at least, your memory card), and brainwash your love interest into attacking you, he was also mentally linked with your attack buttons, so that when you hit one, you were also hitting his dodge button. To beat him, you had to think way outside the box and plug your controller into port 2. From there, you could pummel the psychic fiend out of the future and into the past tense. With the proper amount of respect and reverence, of course.

Gray Fox

Dressed to kill.

Appearances:

Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2   Metal Gear Solid   MGS: Portable Ops

Trademarks:

None, when he's invisible…

A.K.A.:

Frank Jaeger, Null

Most people know Gray Fox as "that cyborg ninja" from Metal Gear Solid. But there's more to Frank Jaeger than just flipping out and killing people. He crossed paths with Big Boss as a young killer in Mozambique, fought him a couple times, and eventually joined him, as shown in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. But Gray Fox's most significant role in the Metal Gear universe is that of trendsetter: He's the first boss to ever challenge Snake to a fistfight, the first to don the ninja suit, as well as the first to challenge Snake to a fistfight while wearing the ninja suit. He provides the most difficult battle in Metal Gear 2, one of the coolest in Metal Gear Solid, and he dies an honorable death at the end of that game, killed by Liquid Snake and Metal Gear REX. Go ninja, go.

Sniper Wolf

Shot through the heart, and you're to blame…

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid

Resembles:

Liquid Snake, or does he resemble her?

Ethnicity:

Kurdish?

That's right, in spite of her blonde hair and pale complexion, Sniper Wolf hailed from Kurdistan. It's also noteworthy that she was a disciple of Big Boss, whose alias in Metal Gear Solid is Saladin. In case you never studied Middle Eastern history, Saladin was a Kurdish general and warrior who went on to become the Sultan of Egypt and Syria. Coincidence? Probably not, though we can only hope that story is made clear in a future Metal Gear game. In the meantime, we'll have to be satisfied celebrating this enigmatic female lone wolf, and her death at the end of two solid shootouts. Sniper Wolf, we hardly knew ya.

Vulcan Raven

Not a tough guy to pick out of a crowd.

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid

Trademarks:

Huge gun, lots of ravens

Ethnicity:

Inuit

The most literally named of the Metal Gear Solid bosses was also the one you most hated to kill. He seemed like a good guy, an old soul, and he loved to take care of his ravens, even if that meant making fresh corpses with his humongous Vulcan cannon for them to feed on. At least he put up a good fight, a game of cat and mouse where he was the cat, and you were the mouse. Or maybe your guided missiles were the cats…In either case, this was a fun, scary fight against a guy we wished was on our side.

Metal Gear REX

The king of metal beasts.

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid

Trademark:

A huge railgun

Weakness:

Big, vulnerable radome

In the context of Metal Gears, REX was important because neither its feet nor its legs were vulnerable to conventional weapons fire (a common flaw in early Metal Gear models). REX also had a magnetic railgun that could fire a nuke anywhere in the world, Vulcan cannons, missile launchers, and a free-electron laser (or FEL) for missile defense. Of course, most of that functionality depended on the state of its giant, vulnerable radome (or radar dome). If it were destroyed by, say, a cyborg ninja, REX's driver would have to open the face guard and expose the inner workings of the beast to all kinds of damage, which we had a great time inflicting.

Liquid Snake

Notice the powerful right arm…

Appearances:

Metal Gear Solid   Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Trademarks:

Five fingers, a wrist, a forearm

Weaknesses:

Inferiority complex, fistfights

Liquid Snake begins the Metal Gear Solid series as Solid Snake's whiny clone brother, out to destroy the world because he thinks he got the lousy genes in the Les Enfants Terribles project (where they cloned a bunch of Big Bosses). And he was probably right. He gets whipped in Metal Gear REX, then in a fistfight, then in a shoot-out, for a beat-down hat trick. To top it all off, he isn't stabbed, shot, or exploded to death--a virus kills him. Hey, at least it wasn't an aerosol can and a cigarette lighter. Besides, after his defeats, things get way more interesting for Liquid. His right arm is attached to Revolver Ocelot, and gradually takes over the gunslinger's mind. Either Liquid's right arm is really smart, or Revolver's brain is really dumb. Either way, Liquid Snake is one of the evilest appendages ever. He gets a high five.

Olga Gurlukovich

She looked like a woman but talked like a man, her name's Olga, O-L-G-A, Olga…

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Trademarks:

Knife-gun, ninja suit

Armpits:

Hairy

Olga is the first boss you fight in Sons of Liberty, and she is vintage Metal Gear. For one thing, she's a confident female warrior, like Sniper Wolf. Unlike the coifed Kurdish markswoman, Olga has visibly furry armpits. Way to challenge gender stereotypes, girl. But those aren't the only things she challenges--she puts up a good fight right off the bat by wisely using the battlefield to her advantage. First, she unhooks a tarp over some crates to give herself cover on the windy deck of the tanker where the battle takes place. Then, she tilts a spotlight in your direction to blind your shots. To even the playing field, you can snipe the tarp strings and blast the spotlight. From there, you fill her with enough tranquilizers to knock out Rush Limbaugh. She's pregnant at the time, but the drugs don't get her baby, terrorists do! To get revenge and save her baby, she dons the cyborg ninja suit and secretly helps Raiden during the Big Shell incident.

Fortune

She feels lucky. Do you? Punk?

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Trademark:

Biggest. Gun. Ever.

A.K.A.:

Lady Luck, Queen

Fortune is the most ironically dubbed character in Metal Gear--she's horribly unlucky. In a short period before the events of Sons of Liberty, her father died, then her husband, mother, and baby. But rather than turn to blues and the bottle, she got herself a big 'ole railgun and joined the military, where it was discovered she was too lucky--or maybe unlucky--to perish. When you fight her, or rather, when she fights you, there are only two options: Hide or die. As you run behind crates, she'll fire at them, creating a slick-looking particle trail that travels all the way through. But watch out, eventually more than just particles will make it to your side. The fight is ultimately stopped by Vamp, but not before it can become one of the coolest-looking and most destructive boss battles in Metal Gear.

Vamp

The David Bowie of vampires.

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Trademark:

Knife codpiece

Hobby:

Dance fighting

Vamp, as you might imagine, has many characteristics of a vampire--immortality, pale skin, sexual ambiguity, and a taste for blood--but none of the weaknesses. Sunlight doesn't seem to bother him, and if a wooden crucifix through the chest didn't kill him as a child (he was impaled in a church bombing), it probably won't now. That makes him sound like a nightmare, but he's actually a sensitive guy, and loving fiend. He had a sexual relationship with Fortune's father, and he's also the lucky vixen's best friend and comrade. Lucky for you, he's also sensitive to sniper rounds and stinger missiles. While his first boss fight is mainly a matter of dodging knives and shooting missiles, there is one really cool touch--his knife can pin your shadow to the ground. To counter this, you have to shoot out the lights and fight in the dark. Eat your heart out, Anne Rice.


If your favorite boss didn't make the list, or you'd just like to share an interesting insight, leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Metal Gear RAY Army

Giant robot lizards for…peace?

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Behavior:

Roars, hunts in packs

Weaknesses:

Legs, head

The Metal Gear RAY model is unusual, even in a series full of giant, heavily armed, roaring, robot doomsday weapons, for the precise reason that the RAY model was never intended to take over the world. Rather, with its amphibious capabilities and beast-like artificial nervous system, it was meant to hunt down Metal Gear REX clones, cut them to pieces with its water cannon, and save the world from the threat of highly mobile nuclear terrorism. But for all its advantages against other Metal Gear, RAY was relatively weak against cloned super-soldiers like Snake and Solidus. If blasted on its vulnerable legs, the beast would fall to its knees, giving you a direct shot at its fragile head. But what the RAY model lacked in armor, it made up for in numbers--there were supposed to be 25 of them stored on Arsenal Gear (a giant, AI-controlled battle barge). Depending on the difficulty level, you would fight anywhere from three to twenty RAYs before you were done with this army of fun.

Solidus Snake

One of the bestus bosses ever.

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Previous job:

President of the United States

A.K.A.:

George Sears, King Snake

After his political career is ended by the revelation of the Genome Army, Solidus Snake doesn't get mad, he gets tentacles. He also gets Dead Cell, Olga's private army, and combines the two to seize Big Shell as well as new President Johnson. There's a lot more to the story, including a crazy, intelligent gunship, the illuminati, and the fact that Solidus is a Big Boss clone, but the guy can pretty much be summed up like this: He's a giant super-soldier in armor with twin swords and tentacles that shoot rockets. And you thought flaming chain whip-knives were cool. In spite of the fact that you shoot him and his harrier down early, and then fatally run him through with a sword later on, Solidus will always live on as one of the solid-est bosses in Metal Gear history.

Revolver Ocelot

An ocelot never lets its prey escape.

Appearances:

Every Metal Gear Solid

Trademark:

Colt single-action revolver

AKA:

ADAM, Shalashaska

Aside from Big Boss and Solid Snake, Revolver Ocelot is one of the most important figures in the entire history of Metal Gear. Though you first encounter him as the gunslinger and first boss in Metal Gear Solid, you discover in Snake Eater that he's actually shown the beauty of revolvers in a confrontation with Big Boss. His true allegiance and motives are never certain in any game, exemplified by his struggles with his evil right arm and the soul of Liquid Snake within. Whether he proves to be a force for good or ill before all is said and done, he's got an awesome pedigree (he's the son of The Boss and The Sorrow), a ridiculous habit (he literally meows before battle), and is always good for a firefight.

The Pain

After just one look, his parents knew what to name him.

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Trademark:

Hornets

Last words:

The pain!

Not much is known about The Pain's backstory, though from all indications, it probably isn't a happy one. The Pain is a member of The Boss's Cobra unit, where he uses his waves of angry hornets to subdue enemies. You fight him in a watery cavern, where you're able to avoid his hornets by diving beneath the surface, before popping out and blasting him with the shotgun. His arsenal also includes a tommy gun and cartwheels, and fighting him is a fun if not particularly difficult affair. After a few dips in the water and blasts from your gun, you put The Pain out of his misery.

The Fear

Come into my web!

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Trademarks:

Scary tongue, crossbow

Weakness:

Munchies

Almost nothing is known about The Fear, which is probably a good thing. With his freaky, surgically split tongue and weird double joints, his past probably wouldn't be suitable for publication in the mainstream press, anyhow. But your battle with him in Snake Eater was highly appropriate for a Metal Gear game, especially since it implemented eating and surgery. While that isn't normally considered a positive combination, both worked well against The Fear. If he shot you, you'd have to surgically remove the poisoned arrows before their spider venom drained all of your stamina. And when The Fear became fatigued, he'd shoot fruit out of a tree, then scurry down and eat it. You could sabotage him by sprinkling the ground with poisonous food, which he'd chow on before violently vomiting. Only in Metal Gear…

The End

ZZzzzzzZZzzz…

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Trademark:

A parrot

Weakness:

Naps

The End provides one of the most unusual boss fights in the entire history of Metal Gear. The battle ranges over three entire regions, where The End, considered the father of modern sniping, waits for you to show yourself, before popping you with a tranquilizing round. Your main hope is to find cover and then listen for him with your directional microphone. When he inevitably falls asleep (he's old), you'll be able to sneak over and stick him up, provided you've killed his parrot, first. There are a couple other options, though. You can fight him the old-fashioned way, or you can save during the battle and set your system clock forward, causing The End to die of old age. With so many strange quirks in such a difficult battle, The End is definitely one of the best bosses ever.

The Fury

I am The Fury! The flames of my rage will incinerate you!

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Trademark:

Fire

Weakness:

Knives

The Fury doesn't just look like an evil astronaut, he is one. Apparently, on his way back to earth from space, he went nuts and imagined the entire world on fire. From that moment on, his life's work began. To better burn things, he joined The Boss and Cobra unit, where in spite of his all-consuming rage, he got along pretty well with the other kids. That is, until you put him out. It's a difficult fight, as more and more of the level burns. But The Fury has one awesome weakness that makes his encounter much more bearable--knives. Or more specifically, tears in his heat-resistant suit. If you equip the combat knife and slash him a few times, The Fury won't be able to bear The Heat. He'll go up in flames, and down in history.

The Sorrow

Battle brings death. Death brings sorrow.

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Trademark:

He's dead

Weakness:

The Boss

The Sorrow was a powerful spirit medium who joined The Boss's Cobra Unit and fell in love with her. Together, they even had a child. But all was not well. It's not clear exactly what caused The Boss to kill The Sorrow, but look at it this way: While it's bad enough when your significant other keeps bringing up mistakes you've made in the past, The Sorrow could actually bring them to life and make them attack. This is made abundantly clear when you encounter him in Snake Eater, where Snake must wade down a river, dodging the ghosts of his slain enemies, before ultimately succumbing to The Sorrow. The trick to survival is the revival pill, and after the time it takes to figure that out, you'll be ready to break it off with The Sorrow, too.

Colonel Volgin

You know him as Thunderbolt!

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Turn-ons:

Boys, girls, pain

Turn-offs:

Peace

Colonel Volgin, a.k.a. Thunderbolt, is one of the best Metal Gear villains. He's completely insane, loves to hurt people, wants to have sex with everything, and has possibly the best evil laugh in a video game, ever. His body is loaded with electricity, and the guy is so tough, he can shoot bullets without a gun. Possibly the coolest move in his arsenal is a lightning strike that will hit your gun and make all the bullets in it discharge. The other slick move at his disposal is an electric strike that hits so hard, it'll knock you across the room and make you barf. In spite of these intimidating attacks, Volgin isn't hard to kill, but he's impossible not to like.

The Boss

Love is a battlefield.

First appearance:

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Trademarks:

A fem-mullet, silver jumpsuit

A.K.A.:

The Joy, Voyevoda

We saved The Boss for last. Not only was she Big Boss's hot female mentor, she was also the original bearer of the series' legendary action mullet. She's a jumble of weird contradictions: an American defector who wields a gun called "The Patriot," rides a horse, wears a colonial cape, and is dressed in a silver astronaut's suit. Meanwhile, her pupil, Naked Snake (Big Boss) swears they weren't lovers, just that they invented CQC (close quarters combat) together. That's hot. And so is your battle against her. It takes place in a beautiful field of flowers, where she hunts you with her Patriot as you slither unseen. After she's slain, you learn she was ordered to die a traitor for the United States, yet remained loyal to the end. Of all the bosses in Metal Gear, she may be The Best.


If your favorite boss didn't make the list, or you'd just like to share an interesting insight, leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Written By

Want the latest news about Metal Gear Solid?

Metal Gear Solid

Metal Gear Solid

Follow

Discussion

621 comments
Spark0
Spark0

Fatman should really be on this list, but otherwise its pretty solid. The fight against The Boss was possibly the most epic moment in video games ever, that is until the mid-air fistfight and duel against Ocelot 10 minutes later.

152389
152389

I'm sorry, but this list and all the people commenting below have forgotten the best boss of all time. Of course I am speaking of the coolest person in FOXHOUND, the one, the only, DECOY OCTOPUS. He wins, hands down.

bigd575
bigd575

The Boss was a fantastic fight.

TMNT44
TMNT44

my favorite boss i‘d be the end in mgs3

DeathByControl
DeathByControl

i think the best battle was with The Boss the longest 1 was that huge ladder in mgs3 though >_>

bubbalooga
bubbalooga

WHERE THE FRIGGEN HELL IS FATMAN?!!?!?! he was the most diabolical, sick, twisted prick in all of the mgs series. wtf man :S. but over all the hardest boss fight would have to be the Harrier in MGS2 on european extreme, man that was tough.

ps3thabest
ps3thabest

the boss was crazy she was a good fighter and gray fox i love mgs i played all the games

f8101
f8101

the boss is one of my favorite chatacters shes also one of the best

Akatsuki398
Akatsuki398

Vamp and Gray Fox have to be my favorite.But I've heard in every review that The Boss(MGS3)is one of the series' greatest characters,maybe.

DeadlyOnez
DeadlyOnez

kahlzun he choose to in order to fool the patriots. Ocelot was a true hero if you know the story

DeadlyOnez
DeadlyOnez

I think The Boss should also be added do to the fact that her death was a major influence on Big Boss and the decisions he made

DeadlyOnez
DeadlyOnez

What about the end? ... And Fat Man? ...

wamplerj2012
wamplerj2012

sniper wolf and the boss were the best boss fights because they had the most character and after those fight i felt my self caring about them and the fact i killed them psycho mantis was great because he made you think out side the box and MGS3 had as a whole the best boss battles of any MGS since there was so much death like how you can kill The End in a wheel chair of of old age was ingenious

satreed
satreed

how can u not add ocelot and the boss inside. ocelot is the greatest boss in metal gear. the boss is not bad either. Anyway i just cant wait for guns of the patriots.

kahlzun
kahlzun

I really feel sorry for Ocelot... he was a really cool strong character, and to completely lose his personality like that... blows mightily.

silent_riku
silent_riku

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

m_law
m_law

liquid's arm taking over the mind is b/c of NANOMACHINES!!!!! lol ocelot prolly jerked off wit that hand. LMAO

Bart247
Bart247

I'd go for Metal Gear RAY anyday.

Dawg9000
Dawg9000

Man screw the Sorrow. All you have to do is walk down a river. Put Fatman. lmao

ocdog45
ocdog45

why did you guys kill this movie

HamsterOfFury
HamsterOfFury

The fact that you can kill The End earlier in the game while he's in the wheelchair just adds yet another depth to the interest of his boss battle. I loved The End battle and also the intelligence of the Psycho Mantis battle. Any of the quirkier, weirder, smarter moments were definitely the best.

mazniq
mazniq

Fighting Gray Fox in Portable Ops was really awsome.

skatrbub54
skatrbub54

My favorite boss is either The Boss or the End.

hazelnutman
hazelnutman

I almost peed myself in excitement during the Metal Gear Ray army fight... There's NOTHING like it!

greyfon_12
greyfon_12

All the Bosses in MGS are as great as the game it self.

thepope21
thepope21

Well i cant really decide which was my favorite fight, but i will say i absolutly loved Volgin. that dude was ridiculasly funny. he was constantly trying to F**k everyone!!! i loved it! he was all over anyone and everyone. it didnt matter if it was a dude.

Falfuren
Falfuren

haha, thats not how i beat vamp, the end or the fury. For vamp i shot out his knives and then he was vulnerable also when he landed on the walkway you could shoot him. i also layed claymores for him to walk on. and i just shot the knife on my shadow. For the end i checked the map after he shot me. held him up and shot him. then i used the infrared goggles to track his footprints. Finally, the fury was simply a matter of sniping and then blasting with the m37. Barrels came in uber handy too.

_Dielan_
_Dielan_

My favorite boss was Gene. Not so much for the difficulty but for how awesome the whole fight was.

AnthraxAngel
AnthraxAngel

But then again, Big Boss is just the dude! No one can touch him. Well, except Snake :P

AnthraxAngel
AnthraxAngel

My favourite bosses are Psycho Mantis and Sniper Wolf. All of them are great like. The sorrow was trippy as hell on MGS3 :|

stevo-millz
stevo-millz

LMFAO some of the comments in that were well funny "olga tradmark hairy armpits". I never knew that ocelot was the sorrows and the boss' son

BoMbFuNkMc
BoMbFuNkMc

The Gurlugon in MGS2 represented the fact that Raiden's whole mission was in VR training. It's not exactly a human boss, and apart from The Sorrow, it's the only other thing that wasn't really there :D

-Raiden-
-Raiden-

What about Psycho Mantis? And the ninja in metal Gear solid Twin snakes? Two of the hardest battle i have been across! But the boss i like most is, Sniper Wolf:-)

purodanone
purodanone

In my opinion, The Boss was aweso,e for many reasons, wich you all know. Although, one tough boss, was psycho mantis, I defeated him without switching the controller, man it was tough I tell you! Fatman was also great. Don't know why it isn't on that list... Another one that was tough was the fear, I didn't use the thermal goggles... Metal Gear Ray was a battle that I personaly hated, I only did it once, I think it was boring, because it was the same thing over and over again... Run run run, shoot, run run run, shoot, etc. But Metal Gear games are the best that ever existid on Playstation. METAL GEAR'S THE BEST! RaFa

hoblet
hoblet

Fatman should be inside. Damn, I never saw an armoured obese homicidal maniac move that nimbly on skates in my life. And Vamp wins handsdown for hardest boss fight ever in MGS2, in extreme he's on crack.

surppo
surppo

desgardios your wrong that would be tight to bring back psycho mantis but all they new villians are women hence the term beauty and the beast.

Desgardios
Desgardios

Guess what their REMAKING psycho mantis in Metal Gear 4. If you watch the boss sneak peak trailer you'll see the same bone crunching psychokinesis Mantis did. That and they named the guy Screaming Mantis.

Falfuren
Falfuren

anime boi! It was sad yes but you actually cried. thats pathetic

Doolum
Doolum

Big Boss,the best

FinalsoulX
FinalsoulX

i really love this link, it tell me everything about them

Tifa10195
Tifa10195

all of my favorites are here!but the boss really should have been on the list.

ccuzz99
ccuzz99

my favourite boss ever is the boss because she doesn't take stick from anyone and gives me a challenge when i fight her