One of the most important traits in what makes a Metal Gear Solid game special is its boss battles. Not only are these characters fun and inventive for the story, but they also have clever twists for their encounters. There is always a trick to find or an exploit to uncover, and that’s what makes them great.
It will be interesting to see if Hideo Kojima will implement boss battles the same way in Death Stranding. Below are some of the hardest boss battles in the series’ thirty-year plus history. Some are straight-up difficult, while some are challenging for a few other reasons. Tough or not, these ten are all fantastic.
10 Metal Gear Solid 3: The End
The End can actually be a very easy boss to beat if one wants to take the cheap, easy way out. Since this boss is an old man, one can simply fast forward the PS2’s internal clock. Logging back in a week after that save will reveal The End has died of old age.
On the harder side of things, despite him being an old man, The End is a master of camouflage and a crack shot. The open area may not be that huge today as it was back then, but he will definitely give Snake a workout in that terrain.
9 Metal Gear Solid 2: Fatman
Fatman is kind of more annoying than he is actually hard. Trying to hit him in the head while he is zipping around on roller skates can be tricky, but the worst part about this boss fight are his cheap bombing tactics. Every now and then he will plant C4, and players then have to equip the bomb detector and freeze spray in order to deactivate the bombs before it is game over. Dealing with that mess on top of chasing Fatman down to actually hit him is a tricky balancing act.
8 Metal Gear Solid: Psycho Mantis
In order to beat Psycho Mantis, all one has to do is plug their controller into the second port of their PS1. Simple, right? Well, back when this first came out, it wasn’t that obvious.
Sure, like all of these bosses, Snake will get Intel from his comrades via Codec calls until they finally spell the strategy out. Still, if one ignores those calls, it would seemingly be impossible to figure out this trick. Who would ever think to try plugging in their controller into a different socket?
7 Metal Gear Solid 2: Solidus
The final fight for Metal Gear Solid 2 is against the President, aka Solidus Snake. This was the first time it was revealed that there was yet another Big Boss clone, and Solidus lives up to that legacy.
What makes this fight tricky is that the area is very small and players are forced to use their newly-acquired sword, a weapon which is inhibited by some very wonky controls. Put those two things together on top of Solidus’ fire dash attacks, and this boss can get pretty hectic.
6 Metal Gear Solid: Vulcan Raven
Both encounters with Vulcan Raven can be challenging, but this entry will focus on the tank encounter. Like Fatman, players have to deal with not only avoiding blasts from a tank, but they also need to avoid mines. In order to damage the tank, they need to throw grenades on top of it. As great as Metal Gear Solid is the controls have not aged well, meaning throwing grenades at this tank is about as easy as shooting a three-pointer from downtown while blindfolded.
5 Metal Gear Solid 2: RAY Squad
Pretty much every game in the series ends with a fight against a Metal Gear of some sort. Metal Gear REX was a step up from the MSX encounters, but the ante was increased further when players not only had to contend with one Metal Gear RAY but a whole squad of them. There is plenty of rocket ammo to go around, but trying to dodge a bunch of giant mechs while trying to aim and gather ammo isn’t exactly an easy task.
4 Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker: Gear REX
Speaking of Metal Gear Rex, let’s talk about the alt version found in Peace Walker: Gear REX. This dinosaur is infused with robotic technology and is a crossover promotion with Monster Hunter. And, if one knows that series, then they can guess that this battle is a gauntlet of misery. It is an act of whittling this thing’s HP down for seemingly hours. It’s tough, but the rewards will be well worth this optional encounter.
3 Metal Gear Solid V: Quiet
The End can be hard, sure, but there has never been a sniper battle as intense, in any game, as the encounter with Quiet. Barely peeking out behind a wall can mark the end for a player if they are not careful.
Kojima nailed the feeling of what a duel on this caliber would actually feel like. Just two soldiers, both with immense skills, trying to take the other out from a distance. The palms will sweat—that is a guarantee.
2 Metal Gear Solid V: Volgin
Pure and simple, this fight sucks. To be clear, this is the final encounter with Volgin, or the Man on Fire (since they never actually call him Volgin.) Come on, though, it’s Volgin.
Anyway, in order to damage him, one needs to douse his fiery presence with water. It’s more about holding out until help arrives. Again, it is not fun. The idea of him coming back as a fire demon is cool in concept, but it did not make for a compelling boss fight.
1 Metal Gear Solid 3: The Boss
And now we have arrived at The Boss. What makes this fight tough is not the actual gameplay, as it’s a pretty straightforward fight to the death in a small field. No, the tough part about this encounter is the emotional weight. The Boss just revealed to Snake that this entire mission was for the love of her country. She did it in order to save face for America. She was not a traitor. She was a patriot all the way until the end. Bring on the tissues, because there will be tears.