Metal Gear Countdown: Top 5 Boss Fights

Boss battles are common in gaming. Nearly every story driven game has them, and they often serve as a climax for (certain parts of) the game. They are also integral to the Metal Gear Solid games, which feature some of the most unique, memorable and intense fights gaming has to offer. But what are the most outstanding boss battles in the franchise? Of course, with the countless enemies the player fought over the years, there are many more boss battles to consider, but here are five of the best.


Nr 5


Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

For the first time in the history of the series, players were able to control a Metal Gear themselves, and none other than REX, probably the most legendary and beloved version out of all of them. Not only that, but they had to take on another famous Metal Gear: RAY. REX vs RAY, Snake versus Liquid, on the shores of Shadow Moses.


REX has the ability to launch missiles, fire his rotary canons, shoot a laser beam, or the two mechanical giants can get up close and personal to bash each other’s metal heads in. It almost feels like a brawl between two beasts, or dinosaurs.

Buildings and structures are completely destroyed as the two enormous machines tramp across the harbor and blast their weapons in each other’s direction. The metallic clanks mix with echoing yells when the mechs clash in a melee attack. A very entertaining fight that’s quite different from the other battles in the series.


Nr 4


Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Remember taking out one Metal Gear? How about a whole battalion of them? As if one Metal Gear isn’t imposing enough, at one point in the game Raiden has to take on an entire army of those things. Luckily they are the inferior, unmanned versions, but this still proves to be no easy task.


Equipped with a Stinger missile launcher, Raiden tries to hold back machine after machine stepping onto the stage, towering above him. By shooting their legs he can cripple them for a short while, after which a shot to their metal heads is the most effective way to destroy them. But Raiden cannot cope with the overwhelming amount of them, and this boss battle doesn’t end with a victory, but with the protagonist giving up.

It’s an exhausting fight against all odds, and you don’t get a moment of rest as a new Metal Gear replaces a destroyed one as soon as it has been defeated. Raiden may not have been able to win the fight, but he still has something to brag about.


Nr 3


Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

This is the fight the entirety of Metal Gear Solid 3 has been building up to. The Boss has been defeating Snake consistently throughout the game whenever they battled, but Snake has been growing physically and spiritually over the course of the mission.

The fight takes place in a lakeside field covered in white flowers waving in the wind. The Boss’s white uniform blends in, and she will try to sneak up on you and take you down using CQC. Kojima once stated he actually wanted players to dress Snake in the black uniform for symbolic reasons, but this wouldn’t make it any easier for the player to sneak up on The Boss. Here is one tactic he can use: make sure The Boss loses sight of him using the environment and his camouflage abilities, and surprise her from an unknown position. The player can also use the heat visor to locate her, or counter her CQC when she attacks, but this is rather difficult.


Before the fight starts, The Boss initiated a ten minute timer, after which MiGs will come ‘and bomb the hell out of this place’. “Let’s make this the greatest ten minutes of our lives, Jack.” At first there’s no music, you only hear the howling of the wind and the sounds of the battle. But when the end of the countdown draws near, an instrumental version of the famous Snake Eater theme starts to play.

There’s a distinct atmosphere to the fight. There seems to be no hostility, but instead some sort of harmony. The game has been leading up to this moment, and Snake has prepared himself for it. Now it’s just there. But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy fight. The Boss is a fierce opponent and she doesn’t hold back. You will have to be careful, but at the same time be fast enough not to get bombed into oblivion. The first line of the game’s title song probably describes it best: What a thrill!


Nr 2


Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

This fight is the epic finale between Liquid and Solid’s struggle. With the system – and the technology it provided – shut down, it now comes down to a raw hand to hand fight. It is a fight in beat ’em up style, with the two characters facing each other while being able to move around the deck. Fighting on top of a submarine in the middle of the ocean, with an orange sunset bathing everything in a golden glow, this fight takes the player through the entire series.


First you will hear Metal Gear Solid’s ‘Duel’ music, and the health bars of the characters resemble those from the original game. After dealing a certain amount of damage, it switches to Metal Gear Solid 2’ Tanker Incident Music. Get through this part successfully, and the health bars from Metal Gear Solid 3 will appear, with the respective game’s ‘Snake Eater’ theme playing in the back. And finally, for the last part of the battle, the ‘Old Snake’ track from Metal Gear Solid 4 will play. With each new section, Liquid will change his fighting style in accordance to the associated game. In the conclusive segment of the fight, there are no health bars, and the two exhausted, beaten up men throw ever heavier punches at each other with their last remaining strength. Win this fight, and you have not only reached the end of this intense battle, but of the game as well.

You can also use the environment to your advantage, by grabbing Liquid’s head and banging it against an iron pole. Don’t forget to let Liquid grab Snake in a chokehold and see what happens.


Nr 1


Metal Gear Solid / The Twin Snakes

It’s been 14 years since Metal Gear Solid came out, and this may still be the most original boss fight in gaming history. Psycho Mantis is a practitioner of telekinesis and mind reading, and during this fight he uses his exceptional skills to mess not only with Snake, but also with the player controlling him. First he demonstrates his telekinetic powers by moving the controller using the rumble feature. Then he reads the player’s mind and tells him what games he’s been playing, by checking the memory card inserted into the console.


During the fight Mantis’ tricks consist of clearing the screen (making the player think he accidentally hit the remote), taking over Meryl’s body and making her shoot Snake or herself, and hurling objects at Snake using his telekinesis.

There’s only one way to beat the guy: switch controller ports. By inserting the controller into the second socket of the console, Mantis won’t be able to predict your movements anymore.

This is a boss fight people still talk about, brought to life by clever ‘out of the box’ game design, making it stand apart from standard fights people were used to.

  • Psycho Mantis and The End are my 2 favorites. An iconic fight would be the one on top of Outer Haven.

  • PrinceHeir

    amazing list 😀

    though i may ask why do people love the Psycho Mantis battle?

    even though it was unique and breaking the fourth wall and was mind fuckingly good.

    then again it’s probably the unorthodox style that made it unique.

    is this the boss fight only from the Solid series? or you can use other spin offs like AC!D, Ghost Babel?

    for me my top 5 is this:

    5. Metal Gear Ray vs Metal Gear Rex

    this is just amazing, the fact that Rex manage to still work and can keep up with Ray after all these years is amazing!!!!!!

    4. Raiden vs Solidus

    MGS2 is my most played game ever(8 times MGS2, Substance 9 times) and the battle with Solidus is amazing.

    the fight is awesome, using the frequency blade and setting it with blue or red(forgot the names sorry) and guarding as well as rolling and punching, man this fight is intense.

    3. Liquid Ocelot vs Solid Snake

    one of the greatest fights ever! two Old age men battling out, not for a sense of justice or save the world or anything, but they just want to duke out and see who’s the better man. also putting the themes from the main series(including Portable Ops) is soo freaking good!!

    2. The Boss vs Naked Snake

    one of my favorite fights ever!!!

    taking place in the field of flowers, you can beat Boss with just CQC(which i did in extreme), using your camouflage to hide and ambush The Boss, and finally the way it ended was the saddest event in this franchise history.

    1. Gene vs Naked Snake

    people don’t like Portable Ops have definitely missed this part.

    this is my favorite and greatest fight in the franchise history and probably the reason why Portable Ops is my favorite in terms of story and music part.

    for the first time ever Naked Snake/Big Boss get’s mind fuck and limps around like lost dog. not only he got toyed around by Gene, but also made him scared lose sight on what he really is( is he a soldier or a hero?)

    not even Psycho Mantis was able to penetrate Solid Snake’s Psyche(well he did lose a little bit, when Meryl was controlled)

    it makes sense since Gene is supposedly the next “The Boss”.

    it’s a shame they ended his reign pretty quickly.

    i bet if Kojima had direct full control(instead of supervising) he would have expanded his role in the later games.

    not to mention if this was on console or even as a launch Vita game, the controls would have been greatly improved.

    plus the music is the best!

    honorable mentions

    Solid Snake vs Gray Fox(both the MSX games and MGS1)

    Naked Snake vs Null

    Raiden vs Samuel

    • Nyxus

      Thanks for the long reply! I only included Kojima games here, so that’s why there is no Rising either. But I like your list, and I agree that Gene is a great character.

      • Frank Jaeger

        Speaking on the subject of Gene, it got me thinking about how Kojima said that some older characters from the series would be making a return in the new game. Something has got me thinking recently that this new commander-like character from the Ground Zeroes trailer ( the burned face guy) is Gene. Sure Gene dies in Portable Ops (or appears to) but since when has that ever stopped a character from returning in Metal Gear? The fact that a bunch of guys who are clearly wearing XOF logos and not FOX can walk into an American military base is beyond me. Unless you factor into the equation Gene’s abilities to speak and control the hearts/minds of those listening. Just a thought.

        • PrinceHeir

          that would be godly 😀

          though i don’t get how he got burned?

          still i would be glad if that were to happen and will finally shut off the naysayers about Portable Ops canonity.

          still it’s a long shot, but hopefully!!

          funny thing is when i first saw the Burned guy’s face i instantly though of Gouda from the Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex series!

  • Cobra Commander

    I would have thought “The End” would have been around #1, but I guess it was left out due to everybody and their brother mentioning it too much over the years.

    • Nyxus

      It was left out because it’s not one of my favorite battles, and this is a personal list. Bot to each his own, I know many people like that battle a lot.

      • solidmatt

        All due respect, I feel this list (and others elsewhere on the net) overly privilege fan-service aspects of the games over genuinely solid boss-battle designs.

        I think the battle against the Fury in MGS3 is too often
        overlooked for this reason. It’s a tense, atmospheric battle that is well-designed and gripping to play, especially on big boss difficulty.

        Also, the battle against the Harrier in MGS2 is one of my favorites. If you perform the appropriate actions it ends up being very cinematic through the dynamic camera-work. The speed and intensity of the fight is crafted expertly. An adrenaline rush and a fantastic revision of the Hind D battle from MGS1.

        And speaking of the Hind D battle from MGS1, why does this not make the list? It’s right up there with the Psycho Mantis battle in terms of memorability and design.

        For me, Rex vs. Ray and Liquid Ocelot vs. Old Snake were two of the worst boss-battles in the series. They were blatant attempts at pandering and as a result I feel they lack the creative energy that appears in many other bosses in the series. Vulcan Raven (2nd appearance), Laughing Octopus, and The End, to name a few more.

        • Nyxus

          And you are free to have a different opinion, of course. But I don’t care if a boss battle is good because of game design, or because of fan service, or presentation, or impact, or whatever reason there may be, as long as it is good.

          For this list I just tried to think of which fights felt the most special to me, which stuck with me, which made an impression. It doesn’t have to be just about gameplay or game design, there can be other reasons why a fight stuck with you.

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    Although Psycho Mantis was groundbreaking, I personally enjoyed Gray Fox’s boss fight because of his dialogue and how subtle he makes the encounter between him and Solid Snake, like a warrior or something. For The Boss, the easiest way that I personally came up with was using a Draganov Sniper Rifle by hiding near the logs and shooting The Boss when she was in plain sight; shooting from the side or using CQC proved too difficult for me to handle so I just did that, which I really enjoyed, except for the fact of course that The Boss eventually has to die so you have to shoot her.

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