The Best Metal Gear Boss Fights
The Metal Gear Solid series didn’t invent the boss fight, but they sure as hell perfected it. The series bosses are as cinematic as they are difficult. And while they might not have the “make you cry and scream and throw things” kind of difficulty that Kingdom Hearts bosses have, they’re some of the most cerebrally challenging bosses in video game history. Hideo Kojima, the creator of the series, is above all else an innovator. His impact on the video game industry cannot be understated, and he was one of the pioneers who elevated the video game from “game” into “art”. His games play more like movies than actual video games, and his boss battles are no different. They are cinematic thrill rides that require no small amount of wit to complete. He’s responsible for not one, but many of the greatest of all time boss battles in video game history.
Hideo Kojima, we salute you.
Psycho Mantis is a member of FOXHOUND, a covert unit of super soldiers deployed by the U.S. government for only the blackest of black ops. Psycho Mantis, like his name suggests, has devastatingly powerful psychic abilities. He is also, as his name suggests, totally batshit. He is a cold blooded killer who, during the events of Metal Gear Solid, goes along with Liquid Snake’s plan to rebel against the government simply because it will allow him to murder people. And one of those people is you. Psycho Mantis starts the fight by immediately breaking the fourth wall asking you to place your controller ion the ground. He then says that he will “move it with his mind” and the controller vibrates. Brilliant. Then the fight begins. He takes psychic control of your comrade Meryl Lindbergh, and uses her as a puppet to attack you. So you’re already starting the fight in a two against one situation, but one of those two is a person that you are trying to protect. You basically have to dodge Meryl in order to fight Psycho Mantis. THEN things get worse. Psycho Mantis is immune to all of your attacks, because he can read your mind. He also breaks your T.V. and blacks out the screen in the style of an old T.V. error message, except instead of error it says “Hideo”. Flawless. Then eventually you have to plug your controller into port 2 on your console so he can’t read your mind anymore. Hideo Kojima is the first game designer I know that makes you play the hardware as well as the software when you play his games. It’s a groundbreaking fight, and one that solidified the genius of the Metal Gear series for years to come.
This fight is brilliant because it’s so damn emotional. In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater The Boss is your mentor. She taught you everything that there is to know. In a way, she is a sort of mother figure. Then, at the end of the game’s first mission she breaks your arm and betrays you, and joins up with the Russian military force that you were sent to stop. You don’t fight her again until the end of the game, after you’ve grown more experienced a soldier. You meet her in a field of white flowers, and she tells you that you have ten minutes to defeat her before the battleground is bombed in an airstrike. She then disappears into the field of white flowers, her snow white jumpsuit acting as perfect camouflage. You creep through the flowers trying to find her, but more often than not, she finds you. She engages you in hand to hand combat, and you have to time your button presses perfectly in order to defeat her. Eventually, the theme music for the game starts playing, and you take a shot right in the feels. After she is defeated and laying at your feet, she asks you to end it. You pull the trigger just as the scene cuts to black. The worst part of it is, you find out later that (SPOILER ALERT) she was working at a double agent against the Russians and was actually on your side the whole time. And then the waterworks begin.
Metal Gear Ray
This fight is as awesome as the fight with The Boss is sad. In a callback to the original Metal Gear Solid, the main antagonist of Metal Gear Solid 4, Liquid Ocelot, decides it would be a good idea to try to kill you using Metal Gear Ray. Metal Gear Ray is a portable nuclear launch station that also functions as a giant fighting robot. Unfortunately for Liquid Snake, somebody left another model of the Metal Gear weapons system around: the hulking Metal Gear Rex. And so, a giant robot battle commences. And it is so much fun. In a game that prioritizes stealth combat, it is an absolute blast to change up the pace and enter into a knock down, drag out robot fight. It’s one of those “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this right now fights”. Especially because any longtime player of the Metal Gear series knows that you spend most of your time fighting Metal Gears, but you’ve never been able to pilot one before. And just when you thought ol’ Hideo ran out of tricks: boom. Brand now groundbreaking boss battle.
Hideo Kojima singlehandedly invented one of the most thrilling type of boss battles of all time: the sniper duel. Metal Gear Solid 3‘s sniper duel is perhaps the finest in the series. Most video game boss battles are short, frenetic affairs (unless you’re playing some turn based nonsense). Many of the Metal Gear Solid bosses are no exception. So what did craft ol’ Kojima do? He decided to switch thing up a bit. He made a boss fight that was no less tense, but took a long time. While Metal Gear Solid 3 isn’t the only game with a sniper duel in the series, it is arguably the best. You are challenged by an ancient Soviet sniper named The End, and you have to crawl around the Russian wilderness and find him in your scope before he finds you. The bad news is he’s really good at camouflaging himself. There are a myriad of clever ways you can win in this fight. You use your directional microphone and find him by listening for the sound of his breathing. You can sneak up behind him and pop him with a pistol, or shake him down to get his camo. You can shoot the little parakeet he keeps as a pet and he’ll give away his position (because that’s a really dick thing to do). Or best of all, you can wait an actual week in the real world and The End will die of old age. A true stroke of genius. There has never been a game designer like Hideo Kojima, and there never will be again.
(featured image: Konami)
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