What other games should learn from Metal Gear's boss battles

Looking back at the series’ best bosses and what other titles should take away from them

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots bosses (PS3, 2008)


Metal Gear Rex vs. Metal Gear Ray


Why it's a brilliant boss battle: It’s two 100-foot robots kicking the shit out of each other. You do the math.

Oh hells yes! After fighting them for the best part of 20 years, Snake finally gets to jump in the cockpit of one of the nuclear dastards that have made him and his mullet famous. And screw us sideways, if it wasn't worth the wait.

Amazingly, even though the game pits two massive robots against each other in a pretty tight space, the fight rarely becomes a clusterf*ck. Admittedly, its not quite a night at the ballet. But it's still smoother and more graceful than you'd expect from two objects that weigh more than Texas.

Even though the awesome moves and scale of the fight are pretty much unrivalled, the impact is as much about pacing as it is payoff. Coming after an hour of quiet self-reflection, as you wander through a desolate Shadow Moses ten years after visiting the island in MGS, having a massive fight between killer robots is a revelation. And a friggin' amazing one at that. We've rarely seen any game touch this sort of spectacle outside God of War, and it's something any game would benefit from.


Liquid Ocelot


Why it's a brilliant boss battle: It's the ultimate piece of fan service

Kojima might have made us sit through precisely 134 hours of really talky cutscenes, but he doesn't half know how to finish a game. Paying tribute to every Metal Gear Solid that came before it, Patriot's final battle takes in the music from each, as Snake fights a schizophrenic Liquid.

Taking the player back to some of the series most memorbale moments with just a few simple music cues is cap-doffing genius of the highest order. If more game series showed as much respect and reference to their past titles as MGS4, we might actually start to care when Generic Hard Man Action Game 6 refers to something that happened in Generic Hard Man Action Game 4. We can but hope.

Read more opinions about boss battles in this feature that asks why most of them are a bit shit. You can also hear us rambling about them in this week's Talkradar UK. And feel free to share your fave Metal Gear moments in the comments below.

Apr 29, 2010

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