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

Solidus Snake

Why it's a brilliant boss battle: OMFG! Katanas for the chuffing win!

Pretty simple one this. Said fight lets you wield a great bloody big sword. Great bloody big swords are fun to wield. Class dismissed.

Alright, so it's not just the awesome weapon, smartly mapped to the right stick. The fight is also a master class in learning demanding attacks patterns, with a satisfying payoff (that would be twatting arch evil doer Solidus' spine with a five foot blade). It takes a brave game to throw in brand new mechanics for the player to learn right at the death. But Sons of Liberty's brief sword fighting is assured and polished. Oh, and fighting on top of Federal Hall in Manhattan kicks all kinds of ass, too.

Above: We're not sure about the eye patch, but damn
if that windswept look isn't mega sexy

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater bosses (PStwo, 2004)

The End

Why it's a brilliant boss battle: It spits in the face of convention and requires nerves made of reinforced titanium.

An hour. A shitting hour. That's how long it took this content editor to beat this geriatric gunsman first time through. An astonishing test of endurance, the battle with the sniper sticks two fingers up to conventional boss battle thinking, which usually revolves around testing reactions and twitch gaming. Here, your biggest enemy is your own impatience. Jump the gun, by running wildly or not paying constant attention to your  surroundings and you're cooked.

Above: Don't underestimate Polly Wants a Cracker. He can give your position away to his arthritic owner

Of course, while you could use the game's directional microphone to try and find the old timer's location (especially chilling if you've got a surround sound system), you don't have to go the time-sapping sniping route. Can't be assed playing the waiting game? Simply turn the internal clock on your PS3 ahead a week and the End bites it from old age. You can even kill with a single bullet hours before the fight by sniping him right after a cutscene.

Pioneering and ludicrously atmospheric; it's probably the defining boss fight of the entire series. One that showcases a level of innovative thinking that we'd love to see more often from the Gear's competitors.

The Boss

Why it's a brilliant boss battle: It's just so dang touching. <sniff>

More than anything, this is (to use a horribly wanky phrase) brave. More specifically, the bit where you put Naked Snake's mentor out of her misery with one lonely bullet. In other games, besting a boss is normally followed by a smart-ass quip from the hero or an explosion that could level a small country. Here, though, the battle ends on a sobering moment of self-reflection.

Above: God, we still feel guilty about offing Snake's teacher

Yeah, we know we sound like massive douches trying to flex our online thesauruses. But when you finally put the murderous MILF's lights out, it forces you to reflect on death to a level rarely seen in games. This isn't you, the conquering hero, taking out some alien asshole with a flamethrower, while eating a steak and making googly eyes at your sidekick with the big tits. This is a moment where you pull a trigger in agonising slow-motion, against a helpless woman begging for death.

It's disquieting and more crucially, concise, in a series that's massively prone to losing the run of itself during 40 minute cutscenes. If more titles gave in-game death this much gravity, it might mean our conscious would become as tested as our trigger finger. And, all this self-important wankiness apart, that can only be a good thing.


  • Ganonpork - June 7, 2010 9:44 p.m.

    The loved boss of GOTP was interesting. also in gotp vamp was annoying but very unique and cool.
  • JackSkellingtonsSkin - May 3, 2010 3:35 p.m.

    @Satu She says that about 200 hundred times in the game, I'm actually really glad I forgot. Stupid bitch.
  • darkdispatch523 - May 1, 2010 11:08 a.m.

    For the TRUTH go to::
  • Metroidhunter32 - May 1, 2010 12:55 a.m.

    After the fight with the Boss a lesser dev would have done a cinimatic camera spin and do a close up on snakes face as he pulls the trigger. Hideo gives you the controler. There is only one option, but it makes the fight memorable.
  • bioboy725 - April 30, 2010 11:48 p.m.

    In the end boss battle i got kind of annoyed because i had no clue how to find his sniper spots. i just stayed down hiding or running like a lunatic until i saw him or he saw me and gave himself away.
  • AbigCAT - April 30, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    Yes, MGS is awesome, butGR, have you heard any news about the new raiden based game. i think its subtitled lightning bolt action?
  • BlueCroup - April 30, 2010 5:36 p.m.

    Great article Meiks I always remember the section with SniperWolf in MGS, but the series had some truly epic encounters, mad eup for all the bullshit
  • philipshaw - April 30, 2010 1:30 p.m.

    Great article and I just beat MGS3 last night for the 3rd time. MGS3 has the best run of boss battles in the series
  • AgentHonor - April 30, 2010 7:11 a.m.

    Dont forget the battle with the Hind D in MGS. that was a "Oh Crap" moment for me. I also liked the Young Ocelot battle. Although not really a boss battle, the Raiden vs Vamp while you shoot at Gekkos is really cool.
  • shinigamiDude - April 30, 2010 6:34 a.m.

    How about the crocodiles from MGS 3?
  • TheWebSwinger - April 30, 2010 4:36 a.m.

    god I f*ckin love this series, and this article by association. Seriously, I friggin bleed Metal Gear.
  • BlackElement17 - April 30, 2010 2:21 a.m.

    Loved all of those battles, if they just refined the mechanics for the final Guns of the patriots battle it would have been a perfect end to the series.
  • masterj2k11 - April 30, 2010 1:09 a.m.

    I love the mgs series. It stands out cause for the first two years it was out I didn't get it. I could never even get to the elevator in the begining. But I kept coming back and my dad finally showed me its a sneaking game and when I got to that elevator I was hooked. This is one of the best crafted video game series of all time. The story is a little far fetched. Some cutscenes are long. But every ounce of gameplay is perfection. The boss battles are epic, though a little too repeticious in mgs4 (except for rex vs. Ray). This is how all games series should be done. It is like a tarintino movie. For fans only and dosent take itself too seriously. Well I guess that is enough kojima ego stroking and mgs fanboyism for now. Ill go back to whacking it to peace walker screens.
  • iJizzLots - April 30, 2010 1:08 a.m.

    Rex vs Ray was one of the most sluggish, broken and down right boring boss battles I've ever played. Sure the experience was cool, but the gameplay didnt hold up. You want robot vs robot? Buy Armored Core, if you can get over the mediocre reviews from people who bitch about "too much customization," you'll find yourself in one of the best mech games this gen
  • Cyberninja - April 30, 2010 12:09 a.m.

    i think you just sold another copy of mgs colletion
  • Satu - April 30, 2010 12:09 a.m.

    @sithlord4 It's the anniversary of the day Raiden and Rose met and the day George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the U.S. in 1789 at Federal Hall.
  • 510BrotherPanda - April 30, 2010 12:05 a.m.

    I'm glad Meiks got to put his "Dream QoTW" in writing. It was great! I haven't beaten even the first MGS yet, though.
  • Sithlord4 - April 29, 2010 11:39 p.m.

    @Satu April 30th, is there something important about it?
  • CH3BURASHKA - April 29, 2010 11:05 p.m.

    Although the MGS2 katana battle was a cool new mechanic that kind of put everything on its head, I didn't enjoy it as a final battle. It was worth the final cutscene, though. I love that jazz song...
  • Satu - April 29, 2010 10:52 p.m.

    @JackSkellingtonsSkin Today is April 29th, the day the Big Shell portion of MGS2 takes place. And we all remember Rose and her incessant question. Not that I remember this and make a point of asking everyone "do you know what tomorrow is?" repeatedly every year or anything.

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