Metal Gear Solid is known for long narrations, lengthy cut scenes, and epic boss battles. Can love truly bloom on the battlefield? These are all of the Metal Gear Solid bosses ranked from worst to best.
Also, there are a lot of spoilers for anyone who hasn’t played these games and anyone who doesn’t understand the story. Which to be fair is most of us.
As always, there is a degree of personal preference in our ranking so we’d love to hear your thoughts in our comments section. We examined the difficulty of each fight, the satisfaction we get from fighting each of the Metal Gear Solid bosses, and their overall dynamic within each of the fights.
36. Eli (Metal Gear Solid 5)
Eli had a lot of potential in MGS5. He’s the younger version of Liquid Snake cosplaying as a lost boy but playing war for real. His boss fight though in MGS 5 is pretty lame, even by MGS 5 standards. It’s one of the best open-world games of all time, but the boss fights all leave something to be desired.
Like the rest of the Phantom Pain, there are multiple ways to approach this fight, though none of them are truly satisfying. The worst culprit is a glorified quick-time event. At least we get to see a little of Liquid’s backstory in Kojima’s epic final chapter.
35. Olga (Metal Gear Solid 2)
Olga is a pretty important character in MGS 2. We first meet her in the tanker chapter and then again donning the cyborg ninja suit in the big shell. But her boss fight is nothing more than running left to right, hiding behind boxes, and shooting her from the side.
It stings worse knowing this is the only boss fight we get to do as Solid Snake in MGS 2. It goes even lower on the list because the player is forced to ostensibly shoot a pregnant woman in the face with tranq darts over and over again. That can’t be good for the baby in-utero.
34. The Fear (Metal Gear Solid 3)
This dude is nuts. He has a crazy long tongue and turns invisible. Like many other Metal Gear Solid bosses, this one has a puzzle element. But the puzzle element for The Fear is so easy to figure out that we have to rank them very low on our list.
Just turn on your thermal goggles and you can easily see this fella hiding in the trees. You don’t even have to move for most of the fight. Just use your thermals and shoot him down.
33. Harrier (Metal Gear Solid 2)
The Harrier is just a worse version of the Hind D fight from Metal Gear Solid 1. Fighting a helicopter is cool. Fighting a plane is not.
Sadly, there was a lot of potential with this enemy since it’s not very often this type of boss fight occurs in games. The Harrier is just too easy to bring down. You would think a fighter jet would provide more of a challenge, but it’s the ease with which we destroyed this plane, that ranks it low on our list.
32. Fortune (Metal Gear Solid 2)
This isn’t really a boss fight, as you can’t actually fight back. Any bullets you shoot at her will just fly right past her. The puzzle in this fight is to just not die. It’s a shame because Fortune is one of the better characters in Metal Gear Solid 2.
Maybe if we actually got a chance to fight Fortune she would rank higher. But unfortunately, we can only hide from her and then later watch as Ocelot takes her out.
31. Parasite Unit (Metal Gear Solid 5)
Much like Fortune in MGS 2, the main crux of your encounters with the Parasite unit is simply to not die. You do finally get the chance to take them out, but it feels rushed and not all that well thought out. Much like many other aspects of MGS 5.
The Parasite Unit feels too much like a way to shoehorn an entire enemy unit. For a series full of rich enemy backstories, the Parasite unit is nothing more than a group of unstoppable foes. Until you finally do stop them.
30. Man on Fire (Metal Gear Solid 5)
The man on fire is a cool boss fight, but a little rushed and easy to figure out.
Essentially just lure him to a water tower and destroy it to douse him with water. For a game with so many options to approach missions, it would have been nice if there were more ways to engage with this boss.
29. Liquid Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid 4)
The biggest issue with this fight is how anti-climactic it is. We have been fighting Ocelot for four games now and the story ostensibly ends with two old dudes fighting shirtless hand to hand. It doesn’t even make sense to fight Ocelot hand to hand.
There are better fights with Liquid. There are better fights with Ocelot. This fight is also hampered by being bookended with forty-five-minute plus cut scenes.
28. Vamp (Metal Gear Solid 4)
Metal Gear Solid 4 actually has some of the best boss battles of the entire series, but Vamp is not one of them. He’s truly a bizarre character.
The lead-up to this fight has you learning that Vamp is now romantically entangled with Naomi Hunter. Then Vamp does some weird Vamp stuff, and we fight him on Shadow Moses. The way Kojima intended. He’s a tough target, and it’s unfortunate we don’t get to finish him. New and improved Ninja Raiden shows up to take him down.
27. Raging Raven (Metal Gear Solid 4)
The true center of MGS4 boss battles is the Beauty and the Beast Unit. A group of female soldiers suffering severe PTSD taking on the code names from the Fox Hound unit fought in Metal Gear Solid 1. Raging Raven is essentially the female falcon from the MCU if his PTSD caused him to go certifiably insane.
This fight is a tough one but really just relies on shooting her while she flies around. At least you get a sick grenade launcher after the fight.
26. The Pain (Metal Gear Solid 3)
As the name would suggest, this dude really loves pain. The fight starts with him regurgitating bees at you. And only gets weirder from there.
MGS3 has one of the more eclectic groups of foes, and The Pain is no exception. He’s not particularly difficult to beat though. Shoot the bees with your shotgun then lob some grenades at him. You’ll be finished with this fight in no time. Some more backstory into the Pain could have helped this fight out, but as it stands The Pain is simply a forgettable foe.
25. Metal Gear Sahelanthropus (Metal Gear Solid 5)
The ’80s brought us some great robots. Nintendo’s R.O.B., number 5 from Short Circuit, and that absolutely bonkers robot from Rocky 4. Metal Gear Sahelanthropus looks nothing like a robot from the ’80s. In fact, it actually looks more advanced than REX or the Metal Gears from the Nintendo era.
Regardless this fight is fine enough. You get to ride your horse around and shoot him with rockets, which is fun, if not a bit cumbersome. The last metal gear from the last numbered entry is a bit of a disappointment. That might not all be sahelanthropus’ fault though, as the game was clearly unfinished.
A less rushed ending could have led to a boss fight more on par with the Metal Gears of old (or new? who knows with this timeline)
24. Vulcan Raven (Metal Gear Solid 1)
Vulcan Raven is a shaman that lives in Alaska, carries big guns, and drives bigger tanks. He’s a memorable character in Metal Gear Solid but feels more like a B-character than anyone else in the game.
It’s not that he’s a bad character, just a boring boss fight. You run around a small maze and shoot him with rockets. He’s slow and lumbering and not altogether bright. Once he’s finally killed he’ll give Snake a long-drawn-out backstory before being eaten by Ravens. So that’s….something.
23. Metal Gear Ray (Metal Gear Solid 2)
I guess this really should be “Metal Gear Rays” as you have to fight a lot of these dudes. If anything the animation is dope for this boss fight.
Beating them is simple. Shoot them in the knee with a rocket, then shoot them in the mouth when they screech in pain. Solid Snake is also supplying you with endless stinger missiles because of his infinite ammo bandana. God MGS2 is a weird game.
It’s not the worse fight in MGS2, but for how overpowered you feel fighting an army of Metal Gears, the fight has to rank pretty low.
22. Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid 3)
We fight Ocelot a lot throughout this series. This fight falls firmly in the “meh” category. It’s uneventful and anti-climactic. It’s pretty much just a rehash of the Olga fight from MGS2. It only ranks higher because you’re shooting a man that deserves it, not a visibly pregnant Russian soldier. Rush from side to side, hiding behind any foliage you find and Ocelot will be toast.
21. Hind-D (Metal Gear Solid)
A Hind-D!?!?! This one is pretty cool and solidifies Checkov’s Hind-D principle. If it wasn’t for the fatigue of just shooting everything with rockets, this would rank higher.
You just shoot it with stinger missiles that are infinitely supplied to you during the fight. Even though you don’t have an infinite ammo bandanna. Maybe MGS1 is just as weird as MGS2, only with less exposition.
20. The Fury (Metal Gear Solid 3)
The Fury is pretty angry, hence the name. Some people just want to watch the world burn. It’s this guy. He is literally trying to set the world on fire with a flamethrower.
It’s equal parts refreshing and frustrating that this entire fight isn’t based on shooting the flamethrower on his back. That’s what video games have taught us to do. But here comes Hideo Kojima, changing the rules again. He just hides and makes you find him. It’s silly but decent enough. The Fury strongly cements himself as a “meh” boss battle.
19. Metal Gear Rex (Metal Gear Solid)
I may get some hate for the positioning of this Metal Gear fight, but to be fair, there are a lot of better boss fights in this series. Rex is one of the most recognizable metal gears, but the fight itself is pretty dull. Just another variation of run-around and shoot rockets.
The fight is easy to figure out. Otacon essentially tells you how to defeat Rex. You’ll need to shoot throw some chaff grenades to lose the homing missiles. Then shoot the sensor dish. After REX’s sensor dish is destroyed it’s another matter of running around and shooting him with Stinger missiles.
18. Vamp (Metal Gear Solid 2)
Vamp made an interesting entrance into MGS2 paying homage to the cyborg ninja introduction from MGS1. But that is about where the interest stops with this character. He is immortal and super fast. His boss fight is just trying to be faster than him. Shoot him with whatever you want, but stingers missiles work the best.
Props for the second time you “fight” Vamp in MGS2 when he takes Emma hostage. A fun play on being quicker, you just have to snipe him in the face.
17. Tank (Metal Gear Solid)
The tank is driven by Raven, but you are mainly fighting the tank itself and the random gunners he keeps pulling from inside the tank. It ranks higher because throwing grenades requires more skill than shooting everything with stingers.
To win this fight you need to throw some grenades and not get hit with its cannon. It’s not too bad overall. And it gives you a great introduction to how Snake can overcome the odds and defeat pretty much any machine the world throws at him.
16. Laughing Octopus (Metal Gear Solid 4)
Laughing Octopus is our introduction to the Beauty and the Beast Unit. And it’s a very strong intro. She is super creepy with crazy tentacles on her head, and she hides from you using active camouflage. Anyone familiar with the series will be able to spot her pretty easily though.
It’s at the end of the fight when she pulls off her creepy S&M mask and turns into Laughing Beauty that we realize how the Beauty and the Beast unit got its name. A memorable boss fight, and a memorable introduction to one of the more underrated units in MGS history.
15. Fatman (Metal Gear Solid 2)
He swooshes around on rollerskates, planting bombs for you to diffuse all while drinking wine with a straw. So yeah, this boss fight rules.
Maybe we shouldn’t rank bosses just based on the quirky fun nature they bring to a game but with Fatman we can’t help it. He’s just too grandiose of a character for us to not give praise.
14. Solidus (Metal Gear Solid 2)
Towards the end of MGS 2, you’re given a katana. You get to use it a little bit to fight off some guards with Snake, but the first thing on everyone’s mind is when do I get to use this thing to take out Solidus. Hideo did not disappoint and gives you a sword battle with Solidus on top of the federal exchange building in New York.
Yes, it’s wacky. Yes, it’s not a very difficult battle. But it’s nothing if not memorable. Shoot him or attack with your Katana. His second form has him removing his two back tentacles. The strategy remains the same though. Just stay away from him when he uses his fire roller skates.
13. Liquid Snake (Metal Gear Solid)
Another hand-to-hand combat fight in the metal gear series. This isn’t the best and it isn’t the worst, but at least it makes sense for the scenario. And it feels great to actually beat down your ever-deserving brother.
The Liquid fight feels too much like a re-hash of the Ninja fight from earlier in the game. Only this time you don’t have to figure it out. MGS introduced us to the term CQC, so it’s only fitting that we end Snakes brother that way.
12. Crying Wolf (Metal Gear Solid 4)
This fight is a nostalgia trip and a half. You fight Crying Wolf in the same place you fought Sniper Wolf all those years ago. She hides from you in a giant mech wolf suit and you lob grenades at her from that sweet grenade launcher you stole from Raging Raven. Her second form is again Crying Beauty, and taking her out feels harder given the history of Sniper Wolf in this location.
It would have really been a shame for MGS4 to go all the way back to Shadow Moses and not try re-live some of those iconic moments. The game also does a great job of not overstaying its welcome in Alaska.
11. Shagohod (Metal Gear Solid 3)
Up to this point in the series, we’ve fought Metal Gear Rex on Shadow Moses and an army of Rays. MGS3 had the tough task of trying to one-up the army or Ray’s fight while also keeping it grounded enough to work in its past setting. The result? Driving around on a motorcycle and shooting a giant mech.
It’s fun as hell. And just when you think it’s over, you get to go toe to toe with the mech while Volgin is on top. Shooting Metal Gears with stinger missiles is nothing new for the series, but this fight provides you with enough of a variety that its lands itself firmly in the eleventh spot.
10. Screaming Mantis (Metal Gear Solid 4)
MGS4 just keeps reinventing iconic characters in a way that’s new and fresh. Screaming Mantis suspends Meryl in the air with a gun to her head. You have to knock her out non-lethally then go for Mantis herself. Oh, and you also have to avoid demonic marionettes all over the room
Screaming Mantis is creepy and she plays some of the same tricks on you Psycho Mantis did in the original Metal Gear Solid. You’ll see game-over screens, hear some weird dialogue, and watch your PS3 glitch out. Screaming Mantis puts up a good fight. and it’s definitely one you won’t soon forget.
9. Revolver Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid)
This is the first boss fight in Metal Gear Solid, and the first time we are introduced to what will be a twenty-year rivalry. You’ll have to run around in circles while avoiding the wires hooked up to explosives and shoot Ocelot when the time timing is right. Typically while he is reloading.
The boss fight itself is kind of annoying, especially with how difficult aiming was on an original Playstation. Regardless though, this was a good introduction to Metal Gear Solid bosses that helped establish the game’s trajectory for future boss fights. Hopefully, we can relive this fight on some newer hardware in the near future
8. Quiet (Metal Gear Solid 5)
The Metal Gear Solid series is known for iconic sniper battles (more on that later) and Quiet is no exception. For a game with few traditional boss fights, the fight with Quiet feels like a return to form.
Taking place on a large open battlefield, the fight isn’t just difficult because it requires you to hide from her sniper fire. It also requires you to catch Quiet, and she is extremely fast. There is a quick way to cheese this fight though. Which may be the way to go after dying nine or ten times.
7. The Sorrow (Metal Gear Solid 3)
You begin by walking through a fire river. When you eventually meet Sorrow, he has no health meter and he’s crying blood. Simultaneously showing you all of the people you have killed throughout the game. The more souls you’ve taken, the longer the sequence takes.
While not a traditional boss fight, The Sorrow is indicative of the cinematic interactive storytelling that the franchise is known for. We said we’d be ranking some of these encounters based on their storyline component and Sorrow definitely doesn’t disappoint.
6. Sniper Wolf (Metal Gear Solid)
You fight wolf twice and quickly realize that she is also Otacons girlfriend, kind of. Both fights are good, but the large open area sniper battle in the snow is the kind of fight that elevates MGS games from their peers.
The best way to take out Wolf is to hide and wait until you see her move. She’ll try and get some shots off, and when you see her red laser disappear, then go prone, light up a cigarette, and get a shot off quickly.
The Sniper Wolf fight begins a long legacy of impeccable sniper battles in the MGS series. Sniper Wolf is a formidable foe, but no match for the legendary Solid Snake.
5. Cyborg Ninja (Metal Gear Solid)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A cyborg ninja chops off a gunslinger’s hand, then brutally and invisibly massacres an entire floor of guards before demanding that you whip his butt in hand-to-hand combat.
Learning that you couldn’t use weapons on him, and instead must fight him with only your fists is one of those eureka moments that the MGS series does so well. There is also a crazy backstory about him being your old friend that you left in Zanzibar. It’s a little over the top sure, but a great boss fight nonetheless.
4. The End (Metal Gear Solid 3)
Some would argue that this is the best boss fight of the whole series.
I would not. I would argue it’s number four. The End is a seriously great fight that requires you to search for him through an endless jungle. In true Kojima fashion, there is a way to cheat this boss too. He’s old so either refrain from turning on your console for a week or move the time up on the internal clock and he’ll die of old age.
Another great “Aha” moment in the series. But if you do that you miss out on the truly exceptional experience of searching and hunting for one of the world’s greatest and oldest snipers.
3. Metal Gear Ray (Metal Gear Solid 4)
Just when you thought Metal Gear Solid 4 had gone too far with the nostalgia. When you were wondering if you could ever leave Shadow Moses. The game kicks into overdrive and lets you pilot Metal Gear Rex to take down a Metal Gear Ray. It’s just about as satisfying as it sounds.
MGS4 brings an end to Solid Snake’s story. Fighting Ocelot piloting a Metal gear Ray while you pilot a REX just feels like icing on the cake to our time in Shadow Moses. It’s also just incredibly fun. With years of fighting Metal Gears under our belts, it’s immensely satisfying to finally be piloting one.
2. Pyscho Mantis (Metal Gear Solid)
Psycho Mantis was the talk of playgrounds all throughout the 90s. “You have to switch your controller to port 2”. “He’ll read off your memory card all the games you’ve been playing”. “If you don’t beat him right away he’ll haunt your console until you kill him.”
Some of those rumors were true. Mantis will read your mind while you’re in this boss fight. What that really means is that without switching your controller into port 2, he is almost impossible to kill. Once you have that done though, it’s still not a cakewalk. He messes with your PlayStation and talks to you the player directly.
Overcoming Mantis felt like a triumph and to this day still remains one of the most iconic characters in the series. Some of the things Kojima did in this fight still have yet to be replicated. Truly a masterpiece boss fight.
1. The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3)
The Boss fight from MGS 3 encapsulates everything we love about the series into one final epic battle. It speaks of war, the gray lines between friends and enemies, and the fear of getting older all rolled up into a stunning setpiece.
Unlike other boss fights from the series, there is no trick to beating her. You can use weapons. You can use CQC. However you want to fight is up to you, as long as you kill her. It’s an emotional end to the game set amongst gorgeous imagery and an amazing soundtrack.
Kojima knew he had something special with this game. He laid the groundwork over his previous three games. But The Boss battle feels like a culmination of his work. He would go on to create two more games, but this fight feels so final. A fitting end for a true hero.