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Ranking the Bosses of "Metal Gear Solid 4"

Alex has been an online sports and pop culture writer for five years. When he's not writing about sports, Alex is an aspiring screenwriter.


Wrapping up any series can be tough, but wrapping up a series as complex as Metal Gear Solid is no small feat. Metal Gear Solid 4 serves as the denouement of the series, and the results are a mixed bag. It’s impressive that Hideo Kojima was able to cull elements from every game up to this point. But it also leads to the longest, most convoluted cut scenes in the series – when you beat the game, get comfy.

But it’s worth it for tight gameplay and some impressive bosses. Like most of the series, Guns of the Patriots doesn’t have a single stinker in its boss lineup. Alas, that doesn’t mean they’re all created equally. Also, while the bosses are entertaining characters with over-the-top personalities, the story of the game makes them feel more tertiary than ever. In fact, if anyone wants to make an argument for half these bosses being their favorite, I'd understand. But because there are no bad ones, this is from least good to best.



Vamp was one of the best bosses in Metal Gear Solid 2. Here, he has the unfortunate honor of being the least interesting boss in the game. There are positives: It’s a fast-paced battle. You can’t kill Vamp – which feels like a positive and an annoyance – but how you beat him is creative. But too much of the boss battle is Vamp just swatting down Snake’s attacks because of how quickly he moves. Certain mistakes can cause Vamp to just continue spamming attacks, leading to him draining 2/3 of Snake’s health. On face, Vamp is still a good boss battle. But he’s the only one who doesn’t up the ante.

Metal Gear Ray

Yes, you FINALLY get to control Metal Gear. It was wise of Kojima to be patient and not shoot his shot early. A move like this works best in what’s essentially the series finale. Piloting Rex is cool, but not AS cool as one would hope. The biggest problem is you have all these weapons you don’t really get to use. On the first screen, you mow through an army of Metal Gear Geckos, where using your weapons will just slow you down. Rex battling Ray is pretty cool symmetry – especially since Liquid is controlling the more graceful, agile Metal Gear. Despite having a machine gun, lasers, and missiles; it’s pretty easy to just spam ram attacks and press the action button. (Though the missiles at least come in handy.) This battle is on the easy side – though that feels like mercy after the onslaught of geckos. Maybe some players can make it a challenge to beat Ray in creative ways. Warts and all, giant kaiju robot battles will always be cool. It’s the law.


Raging Raven

Raven is one of those weird boss battles in that she can be either really easy or really hard depending on how the player approaches her. She has a pretty obvious tell, but finding her and avoiding her attacks is often easier said than done. Armed with robotic wings and a never-ending supply of robot clones, Raven will blast Snake with bombs if he’s not careful in a crumbling clock tower. Raven’s tell is that she flies away to recharge her battery. The give and take is that she’s a sitting duck during this time, but also a small target. Raging Raven can be intimidating, but once you know how to beat her, she can be fun and challenging.

Also, if you’re really good: This is a great spot to rack up Drebin points.

Ocelot still knows trash talk and essentially reviews himself

Ocelot still knows trash talk and essentially reviews himself

Liquid Ocelot

Ending this game – and thus the series – any other way feels like it would have been a missed opportunity. (A battle with Big Boss MIGHT have made sense, but considering this is the wrap-up for Metal Gear Solid, which most people played, this was the better choice). Like the first Metal Gear Solid, it’s a one-on-one fist fight. But there is so much more going on. For one, it’s a surprisingly complex battle that requires actual strategy. The combination of flashbacks and songs from all 4 games do a great job of presenting this as the final showdown – the end of the road. The choice of music is also brilliant – starting with tense music (including the iconic Encounter from the first MGS) before transitioning into the somber songs.

Screaming Mantis

Admit it, a lot of us probably tried the switch controllers technique. I’m pretty sure a lot of us try it just to see the cut scene. Being the most direct comparison to a previous, there are some entertaining callbacks. But Screaming Mantis is more than just a lame copycat of an iconic boss. How you actually beat Mantis is one of the most entertaining payoffs in the game. Mantis is a little easy when you know what you’re doing, but for a boss that’s fun and creative, that can be forgiven. The original Mantis makes a comeback after winning the battle. It’s a little weird that so close to the finish line, there’s some fourth-wall-breaking comic relief. Odd choice, but it’s definitely welcome as Psycho Mantis learns about how technology has changed since game one.


Crying Wolf

What happens when you combine Sniper Wolf with The End? Yeah, those comparisons are inevitable, but that’s only half the story with Crying Wolf. Like The End, you need to hunt Wolf down, but the battlefield is smaller. And your target is a lot bigger – specifically a giant robot wolf. Besides being a large target, her trademark crying is the keyfor tracking her down – assuming she doesn’t track you down first. If she pounces on Snake, Wolf can maul his health his bar.

But the plot thickens: This battle takes place in a snow storm. And Crying Wolf has a literal army of commandos on her side. So yeah, the player is going to need to multitask. Even if there is a frustration factor, the challenge is rewarding. Trying to manage Wolf and her army will keep players on their toes. Even if there are enemies after you, it is possible to take them out and bring this to a one-on-one showdown. The tension in this battle is sky high, and fighting this boss can certainly provide an adrenaline rush.


Laughing Octopus

Considering the ground this covers, it’s impressive to claim that this may be the best first boss in the series. Octopus has a lot of tricks up her sleeve. Snake battles her in a small area, but she can turn invisible or just blend in with the doctor’s office. She has a few tells that are obvious, but even those are clever. Like, what’s a dead body doing in the room? Do you remember there being two skeletons? Those tentacles aren’t just for decoration: Octopus can deflect bullets, curl into a ball, raise them to shoot Snake from above and pimp slap him if he gets too close. Her ability to use blinding and roll away in a ball prevents the player from just brute-forcing their way through this battle. Not to mention, Octopus is not above using head games. As her name implies, Laughing Octopus’s maniacal cackling can be unnerving. She’ll play voice recordings of trusted comrades and even turn herself into Naomi. First bosses can send a message. And this message is: Metal Gear Solid 4 is not fooling around.

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