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.
Metal Gear Solid 2 is a bit of a controversial game in the series. The previous game was a tough act to follow, and Hideo Kojima made the baffling decision of replacing the beloved protagonist with a character who didn’t earn his street cred until two games later. Plus, the already bloated cut scenes became even more bloated with conspiracy theories and romance angles. And the game does suffer a bit from sequelitis. But those are gripes only in comparison to its predecessor. Overall, Metal Gear Solid 2 is an excellent game. However, being superb but not as good as the first seems to apply to the bosses as well. Here is the ranking from weakest to best.
Vamp With Emma
While it is novel, bosses like this can be a nuisance, try to hit a small target when they’re using your companion as a human shield. This battle is mercifully short since Vamp has a much lower bar of health. This isn’t the most annoying boss battle in the world, but it can be a little tedious. Realigning shots when necessary, can be irksome but this battle probably would have been way more annoying if it weren’t a sniper battle.
Metal Gear Solid 2 began a tradition of Kojima wanting players to make it through the game with no kills. While that’s easier said than done, it makes sense that there would be a boss the player can’t actually hurt. In fact, that makes this a bit borderline even as a boss battle. Playing keep-away really isn’t the most fun thing in the world. But making the player unable to lay a finger on Fortune communicates that she’s untouchable far more than just a cut scene.
If there is one battle that feels like sequelitis, this is it. The first game had a boss battle with a flying vehicle? Better have one in this game. To be fair, the game designers upped the ante in a few areas. There’s a wider area to fight in, with stairs, the boss battle has more attacks. You do have to worry about not hitting Snake in a helicopter. But it’s a two-way street since he’ll help with supplies.
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Ah, the only boss where the player actually controls Solid Snake. Olga does a good job bracing the player for many of the game’s new mechanics like using the first-person view to fight enemies. She also braces the player for draining energy instead of killing since a tranquilizer gun is all Snake has. For the first boss, she’s not too easy and not too hard. The biggest challenge she presents is acclimating the player to the first-person battle, basically doing her job as a first boss.
Vamp is tough because of his absurd agility but in a good way. Later in the battle, he develops the ability to freeze the player. Normally, this is a massive pet peeve, but Raiden can still fight, just not move away. This is an overall fun boss but the limited mobility makes it a hassle. It almost feels like there were supposed to be two Vamp boss battles and the first one was cut.
Metal Gear Rays
How does a game up the ante of Metal Gear Rex from last time? Fight three Metal Gears at once! Sounds tough, but it’s not insurmountable. And the strategy is evident: Take out Ray’s knees, blast the head. But fighting 3 at a time saves that from being too simple. Honestly, this battle complements Raiden’s more acrobatic style. I fleetingly considered making the last two bosses the top two, but one is a little more entertaining.
If this ranking were exclusively on personalities, Fatman might be number one. His over-the-top personality is hard to forget. And he occasionally has funny lines. Not to mention, he’s a fat bomb expert chasing and shooting at you with rollerblades. That’s something you don’t forget. The boss keeps you busy as he also plants bombs that need to be diffused. Knocking Fatman down to give him headshots is sacrosanct. But when he’s down for good, Fatman says he has the biggest bomb of all. Which is right under him—one last prank.
Had to happen sooner or later, the final boss was the best boss of the game. One of the highlights of the game is Raiden’s sword. Unfortunately, he uses it somewhat late in the game. (Thanks, Revengeance for giving us more chance to use it.) It makes sense that the best boss is built around that sword mechanic. Then again that is one reason Solidus offers a challenge: You may not have as much practice with it. Also, not helping is that you may have used up your rations on the Metal Gear battle. But he’s not impossible, even if he is adept with his sword… two swords. And his tentacles… which fire missiles. And he dashes, which he does even more after dropping his tentacles. Metal Gear Solid 2 has its faults, but the game sure ends on a high note.
- Ranking the Bosses From "Metal Gear Solid" (1998)
Metal Gear Solid is one of the most beloved series ever. And its bosses are legendary. But how do they stack up against each other?
© 2022 Alex deCourville