Jeremy enjoys gaming when not working as a manager at the same college he graduated from.
Metal Gear Solid's Best Characters
Spanning five official entries as of this writing plus numerous spin-offs, Metal Gear Solid remains arguably the best stealth franchise ever made. With polished gameplay, several approaches to obstacles, and an awesome plot (you're basically watching a movie half the time you play), MGS is truly a unique saga.
Throughout decades of lore, you'll control generations of government agents codenamed "Snake" to prevent nuclear wars. But despite their espionage and gunplay aptitude, you're opposed by powerful enemies with unique abilities, creating epic confrontations. Which characters reign supreme? These are the ten strongest heroes and villains in the Metal Gear Solid series.
10. Gray Fox
Real Name: Frank Jaeger
A former member of FOXHOUND, Jaegar was its only unit to receive the highest rank of Fox, showcasing his deadly skills. His power further increased when the Patriots forcibly attached an exoskeleton to his body, turning him into the Cyborg Ninja that Solid Snake faces in MGS1.
Wielding his trademark sword plus invisibility camouflage, Jaegar is fast enough to slice bullets mid-air, and Snake once noted he'd never fought alongside a better soldier. That said, Snake overcomes Jaeger in their fistfight (although their weapon duel was a draw), proving even Jaegar isn't invincible.
9. Revolver Ocelot
Real Name: Adamska
As seen in MGS3, even in his youth, Ocelot rivaled Big Boss, dueling the legendary agent to a stalemate in a fistfight. Yet throughout his long career, Ocelot is best known for his twin revolvers, ranking as one of the best marksmen in the series. Despite being a reoccurring boss, Ocelot is rarely beaten, as his bouts are generally interrupted.
More than that, Ocelot is a cunning operative who never reveals his true agenda, making it difficult to ascertain his loyalties in any given scenario. This is especially true once he grafts Liquid Snake's arm onto his body, at which point he begins to meld his old employer's personality with his own.
8. Liquid Snake
Real Name: Eli
Like his brothers, Liquid was cloned from Big Boss as part of the Les Enfants Terribles project. Arrogant and extroverted, he's obsessed with surpassing Solid Snake, who he never seems able to best. That said, Liquid is a master manipulator, able to successfully pose as Miller during Snake's Shadow-Moses infiltration. He's no slouch in combat either, able to hold his against Solid in their frequent battles, plus against Venom Snake while still a young boy.
Even after his death, Liquid terrorizes Snake through his possession of Ocelot (in truth, self-induced hypnotherapy), "returning" in MGS4 to wreak havoc once more.
7. Colonel Volgin
Real Name: Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin
If perhaps not quite as calculating as today's other entries, Colonel Volgin is a physical powerhouse, able to lift enormous amounts of weight with ease. Serving as Naked Snake's primary foe in MGS3, Volgin also possesses an unusual gift of electrokinesis, letting him manipulate and project lightning at will.
But if Volgin was intimidating during Snake Eater, he becomes lethal after, as his injured body is experimented on, leading to his reemergence as "The Man on Fire," a demonic being literally encased in flames. Volgin uses his new pyrokinetic abilities to enact vengeance against Venom Snake, though he ultimately realizes he's after the wrong target.
6. The Boss
Real Name: Unknown
Perhaps second only to Big Boss in renown, The Boss mentored Naked Snake before his notoriety, and the pair developed the CQC (close-quarters combat) fighting style. Well-deserving of her infamous reputation, The Boss excels as a gunslinger and melee combatant, easily defeating Naked Snake/Big Boss (though his lingering feelings restricted him) and Colonel Volgin.
Eventually, Naked Snake overcomes his attachments and resolves to defeat her, but even this proves part of The Boss's ultimate plans, as she willingly allows her nation to orchestrate her death. She's also the mother of Revolver Ocelot, though whether either of them is aware of this is unclear.
5. Venom Snake
Real Name: Unknown
In a brilliant twist, MGS5 reveals that Venom Snake is actually a body double who believes he's Big Boss thanks to plastic surgery and hypnotherapy. But despite not actually possessing Big Boss's genetics or experience, Venom Snake demonstrates the same remarkable skillset, successfully fooling everyone (including himself).
Genuine or not, Venom proves more than capable of living up to his assumed name, defeating Skull Face's operatives, the sniper Quiet, the Burning Man, and even metal behemoth Sahelanthropus.
4. Big Boss/Naked Snake
Real Name: John
Big Boss, the legend himself, becomes America's greatest hero after the Snake-Eater incident, but losing to The Boss devastates him and starts him down a murky path. Part hero and part villain, Big Boss misinterprets his mentor's will, misguidedly trying to force mankind into unity under a common banner.
Still, he's a legend for a reason. Defeating foes like Volgin, Ocelot, The Boss, and several Metal Gear prototypes, Big Boss repeatedly earns his reputation. Still, he's blinded both literally and metaphorically, losing function of his right eye and occasionally underestimating the abilities of his foes.
3. Solid Snake
Real Name: David
Despite actually inheriting the inferior genes from Big Boss, Solid Snake becomes debatably the ultimate soldier of his age. Unlike Venom, Naked, and Liquid, Solid Snake never truly falters from his peace-creating agenda, always working to prevent nuclear war.
Aided by advanced technology developed by his partner Otacon, Snake triumphs against adversaries like Venom Snake, Gray Fox, the FOXHOUND team, Liquid Snake, and numerous Metal Gears.
Real Name: Unknown
With his superhuman strength, agility, and healing, Vamp's almost like a more-villainous Wolverine, frequently proving his combat prowess. Favoring simple knives, he's able to run on water and vertically up walls, both withstand and deflect bullets, and even manipulate shadows to an extent.
Vamp also proves one of the more loyal lieutenants in the series, serving as a devoted right-hand man to Solidus and Liquid, and he can hold his own against a cybernetically-enhanced Raiden. In his very first appearance, he performs remarkably well against Raiden and Snake (disguised as Pliskin) simultaneously—impressive when few can stand against either individually, let alone combined.
Real Name: Jack
After a lackluster reception following his playable role in MGS2, Raiden reappears in MGS4 with new cybernetic enhancements, giving him an incredible amount of strength, endurance, and speed. His bladework is top-notch, defeating Vamp and dispatching several Gekko machines with ease, and he further highlights his powers in spin-off Metal Gear: Rising Revengeance.
Plus, many fans forget how formidable Raiden was even before his cybernetic enhancements. With just natural abilities and weapons, he managed to outduel the members of Dead Cell, Solidus Snake, and several Metal Gear RAYs simultaneously. In short, Raiden rivaled Snake before his upgrades; afterwards, he's likely the franchise's strongest hero.
The Future of the Metal Gear Franchise
Despite claims of the Solid series ending, Metal Gear continues to thrive with its wealth of spin-offs and prequels, ranging from Revengeance to The Phantom Pain. Though MGS4 provided an excellent ending to the series, fans remain hopeful we may yet revisit Solid Snake one day.
Ranking these characters isn't easy considering their fluctuating powers, armaments, and settings, but hopefully you enjoyed learning about the franchise's most skilled veterans. But for now, as we eagerly await the next Metal Gear adventure, vote for your favorite character and I'll see you at our next gaming countdown!
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2019 Jeremy Gill