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Top 20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

The Boss and Naked Snake
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Top 20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

It’s not over yet!

In celebration of Metal Gear Solid’s 35th Anniversary, we’ve put together this list of the franchise’s most iconic moments. With famous characters like Snake, Raiden, Quiet, Ocelot, The Boss, and many more, you’ll undoubtedly feel a sense of nostalgia as you relive these memorable scenes or learn new things if you aren’t entirely familiar with the series. So, let’s dive into Metal Gear Solid’s extensive timeline and world.

Here are the top 20 most iconic moments in the Metal Gear Solid series.

The Boss’ Betrayal (Metal Gear Solid 3)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

The Boss
Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

The Boss is one of the most beloved characters in the series as the mentor to the famous Naked Snake, also known as Big Boss. During the Virtuous Mission in MGS3, we see her in several Codec Calls where she helps Snake in his rescue of Dr. Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov, a Soviet rocket scientist that has recently defected to the United States. But, just as the soldier was about to finish the covert operation, The Boss suddenly shows up to intercept Sokolov, ultimately betraying Snake and the entire country.

This epic moment shifted the entire storyline of the franchise since it led to Naked Snake becoming Big Boss, thus creating a domino effect for the rest of the installments. In addition, her defiance completely comes as a surprise for any player, mainly because of her conversations with her pupil, where they talk about their time together and their legendary CQC (Close Quarters Combat).

Last but not least, the events afterward feature monumental plot points, such as Volgin’s arrival and Snake’s CQC fight against her on the bridge, during which he obtains her bandana (a trademark accessory in most of the series.)

The Redemption of Raiden (Metal Gear Solid 4)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Raiden
Source: Kojima Productions

Hideo Kojima’s character portrayal of Raiden in MGS2 received mixed reviews mainly because of the fans’ loyalty to Snake. But, after the release of MGS4, no one questioned him ever again since he was a massive help in the war against Liquid Ocelot and his frightful army.

Along with his many other scenes in the game, the one that shines the most is his iconic return in an all-out Gekko battle, displaying his swift movements with his sword and effortless strength. For example, when Raiden almost loses his grip on the weapon, he grabs it with his foot and utilizes it by doing a Capoeira style of fighting, resulting in the elimination of multiple Metal Gear.

By the end of the fight, Raiden turns to an old Solid Snake, his former comrade, and says, “Snake, It’s my turn to protect you,” solidifying his importance to the storyline.

The Intense Elevator Fight (Metal Gear Solid 1)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Elevator fight in MGS 1
Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

Before Solid Snake fights with the legendary Sniper Wolf, he must go up an elevator to be able to reach her, but something goes amiss the minute he steps inside. When he boards the lift, an alert for the weight limits goes off, confusing the character as to why this is happening.

Otacon calls Snake shortly after to explain how four stealth prototype suits have gone missing and his sense of worry about the elevator’s weight limit. So, while Snake goes up the lift, they try to figure out what’s going on and realize that the only way the alert would go off is if others were on board with him.

Once they come to this conclusion, it’s already too late for Snake, and Otacon yells, “Look out, Snake! The guys who stole my stealth prototypes are in there with you!!!” As a result, the soldier must now survive a fast-paced battle against camouflaged attackers while trapped in a small space. This profound moment in gameplay will get your heart racing and let out a sigh of relief after it’s over.

The Legendary Ladder Scene (Metal Gear Solid 3)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Ladder scene in MGS3
Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

Amidst all of Metal Gear Solid’s heavy combat and diverse gameplay, the ladder scene in MGS3 is one of the most talked-about subjects in the franchise.

While Snake is on his way to see EVA (AKA Tatyana), he comes across an ordinary ladder that leads him to her location. Simple enough, right? Wrong.

As players continue climbing up, the main theme of the game, “Snake Eater,” starts to play, with no end in sight. Since this is the only way to get to EVA, you have to point your analog stick up for about two to three minutes and hope that the odd but funny scene eventually ends.

This aspect of the game may be incredibly simple, but that’s what makes it so unforgettable because it was so random and unlike anything we’ve seen before. After you play this, you may never be able to look at ladders the same ever again.

Quiet Takes Down Her Captors (Metal Gear Solid V)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Quiet
Source: Konami Digital Entertainment

As a new addition to the Metal Gear Solid series, Quiet became a fan favorite because of her accurate sniping skills, character arc, and overall performance. One of her most memorable scenes is when she retaliates against enemy forces after they abduct and torture her, displaying her mastery of talents while handcuffed.

Even as Venom Snake tries to rescue Quiet, he soon discovers that she doesn’t need any saving and watches her brutally kill groups of soldiers. For instance, in one scene, she sets her hands free by quickly maneuvering around and using the strength of her kick to overcome unbeatable odds.

The massacre concludes with a classic shot of the character with her powerful sniper and a new sense of pride after she successfully wins the battle.

Boss Battle Against The End & All the Other Members of the Cobra Unit (Metal Gear Solid 3)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

The End
Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

The Cobra Unit was once a commanding force during World War II, including the members The End, The Sorrow, The Fury, The Fear, The Pain, and their leader, The Joy (also known as The Boss). In return, we get these extraordinarily intricate boss battles that often prompt you to think creatively and strategically, like the fight against The Sorrow, which doesn’t have any combat whatsoever.

While we can go on about all the members of the Cobra Unit, The End is one of the most interesting bosses in the world of gaming, primarily because there are multiple ways to defeat him. For example, after Volgin torments Tatyana, players can use a sniper to shoot him before his battle even takes place, along with other methods like changing the time on your console to accelerate his aging process (which kills him without any interactions).

If you want to try out the standard fight, you’ll embark on a showdown of long-range combat, where The End camouflages his body with the greenery and silently takes you down from a considerable distance. So, players will need to utilize their equipment, such as the Directional Microphone, a device that enhances sound to determine the sniper’s location. Additionally, the major key is patience, which rarely happens in boss battles, and achieving this mission is certainly rewarding once it’s finished.

Raiden’s Fight Against Vamp (Metal Gear Solid 2)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Vamp
Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

Vamp is a major antagonist in both Sons of Liberty and Guns of the Patriots. Due to his supernatural abilities and immortality, he continues to threaten the lives of Snake and Raiden.

Although Vamp has many fights within the franchise, we’ll focus on the memorable showdown between him and Raiden in MGS2. Before this event, Raiden had failed to eliminate him repeatedly, but now the two are alone without any distractions.

During the fight, Raiden must be quick on his feet and time his shots right in order to “injure” him in any way possible while going against his vampire-like strength and speed. Unfortunately, the villain constantly goes underwater to evade your bullets, so you’ll have to watch your surroundings and try to hit him as best as possible. Sadly, Vamp makes it out alive and causes havoc in MGS4, but at least we get to participate in yet another exciting boss battle.

Big Boss’ Arrival in Post-Credits Scene (Metal Gear Solid 4)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Solid Snaked and Big Boss
Source: Kojima Productions

What makes Big Boss’ triumphant return so fantastic is the fact that it is known to be the longest cutscene in video game history, which was confirmed by the voice actor of Snake, David Hayter.

Not only does the moment showcase various details about the story’s timeline, but it also produces an emotional scene between Big Boss and his clone, Solid Snake, a soldier that was always under his shadow. In this conversation, he tells Snake, “Don’t waste the life you have left fighting,” and proceeds to express his respect for him as a soldier and a man.

In Big Boss’ last moments, he stands in front of the grave of his mentor and salutes her one last time, a callback to an epic scene where Naked Snake cries at her death in MGS3.

Psycho Mantis’ Unique Battle (Metal Gear Solid 1)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Psycho Mantis
Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

Psycho Mantis’ duel has to be one of the most unique fights out of the franchise and possibly in the gaming world because of its fourth-wall-breaking mechanics. For example, in the first interaction, he reads your console’s memory card and deciphers your personality based on the types of games you play. In addition, even if you have not saved a lot in the game, he will tell you how you are reckless for doing such an action.

As the fight continues, players will have a hard time damaging the supernatural character since he can read their “mind,” as he previously did with the memory card interaction. One of the only ways to beat him is by physically unplugging your controller and plugging it into the second port of your console, a technique never-been-seen before.

Psycho Mantis was so popular around the community that he ended up appearing in MGSV as a kid and MGS4 as Screaming Mantis. Although, if you battle him again in Guns of the Patriots, you won’t be able to switch your controller to defeat him this time.

The Eerie Codec Call From AI Roy Campbell (Metal Gear Solid 2)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

AI Colonel and Raiden Codec Call
Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

Codec calls are a necessary mechanic to help you with the game and have delightful conversations with different characters. Yet, things take a dark turn when the AI version of Roy Campbell repeatedly contacts you, resulting in weird conversations, fourth-wall-breaking gameplay, and Raiden being… naked?

At one point in the scene, AI Campbell says, “Raiden, turn the game console off right now!” and “You have played the game for a long time. Don’t you have anything else to do with your time?” A version of Rosemary is also saying wacky things to Raiden, like when she tells him that he will ruin his eyes by being too close to the TV.

Another part of the story exhibits weird events, where your radar has a video of a random woman and Codec calls display old missions from previous games. Thankfully, the naked Raiden finally gets his gear back from Snake, featuring an awkward interaction between them.

The Secret of Venom Snake (Metal Gear Solid V)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Venom Snake
Source: Konami Digital Entertainment

Those who have completed the many missions and side quests of MGSV will have their hard work paid off when you unlock the true ending of the game: the reveal of Punished “Venom” Snake. Of course, adding another member with this codename to the roster may be a bit confusing when considering characters like Solidus, Naked, Liquid, and Solid. Still, you’ll find this particular character’s story arc quite heroic.

In the game’s conclusion, we see a past scene with Ocelot and Big Boss discussing their secret operation to influence the mind of a dedicated soldier and change his facial features. Moreover, this specific man takes over the title of “Snake” while the real one hides from his enemies and creates a base of operations.

Fast forward to the present day, Venom Snake puts in a cassette tape with the words, “From the Man Who Sold the World,” where the soldier remembers the truth of his identity.

This shocking plot twist expanded the Metal Gear Solid universe even further and made us realize there is more to the Big Boss legend than we think.

Flashbacks of Shadow Moses Island (Metal Gear Solid 4)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Shadow Moses Island
Source: Kojima Productions

Old Snake’s return to Shadow Moses Island showcases a vast amount of nostalgic scenes and callbacks to MGS1. If you’ve played the game, you’ll go down memory lane as Snake recalls past conversations with Naomi, Mei Ling, and Colonel Campbell.

Before you even get to the area, Old Snake dreams about his time in MGS1, a sequence where the player goes back in time and plays as the character in the classic PS1 style. In this part of the storyline, you’ll relive the mission that started it all and abruptly go back to the old version of Snake in the present timeline.

On top of all these references to MGS1, there is a hysterical scene that breaks the fourth wall, in which Otacon calls him through Codec to warn Snake about switching his console discs (an action that the player previously had to do in MGS1 when entering the Blast Furnace of Shadow Moses). Then, he laughs at his mistake and realizes that the times have changed, expressing his admiration for Blu-ray discs and the improvement in technology.

The Splitscreen Fight Against Vamp & an Army of Gekko (Metal Gear Solid 4)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

MGS4 Splitscreen
Source: Kojima Productions

Vamp once again makes it on this list, but this time in a new version within MGS4, featuring Old Snake versus Gekkos and Raiden versus Vamp.

Since Vamp is basically immortal from his accelerated nanomachines, Snake first uses the Syringe to dampen his healing abilities. As a result, Raiden takes advantage of this and partakes in an ultimate blade duel, while Snake defeats hordes of machines.

In order for the player to see both showdowns, the gameplay shifts into a splitscreen view of the two characters, allowing you to experience the fight with Raiden while surviving the intense machine battle.

Raiden Versus Metal Gear Rays (Metal Gear Solid 2)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Metal Gear Ray versus Raiden
Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

With all the franchise’s battles and showdowns, there always has to be an ultimate duel between man and machine, including Solid Snake’s battle with the first ever Metal Gear of the series. Joining alongside him is Raiden’s fight against not one but multiple gigantic robots known as Metal Gear Ray.

While Raiden rages against the machines, he must avoid getting hit by missiles and stomped on by their legs. At the same time, players will have to use their Stinger weapon to target specific parts of the Metal Gear, even though it doesn’t do much damage.

To end it all, Olga Gurlukovich (a successor to the Cyborg Ninja) comes to the rescue and helps you in MGS2’s final moments; without her, Raiden may not have made it out alive.

The Destruction of Colonel Volgin and the Shagohod (Metal Gear Solid 3)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Volgin
Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

After Snake experiences Colonel Volgin’s sadistic tortures and interrogations, he finally retaliates in the iconic showdown near the end of MGS3. This duel comes in three waves: a combat fight in Groznyj Grad, a chase scene with the Shagohod, and a combination of the arsenal’s weapons and Volgin’s electricity.

Similar to The End, you can also do various techniques in the first wave, such as using the Raiden mask to confuse the Colonel and taking the Fake Death Pill to trick him into thinking you’ve died. However, you’ll still have to watch your back since he is one of the more difficult bosses in the game.

Once players survive through the phases, an ironic bolt of lightning hits Volgin, ending his reign of terror and the elimination of the deadly Shagohod. Naked Snake and EVA can’t help but hold each other in a warm embrace as they victoriously accomplish their mission of taking down the Colonel and destroying a working prototype of a future Metal Gear.

The Microwave Hall (Metal Gear Solid 4)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Split screen in MGS4
Source: Kojima Productions

The splitscreen sequence with the infamous microwave hall and the rest of the characters battling against enemies is one of the most heartbreaking and unforgettable scenes. Through this cinematic style, we see the journeys of various characters, such as Meryl and Johnny fighting for survival, Mei Ling’s battleship warzone, and Raiden versus the Haven Troops.

Of course, we can’t forget about Old Snake, a man willing to give it his all while dying from FOXDIE and burning from the rays of immense heat. During this scene, the microwave hall gradually becomes too much for him as he goes on, causing players to yell at the screen and rapidly press the Action button to move.

Everything pays off once he makes it to the “graveyard” of GW, another impactful moment of the series that finally eliminates the threat of the Patriots and the eventual death of Liquid.

Metal Gear Battle on Shadow Moses (Metal Gear Solid 4)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Metal Gear battle on Shadow Moses
Source: Kojima Productions

Series fans have consistently battled Metal Gear as either Raiden or Snake, but nothing compares to the moment you actually control and fight with one in MGS4.

In Solid Snake’s return to Shadow Moses Island, he faces another Metal Gear and Liquid, a reflection of what happened before in the first installment. But, this time, he takes over Rex from MGS1 to fight against Ray from MGS2, which Liquid Ocelot controls. Once the battle starts, players can use the Gatling Gun, AT Missle, and FE Laser to damage it, with the help of Otacon.

If the ultimate robot battle doesn’t impress you enough, then maybe the reveal of Outer Haven (a massive battleship) will. Additionally, these scenes feature Raiden’s warrior potential when he stops the arsenal from crushing Snake, using his raw strength alone.

Gray Fox’s Sacrifice (Metal Gear Solid 1)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Gray Fox
Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

It’s hard to decide which Gray Fox moment to pick when choosing the most iconic one, especially since there are a variety of incredible scenes showcasing his talents. However, the one that shines the most has to be his sacrifice at the end of MGS1.

Until this point, Gray Fox’s memories and sense of self were clouded because of the experiments done on him after Snake killed him in Zanzibar Land. Fortunately, the Cyborg Ninja remembers his life, and the two comrades share an emotional exchange just before he dies from Metal Gear Rex.

As the machine cuts his arm off, he destroys a primary component to help Snake again, ultimately killing this courageous character.

Ocelot and Solid Snake’s Showdown (Metal Gear Solid 4)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

Ocelot versus Solid Snake
Source: Kojima Productions

Although Old Snake and Liquid Ocelot haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, their final fight scene was one of the most heart-wrenching and exciting storylines in the franchise’s history. Furthermore, the duel has no guns or hidden tricks, just a simple showdown man to man.

While the two brothers hash it out, the essence of Liquid starts to diminish as Ocelot regains his spirit with every punch. At the same time, the health status of the characters changes throughout the fight in the style of previous installments. For example, when Ocelot slowly gets his personality back, the life bar changes from MGS1 to MGS3’s art style. Moreover, past songs of the franchise can be heard to increase the emotions even more, including the songs Snake Eater, MGS1’s main theme, and the soothing guitar of MGS4.

By the end of the fight, you’ll need a tissue box for your tears after Ocelot does his trademark hand signal and classic line of “You’re pretty good.”

The Boss and Naked Snake’s Final Battle (Metal Gear Solid 3)

20 Most Iconic Moments in the Metal Gear Solid Series

The Boss and Naked Snake's fight
Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

The battle between The Boss and Naked Snake has it all: breathtaking scenery, action-packed combat, and the perfect embodiment of what it means to be a mentor and a pupil.

If you know The Boss’s true intentions for the Snake Eater mission, this fight hits a little closer to home when you realize how much she sacrificed for her country, despite her presumed defection during the beginning. In addition, you can see the two characters’ vulnerability as they fight against each other, which they were forced to do because of their dedication as soldiers.

Once Snake kills her in the end, he is never the same after this and mourns her loss to the day he dies, as mentioned in MGS4. In his final moments within the fourth installment, he states, “Ever since the day I killed The Boss with my own hands, I was already dead,” making their showdown one of the most iconic moments of the Metal Gear Solid franchise.

Now that we’ve gone over the list of monumental storylines in the series, you can celebrate some more with the game’s 35th Anniversary. Whichever way you spend the day, we hope that it’s “pretty good.”

Featured Image Source: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

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