With the release of the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection, we’ve compiled this list of the franchise’s most iconic moments. From Snake Eater to the Sons of Liberty, you’ll undoubtedly feel a sense of nostalgia as you relive these memorable scenes or learn a few new things if you aren’t entirely familiar with the series. So, let’s dive into Metal Gear Solid’s extensive timeline and world.
*Careful, Snake! There are spoilers ahead for the Metal Gear Solid series up to MGS4.*
The Boss’ Betrayal (Metal Gear Solid 3)
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 rescue Dr. Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov, a Soviet rocket scientist who has recently defected to the United States. But, just as we step onto a bridge to get away, 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. Her defiance completely comes as a surprise for any player. It surely was for me, and it continues to be one of my favorite gaming moments, no matter how heartbreaking it can be.
Last but not least, we can’t forget how the scene ushered in the origins of the famous bandana, as Snake pulls off the garment from his old master. It will be surreal to experience this all over again, and it will undoubtedly be even more tragic with the upcoming remake of Metal Gear Solid Delta.
The Intense Elevator Fight (Metal Gear Solid 1)
Before Solid Snake fights with the legendary Sniper Wolf, something goes amiss the minute he steps inside a mysterious elevator. Despite being the only one aboard, the 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, hinting at what’s to come for the heroic protagonist. By the time they realize the connection between the suits and the elevator’s weight limit, it’s already too late, as Otacon yells, “Look out, Snake! The guys who stole my stealth prototypes are in there with you!!!”
When I first played this as a teenager, it was one of the most frightening and thrilling battles I’ve experienced, especially since older games weren’t as forgiving with game-overs. Hopefully, now, as an adult, I can finally redeem myself with the Master Collection and take down these invisible foes with ease.
The Legendary Ladder Scene (Metal Gear Solid 3)
Amidst all of Metal Gear Solid’s heavy combat and diverse gameplay, the ladder scene in MGS3 is possibly the most talked-about subject 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.
Raiden’s Fight Against Vamp (Metal Gear Solid 2)
Vamp is a major antagonist in both Sons of Liberty and Guns of the Patriots due to his supernatural abilities and immortality.
Although Vamp has many fights within the franchise, we’ll focus on the memorable showdown between him and Raiden in MGS2. In the past, Raiden had failed to eliminate him repeatedly, but now the two are alone without any distractions.
With the Master Collection, we can live through this fight all over again in the latest-gen consoles. Rather than simply shooting at him, you’ll need to time your bullets right and find a way to “injure” him whenever he dives underwater. Of course, the showdown doesn’t quite go how we want, but we’ll just have to wait until the Master Collection Volume 2 release to reach the final conclusion of this epic fight.
The Redemption of Raiden (Metal Gear Solid 4)
Although Metal Gear Solid 4 didn’t make it to the Master Collection’s first volume, it is expected to arrive in the following phase to complete the collection. With that said, I had to include Raiden’s redemption arc, given his rocky history with the franchise.
Hideo Kojima’s character portrayal of Raiden in MGS2 initially 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 played a significant part 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 the all-out Gekko battle, displaying his swift movements with his sword and effortless strength. By the end of the fight, Raiden turns to the old Solid Snake, his former comrade, and says, “Snake, It’s my turn to protect you,” solidifying his importance to the storyline.
The Brothers’ Showdown (Metal Gear Solid 1)
You wouldn’t expect two shirtless men to be fighting it out with the countdown of a deadly nuclear module, yet that’s precisely what happens during the events of MGS1, on top of a mech, no less. While the battle can be frustrating at times, given its limited space and time duration, it’s a chance to get all your frustrations out on Liquid in yet another hand combat battle.
Besides Liquid’s powerful punches, gravity can work against you, in which you can ultimately find yourself falling off the machine when making the wrong move. Even those who do end in triumph will realize that the battle isn’t over yet with the thrilling car chase scene that occurs shortly after.
It’s the last time we ever see Liquid in this state (still shirtless, of course), setting the stage for the rest of the franchise.
Boss Battle Against The End & All the Other Members of the Cobra Unit (Metal Gear Solid 3)
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 I can go on about all the members of the Cobra Unit, The End continues to be my favorite boss battle of all time, showcasing a variety of ways to defeat this one enemy. For example, after Volgin torments Tatyana, players can use a sniper to shoot him before his battle even takes place, along with many other methods.
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. It will be curious to see if any newcomers to the game will discover alternative ways to kill this legendary sniper, and I can’t wait to choose which method to utilize next.
The Tanker Incident (Metal Gear Solid 2)
Even if Raiden is the star of the show in Sons of Liberty, you can still witness Snake’s elite sneaking skills during the first part of the game. Here, we get to see the brutality of Metal Gear firsthand as Ray unleashes a horrific scream for all of Manhattan to hear.
Considering that it is a sneaking mission, players can experience the game in its full form without needing combat. Nevertheless, you’ll still get your hands dirty in Olga’s boss fight or any guards who stand in your way.
One of my favorite Easter Eggs can be discovered here, involving the photo segment of the quest. In particular, if you take a picture of one of the model posters, Otacon will blush at the sight of it and ridicule you for snapping this type of photo. Yet, it doesn’t end there, with the multiple other shots you can take to trigger these unique dialogue scenes.
Big Boss’ Arrival in Post-Credits Scene (Metal Gear Solid 4)
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 who 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. It might not necessarily have any gameplay, yet you can’t help but shed a tear during this bittersweet conclusion.
Psycho Mantis’ Unique Battle (Metal Gear Solid 1)
Psycho Mantis’ duel has to be one of the most unique fights out of the franchise and possibly in the gaming world, considering its fourth-wall-breaking mechanics. In the first interaction, he reads your console’s memory card and deciphers your personality based on the types of games you play. During my time with it, he even teased me for not saving as much as I should have, making me feel embarrassed just by the words of a video game character.
As the fight continues, players will have difficulty 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 seen before. It may play out a bit differently in the Master Collection, so we’ll have to see how he’ll read our minds this time around.
Due to Psycho Mantis’ popularity around the community, he ended up appearing in MGSV as a kid and MGS4 as Screaming Mantis. Each battle still proves to be an entertaining fighting sequence just like the first one, demonstrating that Mantis is here to stay.
The Eerie Codec Call From AI Roy Campbell (Metal Gear Solid 2)
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?” Playing this as a kid was certainly frightening with Roy and Rosemary’s numerous calls. It also didn’t help that I was wearing a similar color shirt to the random woman displayed on the codec call screen, resulting in me thinking that the game was recording me.
Thankfully, the naked Raiden does get his gear back from Snake eventually, triggering a hilariously awkward situation between them.
Flashbacks of Shadow Moses Island (Metal Gear Solid 4)
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 the events 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.
Raiden Versus Metal Gear Rays (Metal Gear Solid 2)
With all the franchise’s battles and showdowns, there must always 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.
While Raiden rages against the machines, he must avoid getting hit by missiles and stomped on by their legs. The only useful weapon players can utilize here is the handy Stinger, targeting specific parts of the Metal Gear to deplete its almost impenetrable armor.
To end it all, Olga (now the 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 Splitscreen Fight Against Vamp & an Army of Gekko (Metal Gear Solid 4)
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 split-screen view of the two characters, allowing you to completely experience the fight as a whole. It’ll make for an excellent showdown for the Master Collection’s Volume 2, where we could potentially get a complete remake like MGS3.
The Destruction of Colonel Volgin and the Shagohod (Metal Gear Solid 3)
After Snake experiences Colonel Volgin’s sadistic torture 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 perform 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 Metal Gear prototype.
The Microwave Hall (Metal Gear Solid 4)
The split-screen sequence with Snake’s 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 the heat from the scorching rays. During this scene, I found myself yelling at the screen for Snake to get up as I rapidly pressed 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)
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 Liquid and yet another Metal Gear, reflecting what happened before in the first installment. However, this time, he takes over Rex from MGS1 to fight against Liquid’s Ray from MGS2. Once the battle starts, players will harness the powers of the Metal Gear, wielding the Gatling Gun, AT Missle, and FE Laser.
If the ultimate robot battle doesn’t impress you enough, then maybe the reveal of Outer Haven (a massive battleship) will. We also have to consider Raiden’s courageous warrior spirit when he stops the arsenal from crushing Snake, using his raw strength alone.
Gray Fox’s Sacrifice (Metal Gear Solid 1)
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.
Although it will be saddening to play this moment in the Master Collection, its impactful meaning still holds true with Gray Fox’s commemorable sacrifice.
Ocelot and Solid Snake’s Showdown (Metal Gear Solid 4)
While Old Snake and Liquid Ocelot haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, their final fight scene is one of the most heart-wrenching and exciting storylines in the franchise’s history. The momentous duel doesn’t even feature any guns or hidden tricks, just a simple showdown, man-to-man.
During the brothers’ showdown, 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. In particular, 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.
You may need a tissue box by the end of the fight once 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)
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 you right in the feels when you realize how much she sacrificed for her country despite her presumed defection. Not only is it difficult for her to do with her own pupil, but it also heavily impacts Snake’s perspective on the horrors of the world, leading to what happens in Peace Walker.
Once Snake kills her in the end, he is never the same after this and mourns her loss to the day he dies. In his final moments in MGS4, 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 create some new memories in the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection. Whichever way it plays out, we just hope that it’s “pretty good.”