It’s almost here, everyone! After getting a taste of what’s to come with Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and waiting more than a year for it, we’re finally going to get to play the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
In celebration of this moment, we at The Koalition decided that it would be a cool idea to list the top five moments from the franchise.
James Kennedy – Senior Editor
Solid Snake revisits Shadow Moses Island – Metal Gear Solid 4 (2008)
In 2008, Metal Gear Solid 4 was intended to be the final entry in the Metal Gear saga. The game contained a lot of characters that had appeared in the previous three titles, as well as some new characters like Drebin and Sunny. However, not only were there old characters from the previous games making reappearances, but there were also old locations that made a much welcomed comeback as well.
Story-wise, it had been nine years since Solid Snake had last been to MGS1‘s Shadow Moses location, and for the players it had been a full decade. Since MGS4 was supposed to be the final blowout to the entire series, Hideo Kojima thought it was only fitting to have Snake revisit the legendary location in Alaska one last time.
The moment starts off in a peculiar fashion. We are suddenly playing what appears to be MGS1, pixelated graphics and all. After sneaking past the first two or three genome soldiers and entering through the vent, it turns out Snake was only dreaming whilst he was asleep on the helicopter en route to revisit said location. Once he arrives, we are met with a deserted Shadow Moses with several flashbacks from MGS1. We also get to hear “The Best Is Yet To Come” during the act too. Not only do we get to revisit the tank hangar, the nuclear warhead storage facility, and Otacon’s old offices, but we also have a battle of the Metal Gears between Rex and Ray!
For me, this is a stand out moment in the Metal Gear series because not only is MGS1 one of my favorite video games of all time, but we also got to finally experience two Metal Gears go head-to-head. Even without that factor, the various audio and visual flashbacks alone made the moment quite spectacular for long-time fans. We also get to see Shadow Moses in 2008’s graphical detail rather than 1998’s classic pixelated version. This Metal Gear moment is the blueprint for anyone who is aiming for the nostalgic trip effect, as well as keeping it fresh and giving the players something new in the process.
Richard Bailey Jr. – Editor-In-Chief
The End Boss Battle – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004)
Way back in November of 2004, Konami released arguably the best entry in the entire Metal Gear franchise with the worldwide launch of Snake Eater on the PlayStation 2. This prequel included a Big Boss focused storyline, Cold War-era setting, and several exciting boss battles that required skill and patience to maneuver through.
While this title has plenty of noteworthy moments, the one boss battle that I simply can’t forget about came when Naked Snake crossed paths with The End. Known primarily as The Father of Sniping, The End was a boss who utilized the forest to his advantage and stalked Snake virtually everywhere he attempted to go. The length of the confrontation varies based on your approach, and The End has the ability to die from natural causes if you linger for too long.
The reason why I choose this as a memorable moment is because of the unique challenges that it presented to the player from a gameplay standpoint. Normally when battles get too intense in games, the player can take a break simply by going to another section of the stage. In this case, there was no escaping The End and you literally had to adapt to the scenario to stop him. It’s also worth noting that The End didn’t have a boss theme in the game, thus adding even more mystery to the odd, yet deadly adversary.
Jakejames Lugo – Senior Editor
Psycho Mantis Boss Battle – Metal Gear Solid (1998, 2004)
You’ve probably heard many people say that Snake’s boss fight with Psycho Mantis in the original Metal Gear Solid is one of the greatest boss fights in gaming history. But beyond being an incredible moment that catches players off-guard, it represents a time when the experience on-screen crosses over and becomes something more than simply playing a video game. Between breaking the forth wall and forcing players to think differently, this was the first time in the series that the lines between fantasy and reality were truly blurred and made Metal Gear Solid a household name.
The fight itself relies on gimmicky tricks to put players in a state of helplessness the first time through. It wasn’t until you either heard from a friend or died many times and got a call from Campbell that you were told the solution to defeating Psycho Mantis. Plugging the controller into the second player port of your PlayStation prevented Pyscho Mantis from using his powers and made the fight more bearable. Those that fought through the frustration and discovered the strategy to the battle had a great gaming story to tell their friends.
The buildup leading to the fight is what most players remember, as Psycho Mantis would read the data on the PlayStation memory card and taunt them repeatedly. If you had a save data for other Konami games released around the time of the original Metal Gear Solid, Psycho Mantis would read off the game titles on the memory card and taunt the player for their taste in video games. In a re-release of the game on the Nintendo GameCube, titled The Twin Snakes, Psycho Mantis would do the same thing but have the ability to recognize games like Super Smash Bros. Melee and The Legend of Zelda.
The timing of this adds an extra tension to the whole fight not found in most other video games and helps make Metal Gear Solid a classic. This is where players didn’t just play being a hero, but instead became fully engaged in the role and felt all of the emotions and tension that come with it.
Gary Swaby – Co-founder/UK Managing Editor
Raiden fights off Vamp and Metal Gear Gekkos – Metal Gear Solid 4 (2008)
Before I explain myself, I should admit this first… I actually liked Raiden when I played Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and I may be one of few. I can understand Solid Snake enthusiasts being slightly ticked off that Raiden took the role of lead protagonist in the game, but my counter argument is that it was equally as good getting to experience Snake’s antics from a completely different perspective.
The fact still remains though; people look at Raiden as a pretty boy softy and a wannabe in Metal Gear Solid 2. But it’s for that exact reason that his unforgettable clash with Vamp in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was so incredible to witness. This was the moment Raiden stole the show, and demonstrated that he’s not just a pretty boy lackey, he’s actually a full on badass.
Whether you love or hate Raiden, the scene is undeniably one of the game’s best moments. Up to that point Vamp was built up so well as an immortal specimen that it was difficult to see how anyone could pose a threat against him. Fortunately for Snake, a newly augmented Raiden had his back and stood up to the shrewd beast.
It’s a fight that tops most choreographed Hollywood scuffles. The scene often gets compared to scenes from The Matrix, but I feel like this fight tops every single fight sequence in the entire Matrix trilogy. Raiden and Vamp were two beings on opposite sides that had so much chemistry that any moment they were on screen together was exhilarating.
Though it’s heavily criticized, even by me, it’s no wonder that Raiden was given his own game Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Raiden’s fight with Vamp created the desire to again be in control of the pretty boy softy that was once so hated.
Tony Polanco – Executive Editor
Cinematic intros of Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (1998, 2004)
While the Metal Gear Solid series is filled to the brim with memorable moments, it’s still the introductions of MGS and Snake Eater which have stuck in my mind the most. It’s all due to their cinematic intros.
While other games have tried before it, Metal Gear Solid was the first game that really felt like a movie. I remember seeing my Throwdown podcast mate, Emilio Lopez, playing this game when it first came out and being shocked that he was playing the game while the credits were still rolling. This may sound trivial, but to me, this was the single greatest thing I’ve ever seen in a game before. First impressions are important as they say, and this first impression is not only one of the greatest MGS moments for me, but one of the biggest highlights of my gaming years.
This intro was my gold standard for gaming intros for years… until I played Metal Gear Solid 3 which went and topped it.
After booting up the disk, there is no traditional intro. All you have in front of you is a “press start” option. The game begins with Snake on a plane (sorry) who is given a briefing on his mission before making a halo jump into a Soviet forest. Snake eventually finds and secures his target, a Soviet defector, before being ambushed by an elite commando unit called the Cobras who are lead by his mentor… The Boss!
After being beaten, thrown off a bridge, and left for dead… Snake fixes his broken bones on the side of a river; deeply distraught over failing the mission, and being betrayed by the woman he loved the most. After all of this… THAT’S when the now classic theme music kicks in. All of that was just the intro of the game! Like MGS before it, I was completely blown away.
The intro gave us glimpses of what the game would contain, and it also had one of the catchiest video game songs ever heard. The way the game started was inspired by the James Bond franchise but, in my opinion, this game is everything the franchise wished it could have been, especially in the 1960s.
The Metal Gear Solid franchise set the standard for what a cinematic video game could be like. Even now, these games hold up well in this area because of how ahead of the time they were. Though every game in the series has their fair share of memorable moments, the cinematic intros of MGS and MGS3 will always be the ones that stand out the most to me.
Those are some of our personal top moments from the Metal Gear Solid series. However, there are so many others that stick out to different people out there. Which are your top MGS moments? Please let us know in the comments section below so that we can all share in this wonderful thing known as Metal Gear Solid.