Few game series have cobbled together as many memorable boss encounters as Konami’s Metal Gear Solid franchise. Over the past decade or so, the esteemed stealth ‘em up has lobbed a myriad of mad creations at gamers, from walking nuclear battle tanks to a fourth wall-breaking psychic in a gasmask and a blood-sucking pseudo vamp nutter. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As the first PlayStation 3 outing in the series, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is a sumptuous showcase for some of the franchise’s most visually-striking Big Bads, with the metal mash ‘em up between Metal Gear Ray and Metal Gear Rex being one of the most memorable.
Described so eloquently by my best mate as a “nerd’s wet dream,” the Metal Gear Ray battle sees wrinkled hero Old Snake hopping into the cockpit of Rex to battle the Liquid Ocelot-controlled behemoth. Indeed, the irony of Snake piloting the very metal monstrosity that tried to bump him off nine years ago – not to mention stamping on his best mate Grey Fox like a pancake – is very much at the forefront of this monumental duel. Taking place outside the now-dilapidated Shadow Moses stronghold, Rex and Ray’s royal rumble is a grueling, messy mass of missile strikes and machine-gun shredding antics. Weaving in and out of the abandoned structures that punctuate the landscape, the battle couldn’t be more straightforward: deplete Ray’s life bar before Ocelot shoves a rocket up REX’s over-sized behind. Of course, this is easier said than done.
Both parties are equipped with some meaty weaponry, so Snake is likely to take as much punishment as he dishes out. Ray is a particularly tricky bugger, and will use its amphibious nature to its advantage, leaping in and out of the nearby body of water to try and get the upper hand on you. As was the case with MGS2, Ray’s vulnerable in its ‘head’ area, so feeding it some hot lead or launching a projectile down its gob will soon shut it up. You can also go up close and personal for a bit of proximity melee mashing, putting REX’s immense strength to good use. Indeed, it’s quite striking – and yet also somewhat humorous – to see the duo duff each other up like a pair of wild beasts as they emit a guttural, metallic groan that gives them an almost organic feel. Ray’s no pushover, though; you’ll probably take a considerable battering along the way.
Still, floppy-haired hero Raiden managed to take down literally dozens of the buggers in Sons of Liberty armed with nothing more than a Rocket Launcher – what’s Snake’s excuse? Sure, he’s no spring chicken anymore, but, well… he’s got REX. ‘Nuff said, don’t you think? As well as being a titanic tussle along the lines of which we’ve never seen before in MGS, the Ray battle is also pretty symbolic. After all, the whole act is coated in that familiar whiff of nostalgia as Snake creeps around Shadow Moses, revisiting the sights of many iconic battles from his PSX debut. As such, the REX vs. Ray duel ostensibly serves as the Shadow Moses swansong, putting to bed a significant chunk of MGS history in the process. After all, most people, myself included, thought we’d seen the last of it after Snake, Meryl, and Otacon rode off into the sunset at the climax of MGS1. Kojima, you sneaky bugger...
Keep your eyes peeled for more Badass Bosses here at PSU in the coming weeks.