It’s hard not to recognize the Metal Gear Solid franchise when reminiscing about some of the most memorable moments in gaming. The series, now over a quarter-century old, has solidified itself as one of the best series in gaming due to its tactical stealth-action gameplay, cinema inspired cut-scenes, and unforgettable cast of characters. All of these elements make the series truly special, however it is Kojima’s unique cast of characters, and bosses, that make the Metal Gear franchise so memorable.
One such boss is The End, from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. The End is an ancient sniper, considered to be the world’s greatest, and “father of modern sniping techniques.” A member of the legendary Cobra Unit, he’s the only member without an emotion-based codename, however he signified “true oblivion” on the battlefield. A master sniper, The End doesn’t require a spotter, and is able to stay sedentary for extremely long periods of time. He’s an expert in camouflage and is able to become “one” within his surroundings, due to his photosynthetic moss suit, which allows him to regenerate life and stamina due to the sun and forest, and the uncanny ability to lower his body temperature to that of the surrounding air temperature, making him virtually invisible to thermal imaging. An embodiment of the forest, all of these characteristics make The End a truly formidable boss, and Snake's encounter with him in the woods of Sokrovenno becomes not just one of the greatest boss encounters in the franchise, but one of the greatest boss encounters in gaming history.
Snake's duel with The End is one of the most creative and original boss fights in the franchise's history. Spanning over three different areas of the Sokrovenno forest, it is an intense game of “cat and mouse” that can literally last for hours. In an environment made up of dense woods, a river, a plateau, and different weather effects, Snake is put to the ultimate test. He has to rely on his tracking skills, gadgets, and survival instinct in order to surpass The End, making this an extremely realistic sniper duel.
However, Snake could also completely avoid his encounter with The End. Before infiltrating the warehouse in Ponizovje, The End makes an appearance asleep in his wheel chair, offering Snake a brief opportunity to snipe and kill him before being wheeled off. The End could also die from his old age. During the battle, if things were taking too long, The End could fall asleep. In true Kojima fashion, Snake can save the game during battle and then return to it a week later, learning that The End will died from “old age.”
It’s all of these features that make Snake's encounter with The End one of the most memorable boss battles in the series, and also one of the best boss encounters in gaming history. A sniper battle that's one for the books, Snake's duel with The End is a moment that no gamer should ever forget.