The Metal Gear Solid franchise has provided gamers with some of the greatest bits of storytelling in the history of the industry. Regardless of how spectacular Hideo Kojima is when it comes to cinematics and visuals, none of that would be possible without stellar characters.


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The likes of Solid Snake and Raiden are great protagonists but the series has also boasted great villains. From the earliest days of the series to the final installments, players have battled some truly compelling antagonists. From physically dominant baddies to cunning enemies always scheming, the greatest bad guys of Metal Gear Solid are a memorable bunch.

Updated on October 16, 2022, by Jason Wojnar: Every Metal Gear Solid game pumps out a handful of iconic characters on the side of both good in addition to those who sit in a moral grey ground. In tribute to the last point, two of the additional characters added in this update are not explicitly evil but were either put between a rock and a hard place or somewhat changed sides by the end of their journey. Metal Gear is a game about war and involves lots of killing and politics, so allegiances change and characters become more sympathetic as players learn their backstories.

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13/13 Fortune

This member of Dead Cell, the antagonist from Metal Gear Solid 2, is in love with Vamp and lives with the sorrow of having lost her father in the Tanker incident that starts the game. Her minimalist jazzy theme evokes the melancholy surrounding the character and the irony of her so badly wanting to die yet being completely impervious to bullets. She thinks Solid Snake killed her father, but the two hash things out off-camera, and by the end, she helps Solid Snake and turns against Solidus Snake and Revolver Ocelot.

12/13 Olga Gurlukovich

Solid Snake fights Olga as the first boss in Metal Gear Solid 2. She survives the sinking of the tanker and is blackmailed by the Patriots into working for them, using her newborn baby as ransom. During the Plant chapter, Olga works as a double agent, betraying all of her comrades just to save her child.

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Once her second identity as the cyborg ninja is revealed, she is helping out the player. Eventually, Solidus kills her. The great irony of her part in the game is she would still be against the player if she were not blackmailed by the Patriots. Raiden repays the favor after the credits roll by helping save her daughter, Sonny.

11/13 Senator Armstrong

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance goes absolutely off the rails within the first few minutes, and it is a great game because of it. Platinum Games turned the series into a stylish action game.

The game’s ultimate villain is revealed to be Senator Armstrong, who tries to take advantage of the new world after Metal Gear Solid 4 to start a revolution in the United States and seize power. He really hams up his performance in the final act with some extremely quotable dialogue.

10/13 Colonel Volgin

More often than not, the best villains are the ones with a lot of depth. For Colonel Volgin, that’s not the case and that’s totally okay. There is no need for a tragic backstory or something deep for this character. He’s just a really evil dude and that makes him entertaining.

Anytime he appears on screen, there’s a chance he will do something awful and relish in it. He’s the kind of villain who would twirl his mustache if he had one. He believes what he’s doing is just, even if he’s going about it the wrong way. Throw in Volgin’s physical intimidation and he’s a great bad guy. Despite his posturing and sadistic tendencies, he is still shown to be nervous around The Boss, who could easily kick his butt if she really wanted to.

9/13 Gray Fox

He’s one of the most iconic characters in the history of this franchise. Gray Fox first appeared all the way back in 1987’s Metal Gear and is part of one of the better fights in Metal Gear Solid. His real name is Frank Jaeger and he was a high-ranking FOXHOUND member.

Eventually, he sided with Big Boss to become a pretty great villain in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. He piloted the Metal Gear in that game and Snake eventually mortally wounded him during a fight in a minefield. He then returned as a cyborg ninja in Metal Gear Solid. Though he is momentarily a villain, he eventually helps Snake out, saving his life from Metal Gear Rex and ultimately sacrificing his own.

8/13 Solidus Snake

When a character is the former President of the United States and becomes a terrorist, they’re bound to be a pretty strong villain. Solidus Snake, formerly known as George Sears, is the third son of Big Boss and the leader of the Sons of Liberty. His quest for freedom from The Patriots is actually a noble one. Though never forget he has done completely unforgivable things, including raising child soldiers.

Solidus works so well because of that great motivation. He also comes across as someone to listen to thanks to his somewhat regal voice and righteous personality. Physically, he also dons a pretty cool suit and gets into a sword fight, which was awesome. Solidus’ connection to Jack only added to things.

7/13 Big Boss

Nothing would have happened in this franchise if it wasn’t for Big Boss. It’s interesting to consider him as such a major antagonist since he actually was the protagonist in many prequels of the games as players see him slowly become the Big Boss from the debut entry. An idealist who wanted soldiers to have a purpose, Big Boss also had many villainous moments.

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Although he’s one of the original baddies of the series, it hurts that he didn’t get to do much as a villain when the games became more cinematic. It makes some of his biggest moments less memorable than others on this list. It is difficult to say if he is a villain or not in The Phantom Pain, but the whole plot is based upon an extremely morally questionable scheme he sets up.

6/13 Vamp

There’s just no getting around it. Vamp is certainly one of the cheesiest characters in the series on paper. In execution, he ended up being way better than expected. As a member of Dead Cell, he first showed up in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and had some wild abilities.

Knife-throwing skills are one thing but then he also ran on water, scaled walls, and had a taste for blood. He was seemingly a legitimate vampire. Some of the fights against him are a bit lackluster but watching him battle Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is breathtaking. Somehow, this goofy concept turned out to be very cool, thanks in large part to Phil Lamar’s incredible voice for the character.

5/13 Psycho Mantis

Has any boss in video game history ever made this much of an impact in such a short time? This FOXHOUND member stole the show in Metal Gear Solid. His fight was absolutely unprecedented within the medium with memorable moments like him reading the player’s memory card and judging their progress through the game up until that point.

The fight remains one of the best and most memorable in gaming history. It is a lot easier for anyone who knows just to plug the controller into the second port. While he dies in this entry, Psycho Mantis eventually shows up again in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. As evil as he is with his powers, his dying monologue reveals a lot of tragedy in his childhood.

4/13 The Boss

There are plenty of reasons why Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is held in such high regard. One of the biggest is everything surrounding The Boss. She acts as something of a mother to those around her, most notably to a young Ocelot and of course, to her mentee Naked Snake.

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Her turn was a huge emotional blow and she gets points for the way she consistently beats Snake. At every turn, she proves her dominance and fighting skills. The Boss is incredibly important to the series but she does miss out on a higher spot since her intentions were for her country.

3/13 Skull Face

In terms of pure evil, it’s hard to top Skull Face. Throughout his appearances, it becomes clear that there is nothing he wouldn’t try to get to his end game. Things like torture mean nothing to him. He’s a monster with no remorse for anything he does.

Skull Face has a remarkably tragic backstory that added a ton of depth to him. Visually, he also is someone who just looks like everything one would expect from a bad guy. The only thing holding him back from ranking higher is that his ultimate plan is kind of goofy.

2/13 Revolver Ocelot

Similar to Big Boss, Revolver Ocelot is one of the longest-running characters in the series. He’s popular among fans for his showmanship, which is never more evident than when he was a young man in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. It’s part of why he loses so often then.

Over the decades, Ocelot is seemingly always in control. He is willing to backstab everyone from Col. Gurlukovich to Solidus to Liquid. Whether he’s torturing people, working as an agent for the Patriots, or anything in between, he can’t be trusted and he’s always entertaining. Ultimately, he was always motivated by the Boss and countering Zero’s vision for the world after the events of Metal Gear Solid 3.

1/13 Liquid Snake

To those who feel like Liquid Snake is full of clich├ęs, that’s an understandable criticism. Cam Clarke really hams up his performance of the character. It is this over-the-top quality that makes him such a great villain. For one thing, there’s a coolness about Liquid that is desperately missing from later antagonists.

For another, he completely fits into the theme of the game he’s most prominently featured in. Liquid believes he is the inferior clone, but it is ultimately revealed that Solid Snake inherited the worse genes, proving that one can overcome whatever destiny is given to them from birth. Plus, his hand-to-hand fight with Solid at the end is spectacular.

MORE: Every Snake In Metal Gear, Ranked By Strength

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