It’s time to talk about another of the greatest boss fights in the history of video games.
Metal Gear Solid has an odd sort of tradition in regard to sniper boss battles. There are more than a few examples of these. Sniper Wolf from MGS1. Quiet from MGSV. And of course, the hottest sniper waifu of them all: the End.
A member of the Cobra unit, the End serves under the Boss, one of Snake’s ultimate targets in Snake Eater. Thus, if he wants to get anywhere near her, he needs to go through him, first. Not that that will be easy; the End is often called the Father of Sniping, and for good reason. If you want to progress in the game, you need to give this old soldier one last taste of glorious combat.
Or you could just leave the game off for a week and let him die of old age, thus robbing him of the pleasure he seeks at the end of his life. You know. Like an asshole.
Assuming you actually want to play the game and have fun, you’ll need to put your patience cap on. The End is not a high-octane, action-packed boss, like most of the others in MGS3. You’ve got to take it slowly and keep a sharp eye out. Otherwise, the old hound will consume the young pup.
This boss drops you into a massive jungle arena, which is divided into three sections. Somewhere in all of that hides the End, who scans the surroundings in search for Snake. In order to take him down, you’ll first need to locate him. After that, you must sneak close enough to him to strike. But once you do, he’ll make a quick escape, so you’ll need to hit hard and fast. Get spotted, and you’d better find cover before he takes a shot.
Interestingly, the End doesn’t actually do damage by shooting you. Rather, his bullets lodge themselves into Snake and start to deplete his stamina. Run out of stamina and you lose. This is an endurance match.
Don’t get your hopes up. You can’t just chill out and wait for the End’s stamina to run out. Apparently, the dude is photosynthetic. Once his energy starts to dip, he’ll call upon nature itself and replenish his strength. This makes fighting him pacifist style more difficult than most of the other bosses; if you can’t keep up with him relentlessly, he’ll bounce right back.
Luckily, you’ve got more than a few options for finding him. The End leaves footprints, which you can track with certain equipment. And while he may east like a plant, he’s still flesh and blood, so you can use gear to track his body temperature or movement. Or you could go full badass and only keep track via the glint of his sniper rifle in the sunlight; do that, and you could even snipe him right back. Or you could just dog his footsteps before he can get out of sight, following a few steps behind whenever he tries to flee.
Beware the flashbangs. He’s got more than a few of them.
This fight is a true test of your stealth skills. You can’t cheese this boss by going hog wild with a big gun. Like it or not, this is his game, and you’ve got to play by his rules. Of all the bosses in the Metal Gear series, this is one of the only ones that truly tests your sneaking skills.
And my favorite part: there is no music. No heart-pounding tune or spy-thriller jazz song. Just the ambience of the jungle. The chirping of the birds, the croaking of the frogs, the rush of the river, they are the backing track to this stealthy duel. And that is far better than any bit of music could ever be; music can’t become repetitive or grating when there ain’t no music at all.
The End is one of the greatest boss fights of all time, easily the best Metal Gear boss ever. It tests your knowledge of the game’s mechanics and pushes your skills to the limit. It’s the ultimate game of cat and mouse. Question is: will you be the mouse? Or will you be the cat?
The cat, probably. As great as this fight is, it isn’t particularly hard.