The Metal Gear Solid franchise is quite the video game series, thanks to Hideo Kojima and his team. Known for its revolutionary stealth gameplay and bonkers storytelling, the whole saga encompasses a giant meta-commentary on war and various other themes. One of the biggest was the form of control via the Patriots which was fought by Big Boss, the original Snake. However, over time his personal war against them turned him into something far worse and the war against the Patriots didn’t truly end with him but with his clone son, Solid Snake.
But some fans ask who is the true protagonist of the series is, with some preferring one over the other.
10 Big Boss: He Is The Original In Canon
Big Boss has been a legend thanks to his exploits in missions such as Operation Snake Eater and San Hieronymo. He was so legendary that he eventually got cloned for the Les Enfants Terribles project in 1972.
This meant he established his own legacy from the start and also understood the bigger picture behind the entire Metal Gear mythos. However, he eventually did become worse by the time of The Phantom Pain and eventually lost to his son Solid Snake.
9 Solid Snake: He Is The Original In Conception
Solid Snake is the original protagonist in terms of his conception. Being the main face of Metal Gear since the very first title, he has been seen in numerous crossovers such as Super Smash Bros. He was also the basis for what became young Big Boss since they both share the same general design. Although Kojima made Solid Snake more or less a straightforward cold soldier with a heart of gold, Big Boss was a bit of a goofball which will get touched upon later.
8 Big Boss: He Knew About The Patriots
Big Boss was there since the conception of the Patriots. Being comprised of the Snake Eater team, their role was to maintain peace and unify the entire world. However, Big Boss wasn’t too thrilled with their methods. The line was eventually crossed when Major Zero cloned him in 1972. This meant that he spent his entire life trying to fight the Patriots with his army nation of Outer Heaven. Or he could’ve if it wasn’t for a certain Solid Snake.
7 Solid Snake: He Ended The Patriot Threat
Although Solid Snake only learned about the Patriot threat later in his life, he is the one responsible for ending it, as well the whole feud between Big Boss and Zero. Without a single thing holding him back in terms of historical context, Solid Snake ended the threat, not because of a higher power, but because he wanted to as part of Philanthropy. That’s the organization that he is a part of whose goal was to let the world be. Although he was still controlled behind the scenes in MGS4, he nonetheless saved the world by releasing the grip of the Patriots.
6 Big Boss: He Is Arguably More Sympathetic
Touched upon earlier, but one of the greatest and goofiest things to come out of MGS3 is the personality of a young Big Boss. Unlike Solid Snake, who is more of a stern and cold soldier that you see in a variety of movies, Big Boss was kind of a lovable idiot who believed in Santa Claus. This meant that when fans saw what made him become the villain of Metal Gear (in a sense) and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, fans were able to sympathize with him far more.
5 Solid Snake: He Stayed True To Who He Is
However, what made Solid Snake different from Big Boss was that he stayed true to who he was. Although Big Boss had a dream of a world where soldiers would never put down their gun in perpetual war, Solid Snake didn’t want that.
For the majority of his life, even after learning about his identity and that he was controlled most of his life, it didn’t stop him from straying away from his genetic destiny. Preferring to end the conflict and fighting for what he truly believed in. Peace.
4 Big Boss: He Never Let Anyone Control Him
Unlike Solid Snake, once he learned that the events of Snake Eater were staged and disliking the Patriots, he never let anyone control him again. Establishing many mercenary groups such as Militaire Sans Frontieres, Outer Heaven, and Zanzibar Land, he has always been a charismatic leader with nothing holding him back. If anything, he became a hypocrite and a puppeteer himself in the form of Venom Snake, who was his body double and the one that perished in the original Metal Gear.
3 Solid Snake: He Knew His Bloodline Was Insane
Since Solid Snake was unaware of his true origins until the events of Shadow Moses, his thought process behind the entire Big Boss bloodline was insane. Not only did he feel disgusted with Big Boss to the point of abandoning CQC, but he also thought Liquid Snake was crazy and that his genetic destiny of recreating Big Boss’s dream was nothing more than a fantasy. As Solid Snake claimed throughout the original Metal Gear Solid, “A strong man doesn’t need to read the future, he makes his own.”
2 Big Boss: He Taught Solid Snake Everything He Knew
As impressive as Solid Snake is, he would’ve only gotten so far if it wasn’t for Big Boss personally instructing him. Although Solid Snake had many mentor figures such as Master Miller, he learned what it meant to be a soldier and CQC from Big Boss. Big Boss himself was the co-creator along with his mentor The Boss.
This meant that everything that makes Solid Snake such a formidable character in the first place, came from Big Boss. It would also mean that if they fought in a straight CQC battle, Big Boss would probably defeat Solid Snake.
1 Solid Snake: He Bested And Became More Than What He Was Created For
Yet despite all of this, Solid Snake defeated his father, his father’s body double, and his genetically superior brothers. All of this because Solid Snake fought with pure willpower and experience. He infiltrated more facilities and areas than arguably even Big Boss and fought more advanced Metal Gears.
His exploits as “the man that makes the impossible possible” became nothing short of legendary. So much so that the Patriots attempted to create their own version of Solid Snake in the form of Raiden during the events of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Solid Snake may have been a clone of his legendary father, but his legacy far outstrips his genes.
The Metal Gear Solid franchise has been led by Big Boss and Solid Snake. One of them has to be better than the other, though.