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The following is a list of helpful strategies to defeat the bosses in Metal Gear Solid 3. It is by no means complete, and some of the tactics shown may not work in some skill levels.

Ocelot Unit - Rassvet[edit]

The first place you have to fight the Ocelot Unit is during Operation Snake Eater, in the crumbling building in Rassvet (the place where you found Sokolov in the Virtuous Mission). Depending on difficulty, there are between seven and ten guys advancing on your position, and you have to kill, tranquilize, or knock out all of them before you can advance. In this strategy, we will non-lethally dispatch ten guards without ever being seen.

  • Recommended equipment: Mk22, Stun Grenades, Thermal Goggles, Binoculars.
  • Turn right, stand on tiptoe (L2 button+R2 button in FPV) and shoot the Ocelot in the head with the Mk22. His buddy will investigate; give him the same treatment, or just shoot the arm if you don't have time to aim. That was fast. Two down.
  • Quickly turn around and crawl under the bed. Take out your stun grenades and cook one by holding down Square button, then release as soon as you hear the shotgun blast and the door starts to fall. The noise of the grenade hitting the floor should be enough to make the guard with his own stun grenade drop it; the resulting blasts should incapacitate the entire four-man entry squad. Tranquilize the leftovers. That's six.
  • Crawl out from under the bed and stand up. Subsistence users: switch to the overhead camera now. Go south and hide between the crates and the wall. Knock on the wall to lure a rooftop sniper to your position. Once he looks away, dart out from hiding and shoot him in the head with the Mk22. Seven down, four to go.
  • Shake down the bodies of the four Ocelots here. Also be sure to grab the Mine Detector from the southeast corner of the room. DO NOT CLIMB ONTO THE CRATES OR ATTEMPT TO LEAVE THIS ROOM. Now go back to the trap door and climb in. From underneath the building, you can barely see a soldier to the south as he patrols near the corner of the area; use the Scope trick (switch to Binoculars, zoom in to line up shot, tap L2 button, quickly hold R1 button, bring up weapon and fire) to shoot him in the face with the Mk22. Eight down and two to go.
  • Crawl north, through the hole in the wall. If you followed instructions to the letter the two guards near the gate, as well as the rooftop sniper, should be snoring peacefully. Shake them down (you'll need to climb the ladder to reach the sniper) and grab the Zombie facepaint and Bug Juice. Jump off the eastern side of the roof and crawl to where you the last guy you dropped was. Turn to the west and zap the guard near the western end of the map. One left...
  • The last one is near the northwest corner of the ruins. He's the hardest, as he's usually obscured by the wall and tends to see you even when you're prone. Try getting his attention by shooting near him with the silenced .45, then tranq the fellow when he comes out to investigate. Shake down all the bodies for goodies.
  • Go to the gates at the northeast, and a winner is you!

Ocelot - Bolshaya Past Crevice[edit]

Here is the first time you actually get to face off against Ocelot. He's packing a pair of Colt revolvers and he's got the skills to use them.

  • Recommended equipment: Mk.22, M1911A1.
  • Try shooting down the hornet's nests on Ocelot's side of the ravine. He'll have to stop to swat the hornets down, which gets you a free shot - but don't use it unless you're near the end of the battle, because Ocelot will do the same to you (and unlike him, you have no way of defending yourself against the hornets, unless you have bug juice).
  • Pull out a pistol (either one works) and wait for a while without shooting. Ocelot will challenge you to a quick-draw duel, but you don't need to actually participate - you can seize the moment to grab a free shot. Don't bother aiming for the head here; it takes too long, since he'll see you cheating and open fire.
  • There are a couple snakes crawling around on your side of the ravine. Tranq them and throw them at Ocelot to distract him.
  • If you've unlocked the SAA from a previous play-through, go into First-Person view and start spinning the gun around (right stick). Ocelot will try to one-up you by juggling his guns, which will get you yet another free shot.
  • While Ocelot is reloading (it usually takes a while, considering he's got two guns) or otherwise taking cover, use grenades to flush him out or score some extra damage (any kind will do). WP Grenades work best, or Stun Grenades if you're that kind of person.

The Pain - Chyomaya Peschera Cave[edit]

The first Cobra member you get to fight. Hope you brought the insect repellent.

  • Recommended equipment: M37, AK-47, M1911A1, Grenades, WP Grenades.
  • When The Pain dons his bee armor, there are two different ways of breaking it off of him. First is to throw grenades at him, but this is quite difficult to do.
  • The other method is simply firing two or three M37 rounds at him. Don't waste your shotgun ammo shooting him afterwards though, if you want to make things easier on yourself - once you shatter the bee armor, switch to your AK-47 or M1911A1 and peg him in the head a few times.
  • When he sends bees to harass you, dive into the water (walk off the edge of your platform while pressing X) and go deep down. Bees can't swim.
  • When The Pain calls for a grenade, you can shoot it down before it arrives at your platform. If you're fast enough, you can shoot it down while it's on his platform and blow him up.

The Fear - Graniny Gorki South[edit]

The second Cobra. He's got a crossbow, stealth camouflage and quite the snarky attitude.

  • Recommended equipment: M37, AK-47.
  • Don't waste your time in first-person view looking for him. Keep moving unless you want to get pegged by his crossbow.
    • Alternatively, using the FPV is fine as long as the Thermal Goggles are equipped. It's pretty easy to track his movements, but if you do lose him, by all means run like hell.
  • If you don't have it, you might consider getting a home theater system - it helps give you an edge being able to hear where he's going.
  • You will only need the shotgun or Mk22, depending on strategy. Unless you're playing the game in "I Like MGS1!" mode, put everything else in your backpack to conserve stamina.
  • Run around the forest, watching out for the tripwires and pitfalls, and when The Fear lands on a nearby tree branch, face in his direction, aim, and fire your shotgun right at him. This does far more damage than sustained AK-47 or XM16E1 fire (though those two are good for hitting him over a long distance - forget about using the SVD, the aiming sensitivity is too slow).
  • Note: Camouflage does not work against The Fear. Even if your camo index is at 90%, he will still be able to pick you out clear as daylight and get a shot in at your back.
  • Listen to what he's saying to get a clue of what his next attack is.
  • When The Fear's stamina goes down to 2 bars, he'll start looking for food. Keep some dead food on hand for a while and let it rot for just this purpose. When The Fear says he's hungry, throw the rotten food to him, and he'll head straight for it, eat it, and promptly puke his guts out. This gets you a (relatively) free shot at him with the shotgun, or better yet, the Mk22, since this is also the easiest way to score a stamina kill.
  • You can trigger the rope traps remotely by shooting them - any projectile weapon will do. Even the Mk22 works.
  • There is an extremely cheap trick here that entails popping a Fake Death Pill, waiting until the Fear comes to investigate, then reviving yourself and using a rolling attack. This only works once, but you can bombard him with Stun Grenades and Mk22 shots while he's on the ground. If he survives to return to the trees, you can be sure his stamina will be critically low.

The End - Sokrovenno South[edit]

A hundred-year-old sniper that would like to kill you.

  • Recommended equipment: Scope, SVD, Mk22.
  • Watch for the lens flare of the sun reflecting off his rifle's scope.
  • If The End manages to spot you and fire off a shot, his position will be indicated on the map until he either exits the area or drops a flash bomb.
  • It is possible to sneak up behind him. In fact, it's necessary to do this if you want to get his Moss camo. To do so, hold him up and point your weapon at his head three times.
  • His bullets do not hurt you much, but for every tranq dart stuck in your body, your stamina will go down twice as fast. Pull out the darts as soon as possible or else you'll end up wasting a lot of food.
  • If your stamina reaches zero for any reason during this battle, you will be deported back to the cells in Graniny Gorki.
  • After his stamina gets very low he will issue a prayer to the forest spirits to regenerate LIFE and stamina. You'll know when he does so because the lights will get all funky and he'll become very conspicuous; if he is not interrupted, he'll be almost fully healed and you might as well load, unless you fancy doing half the battle over.
  • If you want to get The End's Mosin-Nagant tranq rifle, you have to knock him out. Sneak up on him and jab a couple of Mk.22 rounds into his skull. He might start running and drop a flash bomb, but turn away from the blast and you won't be blinded. Turn back around and you can get a few more shots while he's running away (if you're good enough).
  • A good way to see where The End has gone if he does manage to blind you with a flash bomb is to equip the thermal goggles - you will be able to see his footprints for a short time after he has moved, allowing you to track him with ease.
  • Every time you load a save in Sokrovenno, the game checks the PS2's internal clock. If more than a day has passed since saving the game, a cutscene will play and Snake will automatically be defeated (so always be sure to duck back into Svatogornyj North to save). If more than a week has passed, however, another cutscene will reveal that The End has perished of old age! (You won't get the Mosin-Nagant this way, though.)
  • The End also happens to fall asleep from time to time, and this is a perfect time to put a few rounds through his head.

Ocelot Unit - Sokrovenno South[edit]

If you capped The End outside of the warehouse (while he was in his wheelchair) instead of waiting for the boss battle proper, you'll fight a squad of Ocelots instead. This battle works much like the one at the abandoned factory in that a permanent Evasion status is in effect. Unlike the End, you do not have to defeat them, merely get by them. The tunnel entrance is open. Just remember: silenced weapons whenever possible, and the guards will completely ignore tranquilized comrades.

The Fury - Groznyj Grad Underground Tunnel[edit]

Avoiding the obvious Apollo 13 jokes, this guy is an ex-cosmonaut with a flamethrower.

  • Recommended equipment: Knife.
  • There's a lot of pillars to hide behind. When The Fury is about to flame you, move sideways. His flamethrower reaches a lot farther than should be physically possible.
  • Run up to him and use a five-hit knife combo. Run around to avoid his flamethrower, then repeat. The second time should rip his flame suit, causing him to take even more damage from your third and final attack. You will probably take some damage at this point, but he'll be weak enough that a quick stab will end him.
  • You can defeat him with the Mosin Nagant if you really want to; it takes much longer, but you'll receive Fire camouflage which is useless except in the boss battle you just finished. Good for repeat playthroughs, though.

The Sorrow - ?[edit]

"Death is tragic, but life is miserable..."

  • Recommended equipment: Revival Pill.
  • Walk to the end of the river, avoiding the ghosts of people you've killed. The Cobra Unit (The Pain, The Fear, The End, and The Fury) will be here regardless of whether you used the tranquilizer to defeat them or not, but if anyone else appears and you're going for a no-kill run, you're screwed.
  • The Sorrow will also occasionally shoot a psi-blast at you. Stay on either edge of the river, and when he shoots you, start walking diagonally in the other direction. If you get hit, that's OK too--the animations you see are pretty cool and it doesn't do all that much damage.
  • Since you have your guns and other junk back, you can amuse yourself by emptying the M63 in to the ghosts or The Sorrow, although it won't do any good.
  • At the end of the river, there is a skeleton. Touch it. You will die. Also, trying to swim to the end of the river will result in a ghost grabbing and drowning you.
  • Once dead, use the revival pill--but be quick about it, before the "TIME PARADOX" screen appears. The game will continue. If you walked to the end of the river, you'll find the Spirit Camo in your backpack when you get it back.
  • Uh...
  • That's it.
  • If you simply can't be bothered you can drown yourself and use the revival pill, but you won't receive the Spirit Camo.

Colonel Volgin - Grozynj Grad Weapons Lab: Main Wing B1[edit]

10,000 million Volts? Hah! 3A, one missile please!

  • Recommended equipment: Anything, this is a pretty free-form battle.
  • Throwing a Russian Glowcap will temporarily absorb Volgin's lightning, and throwing a tree frog will distract him momentarily. Also, wearing the Raikov mask will make him think you're Ivan, giving you an opening but making him more aggressive when he figures you out.
  • Quick way to beat him: Equip the Patriot (any automatic works, but the Patriot is best) and open fire. As long as you keep firing he won't be able to counter and his shield will go down shortly before he does.
  • Quicker way to beat him: Dodge his attacks until you get an opening. Shoot him in the back with the Mk22, then do a tactical reload while running in a small circle. Repeat.
  • Using chaff grenades will make his lightning attacks fail to reach you.
  • Mad props to all who caught the reference.
  • Quickest way - Use the suicide pill then revival pill from continue screen he will turn away and not notice you at which point you can use things like TNT to take him down extremely quickly

The Shagohod - Groznyj Grad Rail Bridge[edit]

Big ass, balls-nasty tank. Insane sadist villain at the wheel. Your mission is clear.

  • Recommended equipment: RPG-7, SVD/Mosin Nagant.
  • First part (on bike): Shoot the damaged rear part on the midsection with the RPG-7. Shooting the treads makes this much easier.
  • Second part (on foot): Again, shoot the treads, then switch to the SVD/Mosin Nagant and shoot Volgin in the head a couple times.
  • Did I say balls-nasty? I lied.

The Boss - Rokovoj Bereg[edit]

Finally, the time has come to fight your former mentor.

  • Recommended equipment: Anything; again this is a very free-form battle.
  • As soon as the battle begins, equip some white camoflague (Snow works great) and facepaint (Snow or Oyama). This will allow you to blend in better with the white flowers.
  • Run from her if you can and use the Mosin Nagant when possible.
  • Once she has been knocked down, leave your position. She'll know where you are and begin using the Patriot against you.
  • Occasionally, she'll sprint towards Snake; DO NOT MOVE or she will destroy you. As soon as you hear her lunge for you and see '!' above Snake's head, start holding down Circle button to counter and stun her briefly. Roll into her to knock her down. While she's stunned on the ground, shoot her in the head using the Mk22. Now it's run, Forrest, run, or she'll fill you with holes.
  • Never have a weapon equipped when she comes after Snake. The Boss will dismantle it and you'll be forced to recover the parts.
  • Wearing the monkey mask will confuse her momentarily.