Ranking the Superweapons of Metal Gear
You’ve seen the villains, but the games aren’t called Metal Gear for no reason. At the very heart of the series is always the mech menace.
Here is my ranking of the mechs from worst to first, taking multiple factors into consideration. This doesn’t include all superweapons in the Metal Gear franchise, but it does feature the most memorable.
#10—Metal Gear TX-55
Back in 1987, when the first Metal Gear came along, everything about the game screamed The 80’s. That of course included the design of the TX-55 variant of Metal Gear, which looks sort of like a bloated mechanical chicken.
Despite being one of the last boss fights of the game, you don’t actually get to fight it. Instead, you dodge security cameras equipped with lasers in the TX-55’s housing bay and engage in one of the most obnoxious puzzles of all time to beat it. I have the combo written down on a piece of paper for whenever I play the game, just to make sure I don’t have to repeat it a second time.
#9—Metal Gear D
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake hit in 1990, and it was quite a bit better than the original. Featuring actual story elements beyond snippets in codec calls, more fleshed out characters, and a map that feels much more alive, Metal Gear 2 is everything that a sequel should be. Unfortunately, the new mech, Metal Gear D, is a joke. You actually get to fight it this time around, but since it still has that chicken leg design, it’s just a matter of throwing frag grenades at its feet until it’s destroyed.
#8—AI Weapon Suite
The AI Weapon suite features the Pupa, Chrysalis, Cocoon, And Peacewalker itself in the title Metal Gear: Peacewalker. While the AI is a large step forward, relying on the cold calculation of computers rather than the morality of humans, the designs are largely unwieldy and impractical with the exception of Peacewalker itself.
The Pupa is just a smaller version of the Shagohod, the Chrysalis is an aerial unit with a great response time but severely lacking in weapons and armor (beyond its main weapon), and the Cocoon is massive but it’s so slow that it’d be fodder for an air strike if one man could take it down.
Peacewalker itself, the final product of the AI research is a bipedal mech with quadruped capability that helps it cover up to hundreds of miles in just a couple hours, and given its ability and intent as a nuclear platform, it does have its pros. However, because the AI was modeled after The Boss, it had her character flaws as well, and ended up being too unpredictable to be worth it overall.
#7—Metal Gear Zeke
Big Boss And the MSF, with the help of Huey Emmerich and eventually Dr. Strangelove, create their own Metal Gear prototype called Zeke. Featuring a bipedal design, and the ability to integrate pieces from the defeated AI Suite units, players could build up Zeke in a myriad of ways.
However, the flaw is that its base design is incredibly lackluster, and its over-reliance on parts from other units seems like a structural risk, if anything. It’s almost like a slightly more intensive way of duct taping things together and insisting it’s a whole new product. Also, another mech with chicken legs and thin joints which just look too easy to damage.
The real purpose of the Big Shell in Metal Gear Solid 2 was to house a submersible naval vessel known as Arsenal Gear. A mobile fortress, it was meant to serve as an international strike vessel to deliver nuclear payloads, as well as function as a massive server for the AI meant to control the flow of media information on a global scale. With its fleet of mass-produced Metal Gear Ray units to defend it, it’s an impressive piece of equipment.
That being said, it’s so large that it’s incredibly unwieldy. It looks like it would be the slowest turning vessel on earth, and as demonstrated during the ending, it’s not an easy vessel to slow down. There didn’t even seem to be an emergency anchor system, or if there was, absolutely no one on board made an attempt to use it, and it slammed right into the southeast side of Manhattan Island, causing a massive amount of destruction all the way from the coast to Federal Hall.
It’s like Arsenal Gear, but more agile and much better armed to defend itself. The design flaw in this is that there is basically just a long hallway from the command center to the server room, and even though that hallway is microwave protected, it still seems like an incredible weak point to me, and not that dissimilar to the vent used to destroy the Death Star. That’s not how it played out in the game, or that would’ve been overly cheesy, but still it’s glaring and has always bugged me.
#4—Metal Gear Ray
Ray was created to be an anti-Metal Gear weapon, a mech capable of being deployed offshore to land on beaches and proceed inland from there. Equipped with the typical suite of weapons from anti-personnel missiles to high caliber machine guns, it could hold its own in a fight. The main feature that made it capable of being effective against another Metal Gear would be its hydro cutter in relatively close range to basically cut right through it. Overall a solid design, but it was never able to see action as an anti-Metal Gear Unit properly due to the events of Metal Gear Solid 2.
“Rolling Thunder,” Shagohod is the grand daddy to every single mech in the series. A massive tank with a nuclear missile, this Unit required miles of open land to be effective, so it was determined it would be based at airfields upon mass production.
The reason for this is because, since it could only equip intermediate range warheads, it needed to boost the momentum using the tank itself. Rockets were mounted on this beast, estimated to give it the capability of several hundred miles per hour.
Once at top speed, it would fire its payload and then immediately engage its brakes and safety chutes to slow down–intimidating, but a very risky design. Had it made it to mass production, I imagine there would have been a lot of user errors and deaths because of it.
#2—Metal Gear Rex
Metal Gear Rex is the second most intimidating. Its meatier design makes it nearly impervious to small arms fire, and its ability to fire a nuclear warhead like a bullet by using a rail gun makes a nuclear strike from it effectively stealthed to radar.
Its design flaw was a quirk left by Otacon in the RADOME radar network. It had weak enough armor to be damaged by explosives, and once that was done, the pilot would have to open the cockpit for manual viewing. Had it not been for that, Solid Snake may not have been able to stop Metal Gear Rex at all.
#1—Metal Gear Sahelanthropus
Sahelanthropus has been a pretty divisive design among Metal Gear fans.
On one hand, its first phase form is nearly identical to Metal Gear Rex. Everyone seems to like that. The other phase, however, sees Sahelanthropus standing upright, with arms and with a giant whip that could rupture the earth beneath you. Given that the game takes place in 1984, yet it’s the most advanced of all the mech types, I can definitely see what is causing the divide.
But when you’re facing down something the size of an office complex that is stalking you from point to point while you chisel away at its health, it’s a pretty epic experience. It’s easily the number one mech in the Metal Gear series in my book.