For the month of October, we are highlighting the top villains in gaming. Andrew, Jeff, and Jeremie have teamed up to take all those guys you love to hate, and rank them. We will reveal them to you in a countdown, starting with #31 and ending with #1 on Halloween. Check us out each day of the month to see where your favorite villains rank!
#9: Psycho Mantis
First Appearance: Metal Gear Solid 1 (PlayStation)
Most Noteworthy Appearance: Metal Gear Solid 1/Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Once in a while, a game has a moment that not only defines the game, but it also sets the tone for rest of the series. In Metal Gear Solid 1, for PlayStation, the battle with Psycho Mantis did exactly that. One could argue that each of the boss battles in MGS are memorable, but none of them stand out more than this historic and compelling battle.
As you start the battle against Mantis, you are informed that he is able to read your mind. You would think that he was talking about reading Solid Snake’s mind, but he was actually talking about YOU. Hideo Kojima, the mastermind behind the Metal Gear Solid series, and his fellow developers chose to break the fourth wall by having Psycho Mantis read the player’s memory card (remember those?). Essentially, he was evaluating you and the games you played.
This guy didn’t look very intimidating. He was thin, pale and wore a ridiculous looking gas mask, but once the battle commenced, it was quite evident that this battle was not a conventional one. It would take more than bullets to bring this guy down. This becomes clear because bullets don’t affect this guy one bit. After a while, you would either figure it out or hear from a friend that you had to unplug your controller from the Players 1 slot and switch to Player 2. From there you were in the Mantis hunting business, but wow, what a great boss battle.
The first Metal Gear Solid really is a fantastic game that served as a big turning point for video games and the stories that they tell. But even more, it introduced unique mechanics and ideas, with the Psycho Mantis battle being a representation of the direction Kojima and company would take this series. And for that, Mantis is in our list as one of the greatest video game villains of all time.