Welcome to Metal Gear Solid 5 - Sahelanthropus, the 31st main story mission of the game, following on from Metallic Archaea.

Sahelanthropus Mission checklist:

  • Destroyed Sahelanthropus
  • Destroyed Sahelanthropus' head
  • Successfully hit the floating boy with an attack

After all that hard work, it's finally time to confront the deadly bipedal weapon known as Sahelanthropus - last seen looking remarkably angry at the end of Episode 30.

When you're ready to tackle the chapter's final objective, call up your mission list and select 31-Sahelanthropus. There's no Landing Zone to choose from here, so leap straight to the Sortie Prep screen and equip your finest heavy munitions. We'll be packing the FB MR-R-LAUNCHER, but grab whatever suits you best. Next, select Quiet as your buddy (she'll prove useful for drawing away enemy fire), set the the Drop Time to 0600 and commence the mission.

Once the episode's lengthy opening cutscene is over, the battle will begin. Your task here is simple: continually lob rockets at Sahelanthropus and dodge its incoming attacks. There's a little more to the fight than that, of course - so we'll break things down in more detail below.

Note one general tip, however: you'll need to get into the habit of summoning regular supply drops throughout the encounter - much like you did during the Skulls assault a little earlier on. You absolutely don't want to run out of ammo during the fight, so use your iDroid to call for another supply drop immediately after the current one is complete.

Sahelanthropus boss fight

As soon as the battle begins, open your map and quickly survey the area. Look south-east and you'll see that the road loops back on itself in a large U-shape a short distance away. This area offers superb cover - so immediately sprint on over (avoiding Sahelanthropus' attacks) and summon a supply drop ready for your arrival.

Once you reach your destination, you'll spot that the curved portion of the road forms half of a large circle. It's possible to run along the road, climb the hill to the north-west, loop around the large rock pillar in the centre and rejoin the road at the bottom.

As such, that middle column makes for excellent cover - and you'll rarely get hit if you keep it between you and your target. That's because almost all of Sahelanthropus' attacks - including its flamethrower move, its machine gun blast and its laser strike - are focused toward its front.

The one exception is Sahelanthropus' flaming whip strike - which won't be stopped by the central column. When the whip hits the ground, rock shards will burst from the earth and surround you - unless you sprint away fast enough to escape the circle. These shards explode after a few moments so, if you do get surrounded, you'll need to stay dead-centre to avoid the blast.

Whenever there's a lull in Sahelanthropus' attacks, pull out your rocket launcher and fire a few shots at it. Aim for the four large, white cylinders on its back - a direct hit here will cause significant damage. Note that a friendly support chopper will continue to circle overhead during the fight (unless it's destroyed), dealing additional damage to your target.

Once you've obliterated two of the large white cylinders on Sahelanthropus' back, a thick red mist will descend, dramatically reducing visibility and making it tough to spot your target.

Eventually, the mist will dissipate - but, shortly after, you'll hear the sound of Sahelanthropus charging its lasers. Immediately stop what you're doing and take cover behind the central column - you'll be killed instantly if you're struck by ensuing the laser beam.

Need help with The Phantom Pain? Our Metal Gear Solid 5 guide and walkthrough explains how to complete every main story mission, and explains their many optional objectives. We also have lists of Blueprint locations, Tape locations, Key Item locations, how to unlock S Ranks and a Metal Gear Solid 5 Achievement and Trophy list.

When Sahelanthropus tires of its laser strikes, resume your assault and aim your rockets at the two remaining cylinders on its back.

Once Sahelanthropus' health is almost depleted, you'll need to watch out for one last attack. From this point on, your target will intermittently leap toward you, initiating the slo-mo Reflex Mode. When this happens, the floating child will emerge from inside Sahelanthropus.

Successfully landing an attack on the child will cause Sahelanthropus to crumble to its knees, giving you time for a few more hits. If you're using rockets, though, be careful. If there's already a rocket loaded into your launcher when the child appears, feel free to fire it. Otherwise, take cover behind the central rock immediately. You won't have time to load a rocket before Reflex Mode ends - and Sahelanthropus' ensuing laser blast will almost certainly kill you.

Keep your volley of rockets going (aiming for the two smaller cylinders near Sahelanthropus' waist when the larger ones are destroyed) and, eventually, your target will go down. All that's left to do now is sit back and enjoy Skull Face's comeuppance. When the debrief is over, you'll be treated to one last cutscene and, finally, the credits will roll.

Afterwards, you'll receive the Sahelanthropus [3], Skull Face's Objective [1], Metallic Archaea [3], Code Talker and His Research [1] and Sahelanthropus [2] cassette tapes. You'll also get the Nuclear Butterfly, [Front: Nuke], [Front: Raven Sword], [Front: Butterly] and [Back: Diamond] emblem parts - and, as if that wasn't enough, the option to develop and dispose of nuclear weapons back at Mother Base.

- You can find the rest of our Metal Gear Solid 5 walkthrough from the first page of this article.

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Matt Wales

Matt Wales


Matt Wales is a freelance writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.

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