2016 marked the 30th anniversary of the Metroid series. The first Metroid game came out for the NES on August 6th, 1986, to huge critical and commercial success. Metroid was so impressive that it even inspired its own genre, known as Metroidvania (the term used when fantasy games like Castlevania copy Metroid’s gameplay style). The series has produced some of the most acclaimed video games of all time. Super Metroid often tops “Best SNES game” lists, despite having titles like Chrono Trigger and Donkey Kong Country as its competition. The Metroid Prime Trilogy contains some of the best first person shooter games of all time.
Despite all of this acclaim, Metroid is a series that Nintendo rarely celebrates. While big events are held for the anniversaries of Mario and Zelda, the Metroid series is ignored. Metroid is essentially the unwanted step-child of Nintendo’s first party lineup. Samus sleeps in the cupboard beneath the stairs, with Ness, Little Mac and the Duck Hunt dog.
Nintendo might not love you Metroid, but we do! The Metroid series might be in captivity, but the fans are not at peace. We are here today to celebrate the life of gaming’s greatest Bounty Hunter, by looking into the secrets and lore of the Metroid series. From Samus’ one true love to the lost secret of Super Metroid that went undiscovered for 16 years!
Here are Fifteen Things You Didn’t Know About Metroid!
15. Samus Has Only Ever Had One Love Interest… Kevin from Captain N
Captain N: The Game Master was a Nintendo themed cartoon series that began in 1989. A kid named Kevin gets dragged into the world of his NES and must battle the evil villains of Videoland. The show combined characters from series like Mega Man, Castlevania, Kid Icarus, Punch Out and the original Final Fantasy. It was the closest thing that kids in the ’80s got to a Smash Bros. game.
The villains of Captain N were the Eggplant Wizard from Kid Icarus, King Hippo from Punch Out and Mother Brain from Metroid. Despite this, only Pit from Kid Icarus appeared as a hero. Neither Little Mac nor Samus Aran showed up to take on their villains during the show.
Samus did appear in the Captain N comic book, published be Valiant in 1990. Things started to heat up here, as Samus became one of Kevin’s love interests. This is one of the few times that Samus has actually been portrayed in a romantic light. She is usually too busy murdering aliens to have time for a love life. Samus actually kissed a time-displaced version of Kevin, who had been trapped for fifteen years (and was now of age, which is cool because Samus doesn’t want Chris Hansen knocking on the door of her spaceship).
14. The Metroid Games Reward Quick Completion… With Scantily Clad Pictures Of Samus
If you aren’t aware of Samus’ true appearance, then she might initially appear to be a male character (as her Power Suit covers her completely). Nintendo played off this and made Samus’ gender a surprise for people who finished the original Metroid game. By completing the game within a certain amount of time, you will get to see an ending image of Samus without her spacesuit on. If you managed to complete the game within an hour (which is no easy feat), then you get to see an 8-bit version of Samus in a bikini. Those pixellated boobs were a prized commodity in the dark days before the Internet.
Showing Samus in revealing outfits became a common reward for completing the Metroid games in a short amount of time. Metroid II for the Game Boy showed Samus in an underwear outfit similar to the one Ripley wore at the end of Alien if you could complete the game in under three hours. Super Metroid had a similar image for completing the game in under three hours. The Game Boy Advance Metroid titles (Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission) featured numerous ending images for quick finishing times and for 100% completion.
13. The Lost Samus Monologue
Jennifer Hale is, perhaps, the most prolific video game voice actress of all time. To go through her IMDB page is like reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy if all of the words had been replaced by the titles of cartoons and video games from your childhood. Some of her most famous roles include Bastila from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the female Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect series and Naomi Hunter from the Metal Gear Solid series.
It might come as a surprise to find out that Jennifer Hale also did the voice of Samus Aran in the Metroid Prime Trilogy (as well as Metroid Prime: Hunters for the Nintendo DS). This is a surprise because Samus is a silent protagonist (or at least she was until the horror show that was Metroid: Other M). Jennifer Hale’s involvement in the role was to provide the grunting noises that Samus made when she jumped or took damage. She also provided Samus’ heavy breathing sound.
The Samus voice role was actually going to be a lot bigger. Jennifer Hale recorded an intro monologue for Metroid Prime that went unused. It involved Samus retelling the events of Metroid: Zero Mission (the game that comes before Prime in the timeline). This narration was never used, possibly because Nintendo wanted to keep Samus as a silent protagonist. The audio files have been found on the Metroid Prime disc and have been uploaded to YouTube.
12. Samus In Wario Land
When the Internet entered the homes of the general populace at the end of the nineties, it brought emulation with it. The video games that fans had once thought lost forever, could now be played on a PC. Having access to the files of these old games opened up new possibilities that fans had never considered before. Games that had never been released outside of Japan could now be translated into English. This allowed highly desired games like Mother 3, Seiken Densetsu 3 (the sequel to Secret of Mana) and Bahamut Lagoon to be played in English, due to the hard work and dedication of fans.
By having access to the files of old games, fans could also discover secrets that they were never meant to see. It is through hacking and data mining that fans discovered the existence of the Arwing from Star Fox that could be summoned in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
When it comes to the Metroid series, a very interesting discovery was made within the files of Metroid Fusion for the Game Boy Advance. By using codes to access the debug rooms that were used for testing the game, the player can find assets from Wario Land 4. The debug room is filled with blocks and platforms that come from the earlier Wario Land game. This is most likely due to the two games sharing an engine, with Metroid Fusion being built upon the foundations laid down by Wario Land 4.
11. The 3DS/Wii U Broke Samus & Zero Suit Samus In Two
Samus Aran was a member of the roster in the original Super Smash Bros. game on the Nintendo 64. Her inclusion was a natural fit for the series. Samus has a wide range of attacks and moves. She is also one of Nintendo’s most badass female characters (at a time when they were underrepresented in that category). She is the only female character to have been in the Smash Bros. series since the beginning (barring the possibility of either Pikachu or Jigglypuff being female, which is never confirmed).
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the series introduced Final Smash moves. These were ultimate attacks that could be earned through destroying a Smash Ball (an orb that randomly floats around the arena). If Samus uses her Final Smash attack, then she will lose her Power Suit and transform into Zero Suit Samus. The reverse is also true, with Zero Suit Samus regaining her Power Suit upon using the Final Smash. This made Samus a “transforming” character. She could turn into a character with a completely different moveset. This was a trait she shared with Princess Zelda & Sheik and the Pokémon Trainer.
When the Smash Bros. game for the 3DS and Wii U was being developed, all of the transforming characters were either removed or split into separate entities. This was because the developers wanted the game to run as smoothly as possible online (and with the 3D on for the 3DS version). Transforming characters were a huge drain on the hardware. This is why Samus and Zero suit Samus are different characters in the latest Smash Bros. game.
10. The Secret Message For Cheaters
Unlike the Mario games that break progression up into levels, the Metroid series gives you access to the whole world at once. While this may seem like the game is letting you challenge everything in the order you choose, it is actually a lie. The game has numerous barriers and obstacles that prevent you from accessing all of the areas straight away. You overcome these with the aid of items and special moves… that you only acquire by tackling the levels in a predetermined order. The Metroid games give you the illusion of freedom but are actually quite linear.
It has become popular for Metroid players to engage in “Sequence Breaking”. This is when you use glitches to access areas that you are not supposed to be able to get to yet. These techniques are favoured by speedrunners, who use them to finish games in record time.
Metroid Fusion has a secret message left for speedrunners by the developers of the game. If you can access Sector 4 before you acquire the Diffusion Missiles (by performing a series of Shinesparks on the door), then you will receive a message from your commanding officer, who will commend you on the feat. It seems that the developers must have anticipated that someone would pull this trick off and left this message in as an easter egg for them.
9. The Lost Return Of Crocomire
One of the bosses in Super Metroid was a huge red alien called Crocomire. As his name suggests, he bears superficial similarities with the crocodile. You actually cannot damage Crocomire with your weapons. All you can do is knock him back a few steps. The battle against Crocomire is kind of like an extreme Sumo match. Samus is trying to push him back into the lava floor of the stage, whilst Crocomire is trying to push her back into spikes. In order to defeat Crocomire, you have to fire explosives into his mouth. This will cause him to stumble backwards. If you do this enough times, then he will fall into the lava.
Fans have gone through the files of Metroid Fusion and have discovered proof that Crocomire was intended to return. A full sprite exists for him, although it is not properly assembled. He got quite far into development, before being scrapped for unknown reasons. Fans have managed to add him back into the game through hacking.
8. The Mistranslated Suit
One of the upgrades for Samus’ Power Suit turns it into a Varia Suit. When Samus finds the Varia Suit, it grants protection against the harsh environment of the alien worlds that she visits on her journey. The Varia Suit will defend Samus against lava, sub-zero temperatures and corrosive acid.
In the original Metroid game, the Varia upgrade simply turned Samus’ regular Power Suit pink. As Metroid II was released for the Game Boy, the Power Suit could not change colour. Instead, the Varia Suit now added huge shoulder pads to the regular Power Suit. This change was kept for the later games in the series.
The name Varia Suit is actually a mistranslation. It is supposed to be called the “Barrier Suit”. The reason for this mistake was due to the Japanese language having a tendency to mix up the letters V and B (similar to how L and R are interchangeable). Even though the name is a mistake, it has been kept in all subsequent Metroid games.
7. The Power Of No Armour
Samus has appeared in every single Smash Bros. game. Her inclusion seems to be a perfect fit. The large number of weapons that Samus has acquired in her own games has made it easy for her to become a fighting game character. In the Smash Bros. games, Samus has a range of laser beams, bombs and missiles that she can fire at her opponents. She also her grapple beam, which can grab opponents from a distance. Samus also has her deadly Screw Attack for when she has to fight in the air.
Despite her array of moves, Samus has never been ranked highly in the competitive scene. Her reliance on slow ranged attacks makes it hard for her to keep up in a metagame that is based on speed. Smash Bros. is ruled by fast characters like Fox, Sheik and Diddy Kong. Samus is just too slow to keep up.
All is not lost for Samus, however. When she loses her Power Suit, she becomes one of the best characters in the game.
Zero Suit Samus is a fast character, with a range of acrobatic moves for aerial combat. She possesses a few decent ranged attacks, along with a moves that can stun the opponent. Zero Suit Samus has some of the best combo moves in the game, making her a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.
6. The Hidden Ninja Gaiden Arena
Metroid: Other M is widely considered to be the worst game in the series. This isn’t because of the gameplay (which is still pretty solid), rather, it is due to the crimes committed against the character of Samus Aran. Throughout the events of Other M, Samus goes from being a fearless warrior into a shrieking schoolgirl. She breaks down into hysterics upon meeting Ridley (whereas she used to greet him with a missile to the face in the previous games). Other M was so poorly received that it basically killed the franchise for several years.
Nintendo is not solely to blame for the atrocity that is Other M. The game was also developed by people from Team Ninja, the company best known for the Dead or Alive series. They also created the Ninja Gaiden series, of which there are still pieces within Other M.
Contained within the files for Other M is the area where you battle the first boss in Ninja Gaiden II. It is a large helipad with several metal antennas. What makes this unusual is the fact that Ninja Gaiden II was only released on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.
5. The Lost Return Of Kraid
Kraid is a recurring boss in the Metroid series. He did not appear in any of the Metroid Prime games, despite being mentioned in the manual for the first one. It said that the Space Pirates split into several factions. One of them built a facility that could revive the powerful monsters that had been slain by Samus. Ridley, Kraid and Mother Brain are listed as those who were brought to the facility, but only Ridley shows up in the Prime series. The status of Kraid and Mother Brain is still unknown.
It has since been revealed that Kraid was planned to return in Metroid Prime. He was supposed to have a large role in the game, as well as become a boss once more. He was to be the end boss of the Phazon Mines area. Due to some new enhancements (notably, his helmet), Kraid would now be referred to as Meta-Kraid.
Kraid was intended to appear in the game but was cut early in development. It was decided that his inclusion would have lengthened the development of the game, to the point that it would have caused a delay. The developers hinted that Kraid would return in the later Metroid Prime games, but that did not come to pass.
4. The Live-Action Metroid Commercials
When it comes to the idea of Nintendo turning one of their properties into a movie series, the Metroid games are usually the first choice. This is because Metroid itself is heavily influenced by movies, most notably the ones from the Alien franchise. If a Metroid movie was made, it would likely be panned due to its lack of originality.
Metroid fans should not despair. If you want to see some live-action Metroid footage, then you only need to look at some of the amazing commercials that have been produced over the years.
The commercial for the first Metroid game on the Famicom depicted Samus riding around on a golden Famicom disk. This was followed up with a commercial for Super Metroid, which showed a live action Samus putting on her armour. This meant depicting her in the skimpy outfit that she wears for one of the endings in the game.
While Metroid: Other M was a terrible game, it did have an awesome live-action commercial. The girl who plays Samus is perfect for the role, as she looks identical to the character.
3. Ridley Is Too Big For Smash Bros!
When it comes to choosing characters from the Metroid series to appear in the Smash Bros. games, the only real choice is Samus. This is why she has appeared in two different forms, rather than including a separate character. The reason for this is because all of the other Metroid characters are either a) giant monsters or b) boring side characters.
By far the most popular choice for a Metroid character to appear in Smash Bros. is Ridley. He is Samus’ main foe and is a mixture between a dragon and a pterodactyl. Ridley has appeared in the most recent Smash Bros. game for 3DS/Wii U, but he was only a stage boss and not actually playable.
The creator of Smash Bros. is a man named Masahiro Sakurai. He has actually given an official statement in regards to Ridley’s absence from the series. He told IGN that Ridley won’t work because he is just too big and if they made him smaller then he wouldn’t be Ridley anymore. This is one of the only times that he has ever officially ruled out a character for Smash Bros.
2. The Nintendo Bumper Stickers
Outside of the Smash Bros. series, Metroid has rarely crossed over with other Nintendo games. The series was a notable absentee when Mario Kart 8 started releasing DLC tracks that involved other Nintendo properties. Samus and a kart based on her ship would have been an obvious choice, as well as a track based on the planet Zebes. Metroid was not among the games that were added into Mario Kart 8. Excitebike got a new track… but Metroid didn’t.
The Metroid games on the Wii did include a hidden reference to other Nintendo games. In both Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Metroid Prime Trilogy, you could unlock bumper stickers from other Nintendo games for Samus’ ship. Once unlocked within the Bonus Gallery, the game will detect if there are save files from other Nintendo titles in the Wii’s system memory.
If you have the files, then you can get bumper stickers from Excite Truck, Wii Sports, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Wii Play, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Super Paper Mario, Mario Party 8, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
1. Super Metroid Has A Debug Cheat That Went Undiscovered Until 2010
When video games are in the testing stage of development, they usually contain things known as “debug codes”. These are designed to allow you to skip to any point in the game, with any amount of items that you specify. The reason these exist is because they make it easier for developers to check for bugs. If a playtester detects a problem at a late point in the game, then the developer can quickly replicate the results in order to discover what went wrong.
Once a game is completed, the debug codes are either removed or repurposed as cheats. Some developers were not as fastidious about removing the codes as others. This means that some games still possess debug codes that the players were never meant to find.
Super Metroid still contains a hidden debug code from its development. The surprising thing about this is that it took players sixteen years to discover!
By entering a specific set of button inputs when entering the room to the Golden Torizo boss fight, it is possible to gain all of the items and power-ups in the game (minus the Screw Attack). This has become known as the “Golden Torizo Debug Cheat” by fans. It is amazing that fans are still discovering new things in games like Super Metroid. It just goes to show how passionate the fans can be for the games that they love.