The Fallacy of Samus the "Silent Protagonist"

#1 Posted by MormonWarrior (2569 posts) -

I hear this statement all over in various Metroid reviews, from Metroid Prime 3 to Metroid: Other M, that Samus has "always been a silent protagonist." This is mentioned over and over again constantly, and it's really getting annoying.

Because Samus is NOT AT ALL A SILENT PROTAGONIST.

  • The beginning text scroll in Super Metroid was an active narration by Samus describing what was going on in the story.
  • In Metroid Fusion, Samus not only narrates the story periodically but has full-on conversations with the computer system that's monitoring her progress.
  • Metroid Zero Mission also has Super Metroid-esque story exposition by Samus.

Now you may mention the Metroid Prime games, but those are part of a spinoff franchise and tell their story in a unique way through environmental scans. Also, there's nobody to talk to really until that Wii game which had a lousy story and felt really wrong for not having Samus speak.

Then there's that monstrosity of a game called Other M. Where Samus speaks. Badly, yes, but she speaks.

So...4 games where she speaks, 2 early, primitive games where nobody speaks (nobody to talk to), and a spinoff trilogy where she doesn't speak. Hardly seems like a silent protagonist to me. If they were only, say, Wand of Gamelon-esque non-Nintendo releases that had her talking, I'd understand the statement. But as it currently stands it smacks of journalists that have never played Metroid before.

#2 Posted by Rerejo28 (135 posts) -

Well. I mean, she is mostly silent, though. The reason being, she is usually alone. But her saying the exposition doesn't really count as her speaking, IMO.

So... She isn't a "silent protagonist". She's a "not incredibly chatty protagonist"?

Doesn't really roll off the tongue...

#3 Posted by Twinsun (471 posts) -

Umm.. What brought this on?

#4 Posted by august (3834 posts) -

THE BABY

#5 Edited by MormonWarrior (2569 posts) -

@Twinsun said:

Umm.. What brought this on?

This article referenced an Other M review that said that Samus up to that point had been a totally silent protagonist, which is just plain inaccurate.

@Rerejo28 said:

Well. I mean, she is mostly silent, though. The reason being, she is usually alone. But her saying the exposition doesn't really count as her speaking, IMO.

So... She isn't a "silent protagonist". She's a "not incredibly chatty protagonist"?

Doesn't really roll off the tongue...

Also, when there's nobody to talk to, it's hard to be chatty without being insane and there's no point, but in Fusion she was conversing with other characters throughout the game. Nobody would call the characters in Final Fantasy IX silent protagonists because there wasn't voice acting either. In no sense is Samus a silent protagonist in anything other than Metroid Prime 3 where she is deliberately silent while other characters are talking all over the place. I guess you could argue that in Metroid Prime 2 where there was the one Luminoth dude that sort of talks to you a couple times, but that's mainly just pointing you in a direction and there isn't much to say anyway. And the Prime games could be considered spinoffs to the main series (Metroid, Metroid II, Super Metroid, Fusion, Zero Mission)

#6 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@MormonWarrior said:

@Twinsun said:

Umm.. What brought this on?

This article referenced an Other M review that said that Samus up to that point had been a totally silent protagonist, which is just plain inaccurate.

Then why not simply comment on the article? Or at least link it in your original post?

#7 Posted by believer258 (11785 posts) -

OK.

She's an incredibly shy and reserved protagonist.

Or she's just an asshole who thinks the only person worth hearing her voice is herself.

As for Other M? I've had the pleasure of seeing nothing more than trailers for it. Yeah, I haven't actually played it or even seen the Quick Look if there is one.

Super Metroid is my favorite game ever, so I don't really want to give in to my curiosity and hurt my opinion of the series anymore than Hunters did.

#8 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8698 posts) -

Beyond the narrative and some other scenes she never had much reason to talk right?
 
I liked Metroid Prime with the scans telling most of the backstory, and I liked Other M for the other perspective on the usual Metroid take.
 
Samus is just cool though, no doubt about it.

#9 Posted by NoobSauceG7 (1238 posts) -

I can understand both points of view like she does narrate a bit so she isn't exactly silent but she isn't like Nathan Drake who talks the whole time, even to himself.

#10 Posted by BisonHero (6429 posts) -

I'm totally fine with her speaking. I don't need her to be a silent protagonist. All I really ask is that every writer who worked on Other M never be allowed to work in the video game industry again.

Some people apparently thought Metroid Fusion was too linear and story-based, but it did open up once you got a little ways in. Sure, the next story objective was always clearly indicated, but you still had to explore your ass off to find the upgrades. And I thought Fusion's characterization of Samus in the bits of conversation with the AI was perfectly fine.

But OH JESUS, Other M. What awful, melodramatic writing. Maybe the dialogue was just terribly localized, but even if I assume that, the overall character roles were poorly thought out, and the setting wasn't particularly great or interesting. I'll take creepy ruins/lava caves/whatever on some alien planet any day of the week over Other M's boring-ass space station scenario. Hell, Metroid Fusion was set on a space station and its premise was leagues more interesting in every way.

Online

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.