Metroid is a series of science fiction action-adventure video games created by designer Makoto Kano and artist Hiroji Kiyotake and primarily produced by Nintendo. The name "Metroid" is a combination of the words metro and android, and was meant to reflect the mysterious robot-like protagonist Samus Aran.
Players take the role of Samus Aran, intergalactic bounty hunter raised by the advanced Chozo race after her family was killed in a Space Pirate raid, on her missions given to her by the Galactic Federation. Most of the chronology of the Metroid series centers on the threat known as Metroids, creatures that absorb the very essence of other creatures and are extremely resilient to conventional weaponry. The main antagonists in the series are the Space Pirates, a race of beings that are notorious for their often cruel biological and metaphysical experiments on various lifeforms in order to craft devastating biological weaponry. They hope to recreate or harness the essence-sucking power of the Metroids in order to become an invincible force that will rule the galaxy. Samus, donning her Chozo-inherited power suit, must put an end to both of these threats once and for all.
Released in 1986 for the Japanese Famicom system, Metroid made it to the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1987. It is one of the first games ever to use a password for saving progress and establishes a game play style that emphasizes athletic movies and open exploration. Samus Aran's original arsenal features the now classic Screw Attack and Varia Suit, along with the player's choice of the freezing Ice Beam or the powerful but unpredictable Wave Beam. The story follows the discovery of the deadly Metroid species and Samus's first battles with Kraid, Ridley and Mother Brain on the planet Zebes. Samus' identity is masked throughout the adventure. Only the game's best endings reveal that she is a woman.
The Game Boy debut of the Metroid series is twice the size of the original game and one of the first Game Boy games with battery backup. In the adventure, Samus visits SR388, the Metroids' home planet, to investigate rumors that the Metroids are growing in size and number. As always, Samus is the human race's first and last line of defense when it comes to eradicating the Metroid menace. The game introduces different types of Metroids, such as the Gamma Metroid, Omega Metroid and the all-powerful Queen Metroid. Along with the Metroid population, Samus' choice of weapons grows, too. Among the new items are the Spring Ball, which allows Samus to jump in ball form, and the Spider Ball, which gives Samus the ability to stick to walls and ceilings.
The incredible story of Samus Aran continues in a 24-Megabit SNES adventure that far exceeds the size and scope of the previous Metroid games. Samus returns to the planet Zebes to discover a wide variety of habitats, acid rain, Chozo Statues, and, of course, Kraid, Ridley and Mother Brain. The game marks the debut of the Gravity Suit, the Speed Booster and the Grappling Beam -- part of an arsenal of five Beam types, two Missile types, two Bomb types and 11 space suit attachments. Samus uses the Grappling Beam to great effect in the Super Smash Bros. games.
The simultaneous Metroid Prime for Nintendo GameCube release with Metroid Fusion breaks from the established Metroid style by showing the action from the eyes of Samus Aran. For the first time, you can see through Samus' visor, scan objects in the environment and even detect the thermal signatures of enemies. The game sticks with Metroid tradition by presenting a world full of secret items and hidden passages that Samus finds by using her Power Suit abilities. They include the Spider Ball and Grapple Beam.
Metroid Prime marks the first time that Samus was voiced, though her vocals are limited to guttural sounds rather than full speech. She was voiced by Jennifer Hale in Metroid Prime, but would be voiced by other actresses in later installments.
Metroid: Fusion is currently the last game in the Metroid timeline. After returning to SR388 as a bodyguard for a research team, Samus is attacked by a parasite known as the X. To save her, the Galactic Federation injects her with a serum made from Metroid DNA, allowing her to combat the X by absorbing them, but also leaving her with the Metroid's weakness to cold. Samus must brave the corridors of the BSL Research Station, which has become infected by X parasites. Metroid: Fusion sticks to the traditional 2D Metroid style, although streamlined with the addition of objectives, cutscenes, and a hub area that connects to various areas. It is also the first game where Samus is able to grip hold of ledges and pull herself onto them. Metroid: Fusion could be connected to Metroid Prime through use of the GBA link cable, allowing users to use the skins of Samus' Fusion Suit in Metroid Prime.
Metroid: Zero Mission is a remake of the original NES Metroid. It takes cues from the last 2D Metroid game Metroid: Fusion in that it contains various cutscenes and an objective based hint system, though it remains fairly faithful to the original in terms of general layout, with a few areas becoming expanded or streamlined to make the game less confusing and allow for certain new abilities (like the ability to hold onto ledges, taken from Metroid: Fusion) to be used throughout the game. In addition to the original game, Zero Mission also includes an epilogue where Samus is attacked by Space Pirates after her escape from Zebes, crash landing and losing her Power Suit. She must infiltrate the Space Pirate mothership armed with nothing but her emergency pistol and Zero Suit in order to retrieve it.
In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Samus is hunted by the mysterious and enigmatic race called the Ing. Samus Aran must traverse the light and dark worlds of the games doomed planet Aether to solve the mysteries around her and discover incredible secrets. Once again she must also search far and wide to restore her Power Suit to full power. In a brand new twist to the franchise, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes allows up to four players to battle it out in a multiplayer mode, competing for upgrades and domination. Once again hailed by critics, Metroid Prime 2 won several Game of the Year Awards.
As the popularity of the Metroid games began to grow exponentially, so did the spin-offs. However contrary to the beliefs of many, Metroid Prime: Pinball was not as awful as the concept. The innovation of the touch screen into the game was executed flawlessly, introducing a play field over both screens, touch sensitivity to tilt the table and more. Modes included Clone Machine Multiball, the Wall-Jump Challenge where you bomb your way to the high score and others.
Originally bundled as a demo with the first generation of Nintendo DS handheld systems, Metroid Prime: Hunters would not be seen for a few more years as a full release title. Featuring a new and intuitive control scheme, story and cutting edge graphics at the time, the single player aspect of Hunters did indeed shine, but paled in comparison to the true nature of the game; the Multiplayer. Once again up to four players could battle each other in a death match, however taking advantage of Nintendo's WiFi Connection this time around. Players could choose from seven different Bounty Hunters to control across twenty maps and seven modes of play, not including unlockables obtained through the single player campaign.
The next installment in the Metroid series would change the way you controlled Samus Aran once again. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption took full advantage of the Wii's Wiimote and Nunchuk controllers in what is arguably the best control scheme yet for a Metroid game. With an average score of 90%, Corruption was well received by critics. Traversing a handful of colorful and unique environments, Samus searches to put an end to the Space Pirate threat yet again, engaging in battle with a dark version of herself along the way.
Other M returns to the roots of the series gameplay, basing the controls around the Wii Remote held sideways like an NES controller. Developed as a collaboration between Nintendo and Tecmo studio Team Ninja, the game mixes aspects of third-person exploration with the ability to look around and aim in first-person. Other M also puts an additional emphasis on narrative, presenting the story through fully voiced cutscenes that elaborate on Samus's history.
The Metroid series follows a distinct chronology that does not match the order in which the games were released. The current timeline is as follows:
- Metroid / Metroid: Zero Mission (remake)
- Metroid Prime / Metroid Prime Pinball (re-imagining) / Metroid Prime Trilogy (remaster)
- Metroid Prime: Hunters
- Metroid Prime 2: Echoes / Metroid Prime Trilogy (remaster)
- Metroid Prime 3: Corruption / Metroid Prime Trilogy (remaster)
- Metroid Prime: Federation Force
- Metroid II: Return of Samus / Metroid: Samus Returns (remake)
- Super Metroid
- Metroid: Other M
- Metroid Fusion
The original Metroid (and its remake, Metroid: Zero Mission) is Samus' first encounter with Metroids and the Space Pirates as she returns to her adoptive home of Zebes to counter the threat of the Space Pirates stationed there under the command of rogue supercomputer Mother Brain.
The Metroid Prime trilogy immediately follows, centering around the substance known as Phazon and its effect on Metroids and other species. The Metroid Prime of the series' namesake is a mutated Metroid that has been living off absorbed Phazon for an extended period of time. Although defeated by Samus in the first game of the series, the Prime Metroid's essence lives on through the Phazon it has become dependent on, and, after ripping Samus' Phazon enhancement from her power suit, is reborn in her image as the creature known as Dark Samus, who is a principal antagonist in the two subsequent games. The games center around Dark Samus' hunger for Phazon, culminating in a battle between Samus and Dark Samus on the birthplace of Phazon itself, planet Phaaze. Side stories in the series involve the Space Pirates and their discovery and study of Phazon and its properties, as well as its effects on Metroids and other fauna, and the plight of the Luminoth on the planet Aether, a planet being ripped between two dimensions through the corrupting power of the Phazon on the planets surface.
Metroid 2: Return of Samus picks up after the Prime series. After disposing of the Phazon threat, Samus is then charged with going to the Metroid homeworld and eradicating every last Metroid in existence, the Galactic Federation deeming them too dangerous to be allowed to exist. At the end of the game, Samus finds an infant Metroid that believes she is its mother, and brings it back to the Galactic Federation for safekeeping.
In Super Metroid, the Space Pirates assault the science vessel carrying the last infant Metroid and steal it away back to planet Zebes to continue their studies on the dangerous lifeforms. Samus must again fight her way through Zebes' defenses, native flora and fauna, and the Space Pirates to reach Mother Brain and retrieve the infant Metroid.
Metroid: Other M tells a story that helped bridge the gap between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. While out in space, Samus hears a distress call, and heads towards it. It leads her to a space station called the Bottle Ship. On it, she encounters familiar faces as she meets a squad from the Galactic Federation, who were deployed to the Bottle Ship for a confidential mission. Among these faces is Adam Malkovich, Samus's former Commanding Officer. Samus teams up with the squad, and together they investigate this mysterious space station. Throughout their investigation, they find many secrets that were never meant to be seen by anyone outside the Bottle Ship's crew.
In Metroid Fusion, the story picks up with Samus acting as a bodyguard to Galactic Federation scientists on their return to the Metroid home planet first visited in Metroid 2: Return of Samus. There, Samus is attacked by a life form known as the X Parasites, a former prey of the Metroids that are now flourishing on the planet. Samus is nearly killed by this attack, and to save her life, Galactic Federation Scientists have to inject her with the DNA of the infant Metroid, allowing her body to absorb the X Parasites, much like the Metroids themselves could. Her old powersuit becomes infected by the X however, becoming a sentient being known as the SA-X, who infects the entire space station with the parasite. Samus must eradicate and absorb all the X parasites to counter the threat.
Other Games In The Series
Metroid Prime: Hunters occurs after the events of Metroid Prime. It is a sub-story of the main Metroid theme, centering around Samus and her rival bounty hunters' search for the 'Ultimate Power' rumored to exist in the remote Alimbic Cluster in the Tetra Galaxy. Metroid Prime: Hunters is primarily a multiplayer focused game, pitting players against each other in arena style deathmatches.
Metroid Prime: Pinball is a pinball game with Metroid-themed tables, and as such has no connection to the main story other than the characters, locations and themes it takes from the games to make creative pinball tables.