|Game Series||Metroid series|
Hiroji Kiyotake (designer)
|Voice Actor(s):||Jennifer Hale (2002-2007)|
Alésia Glidewell (2008-present)
Samus Aran is a game character that exists in Nintendo's Metroid universe. Samus acts as a Bounty Hunter for the Galactic Federation, though information surrounding her is extremely vague, and sometimes contradictory. Only in recent history, with games like Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion, was her story, history and universe fleshed out.
Concept[edit | edit source]
According to the developers, the Metroid franchise is modeled largely upon the 1979 film Alien, and Samus's design was based on the film's heroine, Ellen Ripley.
Originally the character of Samus Aran was written to be a male cyborg whose entire body had been surgically strengthened with robotics, giving him superpowers. Samus did not gain her identity as a female bounty hunter until partway through development of the original Metroid, when one of the staff suggested that it would be "kind of cool if it turned out that this person inside the suit was a woman". The idea was put to a vote and was worked into the game.
However, upon defeating the game, fans were surprised to discover that there was actually a woman underneath the Power Suit, in a time when very few female video game characters were active heroines. Interestingly, players could discover that fact earlier on by entering JUSTIN BAILEY followed by 12 dashes or 12 spaces in the passcode reentry screen in the NES version.
History[edit | edit source]
Samus Aran is best known for defeating the Space Pirates and the dangerous, life-draining Metroids. At the start of Metroid, Samus' gender is not specified (although the instruction manual references Samus as a male several times), but she reveals herself as a woman in the game's ending.
Little is known of Samus' past, yet details of her beginnings can be gathered from various sources, including the instruction manual of Metroid Prime and the Metroid e-manga. Her biography in Super Smash Bros. Melee states that she was orphaned during a Space Pirate raid on her homeworld of K-2L. It also states that she was subsequently rescued by the bird-like Chozo race and was infused with "Chozo blood". Information in Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Prime strongly suggests that she was raised on the planet Zebes by the Chozo, who referred to her as "the Hatchling", and that she became their most prized warrior.
The official Metroid e-manga details the events of Samus' childhood on the planetary colony of K-2L and depicts the Space Pirate attack which resulted in the deaths of all the colonists, including Samus' parents, Rodney and Virginia. The 3 year-old Samus miraculously survived and was found by the Chozo, who took the orphaned girl back to their home planet of Zebes where she would be raised. The subsequent volume of the e-manga portrays Samus' upbringing on Zebes, and her training with the Chozo there. In order to survive against the harsh environment of Zebes, the Chozo infused Samus with their DNA, providing her with enhanced physical abilities. As she grew older, the Chozo elders donned Samus in her Power Suit which they developed and trained her as a warrior, eventually sending the hunter out to fulfill their legacy and become protector of the galaxy.
In Metroid, Samus is sent by the Galactic Federation to stop the Space Pirates' production of Metroids after the Federation's own attempts had failed. The original game ends with the defeat of the Space Pirates, but Metroid: Zero Mission continues the plot when Samus' gunship is shot down, forcing her to infiltrate the Pirates' mothership in order to escape.
Metroid Prime chronicles Samus' mission to Tallon IV, where she once again encounters the Space Pirates and discovers a dangerous energy source called Phazon. She also fights and defeats Metroid Prime, the source of Phazon on Tallon IV.
In Metroid Prime Hunters, Samus is charged with locating eight artifacts known as "Octoliths", which are touted as the key to "Ultimate Power". However, she must first battle against six other galactic bounty hunters, as well as various other enemies and the guardians of the relics.
In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Samus is sent to the unstable planet Aether for a search and rescue mission. She soon discovers a doppelgänger of herself, Dark Samus, formed from the remains of Metroid Prime and Samus' Phazon Suit. Samus works to restore the planet's energy, guided by the indigenous Luminoth and battling against the powerful Ing.
In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Dark Samus corrupts Samus and several other bounty hunters with Phazon, as well as corrupting several planets with Phazon seeds called "Leviathans". Samus must destroy these seeds to stop the Phazon from spreading, as well as her fellow bounty hunters when they cannot handle their corruption.
In Metroid II: Return of Samus, Samus is sent to planet SR-388 to eradicate the Metroid species once and for all. After defeating the Metroid Queen, she comes across a single Metroid egg that hatches just as she arrives. The newborn Metroid quickly imprints on Samus and follows her around "like a confused child". Unable to bring herself to destroy the hatchling, Samus instead takes it with her to the research space colony Ceres. The scientists there research the infant Metroid for its energy producing capabilities.
Super Metroid picks up where Metroid II leaves off. Shortly after leaving the space colony, Samus receives a distress call from the colony. She returns to find the scientists dead and the Metroid hatchling missing. She encounters Ridley, who steals the hatchling and takes it back to planet Zebes. Samus fights her way through the planet, eventually defeating Ridley and three other bosses, then continues on to battle a cybernetically enhanced Mother Brain, who nearly defeats her before being attacked by the Metroid hatchling. Mother Brain destroys the Metroid in retaliation, then Samus defeats Mother Brain and escapes as the planet self-destructs.
Metroid Fusion takes place after the events of Super Metroid. In this game, Samus returns to SR-388, where she is infected by the X Parasite and nearly dies. She is infused with Metroid DNA and recovers, and is then sent on a new mission to determine the cause of an explosion aboard a research station orbiting SR-388. She receives orders from an artificial intelligence aboard her new gunship, which she nicknames "Adam" after her deceased commanding officer. Much of Samus' past is revealed in this game, mostly through narration by Samus herself. Throughout her mission, she is stalked by her doppelgänger, the SA-X.
Enemies and Allies[edit | edit source]
Her enemies include the Space Pirates & their allies, Ridley, Kraid and Mother Brain. She has often fought duplicates of herself, such as her X Parasite replication SA-X and a creature that was apparently born of Samus's discarded Phazon-powered armor, Dark Samus.
Though she has battled against the Metroids and the X Parasite, she seems to have empathy for creatures of sub-human intelligence, and has frequently been in situations where she opted to coexist with passive Metroids rather than try to kill them. She has also been known to befriend and sometimes even rescue friendly creatures from doomed planets. In Metroid II: Return of Samus, she nearly exterminated the entire Metroid species, but decided to save the last remaining baby Metroid. The Baby Metroid has, in turn, saved her life twice, and was used to further medicinal technology.
Little is known about Samus's personality or past, other than the fact that she prefers to work alone although she had once served under Galactic Federation general named Adam Malkovich. She was born on the colony planet K-2L, which was destroyed by the Space Pirates when she was a child. She was rescued by the Chozo and raised on their home on the planet Zebes, which was later taken over by the Space Pirates. The Chozo altered the DNA in her blood, making her the only human capable of using Chozo technology.
Like many protagonists of Nintendo's first party adventure games, Samus rarely speaks (although she has extensive written monologues and dialogues in Metroid Fusion, and has spoken taunts in Super Smash Bros. Brawl when wearing the Zero Suit).
Abilities and Equipment[edit | edit source]
Samus is rarely seen without her Chozo-designed Power Suit. In addition to providing protection, the suit is readily available to modifications including upgrades to enhance performance. Her most famous upgrades are probably the Morph Ball (also known as the Maru Mari) and the Screw Attack.
The Morph Ball allows Samus to roll into a small ball (the size of the ball varies from game to game) and lay bombs. In Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, there are two types of Morph Ball bombs. The default bomb is a small timed explosive, which is capable of damaging enemies. The more common use of the basic bomb, however, relies on the fact that Samus' own ordnance does no damage to her. Because of this, the explosive force of a Morph Ball bomb can be exploited to propel the Morph Ball upward to reach areas otherwise unreachable, while Samus remains unharmed. Another advantage of the Morph Ball bombs is that they are not affected by gravity, so with correct timing, a bomb can be laid in midair and subsequently used to "jump" even higher. Samus can also obtain Super Bombs which have great explosive force and are often used to blow holes through walls and gain access to closed-off areas. These bombs are also highly effective against enemies, but they do not propel the Morph Ball in any way.
Samus' Screw Attack allows her to turn into a spinning enemy-damaging mass when she jumps. It also allows her to perform several midair jumps, and to reach very high places by repelling from walls at an upward angle.
For transportation, Samus uses her distinctive gunship. She has had several gunships throughout the series, more than one of which has been described as a custom Hunter-class starship made especially for her by the Galactic Federation. The first appearance of Samus' gunship was in Metroid II: Return of Samus, and the differences in the gunship's design, with very few exceptions, have been cosmetic in nature. The sole exception to this is Metroid Fusion, as in the opening scene her ship is destroyed and she is given a radically different ship as a replacement.
Zero Suit Samus[edit | edit source]
While Samus is almost always seen wearing her Power Suit, every canon game in the series gives the player a chance to see her outside of the suit. This tradition began in the first Metroid game, where her suit was used primarily as a way to keep her gender a surprise. By completing the game quickly, players could see Samus in a two-piece bikini. (Certain passwords in the NES version would also let the player play Samus in a purple leotard, though this had no impact on gameplay.) Since then, each game has similarly challenged players to complete the game quickly and/or collect a specific percentage of items. Players are then rewarded with special endings that include images or movies of Samus opening her visor, removing her helmet, or completely removing the Power Suit briefly. In recent games, Samus's bikini was replaced by a less revealing and more functional blue bodysuit, dubbed the "Zero Suit."
Super Metroid was the first game to depict Samus' Power Suit breaking apart when the player ran out of energy; similar incarnations of this scene appear in both Fusion and Zero Mission. Zero Mission also includes a section where the player must control the heroine after she has lost her armor. Unlike the original Metroid (where her altered appearance was merely a cosmetic Easter egg), this lack of armor plays a central role in Zero Mission, increasing the amount of damage Samus takes and changing her available weaponry. Samus is again pictured wearing only her Zero Suit at the beginning of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and again in a special ending. She wears her Power Suit throughout the rest of the game, only occasionally removing her helmet during certain cutscenes.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Solid Snake is briefed by Mei Ling about Samus' Zero Suit abilities. According to Mei Ling, Samus' training with the Chozo has made her a "super athlete" with agility and speed that no "normal human" could hope to match. This characteristic is implemented in Brawl's gameplay, as Samus is both lighter and quicker without her power suit.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- 1986 - Metroid (NES)
- 1988 - Nintendo's Tetris (NES)
- 1991 - Metroid II: Return of Samus (Game Boy)
- 1991 - F-1 Race (Game Boy)
- 1994 - Super Metroid (SNES)
- 1995 - Galactic Pinball (Virtual Boy)
- 1996 - Super Mario RPG (SNES)
- 1996 - Kirby Super Star (SNES)
- 1998 - Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SNES)
- 1999 - Super Smash Bros. (N64)
- 2001 - Super Smash Bros. Melee (GameCube)
- 2002 - Metroid Prime (GameCube)
- 2002 - Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance)
- 2004 - Metroid: Zero Mission (Game Boy Advance)
- 2004 - Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Gamecube)
- 2005 - Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt (Nintendo DS)
- 2005 - Metroid Prime: Hunters (Nintendo DS)
- 2007 - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Nintendo Wii)
- 2008 - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Nintendo Wii)
- 2014 - Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS (Nintendo Wii U)
Super Smash Bros.[edit | edit source]
Samus is a playable character in the Super Smash Bros. series of multiplayer fighting games, where she can use her array of weapons in combat against characters from other video games. She is identified throughout the series by her trademark icon, the Screw Attack symbol, and the Metroid II version of her gunship appears as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl for the GameCube/Wii. A Screw Attack item is also seen in Melee and Brawl, which allows other players to perform Samus' Screw Attack while jumping, although the item's abilities differ between Melee and Brawl.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii, players can cause Samus to lose her Power Suit by using her Final Smash attack, Zero Laser. When not wearing her Power Suit, she wears the Zero Suit, a blue form-fitting suit seen in Zero Mission and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. In this suit, she has a different set of movements and attacks, and pieces of her destroyed Power Suit can be picked up and thrown. This alternate suit is also selectable at the beginning or during a match by using a secret code. Zero Suit Samus's Final Smash is named Power Suit Samus, where she reverts back into her Power Suit. This is the first game in which Samus has actual spoken lines of dialogue. This occurs when she is taunting while wearing the Zero Suit.
Samus also can wear a pink or green Varia Suit, the Gravity Suit, Phazon Suit(Melee), the Power Suit version of the Fusion Suit(Brawl), and the Dark Suit(Brawl). Each Suit comes with a different color Zero Suit underneath as well.
Other Appearences[edit | edit source]
Samus is also a semi-regular character in the Captain N: The Game Master comic books from Valiant Comics, published as part of the Nintendo Comics System. In these stories, Samus has romantic feelings for Kevin Keene, despite his own affections for Princess Lana. However, as she states in the story “Breakout”, she’d prefer to win Kevin’s affections fairly. At one point Princess Lana accuses Samus of being responsible for the kidnapping of her father, based on circumstantial evidence which is later discredited. In the animated series of the same name, Samus did not appear, even though Mother Brain is the show's primary villain. Series writer Jake Roddy claimed in an interview that he didn’t feature Samus in the cartoon because he had "never heard of her".
Samus also starred in two comic adaptations featured in Nintendo Power: a 60-page one for Super Metroid and a 24-page one for Metroid Prime. Like other major Nintendo characters, she has various cameos in other Nintendo games, including Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Kirby's Dream Land 3, and the WarioWare series.
As well, Samus appeared as the Red Star Commanding Officer of map #2: Donut Island of the title Famicom Wars (the first game in the Nintendo Wars series, which was to later include Advance Wars.)