It is truly a wonderful time to be a Metroid fan. After years of silence and disappointing entries that seemed intent on utterly destroying any and all of the reputation the franchise had garnered over the year, Nintendo made the right call in not only remaking Metroid II for the 3DS, but also announcing they were developing Metroid Prime 4 for the Nintendo Switch. With traditional Metroid on handhelds and Prime Metroid on consoles, every type of Metroid fan wins. With that in mind, has there ever been a better time to revisit Metroid’s one and only protagonist, Samus Aran?
She’s the only true female lead in Nintendo’s roster, but she gets the job done better than anyone. Time and time again, Samus is placed into situations that would genuinely be too difficult for her counterparts. Can you imagine Mario or Link trekking through Zebes? They wouldn’t even last ten minutes. On top of being formidable in general, Samus has quite a lot going on biologically. Not only was she trained by the Chozo, she’s encountered Metroids at close range, and even dons a Power Suit designed for anyone but a human. Her body is an anomaly unlike any other, and you’ve probably never noticed.
25 The Morph Ball Minitiarizes Her Body
Although the specifics behind the Morph Ball are still relatively unknown, in large part due to a general disinterest on Nintendo’s part to flesh out Metroid’s more in-depth lore, we do know that, rather than compressing Samus’ body, the morph ball miniaturizes it. As Zero Mission establishes that the user of the Morph Ball is inside physically, and Prime concept art shows Samus within the ball itself, we can deduce that the Morph Ball shrinks Samus in size. It’s certainly a bit more palatable than impossibly crushing her body to fit in a sphere.
24 The Power Suit Is Designed To Hurt Samus
Right up there with Link’s tunic and Mario’s overalls, Samus’ Power Suit is one of the most iconic pieces of clothing Nintendo has ever come up with. Who wouldn’t love their own Power Suit to jump around in and Screw Attack baddies with? Honestly, most people.
You're not going to want to put that suit on. Trust me.
When you look at the specifics of the Power Suit, you’ll realize that it’s actually not made with Samus’ safety in mind. Specifically, the pauldrons of the suit are designed in a way where they have to be crushing her shoulders at all time. There is no physically comfortable way to wear the suit. This is either an oversight on Nintendo’s part or just further proof that Samus is way more extreme than she needs to be.
23 Samus Has Chozo DNA
It might ruin the integrity of the character for some, but Samus Aran isn’t entirely human. The reason she’s able to pull off as many superhuman feats as she does is due to the fact that she was infused with Chozo DNA at an incredibly young age. Adopted by two members of the race, Chozo DNA was used as a way to train her and make her all the more formidable.Unfortunately, there’s very little information known past that. The Metroid manga actually shows us who donated the Chozo DNA, one of her two foster fathers, Gray Voice, but it doesn’t go passed that point. Knowing Samus has Chozo DNA, though, does make the Chozo influence on the series all the more impactful, however.
22 Samus Has Metroid DNA
As if having Chozo DNA wasn’t enough, Samus is also the proud owner of Metroid DNA by the end of Metroid Fusion. The Metroid baby she saved all the way back in Samus Returns is repurposed into a cure for her body during the events of Fusion. The Metroid DNA allows her to regain her original physiological form, albeit not her biology. She still looks human, mind you, but she’s basically a Metroid by the end of Fusion. Unfortunately, no game has since followed up Fusion chronologically so there’s no telling how this new DNA affects Samus, if at all.
21 Samus Is The Tallest Nintendo Hero
Over 6 feet tall with her Power Suit on, Samus Aran is easily the tallest main character in Nintendo’s roster. Even if you were to remove her Power Suit, she’d still tower over her male counterparts. Link is depicted, at most, around 5’6 or 5’7 while Mario is clearly under 5 feet tall. One only has to look at Super Smash Bros. to see that idea in action.
With perhaps the exception of Captain Falcon, Samus is a contender for the tallest lead. Of course, even with Captain Falcon in mind, it’s important to remember that he never physically appears in the gameplay of his own games and has no recorded height whereas Samus does either through guidebooks, interviews, or manuals.
20 The Logistics Of The Screw Attack
The Screw Attack, like the Morph Ball, is one of Samus’ more iconic, and interesting, abilities. Unlike with the Morph Ball, however, we do know just exactly how the Screw Attack works. By upgrading the movement system of her Power Suit, Samus can trigger energy waves around her body while somersaulting to keep her in the air repeatedly. These energy waves act almost like a base to keep her somersaulting, allowing her to crush her Power Suit into enemies at high, controlled speeds.
19 Samus Is A Genius
Not only is Samus a brute, she’s actually quite the genius. Time and time again, Samus shows emotional and mental intellect, properly analyzing situations with an empathetic lense while also acting as an impartial observer. In the few games where Samus actively speaks, she’s characterized as a fairly introspective person who can logic her way out of most situations.
Do remember that she’s a Bounty Hunter who consistently hunts down aliens while piloting a fairly advanced ship on her own. Just about every problem she gets herself into, she gets herself out of on her own without any help. She is easily the smartest, and most independent, of Nintendo’s main characters.
18 How Samus Absorbs Energy
According to the original Metroid manual, any health or item pickups you acquire throughout the course of the game that either heal or restock Samus are actually absorbed into the suit. The manual explains that these items are actually leftover energy particles from defeated enemies. Whenever Samus walks over one, her suit is automatically absorbing said energy into itself, powering Samus up. This idea is also shown in Prime where several weapon upgrades force themselves into the suit, seemingly harming Samus in the process. Don’t play with excess energy, kids.
17 Samus Can Jump About 40 Feet In The Air
It’s important to remember that Samus, despite being biologically born a human, was not raised on Earth. Rather, she was raised on a Chozo homeworld: Zebes. According to Metroid Prime, Zebes’ gravity is roughly 960 times greater than that of Earth’s. When you consider that Samus spent all her life on Zebes and acclimated her body to that gravity, we can deduce, in an Earth-like environment, that her natural jump would likely reach roughly 40 feet into the air. Of course, it might be more or less depending, but the point is that Samus is going to outjump Mario any day.
16 Samus Is Barely Human
As previously mentioned, Samus has both Chozo and Metroid DNA by the end of Metroid Fusion. This doesn’t mean all that much at first glance, but, when you stop to think about it, this actually means Samus is barely human at this point. Going all the way back to her backstory, she was infused with Chozo DNA to augment her abilities. She is genuinely superhuman in some respects.
When she absorbs Metroid DNA into her body at the end of Fusion, it’s also done to counteract the side effects of the X Parasite. This means Samus has three foreign bodies influencing her DNA. Each foreign entity supersedes her original human DNA to shift her biological makeup. By the end of Fusion, Samus is barely human as a result.
15 Samus Is The Chosen One (Maybe)
In Chozo, “Metroid” means “Ultimate Warrior.” Having been adopted as the Chozo, Samus was believed to be the Ultimate Warrior by the people. This caused them to adopt her, infuse her wiinfusingzo DNA, and train her. In many ways, Samus is the Chozo’s Chosen One. Or is she?
Given the context, Samu’s background begs the question: was she truly chosen or was she crafted to be chosen? Even with their Ultimate Warrior, the Chozo perished. At the same time, Samus was able to live long enough to avenge the Chozo as the Ultimate Warrior. Is it coincidence, or fate? A series like Metroid would seem to point to the former at first glance, but Metroid’s spiritual elements would likely point otherwise, if only aesthetically.
14 The Arm Cannon Myth
For a few of you, it’s pretty obvious that Samus’ arm cannon isn’t actually a prosthetic arm. After all, we see Zero Suit Samus rather frequently these days and she has all her limbs intact. This wasn’t always common knowledge, though. For an incredibly long time, in the fandom’s earlier days, it was believed that Samus’ arm cannon was actually a replacement for her biological arm.
In a way, it makes sense. We never actually see Samus without her arm cannon and it’s given quite a bit of focus in both the gameplay and promotional art. Starting with the more recent games (recent meaning games made this century,) however, Nintendo made an effort at showing that Samus actually had an arm by X-Raying the arm cannon in-game and using Zero Suit Samus as a way of showing fans outright.
13 The Inner Workings Of The Zero Suit
There’s this misconception within the fandom that Samus’ Zero Suit is basically just clothing. After all, it’s first appearance in Zero Mission is associated with a scenario where Samus is defenseless and has to stealth her way to the end of the stage as even a little bit of damage will cause a game over.
There are actual benefits to the Zero Suit, however. Most notably, the Zero Suit allows Samus to perform far more agile feats than she can in her Power Suit. She’s significantly faster and doesn’t even need the Morph Ball to get into tight spaces. It’s a suit that augments her abilities in the same way the Power Suit does. It’s just that the Zero Suit focuses on dexterity while the Power Suit focuses on, well, power.
12 A History Of Samus’ Hair
Nintendo had a weird hair problem going from the NES to the Super Nintendo. Link, Princess Zelda, and Princess Peach all went from having brown hair in the third generation to have blond hair in the fourth. You may not realize this because Samus is almost always depicted with her Power Suit on, but Samus underwent a similar fate.
Originally, Samus also had brown hair. If you want to get really specific and look at her in-game sprite, then she had green hair too at some point. Going into the Super Nintendo, however, Nintendo abandoned the brown hair in favor of blonde hair. Honestly, it’s a miracle Mario wasn’t graced with blond hair too.
11 The Intense Side Of The Fusion Suit
Samus’ Fusion Suit is easily one of the most horrifying things Nintendo has ever written into a video game. Rather than just being a Power Suit, the Fusion Suit is basically an organic shell that merges itself into Samus’ body, essentially trapping her in a suit for, presumably, all eternity. It is biological and it is scary.
It's basically a new skin that replaces your old skin.
For the claustrophobic, think of it as being trapped in a glass cage. For whatever reason, you can still move around and interact with others, but you can never interact with your actual, physical body again. The mere fact Samus only barely recovers her body at the end of the game is just the cherry on the fear sundae.
10 Samus Is Incredibly Skilled At Close Quarters Combat
Considering Samus’ Power Suit is a robotic suit of armor that weighs over 200 pounds, it perhaps goes without saying that she packs quite a punch. To push this idea even further, Samus Returns, the 3DS remake of Metroid II, introduces a melee component to the series’ combat where Samus can counter enemies. While this can seem as a simple way of showing how quick Samus can react to situations, the fact that her counter can actually do substantial damage is proof that she could probably take out most Nintendo protagonists in a proper fist fight.
9 The Emotional Struggle Of Samus Aran
Samus and Ridley go further back than most fans realize. Responsible for Samus’ orphaned status, Ridley is the entire reason Samus is who she is. Her entire life is dedicated to Ridley slaughtering her family without any remorse. Although she rarely ever shows emotion in regards to him during the games, there are a few moments where the emotional scars pop back up. Samus is clearly affected by Ridley’s existence and their rivalry is rooted far deeper than the games initially let on.
8 She’s Gifted At Parkour
Samus is more than her Power Suit. While the suit absolutely does augment her abilities, allowing her to pull off tricks and techniques she wouldn’t be able to accomplish without it, she’s still very much in control of her actions. Samus is the one driving the suit, not the other way around. With that in mind, Samus is incredibly talented when it comes to parkour.
Along with her ability to somersault mid-air, Samus can also jump between walls feet apart. She’s incredibly agile and every acrobatic feat she pulls off is largely due to the fact that she can control her body with enough dexterity to do so. The Power Suit simply shields her and upgrades some skills. If you remember how the Zero Suit works then the Power Suit is actually hindering her mobility, making her parkour skills all the more impressive.
7 Samus Has Only Cried Once
As hardened as Samus can come off, she is not invulnerable to emotion. There is one specific moment in the series where it all becomes too much for her and she ends up crying. This marks the first, and only, time we see Samus cry in a mainline Metroid game. Naturally, this occurs in the incredibly controversial Other M.
Following the sacrifice of her captain Adam Malkovich, Samus breaks down into tears. Unfortunately, her breakdown is undercut by the fact that Other M hadn’t been portraying Samus as we know her. This doesn’t come off as a vulnerable moment in a hardened person, but a moment of weakness in an insecure one. Either way, if you want to see Samus cry, go play Other M. The quality of the game will probably make you cry, too.
6 The Cruelest Nintendo Hero
Samus is mean. Like, surprisingly mean. At the end of Super Metroid, Samus has the choice between either saving all the animals found throughout the course of the game before the planet explodes or leaving them behind to secure a guaranteed survival for himself. In another Nintendo game, the main character would absolutely go out of their way to save the animals. Can you imagine Link abandoning them? Or Mario? For Samus, however, she doesn’t seem to care one way or another. While saving the animals it an act of kindness she can accomplish, it’s by no means necessary or a major goal in her escape.
5 Samus Will Live For Centuries
The Chozo people and Metroids have very different lifespans when compared to humans. Specifically, they tend to have longer lifespans. When you remember that Samus has Chozo DNA, Metroid DNA, and part of the X Parasite in her, the only natural conclusion is that Samus will live an incredibly long time. She’s not biologically human anymore, at least not mostly, so she isn’t held back by our short lifespans. Metroid could theoretically go on for centuries and Samus would never have to relinquish her role as protagonist.
4 Samus Has Still Struggling With The Past
In a shocking moment that has left many fans divided, Other M’s story made a point of putting Samus’ Ridley PTSD front and center. It’s a low moment for the character, both narratively and as far as the fandom is concerned, but it actually does have a basis in the series’ canon. Going back to the prequel manga, Samus undergoes a traumatic shock when facing Ridley for the first time. Metroid’s canon explicitly specifies that Samus has this affliction relating to Ridley. The problem is simply that Other M didn’t deal with it as tactfully as it could or should have.
3 Samus’ Monstrous Tendencies
Samus is quite possibly the most intense main character to ever star in a Nintendo game. While Link certainly has quite the body count depending on the game, Samus consistently shows no mercy to her enemies, often firing at them even when the fight would presumably be over in a different game.
Don't get on Samus' bad side.
Just look at how she handles bosses. While she can’t seem to actually finish off Ridley, she fights him with a level of brutality you simply won’t find in Nintendo’s other flagship franchises. She goes into boss fights with a goal in mind and she doesn’t stop until she obliterates the opposition. She’s almost monstrous in the way she finished off bosses with absolutely no remorse.
2 The Spirituality Of Samus Aran
When you take into consideration Samus’ spirituality, she very quickly becomes one of the most fleshed out characters in the entire Nintendo canon. Along with being a fitness buff and one of the smarter protagonists in Nintendo’s roster, she’s also fairly spiritual. Having been raised in the Chozo culture, she’s adopted many of their spiritual tendencies.
No moment highlights this better than when Samus happens upon the ruins of a Chozo temple during Metroid Prime. Rather than making some overt comment or simply ignoring her surroundings, Samus actually closes her eyes for a prolonged amount of time in order to reflect on the destruction of sacred ground. She is a character intimately in-tune with her culture’s spirituality.
1 The Single Strongest Nintendo Character Alive
There is not a single Nintendo character who can compete with Samus in terms of raw power. At least as far as flagship franchises are concerned. Her arsenal is absolutely stacked with lasers, bombs, and augmented abilities that allow her to surpass the jumping skills of even Jump Man himself; Samus continuously takes out ferocious aliens that may as well be gods, and she’s the only Nintendo protagonist who actually progressively gets stronger with each game. By the end of Metroid Fusion, the last game chronologically, Samus is basically a one-woman army.