is a series of science fiction adventure video games conceived by designer Gunpei Yokoi and produced by Nintendo. Metroid combines the platforming of Super Mario Bros. and the exploration aspect of The Legend of Zelda with a decidedly darker atmosphere. It is noted for having one of the first female protagonists in a video game, and for its nonlinear gameplay. Metroid chronicles the missions of bounty hunter Samus Aran to protect the galaxy from the depredations of the Space Pirates, who attempt to harness the power of fictional organisms such as the eponymous Metroids.
As of 2008, the Metroid series consists of ten games spanning most Nintendo platforms from the Nintendo Entertainment System to the Wii. All of the games in the series have been both critically acclaimed, although each installment has seen varying levels of success. It is one of Nintendo's most successful franchises with 14 million games sold. Samus Aran is featured in many other Nintendo-produced games along with secondary characters such as Mother Brain and Ridley. Nintendo has adapted several Metroid games into manga comics, and a live-action movie has been considered.
The Metroid games have been popular for speedrunning, which is the act of completing a game in the fastest time possible, since players often receive a better ending if they do so. Metroid had five different endings based on how quickly a player could complete the game, a design unheard of at the time. Super Metroid is one of the most popular speedrunning games, and helped popularize speedrunning in video games through its non-linear design that allowed for sequence breaking through secret passages and other means. The original Metroid introduced the challenge of having three minutes to escape from either a planet or a ship that is set to self destruct, which is another recurring gameplay innovation of the Metroid series.
The original Metroid was influenced by two other major Nintendo franchises, including Mario, from which it borrowed extensive areas of platform jumping, and The Legend of Zelda, from which it borrowed non-linear exploration. The game differed in its atmosphere of solitude and foreboding.
The Galactic Federation is the governing body of the galaxy and was formed after numerous space-faring species made contact. The subsequent cultural convergence led to rapid technological advancements. They often contract Samus with large missions to complete, and aim to eradicate the Space Pirates. Samus trained in the Federation's military before becoming a bounty hunter. It is assumed that she left following the death of her commanding officer, Adam Malkovich. Samus has a profound respect for Adam because he died to save her in a previous mission. The Galactic Federation's soldiers use powered armor similar to Samus'; however, they are much weaker. Their technology usually bears multiple versions of their symbol, a stylized cross-shape that seems based on their visors. Troopers are also given a basic repeating assault weapon, and in Metroid Prime 3, some are equipped with the Phazon Enhancement Device.
A species of bird-like bipeds, the Chozo raised Samus Aran and outfitted her with armaments. They are portrayed as mysterious and sage-like throughout the Metroid series. The origins and age of the Chozo race and civilization are unknown, but they were once spread across several planets in the Metroid universe, though none have been seen alive in the current time of the games. The Chozo were extremely technologically advanced, but took pride in their elaborate statuary. They also exchanged knowledge with other species, including the Luminoth of Aether, the Reptilicus of Bryyo, the Elysians of Elysia (robots which they themselves built), and several other as yet unseen species. They were also responsible for breeding the Metroids. In the Japanese versions of the games, the Chozo are only ever identified by the generic term , of which the name "Chozo" is an anglicized version. In Super Metroid, some of the Chozo statues would rise up and attack Samus; these bosses are called Torizos. In Metroid Prime, in later areas in game play, Chozo ghosts appear and attack Samus. Although originally allies, they have been maddened by the Phazon corruption of their planet, and can no longer distinguish friend from foe.
A hostile group known as Space Pirates serve as the antagonists of the Metroid series. They are a group of "interstellar nomads" resembling humanoid insects or crustaceans, who plunder colonies and ships. A single Pirate may have many biological differences between individuals of their own species, most likely because of their willingness to perform self-experimentation and mutation. Important leaders include Ridley, the Space Pirate commander, Mother Brain, the biomechanical defense of Zebes controlled by the Space Pirates, and Kraid, a recurring boss. The organization also includes a winged, mantis-like species, the Ki Hunters. The Space Pirates are interested in Metroid research, especially in using Metroids for energy generation, as soldiers, and for experimentation – their Phazon experiments produced all the Metroid variants seen in the Prime games with the exception of Metroid Prime itself.
One of Samus's recurring adversaries, Ridley, is a high-ranking Space Pirate. Ridley shares features with both the pterodactyl and the mythical European dragon. Ridley's exact rank is unknown, with some sources referring to him as the general of the Space Pirates. Ridley directly led the Space Pirate attack on Samus's home colony of K-2L, which inevitably led to the deaths of all the colonists including Samus's mother and father. Samus has since had a personal vendetta against Ridley because of this, coupled with her objective to rid the galaxy of Space Pirates. Over the course of her adventures, Samus confronts several different incarnations of Ridley in the series, such as Meta Ridley from Metroid Prime, Omega Ridley from Metroid Prime 3, and also an X parasite clone in Metroid Fusion and a mechanized version in Zero Mission. Ridley appears in the introduction and as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, both Ridley and Meta Ridley are boss characters in the Subspace Emissary.
Kraid is a gigantic dinosaur-like beast allied with the Space Pirates, possibly one of their leaders. First appearing in the original Metroid, he is the first part of the mini-boss duo along with Ridley. In Super Metroid he appears in his giant form, two screens tall and almost a screen wide. Metroid: Zero Mission retconned his size and appearance, showing he did not grow between games. He was also slated to appear in Metroid Prime as a boss in the Phazon Mines, with a metal dome covering his head and blue Phazon veins on his belly, but was removed due to time constraints. Kraid also makes a guest appearance in the background of the Brinstar Depths stage in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Mother Brain is a recurring game boss in the series. Its exact status has always been unclear, as it has been referred to as the general of the Space Pirates, a supercomputer that operates the Space Pirate home world of Zebes, or a councilor of the Chozo. Samus seemingly destroys Mother Brain in the original Metroid, but again confronts her in Super Metroid and this time Samus is almost defeated, but the baby Metroid intervenes and brings about Mother Brain's final defeat. It was revealed in Metroid Prime 3 that the Galactic Federation had constructed supercomputers called Auroras, and that there were plans for a "Future Aurora Complex", which appears to be the Mother Brain as depicted in Super Metroid.
A highly radioactive and mutagenic compound, Phazon is a major plot element of the Metroid Prime trilogy. Some decades before Metroid Prime, a Phazon meteorite crashes into Tallon IV. Later, Samus responds to a distress signal from a Space Pirate space station orbiting Tallon IV. Her investigation leads her to the surface of the planet discovering several Space Pirate bases and the Metroid Prime itself. Metroid Prime is a Metroid that has become highly evolved and mutated by Phazon exposure. Though it is defeated by Samus, the creature absorbs her Phazon Suit and copies her genetic code, ultimately becoming Dark Samus, a major antagonist in the Prime series. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes sees Samus fighting against Dark Samus as it attempts to absorb more Phazon to survive on the planet Aether. She also confronts the Ing, a demon-like alien race from Dark Aether, the dark parallel of Aether. Dark Aether and the amorphous Ing that inhabit it were created by a different Phazon meteor impacting an undetermined time ago splitting the planet and its energy in two. Corruption introduced a monster called the "Phaz-Ing" which had similar characteristics to the "Inglet", a member of the Ing race. This brings to question whether the Ing are Phaz-Ing exposed to Dark Energy or previously existed. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is centered around Dark Samus, in conjunction with the Space Pirates, spreading Phazon across the galaxy by infecting planets and several hunters with it, including Samus. Samus's body begins to naturally produce Phazon, but is in danger of corruption because of overexposure. Samus eventually tracks Dark Samus to the planet the compound originated from, Phaaze, and defeats Dark Samus and destroys all Phazon as a result.
In Metroid Fusion Samus faces another opponent, the X-Parasite, a parasitic life-form from planet SR388. These creatures were originally the prey of the Metroids but have now multiplied out of control following the eradication of the Metroids in Metroid II. An X infects Samus but is saved by a vaccine created from the DNA of the Metroid hatchling she spared from Metroid II and Super Metroid. Some of the X infect her suit and become a clone of Samus called the SA-X, which has the same powers and capabilities as Samus at full power and uses these to assist the other X. Although Samus is ordered by the Federation to destroy the X, they secretly desire to capture the creatures for themselves, and intentionally sabotage Samus's mission to keep her from destroying too many of them (a fact that enrages Samus upon her finding out). Samus is able to exterminate all X by destroying SR388 and the space station Fusion takes place on.
The chronology of the Metroid fictional universe does not match the release order of the games. This section lists the games in chronological order, rather than the order of release.Metroid and Metroid: Zero Mission (1986/2004): Samus travels through the caverns of the planet Zebes to stop the Space Pirates from exploiting the Metroid species for galactic domination. She confronts the cybernetic lifeform Mother Brain, as well as its guardians, Kraid and Ridley. In the 2004 remake Metroid: Zero Mission, it is retconned that she was ambushed by Space Pirates after defeating Mother Brain and escaped from Zebes, and her ship crash-lands back on the surface. Stripped of her Power Suit and her ship destroyed, she is forced to infiltrate the Space Pirate mothership to find a way off the planet with only an emergency pistol for protection. After receiving a fully powered suit from deep within the Chozo ruins, she defeats Mecha-Ridley and escapes from the mothership before it self-destructs.Metroid Prime (2002): Approximately six months after the events of Metroid, Samus receives a distress signal in her new ship and travels to Tallon IV to stop the Space Pirates from exploiting a powerful radioactive substance known as Phazon. She discovers that the Chozo once settled on this planet, and their disappearance, as well as the emergence of Phazon, is due to a meteor impacting the planet decades ago. After ruining a Space Pirate mining operation and collecting the twelve Chozo Artifacts that allow access to the sealed impact crater, she confronts, and seemingly destroys Metroid Prime, a Metroid that had been feeding off the Phazon Core of the meteor to increase in size and strength.
|Metroid||Nintendo Entertainment System||If a player completes Metroid Fusion, a copy of the original Metroid will be available to be played in Metroid Prime on the GameCube and as unlockable bonus content in Metroid: Zero Mission. It was also released on the Game Boy Advance as part of the Classic NES Series. On August 13, 2007, Metroid was made available on the Virtual Console.|
|Metroid II: Return of Samus||Game Boy||The first sequel, Metroid II: Return of Samus, caused several changes to the game, including showing Samus' armor upgrades with a bulkier suit instead of a color change, which would become a recurring element of the series. Also, the password system used in the North American release was replaced with Save Modules and cheat codes were also removed. There was discussion after the release of Metroid: Zero Mission that a similar remake of Metroid II would be made, but by then R&D1, who made Zero Mission, had been broken up and absorbed by EAD.|
|Super Metroid||Super Nintendo||Yoshio Sakamoto, director of the original Metroid, held off on participating in making Metroid II to prepare a Metroid sequel for the Super Nintendo that had not yet been approved. The game featured Mode 7 effects, highly original level designs, and high replay value. It was intended by Metroid creator Gunpei Yokoi to be the final game of the series. On August 20, 2007, Super Metroid was made available on the Virtual Console.|
|Metroid Fusion||Game Boy Advance||The game was originally thought to be a remake of Super Metroid. The same team that designed Super Metroid created Metroid Fusion. Fusion was the first Metroid that allowed interaction with the console release (in this case Metroid Prime), allowing the sharing of information to unlock special features in each Metroid game upon completion. The game was also noted for having sharper graphics and more character animations than Super Metroid, which it was compared with.|
|Metroid Prime||GameCube||Retro Studios had been tasked with five projects by Nintendo, all of which floundered and were scrapped to focus on a 3D Metroid. Shigeru Miyamoto became personally involved, scrapped the 3rd person perspective of the game and introduced a first person perspective. When it was reported that Metroid Prime would be a first-person perspective game instead of a side scroller, initial fan reaction was negative, fearing it would be too similar to the game Half-Life and become entirely a shooting game without its puzzle and exploration features.|
|Metroid: Zero Mission||Game Boy Advance||Zero Mission was the first 2D Metroid game to have cinematics sequences and an adjustable difficulty level. The graphical engine of the game was based on Metroid Fusion but was also rebuilt in areas. Also, upon completion of the game, the original Metroid can be played through the extras menu.|
|Metroid Prime Hunters||Nintendo DS||A demo cartridge of Metroid Prime Hunters was included with the launch of the Nintendo DS portable gaming system. Hunters was the first Metroid or Nintendo DS game to allow voice chat between players over the internet.|
|Metroid Prime 2: Echoes||GameCube||Developers noted that the quality and quantity of cinematics was increased over Metroid Prime, and that the audio and visual features had all been redone from Metroid Prime and nothing had been carried over. It was decided after Echoes' release that its difficulty level was too high outside of the boss encounters, which might discourage exploration -- a signature part of the series -- so the difficulty was moderated in the final Metroid Prime game.|
|Metroid Prime Pinball||Nintendo DS||Initial reports of Metroid Prime Pinball's coming release was met with wary reaction, as the company developing the game, Fuse Games, had also made Mario Pinball Land, which had been met with negative reviews.|
|Metroid Prime 3: Corruption||Wii||Metroid Prime 3 is the final game of the Prime trilogy, and was developed by Retro Studios as the previous two had been. They took an extra few months to develop the game to perfect the controls, as they had to be fundamentally redesigned from the GameCube controls.|
In the mid-1980s, Nintendo's Research & Development 1 team started simultaneous development of two games for the Famicom Disk System: Kid Icarus and Metroid. The two games, both released on the same day in 1986, have been called "companion games", as they shared developers and gameplay elements such as the introduction of the game saving password system in the North American release.
Metroid II: Return of Samus was released for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1991 in North America and 1992 in Japan. It was the first game of the Metroid series whose North American release featured a save system, allowing the player to have three separate save files. Metroid II also established the current "look" of Samus Aran and her Power Suit, namely the bulky look of the Varia Suit upgrade and the visual difference between the "Beam Mode" and "Missile Mode" of Samus' arm cannon.
Director Yoshio Sakamoto began planning concepts for Super Metroid in early 1990, but his studio was committed to making another game, so developers from Intelligent Systems were brought in to help complete the game. After Super Metroid's release, there would not be another sequel for eight years. A Nintendo 64 title was considered during the period, but Nintendo "couldn't come up with any concrete ideas". In 1999, Retro Studios, a newly formed second-party developer based in Austin, Texas, was given the project for Metroid Prime. Nintendo rarely allows overseas teams to work on its games but this was one occasion when they allowed a high profile title to be developed by a studio outside of Japan. After it became a top seller on the GameCube, a trilogy was authorized.
Rumors abounded since 2005 about the development of a title called Metroid Dread, supposedly a 2D side-scroller for the Nintendo DS. In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, there is a message in the Metroid breeding zone of the Space Pirate Homeworld on a computer panel that if scanned says "Experiment status report update: Metroid project 'Dread' is nearing the final stages of completion." Developers from Retro Studios gave a full but cryptic denial of any connection with the rumored game, and Nintendo has denied they are making another 2D Metroid title at this time.
Metroid was designed to be a shooting game that combined the platform jumping of Super Mario Bros. with the non-linear exploration of The Legend of Zelda and a distinctly darker aesthetic. Half way through development, one of the staff said to his fellow developers "Hey, wouldn't that be kind of cool if it turned out that this person inside the suit was a woman?", and the idea was accepted. While Alien was never mentioned during development, the team is said to have been influenced by the film's atmosphere, and the series has since been one of their biggest inspirations.
Metroid, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission were all developed by Nintendo's internal R&D1 section. The games which have been developed by separate teams are Metroid II: Return of Samus (Intelligent Systems), Metroid Prime, 2, and 3 (Retro Studios), Metroid Prime Hunters (Nintendo Software Technology Corporation), and Metroid Prime Pinball (Fuse Games). The central figures in the production and development of the Metroid series are Yoshio Sakamoto who has directed or supervised the development of all the games (excluding Metroid II), Gunpei Yokoi who headed the Research & Development 1 team and produced the first three games before his death in 1997, Makoto Kanoh who directed and designed scenarios for the first three games, and Hiroji Kiyotake who designed the characters for the original game. Shigeru Miyamoto, who made the Mario and The Legend of Zelda series, has not been involved with the production of Metroid, but he did act as producer for both Metroid Prime and its sequel.
The original Metroid has been described as being boosted by its "eerie" music, adding a "sense of mystery and exploration" to the game by making the game "moody and atmospheric". IGN praised the well timed music that helped add suspense to the experience. GameSpot described Super Metroid as better than the original "in literally every conceivable way", Metroid Fusion was noted for its "understated score" which fit the mood of the adventure and its excellent stereo sound effects, making it an uncommonly good Game Boy Advance sound experience. Metroid Prime was considered one of the best games ever upon release, winning Game of the Year from various publications and websites. IGN called the aural experience with Metroid Prime 2: Echoes "mesmerizing". Music from Metroid has been frequently re-released as part of "best of" video game music releases. Metroid Primes soundtrack was called the best sound design on the GameCube. The sound effects were also noted for a high degree of accuracy and blending with the soundtrack. On the popular video game music site OverClocked ReMix, Super Metroid is the tied for the tenth most remixed video game, with Metroid tied for twenty-fifth.