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Metroid (series)

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.

Common gameplay elements

The Metroid series contains gameplay elements from shooter, platforming, and adventure games. The games are notable for their non-linear progression and solitary exploration format where the player only controls Samus Aran, with few or no other characters to interact with. The series has been a 2D side scroller in all its incarnations until the Metroid Prime series changed the format to a first-person perspective, leading to a strong first-person shooter element while still retaining its adventure and exploration features. The player gains items and power-ups for Samus' cybernetic suit by defeating alien creatures through real-time combat with her arm cannon, which enables further exploration. One frequently recurring upgrade is the Morph Ball which allows Samus to curl into a ball, roll into tight places and plant bombs. Metroid was also one of the first video games to feature an exploration to the left as well as the right, and backtracking to already explored areas to search for secret items and paths. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is the first game in the Metroid series to use extensive voice acting; however, Samus remains a silent protagonist. There is very little story explanation in the first few Metroid games, although more backstory was introduced in Super Metroid with its opening narration, and the Prime series with the scanning visor that allows the player to read information on walls and computer terminals.

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.

Recurring characters

Protagonists

The heroine, Samus Aran, after the murder of her parents by Ridley and the Space Pirates, is raised by an alien race called the Chozo. To help her survive their planet's climate, they infused her with their blood, which also improved her physical abilities. She was trained by the Chozo to become a warrior, and they even designed a powerful exoskeleton to assist her efforts to protect the galaxy. Other versions of her story have that she is an officer in the Galactic Federation Police Force. Graduating first in her class, Samus also completes the training course in record time and becomes the youngest officer ever promoted to the elite Startracker Squad, and is equipped by the Federation with her weapons and "cybernetic super powers".

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.

Antagonists

The eponymous in-game Metroids are large jellyfish-like creatures with quadripartite nuclei. They are capable of siphoning an undetectable life energy from any animal, generally causing the death of the victim in the process. This energy can also be siphoned from the Metroid in turn, allowing it to be used as a living power source. The original Metroid establishes that exposure to beta rays would cause them to multiply very quickly. Metroid II: Return of Samus established a five-stage life cycle in which those Metroids native to SR-388 go through two stages of ecdysis followed by two stages of mutation, thus maturing through five previously unknown forms: Alpha, Gamma, Zeta, Omega, and Queen. Metroid Prime introduced three new, Phazon-mutated forms: Hunter Metroids, Fission Metroids, and Metroid Prime itself. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has a Phazon-mutated strain of Metroid, the Tallon Metroid. Instead of siphoning all of their power from victims, they can feed directly off Phazon. They are born as Infant Metroids from cocoons and mature into adulthood when exposed to Phazon. The game also introduces Dark Tallon Metroids, Tallon Metroids corrupted by the Ing. In Metroid Prime 3, three new mutations of Metroid appear: Phazon Metroid, which is almost exactly like a common Metroid, except that it is capable of phasing in and out of local timespace; Hopping Metroid, which cannot hover, phase out of local timespace, or drain energy, but can fight using its claws as melee weapons and armor for defense; and the Metroid Hatcher, a boss which can float and spawn Phazon Metroids, but cannot phase out of local timespace. A Metroid appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an Assist Trophy character.

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.

Story

The ten games in the Metroid series focus on the adventures of Samus Aran and her assignments to wipe out threats to the Galactic Federation presented by the Space Pirates and their attempts to harness various biological weapons such as the Metroids and Phazon.

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 Prime Pinball (2005): Not a separate canon game in the Metroid storyline but actually retells the story of the original Metroid Prime in pinball format.Metroid Prime Hunters (2006): When the Federation receives an unusual telepathic message, Samus is sent to the remote Alimbic Cluster in the Tetra Galaxy to uncover the rumored "Ultimate Power." Six rival bounty hunters that also heard the message actively attempt to secure the power before anyone else, including Samus. It transpires that the promise of ultimate power was actually a lie sent by the creature Gorea, sealed away by the Alimbics in a void between dimensions. Gorea attacks and sucks the energy and weapons from the hunters. After killing Gorea, Samus and the other hunters escape the cluster, empty handed, but alive.Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (2004): Samus is sent to investigate the planet Aether after a squad of GF Marines was lost there. Samus finds them all dead, killed by several creatures, most by an evil race called the Ing. The Ing possess life forms, transforming them into monstrous "dark" versions of their former selves to wage war with Aether's dominant race, the Luminoth. Upon meeting the only remaining member of Luminoth (the others are frozen in stasis chambers, awaiting the destruction of the Ing), Samus learns Aether has been split into two dimensions by a meteor similar to the one that crashed on Tallon IV. Samus agrees to assist by recovering Aether's planetary energy (the Light of Aether) from Dark Aether and therefore putting an end to Dark Aether and the Ing; however, Samus yet again encounters Metroid Prime, a heavily mutated being who had copied Samus' genetic code and stolen her Phazon suit at the end of her Tallon IV adventure, now in the form of Dark Samus.Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (2007): Space Pirates shut down Galactic Federation computer systems and then engage in large scale combat in an attempt to further spread Phazon. Enormous Phazon-based seedships, known as Leviathans, impact planets and begin corrupting them with Phazon. Samus is charged with destroying the 'Phazon Seeds' and restoring functionality to the Federation's computer network. After purging three planets of Phazon (including the Space Pirate homeworld), the Federation locates the source of Phazon, planet Phaaze, which is made entirely of Phazon. As the Federation engages the Space Pirates in orbit, Samus enters the depths of the planet, and succeeds at finally destroying Dark Samus and Phazon once and for all.Metroid II: Return of Samus (1991): The Galactic Federation deems the Metroid species too dangerous to exist, and after their own failed attempts, employs Samus to travel to the Metroid homeworld, SR388, and exterminate the entire species. After killing every Metroid (among them Alpha, Gamma, Zeta, and Omega Metroids) and the Queen Metroid, Samus finds an unhatched egg behind the Queen Metroid's chamber. Before Samus fires on the Metroid egg, an infant Metroid hatches and believes Samus to be its mother. Helping her escape back to her ship, it is handed over by Samus to the research station, Ceres, for study.Super Metroid (1994): Before the scientists can conduct extensive research, Samus receives a distress signal from the research lab. She returns just in time to catch Ridley stealing the hatchling, having killed all of the scientists. She then follows Ridley to the rebuilt base on Zebes to stop the Space Pirates in their new plan to clone the Metroids and use them as a weapon. She kills the reborn versions of Ridley and Kraid, as well as new guardians Phantoon and Draygon, to confront Mother Brain once again. Samus is nearly killed in the battle, but is saved, and her suit supercharged, by the Metroid hatchling, shortly before Mother Brain kills it. Samus proceeds to destroy Mother Brain, and once again escapes Zebes during a countdown to an explosion. This time, the entire planet explodes, taking with it the few remaining cloned Metroids.Metroid Fusion (2002): While acting as a bodyguard for researchers on the planet SR388, Samus is infected by a native creature known as the X Parasite, originally the prey of the Metroid species. Doctors surgically remove portions of her Power Suit and cured the X infection with a vaccine created from the DNA of the baby Metroid from her previous adventure. The vaccine not only allowed her to survive the parasites, but to absorb them to power up her energy and weapons. She is then sent to investigate a disturbance at the Biologic Space Labs research station. Here, the researchers had attempted to contain the infected Power Suit as well as a number of creature specimens taken from SR388. It is revealed that not only have the specimens been carriers of the X parasite, but an X mimicking Samus, nicknamed the SA-X, has taken control of Samus's old suit. The SA-X methodically breaks into different parts of the station to allow the X parasites to infect the entire station. While trying to destroy the rapidly multiplying X as well as clones of the SA-X, Samus discovers a secret Federation Metroid breeding program. The Federation intends this for peaceful purposes and plans to capture the SA-X and conduct research on her. Realizing the threat this would pose, Samus' shipboard computer, Adam, suggests that she self-destruct the station, as well as alter its propulsion to intercept with SR388 and destroy the planet as well to finally wipe out the X and Metroid populations. Samus is confronted by one of the SA-X, which she defeats, but the parasite escapes. After changing the station's propulsion to intercept with SR388, and activating the self-destruct cycle, Samus races back to her ship. Once there, she encounters an Omega Metroid combating the weakened SA-X she had fought earlier. The SA-X is quickly destroyed by the Metroid, and Samus absorbs the SA-X parasite to use her regained weapons to destroy the Omega Metroid and leave the station before it explodes. Having gone against their wishes and halting their plans, Samus' future relationship with the Federation is uncertain.

Games

Title Year Platform Notes
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.

Development

History

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.

Creation and design

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.

Audio

The Metroid series has been noted and praised for its unique style of video game music. Hirokazu 'Hip' Tanaka, composer of the original Metroid, has said he wanted to make a score that made players feel like they were encountering a "living organism" and had no distinction between music and sound effects. The only time the main Metroid theme was heard was once Mother Brain was defeated, giving the victorious player a catharsis. At all other times, no melodies are present in the game. The composer of Super Metroid, Kenji Yamamoto came up with some of the games' themes by singing them while riding his motorcycle. He was asked to compose the music for Metroid Prime to reinforce the series' continuity. Metroid Prime's Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound was designed by a member of Dolby Digital. Developers from Retro Studios noted how the process of fitting all the sound effects and music for Metroid Prime in 6 MB of space was crucial in producing a quality soundtrack, as each sound had to be of very high quality to be included. Composer Kenji Yamamoto utilizes heavy drums, piano, voiced chants, clangs of pipes, and electric guitar. Metroid Prime 3 took advantage of the increase in the amount of RAM that took place when the series switched from the GameCube to the Wii; this allowed for higher quality audio samples to be used and thus a better overall audio quality. Kenji Yamamoto, who composed the music to Super Metroid and the Prime trilogy, copied the musical design of the original Metroid in Metroid Prime 3, by keeping the music and themes dark and scary until the very end, when uplifting music is played during the credits.

In other media

Characters and elements from the Metroid series have appeared in different mediums. Samus has appeared in Nintendo games such as Super Mario RPG, Tetris (Nintendo Entertainment System version), Tetris DS, Galactic Pinball, Kirby Super Star, and WarioWare. Several characters and game environments have appeared in the Super Smash Bros. series. Samus is a playable character in all three Super Smash Bros. games. Super Smash Bros. Brawl, also features Zero Suit Samus, a version of the heroine using the blue form-fitting suit seen in Zero Mission and the Prime series. Ridley makes cameos in Super Smash Bros., where he can be seen flying through the level Zebes, and in Super Smash Bros. Melee both as a unlockable trophy and in the game's opening, where he is fighting Samus at Ceres Space Station. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Ridley, in both normal and Meta Ridley forms, appears as a boss character. Kraid also appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee as a stage hazard in Brinstar Depths and unlockable trophy. Comics and manga have been made for various magazines based on Metroid, Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, and Metroid: Zero Mission in both the United States and Japan. Samus Aran and other Metroid characters also feature in the Captain N: The Game Master comic books by Valiant Comics. Mother Brain was also the main villain in the Captain N: The Game Master TV show. Metroids were an enemy encountered by Pit (Nintendo) in the NES game Kid Icarus. Six short "E-comics" were created to chronicle Samus' life and were published by Kodachi.

Live-action movie

In 2003, two producers optioned the rights to create a movie based on Metroid, but the rights expired. Lion Rock Productions reacquired the rights a few years later, and Lion Rock Productions was to produce and release before 2006, but has been either canceled or remains in development hell. On April 1, 2005, IGN posted an April Fool's Day article reporting critically panned director Uwe Boll would be directing the Metroid movie, with Samus being portrayed by Michelle Rodriguez, who stated the Nintendo GameCube is for kids.

Reception

Aggregate review scores
Game Metacritic Game Rankings
Metroid (GBA re-release)
58 out of 100
62%
Metroid II: Return of Samus
80%
Super Metroid
96%
Metroid Fusion
92 out of 100
91%
Metroid Prime
97 out of 100
96%
Metroid: Zero Mission
89 out of 100
90%
Metroid Prime Hunters
85 out of 100
84%
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
92 out of 100
92%
Metroid Prime Pinball
79 out of 100
81%
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
90 out of 100
90%
The series has been highly praised by critics, being ranked by IGN as the eighth best franchise ever. In 2001, Electronic Gaming Monthly chose Super Metroid as the best game ever. The Metroid games have since appeared in other "best game" lists, with all games released up to 2005 included in a Nintendo Power "Top 200 Nintendo Games list", Prime in the IGN top 100, Metroid, Super Metroid, Prime and Echoes in a list by GameFAQs users; Metroid and Super Metroid in Game Informers list; and Prime and Super Metroid in Edges list. The series has been influential in many other games, including Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The games have also sold very well, with Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion, Metroid Prime, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption exceeding one million copies sold. Some characters have received their own reception. Ridley was the number two most requested Nintendo character by IGN and number one by the fans to be added as a playable character to the Super Smash Bros. series and Mother Brain has been commonly ranked among the all-time best video game bosses.

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.

References

External links

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