Character RETROspect

Samus Aran: Part I

The feeling of emptiness – I assume most of us have felt this at some point in our lives, but the character of Samus Aran may be an individual that feels a level of emptiness that we will never experience; Samus must consistently endure a never-ending onslaught of enemies whilst being completely on her own traversing distant planets.

Samus is the focus this week in Character RETROspect as we take a look at her origins, as well as her earlier missions.

Chapter 20: The Orphan Turned Hunter

Before I start off this RETROspect, I’m going to be frank for a second (insert Garth joke from Wayne’s World II) — possibly the most shocking discovery in the early days of the NES just so happens to be the reveal that Samus Aran is, in fact, a female. While the U.S. instruction manual tried to trick us into believing that Samus was a dude, those with the password “Justin Bailey,” or those who beat the game in under an hour, would be awarded with the luxury of finding out that Samus was actually quite the looker in a bikini.

Origins and Early Missions

After a raid on the Earth colony K-2L, Samus was orphaned when a Space Pirate attack led by Ridley, the leader of the Space Pirate military, destroyed the colony and killed her parents. Samus was adopted by a bird-like and technologically superior race known as the Chozo, who infused their DNA into Samus’ own blood, and trained her to become a warrior of their people on the planet Zebes. The Chozo also gave Samus her trademark suit during this time as well.

Metroid/Zero Mission

Metroid’s Title Screen on the NES

The Galactic Federation has hired Samus to eliminate lifeforms known as Metroids, who are thought to be used as a weapon by the Space Pirates that have established a base on the planet Zebes. Samus defeats a member of the Space Pirate military, Kraid, in the Brinstar region of Zebes, and Ridley, who’s hideout was located in the Norfair region of Zebes. After the two members of the Space Pirate military are taken care of, Samus has access to the Tourian region where Mother Brain, an artificial intelligence life-form that has become the leader of the entire Space Pirate organization, is located.


Metroid Prime – The Tallon IV Incident

Metroid Prime’s Cover Art

Upon receiving a distress signal from an unidentified vessel, Samus tracks it down and discovers that it’s a Space Pirate vessel, the Frigate Orpheon, which is in orbit about the planet Tallon IV. Traveling through the vessel — which was once used to perform experiments on life forms using Phazon (an extremely toxic organic substance) — Samus comes into contact with a Parasite Queen, and after its defeat, it falls down the reactor core section of the vessel, causing the destruction of the warship.

While in the midst of her escape from the descending vessel, Samus meets Meta Ridley, who is the now cybernetic version of Ridley, and she pursues him to the surface of Tallon IV. Exploring her new surroundings, Samus finds out that the planet is on its deathbed thanks to the large Phazon meteor that has impacted the planet, and which has also destroyed a thriving Chozo civilization on the planet.

Samus also finds out that the Space Pirates are attempting to mine the Phazon from the planet and use it for their own evil agenda. Not one to let the Space Pirates get their way, Samus defeats Meta Ridley and finds out the source of the Phazon, which is actually a being known as Metroid Prime (a phazon mutated metroid). Nearing the end of the battle between Samus and Metroid Prime, the mutated metroid grabs hold of Samus and rips off her Phazon Suit (which leads to it eventually becoming the being, Dark Samus), but Samus escapes from the planet anyways.

Metroid Prime Hunters

Metroid Prime Hunters Cover Art

The Galactic Federation has received a telepathic message that says that the “ultimate power can be found in the Alimbic Cluster,” and they ask Samus to investigate this “power.” If this ultimate power cannot be obtained by Samus, she is directed to destroy it so that there is no possibility of it falling into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, several other bounty hunters have intercepted this message and speed off to the Alimbic Cluster.

While navigating through the ancient ruins of the Alimbic civilization, Samus learns of their history and uses their abandoned technology to gather Octoliths, large crystals used to power the Alimbic Cannon. Despite all of the warnings she had come across, and especially how dangerous the creature known as Gorea (who is the one that sent out the message) is, Samus still uses the Octoliths to open up the Infinity Void, a dimensional rift in which Gorea was sealed in the ship, The Oubliette.

Samus enters the prison of Gorea and finds the other bounty hunters that are after the ultimate power already battling the creature, and she watches as their suit powers are absorbed by Gorea. Samus then battles the now super-charged Gorea and defeats the creature with the Omega Cannon (the ultimate power). With the Oubliette exploding around Samus and the other hunters, they apparently escape the ship and live to hunt another day. Samus — in a vision — encounters three Alimbic beings that salute her for destroying Gorea, and when the vision is over, Samus returns to her ship.

And this is where we will cut off the RETROspect this week, and next time we’ll pick right back up with the events of Metroid Prime 2: Dark Echoes to see what type of darkness truly is in store for Samus.