Metroids are, what are Metroids?
Many series give themselves a name that can ultimately limit them. Bayonetta can never distance itself from the eponymous main character, Tomb Raider ...
Many series give themselves a name that can ultimately limit them. Bayonetta can never distance itself from the eponymous main character, Tomb Raider will always involve raiding tombs, and so on. Metroid is another one of these series, but it has found unique ways to expand beyond the titular Metroids.
Every game ultimately ends with the extinction of the Metroids, yet they always manage to come back. Until Metroid Dread, where the Metroids are truly gone... and yet they still remain at the center. So let us attempt to gather everything we know about the Metroids and whether this time they are truly gone forever.
Metroid Abilities And Weaknesses
Physically appearing in nearly every Metroid game, the Metroids themselves don't make their appearance until late in the original game. Kidnapped by space pirates to be used as biological weapons, Samus is tasked with eliminating them both, which proves challenging due to the Metroids' unique genetic composition.
In contrast to nearly every other organism in the games, Metroids are immune to all weapons except those based on Aeion energy and extreme cold. For this reason, they must be frozen before they can be harmed, and then they can be shattered with explosive weapons such as missiles.
The reality is that Metroids can only be destroyed by targeting their inner membrane. While this is impossible for most others, it means that infiltrating a Metroid allows for their destruction from the inside out, as Samus sometimes does.
When engaging in combat with Metroids, it is also important to understand what they are capable of when it comes to you. They are a ravenous species and will attempt to devour anything that crosses their path. Regardless of other Metroids, they do not discriminate between targets. They will latch onto any threat and drain the life from them, growing larger and stronger in the process.
Although less common, some Metroids are also capable of harnessing the abilities of those they have drained, such as Dark Samus.
Variations Of Metroids
While we typically encounter Metroids in their fully grown larval stage, in Metroid 2, we see that they are actually destined to grow even larger and acquire new abilities. This growth can only occur on their home planet, SR388. The growth stages are as follows:
- Infant - This is the initial Metroid form after hatching from their eggs. It is similar to the more common Larval form, though much smaller and weaker.
- Larva - This is the form seen in most games where the Metroids have acquired the majority of their intended abilities. They grow much larger and can absorb life energy.
- Alpha - At this point, a Metroid is beginning to grow legs, though has not developed them enough to walk. They can now discharge electricity from their body and have a greater resistance to cold temperatures.
- Gamma - Here, the Metroids insect-like legs have fully developed allowing it to both fly and walk. It also has a much stronger control over its electrical abilities.
- Zeta - The Zeta stage has the Metroid lose its ability to fly altogether and grow more of a theropod look. It is faster than before, and can now utilise both fire and plasma.
- Omega - The Omega stage of Metroid growth has them become fully bipedal. They are now slower than the Zeta stage, but much larger and more powerful with full control over their various abilities.
In other games, additional Metroid variants also appear, mainly in the Prime series, with Dark Samus being the most prominent. Many of these differences, however, are rather minor and enable the Metroids to operate more effectively in their respective environments.
Creation Of The Metroids
As the Metroid games offer very little background story, the history of the Metroids has been pieced together over decades from small hints within the games, as well as information provided by the developers and other extended media. Samus visits SR388 in Metroid 2 to defeat the remaining Metroids before they can escape into the wider universe. As a result, this planet becomes both the birthplace and resting place of the Metroid species.
The Chozo themselves are a mysterious and ambivalent race, and their disappearance from the universe remains a puzzle. However, what is known is that the Chozo once settled on SR388 and encountered the X Parasite, a life form that consumed everything in its path and took control. The Chozo saw this as an obvious threat to their own lives and the preservation of the planet, leading them to create the Metroids.
Although the Metroids were initially successful in their task and nearly eradicated all the X, they soon found themselves without a purpose. This also meant that they lacked a viable food source. While they were programmed to only attack the X, this hunger became an overwhelming impulse, and they began to devour the Chozo as well. This created a conflict within the Chozo - to preserve the Metroids or to destroy them.
The Thoha decided to destroy them by imprisoning them underground and flooding their own cities to wipe them out. However, the Mawkin thwarted these plans by killing the remaining Thoha in order to use the Metroids as weapons of war.
However, they themselves became infected with the X Parasite and had to hide on the planet ZDR. This meant that the Metroids remained untouched until they were discovered by the Galactic Federation and stolen by the space pirates, leading to Samus' future encounters with them.
Samus And Metroids
Samus is now literally inseparably connected to the Metroids. From her first encounter with them to their near complete extermination, she is both physically and emotionally shaped by them. After Samus' family was killed by the space pirates, she was rescued by the Chozo and infused with Chozo DNA to enable her survival and life within Chozo society. Although limited, this also granted her a certain resistance to the Metroids themselves.
Samus' first encounter with the Metroids took place during her mission on Zebes, where she fought against them inside the space pirate's spaceship. Although the mission culminated in a battle against Mother Brain, the resulting explosion destroyed nearly all the Metroids that were brought to the planet Zebes.
Throughout the Prime series, Samus also encounters various Metroids, including the eponymous Metroid Prime, which later transforms into Dark Samus through copying and merges with Phazon. Samus ultimately defeats Dark Samus and many of the other Metroids in the trilogy, thereby demonstrating that only a few of them remain in the universe.
Dark Samus emerged from the defeat of Metroid Prime, assuming the form of Samus herself during that encounter and becoming further infused with Phazon.
In an attempt to eradicate them once and for all, Samus was sent to the Metroid homeworld, SR388. Here, Samus effectively destroys the majority of the Metroids. Except for one. As a result of this mission, the Metroids were no longer able to reproduce, though it would prove to be a double-edged sword to save even this one Metroid hatchling.
It would save her for the first time during her second mission on Zebes, by assisting her in defeating the rebuilt Mother Brain. When the Galactic Federation learned about the X Parasites, Samus was dispatched to eradicate them but ultimately became their victim. Knowing her vulnerability to the Metroids, Samus was merged with the remains of the Metroid hatchling she had saved, transforming herself into a Metroid hybrid form.
We see the culmination of this in Metroid Dread, where Samus goes to ZDR and encounters the war-torn Mawkin tribe of Chozo, all of whom are infected with the X Parasite. Through fusion with a Metroid, she gains the natural ability to absorb X, but as we see in her final encounter with Raven Beak, she herself becomes a new kind of Metroid.
Due to her Chozo DNA, she can partially control this, although it cannot be denied that Samus is now herself a Metroid.
Are The Metroids Really Extinct?
The biggest question for most people after the end of a Metroid game is whether the Metroids have actually been eradicated or not. Usually, we have seen that this is not the case. Samus defeats them in the original game, they reappear in Metroid 2. Then again in Super Metroid and once more in Metroid Fusion after being replicated by the Galactic Federation as a nuclear deterrent. However, Metroid Dread seems to be different.
It is important to note from the beginning that the Metroid Prime games have taken place between Metroid and Metroid 2, which means that Metroids will still exist in the universe until a point surpassing that timeframe. Therefore, Metroid Prime 4 could once again feature Metroids, and it is likely that they will be extinct again by the end of the game.
In terms of the timeline, however, Dread is the most recent point. And throughout the entire game, no traditional Metroids appear.
So, are they extinct then? Well, no. Samus herself is now a Metroid, and after realizing this unknowingly during her last encounter with Raven Beak, she now poses a threat. In the end, she returns to normalcy through the guidance of Adam, but that power still resides within her, meaning the Metroids can return at any time as long as she is alive.