Samus Aran is the bounty hunter
behind the power suit
series of video games. Her first appearance was in 1986 in the original Metroid
for the Nintendo Entertainment System
and Famicom Disk System
. Raised on the planet Zebes
in peaceful times by the ancient Chozo
race, Samus was infused with Chozo
blood at a young age and given a special power suit
that bestowed upon her fierce weaponry
and amazing agility
. The saga of Samus is told out of order from the actual release order of the various Metroid
titles, leading to some confusion if you're not paying attention. Player took control of the character and spent the entire game exploring the planet Zebes
and battling Mother Brain
's Space Pirate minions, Kraid
, without knowing the true identity of the person behind the armor. Finally, at the end of the game, the power suit came off to reveal that Samus was, in fact, a woman! Granted, this is not exactly an earth-shattering revelation as there are plenty of video game heroines in this day and age, but at the time it was quite the shocker for most players. Until this point the majority of video game females were princesses
held captive who had to be rescued by male character
s. A special password, JUSTIN BAILEY
, enables players to take control of Samus without her power suit
. The 2004 Game Boy Advance
release Metroid: Zero Mission
retells this story and provides some new plot developments that were withheld
from the original game. In the revision Samus defeats the Mother Brain
and escapes from the exploding compound as before, but must then leave her damaged power suit behind and explore the Space Pirate's mothership armed with only a stun gun in order to recover a spare power suit left behind by the Chozo
Nintendo and development house Retro Studios brought us Metroid Prime for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002. Following her escape from Zebes, Samus journeyed to the planet Tallon IV where the Space Pirates were conducting research on infusing the deadly Metroid parasites with an unstable mutagenic elements known as phazon. This was Samus's first first-person-adventure game, leaving the world of 2D side scrollers behind and entering the world of 3D exploration. As she explored the wastelands of Tallon IV, Samus discovered the horrifying results of the pirates' work: the Metroid Prime. Destroying it in a frenzy of weapons fire, Samus left the planet for her next mission.
In 1991's Metroid II: The Return of Samus for the Game Boy Samus traveled to the planet SR388 on a mission to destroy each and every Metroid living on the planet. Working her way through the planet's caverns, she destroyed each and every last Metroid, including the Metroid Queen. In the end only a single Metroid larva remained, and just as Samus was about to destroy it, the larva became a fully-formed baby Metroid. The baby imprinted onto Samus, believing her to be its mother. Samus was swayed by emotion and could not bring herself to destroy it, the last of its kind. Instead she chose to capture and deliver it to a nearby orbiting research station.
Shortly after leaving the Metroid the science team, Samus received a distress call from the station. She returned, only to find all personnel dead and the facility in ruins. An old foe from her first Zebes adventure, Ridley, appeared and kidnapped the Metroid, leading Samus back to Zebes and a rebuilt Space Pirate compound and the start of 1994's Super Nintendo Entertainment System extravaganza, Super Metroid. Zebes had grown from Samus's last visit, although the basic lay of the land remained the same for much of the compound. It was even possible to visit the remains of the previous Mother Brain battle! Working her way through the compound (and against Kraid and Ridley again) Samus finally came to the reborn Mother Brain's central command station, Tourian. On her way to the final battle, Samus came across some of the Space Pirates' minions that had been turned to dust, the life force literally sucked out of them. Just before reaching the final target, Samus came across the baby Metroid... although the pirates' phazon experiments had mutated it, causing it to become over ten times its original size. The now-giant parasite latched on to Samus and began to drain away her own life force, but stopped just short of killing her. Recognizing Samus as its mother, it released her and let her continue on her way. During the climactic battle with a now-bipedal Mother Brain, the hatchling observed the evil brain on the verge of destroying Samus, and it swooped in and attempted to suck the life out of Samus's foe. Mother Brain didn't take kindly to this and destroyed the baby, thus eradicating the Metroid species. The baby's final act was to revive a seriously injured Samus, who then went on to destroy Mother Brain once and for all. Samus then escaped from Zebes once again, and this time the entire planet exploded following the detonation of the self-destruct mechanism.
Samus was called upon to return once again to SR388 sometime later to gather samples on the planet's post-Metroid-infestation ecosystem. While on the planet she was overwhelmed by a new threat, the X Virus, that had previously been held at bay by its natural predator: the Metroid. Near death due to viral infection, researchers at the science lab were able to save Samus's life, but not without some consequences. Her old power suit had to be cut off of her body and kept isolated, as the X Virus had contaminated its systems. Samus herself was saved only by an infusion with Metroid DNA. She lives, but is now genetically part Metroid. As such, she no longer eats and drinks, but absorbs energy directly from beings around her, much like the Metroid itself. As such, she also derives energy by absorbing instances of the X Virus, but has also picked up the Metroid's prime weakness: exposure to ice severely injures her. While Samus recovered from her ordeal, her damaged power suit was sent to a research station in orbit of SR388 where the X Virus interfaced with the suit and became sentient. Becoming a physical manifestation of Samus from the end of the events in Super Metroid, this copy of the famous bounty hunter (dubbed the SA-X) used the abilities of the suit to free the other samples of the X Virus held at the station, which brings us to the events of the 2002 Game Boy Advance release Metroid Fusion. Now immune to the deadly effects of the X Virus, Samus was given a new power suit designed to interface with her altered physiology and was sent to the research station to destroy the SA-X and destroy the remaining X Virus samples. All the while that Samus stalked the SA-X, the SA-X was stalking her. Armed with an ice beam of its own, the evil Samus took every chance to try and destroy the real bounty hunter, but eventually failed and chose to bond with Samus to wipe out a new threat; the researchers aboard the station had been working on a secret project to clone new Metroids from the same DNA that had saved Samus. These new Metroids were to be used as weapons, much the same way the Space Pirates had been planning to use the parasites to their own advantage. Samus and the SA-X bonded, granting Samus the power to destroy the powerful Omega Metroid blocking the escape path from the deteriorating space station.
Aside from the official storyline behind the Metroid series, Samus has made several cameos in other Nintendo titles over the years. She is a playable character in both 1999's Nintendo 64 fighting game Super Smash Bros. and 2001's Nintendo GameCube sequel Super Smash Bros. Melee, plus she appeared in a brief shooter segment in 1995's Galactic Pinball for the Virtual Boy. Nonplayable cameo appearances include Super Mario RPG, Tetris for the NES, F-1 Race, Kirby's Dream Land 3, and Kirby Super Star. With the exception of characters from the Super Mario Bros. franchise, Samus is the only Nintendo character to appear on each of the company's consoles in some fashion, be it starring role or cameo.
This ends Samus Aran's story for the time being, although with the recent revitalization of the Metroid saga (three of the six games in the series were released in the past two years), it is certain that we have not seen the last of Samus Aran.