The Metroid series has seen rather sporadic representation in Super Smash Brothers. It’s no wonder why, as Metroid is a major series that has seen several dips and rises in it’s popularity over the years, making it the type of series that can see content just as easily removed as added. This article will examine just how the representation of the series has changed over each installments as well as the reasoning behind each addition.
The first game in the series, Super Smash Brothers, began Metroid representation with the inclusion of series protagonist Samus Aran and a stage based on the Brinstar area of Super Metroid, Planet Zebes. It’s worth noting that Metroid was on a five year hiatus at the time, given that the last game in the series, Super Metroid, had been released in 1994. Super Smash Brothers ended up being the only game on the Nintendo 64 to include Metroid content in any way.
Samus herself in Super Smash Brothers was influenced by her Super Metroid incarnation, possessing the Charge Shot and Grapple Beam, all powerups introduced in said game in addition to the already established Morph Ball and Screw Attack. This, along with missles (an item which debuted in the original NES game) being added as a side special in Melee, became her staple moveset for all future titles. Samus’ Power Suit up until Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U was based on the Super Metroid design as well, which has been the Varia Suit in all appearances.
The music that plays on Planet Zebes is a remix of the Brinstar area from the original Metroid on the NES.
When Super Smash Brothers Melee rolled along, Metroid was still without a new game, extending the series’ hiatus to seven years. New Metroid games, Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime, were under development but would have no input on Samus or the Metroid franchise representation in Melee.
New content introduced in Melee
Samus was updated for Melee, including a change to her Missile attack; inputting the command like a smash attack causes a Super Missile to be fired, which doesn’t have homing and moves in a straight line but is faster and does more damage.
Trophies, introduced in Melee, were collectibles that showed the lore of characters or objects within the universes featured in Super Smash Brothers. Ten trophies represent Metroid in Melee. Most of these trophies are taken from the original Metroid, however Metroid II is represented via the Samus’ Gunship trophy and an allusion to Super Metroid is made in the description of recurring villain Ridley’s trophy. Ridley would also famously appear in the game’s intro cinematic. The space dragon’s design takes inspiration from his Super Metroid appearance.
Items were expanded upon in Melee, and Metroid received its first item in the form of the Screw Attack. This item is a badge that when equipped causes a character to deal damage by jumping next to an opponent, akin to the powerup from Super Metroid onward.
Metroid’s stage lineup was also expanded from the original and now consisted of a redesign of Planet Zebes simply titled Brinstar and a second, new stage, known as Brinstar Depths. Brinstar, as the spiritual successor to the original Planet Zebes stage, features a nearly identical layout; aside from the visuals, the only real difference to this stage is that parts of the stage can be damaged by players attacks. Destroying these can cause the elevated platforms to rise upwards to steep angles and the big lower platform to break apart into two. A large creature, unidentified appears in the background, shaking whenever the lava comes up to it.
Brinstar Depths is essentially a giant, craggy, circular mass of rock that floats above lava, and the stage is routinely rotated by the gigantic lizard Kraid in the background. The latter’s design is also lifted from Super Metroid.
For both tracks, individual remixes of Brinstar are used. Brinstar uses an updated remix of Super Smash Brothers’ Brinstar track, while Brinstar Depths uses a new track of the same name, remixed from Kraid’s Lair in the original Metroid.
Super Smash Brothers Brawl was released in 2008, and by that time, Metroid had gained a substantial amount of popularity primarily stemming from the first two critically acclaimed Metroid Prime titles, both released for the Nintendo GameCube. This popularity is likely the main reason Metroid got the amount of content it did in Brawl.
Perhaps the most significant inclusion to Brawl, Metroid-wise, was the addition of a second character, Zero Suit Samus, to the playable roster. As the name implies, Zero Suit Samus is Samus Aran without her Power Suit which allowed for a faster gameplay style focused on acrobatics rather than raw firepower, creating a contrast between the two Samus characters. Samus could revert to Zero Suit Samus by using her new Final Smash, the Zero Laser(an original move created for Smash), which causes her armor to break and change form. This is also possible by holding down certain buttons (this combination changed depending on the player’s control scheme) during the character selection which causes the change from the beginning. The Zero Suit itself made its debut in the 2004 Gameboy Advance title, Metroid: Zero Mission, although the ability to play as Samus sans Power Suit dates back to the release of the original Metroid on the NES/Famicom.
As we’ve covered before, Ridley has been seen in every generation of Smash game since the original, but Brawl is arguably where the space dragon got the most exposure. For the new Subspace Emissary mode, Ridley became a boss character twice in both his original and Meta Ridley forms, the latter from Metroid Prime, where he was a robotized form of Ridley. Appropriately, Ridley also receives two trophies based on these forms. It is worth noting that Metroid is the only represented franchise to feature more than one boss fight.
Metroid was represented noticeably better in Brawl than any other entry in the series. 27 trophies represent the series in Brawl, of which 15 are exclusively from the Prime subseries, including Prime, Echoes, and Hunters. Metroid would also receive an Assist Trophy in the form of the eponymous Metroid. Assist Trophies are new items introduced in Brawl that will summon assorted video game characters to (hopefully) aid you in battle. Metroid also has 29 stickers representing every game in the series including the Metroid Prime Pinball spinoff(except the original Prime), a Brawl only collectible, in the game.
Given the amount of games represented in Brawl, the musical variety was also stepped up. Remixes based on Sector 1 from Fusion, Ridley’s Super Metroid theme, the NES Metroid ending theme, Norfair, and Super Metroid’s opening surfaced in addition to the music from Melee. With the introduction of the Metroid Prime subseries, music from both console games were featured with the Parasite Queen, Meta Ridley and Main Menu themes from Prime and the multiplayer theme from Echoes.
Brinstar returns from Melee, and Metroid receives two additional stages. The first, Frigate Orpheon, is representative of even more Metroid Prime content. The area is a recreation of the first area Samus explores in the original Metroid Prime, complete with the trapped Parasite Queen in the background.
The second stage is Norfair. Norfair is a simple stage with five platforms shaped in a “v” pattern. What is unique about this stage is that lava can encroach from several different areas, effectively making your fighting space smaller. Additionally, “bubble doors” occasionally appear that can be attacked and hidden in to avoid the lava flow. These doors are designed after the locked door found in the Metroid Universe.
At the time of Super Smash Brothers for 3DS/Wii U’s development, Metroid was in a second hiatus following the release of Metroid: Other M, a game which was not as well received as the Prime games. As a result of this, most of the Metroid content in both versions was changed to reflect Other M, including both Samus’ designs, and which notably resulted in a dramatic change in content.
As one of Metroid’s key element in Smash throughout the entries, Ridley understandably returned to the newest entry in a role reminiscent of his previous Brawl role by being one of three new boss hazards in the Wii U version of the game on the new Pyrosphere stage. Ridley’s design in this game as well as his attack patterns are borrowed from Other M. The powerup Ridley activates when absorbing energy from the sides of the stage is somewhat based on Other M as well; the main difference being that Ridley could activate this naturally[5:40 in the linked video]. It was erroneously referred to as ‘Meta Ridley’ during the 50 Fact Extravaganza, when in reality it has no established name whatsoever and Meta Ridley is an established form of Ridley that appears in the Prime subseries.
Downgrade of Prime content from Brawl
Likely due to the aforementioned hiatus and Other M being the more recent game in the series, there was a noticeable absence of almost all content related to Prime. 13 trophies from the Prime series were removed with the only exceptions being the Dark Suit from Echoes and the Dark Samus trophy which received a new look resembling her Corruption incarnation. All Prime related music tracks with the exception of the main menu theme from Prime 1 were left intact, but notably the subseries received an additional song from Hunters, that being Psycho Bits. This is an odd move considering there are more notable songs to include from both Corruption and within Hunters itself. No stages related to the Prime sub-series were introduced, and Frigate Orpheon would not make a return.
Other (M) content
As stated, the bulk of content in Super Smash Brothers for 3DS/Wii U mostly reflects the latest game at the current point in time, Other M. 10 new trophies explicitly represent said game, and in total 27 trophies are based on it. 34 trophies represent Metroid as a whole between both versions. Aside from trophies, Metroid received a new stage, the Pyrosphere area from Other M. This acts as a stage home to Ridley as a boss hazard, and three enemies from Other M appear as regular hazards on the stage.
Ironically, Other M only has three music tracks to it’s name: Nemesis Ridley, Lockdown Battle Theme and The Burning Lava Fish.
Oddly enough, Metroid received two new assist trophies that had nothing to do with Other M. The trophies are of Mother Brain in her original Metroid/Super Metroid appearance and Dark Samus in her Metroid Prime 3: Corruption incarnation. Both characters act much like they do in their source games. Mother Brain fires a laser from her eye akin to Super Metroid while being guarded by Rinkas (energy circles) and Dark Samus uses three attacks from her Corruption movepool. The Metroid assist trophy also makes a return.
With the amount of available palettes available for characters, Zero Suit Samus, in addition to recolors gained new alternate costumes based on her appearance in the endings of Zero Mission and Fusion, which are orange and blue top and shorts. Samus in her Power Suit retained the original 4 colors she had, with new palettes based on the Gravity Suit, Light Suit from Echoes and Dark Samus being added. An additional original green palette was added, not based on any suit but referred to as “Mass Produced Samus” on the original Super Smash brothers website.
Both versions of the game received a returning stage. The 3DS features Brinstar making its third appearance in the Smash franchise, and the Wii U is home to Norfair.
Smash Run Enemies
Smash Run, a new mode exclusive to the 3DS, finds players battling against an army of different enemies from Smash’s many franchises. Metroid is well represented here, with Kihunter, Metroid, Reo, and Geemer all being featured.
As of this article, Metroid has resurfaced from its 5 year hiatus with the announcement of Metroid Prime Federation Force, however said game is facing intense criticism at the present time. As for Smash, however, it’s impossible to know what direction it will go. We have covered the possibilities for DLC from the series in this incarnation of Smash, but those are unlikely possibilities. Perhaps in the next Smash game Metroid will receive some more attention.