Metroid Dread’s backstory: Everything you need to know before you play

Metroid DreadThe first 2D Metroid Metroid game ever released Metroid Fusion in 2002, and since it’s a direct story sequel to FusionEven Metroid enthusiasts may find it difficult to remember the basics. Alternately, you might be a complete novice to Samus Aran’s world who’s planning to step into her power suit for the very first time. As a Metroid veteran who’s played every game, read all of the comic books, and watched way too many YouTube videos about Metroid lore, allow me to be your guide.

Metroid: What are you talking about?

Since this franchise title makes up one half of the inspiration for the genre term “metroidvania,” you probably already know what a typical 2D Metroid game looks like, but I’ll break it down anyway. This game involves exploring an area repeatedly, finding more and more passageways, and upgrading to allow Samus Aran, the protagonist in the Power Suit, to discover new areas.

Almost every Metroid game has the same basic premise: Near the game’s beginning, Samus Aran will lose access to most of her power suit’s capabilities, but since her suit is made out of organic materials, she’s often able to find items on the planets she explores that she can use to upgrade herself back to full power. Along the way, she’ll face off against aggressive alien enemies and bosses, usually accompanied by haunting, beautiful soundtracks. Most of Samus Aran’s upgrades have carried over across multiple games; her morph ball mode, for example, is ubiquitous. It allows her to compress her body into a surprisingly small, spherical shape so that she can roll into the narrow pathways and once inspired a Metroid newcomer to ask, “[wh]y can’t metroid crawl?” As for why the series (and not the bounty hunter) is called “Metroid,” it’s named for a particularly dangerous life-sucking species of aliens whose only weakness is cold temperatures (an ice beam power-up for Samus’ arm cannon, for example, would do the trick).

Metroid does not have to be a major franchise. I happen to love it; knowing Samus’ motivations for exploring planets and seeking out long-lost alien artifacts gives me some added enjoyment on top of the usual blast of dopamine I get upon finding, say, the speed boost upgrade that lets Samus smash through stone barriers at a gallop. If you’d like to know more about our heroine, read on.

Samus Aran in Metroid Dread

Image: Nintendo via Polygon

Samus Aran is who?

Samus was unknown to the players at first. The very first Metroid game even kept Samus’ gender a secret until the very end. (The first game’s manual even lied about this fact on page 7.) If a player had beaten the game fast enough, they’d get to see Samus remove her helmet, or perhaps the rest of her suit, revealing a tiny red bikini. The Metroid Games continued to follow this pattern, though Samus was able to wear more practical clothes as the years passed. In the beginning, she changed her bikini for a sports bra with bike shorts. Later, games showed Samus wearing the Zero Suit (a blue full-body jumpsuit). The Metroid Games revealed much more about her motivations and life over the same time. She wasn’t just a hottie with a body in a power suit — she was a fully realized person with a tragic backstory and some seriously impressive career accolades. A dozen games later, there’s plenty I can tell you about who she is.

In the original Metroid, players could use a cheat code to put Samus in a one-piece red leotard rather than her full power suit

Image: Nintendo

Samus is a woman who is human and lives in the future galaxy. There, interstellar transport is common and many intelligent alien race interact with humans. Metroid manga has a dubious status, but it inspired multiple Metroid game plots. The Metroid manga says that the heroine was born in K-2L. This planet had a small colony of humans, and she lived there until her third birthday. Meanwhile, K-2L’s neighboring planet Zebes was home to a birdlike alien race called the Chozo; they had been around for an extremely long time and had developed powerful technology over the millennia. K-2L’s humans were extracting Afloraltite from K-2L, which was also a source of fuel for the Chozo. Although the Chozo didn’t give any reason, they deny it to the humans. The Chozo apparently requested the fuel for bioengineering Metroids.

K-2L was attacked by Space Pirates when Samus was just three years old. (That sounds like a job title and not the name of an alien race; it’s actually both.) Ridley was the commander of the Space Pirates who attempted to seize Afloraltite. The ensuing battle resulted in the death of Samus’ parents, as well as the rest of the human colony aside from Samus. The Chozo responded to the humans’ distress call, albeit too late to do much other than rescue the 3-year-old Samus and bring her home with them.

Artwork of Samus in and out of her Power Suit from Metroid: Other M

Image: Nintendo

The Chozo raised Samus and trained her to be a warrior; this aspect of her backstory is not just in the manga but elaborated upon in several Metroid games’ instruction manuals. They infused her with their DNA, and made a power suit which allowed her to utilize the many weapons and technologies they have developed. That’s why Samus is able to fight in a power suit that no other human can use, as well as use upgrades that aren’t available to anyone else in the galaxy.

The Metroid games take place during Samus’ adult life, when she worked as both an independent bounty hunter and as an officer for the Galactic Federation, a military force that often combatted Space Pirate attacks on other planets. Samus’ personal history with the Space Pirates and her access to powerful Chozo technology has made her a uniquely well-suited military asset who often got deployed on missions that others couldn’t handle.

What is the Metroid?

In fact, the Chozo bioengineered Metroids. Some game instructions manuals, and Metroid manga indicate that they were made on Mother Brain’s advice. The Chozo shouldn’t have allowed Mother Brain to make decisions for them (more about that later). All you have to understand is that the information below is backstory. These are historical events that occurred before the first. Metroid

Metroid: Samus Returns - Samus counters a Metroid


Metroid FusionThis was the game that gave rise to the Metroids. They served as a predator of a different dangerous parasite called “X,” which has the ability to destroy entire ecosystems. The X was discovered on planet SR388, which was colonized briefly by the Chozo and Samus returns to. Fusion. The X parasite was discovered on the planet by the Chozo. Other To fight it, you must eliminate dangerous parasites. It worked. Metroids are still the only known life form with the capability to destroy the parasite X, but Metroids are also similarly capable of destroying entire galaxies if they’re let loose.

They began to mutate even more after the bioengineered Metroids had finished their mission on the planet SR388, where they were fighting an X parasite. It became difficult for the Chozos to keep them under control. SR388’s Chozo colony got destroyed, thanks to those Metroids, and unfortunately, the Zebes colony did not survive either. Mother Brain was depicted by the Metroid manga having betrayed the Chozo. In fact, she conspired with Space Pirates to aid them in taking control of Zebes.

The Space Pirates discovered about Metroids through Mother Brain and hoped to use the knowledge to arm the creatures in their quest to conquer the galaxy. Now operating out of their own Zebes base, the Space Pirates had officially overtaken the second of Samus’ homes, solidifying their mortal enemy status in her heart. The very first Metroid, all Chozo life and civilizations across Zebes and SR388 has been destroyed — except for a few lucky escapees whose circumstances remain mysterious. You can read the rest of this article. Metroid(and its remake Zero MissionSamus is back in Zebes, her home from which she was born to confront the Space Pirates (and Mother Brain) and to destroy the Metroids that they have stolen and weaponized. Following the events of MetroidWe have the Metroid Prime Trilogy, which is mostly a side story but still features Samus fighting off various threats throughout the galaxy, even Metroids.

Samus aims her arm cannon at Ridley, who has stolen the baby Metroid in Super Metroid

Image: Nintendo

The final step of Samus’ Metroid annihilation took place on SR388 (specifically during Metroid 2Its remake Metroid: Samus ReturnsSamus was seen marching in a shaming fashion from one room into another. Samus finally found the final Metroid. But it was only a baby, so it imprinted its image on Samus, believing her to be its mother. Samus captured the Metroid rather than dismembering it and provided it to Federation scientists for research. In Super MetroidRidley took the baby Metroid, so Samus decided to go with him to try to capture it. This meant that Samus had to return to Zebes in order take on Ridley and the other Space Pirates as well as the betrayer Mother Brain. Surprisingly the Metroid baby showed up at Samus’s aid towards the end. Super MetroidMother Brain, and she sacrificed herself during the final battle.

We have now reached the Metroid’s most hated, but technically still canonical, game: Metroid: Other M

Do I need to play? Additional MWhat? That’s the bad one, right?

Nah, you don’t need to play it. You can only see what it looks like.

Although it’s got a bad reputation now, Additional M’s reputation upon release was only slightly less glowing than other games in the series. The main complaints players had were of its uncharacteristically linear design and Samus’ stilted lines, deadpan delivery, and childlike obsession with her former commanding officer Adam Malkovich. Samus’ most-quoted and most-mocked line from the game also happens to sum up what it’s all about: “Confession time: Because I was so young when I lost both of my parents, there’s no question I saw Adam as a father figure.” (Every Metroid fan I know likes to make fun of the phrase “confession time,” while also using it in earnest on occasion.) Metroid: Other M Samus is also shown as suffering from PTSD due to Ridley’s death of her parents. Samus becomes unable and froze upon seeing Ridley’s clone. This seems strange considering her previous Metroid games that had similar symptoms.

Additional M is also around when the amount of cloning in Samus’ story got a bit out of hand. The Galactic Federation analyzed all of the DNA that had gotten on Samus’ suit after the events of Super Metroid, which includes Ridley and the baby Metroid’s DNA. They created a Ridley clone as well as new Metroids, and even a new version of Mother Brain (called simply “MB”) to serve as the leader of the new Metroids. There is nothing that could go wrong other than absolute everything.Is it possible?

Additional MSamus must fight the reanimated enemies of her past defeats: Mother Brain, Ridley and Metroids. It would seem simple enough. However, she must do this while obeying a male commander officer who hesitates at first to allow her to use all her power suit upgrades. Adam ultimately sacrifices himself in order to defeat MB, the Metroids and Ridley. So, the Metroids are destroyed once more, and all is well in the Galaxy.

Except it’s not. Do you remember why the Metroids were first created by the Chozo? It’s true.

Samus Aran looks at an X Parasite hovering in the air in front of her

Image: Nintendo via Polygon

What’s up with the X parasite?

Metroid FusionThis is the final Metroid story. Metroid Dread, Samus returns to SR388 at the Federation’s behest. It’s not a good idea for obvious reasons. There are no Metroids in galaxy so the X parasite is a new threat. Samus is almost killed by an X parasite.

Samus is saved by Federation scientists and doctors. They also use the baby Metroid’s DNA once again to create a vaccine that immunizes Samus against the X parasite. It’s a good thing that someone kept the DNA. It’s a shame that it was used to create another Metroid. I’m joking, I would never even bother to hope that. The Federation is, naturally. did Use that DNA to create another Metroid. Samus is the one who fights for it. Metroid Fusion But we’re not there yet.

Samus Aran wearing her Fusion Suit after emergency surgery

Image: Nintendo via Polygon

During Samus’ surgery, Federation researchers sent the amputated pieces of her power suit, as well as other stuff they found on SR388, to a nearby research station. This was a disaster for the station as it was hit by an explosion. Samus, now rejuvenated from her vaccines, investigates.

However Metroid FusionPrinted before Additional MThis actually features the first version of a Samus Aran that is more emotive. You can find it here. Fusion, she writes diary entries about her doubts and concerns, and she also opens up to a ship AI that she decides to name after her commanding officer Adam, since the AI’s personality reminds her of his gruff, businesslike tone. In the game’s finale, she learns this was not just a coincidence; the AI was actually designed to be modeled after Adam’s personality. In this episode, the AI returns. Metroid The fear, guiding Samus and calling her by the same nickname that Adam did, “Lady.” (It’s as irritating in Dread As it was when it was first in Fusion Additional MSamus, however, seems to like it and writes in Fusion that it sounds “dignified.”)

Samus Aran in front of her ship in Metroid Fusion

Image: Nintendo

Fusion Other elements are directly affected Metroid Dread, such as the SA-X enemy that Samus faces in the game’s climax The SA-X is the product of the X parasite infecting the amputated pieces of Samus’ power suit, forming a duplicate of Samus that fights her with her own abilities and strength. It’s a terrifying adversary, and its ability to stalk Samus throughout a level was what inspired the EMMI robots in Metroid Dread.

Metroid FusionEnds with an familiar scene to Super MetroidWhere an enemy is made an ally. Samus receives assistance from SA-X in her last battle against the Metroid clone. Just as Mother Brain had helped Samus defeat the Metroid baby, so does SA-X. At the end of Fusion, being the natural predator of the X, is able to defeat it — but the defeat of SA-X also allows Samus to recapture its pieces of her power suit and attain her full power. She defeats both the Metroid and SR388. You’d think that would be the end, but of course it’s not.

The X Parasite clone of Samus, SA-X

Image: Nintendo via Polygon

The fearSamus finds out that the X parasite continues to exist on ZDR planet, which may mean Samus is the only one capable of eliminating it. Samus, who is also a Metroid, is the only living creature with Metroid genetics (on top her Chozo and human DNA).

How about Chozo survivors?

Did you know that a handful of Chozo were able to flee their colonies after they had been destroyed? MercurySteam’s remake of Metroid 2The title Metroid: Samus ReturnsMetroid fans should expect more information about these Chozos. Metroid Dread

The players who have unlocked all expansions or power-ups Samus Returns got to look at a series of images called “Chozo Memories.” They depict the Chozo coming across creatures on SR388 who had been infected by the X parasite, as well as the Chozo bioengineering the Metroids in order to fight back. Although the Metroids are initially able to do great work under the supervision of Chozo overlords, eventually, they become mutated and begin attacking their masters. One of the Chozo watchers is seen communicating with the Chozo general. The final image shows the general standing amongst a mass of Chozo corpses. A number of nearby Chozo soldiers are also present. Although the context of the image is not fully known, it seems that the Chozo general instructed that all Metroids-developing Chozo should be killed.

The mysterious Choco general who appears at the beginning of Metroid Dread

Image: Nintendo via Polygon

Beginning of Metroid DreadSamus is nearly immediately attacked by the Chozo general. He proves to have a formidable enemy when he lands on ZDR. The general demolishes Samus’ power suit and traps her underground, thereby providing the excuse for why she lacks all of her abilities and has to explore and attempt to escape a hostile planet. This planet shares many similarities to SR388. It is believed that it was once home to a Chozo colony, as the area has been covered in Chozo tech.

Wait, doesn’t Metroid DreadIt could have robots.

Usually Metroid games are about fighting aliens, not robots, although it’s not uncommon for Samus to face off against various androids, automated turrets, and ancient automatons in these games. Then there’s Samus herself, who is arguably some sort of cyborg, especially after the events of Fusion However Metroid DreadEven more importance is placed on the creation of killer robots.

Samus Aran takes aim at an EMMI in Metroid Dread

Image: Nintendo / MercurySteam

Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifiers (EMMIs) are among the most dangerous and prominent robot enemies in this game. They were sent to collect and investigate data, including DNA by the Galactic Federation. However, the Federation sent Samus to investigate after the EMMI robots failed to return. Because Samus is Metroid, the robots view her as a threat. Let’s hope no one at the Federation is trying to steal that so they can clone yet another Metroid, am I right? … Yeah, they’re going to do that, aren’t theyYou can find out more at Damn it. Damn it!

Well, that’s everything you need to know before picking up Metroid Dread. You’re ready now to learn more about what happened to the Chozo. Above all, you’re now aware that Samus is the coolest bad-ass in the entire galaxy. But you didn’t need to read all of this to know that. You can just see her. She’s the best.

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