The Super Smash Bros. series has become a huge hit for Nintendo and fans alike ever since the original was released back in the Nintendo 64 days, letting gamers smash each other off the stage with their favourite Nintendo characters. It is also a celebration of the most favourable, iconic and significant games made by Nintendo, each with their own representatives. Among the original twelve characters was Samus Aran, establishing Metroid as one of the most important Nintendo IPs. In this feature, we will have a look at Metroid’s involvement in the Smash Bros. games.
The only Metroid character back then was, as previously stated, Samus. Being armed with a basic set of weapons like her Charge Beam, Grappling Beam, Missiles and Morph Ball Bombs, was enough for her to claim victory. Moving on to Super Smash Bros. Melee, she was still the only fighter from Metroid, with basically the same moveset albeit at a faster rate since unlike the other Smash Bros. games, it was played faster and more competitively. She is furthermore what can be considered a tactical character, meaning, she is slower than the average roster as her attacks are precision focused and powerful. This is also exactly my experience when I choose her as my fighter, almost like if she is wearing the Gravity Suit from the main Metroid series, which gives her an advantage in game.Once Super Smash Bros. Brawl was released, we finally got a new character from Metroid, Zero Suit Samus. While it is technically the same persona and a new take on her character, she had an entirely different moveset. At the time of writing, the latest title in the series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, is about to release. While the Wii U and 3DS Smash titles didn’t receive any new Metroid characters, Ultimate effectively doubles Metroid’s representation with the addition of Ridley, and Dark Samus as an Echo Fighter of Samus, meaning she has a similar moveset with minor differences. Both of them have the same Final Smash, the Zero Laser. The only difference is that in Brawl, after her attack was done, the Varia Suit couldn’t handle that immense power and so she lost it and became Zero Suit Samus. In Ultimate, Zero Suit Samus’s Final Smash is jumping on her ship and firing a similar laser at her opponents, except this time from the background. Ridley charges at an unfortunate opponent, launching them onto the side of Samus’s ship in space, blasting his plasma breath beam at them and causing the ship to explode, knocking off the player.
Planet Zebes was the first stage to be introduced to the series, and in appearance, is a combination of Norfair and Tourian because of its acid lake that behaves like a tidal wave. It was and still is an opportunity and a misery to deal with the acid lake, especially if you are fighting an experienced gamer, as they can use it to their advantage. Of course, I have done that countless times myself. Samus might have been the only Metroid character back then, but Ridley still appeared in all of the games, making his presence known in various ways. You could spot him flying, as well as Wavers occasionally. Additionally, in Melee’s Adventure Mode, there is a very familiar Metroid sequence where the player must escape Zebes before it explodes; this made it feel a bit more at home for me as a fan, playing through the same urgency that is typically Metroid. Brinstar Depths, where another of Samus’s enemies, Kraid, makes an appearance, interacts directly with how the stage performs by hitting it so it tilts from left to right every time he emerges from the surrounding magma ocean. I felt the boss like presence of Kraid added an extra layer of excitement.
We also had the Frigate Orpheon, where the Parasite Queen inside the Reactor Core lurks behind the stage in all her glory, almost looking like she is cheering on the battle taking place like an insane sports fan. Then we have Norfair and its raging magma that flows violently from either side of the stage, beneath and a periodically gigantic infernal tsunami coming from behind, only having a small stasis-like shelter to avoid it. Since Smash Bros. is a hectic adrenaline engaging game, most gamers probably do not care much about it since the melting death can be evaded if the timing is right. Our final stop is Pyrosphere, based on the same area you fight Ridley in Metroid: Other M. He is the main hazard here and will assist the player that strikes him the most, granting them a significant advantage. He can smash opponents off stage with far less percentage than needed and frankly this is what made Pyrosphere my favourite stage because you actually fought a boss too. Other dangers include Joulions that can be quite effective at disturbing the balance for either side, as well as are FG ll-Graham units and Zeros.
Guest appearances in the form of Assist Trophies are present as well. The Mother Brain trophy shoots at players while inside her protective cell, just like she was fought in the original Metroid, while the Metroid trophy will latch onto the closest player, drain their health and immobilise them. Dark Samus also featured as an Assist Trophy in the past, where she would attack players on stage using some of her Phazon abilities. Ridley (and his upgraded form, Meta Ridley), aggressively smashed his way into the Subspace Emissary plot as one of the high-ranking bosses. Unlike other villains, such as Bowser, Wario and Ganondorf, his agenda seems to have been to get rid of the heroes completely, fitting for a villain that enjoys murdering people. In the 3DS version, specifically Smash Run, we have Geemers, Kihunters and Reos appearing as enemies, which are always delightful but quite the nuisance to come across. We have various stickers and trophies too, from the likes of Sylux, Kanden, Warrior Ing and a Luminoth to name a few, showing the variety that the Metroid games offer as well as some brief background information for those curious enough to learn more. Palutena’s Guidance gives players additional information about each playable character as well. All Nintendo games represented come with their own pack of music, and Metroid is no exception. Familiar but great pieces of music from the Metroid series have been included, with a number of remixes added to the mix, my favourite being the Ridley theme in Brawl specifically.
Our beloved franchise treats gamers with gorgeous cinematic scenes too. A short but epic moment takes place during the Melee intro, re-enacting Ridley stealing the last Metroid while Samus tries to stop him. Throughout Brawl there are cutscenes that introduce a new character or advances the plot of The Subspace Emissary. I still cannot come up with a better pairing than Samus and Pikachu in Smash Bros. however. The Cunning God of Death grabbing her, slamming her onto the wall, dragging her along it and then Pikachu performing a Thunder attack on him to save her is just phenomenal. This wasn’t the first time she has a soft spot for adorable creatures saving her either, because as we all know, the Dachora and Etecoons have saved her twice before. I think she prefers the assistance of cute intelligent creatures, who wouldn’t though? Ridley then quickly gets patched up, my feeling is perhaps by Crazy Hand (who is notably absent from the story), and returns as Meta Ridley chasing Captain Falcon’s ship, where a new battle against him takes place. Defeated once again, he returns in Pyrosphere and ultimately, he gets defeated there too. But we know that Ridley cheats death all the time and the surprise reveal for Ultimate is the perfect resurrection. Seemingly killing Mario and Mega Man swiftly, he is once again ready to engage Samus, never letting her escape his grasp no matter what universe she might find herself in.
Metroid is without a doubt an iconic franchise to Nintendo and its fans, but since its inclusion in the Smash Bros. games, it has gained increasingly more awareness. At the time of writing, there will be multiple DLC characters and stages coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but I would have liked Mr. Sakurai to have picked Sylux in the base game. He would be a perfect candidate, not only because we would have another playable Metroid character, but it would be a great way to promote an ever so meaningful antagonist from the Metroid series in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to a wider audience. I will personally play as both Ridley and Dark Samus, and will try living up to the cunningness of Ridley and the power of Dark Samus. Let us show that Metroid is not something to smash out but to be smashed out by, making the other characters envious of its unique offer to Metroid fans and the gaming world alike.
Written by Quadraxis