My purpose with this feature, and future articles, is to dive in a bit deeper into the different civilisations that inhabit the Metroid universe. I think it is safe to say that I am not the only one that finds it entertaining to imagine how these lifeforms would have lived their lives based on the limited information the games give us. Since the essence of Metroid is its solitary mysterious atmosphere where you must explore your surroundings to continue forward, it makes perfect sense to try and expand that universe a bit further. I can spend hours at a time in the fields of history, my favourite era to this date is ancient Egypt. The first subject I tackle are the Reptilicus, and as most of us should know the information surrounding them is limited but enough to create a solid comprehensive reality. I hope you enjoy reading this feature, in the end these are my personal views and theories apart from the facts provided by the games, and history in general has always been up for debate.
The Reptilicus species, native to the planet Bryyo, once had a thriving society which led them to significant advancements united in common aspiration during The Golden Age, until a division one day fractured their civilisation and initiated the beginning of their downfall. According to limited information gathered from extensive exploration of the Reptilicus ruins and ancient lore, The Golden Age started when Bryyus the First, known as the Liberator, set them all free. What this means is unclear. However, I theorise that the Reptilicus were not liberated from oppression, war or violence in their past, but from their limited minds. My basis for this comes from one crucial point; the Reptilicus rejoiced over their achievements in science, especially when they began launching their first interstellar ships. They viewed this as breaking the limits of what they could ever accomplish before, and they now had the means to explore and expand their knowledge without limit. With this, it is very safe to propose the idea that this was the most likely reason to their freedom.
Their newfound enlightenment and high ambition pushed them further which also led to contact with other sentient beings like the Luminoth, Ylla, and, most importantly, the Chozo. By exchanging technology and knowledge with one another they created alliances that improved the Reptilicus civilisation further. However, not all were equally enthused by this new way of life and sought to preserve the old traditions of the Primal ways. At one point, the Primals came across the Chozo and during a diplomatic meeting (the most likely scenario) they warned the Primals that unless they could unify the old traditions with the new standards of science, conflict would naturally erupt between groups with different mindsets on how their civilisation should move forward. This makes sense because you cannot suppress progress no matter how much you try to, the only way to do so effectively would be through planetary warfare, but then no one emerges victorious and the world is either ruled by one totalitarian regime or is destroyed. Unfortunately, this escalated almost to a point beyond repair once the first Lord of Science, Sfimas, officially denounced the Primal Traditions openly in the Royal Palace. This is the site where Bryyus the First arrived in ancient times, and as a symbolic sacred place, this was an insult to the Primals beyond measure. The inevitable war between the two factions began, the Primals greatly outnumbering the Lords of Science.
These events led to conflicts which later led to global war, with both sides unleashing their most powerful arsenal. The science lords built and unleashed giant war-machines that devastated the environment itself while the Primals used the strongest mystical dark arts ever conceived by ancient traditions. Although greatly outnumbered, the Lords of Science easily gained the upper hand for a certain amount of time. Two different ideologies fighting for supremacy, yet with the Primals being greatly overwhelmed by the science lords, they turned the tide of war to their favour. Allied diplomats tried to prevent the Reptilicus from waging a war but it was fruitless. Since Sfimas, the representative of science, was the one to declare the old ways as obsolete, it is not entirely unthinkable that an unknown group of outsiders interfered and assisted the Primals with an agenda in mind. Who they were I can not say for certain, but a likely reason could have been to teach the Science Lords a lesson for their arrogance. It is also completely reasonable to think that diplomats on each side were acting for the greater good of the planet’s ecosystem rather than the Reptilicus since a compromise could not be made, but even that proved to be worthless since their warmongering was too adamant.The conflict reached its peak once the Last Lord of Science and presumably a few followers, came to recognise the horrors that laid waste to their world. With one last effort, he learned from the mistakes of the past and ultimately began to combine the old and new ways so that their world could potentially be saved from irreversible damage. I think this has a very realistic outcome in our own world as well, when we within good reasons go as far as to bring our world to the brink of extinction, the remaining survivors will either awaken their minds or continue down the inevitable path. Conflicts such as these might explain why we haven’t heard from any sentient civilisation out there either, but of course the most plausible reason would be the distance and technological level of both parties.
There are however instances in life where you can get an unlikely ally from an equally unlikely source. A Reptilicus female was born, arguably among the Primals, and over time she gained the ability of foresight, resulting from the mystic arts they held most sacred by my assumption. She was called the Prophetess because she had visions over the events that lead to the devastation of their world. Not only did she have these visions, but she also came to understand that the only way to save their world was to work together with the science lords. Unfortunately, the Primals, ever devolving into feral beasts because of the lack of knowledge passed down from older generations, had hunted down all those that pledged allegiance to the ways of progressive perspective. Once they could not find the remaining lords, they turned on each other and decimated their species further. This made her task far more difficult and dangerous as they killed anyone on sight.Basically, all sources I’ve encountered mentioned that the Last Lord of Science encountered her by chance one day while going about his daily routines. My theory is the complete opposite since not only did she have the gift of foresight, but why wouldn’t she have had a vision where she saw their meeting happening at one point? It makes no sense that she would suddenly and conveniently appear along his path. She had to have known that they would come across each other and that they both shared a common goal for salvation. A fluke accident occurred one day when unstable Fuel Gel which caused an explosion. This alerted the Primals to their location and, in a last desperate action to save the knowledge and technology needed to continue their work, he sacrificed himself so she could escape. They had successfully managed to preserve about 5% of Bryyo’s remaining habitable environment and she set out to spread the history and warning to others that might arrive to their world in hope that they could save the remaining part of their once thriving paradise. Their fate is unknown, it is possible that they were killed by the Primals, and there is also a possibility that at least the Prophetess might have survived for a while longer. This period of time might have given her the time needed to save and finish enough of their work so that Bryyo could have a chance. Shortly after, a Leviathan struck Bryyo, most likely killing her in the process.
They were about eight to ten feet tall, much taller than humans and with six limbs, often walking on all six but could walk on two. They were naturally more muscular, which explains how they could jump high and far in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and had a resistance to high temperatures, which means that they were weak to cold environments. Having external skulls granted them a natural defence for what supposedly had their brain inside (it is unknown if they had more than one brain). Their bodies were also mostly endoskeleton, so they were difficult to kill with melee weapons in general. They were highly intelligent, more so than humans with a reasonable certainty, at least when it comes to technology, power and logic, but wisdom was something of a scarcity, no matter how evolved their species became. When the Leviathan Seed struck Bryyo, the Phazon corruption altered their minds and biology to a point where they became more barbaric and primitive yet physically superior. It is unlikely to know how different they became compared to their original state.
Culture and Technology
Not much is known about their culture besides the pieces forged together from lore, infrastructure and environment to at least give a sense of how they might have lived and prospered. They were ruled by emperors and empresses and had dynasties in which each had numerous rulers over time. This suggests that their civilisation thrived at minimum for at least several centuries depending on how long the Reptilicus lifespan was. It is also unclear if they ruled over the entire planet or if they favoured a specific . But looking over the facts presented by the gathered lore, it is possible that they favoured the ways of science since progress cannot really be made without power. If the scientists of Bryyo were anything like we have on Earth, they would have needed the influential power and status the rulers had. What they depicted with their architectural style can indicate that they had an intelligent yet barbaric culture comparable to that of the Roman Empire, but also to that of the Inca and Mayan civilisations. They had a feudal-like hierarchy were some had more influence than others, whatever that meant in their world is unknown except that it was power of some kind. What is unclear is how much of a cultural difference there was between the Primals and the rising Science Lords at that time. If the Primals were dependent on ancient magic, then their use of other energy sources in that regard would be very limited and primitive. This makes me wonder if they all lived together, or if they lived in tribal-like societies.
Their main energy source before the use of Fuel Gel, of which there was an abundance of on Bryyo, was most likely solar. It is not too unreasonable to assume that the giant spherical ships with somewhat open areas surrounded by sharp thorn-like edges were built to partially absorb photons. This case is further strengthened by the fact that the cores are all directed upwards diagonally towards the sky at certain angles. This solar technology could have powered their cities, machines and weapons unless there were other unknown purposes. Eventually, they began to build Golems for various tasks. They were primarily used for labour and construction in all fields but were also used as decorative and ceremonial meaning throughout their society. It is unknown what materials were used to build them, but they most likely used a combination of Bryyonian metallurgy and geotechnical engineering to make things happen. A final remark as to why Samus’ Morph Ball Bombs and other weaponry work so well on Bryyonian machinery must be because of the exchange of technology with the Chozo. With that in mind, it is entirely reasonable to think that even partially used Chozo technology merged with their own could have given Samus operational access to these.
Weaponry and War
Developing their technology further, they created gigantic war machines called Mogenars and colossal war class Golems. They were essentially larger, weaponised versions of the pre-existing Golems, a few that could be measurable to small mountains. With such size they could have potentially had the ability to create small earthquakes and probably had fire and ice weapons attached to them too. Reptilicus warriors were equipped with even more weapons and armor (although no information is available about them except that they were a bit smaller) than the specialised Reptilicus Hunters which had an energy whip, throwable energy chakrams and could even become invisible. They also deployed Warp Hounds which had the ability to warp short distances across the field. The Primals were most likely to have these at their side, hunting down the science lords at all costs. Mystic arts were used to combat the war machines, but it wasn’t enough to claim an advantage as mentioned earlier. The science lords, despite being greatly outnumbered, suffered the least casualties since the Primals were battling machines and an untold many of them died in the process. Regrettably, these huge machines required vast amount of energy which rapidly depleted, so they stopped functioning over time. Fuel Gel was mainly used to power them too, but I reckon they mastered this energy source at the end ropes of the war, which of course did not give the Lords of Science much time to rebuild and repower these machines. Not to mention that they were all almost killed eventually during the same period.
The future of the Reptilicus is unknown, and since Samus got rid of the Phazon corruption that plagued their world and minds, there is a possibility that they could start to recover their higher brain functions once again. To what extent is unclear, it would likely take at minimum a few generations. Whether they would be able to reverse the damage done to their planet remains to be seen. Will they ever know what happened to their ancestors? Will they be able to decode ancient lore from their history? If so, what will they learn from it and will they realise that repeating history would certainly mean extinction? I’ve always had an interest in history, and I think that what happened to the Reptilicus can in many ways be applied to what is happening with us on Earth as well. There has always been conflict between the old and new ways, constantly creating wars or scenarios that devastate millions of lives in the process. Their outcome is one out of many that could result here or anywhere else in the cosmos too. Unluckily for them, they drew the short straw that time because they listened to their egos instead of uniting as one.
Written by Christian Paredes (Quadraxis)