Samus Aran (サムス・アラン, Samus Aran) is the protagonist of the Metroid series. Samus is the galaxy's most famous bounty hunter, thanks to her constantly helping the Galactic Federation in their fight against the Space Pirates. Samus is widely praised as one of Nintendo's most iconic heroes, and a groundbreaking example of proactive, powerful female protagonists in gaming.
Samus made her first appearance in Metroid (1986) for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The original game concepts for Metroid were done by director Makoto Kanoh and designer Hiroji Kiyotake.
In almost all of her missions, Samus is equipped with an armored "Power Suit" created from Chozo technology. The Power Suit, through its numerous upgrades, protects Samus from hostile environments and allows her to use a wide variety of high-powered weapons such as beams, missiles and bombs. In some games, such as the Metroid Prime series, Samus' Power Suit also allows her to scan environments and enemies for additional information. Throughout the series, Samus executes missions given to her by the Galactic Federation, typically to thwart the plans of the nefarious Space Pirates and their leader, Ridley.
The original Metroid kept Samus' gender a secret (with the intent of surprising gamers after they completed it); even the game's instruction manual refers to Samus as a male. However, clearing the game would unlock an ending where Samus would remove her Power Suit to reveal a bikini, and the well-known "JUSTIN BAILEY" cheat code would allow her to be playable in a leotard. Since then, almost every game in the series would depict an unsuited Samus in some way, typically as part of an ending sequence. Metroid: Zero Mission and later games would consolidate Samus' appearance and abilities outside of the suit, resulting in the version of the character known as Zero Suit Samus.
Much like Link, Samus is largely silent during gameplay and defined by the player's actions, although she is occasionally given spoken dialogue or internal/introductory monologues, with her level of expressiveness varying between games. This carries over to both her incarnations in Super Smash Bros., where the "standard" Samus is completely silent (although the Galactic Avenger event description in SSB4 is written as if spoken by her) and her Zero Suited self has a small number of spoken lines. Metroid: Other M attempted to introduce more personality, characterization and backstory to Samus; however, after the game's approach resulted in significant fan and critical controversy, Metroid Prime: Federation Force and, more prominently, Metroid: Samus Returns, in addition to subsequent Super Smash Bros. games (particularly through small amounts of characterization such as in Ridley's reveal trailer), would revert Samus to her previous, largely silent depiction.
The original Metroid (1986) saw Samus on her first mission on the planet Zebes, sent to stop the Space Pirates and destroy Mother Brain, the mechanical lifeform that controlled the fortress and its computers. Samus successfully completed the mission. Later, the remake Metroid: Zero Mission (2004) would reveal more about Samus's backstory, establishing that she was born on the Earth colony K-2L, and her parents died when she was 3 years old, murdered by the Space Pirate leader known as Ridley. Samus was then raised by the Chozo, who took her to planet Zebes. As she grew up, she trained with them and was given a Chozo power suit. Eventually, Samus left the planet to become a bounty hunter.
She was later sent to Planet Zebes to stop the Space Pirates on Zebes, who were attempting to use a newly discovered species called the "Metroids" and destroy Mother Brain, the computer who controlled Zebes's ecosystem. Samus successfully carried out the mission, destroying Mother Brain. The original Metroid ends here, but in Zero Mission, Samus's ship is shot down after take off and Samus must fight her way out of the Space Pirate mothership; it is here that Samus gets her most well known Power Suit and with it, she escapes from the Space Pirates.
In Metroid II: Return of Samus (1991), Samus is sent to SR388, the homeworld of the Metroids, to wipe out what remains of them because they were deemed too dangerous to exist. Samus accomplishes this mission, destroying even the Metroid Queen, but after completing this task, one last Metroid egg hatches and follows Samus as though she were its mother. Samus chooses to spare the baby Metroid, remembering that she was the sole survivor of the raid of K-2L, and decides to take it to the Ceres Space Colony. The game's story is retold and expanded upon in the remake Metroid: Samus Returns (2017), most notably by having Samus and the baby Metroid encounter Ridley once again after the alleged completion of her mission.
In Super Metroid (1994), with the last Metroid in captivity, the galaxy is at peace. The scientists begin to study the Metroid and their scientific properties. Just as Samus leaves the colony, it is attacked by the Space Pirates. Samus turns back and witnesses a reborn Ridley making off with the infant Metroid. Samus chases him to Zebes where she once again defeats Kraid and Ridley, along with many other creatures, but is attacked by a giant Metroid on her way to Mother Brain. Recognizing Samus just in time, the Metroid, which was the previously captured baby Metroid, releases Samus, who goes on to confront Mother Brain once again. In a final epic battle, Samus fights Mother Brain, who is using a mechanical body, but is almost defeated. But she is saved by the baby Metroid at the last moment, though it is killed by Mother Brain. Using the Hyper Beam the Baby Metroid had taken from Mother Brain, Samus easily avenges her "first child"'s death and presumably kills Mother Brain, then escaping Zebes before the planet explodes.
In Metroid Prime (2002), Samus was responding to a distress call from the Space Pirate Frigate, which had been studying a new form of mutagen called Phazon, three years after her adventure to Zebes. There, she encountered Ridley, who was thought to have been destroyed in their previous battle. Samus pursued the reborn Meta Ridley to Tallon IV, where she learned that a meteorite had landed on the planet long ago, warping a sole Metroid into an evil creature known as Metroid Prime - also killing the Chozo. Samus searched through Tallon IV for information on the creature, phazon, and other reaserches. Samus tracked down the creature, once again destroying Ridley, and seemingly destroying Metroid Prime. Unbeknownst to Samus, Metroid Prime was reborn as Dark Samus, taking on the bounty hunter's image after stealing one of Samus's Power Suit upgrades.
In Metroid Fusion (2002), Samus is assigned to collect samples of life on SR388 when she is infected by an X-Parasite, and subsequently crashes into an asteroid while in her ship. Unconscious, her suit is surgically removed due to the X-Parasite infecting it. Her life is saved only after she is given the Vaccine "Metroid", which was made from the Baby Metroid, giving her Metroid-esque qualities such as immunity to X-Parasites and weakness to cold. After this, Samus is sent to the BSL Research Station to investigate an explosion in the Quarantine Bay. There, she encounters the SA-X, an X-Parasite that merged with her infected Power Suit. Samus is able to eliminate the X-Parasites by crashing the BSL into SR388.
In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (2004), Samus was sent to the planet known as Aether to find a lost group of Federation troopers. It was there that Samus encountered Dark Samus. Samus discovered Aether had been split into light and dark dimensions. Samus went through the planet, destroying dark elements. With the help of the Luminoth species, Samus destroyed Dark Aether and apparently Dark Samus as well, but her dark counterpart still lived.
In Metroid Prime Hunters (2006), Samus went to Alinos, Arcterra, Vesper Defense Outpost, and the Celestial Archives to search for ocoliths. Other bounty hunters named Sylux, Trace, Noxus, Spire, Kanden, and Weavel were searching too. They fought, but later joined together for the battle against Gorea.
In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (2007), Dark Samus, now leading the Space Pirates, plots to corrupt the entire galaxy with Phazon, rendering them under her control. Samus also confronts Meta Ridley again. Dark Samus manages to "corrupt" Samus, along with three bounty hunter allies, Rundas, Ghor, and Gandrayda, while they are at an attack at Norion. The other three are sent off to 3 planets, Bryyo, Elysia, and the Space Pirate Homeworld. But they are completely corrupted and Samus is forced to kill them as she makes her way to the Space Pirate Homeworld. Once there, she and the Galactic Federation travel to the planet Phaaze where Samus defeats Dark Samus once and for all and wipes Phazon off the face of the universe.
In Metroid: Other M (2010), Samus receives a distress signal, namely stated as the "Baby's Cry", which is meant to attract attention. Samus decides to travel to the Bottle Ship, where she meets up with Adam, her former Intergalactic Commander, and his team. Samus soon discovers that the scientists on the Bottle Ship were creating illegal weapons made from the Space Pirates, but they had escaped, riddling the ship with monsters. She later discovers that they had used the remnants of the Baby Metroid that had saved her, which were attached to her suit, to create Metroids for use as bioweapons. However, in order to control them, they created an android with Mother Brain's AI, naming her "MB." When the MB began to develop feelings, she tried to protect the Metroids when everyone else wanted to destroy them and abandoned the project, leading to chaos throughout the Bottle Ship. In the end, Adam sacrifices himself to kill the remaining Metroids, Samus destroys the Metroid Queen, and the Galactic Federation kills MB. After Samus leaves, the Galactic Federation decides to destroy the Bottle Ship via self-destruction.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force (2016) marks Samus' first appearance in the series as a supporting character. During the events of the game, Samus is hired to investigate the Bermuda System, a three-planet system with abandoned Galactic Federation resources. As the mech suit-equipped members of Federation Force are already undertaking missions there, Samus occasionally intervenes to assist them. Samus eventually discovers that the Space Pirates are building a "strategic weapon", the battleship Doomseye, to attack Federation headquarters; however, she is kidnapped and brainwashed, and serves as the game's final boss under Space Pirate control. Once freed from the brainwashing, Samus helps the Federation troopers escape from the Doomseye and rescues them from the void of space using her gunship.
In Super Smash Bros.
As a playable character
Main article: Samus (SSB)
Samus makes her first appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series in the original Super Smash Bros. as a starting playable character. Samus is a heavy, yet floaty character. Her design is based off her appearance from Super Metroid. Her neutral special move is the Charge Shot, which can fire small blasts that do little damage; but when it is charged to full power, it is quite devastating. Her up special is the Screw Attack, which causes Samus to shoot up in the air, spinning her around very fast. Her down special is the Bomb, which can be used for a recovery through using it to air stall. However, Samus is considered one of the weaker characters in the game due to her lack of combo attacks, and being the only character in the game who cannot pull off a zero-to-death combo via natural combos. This has lead to her position on the current tier list, where she ranks #8.
Samus' in-game character description reads as follows:
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
As a playable character
Main article: Samus (SSBM)
Samus returns as a starting selectable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee, in which her moveset has been tweaked. Her design is still based off her Super Metroid appearance. Her new side special move is the Missile. Samus's tier list placement is much higher than in the previous game (10th out of 26, in the C tier) due to her improved projectiles and edgeguarding capabilities, as well as a hugely improved recovery with many options, including bomb recovery and the wall grapple.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (Metroid series)
Samus as a playable character is featured on three trophies. Her normal trophy is acquired by beating the Classic mode with her on any difficulty, and her Smash Red and Smash Blue trophies are acquired the same way by beating the Adventure and All-Star modes, respectively.
The only other trophy that features Samus is the Samus Unmasked trophy. However, this trophy is only obtainable via special events or by hacking.
Samus's normal trophy earned in the Classic mode reads as follows:
This intergalactic bounty hunter's full name is Samus Aran. Clad in a Power Suit made by the Chozo race and infused with their enhanced blood, she cleared the planet Zebes of a Metroid infestation. Samus is an orphan, the sole survivor of a Space Pirate raid that destroyed an Earth colony named K-2L.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
As a playable character
Main article: Samus (SSBB)
Samus returns in Brawl, with a generalized design drawing aspects from multiple Metroid games, though her appearance is primarily based off her design from Metroid: Zero Mission. After using her Final Smash, the Zero Laser, her Varia Suit will fall off, thus making her become Zero Suit Samus. Her Varia Suit color can be changed to resemble the color schemes of some of her other suits, like the Fusion Suit or Dark Suit. When her suit color is changed in such a way, her Zero Suit color also changes and has different markings on the back. Her tier ranking is far lower than it was in Melee (32nd out of 38, in F tier) due to her severely nerfed KO power and projectiles.
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (Metroid series)
Samus has many trophies about her, including her main one that is awarded each time Classic mode is completed with Samus on any difficulty. See Zero Laser for the trophy description of Samus' Final Smash:
The intergalactic bounty hunter named Samus Aran. Orphaned at an early age, she was taken in and raised by the alien race known as the Chozo. The Power Suit she wears is a product of their technology. Her unique combat skills combined with her athleticism and Arm Cannon have seen her through countless missions.
During exploration of SR388, Samus is infected by an X parasite and nearly dies. A vaccine created from Metroid cells saves her, but her suit turns blue and loses most of its abilities and weapons. This new Samus must regather her special abilities and fight to neutralize the threat of the X parasites in the space station run by Biologic Space Laboratories.
Samus in the basic version of the legendary Power Suit, made for her by the Chozo race. Samus is most often seen at the beginning of each game in this suit. The normal Power Suit has the lowest level of protective power and features no additional functions. She can use the cannon on her right arm for power shots and build up her arsenal through item pickups.
A suit with a higher level of protection than the Power Suit. It eliminates damage caused by very hot or cold areas. It is also more resilient to enemy attacks than the Power Suit and greatly differs in shoulder design. Recent visual depictions of Samus often show her wearing the Varia Suit.
A Power Suit that provides even more damage protection than the Varia Suit. This Gravity Suit also allows Samus to move without water resistance when underwater. In most games in the series, this suit also blocks lava damage and friction. In addition, it allows Samus to use item bonuses like the High Jump, Space Jump, and Speed Booster, even when underwater or in lava.
A Power Suit that reduces damage taken from the atmosphere of Dark Aether. It is obtained after defeating Amorbis in the Dark Agon Waste Temple. With its increased protection, it greatly widens the range of exploration available in the toxic atmosphere. This suit was developed by the Luminoth, the native race of Aether.
As a playable character
Main article: Samus (SSB4)
Samus returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. Her appearance now matches the design used in Metroid: Other M, albeit with minor cosmetic additions. However, she can no longer turn into Zero Suit Samus, who is now a separate character.
Outside of her role as a playable character, Samus's Varia Suit serves as the basis of a downloadable content costume for Mii Gunners. Nintendo also released a QR code for those who wish to have the exact Mii used in the costume's advertising.
Currently, Samus places 37th out of 55 characters on the Smash 4 tier list in the D tier (tying with Robin). While her Charge Shot gained KO power and had its speed increased, she had seemingly not improved much since Brawl. However, Samus received many helpful buffs in game updates, with the most noteworthy being update 1.1.5, which increased her air speed and noticeably improved her dash attack, forward tilt, forward aerial, and tether grab. Charge Shot and Missile also saw their start-up lag reduced, strengthening her camping options. Thanks to the buffs Samus has gained through updates, she is now considered to be better than how she was in Brawl and during the early days of Smash 4.
Samus Aran has fought her way across a variety of planets in the Metroid series. She wears a Power Suit designed by the Chozo, giving her incredible versatility in a fight. She can wade in, but she favors beams and missiles. A fully charged Charge Shot packs a serious punch!
Samus protects herself from overhead enemies with her up smash, Cover Fire, which can land multiple hits on anyone it connects with. Samus also fires a homing missile by holding sideways and pressing the special- attack button or launches a Super Missile by quickly tapping sideways instead.
When most people think of Samus, they think of her wearing the Varia Suit. It not only grants her power far beyond her own physical strength but also can unleash a deadly array of beams from the Arm Cannon. And, in a feature quite unique to the Metroid series, it lets her morph into a ball instead of having to crawl!
Power Suits aren't known for being good in water, so if you're the aquatic type, what you need is a Gravity Suit. This stylish, glowing suit upgrade not only completely nullifies fluid resistance— making moving underwater a breeze—but also reduces damage and improves your underwater vision. What more could you ask for?
No, not what you might wear to a formal party - this is one of the Power Suit types in Samus's arsenal. The Varia Suit might have the most iconic look, but its defensive abilities are sadly lacking. On Dark Aether, this suit will be much more useful. The Luminoth created it to mitigate the deadly substances in the planet's air.
As a playable character
Main article: Samus (SSBU)
Samus is playable once again as a starting character, using her design from Super Smash Bros. 4. Samus has received numerous changes that drastically change her playstyle from Smash 4, making her more of a powerhouse character with a stronger projectile game. Furthermore, Zero Suit Samus dons the Varia Suit during her Final Smash, using the same model as the playable version.
Aside from the two playable incarnations of Samus, multiple versions of her appear as Spirits, including the Fusion Suit and Gravity Suit.