Zero Suit Samus
Zero Suit Samus (ゼロスーツサムス, Zero Suit Samus), often abbreviated to ZSS or 0SS and colloquially referred to as Zamus, is Samus Aran while sporting her Zero Suit, rather than her Power Suit. The suit's name is a reference to Metroid: Zero Mission, which was the game it debuted in. As demonstrated via her alternate costumes in Super Smash Bros. 4, the identifier "Zero Suit Samus" also loosely refers to unarmored versions of Samus in general, a concept that existed since the original Metroid.
While Samus has been shown without her Power Suit since the original Metroid, usually as part of an ending sequence, the Zero Suit first appeared in Metroid: Zero Mission, a remake of the original Metroid for Game Boy Advance. The original Metroid allowed Samus to be playable in a leotard using the well-known "JUSTIN BAILEY" cheat code; Zero Mission expanded on this by incorporating a playable, suitless Samus into the game's narrative for the first time, granting her a unique style of stealth-based gameplay. The Zero Suit covers Samus completely from neck-to-toe in a sky blue, form-fitting body suit with magenta Chozo sigils on her back, left breast, and hands. While wearing it, Samus' hair is tied back in a high ponytail with a red scrunchie. Although Samus' eye and hair color varied widely across early games, most current depictions (and Super Smash Bros.) give her blonde hair and eyes that are "blue with a slight green"; Metroid: Other M gave her green eyes, but these were reverted to blue-green for SSB4.
Within Metroid canon, Samus boasts superhuman athleticism even without her Power Suit, thanks to the Chozo infusing their DNA within her and training her in combat during her childhood. While she is also much more adaptive to alien environments than a normal human thanks to her Chozo DNA, she is still extremely vulnerable without her Power Suit, and thus and must rely on stealth and her Paralyzer instead of direct combat to achieve her objectives.
However, much like her fellow bounty hunter Captain Falcon, Zero Suit Samus is depicted in the Super Smash Bros. series with a varied and highly physical martial arts fighting style that compliments her superhuman athleticism. Additionally, her Paralyzer comes complete with Super Smash Bros.-specific design elements that grant it offensive potential.
In Zero Mission, following Samus' defeat of Mother Brain, Samus escapes the Space Pirates' base on Zebes and deactivates her Power Suit prior to piloting her Gunship. However, Space Pirate ships shoot her down back onto Zebes' surface, destroying her Gunship and leaving her unable to activate her Power Suit. With the Zero Suit and her Paralyzer as her only methods of self-defense, Samus infiltrates the nearby Space Pirate Mother Ship in order to steal one of the Space Pirates' ships and escape Zebes. After stealthily navigating through the Mother Ship and stumbling upon the ruins of Chozodia, an ancient Chozo city, Samus undergoes a test left behind by the Chozo. Upon successfully completing the test, she is granted an advanced Power Suit that not only fully restores her previously lost abilities, but also grants her access to three upgrades that were incompatible with her previous Power Suit. Samus, now fully reequipped and upgraded, proceeds to escape Zebes via a Space Pirate ship after destroying Mecha Ridley and the Mother Ship.
Samus appears in her Zero Suit very briefly during ending sequences for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. In Corruption, Samus is shown briefly in her Zero Suit during the opening scene before she activates the Varia Suit inside her ship. In both of these instances she deactivates her Varia Suit before or while entering her ship. She also wears the Zero Suit in the ending of Metroid Prime Hunters. While the Zero Suit's design remains almost totally unchanged in Echoes and Corruption, it features noticeable changes in Hunters. These changes include the entire suit consisting of a darker shade of blue, a glossier texture, no Chozo sigils or aesthetic segments, a green hyphen-shaped accent at the base of the neck, and Samus' hands being exposed.
Samus also appears in her Zero Suit in a number of scenes in Metroid: Other M. In the beginning of the game, she activates her Power Suit by pressing the Chozo sigil on her breast. Her Power Suit is shown to deactivate when she is under emotional or mental distress, such as before the fight against Ridley in the Pyrosphere, or after dying. Other M is the second time in the series where she is playable in her Zero Suit. However, like in Zero Mission, this only occurs near the end of the game; in Other M's case, Zero Suit Samus becomes playable during the Bottle Ship's self-destruct sequence and she once again has the Paralyzer as her sole method of defending herself.
Other M features noticeable redesigns for Samus and the Zero Suit. Samus herself now has green eyes, a different facial structure, a beauty mark, a thinner ponytail that is worn low instead of high, and no forelocks. In addition, her physique is now slim and short, rather than having lean musculature like in Zero Mission, or a tall stature like in other Metroid games. While the Zero Suit's Zero Mission design appears in a flashback scene, the Zero Suit's new design is more aesthetically segmented, consists of a glossier texture and features wedged heels instead of low heels. Unlike in Zero Mission, a holster for the Paralyzer is also worn around her right thigh, as shown in both the flashback scene and during the events of Other M.
Aside from the Zero Suit itself, Samus has been shown in other types of clothing when outside of her Power Suit, with the most typical attires being revealing sportswear. Two such attires, which are seen in certain endings for Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion, appear as alternate costumes for Zero Suit Samus in SSB4.
A reflection of Samus in her helmet can be seen in her congratulations screen. Also, when Samus is shot by a Ray Gun or hit by one of Pikachu's electric attacks, a faint outline of a female polygon can be seen, representing her actual body.
While Zero Suit Samus does not appear, a special trophy called "Samus Unmasked" shows Samus with her helmet in her hand. Multiple events in Japan allowed players to obtain the trophies, but no such events occurred elsewhere. The NTSC and PAL versions still have the trophies in their respective data, however, and the trophy can be obtained via Action Replay.
It's said that the orphaned Samus Aran was raised by the few survivors of the Chozo race. They armed her with a Power Suit and taught her the ways of advanced combat; even burdened with her heavy suit, Samus is as graceful as a butterfly. In the Metroid series, it was standard that Samus would remove her helmet and armor if you cleared the game fast enough.
Main article: Zero Suit Samus (SSBB)
Zero Suit Samus is a newcomer in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Her design is based on her appearance in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, albeit with slight modifications. Her playstyle has been described by many as being similar to Sheik's, in that she possesses many quick and acrobatic moves (a reference to her superhuman athleticism displayed in Metroid: Zero Mission) and can transform from another character. Zero Suit Samus is equipped with the Paralyzer she wielded in Zero Mission, which grants her the ability to fire paralyzing blasts. However, it can also be re-configured into a Plasma Whip, which is a feature original to Brawl. Like her Power Suit's Grapple Beam, Plasma Whip also functions as a tether recovery.
Thanks to her outstanding mobility, fast attack speed, excellent air game, Power Suit Pieces and the benefits granted by her Paralyzer, Zero Suit Samus is currently ranked 9th on the tier list, placing her in the B tier.
Samus Aran without her mighty Power Suit. In this condition, she does not have the firepower she's famed for but is in full possession of the agility and athleticism she gained through her childhood training with the Chozo. Without the armor, she's also much, much faster. The weapon she carries is a self-protection device known as a Paralyzer that stops enemies cold.
Main article: Zero Suit Samus (SSB4)
Zero Suit Samus returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4, albeit as a standalone character instead of being connected to her Power Suit. Like her Power Suit, the Zero Suit sports a marginally updated version of its design from Metroid: Other M, although it is now accompanied by a matching pair of Jet Boots and metal bracelets. The Jet Boots have changed her mobility and moveset in certain ways, whereas the bracelets are merely aesthetic. Samus' physical features are now a combination of her appearances in Other M and previous games including Zero Mission and Brawl. This results in a composite design original to the Smash series, befitting the fact that most of Zero Suit Samus' moveset was also created for Smash.
Zero Suit Samus retains many of her strengths from Brawl. This includes a very impressive air game, thanks to her neutral aerial being useful at setting up attacks, her back aerial being reliable for KOing, and her up aerial being excellent at juggling and capable of KOing. Her excellent mobility and Paralyzer's utility grant her a particularly powerful punishment game and supplement her strong combo game, the latter of which is capable of quickly dealing large amounts of damage and even earning early KOs. However, unlike in Brawl, her KO potential has been improved, most notably thanks to her new forward smash and her new up special, Boost Kick.
Despite all of these positives, Zero Suit Samus still suffers from a weak ground game, largely due to her grab game being laggy to the point of leaving her highly vulnerable to being punished if her grabs whiff. As she is still a lightweight, she is also susceptible to being KO'd early. However, Zero Suit Samus' strengths are agreed to largely outweigh her weaknesses, even in spite of her retaining her nerfs from Brawl and gaining new ones from game updates, which has been reflected in her achieving very strong tournament representation and results.
Due to her benefits and competitive success, Zero Suit Samus is currently ranked 11th on the tier list, placing her in the A tier. While this placement is only a slight improvement from her placement in Brawl, it nevertheless results in her being assessed as a top-tier character instead of as a high-tier character as in Brawl.
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