In celebration of the launch of Metroid’s newest game, Metroid: Dread, it is an exciting time to look back at the greatest enemies that have challenged players. Ever since the original game on the Nintendo Entertainment System, the sprawling worlds of the Metroid universe have fascinated the minds. As soon as players encountered their first zoomer, they knew that they were off on a unique journey on an alien world.
As these games expanded, stronger and tougher foes rose to challenge Samus Aran. New planets offered new ecosystems, so Samus encountered new foes like the X parasite. The SA-X then ruthlessly hunted her down through the corridors of the Biological Space Laboratories research station. Otherwise, the Dark Aether held unique enemies that Samus never faced off against before.
Even old foes grew in strength to offer new challenges. Where the metroid once threatened the universe in its larval form, Samus and players both learned that it was only the weakest form of the species. These creatures continued to evolve and grow in strength as they moved through their life stages. Meanwhile, some of her oldest foes rebuilt themselves up, becoming cyborg powerhouses.
So, join us as we explore the most frightening foes that Samus Aran has challenged to restore peace to the galaxy.
Presenting the top ten enemies that Samus Aran faced off against in the Metroid Series
10. Parasite Queen
Kicking off the first 3D title of the Metroid series, Metroid Prime started our journey with the Frigate Orpheon’s plight. When Samus received the Orpheon’s distress signal, she did not expect to find a Space Pirate Science Team in danger. Instead, she quickly dispatched any Space Pirate that she located on this vessel. As she continued to explore the frigate, she discovered parasites swarming around every corridor. Eventually, she made her way to the reactor room, where a Parasite Queen roosted within the core.
As it turns out, the Space Pirates had conducted Phazon experiments on the parasites and their queen, increasing their size. These experiments also enhanced the acidic glands of the queen, which led it to regularly drool acid. Unfortunately, before Samus arrived, two of these queens broke free and caused havoc on the frigate. While the Space Pirates slew one of the queens, the second one made its way to the reactor. Destabilizing it.
In battle, the Parasite Queen remained contained within the reactor core. Thus, it could only strike out at Samus with energy blasts. The reactor’s shields not only contained the beast but also protected it from Samus’ blasts and missiles. Thus, she had to look for gaps in the shields to even strike out against the queen before aiming at the weak spot, its mouth. As the parasite queen perished, it fell into the depths of the reactor, creating a chain reaction that destroyed the frigate.
While the Parasite Queen is not the strongest creature that Samus has met, its activities led Samus to Tallon IV and launched the Metroid Prime trilogy.
In the depths of the Biological Space Laboratories research station, Samus encountered a complete nightmare of a boss. Nightmare was a biomechanical lifeform designed for military applications. Whether or not the Federation created the beast is not fully known. However, its presence on the Federation’s research station places strong implications that they were involved in its creation. Moreover, Nightmare also appeared in Other M’s Bottle Ship, another Federation bioweapons research station, which furthers the suspicions that the Federation created him.
When players encounter this beast in Metroid: Fusion, Nightmare fell victim to the Parasite X infection. Thus, the first incarnation of Nightmare that gamers ever met was not the creature itself. Instead, the X organism mimicked the abilities of Nightmare, even amplifying his attacks.
Nightmare’s greatest strengths lie in its gravity manipulation generator, located on the tail end of his torso. With this generator active, it could distort gravitational fields, even attracting Samus’ beams into it rather than his face. In Fusion, the gravity manipulation only affected missiles and not beam weapons, though it affected both in Other M. Meanwhile, it has several missiles and energy weapons mounted on Nightmare’s arms. Thus, the creature could send a barrage of attacks in Samus’ way.
In both games, Samus defeats Nightmare by disabling the gravity manipulator before breaking off his mask. Once its face mask breaks, the fight is already over. In Other M, breaking the mask causes Nightmare to lose control of his cybernetics. Meanwhile, in Fusion, his body breaks down and melts as his mask breaks apart.
Phantoon haunted the minds of players since he made his debut in Super Metroid. In the Super Metroid manuals, Phantoon is either a ghost of the wrecked ship or a physical manifestation of Mother Brain’s evil and violent consciousness. Alternatively, Other M described Phantoon as a multidimensional entity that originally hid in a Chozo vessel. This vessel would eventually crash into Zebes to become the wrecked ship. Additionally, Samus only ever saw just a small portion of Phantoon’s body.
No matter Phantoon’s origins, the creature appears to be a ghostly visage. During Super Metroid, Phantoon phased in and out of existence. Samus could only strike out against it when it opened its single eye. Otherwise, it remains detached from the physical realm. Not only could Phantoon become intangible, but it could also become invisible for times. As Samus fought this creature, Phantoon struck out against Samus with a barrage of fiery phantom eyes. Otherwise, it could ram into Samus, causing damage.
Phantoon returned at a much grander scale in Other M, as its final boss. This time, the ghostly creature summoned rage hands to strike out at Samus. After Samus breaks the station’s windows, Phantoon would begin to summon phantom eyes that tracked her movements. To protect itself, this beast could summon dark vortexes that appeared in front of its eye, though it would eventually peak through these barriers. Finally, this Phantoon lashed out at Samus with its giant tentacles.
As the Ing from Dark Aether overtook the planet, they also had the giant security drone that the Luminoth built to protect their Sanctuary Fortress. Thus, this machine became the guardian for the Ing Hive by the time that Samus encountered it.
Samus faced off against Qudraxis at its full might as the mechanical guardian stood in her way. It could create vortexes, which could pull Samus into the center of the room and damage her. It also fired an annihilator beam at Samus. Finally, it had a lock-on laser that Samus must avoid by boosting in her morph ball form or traveling under its head. Finally, a jump, electric shock waves emanated from each of its feet. As Samus took out its knees and feet, the body broke apart, sending Quadraxis into the second phase.
Once Quadraxis’ head separated from its body, it would continue to fire annihilator beams and lock-on lasers. Moreover, the head now has the protection of a shielding device, located in its body. Finally, Quadraxis would summon dark quads into the fight as Samus destroyed the signal antenna on its body and head. Breaking each of the antennas would cause the glass on Quadraxis’ head and legs to break off, initiating the third and final phase.
During the final phase, most of Quadraxis’ weapons become disabled. Still, the head continues to pose a threat to Samus. By shooting the head with the light beam, Samus could stun Quadraxis. Then, Samus could defeat Quadraxis for good by launching onto its head and planting bombs in depressions on it.
6. Queen Metroid
In the original Metroid game, players believed that the floating metroids were the worst form that those creatures could ever take. Unfortunately, Metroid II: Return of Samus proved that Samus only fought against larval forms of these destructive creatures. Metroids go through several morphological changes as they age, becoming increasingly dangerous. At the end of the life cycle were either the omega or the queen metroids. Where omega metroids were formidable enemies, the queen dwarfed all others both in size and raw power.
Like most hive-based creatures, the queen both guards and lays the eggs for future metroids. She could even carry infant metroids in her dorsal plates. In many ways, the queen resembles a crocodilian, especially with her long maw filled with jagged, sharp teeth. Increasing her range, her long neck would allow her to quickly snap in Samus’ direction.
Moreover, both in Other M and Samus Returns, the Metroid Queen could fire a devastating energy beam. Otherwise, she could fire energy balls that would float toward Samus. In Other M, the queen flung her offspring at Samus in the early phases of her fight. Meanwhile, in Samus Returns, she could push back the bounty hunter with the force of her roar.
In all iterations, the queen metroid’s durable carapace protected her from most attacks. Her only weakness typically appeared while she was attacking. By firing missiles and beams into the queen’s mouth, Samus eventually took out this titanic beast. However, in Other M, Samus must destroy the crystalline structures that pop out at the back of the queen’s neck. Samus could then both strike the underbelly of the beast as well as go down her esophagus to damage her insides directly.
When it comes to the Space Pirate’s forces, none pose a larger threat to Samus than the colossal Kraid. No other enemy has stood as tall as this three-eyed reptilian beast. Although, his first appearance on the Nintendo Entertainment System only stood as tall as Samus. So, he did not make an impact on the series until he emerged from Brinstar’s depths. His gigantic size required two screens to show his entire height. From that point on, Kraid cemented himself as a titan in the metroid universe, later described as a mainstay.
Unfortunately, none know where Kraid originated from, aside from his strong connections to the Space Pirates. With his size, it becomes evident that the Space Pirates intimidated their foes with Kraid’s aid. He could easily create an unsurmountable adversary for any who challenged their activities.
Kraid’s main form of attack was the spikes that launched from the three cavities on his belly. If Samus is fast enough, she may platform using the flying spikes to fire missiles at Kraid’s mouth. Meanwhile, his claws also detached to become projectiles with a swipe of his arms. Otherwise, he swiped at Samus each time she came within range.
While Kraid has only appeared in the first Metroid, Super Metroid, and Zero Mission, many other games, in and out of the Metroid series, referenced him. While his appearance in Metroid Prime was cut, the game still references him as a member of Ridley’s crew. He has also prominently appeared in Smash Brothers, especially as a background element in the Brinstar Depths stages in Melee and Ultimate.
As is often the case, one of the worst foes a hero can face is an exact copy of themselves. SA-X proves that the long-standing evil twin trope still holds true. In Metroid: Fusion, Samus Aran fell victim to the X Parasite, which entered her body and began to assimilate it. As the medical team attempted to save her life, they surgically removed multiple pieces of her power suit. Not knowing that the full extent that this parasite posed, they stored these pieces on the Biological Space Laboratories research station.
Not long after, the parasite combined the suit pieces to form SA-X. Since the X-Parasite had begun to assimilate with Samus, it had her DNA. So, the SA-X became a genetic duplicate of the bounty hunter, though it had vacant eyes with no pupils. As the clone formed from Samus’ power suit, it gained all her strengths and abilities from the past, like Super Metroid’s events.
The SA-X then broke out of the quarantine bay, leading the X-Parasite to completely infest the population and creatures present on the ship. Only one species would remain untouched from the X-Parasite infection, their natural predators, the Metroids. Similarly, Samus posed a threat to the X-Parasite because the vaccine to save her life had merged her DNA with a Metroid’s.
After Samus severely wounded the SA-X, near the end of the game, the creature dropped its humanoid façade to become an alien monstrosity. In this form, the creature could only leap and try to stomp down on Samus. However, even after defeating it, Samus did not absorb its core. Instead, it came to her rescue against a common foe, the Omega metroid, perishing in the process. Its death permitted Samus to absorb it and gain the strength to escape.
3. Mother Brain
As the name implies, Mother Brain is the brains of the Space Pirates’ operations, especially on Zebes. She is an AI unit that the Chozo once created; however, the influences of the pirates turned her into a cold, evil machine. Her brilliance and efficiency convinced even Ridley to submit to her as the leader of the Space Pirates.
On her first adventure through Zebes, Samus faced off against Mother Brain for the first time. During that time, the mother brain appeared as a large brain with a single eye that sat in the middle of a well-protected room. Mother Brain felt that her network of lasers would keep all foes away from her. Thus, she quickly fell when Samus broke her glass container.
Later, the space pirates reconstructed Mother Brain so that she could reassume her activities on Zebes. Once Samus made her way down to the Tourian, she encountered a control room, like Mother Brain’s original defenses. Once again, Samus shattered Mother Brain’s container to fire at her brain. However, this time, Mother Brain had a surprise for Samus.
Mother Brain rose to tower over Samus in a cybernetic body. Thus, the AI began to assault her with a series of lasers and missiles. She even had a powerful eye beam that brought the bounty hunter to the brink of death. Samus only defeated Mother Brain with the sacrifice of the “infant” metroid.
Even past her defeats, Mother Brain still looms as one of the greatest evils in the universe. The games hint at her return with the existence of other AI unites like her. Aurora units appeared in the Prime series. Likewise, Other M featured a similar AI, MB.
2. Metroid Prime/Dark Samus
When it comes to the Prime trilogy, no enemy desired Samus’ demise more than Metroid Prime. The exact origins of this creature are unknown. It is fair to assume that a metroid broke from Space Pirate captivity as they were performing phazon experiments. However, the original US release of Prime did indicate that the creature had been on the planet before the pirates arrived.
Unlike the typical metroid, this creature did not follow the normal life cycle of the species thanks to its exposure to phazon. The energy mutated this metroid, allowing it to grow to both in power and size. Unlike most creatures who become exposed to phazon, this metroid could handle endless exposure to the substance.
Later, it formed a protective exoskeleton to protect its core. Thus, Samus had to break through that exoskeleton before she could do any lasting damage to Metroid Prime. Unlike most evolved metroids, prime could exist outside of its exoskeleton, as a phazon energy being. Even past its original defeat, avoided death by latching onto Samus and merging with her Phazon suit.
From that point on, Metroid Prime became Dark Samus, a dark double of Samus. Dark Samus continued to hunt down Samus from planet to planet throughout the Prime trilogy. Dark Samus made her presence known to Samus in Aether, due to a short-range warping ability.
She once again haunted Samus during Prime 3’s events, more powerful than before. However, after facing off Samus on Phaaze, Dark Samus perished for good.
No foe has persisted longer than Ridley, who has even faced against Samus in the Smash Brothers tournament. This bloodthirsty pirate has only ever honestly answered to one being, Mother Brain. Otherwise, Ridley is the unquestioned leader of the Space Pirates. His size, strength, and intelligence made him a formidable adversary. Moreover, Ridley refuses to limp away to the shadows. Instead, he rebuilds his body after each battle, returning as Mecha and Meta Ridley.
One of Ridley’s defining moments was when he broke into the Ceres research facility to abduct the infant metroid from the Federation. Here, he squared off against Samus and resoundingly defeated her before flying away with his prize. Unfortunately, Samus later returned the favor by defeating him in his lair on Zebes.
After the events of the original game, Ridley emerged as Meta Ridley in Metroid Prime. Since his body had sustained severe damage on Zebes, his crew reconstructed him with cybernetic components. Even though he suffered defeat yet again on Tallon IV, he returned to face Samus in Prime 3, now loyal to Dark Samus thanks to phazon corruption. As the phazon corruption overtook him, he became Omega Ridley then stood in Samus’ path once more on the Pirate home world.
After he recovered from the phazon corruption, his body regenerated. Thus, Ridley no longer had cybernetic enhancements in Super Metroid.
Which enemies from the Metroid series did you like the most?
We have shared the top ten adversaries that have posed a threat to Samus Aran during the Metroid games. We picked each of these foes for their importance to the series as well as their capabilities. Now, we want to hear from you. Do you agree with our list? Let us know who your favorite enemies were down in the comments below.
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