Metroid is one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises with games on almost every Nintendo system from the NES to the Wii.
Along with that, Samus Aran is one of the earliest female protagonists in video game history. She continues to be one of the most popular and cosplayed characters even today, almost 30 years after the release of the original Metroid.
A strong and assertive female heroine lasting this long is obviously doing something right. Aside from the obvious similarities to the Alien movies, most gamers didn’t know they were controlling a woman in the first game until they finished it. Maybe it was originally a marketing ploy, to hide the hottie underneath a suit of armor. Well it worked. Without getting bogged down by that pesky thing called a plot, let’s look at what lies beneath it throughout each game.
In Metroid, as I just mentioned. the big reveal at the end is you’ve been playing as a lady all along. If you could beat the game in under 5 hours, you either got to see Samus without her helmet, in a leotard, or in a full-on bikini. This is one of the first achievements that I can remember all the way back in 1987. Varying degrees of skin were a visual reward for playing well. And as it turns out, Ms. Aran is stacked.
Now I failed to mention that with the famous “JUSTIN BAILEY” cheat code, you could play the entire game with her in the leotard. Oh, I just did. That way, you got to ogle her 8-bit bits throughout the whole game.
Metroid II: Return of Samus (1991)
Metroid II: Return of Samus is actually my favorite game of the series. It’s the first game I ever remember beating and probably the first I lost myself in. You see her suited up for the whole game, but at the end you’re treated to another eyeful as a completion reward, if you beat it in under 3 hours of course. Pajama-party Samus circa 1991. Even with simple Game Boy graphics, they did a pretty good job portraying her here. It’s a good look.
Super Metroid (1994)
In 1994, Super Metroid hit on the SNES. Due to its detailed and colorful graphics and cinematic elements, the game received universal praise. But again, Samus is buried well beneath her armor until the end of the game, where we are again treated to a peak underneath after completion of the narrative… if you do it in under 3 hours. 16-bit graphics are a definite step up. Her outfit has a dominatrixy feel don’t you think?
Metroid Fusion (2002)
There was an 8-year gap until the release of Metroid Fusion on the Game Boy Advance in 2002. Nintendo neglected to include a Metroid game on the N64, much to the dismay of Samus fans. This is also the first hand-held edition of the series in 11 years. The less bulky, fusion suit makes its debut here, but guess what? In the continuing tradition for the series, players are treated to a suit-less Samus Aran yucking it up for the camera in various poses if you can beat the game in certain times with certain completion percentages. It’s just a given now.
Metroid Prime (2002)
Metroid Prime for the Gamecube came out in 2002 as well. They took a chance here with the first person style, but pulled it off nicely. Now you get to see the world through Samus Aran’s eyes. All endings depict Samus standing atop her starship with her helmet removed. Great game, even though she was shy about taking off the suit this time around.
Metroid: Zero Mission (2004)
Two years later, we got Metroid: Zero Mission for the Game Boy Advance. It’s basically a graphically-superior remake of the original with new mini-bosses, items, and areas added. The game is in a very similar visual style to Super Metroid. In all endings here, Samus will stand against a space background in various poses before clenching her fist. Upon acquisition, each picture would be added to a gallery in the menu. Nice touch.
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (2004)
Also in 2004, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was released. Much of the same here with different endings, but continuing to show off what’s probably become the most popular look for Samus, the deep blue zero suit. I hate to say it, but she kind of has a shitty look on her face. Fun fact: this is the first Metroid game to feature multiplayer.
Metroid Prime: Hunters (2006)
Metroid Prime: Hunters hit the Nintendo DS in 2006 and is a lot like the other Prime games, but with a couple differences. As the name might suggest, this entry focuses a lot more on shooting. So it’s basically a first-person-shooter. It’s also more linear than the others, focusing less on exploration. Endings this time are not affected by item percentages or clear times. It’s all about defeating Gorea’s first/second forms.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (2007)
A year later, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption came out for the Wii to wrap up the Prime story. It introduced a new control scheme featuring the Wii-mote and Nunchuks working together simultaneously. Now players could flail their arms around just like Samus! But seriously, the motion controls were actually alright in this game, unlike a lot of other Wii abominations. If you meet certain criteria once again, you get different no-suit endings. And Samus’s face gets its shitty look back.
Metroid: Other M (2010)
And lastly, 2010’s Metroid: Other M came out for the Wii. The series took a different turn here with more story-driven and cutscene-laden gameplay. This is much more cinematic than any other Metroid game and has a straight action adventure vibe. If you like to stare at ass and tits in a zero suit, this is the game for you. You don’t have to wait until the end this time! Yay. What a shame that the game with the most sex appeal is also regarded as the worst in the series by a lot of fans.
Long story short, Samus Aran has a butt that just won’t quit.
– David Chaney