Metroid 30th Anniversary Character Profile | Samus Aran

By Ian Soltes 13.08.2016 10


Samus Aran
She's out of this world…

Samus Aran is a well-known name across space. Adopted by the dying Chozo race when her home colony was destroyed by Space Pirates, she has taken up a suit made of their power armour and managed to rack up quite an impressive resumé. Oddly, she has not been seen hunting many bounties, rather hunting Metroids to extinction instead.

Statistics

Age: It's really hard to tell. Due to being augmented with Chozo (and later Metroid) DNA, Samus appears to be a woman in her early-to-mid-twenties, but this is far from confirmed. She started her training sometime between the age of three and five and, by the time of Metroid Fusion, was probably in her early 30s, but this is largely speculation.

Species: At her core, Samus is human. However, thanks to both the Chozo Grey Voice and the Metroid Baby, she is also part Chozo and part Metroid now. This has saved her many times, as it allows her access many pieces of otherwise-inaccessible Chozo tech, as well as saving her from the X parasite.

Location: Samus doesn't have much of a defined 'location' beyond her personal ship. Even this changes as she frequently changes her ship around with the only names given being the unofficial 'Cosmo Liner' and 'Hunter IV.' Also, she has a habit of blowing up ecosystems and planets, which means that very few beach-front housing places would likely want to have her living there…

Family Matters: Samus is not a family person. When she was a small child, Ridley, leading the Space Pirates, assaulted her colony, and killed her parents, Virginia and Rodney Aran. She was then adopted by the Chozo whom were fast on their way to extinction. Once trained, she then departed for Federation Space with the only known 'family' - used in the absolute loosest sense of the word - being a baby Metroid that mistook Samus for being its mother. The Metroid died soon afterwards. As of now, she has no further known relatives.

Image for Metroid 30th Anniversary Character Profile | Samus Aran

Main Features: The most defining aspect of Samus is her power armour and the versatility it provides, but on a more basic level, her most defining feature is her adaptability. Samus routinely deals with environments that should easily kill her and foes that far outclass her, yet has survived them all. This often comes from quick adaptation to the on-going situation, or from finding and utilising new pieces of varied forms of technology for victory. She is also, very much so, an explorer and treasure hunter, with much of her survival coming from her ability to find previously unknown resources, hidden away in strange places.

She is also capable physically. Even without her iconic armour, she is very well trained and capable of fighting on her own. This ability may have been played up for her appearance in Smash Bros., but there is no doubt as to her skills and capabilities, regardless.

Clothing: Samus's iconic piece of gear is her Power Suit. The baseline suit is capable of utilising multiple pieces of technology from several different races with zero connection errors. She can utilise Chozo, Luminoth, Federation, and even Space Pirate tech, without too much of an issue. Her primary weapon, the arm cannon, is built in to this suit. Capable of delivering normal, fire, ice, electrical, and even light/dark shots, among others, the arm cannon is no slouch. Additionally, the Power Suit boasts various modes, such as the Screw Attack that can allow for a large amount of jumps, and the Morph Ball mode, which nobody has been able to figure out. Under the Power Suit, Samus has been known to wear several different outfits, ranging from a red top/shorts combo to her 'Zero Suit' - a blue, full-body piece of clothing. It is known for both its practicality and fairly figure-hugging design.

 

Concept

Originally, Samus was actually more devoid of character than someone like Link or even Doom Guy. Even Mega Man had a more defined persona, as Samus was almost, effectively, an empty shell. However, that was altered with one fateful vote and, in fact, Samus ended up getting some inspiration from Alien, of all things. This can even be seen in the faint theme Samus has of motherhood and family issues compared to what Alien does with certain things… However, that's really about it, as the two series went in radically different directions following that. Oddly, Princess Leia may have also helped inspire her personality… That aside, much of what has happened with Samus, and Metroid in general, appears to have been unique to her.

 

Appearances

Aside from her mainline series and Smash Bros. appearances, Samus has not had any major roles elsewhere. However, Kid Icarus is a sister-series and has had several… similarities, such as how one enemy design is pretty unmistakably a Metroid. This is even called out in Kid Icarus: Uprising.

 

Best Appearance

Probably either Super Metroid or Metroid Prime, depending on the particular fan. Both are very different in how they function, though, with one being a 2D Metroidvania-style and the other being a 3D adventure that is a bit more focused on the environment and immersion than other things. Both are considered to be great games, however.

 

Do Not Mention

Metroid: Other M, at least around Western fans who ended up disliking the game immensely. The upcoming (as of the writing of this article) Federation Force may also end up taking a place beside that title.

Additionally, when around Samus herself, it is probably best to not bring up her family. There have been some faint rumours that it was Samus, not Sakurai, who put the foot down and stopped Ridley from joining Smash Bros. as anything more than a stage hazard.

Image for Metroid 30th Anniversary Character Profile | Samus Aran

 

Anything Else?

Despite her few actual appearances outside of her own series, Samus has a stack of cameo appearances. Some prime examples include her outfit in Animal Crossing and appearing in a stage for Dead or Alive: Dimensions, if only to kill Stage Hazard Ridley during the fight.

Samus has been directly responsible for at least the extinction of the Metroids and likely Ing, as well. In addition, she has inflicted some very heavy casualties on the Space Pirates and other races, plus has blown up at least one planet. As a result, Samus may have one of, if not the, highest kill counts for any Nintendo character.

It was stated once that Samus was not a woman but, rather, a 'Newhalf,' which can be Japanese slang for a transgendered woman. However, this comment came from a background designer while the series creator has stated that there being a Metroid game on the PS2 was as likely as Samus being a 'Newhalf.'

Despite how Nintendo marketed the N64, there was no Metroid game in the works for it. Since then, she has made various appearances elsewhere.

Samus is a very fine and capable bounty-hunter. As the sole lead character in her series, she has remained largely consistent and her reveal as being female, way back when Nintendo was just getting the videogame market re-established, was a huge thing as it was the first time many people had encountered a solo female lead without any distinctly 'feminine' traits. As such, she's remained as one of gaming's main ladies, even if her games have slowed down considerably.

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Metroid: Other M, at least around American fans who ended up disliking the game immensely.

American? I can assure you the majority of non-Americans hated that game, too. At the very least, the majority of Metroid fans all around the world disliked a lot of what happened in Other M. Not sure why Americans would only be singled out.

...her reveal as being female, way back when Nintendo was just getting the videogame market re-established, was a huge thing as it was the first time many people had encountered a solo female lead without any distinctly 'feminine' traits.

And herein lies what I think has become an issue with Samus' character and the series over the years. Concepts and artwork of Samus' appearance under her suit following Metroid 1 + 2 showed her as the badass space hero one would expect. Frizzy hair, minimal (if any) makeup, a rougher, tougher and hardened look about her - Ellen Ripley indeed.I don't know if you can include the official guidebook art, but I think it still gives the idea and impression that they were going for with Samus at the time:

Even Metroid Prime managed to retain a look of strength, realism and seriousness about her, without being too overly feminine. Extra points for the most practical hairdo in the series, too. No way could Samus function with her current ridiculous hair styles inside that body armour unless it's tied back in a ponytail or bun.


Then we got the brutal Barbie doll design following Prime. I mean what on earth?


And it's all gone downhill from there. The Zero Suit hasn't helped. Her ass got tighter, boobs got bigger, impractical hair style, anime Barbie face, beauty mark to top it off, then Smash 4 took it further with the high heels.



Nintendo could have taken Samus in an entirely different direction, and it's such a shame to see what they did with her in Other M in particular. But certainly appearance-wise, that sense of mystery was lost a long time ago, where it was satisfying to see her without her helmet or suit at the end of a game. That doesn't exist any more. She always had a sexy design about her, teasing us with swimwear in her ending reveals, but she was sexier because of her badassery even more. She didn't need skintight clothing, beauty marks, Barbie doll anime faces, high heels, or the galaxy's next top model haircut to make her attractive. She was the Ellen Ripley of the gaming universe, let alone the Metroid universe, and I'd do anything to have that back.

( Edited 13.08.2016 17:15 by Azuardo )

Oh I so hated the new sexy barbie princess look.
For me Samus was always a badass amazon like this:

Image for

or at least this:

Image for


( Edited 13.08.2016 19:42 by Ofisil )

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

Right? She still has a femininity about her, but not in any unrealistic pandering Barbie way like the recent designs. Just tie that hair up into braids when the helmet's on, then treat us with the flowing hair shot as the reward at the end.

Considering Nintendo was progressive in the sense of making her a woman at the time, it's so sad to see how far they have fallen into the stereotypes, as if the only way Samus could be represented is by ticking off as many Barbie princess checkboxes as possible, and increasing her assets inside a catsuit for good measure.

I sort of disagree. Then again I don't believe that a woman cannot be sexually appealing as well as badass, strong, and whatever else. I actually enjoy the ZSS look since, in my eyes, it shows she can look nice while still kicking ass. I never once thought of a character like Taki as being 'weak' or someone like Yuna as being 'incapable' despite looking sexy/submissive. Course, that's just me. 

Also, Other M got a much better (by comparison) reception in Japan. That's really not surprising though considering Japan is an entirely different culture than the west. Personally I liked Fusion Samus's personality the best since it showed that she had developed some relationships and wasn't just some killing machine. 

Snowtwo said:
I sort of disagree. Then again I don't believe that a woman cannot be sexually appealing as well as badass, strong, and whatever else. I actually enjoy the ZSS look since, in my eyes, it shows she can look nice while still kicking ass. I never once thought of a character like Taki as being 'weak' or someone like Yuna as being 'incapable' despite looking sexy/submissive. Course, that's just me.

I don't think that, either. I just find it very unfortunate that Nintendo had to go the cliched route of giving her this typical doll princess design, instead of the original and far more realistic vision they had with the original games. She's a walking tank that's gone through serious shit - her dolled-up Barbie design doesn't reflect that, whereas her original designs did. They've tried to make her look model-level pretty and anime, and that doesn't do it for me. I'm not saying you can't have this kind of woman filling the role, but it's far too Hollywood to stick the prettiest and most curvacious girl into the leading role. Alien wouldn't have been the same without Ellen Ripley's hardened look, and I'd like to think Nintendo took inspiration from Ripley in those orginal arts, not just the film's themes and settings. Unfortunately, they look to have torn those pages out of the book, and gone the Hollywood route for Samus' current design.

Also, Other M got a much better (by comparison) reception in Japan. That's really not surprising though considering Japan is an entirely different culture than the west. Personally I liked Fusion Samus's personality the best since it showed that she had developed some relationships and wasn't just some killing machine.

Ah, so by "Americans" you mean the West? Big difference.


( Edited 13.08.2016 20:31 by Azuardo )

Snowtwo said:
I sort of disagree. Then again I don't believe that a woman cannot be sexually appealing as well as badass, strong, and whatever else.

Sexy? yes. A doll? No.
Lara Croft? Tough and sexy.
Tifa Lockhart? Tough and sexy.
Taki (Like you've said)? Tough and super sexy.

The new samus aran is a busty version of princess toadstool, not a sexy version of a warrior.

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

I think they should make Samus a man. Or at least give the player a chance to play as a man. It's not fair.

Flynnie said:
I think they should make Samus a man. Or at least give the player a chance to play as a man. It's not fair.

I don't think people would have enjoyed Shamus Aran.

Snowtwo said:

Flynnie said:
I think they should make Samus a man. Or at least give the player a chance to play as a man. It's not fair.

I don't think people would have enjoyed Shamus Aran.

Shamus Aman

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

Sounds like the Irish version of her! Seamus Aran.

Anyway, I love this:

Image for
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