Loneliness. Despair. Survival. From the ruins of planet Zebes to the unfriendly wilderness of SR388, these terms permeate Samus Aran’s adventures through the cosmos. Between battling Space Pirates and eradicating the treacherous Metroid from existence, Samus’ journey to becoming the ultimate warrior has been fraught with peril.
With the recent release of Metroid: Samus Returns, and Metroid Prime 4 on the distant horizon, The Game Fanatics have decided to dig deep into the narrative of the Metroid series. With a little research and a lot of gaming, we’ve discovered a rich backstory filled with mystery and lore. And if you’re interested in reading about the Metroid series’ unique and tumultuous release history, look no further.
If you haven’t already, catch up on the first, second, third, and fourth parts of our intergalactic journey. In this fifth installment, we look into the sprawling narrative present in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the Wii, then take a peek at the decidedly less consequential Metroid Prime: Federation Force for the 3DS.
A Galaxy in Turmoil
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Release: August 27, 2007 (NA)
Console: Nintendo Wii
Director: Mark Pacini
Producer: Kensuke Tanabe
Studio: Retro Studios
Six months after saving planet Aether from collapsing into total darkness, Samus heads for the Glactic Federation starship fleet above the planet Norion in her self-designed hunter-class ship. She docks the G.F.S. (Galactic Federation Ship) Olympus to meet with Fleet Admiral Castor Dane. Admiral Dane called upon four bounty hunters for a high-priority mission for the Federation: Samus, Rundas, Ghor, and Gandraya.
Rundas is a native of Phrygis, moon planet VES III, known primarily for ice mining. His kind has the ability to manipulate and generate ice. He is proud, cocky, arrogant, and “considers himself without rival in his field.” Ghor is a Veteran of the liberation war of Wotan VII, and only 6% of his birth body remains, as the rest is state of the art cyberware. Gentle, logical, and humorous, Ghor champions the weak and poor. Despite this, when he merges his cybernetic body with larger mechanisms, they often alter his personality. Gandraya is a biomorph from Jovia XII, and can assume the form of most living things, including organisms much larger than herself. She is cunning and flirtatious, often able to manipulate others through both her powers and personality.
The hunters were gathered to the G.F.S. Olympus one week after Space Pirates implanted a virus in the Federation’s super-computer network. Many Federation planets, and larger Federation ships, house biocomputers known as Aurora Units. The virus spread from a single A.U. from the G.F.S. Valhalla across the network and infected many Aurora Units. A.U. 242 controls the Olympus, and was the first to be given the “vaccine” for the virus. These computers were based off of Space Pirate technology, possibly making them the technical successors to Mother Brain. The Federation took down this network before the virus spread further, and now they call upon the four bounty hunters to travel to three disconnected Aurora Units that have been infected with the virus, cure them, and reconnect them to the network.
As Admiral Dane debriefs the hunters, a Space Pirate fleet attacks Norion and the Federation ships above it. The hunters head to the planet below in an attempt to activate a defense cannon to fend off the Pirates. They split up, bringing three separate generators back online. Samus briefly encounters Meta Ridley, who had somehow survived their encounter on Tallon IV. Following their fight, a Leviathan (just like the other living meteors filled with phazon that devastated Tallon IV and Aether) exits a warp hole and is on path to impact Norion.
Samus and the other hunters quickly reach the defense cannons’ control tower, but are soon attacked by a resurrected Dark Samus. Dark Samus attacks the group with a powerful phazon blast, knocking all but Samus unconscious. Samus, though heavily injured, manages to activate the defense cannon just before the Leviathan impacts Norion. Samus passes out, with Dark Samus once again on the loose.
One month later, Samus awakens in a medical chamber to find that she and the other hunters have been infected with phazon. Instead of destroying them from the inside, as is typical for a phazon infection, they’ve begun to self-generate the substance. Just like the Space Pirates, the Galactic Federation has been studying phazon. They equip Samus and the other hunters with a Phazon Enhancement Device so they can channel this energy. The catch is, in order to go into a phazon-induced “hyper mode,” Samus must sacrifice an entire tank of health.
While asleep, Leviathans struck three different planets: the Fuel Gel-rich planet Bryyo, the mostly-gaseous planet Elysia, and the dangerous Pirate Homeworld. Rundas was dispatched to Bryyo, Ghor was sent to Elysia, and Gandraya took on the challenges of infiltrating the Pirate Homeworld. Not entirely coincidentally, Bryyo and Elysia were both planets that had Aurora Units that needed to be cured, and Gandraya was originally sent to check up on the G.F.S. Valhalla.
Bryyo’s Civil War
Samus first travels to Bryyo. Here she discovers that the Bryyo were once an advanced society that traveled the stars with a banner of peace. They found brethren in the Chozo and Luminoth, gaining more knowledge and technology in the process. However, a schism soon occurred between the “Lords of Science” that led the Bryyo, and the “Primals” that clung to their old ways. Despite the Chozo’s insistence on peace, the Lords and Primals became intrenched in a civil war, killing each other off in the process. Just as the last remaining Bryyo found sanctuary, the Leviathan crashed upon their planet and wiped them out completely.
Upon Samus’ arrival to Bryyo, she finds reptilian creatures strewn about, frozen to floors and walls – clear indicators of the hunter Rundas’ presence. Space Pirates had arrived at Bryyo before Samus, and built energy shields to protect the Leviathan as its phazon spreads across the planet. Samus soon discovers that the phazon inside of her is not quite as symbiotic as the Federation thought, and can cause her to overload upon use if all the phazon injected into her system is not expelled quickly enough.
Rundas encountered this same problem, and succumbed to phazon madness. Samus defeats him, though dark Samus appears and absorbs his left over phazon energy. Samus continues on to destroy the shield generators protecting the Leviathan. She then enters the Leviathan and battles a Bryyo Mogenar – a war-class golem that has been infused with phazon. After defeating it, Samus becomes infected with more phazon as she destroys the Levithan’s seed, ultimately cleansing Bryyo of all phazon, but her levels rise to 25% saturation as a result.
Samus then takes for Elysia. The planet itself is mostly made of gas, but a floating city called SkyTown floats imposingly above these clouds. Long ago, the Chozo lived in SkyTown. After storms on Elysia made repairs a constant necessity on SkyTown, the Chozo built The Elysian: robots gifted with self awareness. Four-hundred years later, the Chozo left for other worlds, leaving the Elysian the task of guarding the planet and to learn the secrets of the universe. Two-hundred years passed, and the Elysian began to run out of fuel. They hibernated and were told of the outside world in their dreams, using satellites they sent across the galaxy. They learned that a stellar object hit Tallon IV and destroyed most of the Chozo with it.
Sixty-five years prior to Samus landing on Elysia, the Galactic Federation made contact with the Elysian, waking them up and beginning a new era of prosperity for the robot race. The Galactic Federation eventually installed Aurora Unit 217 in SkyTown, and the Elysian linked with it, becoming more prosperous than ever before. Five months prior, a stellar object traveled through a worm-hole and impacted the world below, rapidly spreading phazon and destruction. They discovered that a living planet was sending these Leviathan across the cosmos, a planet deemed Phaaze by the Galactic Federation.
When Samus makes touchdown on SkyTown, only the most primitive of Elysian remain. Ghor, like Rundas before him, has been corrupted by phazon. Samus defeats him, and Dark Samus once again absorbs his left over energy. Samus then makes contact with A.U. 217. It informs Samus that the Space Pirates have set up shield generators on the planet below to protect the Leviathan, but the storms would make it impossible for her to intervene. Instead, 217 instructs Samus to assemble an atomic bomb using her hunter ship and she gathers parts scattered across SkyTown. Samus detonates the bomb over the Leviathan by dropping a section of SkyTown containing the bomb from above. She enters the Leviathan and battles Helios: a phazon infected mechanoid core. Samus’ phazon levels once again rise, now to 50% saturation, and the Leviathan is destroyed.
Dark Samus Conquers
Before heading to the Pirate Homeworld, Samus receives a message from the Galactic Federation. They have discovered the location of the missing G.F.S. Valhalla, and it appears to have been destroyed by Space Pirates. Samus journeys there, only to find that young Metroid have taken over and decimated their Space Pirate captors, as well as the Galactic Federation troopers on board. Before this happened, however, the Space Pirates managed to extract Aurora Unit 313 from the ship.
Samus continues to the Pirate Homeworld, which is plagued by acid rain and is overrun with phazon due to the continued presence of a Leviathan. Though the Space Pirates had once considered Dark Samus a grave threat, she has managed to become their leader. Their cult-like adoration of Dark Samus is reminiscent of the way they became controlled by Mother Brain so easily years prior. They welcomed the Leviathan’s impact on their planet, and embraced its ever-spreading phazon as their home slowly transformed into a living being. Their new goal became Dark Samus’ goal: to spread Phaaze’s poison across the galaxy and turn all planets into living servants of Phaaze and Dark Samus.
Samus reaches the Pirate Homeworld, only to find that Gandraya too has succumbed to her phazon corruption. The two battle, with Gandraya regularly transforming herself into previous foes that Samus has encountered, including Rundas with his ice powers and Ghor with his mechanical prowess. Samus defeats Gandraya and continues her quest to destroy Dark Samus.
With the help of some demolition troopers, Samus manages to enter the Leviathan on the Pirate Homeworld to destroy its seed and halt Phaaze’s impending spread. Because the seed often selects the strongest being on its planet to act as its guardian, this Leviathan chose Meta-Ridley, now infused with phazon and more dangerous than ever. Samus once again defeats her old nemesis, and the last seed that impacted a planet is destroyed. Her corruption levels, however, have reached 75%, and she’s dangerously close to succumbing to phazon madness completely.
To the Galactic Federation’s knowledge, there is one Leviathan left in their galaxy, and it’s orbiting the Pirate Homeworld. Samus hijacks the Leviathan and the Galactic Federation use it to open a wormhole to attack and destroy Phaaze. They warp to this beautiful, blue monstrosity, and only Samus can withstand landing on the planet. However, once she makes contact, the phazon in the atmosphere overwhelms her systems, and her phazon corruption nearly reaches 100%. She enters a permanent state of Hypermode, and can’t enter her ship, as it no longer recognizes her as Samus.
Samus makes her way across the deadly planet, defeating all Metroid and Space Pirates that cross her path. Her journey culminates in her final encounter with Dark Samus, who has become more powerful than ever before. Though Samus is able to best her, Dark Samus merges with Aurora Unit 313: the unit stollen from the destroyed G.F.S. Valhalla. It has been connected with the planet’s core in order for Dark Samus to control Phaaze completely. Samus defeats Dark Samus and A.U. 313, and because A.U. 313’s link with Phaaze had reached total integration, this defeat created a chain reaction that tore the planet apart from the inside.
This defeat of Dark Samus, unlike in past instances, is final. Phaaze bursts out of instability, and all phazon along with it disappears. This includes the phazon corruption within Samus. The Galactic Federation escapes the planet using a worm hole once more and they return to their galaxy. Samus’ whereabouts are initially unknown, but she later appears in her ship and sends a message confirming that she’s completed her mission. Sylux, a bounty hunter with a deep hatred for Samus, follows her in his hunter ship off into the cosmos.
The Federation’s Force
Metroid Prime: Federation Force
Release: August 19, 2016 (NA)
Console: Nintendo 3DS
Director: Jason Carr
Producer: Kensuke Tanabe
Studio: Next Level Games
Samus and the Galactic Federation’s eradication of phazon is a major victory, but its disappearance halts the Federation’s research into phazon’s use in super soldier enhancement. They quickly begin Operation Golem, a program to create mech suits to better fight Space Pirates in the event that they once again rise to power. Based on the Chozo technology within Samus’ suit, four unnamed Galactic Federation troopers don the mechs and become the Federation Force.
The Federation Force undertake their first mission, an archeological survey in the Bermuda system. This system houses three planets they visit: an arctic planet with an abandoned Federation mine called Excelcion, a gas planet with a malfunctioning power station called Talvania, and the desert planet Bion. General Alex Miles, aboard the G.F.S. Aegis, dispatches them to Excelcion first, where ice giants have taken over. They then travel to Bion and next to Talvania, where they are ambushed by Space Pirates.
The Galactic Federation hires Samus to investigate this rise in Space Pirate activity, and the Federation Force soon discovers that the Pirates have harnessed ancient Bion technology that allow them to exponentially increase the size of living beings. Samus learns that the Spice Pirates have also been working on a super weapon called the Doomseye: a massive battleship with an intricate cloaking device powered by transfer units on each of the three planets in the Bermuda system. The Federation Force destroys these units, and the Federation Fleet prepare an attack on the Doomseye. The Pirates foresee this attack, however, and launch a strike that destroys the majority of the Fleet.
The Federation Force infiltrates the Doomseye, only to discover that the Pirates have taken Samus prisoner, brainwashed her, and increased her size. She only fights in morphball mode, and the Force manages defeats her. They go on to destroy the Master Brain (a mimic of Mother Brain), and are saved from an attack by the now-back-to-normal Samus. They nearly die in a black hole, but Samus returns in her ship and saves them once again.
During their missions, General Alex Miles orders the Federation Force to collect Metroid eggs for study (an event that would foreshadow their continued presence in the galaxy). After the events of the game, the bounty hunter Sylux causes a Metroid egg to hatch prematurely. He steals this Metroid, and will continue to grow as a threat to Samus and the Galactic Federation.
But Why Though?
Metroid Prime: Federation Force is, by almost all measures, a pointless game. All it does to move the series’ plot forward is show Sylux stealing a Metroid egg, and that’s only in a 100% completion ending. Samus is the most interesting part of the game, but she’s bizarrely brainwashed and blown up into a massive monster for a few minutes. The faceless Federation Force were mocked by fans, and for good reason: they simply don’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, this game really only serves to set up some small plot threads that Nintendo will likely continue in the upcoming Metroid Prime 4 for the Switch – a game that probably shouldn’t even be called Metroid Prime 4 in the first place. Still, Metroid Prime 3 made some great storytelling strides for the series, and we’re excited to see where it goes from here.
Next Time on The Metroid Story
The sixth installment of the Metroid Story picks up quite some time after Federation Force. We’ll dig into the stories present in the classic titles Metroid II: Return of Samus for the GameBoy (which Samus Returns for the 3DS is a remake of) and Super Metroid (aka, Metroid III) for the Super Nintendo. Here, Samus squares up against the ever-evolving Metroid, hoping to eradicate them from the galaxy once and for all.
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