A musical Moment of Awesome comes in the Prime 1, when you get to the Magmoor Caverns. When those ominous male vocals first kick in and you're probably thinking "Shades of Norfair, eh?" Then the door opens into the cavern complex proper, and that familiar drumbeat kicks in... Goosebumps.
A early Crowning Music of Awesome happens at the Menu, the theme played there is so dynamic and atmospheric it alone fills many expectations of the game, and once when people come out of the Awesome induced shock and realize that "This is just the Menu Theme!" all other expectations are pointless, and they get ready for a Awesome Game.
The Wavebuster. Especially when used to lock onto and kill INVISIBLE BOSSES WHICH CANNOT BE NORMALLY LOCKED ONTO. (The Cloaked Drone of course.)
The very best moment with the said wavebuster is when you just get it. You are probably itching to use it in a firefight, and when you do. You blast up a bunch of formerly invincible enemies.
The logs in Prime where the pirates try to make their own Morph Ball and decide to stop trying it after a few failures. Counts as a Funny Moment, too.
When Meta Ridley is incapacitated by Samus, and the Chozo statues shoot him off the artifact site with energy beams. Not only is it an awesome spectacle, but Meta Ridley gets his comeuppance here for all the problems he caused for the Chozo and this planet. However, he was not quite dead...
One for Retro and Nintendo here.NOBODY thought this game was going to work. Even levelheaded fans and critics were tearing into it before it came out, with claims that not only would it not feel like Metroid but would at best be a mediocre shooter. Nowadays, it and its two sequels are ranked amongst the greatest games in history.
Stuttering Craig: When [Metroid Prime] was first announced, we thought it was going to suck. *insert image of PlayStation 3* How wrong we were. How wrong we were.
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
Whenever you arrive at the Energy Controllers in the Aether temples, you come across the corpse of its last guardian. Scans reveal, for every one of them, that they went out fighting. The one in Agon died while fending off innumerable Ing hordes, finally succumbing to superior numbers. The one in Torvus was almost possessed numerous times, until the Ing realized that they couldn't break his will and killed him. And the one in the Sanctuary Fortress was so badass, the Ing had to turn his own weapons of war against him, unable to defeat him themselves. As awesome as all of that is, the real Moment of Awesome is when, after you've carried out their final wish and returned the Light of Aether to their temples, these elite Luminoth warriors, heroic titans in the struggle between light and dark, bow to Samus Aran, acknowledging her as the new Sentinel of their temple.
The ending for Prime 2, as seen here. After saving their planet and their lives, Samus gets a bow from the crowd of Luminoths that gather to greet her after the final boss. She pretty much ignores them and walks out the door, giving a sort of lazy salute/wave without turning to face them as she leaves.
"All in a day's work, giant moth people."
Any time Samus and Dark Samus face off, when they point their guns at each other like they're going to have some epic duel (which usually does happen) to really funky music for a Metroid game (especially the second fight, where Dark Samus activates the elevator and for a bit you fight while it's going up to the highest point in the area). Or there's the mini-scene just before the third part of Emperor Ing - the chrysallis breaks open, and Samus is just standing there as smoke blasts past her, while the new, final form music (which has an incredible intro btw) begins, and the Emperor Ing just stands up imposingly.
The final battle in Echoes is especially awesome. In the two battles before then, the two had a short shoot out before the player actually took control. The last time? Dark Samus seals off the escape route and slowly walks towards Samus. The cutscene ends with the two calmly pointing their weapons at eachother as the dimension they're in is rapidly collapsing around them. For those who didn't get 100% of the items in Prime, this is also the moment where you'd learn that Dark Samus is Metroid Prime. The battle ends with Dark Samus desperately attempting to absorb Samus' Light Suit, just as it did as Metroid Prime when it stole her Phazon Suit at the end of the first game, before fading away, while Samus herself doesn't budge one bit.
This whole scene becomes even more awesome when you realize that a bunch of desperate Warrior Ing were watching their battle, hoping to kill off the victor. Their plan fails as Samus outmaneuvers them and escapes to the light world right before the dimension goes. Dark Aether is gone by the time they attempt to escape into Aether. Which would've killed them anyway, since they were dark beings that couldn't exist in the light.
Speaking of the Light Suit... the suit itself, combined with it being worn by Samus, is totally awesome. It's touted as the perfect fusion of Chozo and Luminoth technology, and rightfully so, as Samus is completely immune to Dark Aether's corrosive effects, and the suit is constantly glowing. After the Dark Suit turned Samus into a badass dark knight, the Light Suit is graceful, beautiful, and more than capable of kicking copious amounts of ass, like Samus herself. When you think about it, the Light Suit is basically the Chozo and Luminoth turning Samus into a walking, breathing beacon of hope for the future.
Furthermore, the combination of the Light Suit and the Annihilator Beam completely destroys any threat Dark Aether poses, to the extent that Aether is more dangerous simply by virtue of not having health-replenishing safe zones everywhere. It's time for the Ing to fear Samus now.
The sight of the Boost Guardian convulsing, collapsing, and expiring. As he's That One Boss, you could probably watch it all day.
When you beat Quadraxis, the guardian of the Sanctuary Fortress/Ing Hive Temple, Samus leaps off its disembodied head, glides down with the Gravity Boost jetpack and lands with a badass pose as Quadraxis' head crashes and explodes behind her.
What about Quadraxis himself?! Most bosses in the Metroid series require you to beat on a weak point until the whole thing either explodes or dies. Quadraxis, however, was so well constructed that to beat him, Samus had to TAKE HIM APART BIT BY BIT UNTIL HE FINALLY COULDN'T FUNCTION ANYMORE. As said by the Autarch of Flame himself in his top ten Metroid bosses video;
Autarch: This fight is so detailed that it could warrant the publishing of Samus Aran's Guide to Robot Demolition!
Although none of them survived, the Troopers from Echoes were definitely badasses, still putting up a fight after the Ing had already killed most of them.
PFC L. Brouda: We'll be making our stand here. The engineer tells me there's no way we'll get the ship's engines online, and the atmospheric conditions are scrambling our distress beacon. If anyone reads this, know that we did our duty and fought well.
The Sky Temple has ten pillars, but there are only nine keys. Turns out there one pillar with a key already at the top and a dead Luminoth was at the base. Said Luminoth went into Dark Aether, a hellish dimension filled to the brink with Ing that would kill her the second they got a chance and whose very air was deadly, found one of the ten keys to the temple that had been hidden by the Ing, fought her way to the Sky Temple and managed to place it there AND leave clues to the other keys before dying. Since that Luminoth was a woman, one can't help but wonder if she was the Luminoth equivalent of Samus, as it was no easy task she accomplished.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Corruption had a great moment: the battle with Mogenar. This is where you first start to suspect that something is really, terribly wrong with Samus, and that the corruption may well, in fact, kill her. What does she do? Take her helmet off, throw up concentrated Phazon, wipe her mouth off, put her helmet back on and go back to work, now sporting a visible Phazon scar down her nose and right cheek. Just another day at the office.
The Galactic Federation military finally gets one in Corruption as well, when they invade the Space Pirate homeworld. Also, a nameless member of the Redshirt Army gets one in an early scene- cornered by Space Pirates who kill all his squadmates, he cooly activates Hypermode and blasts his enemies away. Notable as this is the first time you see Hypermode in action, before you gain it for yourself.
Additionally, the other hunters get right back up after that, giving Dark Samus an Oh, Crap moment of her own.
...Until she turns it around by unleashing a massive blast that floors all four hunters. Samus, who took the entire blast, rather than splash damage like the others, then proceeds to crawl to the control panel and complete their objective. The entire scene is one crowning moment after another.
This scene alone makes Dark Samus oddly unique; she just may be the only character, ever, to compeltely, absolutely invert a Big Damn Heroes moment. The only villain, ever, to burst in at the last possible moment and ruin everything.
Each of the Hunters get a Moment Of Awesome of their own in that section. Rundas flies in on his completely impossible ice slide and takes out a group of troop transports with a single shot each. Ghor takes out a boss monster with hand to hand combat while in his Humongous Mecha body. Gandrayda takes out a group of Space Pirates while disguised as one of them. Samus herself fights Ridley while in free fall and is trying to shove her armcannon down his throat when Rundas shows up to give her a lift.
Just to reiterate that; Samus, Fights Ridley. In Free-fall. That sound you just heard was the Awesome/Cool continuum wetting itself in envy.
In Corruption, you meet up with the Aurora Unit on Elysia to get data on the planet-corrupting Leviathan Seed so that you can destroy it. Unfortunately the AU informs you that the Seed's shielding is far too strong to destroy with your ship's missiles. The answer? Spend the next hour or two constructing a nuclear explosive and planting it on a part of the city, so that you can launch your very own Colony Drop.
The very end of Corruption. The planet Samus was last seen on just exploded (surprise) and the battle is won, but Samus is nowhere to be found. She is presumed dead, and Admiral Dane looks ready to give the eulogy right then and there. Cue Samus flying past the window, giving a thumbs up, and transmitting a single message. "Mission Completed."
Just before that, the destruction of Phaaze. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing Metroid Prime and Phaaze finally, finally get what was coming for them.
The Metroid Hatcher is an obnoxious tentacled Phazite-plated Metroid boss. First you have to blast its tentacles with your guns (and your lock on targeted the body, which was useless to you), then shoot it in the mouth before it vomits up Phazon Metroids, and then tear its tentacles off one by one. There are no less then three of these in Normal alone. However, by the time you fight the third aboard the Valhalla, Samus is equipped with X-Ray Visor (vastly improved from the first Prime) and the Nova Beam, a comboo which lets Samus target weak spots on certain enemies (like Pirate Commandos) for an instant death effect. Guess what: That includes Metroid Hatchers. There's nothing quite like having a particularly annoying boss, with a health bar and everything, pop up in front of you, only to kill it with one shot.
In other words, you basically get to lobotomize the enemies that have been giving you hell since you first met them. Revenge is awesome.
Escort Missions are never fun. The escortee is useless, dies in one hit, and seems to go out of his/her way to get into trouble. That is, unless you are playing Corruption. The Escort Mission near the end of the game is a Moment Of Awesome for the escortees. You are tasked with protecting 12 Demolition Troopers as you make your way through a series of transit stations while being assaulted endlessly by an onslaught of Space Pirates of all ranks, and even a Berserker Knight towards the end. However, it turns out that these troopers are pretty damned skilled at battling. They can go toe-to-toe with many of the pirates. Sometimes, even turn the tide. Finding yourself cornered by five super pissed Space Pirates with nearly full health and their armor still attached? The troopers will assist you, shooting at the pirates until their armor comes off, and keep firing, draining the pirates health, possibly even killing them. This is how an escort mission should be.
The engineers can actually FINISH the Berserker Knight mini-boss after whitling it down to half health. Badass.
The feds are the only recorded civilization to stop a Leviathan impact. The chozo didn't give two shits until theirs started messing with their brains and didn't even try. The Luminoth hit theirs with everything they had and still didn't stop it. Humanity? one zap from a single planetary defense satellite and *thpp!* gone.
Although this is because the Leviathan sent by Dark Samus was not fully mature like the ones that impacted Tallon IV and Aether
The Trilogy as a whole
Ridley has been known to come back from a lot of things, but in the Prime trilogy he goes overboard with his survivals:
In Prime, as one of his space ships blows up around him, he simply snarls a little in anger and escapes like it's nothing. Then, near the end of the game, you get to fight him. For Retro to do this battle well and cement Prime as a great game, they had to pull out all the stops. And they did. The music was perfection, the fight was fun, and every moment felt like Ridley was doing his best to kill the girl that got away so long ago. About 3/4s of the way in, his wings literally burn up: never before has Ridley been restricted to ground combat. But he KEEPS FIGHTING. Then you finally kill him, only to find he isn't dead yet and is still raring to go...until the Chozo statues blow him up. Was he done? Not at all. You just sidelined him a game...
In Prime 3, he's back and shows off the intelligence the manga claimed he had by fighting dirty the entire time you were on Norion, taking potshots at you in the morph ball and then shoving you into a generator to make DAMN sure Samus would at least die with him. The battle ends with Samus unloading missiles in his throat and leaving him to melt in the generator...Yet he comes back to fulfill his 'second to final boss' quota, much better than before and ready to fight again. You fight him and destroy him again, having essentially vaporized him at this point... but it turns out that, since this took place before Super Metroid...HE STILL SURVIVES. Ridley may always lose, but damn, he makes his losses look awesome every time.
The Metroid Prime series has many of these, not the least of which is the fact that it's a 3D Metroid series that happens to not suck. But other examples include anytime Samus defeats a boss 10 times her freak'n size, then destroys a dark dimension, or leads a federation armada to the planet shooting living asteroids at other planets with one of those asteroids, and then blows the planet up.
One of the best "whoa" moments is the first time an explosion goes off close enough to you for Samus' face to appear reflected in the visor. This happens again, albeit in a different way, in Corruption the first time you can see how Samus' reflection is... changing. It gets worse as the game continues: a few flecks of blue and a vein? Huh. Eyes turning Fremen blue? Um.... A face covered in glowing cerulean scars as your character is consumed by Phazon? Oh, Crap.
Samus gets another when you realize just how powerful her Scan Visor is in Metroid Prime. One of the Space Pirate logs is typed in an angry and frantic manner, alerting all pirates that the Hunter has broken their system, and that their best encryptions are nothing to her. Sure, the Visor occasionally said that it had uncovered "encrypted data", but it's then that you realize just how much Samus was screwing with the Pirates. Incidentally, another log nets a small moment for the Pirates, when it becomes clear that they know where Samus is; the log essentially tells all the Pirates on Tallon IV that the Hunter is on the planet, and orders them to kill her on sight. It sends chills down your spine.
This is echoed, pun not intended, in Echoes as well when you scan one of the many terminals at their ops base at Agon Wastes and one of their logs reads: "The Hunter has hacked our datanet. All our secrets are now hers. She must not be allowed to leave. Kill her on sight!"
Played with in the entertaining albeit deadBob and George-afiliated Metroid: Third Derivative. Realizing that they can't do anything to stop her from hacking their systems, the Space Pirates just give her full access once the computer notices her scanning stuff, perhaps in an effort to entice her to go easy on them.
Foreign access detected! Analyzing... Intrustion source identified as Samus Aran. Past encounters suggest that our strongest lockdowns can be circumvented by her hacking utilities, resulting in systemwide glitches and frequent maintenance. Alternate counterintrusion protocol initiated. Full access to console granted. "Welcome to the Space Pirate Computer Systems. Make use of this terminal. In return, we ask you not to destroy it. We are not made of consoles. Here is an image of a kitten! (Loading Graphic Delicious_Kitten) Please enter command:" Samus: I can't tell if they're getting smarter or dumber...
A Pirate log talks about how "The Hunter" is rampaging through their base and killing their personnel. At first you might think it's some alien creature, but then you realize the Pirates usually call Samus "The Hunter"...
This gets more hilarious in Metroid Prime 2, when the pirates realize "The Dark Hunter" is not "The Hunter." They couldn't stop one Hunter, how will they stop two?!
Surely, we are cursed.
Even more epic about it is think of it like this. These are the same group who wiped out Samus' family, left her an orphan, and have generally made her life one, long nightmare. How awesome must it feel for her to realize these beings are scared to death of her?!