Video Game / Metroid: Samus Returns

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Metroid: Samus Returns is a 2½D action-platforming game for the Nintendo 3DS, developed by MercurySteam and released in 2017. It is the first 2D platformer in the Metroid series since Metroid: Zero Mission, which was released thirteen years prior.

Much like what Zero Mission is to the first Metroid, Samus Returns is a complete re-imagining of the Game Boy title Metroid II: Return of Samus. The premise remains the same as the original: the Galactic Federation, deciding that the Metroids are too dangerous to be left alive, hires Samus to go to Planet SR388 and exterminate them. Compared to the original title, Samus Returns has received a massive overhaul in the visuals department, moving forward to a vast, 3D landscape while updating the look and feel of the game into one consistent with the Prime subseries. Gameplay has also received major updates; in addition to the introduction of gameplay mechanics and abilities first introduced in later games in the series, Samus Returns features a duo of new core gameplay mechanics: the melee counter, a Counter Attack that allows Samus to parry and dispatch her foes, and the Aeion abilities, a set of four never-before-seen abilities that grant Samus incredible powers.

Samus Returns supports amiibo and also debuts a new Metroid amiibo line featuring Samus in her Varia Suit and a Metroid. It also supports the Metroid-related Super Smash Bros. amiibo figures, and each figure unlocks various new content within the game.

The trailer can be found here. A 3D version of the trailer can also be downloaded on the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

Tropes in Samus Returns:

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  • 100% Completion: Getting 100% for collecting all item collectibles will unlock the Chozo Memories, showing the backstory of the Chozos on SR388.
  • 2½D: The graphics are upgraded to 3D models with intricate scenery and occasionally creature movement deep in the background, though the gameplay is still on a 2D plane. The Diggernaut uses the full three dimensions to move in Samus's encounters with it, though.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Diggernaut is an old machine that tries to kill Samus and otherwise inconveniences her after she inadvertently activates it.
  • Abandoned Laboratory: Area 7 is a large laboratory complex, which the Chozo Memories shows is the place where the Metroids were originally created.
  • Abandoned Mine: Area 3, formerly an industrial mine run by the Chozo. It has the most Metroids and is one of the game's largest areas.
  • Ability Required to Proceed: As with previous entries, certain abilities acquired by Chozo statues are needed to gain access to new areas and others that were previously inaccessible.
  • Actionized Sequel: Additions to the gameplay system, such as the Melee Counter and the Aeion Abilities, give Samus Returns a somewhat more action-based feel than the other 2D Metroid games.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Many of the regular enemies, most of which stuck to a scripted movement pattern or were only a threat by being in your way, are much more aggressive and will try to rush you when you get near them. Some of them even have new attack patterns. For example, the Autoad enemy, which initially just jumped around in the original game, traded that attack (it now just crawls to move around) for the ability to disable and drain your Aeion gauge.
    • Gamma Metroids are much more threatening in this game, as they now have an explosive blast, the ability to drop projectiles and electrify the floor, and a fast, electrified ram attack.
    • Arachnus, who was originally an easy Puzzle Mini-Boss that was defeated solely by Morph Ball bombs in the original game, is much bigger, much faster, and much more powerful and resilient in this game, even retaining some abilities from his appearance in Metroid: Fusion.
    • Thanks to the inclusion of Ridley as the post-Queen Metroid boss on SR388, the baby Metroid actually gets to fight alongside Samus, rather than being a passive creature until its Big Damn Heroes moment at the end of Super Metroid.
  • Adaptational Dye Job: The Fusion suit's version of the Varia suit is green and light pink as opposed to lime and dark pink.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Just like Zero Mission before it, some abilities that didn't show up until later games are in this game.
    • The Stinger shows that the X-Parasites have started to return now that the Metroids have been wiped out, setting up the events of Fusion.
  • Adaptation Expansion: This game is described as a reimagination of the original, rather than a remake. The original game implied a lot, but ultimately was a cipher due to the memory limitations of the Game Boy. Samus Returns fills in those cracks with expanded environments and new explanations for old mechanics. For example, in the original, killing the Metroids was what prompted the acidic substance to retreat, whereas in Samus Returns, Samus must collect Metroid DNA for special Chozo statues, which then drain the acid and allow forward progress.
  • Adapted Out:
    • A little more than a third of enemies that were in the original game did not return in the remake. The enemies in question are the Autom, Flitt, Needler, Octroll, Pincher Fly, Proboscum, Seerook, Senjoo, Septogg, Shirk, Skorp, Skreek, TPO, Yumbo, and Yumee. Some of these enemies (Needler, Octroll, Pincher Fly/Seerook/TPO/Yumbo, Yumee) were most likely cut due to being reskins of other enemies that were included in the remake (Moheek/Tsumuri, Chute Leech, Mumbo, Gawron), whereas the Autom was likely combined with the Gunzoo.
    • According to the manual for the original game, a research ship was dispatched by the Galactic Federation to ensure there were no more Metroids left on SR388. Shortly afterwards, the Federation was given an emergency notice from the research base, saying the ship had disappeared and contact with the team was lost, with a search and rescue attempt befalling a similar fate. In response to these developments, the Federation Bureau dispatched a special combat squad from the Galactic Federation Police to SR388, only for that group to never be heard from again, prompting the Federation to finally send Samus to wipe out the Metroids herself. In the opening sequence for this game, only the ill-fated GFP mission is recounted, with no mention given for the research and rescue teams.
  • Adaptive Ability: Alpha Metroids have new abilities depending on the environment they live in; namely, they generate either electricity or fire around their bodies. This ability gets carried over when they become Gamma Metroids.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: A couple areas before Samus can fight Diggernaut, there's a segment where it chases Samus with its drill arms, dealing a One-Hit Kill if it touches her.
  • All There in the Manual: The Prima guide reveals a few pieces of information not disclosed by the game itself, such as revealing that Ridley's half-Meta, half-normal form is called "Proteus Ridley."
  • Amazonian Beauty: Samus is this once again, sporting a Zero Suit design superficially similar to her Metroid: Other M design but with a more athletic physique.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • A map function is added to the bottom screen that allows you to track where exactly you've been and where you haven't gone yet. You can also mark the map with a variety of pins to keep track of important areas.
    • The World Map indicates the percentage of items collected for each area, helping to narrow down where that last remaining item is.
    • One of the most famous features of the Metroid series is hidden breakable blocks. In most games, players typically find them by just shooting every wall they come across, but Samus Returns adds the Scan Pulse Aeion ability, which not only automatically reveals portions of the map but also identifies breakable blocks for you, taking a power granted by the power bombs in previous games. However, the Scan Pulse does not show you how to break the blocks, and the effect only lasts for a short time; if you want a more permanent option that'll also reveal their weakness, you'll need to hit them with an explosive weapon.
    • Health and ammo drops automatically move towards Samus so she doesn't have to waste time moving over or charging her beam to pick them up. Should the pickups be too far away, they can still be drawn towards her with a charged beam no matter where they're located.
    • Superheated rooms, which will roast Samus crispy without the Varia Suit, are now indicated by a glowing orange heat haze shrouding the door leading into the room. They also appear on the map as red instead of the standard blue.
    • As a holdover from later games in the series, Samus now gets to keep all of the beam upgrades she acquires instead of losing the old one when she gets a new beam; with the exception of the Ice Beam and Grapple Beam, they even stack.
    • If Samus dies during a battle against a Metroid or a boss, choosing "Continue" will respawn her right in front of the door leading into the Metroid's or boss's room. Likewise, dying during the Diggernaut chase sequence will respawn Samus at the last checkpoint. Also, killing a Metroid triggers a checkpoint, meaning if Samus dies before reaching a save station she will respawn in the room in the state she was just after the kill. However, dying at any other time will send her back to the last save station.
    • If you find yourself in a dire situation or simply went the wrong way, you can reload your last save or checkpoint from the pause menu instead of having to quit the game or soft-reset to reload.
    • Since the doors leading out of a Metroid room are locked, Samus can use the Ice Beam to hurt them should she run out of Missiles.
    • The Metroid DNA statues provide hints as to the general location of the Metroids in the level that you haven't killed yet.
    • If you aim at a grapple block or point with Free Aim, the laser sight will turn blue and automatically switch to Grapple Beam when you fire it, saving you the trouble of having to switch to and from it manually before and after using it.
    • If you run out of Super Missiles, the game will automatically switch you back to normal missiles.
    • If you execute a Melee Counter while on the ground, Samus automatically returns to her normal standing position, provided she has room. This way, you don't have to do it manually if an enemy rushes you while you're kneeling or morphed.
    • If you encounter a wall with a Morph Ball passage 1-3 blocks above ground level, push into the wall and press B. Samus will climb into the tunnel and morph, so you don't have to waste time trying to bomb or Ball Jump into it.
  • Arc Welding:
    • Ridley's appearance as the Final Boss ties the story of the Metroid Prime Trilogy, which originally had little effect on the greater canon, to that of Metroid II. He is shown to have shed some of his cybernetic implants as Meta Ridley but still retains others as part of his body as he is not fully recovered. The Stinger later implies that Ridley sheds all of his implants soon after his fight with Samus, setting up his fully organic appearance in Super Metroid while also tying it to Metroid II a lot more cleanly, showing that he was here to steal the baby Metroid, as well as how he knew Samus had taken it to Ceres.
    • The Stinger also ties in Metroid: Fusion more explicitly by showing the X-parasites start to resurface.
  • Arm Cannon: Samus's power suit has one, of course, but more notably, the rogue Chozo faction's apparent leader wears one in the secret Chozo Memory.
  • Art Evolution:
    • The game's aesthetic and art direction is completely overhauled to be more in line with the look established by the Metroid Prime Trilogy.
    • In prior games, the Gravity Suit was just a Palette Swap of the Varia Suit, replacing the orange with purple/magenta. This game changes the design of the Gravity Suit as well to differentiate it even further from the Varia Suit.
  • Ascended Glitch:
    • Infinite bomb jumping was previously just an exploit. Not only is it still around, it's shown off in the game's trailer, and in gameplay, there's fans that suck up any placed bombs near them, preventing you from bomb jumping in their presense and out of all games, infinite bomb jumps are probably the easiest to do here than in any other game in the series.
    • The Beam Burst Aeion ability is similar in concept to the Murder/Spacetime Beam from Super Metroid.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Metroid's weak point at Alpha through Omega stages is its glowing belly, although its mouth is also vulnerable. The Queen Metroid's weak point is inside its mouth. Hitting anywhere else on their bodies will do nothing to hurt them.
  • Background Music Override: When a Metroid is found in a lava cave, the normal background music keeps playing and overrides the Metroid's respective battle theme.
  • Badass Adorable: The Metroid hatchling happily floats around Samus and inside her ship after the game is completed. But make no mistake: there's a reason why Metroids are dangerous regardless of stage of evolution, as Ridley finds out the hard way.
  • Badass Back: Samus can shoot behind her thanks to 360-degree aiming.
  • Backtracking: Present as usual, but not nearly as prominent due to the introduction of Teleport Stations.
  • Bag of Spilling: Zigzagged. As per the norm, Samus loses most of her upgrades, including the Varia Suit and Morph Ball (even though the Morph Ball was a default ability in the original Metroid II). However, she keeps some upgrades, including some missiles and Long Beam (as in the original Metroid II), and the Power Grip upgrade that she acquired in Zero Mission.
  • Beam Spam: The "Beam Burst" Aeion ability lets Samus shoot a volley of lasers at a machine gun rate of fire.
  • Bleak Level: Area 6, especially in the lower portions with the purple haze. This also applies to The Surface once you've defeated the Queen Metroid, because the weather is suddenly very stormy and ominous.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: At the end of the game, Samus can backtrack to previous areas with the baby Metroid, which can eat blue crystals that are blocking off some bonus tank expansions. Some of these endgame-exclusive expansions are missiles... which are unfortunately useless at this point in the game. By now, Samus is equipped with the Screw Attack, Plasma Beam, Super Missiles, and Beam Burst that can make quick work of any common enemies, and she should not need more than the default 24 missiles for any puzzles that require her to shoot blocks that can only be destroyed by missiles. Further cementing this fact is that Proteus Ridley, the only remaining challenge of the game, is completely immune to standard missiles. The only real reason to collect these expansions is for 100% Completion (and therefore the Chozo Memories).
  • Boring, but Practical: The melee counter for most of the game. It's not that hard to master, but it's effective against most things you find. It becomes less practical later as enemies start developing ways to bypass the counter.
  • Breath Weapon:
    • The Gamma Metroids can spit bolts of energy from their mouths, and the Zeta Metroids still have the ability to breath fire and spit globs of acid as attacks. The Omega Metroids upgrade to a heat beam instead. The Queen Metroid shoots heat beams and balls of electricity from its mouth.
    • Arachnus can spit fireballs as one of his new moves.
    • The final boss can shoot bursts of purple energy from its mouth.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Downplayed. The Super Smash Bros. Samus amiibo unlocks the Missile Reserve Tank, the Zero Suit Samus amiibo unlocks the Energy Reserve Tank, the Samus Returns Samus amiibo unlocks the Aeion Reserve Tank, and the Metroid amiibo marks the location of the closest Metroid on your map. You don't need the amiibo to get the full experience of the game, though you do get a very slight advantage with them enabled.
  • Broken Bridge:
    • The ever-present deadly liquid that blocks your path downwards into SR388. Unlike the original game, a Hand Wave is given this time in the form of a large Chozo shrine that is passed near the beginning of the game. Whenever you collect enough Metroid DNA from killing Metroids, the shrine activates and reduces the liquid level so Samus can proceed further.
    • There are organic barriers blocking certain doors that keep you from accessing them without the proper beam upgrade.
  • Call-Back:
    • The events of the original NES game and thus its Zero Mission remake are directly referenced and depicted on-screen in the intro, complete with the intro music from Super Metroid. The music when Samus' ship enters the atmosphere of SR388 is the arrival theme used for the planets Aether in Echoes and Norion in Corruption.
    • Samus now has the Power Grip upgrade from Zero Mission as a default ability. Doubles as a subtle Call Forward to Fusion as well, where her ability to grab ledges was first shown (albeit with no explicit powerup). The new map system is also stylized after Zero Mission. Missile doors now only require one missile to open instead of five, also a nod to Zero Mission. When Samus dies, you can see she's still wearing her Zero Suit from the game.
    • Early on, Samus is cut off from accessing the rest of the underground world due to a small crevice, forcing her to pick up the nearby Morph Ball upgrade, a nod to both the original NES game and Zero Mission.
    • The Item Get! music cue for major upgrades is lifted directly from the Metroid Prime games. The normal item upgrade jingle is reused from Metroid Prime: Hunters. The cue for getting Aeion abilities is also an arrangement of the Chozo Artifact jingle from Metroid Prime.
    • Most of Ridley's growls are lifted directly from Metroid Prime rather than the ear-piercing screech he is known for, though there are a couple of modified screeches added in.
    • Superheated rooms recycle the music for Magmoor Caverns from Metroid Prime.
  • Call-Forward:
    • In the intro, SR388 has asteroids in its orbit and a greenish-yellow atmosphere, just like it does in Metroid: Fusion.
    • The energy and ammo refill stations are changed from a floating Morph Ball and Missile icon, respectively, to poles Samus sticks her arm cannon into, like the ones in Super Metroid.
    • Added to your arsenal in the remake is the Wall Jump ability, and the Charge Beam, Super Missiles and Grapple Beam from Super Metroid.
    • The Lower Norfair theme first heard in Super Metroid is again reused for the lava areas (like in Metroid Prime).
    • Though it won't freeze them, Metroids are still vulnerable to the ice beam in their later stages of evolution, another allusion to Metroid Fusion. The Omega Metroid is also a massive beast resembling its Fusion counterpart.
    • Arachnus's moveset is updated to match his X-Parasite counterpart from Metroid Fusion.
    • The X-Parasite itself shows up at the end of the game, infecting a Hornoad even, just like Samus's first encounter with the things.
    • Several sound effects are lifted directly from Super Metroid, such as Samus dying and the baby Metroid's chirps.
    • Samus's Zero Suit draws from its Other M design, down to the Combat Stilettos.
    • During the final boss battle, the boss has you pinned to the ground, with no way to act or react to the situation, leaving you helpless. Then the baby Metroid charges in and latches onto Ridley, stealing some HP for you, mirroring how the final battle with Mother Brain plays out.
    • During the final boss battle, the baby Metroid attacks Ridley and starts draining his energy, causing Ridley's skin to turn grey before he successfully pulls it off of him. This may be a reference to later events in Other M, in which a Queen Metroid (cloned from the baby Metroid's DNA, no less) attacks Ridley's clone and evidently drains him of all his energy, leaving behind a grey corpse.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Despite the baby Metroid assisting Samus against him, Ridley does not attack it — presumably because, as shown in Super Metroid, the Space Pirates need it for their plans.
  • Charged Attack: The Charge Beam is added to Samus's arsenal in this game, but it's not an optional power-up; it's actually required in order to open up the new charge doors.
  • Cherry Tapping: The Ice Beam. Although it's not as strong as your main beam, it can potentially kill Metroids and Ridley.
  • Chest Monster: Arachnus is back again, hiding inside of a Chozo statue sphere (which is noticeably much smaller than the actual creature). It smashes the Chozo statue upon unfolding and fights Samus.
  • Circling Birdies: Whenever Samus uses a melee counter on an enemy, they will be stunned and have stars spin around them.
  • Combat Stilettos: Samus still has these, as seen in her death animation.
  • Composite Character:
    • In this remake, Gunzoo and Autom appear to be combined into a single enemy, which has the name and appearance of Gunzoo and the behaviors (movement restricted along a single axis, firing continuous beams as its attack) of Autom.
    • Whereas Needler was Adapted Out of the remake (most likely due to essentially being a Palette Swap of Tsumuri), Ramulken is given a new attack where it curls into a spiky ball and rolls along any surface at any orientation, resembling the appearance and behavior of Needler.
  • Continuity Porn: The game is bursting at the seams with references to previous games in the Metroid series.
  • Counter Attack: The Melee Counter ability, which allows Samus to whack an enemy with her arm cannon if it moves in to attack. If successfully performed, there will be a very brief moment of hitstop; firing the beam at this time will cause Samus to fire a much more powerful shot that will be automatically aimed at the stunned target, immediately dispatching most standard enemies. Against bosses, the timing is often trickier, but if successful this can even start a cinematic that allows her the chance to inflict even more additional damage.
  • Coup de Grāce Cutscene: When Samus defeats the Diggernaut, in a cutscene it makes a last attempt to hit her from behind and she finishes it off.
  • Cowardly Boss: Some Gamma Metroids will flee to another nearby room through some webbing in the walls after taking a certain amount of damage.
  • Critical Annoyance: In traditional Metroid fashion, droning beeping noises are made when Samus's energy is below 50 and it gets even louder should her energy dip below 25. Later on in the game (or on harder difficulty modes) you may not even get to hear it before dying though, as enemies start dealing much more damage and can kill you even with a full energy tank (or more) in reserve.
  • Cutscene: There are small cutscenes scattered throughout the game, usually when introducing game elements at the beginning or before, during, or after a boss fight.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • The counter animations that play during Metroid fights tend to show Samus pulling off acrobatic combat moves that she cannot do in-game, such as grabbing a Zeta Metroid by the tail to throw it across the room, or standing on an Omega Metroid to pin it down.
    • In the cutscene that plays after the Diggernaut battle, Samus is able to fire a charged Plasma Beam shot directly into Diggernaut's eye to finish it off. Thanks to the 2½D nature of Samus Returns, shooting Diggernaut's eye is an action that cannot be performed in the game proper.
    • In two cutscenes that play during the Proteus Ridley battle, Samus uses the rocket boosters on her Gravity Suit to quickly launch herself through the air. Although Samus has used them to power her dodge moves in the Metroid Prime Trilogy and Metroid: Other M, she doesn't have a dodge move in this game, and her boosters have never been powerful enough to send her flying on their own. The closest that they have come is with the Gravity Boost from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and even then it's only used underwater.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Ridley, the last boss. All of the attacks are telegraphed loud-&-clear, and only a few are difficult to evade. It simply takes a ton of firepower to finish the fight.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: This game flips the fire and jump buttons from Super Metroid (which can also be played on the 3DS's new models). Super Metroid has X for fire, A for jump, B for run, and Y to swap back to beams from missiles. Most non-3D games on Nintendo's handheld consoles have A for jump and B for attack. This game has Y for fire, B for jump, X for melee attack, and A for Aeion Ability. If you go from playing Super Metroid to this, expect to melee attack a lot when you intend to shoot, and to use your Aeion ability when you intend to jump. If you go from playing a game in the Super Mario Bros., Kirby, or most any other Nintendo game, expect to jump a lot when you intend to shoot, and to use your Aeion ability when you intend to jump. The controls in Super Metroid can at least be customized, but they cannot in this game.
  • Deflector Shields: The Lightning Armor Aeion ability coats Samus's suit with a green force-field. While it's active knockback resistance is greatly increased and any enemy attacks burn through the Aeion gauge instead of energy. It also has the added effect of hyper-charging the Melee Counter, giving it vastly increased range at the cost of using up some Aeion if it connects, instead of spawning extra Aeion pickups.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Averted; unlike the original game, Samus can not only aim in all eight directions, with the Free Aim function she can stand or kneel in place and shoot from any angle desired. And we mean any angle — she can even shoot behind herself now.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Just when you think the Ice Beam is useless against fighting enemies, you might try to employ smacking a frozen enemy with your Melee Counter. This is a fantastic One-Hit Kill that's tricky to pull off, but makes so many difficult enemies trivial.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Moheeks and Tsumuris behaved identically in the original game. In Samus Returns, they have much more unique behaviors. Moheeks are more aggressive and will either lunge at Samus or electrify the floor around them. Tsumuris are more cowardly and tend to flee if shot at, relying on their hard shell and corrosive slime trail for protection.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title is a variant on the original's subtitle Return of Samus, but also refers to how Samus has not been the main character in a Metroid game since Other M, 7 years before.
  • *Drool* Hello: The first Zeta Metroid introduces itself to Samus this way.

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  • Early Game Hell: Although missile expansions are plentiful at the start, Energy Tanks are incredibly scarce - either being well hidden, unreachable due to requiring certain equipment, or both. Combined with the sharp increase in difficulty and damage taken in comparison to previous games, the first few hours can be true hell.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Between the fights with the Queen Metroid and Ridley during the last leg of the game, the baby Metroid follows you. It will destroy crystal formations that block your way, which is the only way to obtain certain upgrades if you backtrack to previous areas before returning to Samus's gunship.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: The Metroid counter from the original gets a slight upgrade; it now blinks whenever a Metroid is close. The closer the Metroid, the more red the icon becomes and the more quickly it blinks. The Metroid amiibo takes this further by marking the nearest Metroid on your map screen.
  • Evolving Title Screen: Beating the game once will have the Metroid hatchling happily float around in Samus's ship during the menu file screen.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: If it's alive, it's not Samus, and it isn't inhabiting the background, it's probably trying to kill Samus. And the background thing is not even always true...
  • Excuse Plot: Like the original game, the plot boils down to "exterminate the Metroids and blast through anything that gets in your way," and this game barely expands upon this bar some extra but brief cutscenes and elaborate setpieces. However, Ridley's sudden appearance to snatch the Baby Metroid and the final Chozo Memory showing the SR-388 Chozo being slaughtered by a rogue faction do provide some crucial expansions upon the Metroid lore.
  • Feed It a Bomb:
    • In the final Diggernaut encounter, it sweeps the floor of the room with a vacuum attack. Bombs laid by Samus will be sucked in and deal damage when they reach it. Strangely, missiles can be fired into the vacuum in a similar fashion, but they will not work; bombs have to be used here.
    • It's optional like in the original game, but you can enter into the Queen Metroid's mouth and plant a power bomb in its stomach after doing a counter.
  • Final Boss: Like in Metroid II: Return of Samus, the Queen Metroid appears as the last Metroid boss for Samus to beat in order to complete her mission. Keyword is Metroid boss. The real final boss is Proteus Ridley, the recovering cyborg-dragon of the Space Pirates, who has arrived on SR388 to get his revenge on Samus as well as steal the last Metroid hatchling from her.
  • Final-Exam Boss: The battle with the Queen Metroid forces you to use virtually every upgrade, even the usually exploration-based spider ball, to win. This helps disguise the fact it isn't the true final battle.
  • Flanderization: A subtle example; whereas previous Metroid games (apart from Metroid: Other M) typically have text narration provided by Samus at times, Samus is a completely Silent Protagonist here, with no dialogue in the game and the opening narration provided in the third person. Tropes Are Not Bad, as Show, Don't Tell is seen as one of the most important aspects of the Metroid franchise, and Samus's lack of dialogue is likely in response to the adverse reaction to her getting the exact opposite treatment in Other M.
  • Flashback: The Chozo Memories tell the story of the Metroids' creation through a series of pictures. For the most part, they depict what we already know: the Chozo landed on SR388 and colonized the planet, they discovered the X, and, fearing their potential, they created the Metroids to counter them. They then had to take action when the Metroids turned on them, so they sealed them underneath the planet. The Memories end with a rogue group of Chozo warriors landing on SR388 and killing all of the peaceful Chozo on the planet.
  • Forced Tutorial: Generally averted. The first area mainly has antepieces & non-obtrusive text tutorials that do not interrupt the flow of play. The only tutorial that you have to watch even when you replay the game is for the Melee Counter, and even then, it's only a few seconds long.
  • Foreshadowing: Near the beginning of the game, a cutscene establishes that common SR388 fauna such as Hornoads are preyed upon by the Metroids. Any room occupied by a Metroid is therefore devoid of any other creatures. Once a Metroid is killed, leaving and returning to that room will show it teeming with wildlife. This environmental storytelling wordlessly conveys that exterminating the Metroids is upsetting the natural balance of predators and prey in the SR388 ecosystem; with the apex predators killed, the population of prey is allowed to flourish. This foreshadows The Stinger, in which the eradication of Metroids has allowed their intended prey, the X-parasite, to infect a Hornoad and start the chain of events leading into Metroid: Fusion.
  • Freeze Ray: The Ice Beam serves this purpose as usual. Unlike previous 2D appearances, it is an entirely separate option from the Power Beam (which normally stacks the Wave, Spazer, and Plasma Beams), it is weaker than the Power Beam, and its only obvious combat purpose is to fight Metroids. However, most weaker frozen enemies can be immediately dispatched with a missile or a Melee Counter, making it a viable tactical option before acquiring the stronger beams.
  • Genre Throwback: This game is one to old 2D Metroid games.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Some Metroids will flee to a different room after taking enough damage, forcing you to track them down to finish the battle. Thankfully, any damage they've taken is retained between encounters.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Just when you think you've beaten the Queen Metroid and are ready to head back to your ship, suddenly... flying through the clouds of SR388... Space Pirate Ridley appears! Given that he doesn't appear in the original Metroid II, his presence as the new Final Boss may come off as surprising (though not that surprising given the expansion of the story) for some veterans.
  • Ground Pound:
    • Arachnus has a new move that lets it spin in mid-air and slam into the ground in ball form.
    • Diggernaut does this with its drills.
    • The final boss can do this as well.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The "Spiderspark" move (using a power bomb while in Spider Ball mode launches you straight away from the surface you're attached to). It's required to get a few upgrades that are behind rows of spikes, but the game never explains how to do it. This move can also be used to interrupt some of the Queen Metroid's lengthier attacks by shooting off the wall directly into its head.
    • The Spider Ball also lets you avoid the suction/breath pushing attacks from Diggernaut and the Queen Metroid due to Samus being firmly attached to the ground, but nothing in the game even hints that you can do this. You'd even be forgiven for specifically thinking it wouldn't work, since most enemies' attacks will dislodge you from the wall/ceiling you're attached to while in Spider Ball form even if they only do Scratch Damage.
  • Harder Than Hard: The "Fusion Mode" difficulty — unlocked via the Metroid amiibo — puts Samus in the Fusion Suit from Metroid: Fusion and multiplies all damage taken by four. Given how strong enemies already are in Normal mode, expect frequent deaths.
  • Heroic Mime: Samus is depicted as this in-game, having absolutely no dialogue and communicating her thoughts and actions solely through body language.
  • Immune to Flinching: With the Lightning Shield active, Samus doesn't get knocked back after most hits.
  • Interface Spoiler: Areas 0 and 8 rather ominously portend that the Queen Metroid is not the final boss, even if you ignore the "inaccessible" expansions in other areas.
    • In Area 0, on the far end, Scan Pulse yields the presence of a teleport station at the place you'd be expected to emerge with the baby Metroid.
    • In Area 8, using Scan Pulse in the upper chambers reveals expansions in the "escape route".
  • Internal Homage: The box art is a CGI recreation of the original game's box art. The special edition even comes with a reversible cover that has an identical copy of it. However, the bar code on the backside is designed not to be scanned at all. The original title screen (with the palette applied by default when the game is played on a Game Boy Color or Game Boy Advance) can be seen through the scan lines and the code is 00SR38800 (real bar codes never have letters in them).

    J to M 
  • Killer Rabbit: The baby Metroid is absolutely adorable, flying around Samus, eating the rock crystals blocking her path, and chirping happily... but if you try to hurt its mama then it will drain you dry.
  • Kill It with Ice: Downplayed. While the Metroids' higher forms can be harmed by the Ice Beam, it's not required to beat them. Played straight with the new batch of Larval Metroids that hatch shortly before Samus encounters the Metroid Queen, which have to be defeated with the classic "Freeze them with the Ice Beam and shatter them with missiles" combo.
  • Laser Blade: Samus's new melee counter allows her to use her arm cannon like this, creating a fast blade-like arc of energy that knocks back and stuns enemies at close range rather than shooting them.
  • Laser Sight: Samus's arm cannon has a laser sight to assist your aim when using Free Aim mode.
  • Lethal Lava Land: No one area focuses on fire, but Areas 1 to 5 all have superheated rooms that require the Varia Suit, like in other Metroid games.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: Each file has a picture gallery that's gradually unlocked by collecting items in the game. There's an unlocking animation for newly viewable picture tiles, and once the last picture is completely unveiled, the theme music in the background becomes garbled and peters out as the scene morphs into an ominous bonus picture.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Most enemies frozen with the Ice Beam will shatter instantly if Samus hits them with a melee swing before they can thaw.
  • Lone Wolf Boss:
    • Arachnus is just part of SR388's wildlife and isn't affiliated with the Metroids.
    • The Diggernaut is just an old Chozo machine gone haywire.
    • Ridley has his own agenda.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Samus awakens her inner Mama Bear when Ridley comes out of nowhere to snatch the Metroid hatchling and a cinematic cutscene shows her grabbing it while shooting Ridley at the same time.
    • Also inverted, as later in the same fight, Samus gets pinned down and the hatchling charges in despite being small enough to easily fit in Ridley's hand, latching onto his nose and draining a good bit of energy out of him before getting forcibly removed.
  • Mana Burn: Instead of attacking by hopping around like in the original game, Autoads crawl around and are a different kind of nuisance: They can drain your Aeion gauge and temporarily disable your Aeion abilities in the process.
  • Mana Meter: With the Aeion abilities comes the Aeion gauge, which depletes whenever you use any of them. The gauge can be refilled by defeating enemies, using special altars, or successfully executing a Melee Counter.
  • Mana Shield: The Lightning Shield ability, when active, drains the Aeion gauge instead of energy when Samus is hit.
  • Meat Moss: The Metroid nest in Area 8 is full of webbing-like material caking the walls and floors; large twisted pillars that appear to be composed of organic material; and sharp tooth-like structures reminiscent of those found in the Impact Crater. Similar to the alien-infested colony on LV-426, the Metroids can apparently warp their environment, causing these same organic structures to appear in rooms occupied by Metroids in any other area of SR388.
  • Metroidvania: It's a throwback remake/reimagining of a 2D Metroid game, including the elements that define the genre.
  • More Dakka: The Beam Burst Aeion ability allows the beam to be fired at the speed of a gatling gun, while also empowering it to be able to inflict damage on enemies that would otherwise be impervious to it, or enemies that would normally need missiles to be damaged. Using it will quickly eat up your Aeion gauge, however, so it's best used when trying to lay the smackdown on a vulnerable target.
  • Minimalist Run: It's entirely possible, if very difficult, to complete the game with 0% (no optional items collected) and without certain power-ups like the Spider Ball and Hi-Jump Boots.
  • Multiple Endings: As per Metroid tradition, different completion times show Samus in various states of undress from her armor, with the Zero Suit being the reward for fastest completion. Completing Hard Mode yields different appearances, with the second-best and best endings featuring Samus with green hair, and the best ending for Hard Mode has the zero suit become a modern take on her unarmoured appearance from the original Metroid. The best ending for Fusion Mode has Samus appear in her revealing suitless outfit from Fusion's best endings.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Nearly two minutes into this game's title theme, the "pings" from the original Metroid II title screen are heard.
    • The second-best and best endings of Hard Mode feature Samus with green hair like in the original Metroid while playing in her unarmoured appearance while possessing the Varia Suit, and the best ending for Hard Mode shows Samus in a modern take on said unarmoured look.
    • When Samus encounters the baby Metroid, we briefly see it from her point of view. The HUD and the position of her arm cannon makes the scene resemble the Metroid Prime games.

    N to S 
  • Nerf:
    • The movement speed in Morph Ball form isn't as fast as it used to be in other games (and as in all other games it appeared in, slower still with the Spider Ball active), thus it's generally faster to just run normally.
    • Unlike most 2D Metroid games, there are some non-boss enemies in the late game that the Screw Attack cannot kill in one hit.
    • Since it's introduced as an official feature in this game, infinite bomb jumping has been nerfed by making it impossible to do underwater or having ventilation fans that draw in morph ball bombs (and power bombs!) and snuff them out.
    • The Ice Beam hardly does any damage (unless used on Metroids), and it requires a fully charged shot to keep enemies frozen long enough to use as a platform. It's still a useful tool for speedruns, as Samus can shoot enemies while running and then instantly kill them with a Melee Counter without breaking her stride, thus avoiding having to stop and wait to counter the enemy's attack.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: We actually get to see the X-Parasites resurging due to Samus' actions, an event that happened offscreen in-between Metroid II and Fusion.
  • Nintendo Hard: Enemies do a lot of damage even on the basic difficulty, so expect to die frequently. And then there is Hard Mode and Fusion Mode. For reference, even the basic normal mode is harder than the hard mode of Metroid: Fusion.
  • Notice This:
    • When you aim your cannon's laser sight at an enemy, the tip of the barrel will glow red and an alarm sound will play to indicate that you can hit something with your shot.
    • Any attack than can be parried by the Melee Counter is telegraphed by the enemy showing a yellow glint accompanied by a distinct clicking noise. This includes parryable boss attacks.
  • Not His Sled:
    • As a remake of Return of Samus, you're inclined to believe that the Queen Metroid is the final boss and you'll just be escorting the baby Metroid back to Samus's ship. Then you discover Ridley, who never appeared in Return of Samus, waiting for you at the ship's landing site, revealing himself to be the real final boss of the game.
    • A minor example: when the reveal trailer featured a song that sounds suspiciously similar to the Arachnus-X battle theme from Metroid: Fusion, fans expected that Arachnus would use this song during its battle as a Call-Forward. Though Arachnus does feature a unique song for its boss fight (unlike the original Return of Samus), it is neither the song heard in the trailer nor a remix of its Fusion theme. The song from the trailer is instead used for the encounters with Diggernaut.
  • Not Quite Flight: With the Space Jump, Samus can jump in the air infinitely.
  • Offhand Backhand: The Coup de Grāce Cutscene after the Diggernaut boss has Samus offhandedly shoot its eye when it attempts to catch her off-guard.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • If you press the shoot button almost immediately after connecting a melee counter on a normal enemy, Samus fires a powerful blast that's guaranteed to instantly kill it.
    • The Ice Beam does little damage to non-Metroids, but chills them enough that a Melee Counter will shatter them. Charging the shot extends the window in which this can happen.
    • The Diggernaut's Escape Sequence in Area 4 has you running from its massive drills. Slow down too much, and they'll grind you into dust.
    • There are two attacks that inflict 300 damage on Normal difficulty with the Gravity Suit equipped. On Fusion, this quadruples to 1200, which when compared to Samus' 1099 Energy cap is enough damage to kill her on the spot.note 
      • The Diggernaut can suck up debris during its boss fight; if Samus is caught in the funnel cloud without the Spider Ball anchoring her down, she will be sucked in and ground up.
      • Proteus Ridley may pause in midair as if lining up for a tackle; if Samus is in his path when he charges, he will slam her into the wall at full force.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: A villainous example: Ridley goes on a lone mission to capture Metroids for the Space Pirates.
  • Player Death Is Dramatic: As is usual for the 2D Metroid games ever since Super, running out of energy depicts Samus's Power Suit exploding to reveal her Zero Suit.
  • Playing the Player: The game does this several times with the crystal blocks that can only be destroyed by the Baby Metroid, surrounding a power-up with the crystals to fool the player into thinking the item can only be collected at the end of the game, when in reality it's either accessible with current abilities or in the near future.
  • Point of No Return: Breaking into the Queen Metroid's chamber is still this, but not for the same reasons. Unlike the original game, you can still backtrack through SR388 even after you've acquired the baby Metroid. In fact, you're required to for 100% completion, as the baby Metroid's ability to eat rock crystals is needed to access certain items. Instead, you can no longer use your gunship to heal, as going there triggers the final battle with Proteus Ridley.
  • ''Psycho'' Strings: The Omega Metroid's battle theme is punctuated by shrill high-pitched strings to make it even more terrifying.
  • Punched Across the Room: During the final boss fight, in a cutscene Samus gets thrown across the battlefield into a wall.
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • Diggernaut has a few shades of this. After the first drill is destroyed, the player needs to wait for the spinning walls in each order before climbing up. Then, in the third phase the player has to use bombs while Diggernaut is using its suction move. Although it's not required to do so, the bombs are much easier to use safely if you realize that the Spider Ball can be used to avoid Samus being sucked in, herself.
    • The Queen Metroid takes a different approach on it. Though the main offensive strategy is just to shoot it in the mouth until it dies and occasionally power bomb inside of it, the defensive strategies needed for most of its attacks involve clever use of the Spider Ball, with one attack variant having the Spiderspark as the safest way to survive.
  • Railroading: The game forces you to pick up the Morph Ball early on, since you're cut off from accessing the rest of the entire planet if you don't grab it. The Charge Beam is also mandatory in order to open charge doors.
  • Reality Ensues: The outcome of the baby Metroid hatching before Samus is the same as before, but unlike in the original game (and depictions of the same scene in other games), Samus is visibly prepared to kill the Metroid with a charged-up Ice Beam as soon as it hatches as part of her original contract (and justifiably so, since Metroids are dangerous enough to be considered living WMDs). She only spares the hatchling after she silently concludes that it has no interest in harming her.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: Compared to previous Metroid titles where Samus is a walking death machine who can face tank missiles and energy blasts with little problem, Samus in this game has to be far more careful. Although Samus is just as powerful as ever and able to rip enemies to shreds easily once she regains most of her iconic powers, even basic late game enemies can knock off an entire energy tank's worth of health with the Gravity Suit equipped on the easiest difficulty. Players have to be far more careful and put more effort into avoiding damage than in previous Metroid games if they want to get anywhere.
  • Rolling Attack: The new Spiderspark move can destroy multiple enemies in its path and can even interrupt the Queen Metroid's breath attack.
  • Run-and-Gun: Run, gun, and solve puzzles.
  • Scenery Gorn: The surface of SR388, especially when it goes through a tornado storm. It's a desolate wasteland with seemingly no life on the surface.
  • Scenery Porn: The backgrounds are intricately detailed, animated and alive with wildlife, and extend far into the distance with the 3D slider all the way up.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Samus Returns is much harder than previous Metroid games thanks to nearly every enemy rushing Samus on sight and damage being much higher, with bosses and stronger Metroids easily doing a tank's worth of damage or more per attack, even with the Gravity Suit, on Normal Mode.
  • Sequel Hook: The secret Chozo Memory implies that there is a rogue faction of Chozo who haven't given up their old warlike ways.
  • Sequence Breaking: Downplayed. The game is very linear as it still follows the overall structure of the original Metroid II despite the expanded areas, but there are some spots where you can pull this off;
    • The Spider Ball, the Spring Ball and Hi-Jump Boots can be skipped.
    • There are several power-ups that can be gotten earlier than intended via bomb jumping.
  • Shout-Out: The first Zeta Metroid introduces itself to Samus from above her with its drool and its tail descending before it drops down behind her. Its redesign for this game is also quite similar to a Xenomorph. Doubles as a Mythology Gag, as Alien was a major influence on the Metroid series.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The rooms in which you find Metroids have a distinct green tint that disappears once you've killed them. The atmosphere of SR388 also has a greenish-yellow tint to it that becomes a deeper and darker green at the very end when you fight Proteus Ridley.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: Falls into Recognizable Adaptation. It maintains the same story and thematic elements of the original game (search through SR388 and kill all the Metroids as you go along), but the art direction, gameplay, and level design are completely overhauled, to the point where the dev team consider it more of a reimagining of Metroid II than a remake.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Chozo laboratory found in Area 7 is filled with ice.
  • Spin Attack: Arachnus has a spin dash-like move added to his moveset.
  • Super Mode: Similar to the Phazon Beam, you can now access a temporary boost in power to your blaster, allowing you to use it like a machine gun for as long as your supply of Aeion lasts.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Phase Drift is essentially an alternate take on the Speed Booster, in that both let you move faster than enemies and cross crumbling platforms that you couldn't cross at normal speed. The chief difference is that Phase Drift doesn't let you run through blocks or use the Shinespark.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: After you defeat the Metroid Queen (the final boss of the original game), the tunnel to take you to the surface provides you energy/weapon expansions, enemies to still fight, save/recharge stations and a teleporter (never mind that the Metroid hatchling is required to get some expansions in the earlier areas). Yeah, you're not done yet.
  • The Stinger: A Hornoad is happily rummaging through SR388 until a familiar parasite shows up to infect it.

    T to Z 
  • Tennis Boss: You can now do something like this, with enemies as the ball, by pressing the button just as they bump into you, similar to Quick Time Events.
  • Time Stands Still: Downplayed. The Phase Drift ability allows Samus to slow time, allowing her to cross crumbling bridges and get the jump on quick enemies.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Combined with Theme Song Reveal, Ridley's Bootstrapped Theme was in the overview trailer before release, spoiling his surprise appearance for keen listeners.
  • Tron Lines: The Varia Suit now has glowing green lines on its shoulders. The Gravity suit has blue ones, in addition to lines on the thighs of the suit.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: In the Chozo Memories gallery, once the Metroids began evolving, they started to attack their creators.
  • Turns Red: Like in other Metroid games, bosses steadily grow redder as they take damage, and at certain damage thresholds begin new patterns of attacks. Some bosses take it a little further:
    • Diggernaut is fought in three phases, changing up its attack pattern after an arm is disabled. After both arms are taken care of, its tactics change enough to force you to change your own tactics.
    • The Queen Metroid doesn't pull off the trope as it's actually turning red, but instead after all of its health is depleted beacuse it has four phases. After the end of each phase, it changes attack patterns, throwing out new attacks and new variants of old attacks.
    • The boss battle against Proteus Ridley also has multiple phases. The first phase has this boss flying the entire time, in a manner reminiscent of Ridley's classic fights in previous 2D Metroid games. During the second phase, the boss switches tactics and starts fighting both in the air and on the ground, while using more powerful attacks in the air. During the third and final phase, even stronger attacks are used.
  • Underground Level: Almost the entire game, aside from The Surface, and even then much of that area is also underground.
  • Wall Crawl: The Spider Ball upgrade allows Samus to climb any surface that isn't slippery.
  • Warm-Up Boss: The first Alpha Metroid you fight is one. Despite it now having a fast ramming attack, the Melee Counter and missiles make short work of it.
  • Warp Whistle: Samus Returns features teleport stations, which allow Samus to instantly travel to any previously accessed teleport station to reduce the amount of backtracking you have to do.
  • Wham Shot: The final shot of the Chozo Memories ending shows an unknown Chozo shooting down its fellow brethren after the Metroids they created started getting out of control.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Samus encounters the last Metroid egg and instinctively charges up her shot when it hatches. But the newborn Metroid doesn't attack Samus and instead flies around her happily as if Samus is its mother. Seeing the innocence of the young hatchling in spite of her pointing a cannon at it, Samus powers down her weapon and adopts the baby Metroid.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Complete the game between 4 and 8 hours on Hard Mode, and the results screen has helmet-less Samus appear with green hair, a reference to the playable unarmoured appearance from the original Metroid. If you manage to complete the game under 4 hours on Hard Mode, Samus' Zero Suit becomes a modernized makeover of her original unarmoured outfit to go with it.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Averted with the melee counter. Even before the tutorial, you can still use it. Given that Samus already knows the move in-universe, it makes perfect sense.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/MetroidSamusReturns