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Literature / Metroid: Zebes Shin'nyuu Shirei

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Metroid: Zebes Shin'nyuu Shirei, unofficially translated by fans as Metroid: Zebes Invasion Order or Metroid: Zebes Incursion Directive, is a Gamebook released in December 1986 by Futabasha, based on the first game of the Metroid series.

After the establishment of the Galactic Federation, a band of criminals known as the Space Pirates (inspired by the stories of the The Golden Age of Piracy) have forced the Federation Police to hire Space Hunters to take them down. When the united forces of the Space Pirates have stolen a bio-capsule containing cell cultures of the mysterious and dangerous life-form Metroid, they have brought it to their secure asteroid fortress Zebes with the intent of using the Metroids as bioweapons. With the Federation Police unable to attack Zebes, they have commissioned Samus Aran, the strongest Space Hunter of them all, to infiltrate the fortress and retrieve the Metroid capsule.

While that sounds pretty similar to the plot of Metroid, this gamebook provides some hefty Adaptation Expansion in the form of a lengthy playable epilogue, which reveals what happens immediately after Samus retrieves the Metroid capsule and destroys the Zebes fortress. Interestingly, several of the plot points in this epilogue would be revisited in later canonical Metroid games, including the remake Metroid: Zero Mission, which has a similar epilogue of its own.


While the gamebook was never officially released outside of Japan, a complete fan translation can be found hosted on Metroid Database. This uses Twine as a game engine, and is therefore titled Twinetroid. A few liberties were taken in order to adapt the book to an online format.

This gamebook contains examples of:

  • Accidentally Broke the MacGuffin: Samus can forget to take the Metroid capsule before evacuating her exploding gunship, resulting in a bad ending.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Kraid's Lair and Ridley's Lair are reduced to a single room each. Additionally, Norfair's upper-left section is cut from the map.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Metroid ends after Samus escapes Tourian, but this gamebook has an all-new epilogue where she deals with the Metroid=Mutant loose aboard her gunship and then is captured by Space Pirates.
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  • Adaptational Explanation: In Metroid (as well as the later games Super Metroid and Metroid: Zero Mission), it is not explained how killing Kraid and Ridley causes their statues to activate. This gamebook explains that Kraid and Ridley are carrying Key Stones, which Samus inserts into the statues to activate them.
  • Adaptational Sympathy: In the original game's manual, it's stated that Ridley is controlled by Mother Brain, but there's nothing that indicates that he wasn't hostile or aggressive beforehand; later, the main series canonically established Ridley as a sadistic sociopath long before meeting Mother Brain. In this gamebook, Ridley is said to have originally been docile and peaceful, and Mother Brain's mind-control has forcibly turned him cruel and evil, adding a layer of sympathy to the character.
  • Adapted Out: Skree, Mellow, Ripper, Waver, Memu, Geega, Zeela, Fake Kraid, Mella, Squeept, Polyp, Nova, Gamet, Ripper II, Dragon, Zebbo, and Viola do not appear in this gamebook.
  • After Boss Recovery: Defeating Ridley or Kraid fully replenishes Samus's energy and missiles.
  • BFG: The large caliber beam cannon can vaporize an entire asteroid. It's a guaranteed One-Hit Kill if the Pirate Boss uses it on Samus.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Normally, Ridley would be docile, but he has become cruel because his mind is being controlled by Mother Brain.
  • Canon Foreigner: The Doublehopper, Metroid=Mutant, and Pirate Boss are all original to this gamebook.
  • Cyborg:
    • Samus, in accordance with her description in the Metroid manual.
    • The Doublehopper is a Sidehopper with additional cybernetic legs.
  • Early Adaptation Weirdness: Much of it is carried over from the original game, although this gamebook expands upon or adds additional weirdness:
    • Zebes is an asteroid, rather than a planet.
    • Ridley is the original inhabitant of Zebes, living on the inhospitable asteroid long before the arrival of the Space Pirates. He was originally docile and peaceful, and has only become aggressive and cruel while under Mother Brain's mind control. Instead of actually breathing fire, Ridley possesses Psychic Powers that simulate the intense experience of being hit with fire breath.
    • If a Metroid latches onto Samus, she can escape by firing missiles instead of planting bombs.
    • Samus is repeatedly referred to as a cyborg. This continues even after it is revealed that she is a human woman, suggesting that it was not merely a red herring like in the original game.
    • The leader of the Space Pirates is the Pirate Boss, while the series usually refers to Mother Brain or Ridley as the leader. Additionally, the Pirate Boss is a human, while all later Metroid games would only show aliens among the Space Pirate ranks.
    • Samus and the Space Pirates may team up to take down the Metroid=Mutant. Later Metroid lore would establish that Samus and the Space Pirates hate each other so much that they would never consider teaming up, even against bigger threats like the Ing or Dark Samus.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference:
    • Some of the creatures do not match their more established appearances. For example, Zoomers have tails and appear more reptilian, while Rios are covered with hair and have tiny legs in addition to their large claws.
    • Aside from the helmet and upper torso armor, Samus's Power Suit appears to be mostly fabric, like a real spacesuit. Additionally, when Samus is unmasked, she is depicted with black hair instead of brown, blonde, or green.
    • Kraid and Ridley's overall designs are heavily inspired by the original Metroid manual's artwork. Kraid has a hairy backside instead of being covered with reptilian scales, while Ridley has a prominent set of lips and three vertically-aligned, glassy eyes rather than his more standard pterodactyl-like head.
    • Metroids are depicted with large arthropod-like appendages instead of the usual tentacles or fangs, and many eyeballs inside their membranes.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: The first bad ending (where the Metroid capsule is lost aboard Samus's exploding gunship) is probably the hardest ending to get, since it requires a specific series of choices including several random outcomes (namely, Samus successfully killing the Metroid=Mutant and successfully escaping the gunship before it explodes).
  • Elite Mook: The Doublehopper is basically a souped-up Sidehopper.
  • Enemy Mine: Samus can volunteer to help the Space Pirates battle the Metroid=Mutant.
  • Enemy Scan: Each initial encounter with a creature on Zebes is accompanied by data from Samus's Command Computer, which gives information on the enemy and ranks it as level I, II, III, or IV based on its difficulty.
  • Fakin' MacGuffin: There is a fake Key Stone on a table in B-65. It's a trap devised by Ridley.
  • Final Boss: Metroid=Mutant is the final boss of both bad endings, while the Pirate Boss is the final boss of the good ending.
  • Gamebook: There are even two different styles of adventure in this book. The first half of the book, following the plot of Metroid, incorporates a lot of gameplay elements of the NES game; the reader explores a grid-based map while keeping track of upgrades and energy/missiles, choosing where to go and how to deal with enemy encounters. The second half of the book, after Mother Brain's defeat, reads as a more traditional story-driven CYOA that presents different options to choose from, although dice are still involved for determining certain random outcomes.
  • He Was Right There All Along: When Samus enters room B-65, Ridley is nowhere to be seen. It is only after she investigates the table with the fake Key Stone that Ridley appears behind her and the boss battle begins.
  • Kill It with Ice: Just like in Metroid, the Metroids must be frozen with the Ice Beam before they become vulnerable to missiles. The Pirate Boss may even return Samus's confiscated Ice Beam so that she can use it against the Metroid=Mutant, although its usefulness in this situation is comparatively limited.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Early on, the Normal Beam only has a 50% chance of defeating even the weakest enemies, meaning that grinding for health and missiles is quite a chore even from the Zeb enemies designed specifically for this purpose. Later, even after you find missiles and can actually harm Sidehoppers, there's only a 50% chance to hit with each shot.
  • MacGuffin: The Metroid bio-capsule. The goal of Samus's mission is to retrieve the capsule from Tourian. After being captured by Space Pirates, she must retrieve the stolen capsule again in order to complete her mission and get the good ending.
  • The Many Deaths of You: As is standard for the gamebook genre, there are many unique passages for dying in specific situations. These range from a Doublehopper triumphantly jumping on Samus's lifeless body to Samus being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by the Pirate Boss.
  • Multiple Endings: Likely inspired by Metroid having different endings based on the time spent playing, this gamebook has two "bad endings" and one "good ending".
    • If the engines of Samus Aran's Gunship go out of control, Samus can choose whether to escape immediately or finish off the Metroid=Mutant first. In the latter scenario, Samus must first successfully defeat the M=M with missiles and then successfully reach the escape pod in time. However, she forgets the Metroid capsule aboard the gunship, and it is lost when the ship explodes. This results in a bad ending where she is unable to complete her mission and solve the mystery of the capsule.
    • If Samus chooses to escape the Pirate Ship without successfully retrieving the Metroid capsule from the control room, she encounters the M=M in the docking bay. As long as the Pirate Boss does not interrupt the battle, Samus will win. She uses a small spacecraft to escape the Pirate Ship and fires a missile to destroy it. However, the Metroid capsule is therefore destroyed, and the surviving M=M latches onto the small spacecraft with the intent of killing Samus. This is the second possible bad ending.
    • If Samus chooses to retrieve the Metroid capsule from the control room before escaping the Pirate Ship, she must engage the Pirate Boss in a sword duel without abandoning her cause. If the M=M interrupts the battle, Samus takes the Metroid capsule and runs to the docking bay without further interference. She uses a small spacecraft to escape the Pirate Ship and fires a missile to destroy it. With her mission complete, she reports in to Earth and enters cryostasis. However, the epilogue implies that the M=M survives the destruction of the Pirate Ship. This is the good ending.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: When Samus is nearly defeated in battle against the Pirate Boss, the Metroid=Mutant interrupts the fight, giving Samus a chance to escape.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: If the Metroid capsule is destroyed aboard Samus's exploding gunship, it results in a bad ending. Even though the Space Pirates no longer have the capsule, Samus cannot complete her mission without it.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • If Samus fails to escape the Doublehopper, it automatically kills her.
    • If the Pirate Boss interrupts the battle against the Metroid=Mutant in the docking bay, he uses a BFG to instantly kill Samus.
  • Plot Coupon: Samus must collect the two Key Stones from Kraid and Ridley in order to advance into Tourian.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The Long Beam and High Jump Boots are not included, likely because they would be difficult to incorporate into a gamebook.
  • Psychic Powers: Ridley possesses psychic powers that he uses to inflict an intense burning sensation.
  • Samus Is a Girl: With the entire gamebook narrated in first person, Samus's true identity remains hidden during her mission on Zebes. It is only after the defeat of Mother Brain, when she is captured and unmasked by Space Pirates, that her identity is revealed.
  • Schmuck Bait: In room B-65, which is Ridley's Boss Room, Samus finds what appears to be a Key Stone resting on a table out in the open, and she thinks she might be able to take the Key Stone without needing to fight Ridley. It's a trap, of course, and the reader is punished if they fall for it.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Metroid capsule contains the Metroid=Mutant. After Samus retrieves the capsule from Tourian and brings it aboard her gunship, the M=M escapes captivity and wreaks havoc.
  • Shout-Out: In one possible scenario, Samus uses an escape pod and evacuates her exploding gunship. She has a moment of relief, only to realize that the Metroid=Mutant sneaked aboard her escape pod. She can open the airlock and force the M=M out of the escape pod. This entire sequence is almost identical to the climax of Alien, which heavily inspired the Metroid series.
  • Space Pirates: This gamebook provides the first appearance of Space Pirates other than Mother Brain, Ridley, and Kraid. Their ship is marked with a giant Jolly Roger, and they are said to be inspired by old stories about piracy on Earth.
  • The Stinger: The good ending has an additional epilogue that suggests that the Metroid=Mutant survived and somehow made it to Earth.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: When Samus opens the airlock in her escape pod, she can choose to throw the Metroid=Mutant out into space.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: In one scenario, Samus recognizes that the Space Pirates will capture her upon finding her, but she reveals herself anyway because she wishes to investigate the Metroid capsule.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: After the first half of the book, which involves keeping careful track of a map, upgrades, health, and ammo while constantly rolling dice for enemy encounters, the switch to a more traditional gamebook format for the second half may come across as a little jarring.
  • Villainous Rescue: If Samus sends out a distress signal from her gunship, it may be answered by the Space Pirates. The good news is that this causes the Metroid=Mutant to flee. The bad news is that Samus is now captured by Space Pirates.
  • Xenomorph Xerox:
    • Ridley has a rather skeletal appearance and an elongated head, resembling the Xenomorph's design. This predates his even more Xenomorph-esque design from Super Metroid.
    • Not so much in terms of appearance, but the Metroid=Mutant's role in the book as a Super-Persistent Predator stalking the heroine aboard a spaceship definitely calls the original Xenomorph to mind. There's even a sequence where it sneaks aboard Samus's escape pod and she forces it out the open airlock, just like in the original Alien.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Thought the book was over after Samus defeats Mother Brain and escapes Tourian? Think again! Now, she has to escape the Metroid=Mutant and retrieve the capsule from a Space Pirate ship.