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Video Game / Super Metroid

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"The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace..."

Super Metroid is the third game in the Metroid series and the ante penultimate game in the timeline (taking place before Metroid: Other M and immediately following the events of Metroid II: Return of Samus and its remake). It was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994 and later released on the Virtual Console.

The plot immediately picks up where the second game finished, with Samus leaving the Metroid hatchling she found at a Federation lab for study. Ridley and the Space Pirates promptly show up and steal it, prompting a distress call which summons Samus just in time to chase them to their rebuilt hideout on planet Zebes...

The game retains the Metroidvania style of gameplay of previous titles, as well as introducing new equipment. Unlike Metroid II, all the items you pick up stay with you (rather than needing to strategically choose which beam to carry), although you can switch between some in the equipment screen (unlike Metroid Fusion where it was fixed and the 3D games where beams were selected in real time). It was also notable for being the largest game released on the SNES at the time, using a 24-Megabit cartridge (that's 3MB).


Super Metroid is one of the most acclaimed games of the 16-bit era and to this day is still cited as a master class in level design, particularly for how well it teaches players its game mechanics without putting them through tedious tutorial sequences. It is also noted as an exemplar of Show, Don't Tell in video game storytelling; apart from a brief, two-minute introductory exposition recapping most of the events of the previous two games, plus a handful of brief game instructions (mostly instructing the player to flee before a location blows up), almost all the storytelling is done through world-building and on-screen events, many described below.

The game has also spawned a fairly large number of ROM hacks. There are also several randomizers that shake up the game's item placement and sometimes locations. Perhaps the most interesting of these is one that also mashes up the game with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, in which any item from either game may be found in either game, and which contains four doors linking the two games. The player must defeat both Ganon and Mother Brain to win the game, and the ending sequence of the game corresponds with which of the two final bosses the player fights last. (One other interesting side effect of this version is that, after the player progresses far enough into A Link to Past, it becomes possible to get around Zebes much more quickly by warping to Hyrule, either saving and quitting or using the flute, and then warping back to Zebes.)


Super Metroid contains examples of the following tropes:

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    A to D 
  • Ability Required to Proceed: You need various abilities and equipment to proceed, as par for the course of a Metroidvania-style game. The Morph Ball, Missiles and Bombs to get beyond Crateria, and the Super Missiles, Speed Booster (or the Ice Beam if you prefer—you at least need one or the other), Power Bombs and at minimum three energy tanks are absolutely required to finish the game.
    • There's one point where it's combined with Some Dexterity Required: if you wind up in the optional section where the Etecoons teach you the Wall Jump (and if you happen to save your game there), you must become at least familiar with the ability to escape. This isn't too difficult, but it's notably one of the few places where good control and execution is necessary to advance, as opposed to merely making the game easier and enabling Sequence Breaking.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Crocomire, who periodically steps towards Samus, forcing her towards a wall of spikes. It's also combined with Ring-Out Boss, because defeating Crocomire requires that you hit it in its mouth, causing it to step back, until it falls into a pit of acid. The battle's not over until its lifeless skeleton breaks the wall.
  • A.I. Breaker: If you force the Golden Torizo against the wall of the room you fight it in and move close enough to it, then it will stay in place and all of its attacks will miss you.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: In Tourian, Samus runs across a room where several invulnerable to everything but super missile enemies have been reduced to crumbling dust. It turns out this is the result of getting their energy sucked dry by the now grown up Metroid hatchling.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted, Samus always wields her Arm Cannon with her right arm no matter which side she's facing.
  • Anachronic Order: As mentioned in the description, this is the third game in the series and the third-to-last game in the overall plot. To be fair though, the games were in normal order until the Metroid Prime Trilogy games started coming out, so this is only applied retroactively.
  • invokedAnti-Climax Boss: The first battle against Mother Brain is very easy. Not only is she weaker than she was in the previous game, but you have a lot more toys to blow her up with now. But then she reveals her enormous robotic body, and the battle takes a turn for the worse.
  • Antepiece:
    • In the second room of the Ceres research station, the first area of the game, there's a small step you have to jump up on, in contrast to the many stairs in the rest of the area. This forces you to jump at least once and get a basic understanding of how the jump mechanics work, before you're pressed by time in the escape out of the area. You also meet Ridley there in a mock Boss Battle to test out your shooting skills, as the fight will end either when you damage him enough, or you lose too much health.
    • The first Metroid has a vertical tunnel at the start of Tourian that requires you to drop down the numerous platforms; the final vertical tunnel during the timed escape sequence is nearly identical, except the platforms are narrower and require you to jump up them under a time limit. The latter tunnel is revisited near the start of Super Metroid and used in a similar fashion: you drop down the platforms on your way to collect the Morph Ball, and making your way back requires you to not only carefully jump up the platforms but also dispatch the Zebesians that are now jumping across the walls.
  • Ascended Extra: This was the first game to give Ridley more prominence, by making him the one who stole the Metroid Hatchling and its guardian in Norfair.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: When they called this game "Super" Metroid, it was for good reason. Fortunately, despite its innocent, insatiable hunger, it's on your side. Kraid is also much bigger than he used to be, which is now his canon design and size.
  • Auto-Revive: The Reserve Tanks serve this purpose by automatically refilling some of your Energy Tanks before they all completely go empty. You can also choose to use the Reserve Tanks yourself to get some energy back.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Super Missiles pack the biggest punch in the game, and can destroy bosses far more quickly than regular Missiles can. However, they are far rarer than regular Missiles (only 50 Super Missiles compared to 230 regular), are fairly slow to fire, restocking ammo is quite difficult (only some enemies drop Super Missile ammo, and Missile Stations don't restock them, only your ship does) and sometimes have unexpected side effects — for example, while they kill Phantoon faster, they also trigger a unique retaliatory attack where he swings a chain of fireballs across the screen eight times in a row. If you can use them well, they are very deadly, though — they're the best way to push Crocomire to his death, for example, because they knock him back the furthest compared to Samus' other options.
  • Bag of Spilling: Samus doesn't retain any of her gear from the previous game except the Long Beam. Unlike later games, there's no explanation for this.
  • Bait-and-Switch: For players of the original Metroid. You fight a fake Kraid which is the size of the original one. However, a few rooms later, you fight the actual Kraid, who is gargantuan in size. Although, some perceptive veterans might not be fooled; the first Metroid also featured a fake Kraid, after all.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: If you're skilled, you can actually beat Ridley on Ceres Station. He'll drop the baby Metroid...and then immediately pick it back up again. The game continues as normal from there.
  • Beam Spam: The Spazer Beam, which isn't short for "Spam Laser", but should be. It triples the output of the other beams (except the Plasma Beam, which it can't be combined with) resulting in a wider field of fire.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: This is the first game where Ridley demonstrated his deadly, serrated tail with a spaded stinger. Unlike most attacks, it can damage Samus while she's using the Screw Attack.
  • Big Bad: Mother Brain, returning from the first game.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The (now fully grown) Metroid hatchling shows up to save Samus in the final boss fight.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Space Pirates have been destroyed for good, but it comes at the cost of killing the only Metroid that wasn't dangerous (which has repercussions in Other M and Fusion) and destroying all of Samus's home planet. And then comes the Sequel Gap.
  • Book-Ends: The game begins and ends with Timed Missions following boss fights (one with Ridley, the other with Mother Brain.)
    • The first and final minibosses you face are both Torizo statues. There's a third Torizo statue in Tourian right before the final boss, but you don't have to fight it because the Super Metroid has already taken care of it.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: The game has a couple different boss battle themes that played for multiple bosses. The one that just happened to play during encounters with Ridley (along with Torizo, Draygon, and the escape sequences) has become the "Theme of Ridley". The theme that plays during Kraid's battle also has become his battle theme, but as he isn't fought nearly as often, it isn't as apparent.
    • Thanks to Super Smash Bros. Brawl incorrectly labeling it such, the opening and closing credits theme has become "Samus' Theme," despite Samus already having a theme (the Crateria Surface music) in this game. Samus Returns would eventually make it fully official.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: The armored Space Pirates encountered in Lower Norfair, who throw their limbs at Samus and leap all over the place. They can't be damaged until they're coaxed into performing a jump kick and even then they take a ton of hits to kill. On the other hand, with a little practice it becomes easy to keep them in their vulnerable state throughout the fight. Although they respawn, Samus only has to fight them once before the door they're guarding becomes permanently unlocked and she can just jump past them any other time.
  • Boss Tease. A statue depicting four creatures guards the entrance to a late-game area. By the time you visit this statue for the first time, you'll likely have defeated one of these bosses, causing its coloured gemstone to fall away and that part of the statue to fade from gold to dark stone. It's easy to guess that you need to defeat the other guardians to open the way, especially since the most prominently depicted creature is Ridley, whom you've already fought and weren't able to defeat yet.
  • Brain in a Jar: Mother Brain, once again. Although, when that jar is destroyed...
  • Catastrophic Countdown: Both times a timed explosive is set, the whole place is shaking and exploding long before the countdown expires.
  • Charged Attack: The Charge Beam, of course.
  • Chest Monster: Torizo looks just like one of the upgrade-giving Chozo statues, and it's effective because you get the Bombs from it first, THEN the doors lock. The Golden Torizo much later is less convincing.
  • Clone Degeneration: Mochtroids are a failed attempt at cloning Metroids. While they can absorb some of Samus' health, they are very weak and will die from any of her ordinary attacks (no need to freeze them and use missiles). They even get killed from using the Grappling Beam on them, which normally damages only the very weakest normal enemies and one specific boss, so this would make the Mochtroid amongst the weakest enemies in the game.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Beams and Doors. With Doors, red can be opened with Missiles (or a Super), green with Super Missiles, and yellow with Power Bombs, while blue can be opened with anything. As for the beams, the color coding has no real significance, but exists all the same: The Power/Charge beam is orange, the Spazer is yellow, the Ice beam is blue, Wave beam purple, and Plasma beam green.
  • Combat Parkour: Highly skilled play typifies it strongly enough to make this game the Trope Codifier for the 2D platformer genre.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted, a first for the series. In previous games, the Varia Suit merely cut damage in half; in this one, it also protects Samus from the convective heat which, without it, quickly overwhelms her in most of Norfair, excepting only those few rooms whose existence is all that makes a reverse-boss-order run possible (and that only barely).
  • Critical Annoyance: A loud beeping alerts the player whenever Samus's health go beneath 50. It's speculated that this noise is what causes the Super Metroid to recognize Samus after nearly draining her suit's energy, and that the same sound causes it to rush to Samus's aid when Mother Brain is about to kill her.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The Super Metroid makes short work of Samus in Tourian, almost instantly reducing her to 1HP before it (presumably) realizes who she is and backs off.
    • After the Super Metroid's Heroic Sacrifice gives Samus the Hyper Beam to use against Mother Brain, what ensues is arguably one of the most one-sided final battles in all of gaming.
  • Cutscene Boss: Much of the fight with the final boss is taken up by the cutscene of the Super Metroid attacking, then Mother Brain killing the Super Metroid, after which Samus gets the Hyper Beam and the fight becomes a Zero-Effort Boss.
    • A few rooms before that, there's the Super Metroid itself, which is completely invincible; it reduces Samus down to 1 HP and then flies off.
  • Cyclops: Mother Brain's final form.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Ridley. As opposed to every other boss in the game who either have a special weakness or pattern, Ridley doesn't have either and his fight is a brutal, fast-paced slugfest, where there really isn't any special strategy other than just reduce his health before he does the same to Samus.
  • Darker and Edgier: The tone is much more grim and unsettling than the original Metroid.
  • Dash Attack: The Speed Booster and all the abilities that come with it. Only the most formidable of enemies can withstand the impact of a speed-boosted Samus.
  • Determinator: Crocomire. Even after he's fallen into a lake of acid that strips the flesh from his very bones, those bones themselves make one attempt to kill you.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • It's possible to "beat" Ridley on the Ceres Space Station at the beginning of the game. If you deal enough damage without taking too much yourself, he'll briefly drop the capsule with the Infant Metroid, only to grab it again and fly off.
    • The fight with Draygon can be made much simpler if you shoot out one of the cannons on the walls, exposing electric wiring inside, letting Draygon capture you, and then using the Grappling Beam to connect to the wires, channeling the electrical circuit through Samus and shocking Draygon to death.
    • You can turn off upgrades in the menu, and there is/are a distinct beam(s) for every possible combination of activated beam weapons, which amounts to 26 different beam animations. Logically, there'd be 34 (one for the default beam plus 2 to the 5th power, on or off for each beam, plus one for the Hyper Beam), but the Spazer and Plasma Beam are unable to be enabled at the same time normally.
      • Even if one were to make use of the Spacetime/Reset Beam (which involves enabling the Plasma Beam and Spazer together using a boot upgrade), there is no animation for said beam; it earned its name by resetting all upgrades and bosses, with no visible projectile.
    • If by some chance you are able to sequence break all the way through the searing hot caves of Upper Norfair without the Varia Suit and survive, arriving at Lower Norfair will result in a very rude awakening—almost every single room is as hot as the worst parts of Upper Norfair. It's virtually impossible to get anywhere through it without a tool assisted run.
    • During the second half of the final battle, if you stop blasting Mother Brain for a moment, you'll notice that she attacks much more frequently (bordering on Beam Spam) and moves much faster than in the first half. This doesn't make the battle any more difficult - it just serves to show that Mother Brain realizes the gravity of her current situation.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Samus becomes a walking powerhouse early in the game if you know what you're doing.
    • The Super Missile, acquired after the first miniboss, is a very powerful attack that can make mincemeat out of most bosses (most notably Kraid) with it's low and scarce ammo being its only handicap.
    • The Charge Beam and Spazer Beam, which can be acquired as early as Red Brinstar and easily rips through most enemies, and it gives you a nifty Pseudo-Screw Attack as an added bonus if you hold a charge and somersault. Combine it with the Wave Beam (which can be acquired in Norfair as soon as you have the Speed Booster and leap across the chasm to it, or even earlier if you're decent enough with the wall jump) and you'll rip through most enemies like wet tissue.
  • Double Jump: The Space Jump is somewhere between this and actual Flight—gravity still affects Samus, but she can Space Jump infinitely, meaning that once she's airborne, touching the ground is just a suggestion. (The double jump doesn't always work, however, particularly if Samus' downward velocity has reached a high enough speed. It may take players some time to master the timing involved.)
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title refers to both the fact that this Metroid game was released for the Super Nintendo and the supersized Metroid encountered at the end of the game.
  • Down the Drain: Maridia is completely submerged.
  • Dramatic Disappearing Display: An odd variation; the status display itself doesn't disappear whilst fighting a major boss, but rather, the automap display in the top-right corner of the screen becomes completely blank during these fights.
  • Dummied Out:
    • Coding for a Long Beam power-up can be found in the games data, but no item for it exists in-game, as it's now a default feature of Samus' beam.
    • A tile that acts exactly like a normal wall tile (including stopping the camera) except that Samus can pass through it, is fully coded in, but not used anywhere. Since it doesn't react to anything other than Samus's touch, it seems likely that the devs deemed it an unfair way to hide secrets.

    E to H 
  • Easter Egg: If you return to the Surface of Zebes after obtaining the Super Missiles but before descending into lower Brinstar (when it's still raining) and use the bombs and super missiles to go into the cave on the right, you can listen to the "arrival on Zebes" music again.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Hyper Beam, absorbed from Mother Brain's own Wave-Motion Gun.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: As Samus makes progress, she gets Super Missiles to supplant the normal Missiles, and Power Bombs to supplant the Morph Ball Bombs. The Space Jump completely superannuates both the Wall Jump and Grapple Beam.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Two of Samus's best upgrades, the Space Jump and Screw Attack, invoke a lot of airborne spinning. In fact, given that Samus won't spin-jump (and thus activate the Space Jump or Screw Attack) if her horizontal velocity isn't high enough when she jumps, the game is an extremely literal example of this trope; her jumps really are much better with spinning. Even before acquiring the Space Jump or Screw Attack, Samus must also spin-jump in order to wall-jump successfully.
  • Evolving Weapon:
    • The Power Suit itself.
    • Unlike many of the games, Samus's Arm Cannon retains each and every upgrade she gets. By the end of the game, the Charge Beam, Spazer, Wave Beam, Ice Beam, and Plasma Beam combine into one single, powerful weapon. The only exception is that the Spazer and Plasma beams cannot normally be combined, although they can be combined via a glitch, resulting in the fan-coined (though invisible) Spacetime (or Reset) Beam.
  • Excessive Steam Syndrome: In the intro level, Samus needs to escape a space station, while avoiding gushes of steam coming out from practically everywhere. If you get hit by the steam, you lose precious time to escape.
    • Happens again during the escape from planet Zebes, only the steam's escaping from the ground itself.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: The fake Kraid looks like Kraid and goes down in a single Super Missile. The real Kraid is very large and looks intimidating, but he's the Warm-Up Boss.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Metroid may be more adult-oriented compared to other Nintendo franchises, but even that doesn't explain why Crocomire goes out in such a gruesome manner. Upon beating him, he falls into a pit of lava and screeches while his skin and musculature melts off like candle wax. He manages to survive as a skeleton and lunges towards Samus for one final, desperate attack... only to collapse under his own weight into a pile of bones.
  • Fanservice:
    • The Best Ending, as per usual in the series.
    • Using the Crystal Flash, as noted in Sexy Silhouette, below.
  • Fan Disservice: The alternate way to see Samus in her underwear let her health run out, causing her suit to disintegrate around her in the process right before she dies.
  • Fetal Position Rebirth: Samus, when using the "Crystal Flash" for emergency recharge.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: In Tourian, you will enter a room filled with grayed-out enemies that crumble to dust if touched or shot. In the very next room, you become trapped with one such enemy, which is impervious to your weaponry(except super missiles). In the next second, you find out what happened to the others.
  • Floating Platforms: Taking what Metroid II started even further, very few platforms in Super Metroid are elevated without some form of hand wave or justification.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Samus's narration at the very beginning hints that the Metroid ability to drain energy can also be used for beneficial purposes, implying that the devoured energy can be used afterward. This is important for later.
    • Under normal circumstances, the battle with Ridley on the Space Station ends when he brings Samus to a low enough health, setting off her Critical Annoyance. The same sound sets off when the Metroid Hatchling is draining her energy in Tourian; it recognizes it and stops draining Samus.
    • In Maridia, you catch a glimpse of what looks like a Metroid when traveling through a pipe...It's actually a "Mochtroid", a far weaker failed cloning experiment that you face only a few rooms later, but...
    • After defeating Ridley, the next room has the larval Metroid's capsule smashed and empty.
    • The Metroid steals the deadly beam energy from Mother Brain to save Samus and then, proving the Federation right, it uses that same energy to empower Samus.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: A small blip flying away from Zebes's ruins at the end of the game, indicating that the creatures if they were rescued have safely made it off the planet.
    • This ends up being extremely important in Metroid Fusion, as the animals return in that game and help Adam pilot Samus' ship, saving her life at the very end.
    • The other is far less significant but still awesome nonetheless: During your escape from Ceres at the beginning of the game, one of the doors will actually explode behind you, leaving behind an impassible hunk of glowing hot metal. This one is a lot more likely to go unnoticed, due to all the other explosions and random chaos on screen (not to mention that your escape is timed). It's also the only instance of a door exploding in the entire game.
  • Game Mod: While the definitive history of ROM hacking has yet to be written, one of the oldest total-conversion hacks, Super Metroid Redesign, dates at least from 2004, which establishes the game's hacking scene as perhaps one of the longest-standing outside the fan translation world. There's a wide variety of Super Metroid hacks, ranging from relatively minor gameplay and physics tweaks (Project Base) to radically deuterocanonical and hugely ambitious reimaginings of the entire game and its backstory (Hyper Metroid); while the total number of released hacks is relatively small compared to, say, the Super Mario World scene, the gameplay variety and general quality level of Super Metroid hacks is surprisingly high. They make a delightful diversion, especially for the veteran SM player who knows the classic game back to front. Would you like to know more?
    • There are also a fairly substantial number of randomizers, as mentioned in the game description; they can completely reshuffle items and, in some cases, rooms, allowing a new experience each time one plays the game, and often requiring use of some clever, obscure techniques to reach critical items. There are several different randomizers, including this one, this one, this one, this one (which also shuffles up the rooms), and perhaps most interestingly, the Super Metroid/A Link to the Past randomizer, which mashes the game up with A Link to the Past Randomizer (any item can be almost anywhere in either game, as long as its location doesn't render either game unwinnable).
  • Game Over: Should you run out of energy, the background disappears and Samus's powersuit overloads and explodes, leaving her in her underwear.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The beam-specific charge combos, which are described only in the (sold separately) strategy guide, and all but impossible to discover by accident. You'll probably discover your Varia/Gravity suit combo letting you traverse lava by accident as well.
    • Infamously, the glass tube in Maridia must be shattered with a Power Bomb. This mechanic appears nowhere else in the game, though the presence of a broken tube at the other end of Maridia may be considered an oblique hint (and even then, the room with that tube is so far out-of-the-way that reaching it is a Guide Dang It! in itself.)
    • The Dummied Out blocks that act exactly like solid wall tiles but let Samus pass through them would have been nigh-impossible to detect, making anything hidden behind them a matter of luck to find... which is probably why they were Dummied Out.
    • The final save point in Tourian is a Point of No Return. No, there's no way to go back. No, you can't get 100% Completion if you haven't done so already. And oh yeah, I sure hope you have the Charge Beam (or, less likely, 150 missiles) and at least three Energy Tanks, because without them, Mother Brain is unbeatable.
  • Heart Container: The energy containers (health) and missile upgrades (ammo). This was the first (and until Metroid: Samus Returnsnote , only) game in the series to utilize reserve energy tanks, which will save Samus if all her health is depleted.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: During the final boss fight, the larval Metroid, now huge, takes a blow for Samus and bequeaths Samus' ultimate weapon.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Samus manages to get one during the final battle after the Metroid hatchling makes its Heroic Sacrifice to save Samus's life.
    • It's possible to turn it into a Heroic Third Wind: if you have sufficient energy, the first time you're hit by the ultimate attack, Samus will be left breathing heavily on the ground. If you have enough energy to survive a second blast, you can tap up several times and Samus will get to her feet and keep fighting (though without any missiles or power bombs, which were drained by the ultimate attack). It's ultimately futile, but does prompt the final boss to use the ultimate attack a second time, for all the horrifying power that that entails. It's possible to tap up to try to make Samus stand, but if you don't have enough energy to survive a second blast, she'll collapse again, and the final boss will instead use weaker attacks to pummel her down to low energy before the above sequence happens.
  • High-Voltage Death: This is the "easy" way to defeat Draygon. Samus touches a current while Draygon is grasping her and then earns a Victory by Endurance while both are electrified.
  • Hitodama Light: Phantoon, the boss of the Wrecked Ship appears surrounded by hitodama, and uses them as weapons against Samus.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • The fight against Ridley in the opening. You can make him fumble the Metroid hatchling's container, but you can't stop him stealing it, and you can't prevent him from starting the self-destruct sequence.
    • Samus can't do a single thing to harm the Super Metroid, which effortlessly reduces her to 1 energy unit before it (presumably) realizes who she is and backs off.
    • The second portion of the final fight. Mother Brain's giant multicolored laser is impossible to dodge. When you're hit by it, it will drain any remaining missiles, super missiles, and power bombs, and reduce your health by 500. If you can survive another hit with the beam (energy 600+), then you can get up and keep fighting until you get hit by the beam again. Otherwise, you're stuck on your knees, unable to move until the plot happens and the final phase of the battle begins. Because of the extreme damage of the beam, if you have fewer than 4 energy tanks when you get to Tourian, the battle is literally hopeless: you MUST survive at least one hit with the beam in order to win.

    I to S 
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Mother Brain doesn't whip out her mechanical body until Samus has seemingly won, and has trapped herself in an inescapable room.
  • I'm Melting!: A particularly brutal and graphic example occurs when the mini-boss Crocomire is pushed into a pit of acid. After bobbing up and down a bit trying to get out, it screams at a very high pitch and flesh starts peeling off in gooey streaks until only the skeleton remains.
  • Imprinting: As implied at the end of the second game, the Metroid hatchling is definitely imprinted on Samus, even giving its life to save Samus'.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Samus can befriend creatures who teach her to Wall Jump and use the Shinespark ability. They (canonically) survive through the ending, and show up again in Metroid Fusion. And of course, the Super Metroid also qualifies, given that it literally performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Samus' life.
  • Jump Scare: Performed by the remains of Crocomire after the battle, but they fall apart soon after.
  • Kaiju: Kraid apparently Took a Level in Badass since the last game and has grown several stories tall. Unfortunately for him, he's still the first and easiest of all the bosses.
  • Killed Off for Real: This is canonically the game in which Ridley is killed off for good. His appearances in Other M and Fusion being a clone and an X-Parasite copy respectively.
  • Kill It with Ice: Freezing was handled differently in this game, as it takes longer to freeze an enemy, instead of each shot freezing and then unfreezing them. By the time they actually freeze, one good shot will kill them.
  • Last Of Its Kind: The larval Metroid is the last survivor of its species (at least until the Space Pirates capture it.) And until Fusion...)
  • Limit Break: The Crystal Flash technique, which requires that Samus have less than 50 units of energy, no reserve energy, 10 of each missile, and 11 Power Bombs. The player must then lay a Power Bomb and input a rather complicated button combination, without moving or taking damage. Success results in a complete energy recharge. Failure has no special consequence, but given the dire straits one has to be in to perform the technique at all, it's likely that a Game Over isn't far away.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: A series standard. This game uses it twice:
    • In the Ceres Station antepiece with Ridley. The station's self-destruct timer starts immediately after he steals the Metroid larva.
    • In the game proper, Mother Brain, whose death triggers the timer on the Space Pirates' final sanction.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: The Crocomire boss just seems to be part of Zebes local wildlife, and has no real ties to the Space Pirates or Mother Brain. Same goes for Botwoon.
  • Mama Bear: Super Metroid's story essentially boils down to Samus being on the warpath because the Space Pirates attacked and destroyed an innocent colony, and kidnapped what amounted to her surrogate child...and you better believe there will be ass-beatings...
  • Metroidvania: Shares the Trope Codifier laurel with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
  • Miracle-Gro Monster: there isn't much difference when an infant Metroid matures to its larval stage in most cases, but the "baby" Samus spared ends up growing to an unprecedented size, even counting the higher forms as they were depicted in Metroid II: Return of Samus. It also grows differently, as it has no indication of approaching Alpha Metroid status, though later games imply that the true, natural evolution to the Alpha -> Omega Metroid line is only possible on SR-388 (or places that emulate that atmosphere).
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups: Compared to the first and second games, this game downplays the trope. While Samus can carry both the Spazer and Plasma Beams, only one can be equipped at a time, where previous games required you to actually go and pick up a beam powerup again if you wanted to switch back to it.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: The first game concluded with Mother Brain's self-destruct timer blowing up the Pirate base, but leaving the surface intact. But since that failed, this time the self-destruct causes a massive, Zebes-Shattering Kaboom.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: A plausible interpretation of Crocomire, who doesn't attack you unless you attack him or approach too close. There are several other monsters that can also damage you if you approach them the wrong way, but otherwise won't hurt you and can help you (which may be required to do a 100% run); these include Shaktool (which will clear away the sand in the way of the Spring Ball) and Kame/the Tatori (which can allow you to reach the Energy Tank), both in Maridia.
  • Noob Bridge: The Trope Namer is the infamous collapsing bridge in Brinstar, where the game requires a mechanic that has never come up before (dashing) to cross a bridge. Many newcomers will go onto forums asking how to cross the bridge, to the ire of many veterans. It is possible to cross without the run button, but extremely difficult as it requires precise timing and is more of a Self-Imposed Challenge than a proper solution.
  • No-Sell: To a lesser extent than normal, but Mother Brain is the only creature in the entire series to manage to recover from a Metroid life drain attack.
    • A straighter example is the gold Torizo in Norfair: neither missle type will work against it. He'll just dodge regular missles, whereas if you use super missles, he catches them and wings them back at you.
  • Nostalgia Level: Several.
    • When first landing on Zebes, you will backtrack the last part of the first game, where you fought Mother Brain and escaped the time bomb.
    • You will find the Morph Ball in the exact same place as the first game.
    • You will find several segments of Ridley and Kraid's hideouts that resemble the first game. You'll even find "Fake Kraids" like before.
    • The new Tourian is basically just an upgraded version of the first. The battle with Mother Brain even goes pretty much the same until she whips out her mechanical body.
  • Not Quite Flight:
    • The Space Jump provides you unlimited Double Jumps.
    • The Shinespark will rocket you in a single direction until you hit an unbreakable obstruction or until your energy, which the technique consumes in proportion to the distance traveled, becomes too low. (This game's Shinespark is the only instance in the series where this technique consumes energy, probably because it was just too annoying a mechanic to keep. Even most Super Metroid ROM hacks eliminate the Shinespark's energy cost.)
  • Nothing Is Scarier: When Samus first arrives on Zebes, the music, sound effects, and environment take on properties unique to this part of the game. There are no enemies, the music is hushed and ominous, there's a thin haze in the air and vermin everywhere, as if the place hasn't been disturbed or set foot upon in years. This lasts for at least three sections of the game, until you return from Brinstar back to Old Tourian, and all of a sudden Space Pirates are everywhere, and a Chozo Statue (actually a "Torizo") suddenly wakes up and attacks you!
    • Perhaps the eeriest part of this whole sequence is when Samus acquires the Morph Ball. As soon as she does so, a spotlight hits her, following her until she leaves the area. As she does so, it's clear that several devices that weren't on before have suddenly activated. The sense that you're being watched and that the planet is slowly starting to come to life around you is very creepy...
    • The Ceres space station also pulls this trick. The background music is just the ambient drone of computer systems. The entire area is lit in a dull, blue light. As you proceed, you come across the corpses of scientists, but with no sign of what actually killed them. The tension slowly builds until it finally climaxes when Samus enters a seemingly-empty room. The room is completely silent, save for the Metroid chirping in the corner. The player just knows something's about to happen, but the game takes its time with revealing exactly what that is.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: There is a third Torizo statue in Tourian that seems as though it will be another miniboss battle, but Samus doesn't have to fight it - it disintegrates as she passes it. We find out why on the next screen: the Super Metroid got there before she did.
  • Oh, Crap!: As with many things in the game, is used with subtlety - avoid attacking Mother Brain after she kills the Super Metroid and you obtain the Hyper Beam, and you will see that she moves much more quickly and shoots much more frequently. This doesn't make the battle any more difficult though: it's just there to show that Mother Brain realizes what's going on, and is rightfully terrified of you.
    • This can actually happen to the player late in the game. As Ridley was the one who stole the infant metroid, defeating him should prove to be a bit cathartic, especially after the intense battle he provides. However, instead of leading to a Chozo Statue with an item as the player should likely have all upgrades at this point, the next room merely has a hidden Energy Tank...and the smashed containment tank that had carried the hatchling when it was taken from Ceres, leaving the player wondering what had happened to it. The trip to Tourian right after this reveals that pretty quickly, which is an Oh,Crap! in and of itself.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Well, as close as the SNES sound chip could do;
    • Chanting is part of the music in the intro when you start a new game.
    • There's also Ominous chanting during certain parts of the game meant to raise tension—such as when the Space Pirates first show up after a long segment of absolutely nothing happening.
  • Open-Ended Boss Battle: Ridley on Ceres Station. If you lose, he'll fly off with the baby Metroid. If you win, he'll drop the baby Metroid...and then immediately pick it back up again and fly off.
  • Player Death Is Dramatic: The first game in the series to do this; every other 2D Metroid would follow suit.
  • Point of No Return: Once you've saved at the second save point in Tourian you can never go back. You're never told this.
    • Well, unless you sequence break, that is (spoiler warning, obviously). It's also worth noting that it's possible to render the game Unwinnable by Mistake and/or Unwinnable by Insanity without said sequence breaking, should you have too few energy tanks to survive Mother Brain's Hyper Beam attack.
  • Power Glows: The Charge Beam, Speed Booster, Screw Attack, and Hyper Beam all make Samus glow to varying degrees and are easily some of her most powerful abilities. Especially the Hyper Beam, where Samus starts glowing for several seconds after acquiring it to let you know that shit just got real.
  • Power Up Letdown: The four reserve tanks. While far from useless — they are an extra 400 points of health after all — their relative complexity, such as the fact that you have to fill them manually like certain similar Sub-Tanks, with them serving as "extra energy" like fairies, makes one wonder why they couldn't have simply been another four energy tanks.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Fortunately the Power Suit protects Samus from drowning. It will not, however, prevent damage from spikes that may happen to be placed at the bottom of a pit of quicksand... All the quicksand pools are in Maridia, meaning that all the quicksand in the game is also underwater.
  • Railroading: Many areas are cut off unless you have a certain weapon or ability on hand. The more you gather, the more and more the game opens up. For example, you at least need the Morph Ball, Missiles and Bombs to get anywhere beyond the start of the game, and the Super Missiles, Speed Booster and Power Bombs are required to finish it. You also need at collect three energy tanks at minimum in order to survive the fight with Mother Brain in the end.
  • Run, Don't Walk: This game has a run button, which is even the basis for the infamous "n00b bridge." Possibly as a result of the scores of new players that were deterred by this bridge, subsequent games in the series all did away with a dash button entirely, instead allowing the Speed Booster powerup to trigger automatically after running the required distance.
  • Sand Is Water: In Maridia, when the Gravity Suit is acquired, water no longer renders Samus sluggish. However, flowing sand pits underwater still slow her down.
  • Secondary Character Title: Averting the Antagonist Title from the original game in a very clever, Pun-Based Title way. In fact, the fact that it's a case of this trope and not just an example of the usual "Super X" snowclone common to Super Nintendo Entertainment System games is arguably somewhat of a spoiler: the reason the titular character is the Super Metroid doesn't become apparent until the final segment of the game.
  • Sequence Breaking: Super Metroid is famous for being full of tricks that allow you to break the game wide open:
    • The first being Samus' wall jump mechanic. When mastered, it allows her to rapidly scale a single vertical wall (no opposite wall even necessary) and visit game sections early without the necessary upgrades. The Wall Jump can be used to collect Power Bombs before the Grapple Beam, the Wave Beam, Spazer Beam, X-Ray Scope, reach Kraid early, and get into the Wrecked Ship without the Grapple and thus collect an early Gravity Suit. This also lets you get to Draygon without the Grapple Beam via getting the Gravity Suit early. In future games in the series (including the prequel Prime trilogy) Samus has required a second wall to jump off of in order to use the move continuously.
    • The "mock ball" (aka, the "mach ball") trick allows Samus to move at dashing speed while in Morphball form, allowing her to reach certain areas without needing the Speed Booster, allowing her to get the Super Missiles and Ice Beam early on. There are numerous walkthroughs and speedruns on youtube that show how both tricks can be done.
    • It is possible to skip the first Torizo via the Arm pumping glitch, but this is a PAL-only trick—Samus was made faster to adjust for the 50hz signal, thus letting her narrowly escape the room.
    • The Energy Tank in the blue part of Brinstar can be reached by using a "Damage Jump". By using a quick Speed Booster charge, Samus can collect the Energy Tank in the pink portion of Brinstar much earlier and without the Gravity Suit.
    • In Norfair, once you have the Speed Booster, it's possible to use its speed to leap your way to the Wave Beam before you get the Grapple Beam. For extra irony, this allows you to sequence break past a one-way gate to another part of Norfair, which grants you early access to not only the Grapple Beam, but the Power Bombs as well.
    • A glitch commonly known as the "Green Gate Glitch" involves a Shutter with a green light that is on the left of the machine. Samus must jump and fire in a certain area of the Shutter to make it lift from the wrong side.
    • The Speed Booster, High Jump Boots and Power Bombs can be collected later than usual if other sequence breaks are performed, although the High Jump can also be skipped altogether. The Speed Booster can also be skipped altogether by using the Ice Beam to freeze a Puyo or a Mochtroid to clip through a Pit Block in the room before Botwoon, causing them to crumble, and allowing Samus to skip the Speed Booster Blocks normally needed to reach the rooms.
    • The Super Metroid can be avoided in Tourian through dodging with the Space Jump, or with the usage of a Shinespark.
    • It's actually possible to tackle the four main bosses of the game (Kraid, Phantoon, Draygon, and Ridley) in reverse order. It's excruciatingly difficult because it requires traversing Norfair without the Varia Suit, meaning the heat on any screen containing lava, including the entire region where Ridley resides, deals constant damage to Samus (and therefore requiring both extremely skillful navigation and extremely shrewd resource management). Also because it requires traversing Maridia without the Gravity Suit, meaning the player has to do all kinds of weird manoeuvres that aren't normally possible to climb the underwater area. Needless to say, every single energy tank, power bomb, and super missile is much more important than it is in an ordinary run (you'll need to do several Crystal Flashes to survive Norfair). The Reverse Boss Order run is one of the most prestigious runs possible, and a player who can pull it off can be considered to have mastered the game. It's also a popular Speed Run format since it's pretty much not possible to do any other way. The current live world record is just over sixty-eight minutes, while the fastest TAS is just under forty-seven minutes.
    • One player did a minimalist TAS run and exploited an out of bounds glitch that allowed him to beat the game in seven minutes.
  • Sexy Silhouette: When performing the secret "Crystal Flash" move, Samus's Power Suit briefly disappears and she is surrounded by a cocoon of energy. At the center, a nude Samus remains in the fetal position until the recharge is complete.
  • Shock and Awe: Samus can shoot open the turrets mounted on Draygon's boss room, leaving an electrified open socket. If Samus then allows herself to be grabbed by Draygon, she can electrocute him by latching on to the exposed wiring with the Grapple Beam. This damages Samus slightly but defeats Draygon much more quickly than she would with any of her other weaponry.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: This is one of the series' main shticks. This game introduced Power Bomb and Super Missile locks (in addition to the color coded beam based locks and missile shields) for the first time. As well as "Gadora", a door shaped like a huge eye, that would typically guard boss rooms.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The Spazer Beam is basically a shotgun upgrade to every other beam in the game (except the Plasma Beam, for some reason).
  • Shoulders of Doom / Giant Poofy Sleeves: This was the first game to feature the Varia Suit in its iconic form, in that it combines both the shape from Metroid II and the color scheme from the first game.
  • Shout Out: One of her abilities is called "Moonwalking", though it can be turned off in the options menu.
    • After defeating Spore Spawn, Samus is locked off in a room by a Super Missile door. The only way out? Down a green pipe.
  • Show, Don't Tell: One of the game's most praised qualities. Outside of the opening text from Samus, there are no other pieces of dialogue or text in the entire game (apart from the notifications of the self-destruct sequences at the beginning and end of the game). There are still tons of details and pieces of foreshadowing in the environment that give players an idea of what is happening/has happened and keep them emotionally invested in the story.
  • Skippable Boss:
    • The Spore Spawn can be bypassed via a complex trick with the Morph Ball. To add insult to injury, you can still grab the goodies it guards too.
    • To a TAS user, Torizo is skippable. For those who can get by without the Grappling Beam, so is Crocomire.
  • Smashing Survival: Draygon can be fought without the grapple, but he can inflict significant damage if he webs and grabs Samus. The game doesn't mention that you can mash buttons to escape before his strikes.
  • So Near, Yet So Far: The entrance to Tourian is one of the first places you can visit in Crateria, but it's blocked off by a statue that won't move until you defeat the four bosses it depicts.
  • Sound-Only Death: Possible to invoke with Crocomire. Although pushing him into the acid results in a rather graphic death scene (see I'm Melting above), you can just walk away after knocking him in before he starts melting. Doing so has his death be completely offscreen, meaning that you can't see it, but you can still hear him scream, not knowing what's actually happening if you don't look.
  • Space Pirates: They even get to do some actual piracy by boarding the space colony and pilfering its precious Metroid cargo, although they spend the rest of the game firmly entrenched on Zebes. Super Metroid is also notably the first Metroid game to portray rank-and-file Pirates (namely Zebesians and Ki-hunters) onscreen, as opposed to just the Pirate leaders Kraid, Ridley, and Mother Brain.
  • Special Attack: These abilities are not mentioned anywhere in the manual and, unlike the Wall Jump or Shinespark, aren't taught in game. However, some of them show up in the game's Attract Mode.
    • Spin Jump Attack, also known as the Pseudo Screw Attack, which allows Samus to hurt a single enemy if she spin jumps while the Charge Beam is fully stocked. Connecting with an enemy inflicts damage and consumes the charged shot, but unlike the Screw Attack, this does less damage, and Samus will be hurt like normal if the damage isn't enough to destroy the enemy. This technique can also be used defensively in some cases — it offers temporary invulnerability against Phantoon's projectiles, which is quite welcomed since some of Phantoon's attack formations sweep the entire screen. This also damages some enemies that otherwise can't be damaged without some other items: for instance, it's normally not possible to damage purple Space Pirates without the Screw Attack or the Plasma Beam, but two applications of the Spin Jump Attack will dispatch them (at the cost of significant damage to Samus, to be clear).
    • Five-Bomb Drop, which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin if Samus morphs into a ball while the Charge Beam is held, then released. Depending on how long the charge is held, the bombs are launched at different trajectories.
    • Crystal Flash, which allows Samus to utilize weaponry reserves to recharge her energy in a pinch. Also counts as a Limit Break, since it can only done under very specific conditions and only with 50 units of health remaining.
    • Each beam by itself, when combined with the Charge Beam and a Power Bomb, has a special maneuver which usually creates some sort of Sphere of Power or effect that surrounds her and damages enemies. They're all done the same way, but each has a different effect. Also doubles as a Mutually Exclusive Powerup, because the other beams must be turned off for the specifically chosen one to work.
  • Speed Run: Encouraged, as per series tradition. You need 3 hours or less to see Samus in her leotard, although dedicated players have been able to complete non-TAS runs in less than one hour.
  • Sphere of Power:
    • Power Bombs do this with an ever-expanding explosion.
    • Each beam upgrade has a Special Attack that creates this effect around Samus.
    • The Crystal Flash also creates this effect, but with a healing ability rather than destructive one.
  • Spikes of Doom: This time around, the caverns of Zebes have more than a few and most are actively jabbing in place, waiting for something to get close enough to stab.
  • Sudden Soundtrack Stop: In the opening cutscene the intro theme plays throughout Samus handing the baby Metroid over on Space Station Ceres, then when she leaves the station said theme stops dead when she picks up the station's distress signal and has to fly back immediately.
  • Super Speed: The Speed Booster does Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and was introduced in this game.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Super for Super Nintendo Entertainment System. However, it actually refers to the sized up hatchling, not the console itself.

    T to Z 
  • Techno Wreckage: The Wrecked Ship.
  • Thwarted Coup de Grâce: When Mother Brain stuns Samus, she charges up a second rainbow beam only to be attacked by the Super Metroid. Mother Brain recovers from the energy drain while the Metroid tends to Samus.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: After the titular Metroid rescues Samus, is killed by Mother Brain, and confers the Hyper Beam to Samus, the music from Crateria plays in the background, and Samus begins to glow.
  • The Unfought: The third Torizo when you enter the Super Metroid's chambers in Tourian. The Super Metroid has already killed it and the player is attacked by the comically large and invincible Metroid instead.
  • Timed Mission: It wouldn't be a Metroid game without a timed escape from an exploding planet. It also has the escape from Ceres at the start, which provides the current page image for the trope.
  • Touch of Death:
    • Acquiring the Charge Beam allows Samus to damage weak enemies by spin jumping into them while the beam is charged.
    • Colliding into most enemies while using the Speed Booster/Shinespark in any capacity will kill them.
    • The Screw Attack does nothing but this, and when combined with the Space Jump basically makes Samus death incarnate without firing a single shot.
  • True Sight: The X-Ray Visor shows you hidden passages and invisible objects.
  • Turns Red: If the player hits Phantoon with a Super Missile, he will go into an enraged state and start using much more difficult attack patterns. This can be avoided by using only regular missiles on him.
  • Turtle Power: The oft-forgotten and turtle-like Tatori and Tatori, Jr. creatures in Maridia are non-hostile toward Samus; Tatori even lets Samus stand on top of it to access an Energy Tank and a Missile Expansion. (They will still damage you if you approach them the wrong way.)
  • Uncommon Time: Ridley's boss theme (also used for several other battles and the escape from Zebes) is in 10/8 (with a few bars of 4/4 and 3/4 thrown in here and there) and Mother Brain's is in 7/8.
  • Underground Monkey: Half a dozen different colours of Space Pirates, of increasing power. From the wimpy grey Pirates in Old Tourian to the nasty red variant in Maridia that required the plasma beam to harm. There were also a pair of gold Pirates that served as sub-bosses before Ridley's lair.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay:
    • Shortly after defeating Crocomire, the player runs into a platform which ramps upward, a long pit and blocks that can only be broken by speed boost. Did you know you could use Super Speed to create a long jump? Well, you do now! The game never told you beforehand that combining Super Speed and long jumping was possible, so the only way you could know about it is to just take a (literal) leap of faith.
    • The aforementioned "secret" method to beat Draygon is basically the only place that you can grapple onto live wires, with no real indication that you can other than the block the turret sits on being similar in appearance to a standard grapple block.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: If you save at the final save point in Tourian (which is a Point of No Return) without the Charge Beam and with anything less than 150 missiles or so, you will not be able to beat Mother Brain's second form and must restart the game. Likewise, if you reach Mother Brain with less than three Energy Tanks, her unavoidable eye-beam attack will kill you every time.
  • Utility Weapon: Every weapon you get (beyond the basic power beam, which can still open basic blue doors) will help you bypass a specific obstacle.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: If you choose to, and if you even bother to go off the beaten path to look around while the planet is exploding, you can rescue Dachora and the Etecoons during the final escape sequence, practically the only two friendly species to Samus throughout the entire game, and who even gave her demonstrations about certain techniques.
    • Fusion reveals that this is canon in the ending, even if you choose not to. You'd feel pretty damn sorry if you didn't rescue them, though, since the ending to Fusion shows that they pilot Samus' ship during the escape sequence, effectively saving her life.
  • Video Game Settings: Most of the game's levels contain two or more in different regions.
  • Wham Line: Or rather, "Wham Sound Effect". The chirping noise that the Super Metroid makes before it releases Samus serves as a cue for the player that it was the Metroid larva from the beginning of the game. Applying some Fridge Brilliance, this trope is in effect In-Universe: the last thing the larval Metroid heard from Samus before being kidnapped was the siren of her "danger" alarm, which is what causes the Super Metroid to realize who she is, and lets her go.
  • X-Ray Vision: The X-Ray Visor lets you see hidden passages.
  • Zeerust: The Wrecked Ship is similar to something one would find in old sci-fi movies—especially the design of the walking bipedal robots.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The last phase of the Mother Brain fight, in which Samus obliterates her with the newly-acquired Hyper Beam.


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