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All spoilers for Metroid and Metroid II: Return of Samus, as well as their remakes, will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

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"The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace..."
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Super Metroid, also known alternatively as Metroid 3 from the intro, is the third game in the Metroid series, both in terms of release order and within the series' chronology (discounting the Metroid Prime Trilogy). It was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994, and was the largest game released on the SNES at the time, using a 24-Megabit cartridge (that's 3MB). It was the last Metroid game that Gunpei Yokoi worked on before his departure from Nintendo and death, the first where Yoshio Sakamoto was the main director, and the first with music from Kenji Yamamoto.

Taking place shortly after the events of Metroid II: Return of Samus, Samus has given the Metroid hatchling to scientists aboard the Ceres space colony for further study, in hopes that its energy-producing abilities may be harnessed for non-destructive means. Shortly after leaving, however, Ridley and the Space Pirates attack the space station; killing all the inhabitants and kidnapping the infant Metroid. To stop the Space Pirates from making use of the Metroid for their own vile ends, the bounty hunter gives chase to their rebuilt hideout on planet Zebes.

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Where the first Metroid birthed the genre that's an eclectic mix of action, exploration, and platforming, Super Metroid codified the tenets of its gameplay style to become one of the most acclaimed games of the 16-bit era. To this day, Super Metroid is still cited as a master class in level design — teaching its players game mechanics with subtle use of antepieces — and environmental storytelling — apart from the brief introductory exposition recapping most of the events of the previous two games, almost all the storytelling is done through world-building and on-screen events, many described below.

Super Metroid, like most prestige SNES titles, has spawned a fair number of ROM hacks. Among those are "randomizers" that mix up the item placements and/or map layouts. Perhaps the most interesting of these combines this game with A Link to the Past: Randomizer: any item from either game can be found (though not necessarily used) by Samus or Link, and they exchange items by switching between Hyrule and Zebes. This is accomplished by traveling between four doorways that connect the worlds. Once the player progresses far enough into Link to the Past, Link can move around Hyrule more easily with the help of fast travel; Link can combine those shortcuts with the doors to Zebes, shaving time off Samus' itinerary. The objective here is to defeat both Ganon and Mother Brain, and the ending corresponds with the boss fought last. The most noteworthy repository of non-randomizer ROM hacks (for the entire Metroid series, not just Super Metroid) is undoubtedly Metroid Construction.

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Provides examples of:

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    A to D 
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Hyper Beam, absorbed from Mother Brain's own Wave-Motion Gun by the baby Metroid, is granted to Samus during the final boss fight so she can finish off Mother Brain.
  • 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 are needed 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.
  • Action Bomb: Skrees no longer explode on their own but tunnel underground. They still explode into shrapnel if shot though. Powamps inflate if you get too close and explode into spikes if shot in this state.
  • 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.
  • Air Borne Mook: Kihunters, mochtroids, bulls, covern, atomics, firefleas. Zebs, zebbos, gamets, geegas, gerutas, mellas, mellows, memu, multiviolas, reos, wavers and holtz are back too, so use that diagonal aiming well!
  • Always a Bigger Fish: In Tourian, Samus runs across a room where a Torizo and several wildlife enemies have been reduced to crumbling dust, including a variety of Sidehoppers that are only vulnerable to Super Missiles. 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.
  • Ambushing Enemy: Alcoon's hid underground and spring up in front of Samus to impede her progress
  • Anachronic Order: This is the third game in the series and the fourth-to-last game in the overall plot. The games were in normal order until the Metroid Prime Trilogy, so this is only applied retroactively.
  • 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 fight 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 carefully jump up the platforms and dispatch the Zebesians that are now jumping across the walls. And much later, during the final Escape Sequence, you end up back at this shaft and have to climb it once again, this time under a time limit with lava slowly filling the room.
  • Aquatic Mook: Turns out Zebes has water too, and it's full of life ranging from the fearful owtch to the mostly passive scisers, skultera and powamp to the territorial zoa and oums to the actively hostile mochtroids, evirs and pink space pirates.
  • Armless Biped: Sidehoppers, dessgeega
  • Ascended Extra: This was the first game to give Ridley more prominence, by making him the one who steals the Metroid Hatchling and guards it in Norfair.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: After being roughly as big as Samus in the first game, Kraid has grown to be room-sized, 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 at the time (only a charged Plasma Beam, a late-game item, causes more pushback).
  • 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:
    • When you take the first elevator into Brinstar, the area has a blue, rocky design just like it did in the first Metroid, leading you to believe that's how the whole place will look here too. But when you take the second elevator to the main body of Brinstar, it turns out the area has been given a green Jungle Japes redesign.
    • Near the end of Kraid's lair in Brinstar, a fake Kraid appears as a Boss in Mook Clothing; it's the same size as the real one was in Metroid, and even explodes into a cluster of health and ammo refills upon death. However, a few rooms later, you fight the actual Kraid, who is gargantuan in size. The original Metroid had its own fake Kraid, but both Kraids were the same size in that game.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Normally, Ridley defeats Samus soundly on Ceres Station and flies off with the baby Metroid. If he ends up taking enough damage, he'll drop the baby Metroid for a second, but then immediately pick it back up again, and the game continues as normal from there.
  • Beam Spam: The Spazer Beam 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:
    • Evirs fire spiked balls from their tails, usually while buried in sand so Samus cannot retaliate. Draygon has a very damaging sting, but has to get close to Samus.
    • This is the first game where Ridley demonstrates his deadly, serrated tail with a spaded stinger. Unlike most attacks, it can damage Samus while she's using the Screw Attack.
  • Big Bad: Ridley takes stage as the main villain of this game, having rebuilt the Space Pirates on Zebes and kidnapped the Metroid hatching to use its power. In reality, he's just The Dragon; Mother Brain has come Back from the Dead and serves as Samus' final villain.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The fully-grown Metroid hatchling shows up to save Samus in the final boss fight, stealing Mother Brain's energy to restore hers.
  • 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 permanently destroying Zebes for good.
  • Blackground:
    • Draygon's chamber in Maridia. There are some other boss rooms in the game that start off like this, but usually have a background fade in after a short while.
    • The trope is enforced any time the X-ray scope is used. Backgrounds turn completely black to allow the player to better see hidden secrets in the foreground.
  • Blob Monster: Puyo are more like putty monsters, as they stretch out to thin shapes and try to jump on you, except for a group in Maridia that they to avoid you instead.
  • Bookends:
    • 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.
    • Mother Brain is the first boss you see, as a memory of Samus from the events of the original Metroid. She returns as the Final Boss.
  • Bootstrapped Theme:
    • The game has a couple different boss battle themes that played for multiple bosses. The one that 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 starts her fight in the same glass case she was in during Metroid. Once it's broken, however, she reveal a new body and starts fighting directly.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": "Bulls" do not resemble the animal they are named after at all, they do attack like them however.
  • 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 is introduced in this game, and lets Samus charge up her arm cannon to release a stronger shot. Charged attacks are the only way Samus can hurt bosses without using missiles. She can also hold a charge while spin-jumping to shield herself from certain attacks and deal collision damage when she touches an enemy, consuming the charge.
  • Chest Monster: Torizo looks like one of the upgrade-giving Chozo statues, but once you grab the Bombs from its hands and try to leave, the door locks and it stands up. 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, making the Mochtroids amongst the weakest enemies in the game.
  • Colour-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 goes 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, the battle resumes for less than a minute before Mother Brain falls and the Escape Sequence starts.
  • 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 is a monstrous humanoid, but still retains her single eye.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Ridley. As opposed to other bosses in the game who either have a special weakness or pattern, Ridley doesn't have either (aside from taking increased damage from Super Missiles as expected) and his fight is a brutal, fast-paced slugfest, where there really isn't any special strategy other than reducing his health before he does the same to Samus.
  • Darker and Edgier: The tone is much more grim and unsettling than the original Metroid, with an increased amount of Scenery Gorn and an atmospheric soundtrack.
  • 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.
  • Depth Perplexion: Atomics are initially caged off while the wrecked ship is without power, but chase after Samus will passing through all obstacles once power is back on. Also, the rinkas of the first game's Tourain, they're back. Puromi are at least affected by gravity, but exactly what they jump off of is unknown, since they seem to pass through everything.
  • 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 last 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 the electric wiring inside, let 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 a distinct shot type for every possible combination of activated beam weapons, which amounts to 26 different beam animations (since the Spazer and Plasma Beam can't be equipped at the same time without glitches).
    • 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. Only the Crystal Flash and meticulous movement make it possible to reach Ridley and get back.note 
    • 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.
  • Difficulty by Region: The PAL version makes the Phantoon fight easier by allowing the player to avoid its flame-sweep attack by going into ball form in either corner of the room.
  • 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 its 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, she can keep jumping so long as her downward velocity doesn't increase too high.
  • 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 a submerged sector of Zebes, with only some parts of the upper areas being dry. Movement through the water is extremely sluggish without the Gravity Suit.
  • Dramatic Disappearing Display: The status display itself doesn't disappear whilst fighting a major boss, but the automap display in the top-right corner of the screen becomes completely blank during these fights.

    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.
  • 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.
  • Evolving Weapon:
    • The Power Suit gets upgraded twice as the game goes on. The Varia Suit, guarded by Kraid, cuts damage in half and cancels out the heat damage from the main areas of Norfair. The Gravity Suit, located in the Wrecked Ship, quarters damage, lets Samus move with her usual speed in liquids, and prevents lava damage in the main area of Norfair but nowhere else.
    • 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 Spacetime/Reset Beam, which is invisible and reverts the game world to its original state when used.
  • 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. It happens again during the escape from planet Zebes, only the steam's escaping from the ground itself.
  • Expy Choots have different sprites, but behave in the same manner as chute leeches from Metroid II: Return of Samus
  • Eye Beams: Gadora defend the doors to bosses with these
  • 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:
    • As usual for the series, beating the game fast enough causes Samus to remove her suit after the credits, leaving her in the underwear she has on underneath.
    • Using the Crystal Flash shows a Sexy Silhouette of Samus as she restores her health.
  • Fan Disservice: The alternate way to see Samus in her underwear is to let her health run out, causing her suit to disintegrate around her in the process right before she dies.
  • Fast Tunneling: Justified, as skree and metaree drill their way through the ground to get away after dive bombing you, often scattering rocks for extra injury. Owtch instantly burrow to get away from you.
  • Fetal Position Rebirth: Samus curls up in the fetal position and gets surrounded in a ball of light when using the "Crystal Flash" for emergency recharge.
  • Fireballs: You're back on dragon territory, both Ridley, who looks like one, and the creactures actually called "dragons", which look more like lava dwelling seahorses. Also shot by alcoons. Phantoon's seem to be supernatural
  • 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, it gets turned to dust by the Metroid hatchling.
  • 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's ability to drain energy can also be used for beneficial purposes, implying that the devoured energy can be used afterward. The baby Metroid demonstrates this by transferring life energy and a powered-up beam from Mother Brain to Samus during the final battle.
    • Under normal circumstances, the battle with Ridley on the Space Station ends when he brings Samus to low 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.
    • If you place a Power Bomb near where Mother Brain was in the original Metroid, it'll open up a rather large chamber underneath, much larger than would be expected to be hidden underneath a Brain in a Jar. The revived Mother Brain in Tourian stores her biomechanical body underneath her, suggesting a similar layout.
    • 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 a few rooms later.
    • After defeating Ridley, the next room has the larval Metroid's capsule smashed and empty. It grew large enough to break free and escape to Tourian.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • A small blip can be seen flying away from Zebes at the end of the game if Samus takes the time to rescue the Etecoons and Dachora during the Escape Sequence, indicating that the creatures 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.
    • 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. This website contains a lot of information on the subject.
    • There are many 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. One of the most interesting is 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-Breaking Bug: Samus can collect five beam upgrades but only four of them can be active at one time. Apparently, the programmers implemented a fail-safe that prevents the player from using all five beam upgrades because trying to do so would cause a fatal error that permanently disables Samus's beam cannon or even crash the game.
  • Game Over: Should you run out of energy, the background disappears and Samus's Power Suit overloads and explodes, leaving her in her underwear as the screen fades to white and transitions to the continue screen.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Scisers are realistically sized, and not that hostile, but are crab like, pretty large and will hurt Samus if she bumps into them.
  • Go for the Eye: The door blocking Gadora are the first instance of enemies in this series that must be hit in the eye.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The beam-specific charge combos, which are described only in strategy guides and shown in the "secret techniques" Attract Mode video unlocked by a completed game file, and are unlikely to be discovered by accident unless you're messing around with beam settings and Power Bombs.
    • The Varia/Gravity suit combo lets you traverse the lava at the entrance to Ridley's lair without taking damage. Nothing indicates this aside from an Attract Mode video, and most players would be cautious of jumping in there to find out. It doesn't help that most other damaging liquids in the game aren't affected by the suits at all.
    • To easily access the underwater portion of Maridia, one of the glass tubes there (the one that you pass through while going from Brinstar to Norfair) 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, if you go far out of your way to find it.
    • The unused 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 cut to begin with.
    • The final save point in Tourian is a Point of No Return, locking you out of 100% Completion on that run if you didn't make a copy of your file beforehand. In the rare circumstance that you reach this point without the Charge Beam (or, less likely, 150 missiles) and at least three Energy Tanks, you can get locked into a situation where Mother Brain is unbeatable due to either not being able to damage the boss or not being able to survive the scripted sequence during it.
    • Phantoon's flame-sweep attack, triggered by Super Missiles, is very hard to dodge and can easily kill you even if you have lots of energy left. However, it can be avoided by using a "Pseudo-Screw Attack" (charging a shot and somersaulting), a technique that's not obvious to new players and normally doesn't offer much protection.
  • Harmless Enemy: Trippers, harmless versions of the already non aggressive ripper I Is that do not have to be frozen to serve as platforms, helpfully flying you around without a thought. Not all of them are strong enough to hold Samus up though, and if you're a jerk you can kill them with a power bomb.
  • Heart Container: The energy containers (health) and missile upgrades (ammo). This was the first (and until Metroid: Samus Returns with use of an amiibo, only) game in the series to utilize reserve energy tanks, which will save Samus if all her health is depleted.
  • Helpful Mook
    • Shaktool are built to clear away sand. The robot can hurt you, if decide to get in its way, and you can destroy it, if you're an asshole.
    • Firefleas cause damage on contact but are not aggressive and light up dark rooms. They also die on contact, and their death makes the room dark again. If one has the ice bream, it's possible to turn off all other beams and freeze firefleas in a helpful location where they won't be bumped into.
    • The tin can robots take pot shots at you every now and then, but can make useful step stools.
    • Powamps are dangerous to touch and harmfully explode if shot but do not attack Samus otherwise and can be latched onto with the grapple beam
    • Scisers often reveal passage ways in Maridia that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye.
  • 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: During the final boss fight, Samus will eventually get hit by a scripted attack that deals heavy damage and knocks her to the ground. If she has enough energy remaining, you can make her get back up by tapping up and keep fighting in a weakened state; the boss will keep using its ultimate attack until the threshold where Samus would die from taking another, and she will no longer stand up. The proper second wind comes when the Metroid hatchling makes its Heroic Sacrifice to save Samus's life, restoring her life to full and granting her a powered-up beam to rip Mother Brain to shreds with.
  • High-Voltage Death: The secret way to defeat Draygon is to used the Grapple Beam to grab the electrical current of one of the destroyed turrets while Draygon is carrying Samus around in her claws. Both of them get electrified, and Samus lasts much longer than Draygon does.
  • Hitodama Light: Phantoon, the ghostly 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 Metroid hatchling arrives 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 from the beam so that the game can trigger the transition scene.
  • HP to 1: The first time Samus encounters the Super Metroid in Tourian, it almost effortlessly reduces her to one HP (unless players pull off the "baby skip") before (presumably) recognising who she is and backing off.

    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 has definitely imprinted on Samus, even giving its life to save Samus'.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Samus can befriend creatures in Brinstar who teach her to Wall Jump and use the Shinespark ability. They can be saved from Zebes' destruction through a detour during the ending sequence, and show up again in Metroid Fusion. The Super Metroid also qualifies, given that it performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Samus' life.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: For the only time ever, namihe are completely unkillable by any weapon Samus has access to, but she can still freeze them with the icebeam. Oums are completely invulerable to anything you have access to, so jump over them with the spring ball, as if you stick around too long they'll start attacking for real with their tongues. Puromi cannot be hurt but youcan easy bypass them with the screw attack. The tin can robots of the wrecked ship cannot be destroyed and can shoot you with their visors, but are harmless to touch and can be pushed into crevices to render them harmless.
  • Jump Scare: After the battle with Crocomire, Samus is left stuck by a wall of spikes on her left side. While looking at it, the skeletal remains of Crocomire suddenly break through the wall, only to fall apart when they hit the ground.
  • Kaiju: Kraid 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 are respectively a clone and an X-Parasite copy.
  • Kill It with Ice: Freezing is 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.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook
    • Owtch resist most beams but instantly die to speed booster and spine spark. Boyon and beetom cannot be hurt by beams, rippers, ripper I Is, magdollites and fune can only be hurt by super missiles and power bombs, but all can be frozen by the ice beam. Super Missiles are the only thing that work on yapping maws and Tourain sidehoppers.
    • Holtz are immune to missiles in this game, only in this game.
    • In their shells yards are immune to everything except bombs, power bombs and the speed booster, but you are free to run Samus into them while they are in their shells and watch her kick them around.
    • Green space pirates will block most beam attacks, but can be done in by bombs and missiles. Pink space pirates will block everything except a charged spin jump, speed booster collision, spine spark, screw attack or the plasma beam. Silver pirates will block everything except the hyper beam, but dodging their attacks long enough will reveal weaknesses in their guard.
    • Firefleas can be grabbed by cannot be hurt by the grapple beam, which is a good thing since you don't want to touch them otherwise and usually don't want them dead.
  • Last of His Kind: The larval Metroid is the last survivor of its species until Fusion.
  • Limit Break: The Crystal Flash technique, which requires that Samus have fewer than 50 units of energy, no reserve energy, 10 of each missile, and 11 Power Bombs.note  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: Crocomire and Botwoon just seem to be part of Zebes' local wildlife, and have no real ties to the Space Pirates.
  • Magma Man: They are not man shaped, but magdollites have the power to turn into magma, and often try to hide in it, though their eyes give them away if you pay attention.
  • Mama Bear: Super Metroid's story 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, leaving her to pursue them on Zebes once again. At the end of the game, Mother Brain kills the baby Metroid right in front of Samus, and subsequently gets blown to bits thanks to her new Hyper Beam.
  • Metroidvania: Shares the Trope Codifier laurel with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It refines the exploratory platformer approach with many more pieces of equipment and upgrades (and tracks how much you managed to collect at the end), and provides a lot of freedom to track down the four Space Pirate bosses, while also having a more obvious progression order than Metroid on the NES did.
  • 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). Metroid: Other M suggests that the larva's enhanced size is due to it being an immature queen.
  • 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.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The first time Samus encounters the now fully grown Metroid larvae, it attacks her, bringing her energy down to almost nothing. Just before it finishes her off, it recognizes Samus as the person it imprinted on at the end of Return of Samus and backs off, making a noise of regret.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Covern are said to be the souls of creatures who died on the wrecked ship and were turned into evil spirits. They chase all natural life away from the wreck. Samus can bomb and shoot them out of her way but they will not stop appearing until the vehicle's power is turned on
  • 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. This time, the self-destruct causes a massive, Zebes-Shattering Kaboom, with the only survivors being Samus and the helpful critters (the Etecoons and the Dachora) if you take the time to save them, which is considered canon.
    • After weakening Samus with her "rainbow beam", Mother Brain prepares an additional one to kill her as opposed to using her weaker attacks. This is implied to be a conscious decision on her part, seeing as she's willing to use her weaker attacks to knock Samus' energy down to almost nothing once it's clear an additional rainbow beam will kill her.
  • 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.
    • Kago will only attack if you shoot their nests, and even then mostly congregate around it rather than actively pursuing you
  • Noob Bridge: The Trope Namer is the infamous collapsing bridge in Brinstar, where the game requires you to dash across a bridge, in a game where dashing isn't an obvious action. 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 challenge than a proper solution.
  • No-Sell:
    • Mother Brain is the only creature in the entire series to manage to recover from a Metroid life drain attack, though it weakens her enough for Samus to kill her shortly thereafter.
    • The Golden Torizo in Norfair does its best to nullify both types of missile. He'll just dodge regular missiles, whereas if you use super missiles, he catches them and wings them back at you. However, this animation leaves him unable to dodge or grab another, letting him be pummeled with missiles until he finishes the throw.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • When first landing on Zebes, you backtrack through the last part of the first game, where you fought Mother Brain and escaped the time bomb.
    • The Morph Ball is in the exact same place as the first game.
    • Several segments of Ridley and Kraid's hideouts resemble parts from the first game. There's even a "Fake Kraid" like before.
    • The new Tourian is an upgraded version of the first. The battle with Mother Brain even goes the same until she whips out her mechanical body.
  • Not Quite Flight:
    • The Space Jump provides you with unlimited Double Jumps while somersaulting if they're timed right.
    • 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 (the only game in the series with this drawback), becomes too low. It can also only be done in places open enough for the Speed Booster to activate so a charge can be stored.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The Ceres space station. 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 game leaves the player in suspense for many seconds before finally revealing that Ridley is the station's attacker.
    • 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 until you reach Old Tourian and re-acquire the Morph Ball, which sets a spotlight on you and causes parts of the planet to come to life. Back up in Crateria, Space Pirates are everywhere, and a "Torizo" disguised as a Chozo Statue suddenly wakes up and attacks you after getting the Bombs.
  • 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. It's revealed why on the next screen: the Super Metroid got there before she did.
  • Oh, Crap!: 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Personal Space Invader: Beetoms hop on Samus and begin draining her suit's energy once they get comfortable. The kinetic energy of a missile or bomb will remove them though. Mochtroids can't even attach to Samus and can be dealth with by beams, but nonetheless invade her personal space and can fly, even underwater.
  • Plant Aliens: Cacatacs are walking cacti. Also unlike real cacti, they are found mostly in moist enviornements, rather than arid ones. Bulls are also said to be "plant types", despite not looking like it. Samus eaters are giant metal eating flowers that you have to jump out of when they take breaks in between chewing, if you happen to fall in one, or get pulled in by a yapping maw. The Spore Spawn is a cheapened example, as its alien traits(moving, living underground, etc) are the result of genetic engineering.
  • Player Death Is Dramatic: The first game in the series to do this, giving Samus a detailed death animation and Fade to White when she runs out of health, without any death jingle.
  • Point of No Return: Once you've saved at the second save point in Tourian, you can never go back to the other areas of Zebes unless you use Sequence Breaking, without any warning. It's possible to render the game Unintentionally Unwinnable 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's she become much more powerful.
  • 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: All the quicksand pools are in Maridia, meaning that all the quicksand in the game is also underwater. The Power Suit protects Samus from drowning, but it still causes her to be stuck and take damage from spikes that may to be placed at the bottom of a quicksand pit.
  • 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 to Brinstar and explore from there, and the Super Missiles, Speed Booster and Power Bombs are required to finish the game. You also need to 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: When the Gravity Suit is acquired, the water in Maridia 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, Super Metroid is often speculated to not only refer to the usual "Super X" snowclone common to Super Nintendo Entertainment System games, but also the super-powered version of the Metroid hatchling that saves Samus at the end of the game.
  • Sequence Breaking: Super Metroid is famous for being full of tricks that allow you to break the game wide open:
    • Samus' wall jump mechanic 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 and the Wave Beam before the Grapple Beam, the Spazer Beam and X-Ray Scope without the Hi-Jump Boots/Ice Beam, reach Kraid early, and get into the Wrecked Ship without the Grapple Beam and thus collect an early Gravity Suit. This also lets you get to Draygon without the Grapple Beam via getting the Gravity Suit early, letting you get the Space Jump and complete the game without an intended collectible. In future games in the series (barring Metroid: Zero Mission), Samus needs a second wall to jump off of in order to use the move continuously.
    • This game introduces the Shinespark, a secret technique (but also one required for collecting every item) where Samus stores the energy from a Speed Booster dash and uses it to charge in one direction until she collides with a surface, ignoring gravity. It can be used to bypass areas that would otherwise require items like the Grapple Beam and Space Jump. It's limited by the amount of space Samus needs to activate the Speed Booster, and the Shinespark can only be stored for a few seconds, but there are ways to circumvent the limitations.
    • For an unintended trick, the "mock ball"/"mach ball" allows Samus to move at dashing speed while in Morph Ball form, allowing her to reach certain areas without needing the Speed Booster, letting her get the Super Missiles (skipping the need to fight Spore Spawn) and Ice Beam early on. There are numerous walkthroughs and speedruns online that show how it can be done.
    • It is possible to skip the first Torizo via the arm-pumping glitch (which enables Samus to more faster by adjusting her aim rapidly), 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 damage-boosting from the knockback of a nearby enemy. By using a quick Shinespark, 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, Hi-Jump Boots and Power Bombs can be collected later than usual if other sequence breaks are performed, although the Hi-Jump Boots 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 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). It also 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).
    • One player did a minimalist TAS run and exploited an out of bounds glitch that allowed him to beat the game in seven minutes.
  • Sea Serpents: Botwoon is serpintine at least, and though realistically sized is still bigger than Samus and quite quick.
  • 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 a shotgun-like upgrade to every other beam in the game (except the Plasma Beam, which mostly outclasses it), turning the beam into a triple-shot.
  • Shoulders of Doom: This was the first game to feature the Varia Suit in its iconic form, in that it combines both the large-shouldered shape from Metroid II and the color scheme from the first game.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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, letting you get Super Missiles without having to fight it. To add insult to injury, you can use those Super Missiles to grab the capacity upgrade it guards, leaving Spore Spawn as the least-fought boss in speedrun categories.
    • With tool-assistance (it's not humanly possible to perform the amount of frame-perfect inputs necessary to move fast enough), Torizo is skippable by leaving the room where you get Bombs before the door locks.
    • The only progression item Crocomire guards is the Grapple Beam, which can be circumvented by using wall-jumping and Shinesparking to get Power Bombs and traverse both the Wrecked Ship and Maridia. Once you get the Space Jump behind Draygon, the Grapple Beam is rendered obsolete and Crocomire is skipped.
  • Smashing Survival: Draygon can be fought without the Grapple Beam, 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 he 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, 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: The Zebesian Space Pirates return in this game, and 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 Kihunters) onscreen, as opposed to just the Pirate leaders Kraid, Ridley, and Mother Brain.
  • Special Attack: Some 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 a full charge of the Charge Beam is being held. 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.
    • Five-Bomb Drop, which causes Samus to drop five bombs at once if she morphs into a ball while the Charge Beam is held and releases it. 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 or less 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 Samus 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.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Samus's normal jump is a vertical leap, but if she jumps while moving horizontally fast enough, she instead somersaults through the air, which also lets her Wall Jump and (if she has the Charge Beam) use the Spin Jump Attack to damage enemies. Later, Samus also gains the Space Jump and Screw Attack, two very useful abilities which can only be used during a spin jump; the former enables infinite aerial jumps, while the latter turns Samus's somersault into a powerful weapon that can decimate enemies.
  • Speed Run Reward: As with previous games, the ending slightly changes depending on how much time it takes the player to complete the game. You need three hours or less to see Samus in her leotard. The game clock only advances when you have control of Samus. During cutscenes, as well as traveling through doors, time is not counted.
  • Sphere of Power:
    • Power Bombs create a round, ever-expanding explosion that hurts nearly every enemy onscreen.
    • Each beam upgrade has a Special Attack that creates protective circular beams around Samus.
    • The Crystal Flash creates a spherical light around Samus, but with a healing ability rather than a destructive one.
  • Spikes of Doom: This time around, the caverns of Zebes are lined with damaging spikes, and most are actively jabbing in place, waiting for something to get close enough to stab.
  • Spike Shooter: Cacatacs swell up before shooting off thorns in five different directions
  • Sudden Soundtrack Stop: In the opening cutscene, the intro theme plays throughout Samus handing the baby Metroid over on Space Station Ceres. 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, introduced in this game, causes Samus to speed up dramatically after running for long enough, letting her run past descending gates and crumbling floors, while barreling through certain blocks and any enemies in her way. Cancelling the dash lets her store a Shinespark, an aimable charge attack.
  • Super Spit
    • Kihunters can spit acid
    • Magdollites have the power to turn into magma, and then spit parts of themselves at you
    • Kraid gains a rock spit attack in this game, but stops using it after being shot in the mouth
    • Draygon can spit out glue to hold Samus in place
    • Mother Brain's Samus killing body can spit bombs
  • Super Title 64 Advance: The game has the prefix "Super" for Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It has sometimes been said to refer to the sized-up hatchling as well.

    T to Z 
  • Techno Wreckage: The Wrecked Ship is a crashed spacecraft on the surface of Zebes, located in the lakein the eastern part of Crateria. Killing Phantoon causes its power to go back online, activating the machinery inside.
  • Thwarted Coup de Grâce: When Mother Brain stuns Samus, she charges up an additional 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: There are two timed Escape Sequence missions in the game. The first is the self-destruction of the Ceres station, and the second is the explosion that destroys planet Zebes.
  • Tin-Can Robot: There are a hadnful of these in the Wrecked Ship. They are round cylinders with legs and no arms.
  • 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 electrifies Samus when she jumps without needing to charge up, letting her kill almost anything she touches without taking any damage.
  • Translation Convention: Interestingly, the Japanese version of the game treats itself as if it were a localized Hollywood Sci-Fi movie, with Japanese text translated below the "original" English dialogue and the menus left untranslated other than the config menus.
  • 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 spam a difficult attack while becoming immune to damage until he stops. This can be avoided by using only regular missiles and charged shots 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 require the Plasma Beam to harm. There are also a pair of gold Pirates that serve as sub-bosses before Ridley's room.
  • 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. Samus has to apply semi-realistic momentum by running towards the ramp and jumping off it to gain enough height and distance to reach the Grapple Beam.
    • The "secret" method to beat Draygon is 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.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Ridley and Kraid return for this sequel despite being blown up by Samus in the original game, and no explanation for this is given within the game. Only Ridley gets somewhat of an explanation for his recovery by future installments of the franchise. The same applies to Mother Brain, which is very visible because the ruins of her original boss arena are visited at the beginning of the game.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: 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 before the game can trigger the Metroid hatchling's rescue.
  • 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.
  • Video Game 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 of certain techniques. Fusion reveals that this is canon, with the ending to Fusion showing that they pilot Samus' ship during the escape sequence, effectively saving her life.
  • Wall Crawl
    • Scisers are underwater crotch monsters! But Samus can finally attack diagonally, so they're not much issue. Geemers will actively defend themselves to keep up the nuisance, but otherwise (slowly)crawl out of the playeer's way. Classic crotch monsters novas, violas, zeelas and zoomers also return, as well as the new "zeros", which are great for getting power bomb ammunition.
    • Grey, yellow and pink space pirates are capable of climbing walls, jumping between them and shooting at Samus from them
  • 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. This trope is also 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 let her go.
  • Wings Do Nothing: Alcoons do jump from up from underground, but do not make use of their wings when doing so, or anything else other than flapping back and forth as they walk
  • 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 while being restored to full health beforehand.

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