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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Crocomire has been interpreted by some fans as a Non-Malicious Monster who only fights Samus out of self-defense. It certainly helps that its Ugly Cute design caused players to feel unintentional sympathy towards it, as discussed in this interview with Crocomire's designer Mashimo Masahiko. The only way Crocomire will attack Samus first, we might note, is if Samus gets too close to it; otherwise, it refrains from attacking Samus until Samus attacks it at least twice. But the door locks, so something has to give.
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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: According to an interview with Yoshio Sakamoto, the game was close to being put down not one, not two, but three times; and one of the game's biggest critics was series co-creator Gunpei Yokoi himself. Reportedly, he often angrily asked the team "It isn't fine art! How long is this gonna take?!".
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • There's a simple trick behind defeating Draygon, the boss of Maridia, that completely undermines how threatening it is. By shooting out the wall turrets in the room, then letting Draygon grab you, you can Grapple Beam onto the turrets and electrocute Draygon, killing it in seconds. Draygon is also very vulnerable to cheese tactics, since there are unintended methods of killing it quickly: Shinesparksnote  and the Plasma/Charge/X-Ray combonote .
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    • For a Final Boss, Mother Brain isn't all that challenging. She has three attacks for most of the fight, then gets a fourth when low on health, but none of them deal very much damage and are fairly easy to avoid. The room is a single screen large and, due to Mother Brain's sprite design, the player can almost always hit her by aiming diagonally up at her. Finally, if the player comes here with even a moderate amount of missile upgrades (or the Charge + Wave + Ice + Plasma beam combo), Mother Brain will go down fairly quickly. This all adds up to a Final Boss where you just stand in the corner of the room with a shoulder button held down bombarding them with missiles, only needing to occasionally jump to avoid an attack. The saving grace for this fight, as the rest of this page will attest to, is that the game's story picks back up with flawless execution.
  • Awesome Music: Super Metroid's soundtrack is fairly memorable, especially for its era thanks to its new composers Kenji Yamamoto and Minako Hamano.
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    • Crateria's Main Theme invokes a sense of heroism and the call to adventure, setting the tone for the game in general. As well as blasting the hell out of Mother Brain after she kills the Super Metroid, the grown up baby that had just recognized Samus as its "mother" a few rooms ago.
    • Brinstar (The Jungle Floor) sets the tone for delving into an alien world and uncovering its mysteries.
    • Brinstar (Underground Depths) conveys a sense of bleakness, melancholy and loneliness beautifully.
    • Norfair Ancient Ruins Area sets up the appropriate sense of dread for the area in which you fight... Not for nothing did Prime reuse the theme for the Magmoor Caverns.
    • Ridley, whose theme in this game is memorable enough that it's reused as his Leitmotif throughout the series from this point on. (The theme wasn't exclusively Ridley's in this game, but it would be used solely as his theme in future entries.)
  • Crossing the Line Twice: Crocomire's graphic death via melting in the acid? A traumatizing moment that makes you feel like a monster. Crocomire's skeleton leap out of the acid to kill you one last time, only to then comically fall apart into a pile of bones? A hilarious moment that makes you forget you brutally murdered it.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Tourian is short, simple and easy compared to the mazelike areas of the rest of the game. The final boss is largely a Cutscene Boss which then becomes a Zero-Effort Boss after the baby Metroid dies. There's no place where you can take advantage of all of your late-game upgrades, as they're not needed for the endgame.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Despite only being a mini boss (as opposed to a main boss of an area like Kraid or Ridley), Crocomire managed to be fairly memorable for a number of reasons, including its design, possible interpretation as a Non-Malicious Monster (considering there's no indication that it's allied with the Space Pirates), and the section after its boss fight where its skeleton attacks Samus before falling apart. These sentiments only intensified when detailed sprites and concept art were unearthed for Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Prime respectively, indicating that he could have become an Ascended Extra like Ridley.
  • Even Better Sequel: While the previous two games were good, and the second in particular contributed many of the core mechanics this game utilized, Super Metroid is often considered one of the greatest video games of all time and is Metroidvania's Trope Codifier. It is the game to which all other 2D Metroid games are compared, leading to "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny with the previous two entries.
  • Franchise Original Sin: While it would be nowhere near as linear or cinematic as say, Metroid Fusion, this game definitely began a greater focus on story and cutscenes for the franchise (for example, Samus getting a lengthy starting monologue), which remains a contentious topic among Metroid fans. This cinematic aspect would be given increasing weight in Fusion and especially Other M.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The famous line "The last Metroid is in captivity... the galaxy is at peace." becomes morbidly funny when you take Metroid Fusion into account. Considering the Metroids were the only thing that could stop the X parasites, the galaxy is actually in pretty big danger. The morbid impact becomes more pronounced with Metroid Dread in the equation - Samus, as the last Metroid in captivity on ZDR, means that the galaxy is on the cusp of war, with Raven Beak poised to harvest her genetic material to clone himself an army of Metroids to wage a war of conquest with.
  • Game-Breaker: Several movement mechanics, heavily relied upon by speedrunners to skip major sections of the game. The game's profusion of such mechanics is a major reason for its sustained popularity among the speedrun community.
    • The Wall Jump gives Samus more mobility than the game can provide challenge for. Mastering it allows players to visit areas early and get around obstacles that they weren't meant to. On the other hand, some walls are clearly (and effectively) designed to prevent the player from wall jumping all the way up them, so the developers must have noticed and allowed for the "breakage" potential inherent in the game's implementation of wall jumping.
    • Once you pick up a pack of Power Bombs (easily done early in Brinstar if you know where to go), you can get into the Wrecked Ship without the Grappling Beam with some careful running jumps to get to the door, and can then get the Gravity Suit. Because the developers assumed you'd already have the Varia Suit when you got the Gravity Suit, the Gravity Suit has all its upgrades on its own, granting you 75% damage reduction, full movement in liquids, and protection from lava. Speedruns do this all the time.
    • The Speed Booster allows for "Shinesparking" and super jumping, which a careful player can likewise use to bypass obstacles much earlier than intended.
    • The recoil jump, which may or may not be an intentional addition to the game, lets the player turn simple damage knockback into a long jump with a uniquely flat trajectory. This is useful in many areas, and instrumental to getting the X-Ray Scope ahead of the Grapple Beam.
    • The "mockball" (or "mock ball", sometimes also "Machball" or "Mach ball"),note  whose frame-perfect timing requirement means it's also probably an exploit rather than a deliberate mechanic, allows Samus to use the Morph Ball at running speed. This permits the player to bypass timed obstacles which are designed to require the Speed Booster, which in turn enables early acquisition of Super Missiles and the Ice Beam. The same technique can be used with the Speed Booster, allowing Samus to carry a charge into places where a shinespark wouldn't normally be possible, and also to roll straight through blocks which ordinarily require bombs to break.
    • There's also a whole variety of extremely detailed and timing-sensitive animation exploits, which make use of quirks in the game's 2D approximation of physics to preserve momentum, improve agility, and otherwise move Samus through the game a lot faster than the developers likely intended to make possible. Unlike the prior tricks, which a skilled and practiced player can perform by hand, many of these exploits require software assistance to reliably achieve, giving rise to the "tool-assisted" category of speedrun.
    • An intentional example is the Screw Attack. Combined with the Space Jump, it makes Samus a very nearly invulnerable one-woman wrecking crew, since she cannot be damaged while spinning. This makes subsequent boss fights a lot easier. However, given that in the vanilla game, the Space Jump is only available after defeating Draygon in Maridia and the Screw Attack is only available after defeating the Golden Torizo in Lower Norfair, this means ordinary runs won't get this combination until fairly late into the game. In the item randomizer, they could be almost anywhere, though, depending upon the settings you used.
    • Another intentional example is the Crystal Flash. By using 11 Power Bombs, 10 Super Missiles, and 10 Missiles when her health is 50 or below (and she has empty or no reserve tanks), Samus can restore her health to 100%. (It's possible, albeit difficult, to pull this off with 10 Power Bombs if you manage to pick up a Power Bomb drop with the correct timing.) This one of the reasons Reverse Boss Order is even possible. It can also allow Samus to glitch into certain areas. Note that she isn't invincible during a Crystal Flash; being hit by an enemy at the wrong time will deal far more damage than usual and can kill her, and if she's taking heat damage, you'll want to lay the Power Bomb before she drops below 50 health, but not too much before.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The game eventually resulted in Metroid being considered the third strongest of Nintendo's franchises in the US just behind Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda until Pokémon bumped it down to fourth place. In Japan, most of the Metroid games failed to make much of an impact. The same is true of the entire Metroidvania sub genre.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Quite a few of them exist. Most of them can be used for Sequence Breaking, like a bug that lets you open certain Super Missile gates from the wrong side, but one that involves equipping both the Spazer and Plasma Beams lets you travel back in time, resetting all the game's events and collectibles while leaving Samus' inventory (minus missiles) intact.
    • The Mockball, a trick that lets you move faster than normally as a Morph Ball, relies on quirks in the way the game handles Samus' speed when curling into a Morph Ball while moving. This can also be used to maintain a Speed Booster effect while rolling, and is the cornerstone of several important sequence breaks and time-saving moves.
    • Arm pumping and Somersault Ledge Grabbing, two tricks revolving around Hitbox Dissonance exploitation:
      • When running, Samus' hitbox is moved forward very slightly when you quickly aim up and down diagonally as you run, producing the impression of Samus pumping her arm cannon. This will very gradually allow Samus to cover ground faster than normal, and was quickly adopted by many notable speedrunners once discovered.
      • Samus' hitbox changes dramatically when she somersaults or aims her arm cannon upwards or downwards while in mid-air, so speedrunners learnt to make even tighter jumps possible by manipulating her hitbox while platforming, allowing her to complete jumps and land on platforms faster and more efficiently.
    • Moonfalling, a trick discovered in the 2010s, which is a trick to fall faster than the game's default terminal velocity by exploiting the way the game handles Samus' falling speed if you enable Moonwalking as a special control option and walk backwards off a platform in a specific way. Another trick, the Moondance, was derived from this glitch by exploiting the way the game can 'store' Samus's artificially boosted falling speed to clip through certain objects.
    • The Blue Suit, a Speed Booster exploit revolving around defeating Draygon while Shinesparking, caused by the game resetting you to a standing position without removing the Speed Booster's effect from you. This is mainly used to carry the Speed Booster buff to a place where you can then turn it into an easy Shinespark to save serious time travelling across a large room. A related glitch that involves taking contact damage from spikes at just the right moment while carrying a Speed Booster charge became known as the Spike Suit glitch as a derivative, and while it is harder to execute correctly, it allows players to use the Run button, which they cannot do with the Blue Suit.
    • X-Ray Plasma, a glitch revolving around how the Charge Beam, Plasma Beam, and X-Ray Visor interact, allowing you to make a single Charged Plasma Beam projectile do tremendous damage to Phantoon, Draygon, and Botwoon, easily turning each fight into a Curb-Stomp Battle. Also known as "microwave" for probably obvious reasons.note 
    • Using the Spazer/Plasma combo glitch can lead to one of three unintentional weapons.
      • Combining all the beams but Wave create the Spacetime Beam; with it, Samus can reset time, beginning the game again with everything but her missiles intact.
      • The Murder Beam (all beams) continually damages bosses to the left of the shot, making bosses that are generally to the left of you (Ridley and Mother Brain) near enough a Curb-Stomp Battle to Samus.
      • The Chainsaw Beam, the least useful of the three, does no damage to enemies, but breaks blocks insanely fast, making it more of a Utility Weapon than an actual weapon.
    • Baby Skip, a tricky move employed by Speedrunners, allows players to bypass the cutscene where the Super Metroid latches onto you. Pulling this off also means you don't have to recharge your health before the Mother Brain fight, saving further time.
    • Standup Glitch, an exploit of the way Samus' state is handled after being blasted by Mother Brain's version of a Hyper Beam, was quickly adopted by some speedrunners and racers that use it as a way to speed up the endgame even more.
  • Growing the Beard: The first two Metroid games were fine games but had very noticeable flaws. The original Metroid had very confusing environments and downright merciless difficulty. Metroid II added some very welcome improvements such as the Save Stations, attempted more diverse environments and cut slack on the difficulty, but was a more slow paced, linear adventure as a tradeoff. Super Metroid improved all of that, and everything else. It had better gameplay, better bosses (including one of the most highly regarded Final Bosses of all time), masterfully told a minimalist story and most importantly, finally added a map. It's no wonder why this game defines the Metroidvania genre.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In a 4-koma comic, after obtaining an Ice Beam, Samus starts smacking things, to a Metroid, a robot, and finally a Space Pirate. In Metroid: Samus Returns, it's an actual counter mechanic for smacking enemies with it.
    • Fans are amused that after Super featured a "Chozo Bowling Alley" where a statue carries Samus in morph ball form like a bowling ball, Prime would follow suit with a statue in the Chozo Ruins that actually does bowl with Samus.
  • It Was His Sled: Whenever people bring up this game in conversation, it's usually in response to the genre it spawned or in reference to the baby Metroid's death. Said moment is held up in reverence by retro gamers as the most infamous Gut Punch of the 16-bit era, and the fallout on Samus' psyche has taken an oversized role in the plot of every game that takes place after this one.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The Maridia Power Bomb Pipe (a glass tunnel that you shatter from the inside with a Power Bomb in order to access Maridia) has become an established element in gaming culture, being featured in numerous shoutouts and parodies used in various games.
    • "Y can't Metroid crawl?"explanation  This has seemingly become an Ascended Meme with a few references to Samus crawling in Wii U-era Metroid promo material, plus one in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
    • The very large (for the time) scale of the game and the incredibly high number of secret passages and hidden powerups, a lot of which were unnecessary for beating the game, prompted some Metroid fans to mess with new players by spreading rumors of secret areas and upgrades, such as talking about the hidden region of "Warfair" and the super-hidden items known as the "Wood Beam" and "Pipe Boots". With the proliferation of sites like GameFAQs that make it rather more obvious that this is a hoax, this meme has mostly died about, but it still occasionally pops up on boards filled with Metroid veterans.
    • Save/Kill the animals!explanation 
    • D e e R F o r C e (sometimes also seen as D E E R   F O R C E or other variants)explanation 
    • Kraid Stand-Up DLC/Taking Kraid to the promexplanation 
    • DLC boss/I've never seen this boss beforeexplanation 
    • Forgotten Highway DLCexplanation 
    • Referring to Ridley as "Rodney"Explanation 
    • (Item that streamer is searching for) is at Shaktool/Spring Ball.note 
    • A few categories basically only exist for the sake of memes, such as North Korea%note  and 69%note . These are actual category extensions on Speedrun.com, mind you.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The sound of the fully charged Spazer Beam—and later on, the Hyper Beam—firing.
  • Narm: Tourian's tense theme music is designed to sound like someone's bowels hard at work, with tons of bubbling, internal rumblings... and, now and then, an unmistakable farting noise. While the song is appropriate for the setting, as Tourian effectively serves as Mother Brain's body until the second phase of her fight, some people who listen to the soundtrack can't help but make fart jokes in response.
  • Nightmare Retardant: When portrayed in the game's spectacular pixel art, Mother Brain's final form is absolutely terrifying. However, its official art is cartoony and almost downright cute, taking away a lot of the fear associated with it otherwise. That gross brain's looking a lot more like a red perm, Miss Brain.
  • Player Punch: The death of the Super Metroid, right after it saves you. This makes the subsequent Curb-Stomp Battle that much more satisfying.
  • Sacred Cow: The game is frequently cited as the pinnacle of game design and environmental storytelling. While most of the other Metroid games have at least a few criticisms, Super Metroid is easily the definitive Metroid game for most Metroid fans and is generally tied with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night among audiences for the position of the greatest Metroidvania of all time.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The run button. Novice players often don't remember (or know about) it, which makes the noob bridge an infuriating impasse; contrariwise, veteran players hardly ever let go of it, because of the additional speed and agility it imparts to Samus' movement. The 2D sequels to Super Metroid dispense with the run button entirely, increasing the character's base speed and automatically invoking the Speed Booster during movement rather than requiring a button be held down to do so.
    • Wall jumping in this game, while it would go on to become one of the core mechanics of 2D Metroid games later on, is relatively finicky in comparison to the sequels, and easily one of the trickiest advanced mechanics to master. This makes the room where you're required to do it several times in a row rather infamous among people who play this game — especially since there's a save point down there, which if used leaves you with a choice between getting good at wall jumping and starting the game over entirely. (Or getting good at infinite bomb jumping, which some players think find actually easier than wall jumping.) Even the developers seem to have had a less than stellar opinion of this part of the game, considering that their official storyboard refers to it as "Hell". Of course, once you figure out the wall-jump, it becomes the biggest sequence breaking tool in the game, as mentioned above.
    • The "moonwalk", which is unique among movement mechanics in being toggle-able in the game settings. This is all to the good, because Samus moves so slowly while moonwalking as to make the technique worse than useless. (Though the discovery of the Moonfall has changed this somewhat; see Good Bad Bugs above.) The moonwalk was reintroduced in Another Metroid 2 Remake as a similarly optional feature, but Samus is much faster with it.
    • The quicksand in Maridia is infuriatingly difficult to jump out of if you fall in, especially with the nearby creatures cherry tapping you with projectiles every so often, and it's nearly impossible to do so if you enter Maridia without the Gravity Suit.
    • Tourian's final save point is a Point of No Return. The game does not inform you of this, making it rather unfortunate news for any player who decides they were underprepared for the fight and wishes to go back.note  By that same token, it makes 100% Completion impossible if not done already.
    • As cool as it was for the time, the Grapple Beam can become this. It is reasonably useful against some enemiesnote , but many are immune to it. Otherwise, it can be a slight pain with aiming and launching yourself if you're even a slight second off. Granted, it's still somewhat useful until you find the Space Jump, which renders it useless entirely. Needless to say, many hacks have tried to implement the Grapple Beam better in their puzzles, such as using the crumbling grapple blocks to cover hidden paths. It's also quite telling that, as far as the 2D games go, the Grapple Beam wouldn't reappear until Samus Returns, where the addition of Free Aim and the ability to automatically switch to the Grapple Beam when Free Aiming at a grapple point makes it much more convenient.
    • Shinesparking drains energy in this game. Tellingly, this is not the case in any future Metroid games that feature the move, and several Super Metroid ROM hacks patch out shinespark damage as well.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • While the game's overall design is still held in almost universal high regard, several players hold the controls to have aged poorly. Issues include Samus' floaty jumping, a redundant run button, having to switch between various weapons with the Select button, overly strict timing for the Wall Jump and Space Jump, and using both triggers to aim diagonally up or down. For newer Metroid fans, the smoother controls of later 2D games can make Super's controls hard to get accustomed to. Indeed, there are a few ROM Hacks that edit the controls and movement physics to be closer to that of the GBA games.
    • The bosses are also thought by many as having not aged that well, with there being a big imbalance of difficulty. Some are regarded as being exceptionally hard and frustrating with how difficult it is to avoid their attacks thanks to the aforementioned control problems, like Ridley and especially Phantoon. Others fall into the problem of being too easy, including the game's final boss, Mother Brain.
  • Signature Scene: The Baby Metroid sacrificing itself for Samus is easily the signature scene not only for the game, but for the entire Metroid series.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The prologue music, called "Theme of Super Metroid" on the soundtrack, is a soundalike of the title music from The Terminator.
  • Tear Jerker: The Super Metroid's Heroic Sacrifice, done completely without dialogue, is one of the saddest moments in the entire series.
  • That One Boss: Phantoon, thanks to its unpredictable movement, brief vulnerability periods, devastating flame-sweep attack, and being far away from a save point or any good energy/missile farming spots.
  • That One Level: Maridia generally gets this opinion, due to the quicksand sections slowing down gameplay as well as being more labyrinthine than most of the other levels in the game.
  • Tough Act to Follow: The biggest reason there was not a Metroid game for the Nintendo 64 was because nobody could figure out how to make a worthy successor to Super Metroid; Sakamoto wasn't confident about creating a 3D game with his team, and an outside studio Nintendo approached to make an N64 entry didn't even want to risk screwing it up. While Metroid Prime would release years later on the GameCube and mostly avoid this, ironically becoming this trope for the 3D half of the franchise that spawned in its wake, the mainline series would continue to remain in the shadow of Super Metroid. Despite games such as Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission improving the mechanics and experimenting with different level structure and narrative approaches, Super is still seen as the best entry in the franchise for offering the most player freedom.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • Toggling upgrades off in the Samus menu. If you use this menu, it will most likely be to switch between the Spazer Beam and Plasma Beam as they cannot be used simultaneously (and there are scenarios where you'd want to use one over the other), but it can also be used to disable any upgrades you've gotten so far (bar Energy Tanks and those accessed via the Select button). However, there is only a single reason to actually do this: when only the Charge Beam and one of the other four beams is enabled, selecting Power Bombs and then charging Samus' Arm Cannon activates a special attack, which is different depending on which of the other four beams was used. Aside from this mechanic never being explained and only making one appearance in the Attract Mode, the special attacks are not required for any puzzles or exploration, and are not particularly useful for combat given the inconvenience of disabling your other special beams. Thus most players will play through the game without knowing these attacks exist, and if they do they'll probably never use them. Disabling anything else is completely useless. Tellingly, this mechanic does not return in any future games (though it was Dummied Out of Zero Mission).
    • The Reserve Tanks act as spare Energy Tanks that you can use manually or, well, keep in reserve to automatically replenish your health when you run out of it completely. A nice idea, but not the most convenient; the only way to refill them is to either collect energy pickups while your health is maxed out, or backtrack to Samus's ship, so the type of players that would benefit from auto-revives the most would need to maintain high health to make regular use of them anyway. To date, the only other game the mechanic has appeared in is Metroid: Samus Returns, and only as an extra you receive for scanning the Zero Suit Samus amiibo.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • The voice that did the line "The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace" is sometimes mistaken for a woman, but it is actually voiced by a man named Dan Owsen. According to Kenji Yamamoto, he was a Nintendo of America employee who made frequent visits to Japan, and so they selected him to do the voice in the opening script.
    • Draygon is occasionally referred to as female by fans, likely due to being interpreted as a maternal figure to the other Evirs. However, the Super Metroid Players' Guide book instead refers to Draygon with masculine pronouns; otherwise, Draygon is only called "it" in official media.
  • Vindicated by History: Super Metroid was initially overshadowed by Donkey Kong Country in the US and the UK. It was not until Metroid Prime became an unexpected hit that Metroid was considered to have franchise potential beyond being a series of video games, but fans of Metroid Prime also looked back on Super Metroid to see what they had missed and Super Metroid soon became a Sacred Cow among Nintendo fans of these regions, akin to Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Especially for an over-20-year-old game, Super Metroid has some very detailed and very cool sprite-based graphics.
  • The Woobie: The sub boss Crocomire is minding his own business until Samus comes in and attacks him, and gets pushed into a pit of acid and starts melting until all the skin and flesh come off his bones. Compare this to the other bosses, which just generally explode, and you might feel bad for him.
  • Woolseyism: In Japanese, Chozo statues and Torizo statues are identically named. English guidebooks used an Alternate Character Reading of their Japanese name when referring specifically to the mini-bosses, and fans widely accepted this method of distinguishing the two types of statues.

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