All right, I just finished the game. A few annoying issues aside, the overall experience was quite excellent for me. I've always been that kind of guy who prefers a good story over gameplay, and felt a bit disappointed at the way the story was told. The story itself, though, was quite compelling. Especially the parts about Samus' past and her reactions to those around her. I looked around the forums to see if anybody else felt like I did, found nothing, so I decided to write this.
Samus is often compared to Master Chief (or the other way around, it doesn't matter). Up until now there's been little story and character development for Samus to dispute this, although Fusion did some work on the matter. Before "Other M", Samus always was as badass as any other action hero, at least to me. She receives distress calls, helps some folks out, even if she loses (and gains) all her powers in the process, and always manages to save the galaxy from certain doom. She's cool, in control and totally badass. To a certain extent it might as well have been Clint Eastwood behind the visor.
Does "Other M" change this? Yes and no.
Samus is and will always be the strong individual she's portrayed as. What "Other M" does do is give depth to that individual. While before, the motivation for doing what she does is somewhere along the lines of "Because they need help!", "There's something fishy going on here..." and "Because I CAN", (Your mileage may vary.), now she actually expresses emotions.
Let me go off on a tangent here. Think about a badass movie/game/book/whatever male character. Done? Quite a lot to choose from, right? They have muscles, big (and/or small) guns, attitude, a deep voice and quite often a cigarette in their mouth. How many badass females can you think of? There are actually a few (though not nearly as many as their male counterparts): Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill), Lara Croft, Trinity, and so on. How are they portrayed? Well, more or less exactly the same way that male action heroes are portrayed.
The thing with being "badass" is that there is almost exclusively one version of it, regardless of gender: testosterone. There are quite a few action heroines that are more or less males with a pair of breasts strapped to their chest, possibly with the addition of being a lesbian. If they're not lesbian their only other distinguishing feature more often than not is their female charms. I'm not saying this is wrong, I'm saying it's there. And this is not a 50 page treatise on the roles the genders take in movies and the like, so I'll move on.
"Metroid - Other M" delivers something new, at least to me. You can clearly see the anguish she suffers when the baby metroid sacrifices itself to save her, when Adam gives the order to release to engines (or whatever they called that huge spaceship) from the smaller ship, when Anthony "dies", when Adam sacrifices himself, etc. And not only those Big things, but the small things as well. As she explores the Bottle Ship, Samus continually thinks about the well-being of others, how she can help with the situation at hand, etc, all at her own expense. There are very few fictive characters that act in this.
Back to the male/female thing. Female action heroines are almost always portrayed as gender-changed males, males are just males. Very, very few are actually portrayed as women. Now, I can see that statement (and a lot of other stuff in this thread...) bringing up heated discussions. These are generalizations, keep that in mind, and I'm by no means an expert (or even a novice) in what I'm trying to envision here. We males tend to think along the lines of emotions holding us down. So we show no emotions. They have always been the hallmark of women, especially in movies, where the reality often is exaggerated.
Samus is NOT portrayed as the typical female action heroine here. Sure, she's still badass, but in a different way. She has emotions, and quite a lot of them. She isn't afraid of showing them. She acknowledges that she has them. But what she DOES do is to take those emotions and gain from them! This is not uncommon in movies in any way (especially when it comes to love), but here comes another distinction: Samus is very, very powerful.
Think about it. How many female characters can you think about that has the powers that Samus has? She's got a suit with near-magical powers, her weapons are formidable (so much so that she needs to limit herself from using them in close proximity to friendlies), her technology is unparalleled. Heck, think of any MALE character with her powers! Most characters are "above avarage", Samus is way more than that. In fact, she has been endowed with her powers from the Chozo, a now-extinct race of powerful beings! When Adam gives her his life, it is not because he loved her, or because she was a dear friend (though I imagine those things might've helped) but because she, Samus, is the only one who actually has a chance of stopping this whole thing from going pear-shaped!
That is strength! Doing what you do, not because you're so awesome you KNOW you'll win out in the end, not because you have no emotions to speak of or because you're the protagonist, but because you DO have just those emotions! Samus is afraid, even behind the visor and her weapons. Does she despair? Does she sit in a corner, waiting for the end? No. She does what needs to be done, what only she can do.
Samus has, to me, become one of the few truly Brave fictive characters out there. Bravery is being afraid and not letting it stop you from doing the things that needs doing. Bravery is NOT being so awesome you cannot possible lose, neglecting any kind of emotional response that might arise or having a body made of 90% testosterone.
In closing, I know that the GameFAQs forums are not always places for these kind of discussions, but I felt I just had to get it out of me and share it with somebody. If you even remotely get what I'm incomprehensibly is trying to get across, I'm happy. Feel free to share your thoughts, as I'm sure there are others with both similar and wildly differing opinions.
I like this new Samus. Do you?
*gives standing ovation*
The portrayal of Samus was great in this game
Atra esterni ono thelduin, mor'ranr lifa unin hjarta onr, un du evarinya ono varda.
I absolutely love how they portrayed Samus in this game. I think it's opened up a whole slew of plotlines that could not have been possible had she remained the silent and stoic person that she was. I really hope that they heavily incorporate her character on the level that Other M did in future titles.
You win. This is very well said.
Be sure to mark for spoilers next time, but otherwise, I completely agree with you and see where you're coming from with all your points.
This is worse than the time Nintendo came up with the analog stick. - I_Dont_Love_You
It should be known that there are two main types of "badass" in fiction these days, and they're often confused...
1) Valiant Badass - How you described Samus. They're badass in overcoming their fear and having an excellent show of moral fiber, if not finding themselves conflicted ever once in a while.
2) Macho Badass - Bruce Campbell, Gears of War, Duke Nukem, shoot, stab, kill, quip. These badasses are entertaining in their own right, but are in no way the same as the Valiant Badass.
Both have traits in common, but the first's strengths are in character, while the other's strength is in action.
Writing With SB: http://www.writingwithsb.blogspot.com/
Excellent posts, TC. I remember a thread on the Skyward Sword boards that was discussing what courage was. We came to pretty much the same conclusion. Now here's three quotes:
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon
"Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway." - John Wayne
"Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared."
- Edward Vernon Rickenbacker
moonjuice7's sig. No touching.
I hope you ment that as an analogy,because if not you lack understanding of the human body.
Samus kind of reminds me of Kenshiro now.
Where there's smoke, they pinch back.
If they make Link talk, I will personally assassinate all the fat cats of Nintendo
Freeze guns authorized or not