To start off our list, we have the nifty X-Ray Visor, which originally appeared in Metroid Prime. Not to be confused with the X-Ray Scope from Super Metroid (which let you see through walls and was immensely helpful in its own right if you didn't know where any of the hidden upgrades were), the X-Ray Visor allows you to see things differently by using x-rays. The monochrome view it produced was very cool, and it had the added benefit of seeing invisible enemies and had the ability to lock onto the troublesome Chozo Ghosts. It also let Samus see through walls made up of materials that could be destroyed by her weapons systems, and even cooler, human flesh and portions of Samus's suit itself - which means for the first time, we could see inside of her arm cannon and see how she fired it. Unfortunately while the view was indeed awesome the first time this upgrade was used, it had the disadvantage of being hard-to-see and it was easily disrupted by certain enemies. However, despite that this item was useful enough to be placed at number 10.
Next, we have the Ice Missiles. They replaced the Ice Beam in Fusion because the Ice Beam was incompatible with Samus's new suit, which was extremely weak to cold because of the Metroid DNA in Samus's body. The Ice Missiles freeze enemies on impact. In addition to that, they eventually get upgraded into Diffusion Missiles, which, when charged, do an area attack where they hit, encasing any enemy unlucky enough to be in the blast radius in ice. They are also more potent than the Ice Beam of games past because missiles are stronger than normal beams. Also, not only do they have the ability to stop the enemy in its tracks, but it also makes them able to be stepped on, granting access to higher areas that Samus cannot reach by herself.
In Metroid Prime 3 the Ice Missiles made a comeback, as the beam-stacking system in that game made it impossible to stack the Ice Beam with the Plasma Beam. In this game, the Ice Missiles gained a different purpose aside from freezing enemies - they could freeze patches of lava in order to safely get across hot areas. All of these reasons are what makes this ranked at number 9.
The Space Jump, while a little hard to get the hang of in the beginning, turns out to be a very awesome upgrade in the end. Basically, it lets you jump infinitely. Yep, you heard me, infinitely. This means no height is too high for Samus, and it's much easier to get around. It also makes maneuvering around certain boss fights a lot easier as well (like Nightmare from Fusion, which happens to be a very hard boss if you don't know how to use the Space Jump to avoid him when he's chasing you). Sure, you're pretty much defenseless while using it by itself, but the fact that you can get anywhere without worrying about having to take the long way around is what makes this a great powerup which you probably don't want to miss.
Ah yes, the Screw Attack. One of the most iconic items in the Metroid games. It is also one of the most deadly. If Samus jumps and does a somersault, the Screw Attack kicks in and hurts enemies, usually destroying them in the process. This alone makes it a great powerup because of the fact that you can traverse through the dangerous hallways with less to worry about when you're jumping, but there's more - combined with the Space Jump, the Screw Attack makes you virtually invincible to any enemy you run into. Which definitely makes Samus a force to be reckoned with when she has the Screw Attack.
At number 6, we have the Gravity Suit. Usually acquired after the Varia Suit (which protects against heated rooms), the Gravity Suit goes the extra mile in protecting Samus. In addition to granting her a huge defense boost, the Gravity Suit makes Samus invincible to lava and able to easily traverse through water, which before would impede her progress greatly. So basically, this means that you no longer have to worry about falling into any acid-filled pits and can pull off any of your moves underwater, which is immensely helpful, especially when it comes to item collecting. The Gravity Suit is easily recognizable by its purple, yellow and red plating and has been in a good number of Metroid games ever since Super Metroid.
The Plasma Beam the most powerful beam in the Metroid series. In the 2D games, this is evidenced by the fact that as opposed to simply incinerating a single enemy like you'd expect your standard overpowered weapon to do, it cuts through multiple enemies and destroys them in the process. If that isn't an overpowered beam, then I don't know what is.
In Metroid Prime, the Plasma Beam represented the element of fire. This was evident in the fact that it could easily incinerate enemies. The beam combo associated with it, the Flamethrower, was devastating but its short range held it back. In Prime 3, it gained the cool ability to weld metals, which is used primarily for the purpose of reactivating machinery. Out of all of the diverse beam weapons Samus has collected over her travels, the Plasma Beam is probably the strongest and most versatile out of all of them, which is why it's placed at item number 5.
Aside from the Screw Attack, the Morph Ball is probably the most well-known power-up in the Metroid series. And for good reason. Once you get past the "what the" moment when you first get this upgrade, it's easy to see how useful it is. It lets Samus go through tight areas, but that's not all. Coupled with the Morph Ball Bombs, Samus can raise herself in the air, and the infinite bomb jumping and mockball (which requires you to build up speed by running, jumping, and getting into Morph Ball form to go at running speed while morphed in Super Metroid) techniques are rewarding but very difficult to pull off. The Morph Ball also allows the game to do many unique puzzles in conjunction with the Spider Ball and the Speed Booster (more on those two later).
The Grapple Beam is yet another upgrade that is more versatile than it would originally appear. Originally from Super Metroid, this beam was used to grapple onto metallic blocks and swing across gaps. While it was possible to bypass the sections you needed it via wall jumping or shinesparking, it was a very convenient item to have at your disposal. Unfortunately as the Grapple Beam was fired from Samus's arm cannon, she couldn't fire back at enemies when she was using it.
The Grapple Beam made its 3D debut in Metroid Prime, where it was placed on her left hand, although she still couldn't fire while using it. In Prime 2 she could finally fight back while using the Grapple Beam, but that's not the best part - in Prime 3, the Grapple Beam's uses were greatly expanded upon. In addition to being able to use it to swing across gaps, the Grapple Beam could be used to tear away debris or shielding, and to overload circuits. So yeah, it does a lot more than just get you across gaps.
At number 2, we have the Spider Ball from Metroid II. It earns this spot because it is quite possibly the most broken item in the series (specifically in Metroid II) but at the same time it is also one of the most fun to use. How is it broken in Metroid II, you ask? To put it quite simply, it lets you go pretty much everywhere. Yep, you read right - the Spider Ball in Metroid II lets you latch onto any wall and ride it to wherever it may take you. Heck, with this there's hardly any point of getting the Space Jump seeing as you can ride the walls to pretty much anywhere the Space Jump could take you, and more if you count the fact you can ride the walls or the ceiling into a Morph Ball-sized tunnel.
In the 3D Metroids, this changes however. In the Prime games, you can only use the Spider Ball on special tracks (which is probably for the best). However, the Spider Ball sections are still immensely fun, as they are usually quite a bit of a puzzle. For instance, you might have to use the Morph Ball Bombs to detach yourself from the track so you can latch onto the one underneath it, or use the Boost Ball to launch yourself to a far away rail. The Spider Ball sections were implemented well by Retro, which reinforces the fact that the Spider Ball is a powerup you want to have.
And finally, we've now come up to the number one upgrade in the entire Metroid series, the Speed Booster. It's incredibly fun, useful, and cool to boot. Originally debuting in Super Metroid, the Speed Booster has evolved in its capabilities throughout the 2D Metroids. In Super Metroid, if you held down the run button and ran a certain distance after getting the Speed Booster, the Speed Booster would kick in, making you go really fast and giving you the capability to break Speed Booster blocks. Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission did away with the run button, instead opting for the player just to run a certain distance for it to kick in, but otherwise that aspect of it remained the same. The Speed Booster itself required good reflexes, because there were puzzles where you had to hit maximum speed and then jump at a certain time to get the maximum jump distance (which is greatly extended at max speed) to break the speed booster blocks on the other side of a chasm.
Not only does the Speed Booster let you run extremely fast, but it also lets you do a special move, called a Shinespark. How you basically preform a Shinespark is to crouch when you're running at max speed to store energy, and to jump in the direction you want to go. Samus will make a mighty leap into whatever direction you sent her and won't stop until she hits a wall, breaking through any Speed Booster blocks in the way. Shinesparking is an extremely fun and technical thing to pull off, and there are many hidden expansions that can only be reached via this method, in addition to numerous sequence breaks, including the difficult to achieve "secret message" in Metroid Fusion (which was made possible by the fact that you could restart a speed boost by hitting a sloped surface starting in Fusion).
So, that about wraps it up for this list. Samus's upgrades vary in shapes, sizes, and uses but all of them are pretty cool and fun to use, and are important to gameplay. That being said, there are a few honorable mentions that didn't quite make the cut - namely, the Super Missile (for its ability to deal a great amount of damage to enemies), the Annihilator Beam (for its tracking ability and its capabilities as a sonic weapon), and the PED Suit (for the ability for Samus to go into the overpowered Hyper Mode in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption).
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading this list as much as I enjoyed writing it.
List by Alpha218 (08/27/2010)
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