The ever-changing sizes of Samus, Ridley and Kraid

With the release of Metroid: Other M just a few days away, now is the perfect time to scan through Nintendo’s venerable sci-fi series and poke fun at all its physical inconsistencies. We did it for Mario and Bowser, then for Link and Ganon, and now it’s time for Samus, Ridley and Kraid to fess up and explain why they can’t pick a size and stick with it.

Our journey begins with the original NES Metroid, first released in the US in 1987 and was one of the very first games to feature passwords. As you might expect, the 8-bit limitations meant all three of our star characters had to be quite small, ensuring a hearty laugh 23 years later.

Above: Ridley’s first appearance is less than imposing. He’s so tiny! 

Above: Still, the key elements are there – wings, jointed legs, pointy tail and a long neck

Above: Kraid is even shorter, and we’re sure if you shaved his head he’s actually be a tad smaller than Samus

Above: Rough chart for all three in the original Metroid

Above: Art from the original instruction booklet shows all three to be roughly the same height, though Ridley’s head is all effed up

Above: Captain N’s
 dreadful representation of Ridley… as a judge. Again, what’s with the head? 

The manual calls Kraid and Ridley “Mini-Bosses” and offers no other background details beyond saying Ridley is “the original life form of the planet Zebes.” It also calls Samus a man several times, so it may not be the most accurate depiction of what happened in the dark days of 1987.

Above: “For the last time, I AM A WOMAN” 

Both Ridley and Kraid were MIA in Metroid II: Return of Samus, so that moves us right on to Super Metroid, the third game in the series and arguably one of the greatest games of all time. Ridley gains a little bit of personality and notoriety right from the start as the leader of the space pirates, but it’s Kraid that sees the most drastic transformation.

Above: Samus is now eye to eye with Ridley’s chest, though they still look more or less like their NES counterparts

Above: Ridley becomes more than a regular enemy – he steals the baby Metroid Samus rescued earlier, and kills the researchers on the space station. Nemesis get!

Above: Holy Christ! What the hell happened to Kraid? He went from stumpy to skyscraper in the span of one game!

Above: Rough chart for all three in Super Metroid

Even though the game’s manual is similarly vague about Ridley and Kraid, we can infer from the opening that Ridley and Samus now have a personal grudge. Samus chose to spare that last Metroid during the ending of Metroid II, and now Ridley’s nabbed it for further nefarious deeds. And Kraid, well he’s just a big dumb lizard. Emphasis on “big dumb lizard.”

Despite near universal praise, Super Metroid never saw an N64 sequel. Instead, Samus appeared in Smash Bros and its GameCube sequel Smash Bros Melee, the latter containing the only 3D appearance of Kraid thus far.

Above: My, he’s certainly grown. Considering how far back he is, he’s actually taller than he was in Super Metroid

Above: He does seem a bit more limber and active than Super Metroid, where he basically stood there and got shot to death

Above: Ridley was briefly featured in Melee’s opening cinema, sort-of reenacting the opening to Super Metroid. Their bodies are about the same size, but those wings are pretty serious – a sign of things to come, actually

Above: As of 2001, this is what Ridley had to offer. Hasn’t changed much since then

So no 3D Ridley to speak of, really. He was waiting for his big comeback just one year later, which we’ll get into on the next page.


  • shnazzyone - September 1, 2010 6:50 a.m.

    Slick article.
  • elpurplemonkey - August 27, 2010 5:59 p.m.

    I love these size comparison articles. Kinda goofy but informative.
  • mubobi7593 - August 26, 2010 5:23 p.m.

    A good read, though I'm only half-way through. I just wanted to point out that SSBM should've had better text, 'cause when I first read through that trophy thing for Ridley, I swear it said "...whore Samus captured the baby metroid." xD
  • Fusionmix - August 26, 2010 3:04 p.m.

    The Fusion Ridley's screech always scared the crap out of me as an impressionable 9-year-old.
  • GamesRadarJuniorWildlifeEditor - August 26, 2010 2:09 p.m.

    Another strong article by Mr. Elston
  • philipshaw - August 26, 2010 10:42 a.m.

    Awesome article Brett, you really put a shit ton of effort into this. I can see why you said on twitter that you are reaching Metroid saturation point
  • kiwicrossing - August 26, 2010 9:06 a.m.

    Hey, I just replayed Zero Mission, love that game. The article was cool, I agree that it doesn't really matter if the size changes because I never notice!
  • sklorbit - August 26, 2010 6:48 a.m.

    23rd!!!! cool article. nintendo is pretty unconsistant with all of its main franchises villians, i mean look at bowser! ganondorf has also changed dramatically over the years.
  • CH3BURASHKA - August 26, 2010 4:50 a.m.

    These "ever-changing sizes" features are pretty cool; there should be one for every prominent Nintendo character. I can't think of any others that have lasted long enough to have multiple sizes via multiple consoles. Also, as the great Chris Antista so eloquently put it, "the dick is a lie."
  • garnsr - August 26, 2010 3:29 a.m.

    Did the term "miniboss" originate with Metroid? Every time I hear it I think of Ridley and Kraid, from that bit in the original instructions.
  • mahabat - August 26, 2010 3:20 a.m.

    also i just want to say thank you gamesradar, for paying attention to this game and actually caring about the fact that it is coming out, checked ign and they havent said anything really about the game for couple months now, just saying good job
  • thefreakysurgeon - August 26, 2010 2:17 a.m.

    Jeez. I never knew that all that crap happened to Ridley and Kraid. Great article nonetheless.
  • mahabat - August 26, 2010 2:17 a.m.

    wait is kraid in other m then? also jporfavor ridley and kraid wouldnt have made much sense in 2 because it takes place on the metroid homeworld and the whole pooint is to wipe out all the metroids, space pirates probably weren't all up in arms about the idea
  • y2kpikachu12 - August 26, 2010 2:06 a.m.

    Great Article! I don't care if it's hardly worth nitpicking, it's a great read. You guys should do more of them, they are such a treat! Also, I suggest you update it on Friday with the Other M Ridley, or at least after some time has gone by.
  • liekmudkiepz8 - August 26, 2010 1:45 a.m.

    metroid prime kraid will give me nightmares
  • ManiacalMuphin - August 26, 2010 1:36 a.m.

    Theory: Kraid gained his size in Phazon experiments.
  • RonaldRayGun - August 26, 2010 12:53 a.m.

    Interesting. I enjoyed the article.
  • JPorFavor - August 26, 2010 12:50 a.m.

    @Haxorz That's kinda dissapointing.
  • ChrisCultista - August 26, 2010 12:39 a.m.

    All I have to say is... BRAAAAAAAWKKKKK!!!
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - August 26, 2010 12:13 a.m.

    cool, bowling

Showing 1-20 of 41 comments

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