Flash forward eight (!) years past Super Metroid and we get the next entry in the series, the fully re-imagined Metroid Prime. With such reverence still hovering around Super Metroid, the very notion that Retro Studios would change the historically 2D game into a first-person adventure set forums and games journalists into a dizzying spin of speculation and “HOW COULD THEY DO THIS” rants. Turns out it became the GameCube’s best game, and a perfect reintroduction to the franchise.
Above: Ridley appears at the very beginning, sabotaging another space station and leaving it to explode with Samus aboard
Above: Wait, what? He’s covered in metal, has a fiery chest and his wings are bigger than ever. That’s ‘cause this is “Meta Ridley,” a rebuilt cyborg version of the original creature
Above: A quick flyby reveals just how large those wings are now, with Ridley himself appearing to be just a bit larger than he was in Super Metroid
The best part? Prime takes place between Metroid 1 and 2, meaning Super Metroid’s Ridley, who looks totally organic, exists after the enhanced Meta Ridley. So chronologically he goes from lizard to cyborg back to lizard? Wha?
Above: Ridley reappears in Prime 3 as Meta/Omega Ridley. This screen suggests he’s roughly the same size as he was/will be in Super Metroid. We say that because Samus fits in his mouth easily here; compare that with the SNES shots and they line up pretty well. Except for those massive wings, anway
But what about Kraid? He was set to appear in Metroid Prime, but ultimately didn’t make the cut. Artist Gene Kohler mocked up the character (to be called Meta Kraid) with a metal plate over his head, though neither Kraid nor this design have ever existed beyond this piece of art:
Above: Didn’t make it into any of the three (five, technically) Metroid Prime games
Released the same day as Metroid Prime, Fusion was part of a one-two punch of Samus goodness after nearly a decade of franchise silence. It too broke the mold and not only put Samus in a new suit, but also focused more on story and linear gameplay than the usual “figure it all out” system that made the original three games (and their Castlevania copycats) so successful. And instead of Metroids, Samus’ main foe is now the X Parasite, which can infect, replicate and destroy most organic life. Guess which pile of genetic glop it happens to find?
Above: Once his remains are infected, the shriekingly loud Ridley X arises to haunt Samus in a new body. Yet again shifting sizes, he now appears to be slightly larger than his Super Metroid incarnation. Maybe the X Parasite causes a bit of bloat?
Two years later, the very first Metroid received one of the best remakes in the history of remakes – Zero Mission cleans up the aging graphics, the endless tunnels and the floaty jumping, plus brings all the classic characters up to speed with their more recent depictions. Naturally that means Ridley and Kraid will get makeovers.
Above: His redrawn sprite may be the biggest version yet. Look how big that mouth is! Yet, the wings are still tiny, so we should assume that Meta Ridley got his big flappers during the Prime cyborgening
Above: Speaking of cyborgening, the Ridley Robot appears at the end of Zero Mission. Apparently, Ridley built this thing in his image, so now he’s gone from lizard to murderous arch-lizard to genius, murderous arch-lizard
Above: Kraid retains his Super Metroid girth, retconning his original stout appearance forever
Above: Rough chart for Zero Mission
Above: New official art for Ridley and Kraid, the former suddenly becoming green. Don’t look so silly now, do they?
Zero Mission marks the last “new” Ridley, as even though Prime 2 and 3 were released after, they continue to use 2002’s Meta Ridley design. We know he’s somewhere in Other M but can’t really talk about it until Friday (along with the review). So for now, this is as recent as it gets.
While not really part of the actual Metroid canon, Smash Bros Brawl does feature Ridley as a boss battle, giving us just enough reason to compare sizes one last time.
Above: Seems to be right on target, possibly closer to the larger Zero Mission version, given how big his mouth is. However, the wings are closer to Prime
Above: Hrm, here Ridley is smaller than he was in the above screen, shifting sizes from scene to scene
Above: This is really hard to get a bead on, actually. Looks like Super Metroid size here, not quite as large as Zero Mission after all
We realize the size of all Nintendo characters is hardly something worth nitpicking – we’re more doing it for the fun of seeing all the versions stacked next to each other than actual criticizing. Each new game is a chance to reinvent each character to a certain degree, which is part of what keeps Nintendo’s stable somewhat fresh despite being filled with decades-old mascots. We’re happy to see the fluctuations, but would it kill you to get some Kraid back up in here?
Big thanks to The Shyguy Kingdom, Replacement Docs, Wikitroid and TrsRockin for sprites, manual info and that awesome shot of Ridley the judge
Aug 25, 2010
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