The ever-changing sizes of Samus, Ridley and Kraid

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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  • 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

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