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WHO IS SAMUS ARAN?

We can give you exact figures. We can give you rough character back stories. But we will never truly know who the woman with the huge shoulder pads is. She’s human, weighs in at 189 pounds and is 6’3” tall. She was raised by the human-bird hybrid race of the Chozos after her parents died in a pirate raid. She served under the Galactic Federation, only to leave and become a bounty hunter, still occasionally answering the odd distress call from her old pals at the GF. Ignoring Other M and its heavy flashbacks, that’s pretty much all we know. Why? Because it’s pretty much all we need to know. As we stressed in last week’s article, why give us a story if we don’t need one? In fact, to some extent, the Chozo thing is only there to make her a more rounded character, give her an edge that happy-go-luck Mario and the blank canvas of a character that is Link can never give us.

 

Speaking of bland designs, that was originally how Samus was designed. She was to forfill the same sort of role as Link in the Zelda games. Not to be a character as much as your own avatar to carry you through the levels. She lives in her cold, orange shell so as to remain faceless, so you can put yourself inside the spacesuit. However, as development went on, these ‘edgy’ characteristics began to break through.

 

 And this isn’t an exception: Throughout the years, Samus’ character has developed more and more as the franchise goes on. What she would probably see as chinks in her bright orange armour are slowly turning into strengths for the marketing team- Every game that goes by, she’ll do something a little more human. She’ll gradually start to turn into someone you could trust with your life, tough and courageous, yet she has a warmer, friendlier side. Samus Aran is tough, she’s not a piece of female flesh for horny gamers to devour, she’s human, she’s not a blank character sheet for you to fill in, and she manages to walk the delicate tightrope between the two very well. She’s not a Master Chief, locked away in his helmet, only ever to see a trail of bullets and hear the crispest of explosions. She is Samus Aran, that’s as far as we need to go.

 

However, it is just as interesting to take Samus apart almost as an object rather than a person. Samus, as mentioned, was originally an empty shell for the gamer to fill. While she’s strayed further and further away from this idea with every passing moment, she’s gone further and further towards the other thing she ‘wasn’t meant to be’: Just a pretty face.

 

As tradition, every Metroid game ends with Samus outside of her Varia Suit, the orange robotic thing she wears throughout the majority of the game. The other rule of thumb when it comes to Metroid endings is the quicker you beat the game, or the more pick-ups you collected, the less she wears. This started as her sporting a leotard in the first title, although it’s gone on to become a bikini in Metroid II: Return of Samus, a weird sort of swimsuit in Super Metroid, before she eventually seemed to settle on the tight leather Zero Suit of (Appropriately enough) Zero Mission, which even got so popular, Samus in the costume is a playable character in Super Smash Bros Brawl. The Smash Bros fan base being as large as it is, the appeal of blonde-hair blue-eyed Samus in her somewhat revealing costume too off, and if fan fictions are to be believed (And, trust us, they’re not) then her and Metal Gear Solid star, the uber-macho Solid Snake must have had several thousand babies by now.

 

Brawl was also the first game in which Samus spoke. And we mean properly spoke. Like, with words. In past, she’s grunted a bit (In fact, they got Disney’s Cinderella herself to come in and make the appropriate bounty hunter noises in the Prime games) but she’d never really said anything. However, a quick taunt in Brawl and all that changes. It wasn’t really the momentous occasion it should have been, and spoilt Other M’s fire because they weren’t able to claim it as “The first time Samus has ever had a proper voice”.

Samus

Debut: Metroid (NES, 1986)

Created by: Makoto Kano (Design), Yoshio Sakamoto & Gunpei Yokoi (Character)

Number of videogame apperances: 16

Other apperances: TV (Captain N: The Games Master), Metroid Manga

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