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Why does Samus always lose some of her powers in each Metroid installment? [spoilers?]

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I realize its probably just a game design decision, but the point of this post is to toss around some ideas as to why this happens in lore. I think it'd be interesting to examine the universe in that way.

Maybe my idea isn't all too solid, but one way I've looked at it is that Samus is a bit of a daredevil. I got this idea mainly from Zero Mission and the Prime Trilogy, and the Metroid Manga somewhat.

I've had the idea that in Zero Mission, Samus was reckless, headstrong, and very focused on getting revenge for her parents after Ridley murdered them. She was consumed by vengeance and attacked the Space Pirates base on Zebes basically naked. Her Power Beam couldn't even travel across a room, that's how reckless and unprepared she was.

Even after defeating Ridley in Zero Mission, I imagine that accomplishment wouldn't heal Samus's trauma completely. So, I think she adopts this kind of daredevil trait, purposely removing her suit's upgrades and defenses, to continue to cope with that trauma. Maybe she's trying to subconsciously relive the thrill of Zero Mission, remember her first and possibly most important victory against Ridley, and use that to push back the memory of her parent's murder somewhat.

I also think that trait is in the Prime Trilogy, and it evolves in the trilogy as well. Ignoring the weird scene in Prime 1 where Samus loses all her powers because she shoved against a wall by an explosion...(is that all it takes? huh.)

She still doesn't start fully armed. No super missiles or screw attack. And as far as her personality, I'm reminded of the scene where she defeats Thardus and tries to walk away triumphantly, only to have a rock knock her on the helmet. As if to mock her for being cocky.

In Prime 2 Echoes, Samus starts with more powers (Space Jump Boots) than before...then loses them because Ing suck, but, the fact she started more equipped makes me think that Samus is becoming more cautious about her actions. That, and the funny scene where she meets U-Mos and refuses to put her arm cannon down. Poor guy is just trying to spout exposition and Samus is like "Whatever. Just don't move. I mean it."

In Prime 3 Corruption, Samus doesn't even lose her powers, and there's plenty of scenes where she exudes confidence/experience and commands respect. From other Hunters, Federation troops, Fleet Admiral Castor Dane, etc. There's even a scene that seems to echo the one with Thardus, at least for me, after she defeats Mogenar. She destroys a core, it falls to the ground, Samus turns around as if to say "Hm? Finished?", the core begins to explode, and then Samus assuredly turns around and just strolls on out. "Yeah, that's what I thought."

Uh, anyway, my point across the Prime games is that I feel Samus's daredevil streak is evident from the start, and then begins to evolve/fade away as she becomes more cautious in 2, and then much more confident and experienced in 3.

That's my thought on that. Might be (probably am) looking into too much, but...it's just an idea. So, thoughts?

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I can't really come up with a good reason for losing her powers, but in Super Metroid there's kind of a reason for it. My theory is that she was under-equipped due to Ridley's surprise attack on the space station. She had to urgently track down the Metroid hatchling, and didn't have time to boost her suit. Admittedly, I have to take some liberties to make it fit because I assume SM takes place immediately after Metroid 2 where Samus just acquired a bunch of upgrades. However, there is room to explain the downgrade to her powers.

It's never clear how much times passes between her visit to the station and when she receives the distress signal. It's just assumed that not much time has passed because she states "I had hardly gone beyond the asteroid belt." That could have taken days for all we know. Why would she remove all of her upgrade? I have no idea. Maybe she needs to remove them occasionally to preserve power in her suit? Perhaps she stored them in her ship so she can replenish her supplies when needed as seen in-game? That still wouldn't explain the loss of the morphball, beam weapons, spiderball, and space jump...

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I can only speculate here, but looks like gameplay decision came first and shades of characterisation were added after. It gets a bit strange when installment after installment the powerset either adds 'more of the same' or just plain gives the exact same equipment / moves / powers over and over again.

I am, however, of opinion that this game design formula could change and would benefit from it, if we ever get another game starring Samus besides Smash.


Assuming the story ever picks up after Fusion, the logical move for Samus to make given what note it ends on, in my opinion, would be to go out of her way to blow up any and all databases containing detailed information on her, exterminate any members of the Federation military command structure interested in her and make her best to disappear from their notice after that.

Ergo, infiltration of a heavily guarded planet, spaceship or several would be thematically appropriate. Show in both story and gameplay that while Samus with all her equipment and abilities is extremely dangerous when she gets in one room with almost anything, air strikes and starship artillery is still not something she'd like to get hit by. Then, about at the point where you'd expect the loss of all your swanky arsenal as a player, have the heroine arrange all her toys to be smuggled in around the target area she expects to need them in (as the intro segment should've shown her preparing for) and get in there herself.

Ideally, the next stretch of the game all the way up to the end should allow the player to choose between going for the good ol' powerups - but having the opposition crank up exponentially as people realise that Samus is here and pull out all the stops in a full out panic and thus present a challenge to you even with the super enviromental suit, jump upgrades, screw attack, the uber armcannon and all the works - or attempting to complete the mission with the help of tools you find and 'borrow' on the spot instead and go for the alarm-raising stuff only on your way out (or maybe not at all).

I'd imagine that making a world map compatible with both is gonna be a nightmare, but then again I am the kind of guy that imagines a Metroid game in a densely populated future metropolis in space, so...


Assuming that Fusion is never spoken of again, this approach can work in such a case as well. You'd just have Samus fight some other iteration of crazy Space Pirates or something else (I am hesitant to imagine what could present as much danger as those folks) and do the same thing.

Maybe not have that part about multiple routes if that ends up being unfeasible and just make it happen as a linear narrative. That unusual freedom of sequence breaking in Super Metroid makes me think it could be possible to build a game around this concept though.

I believe that further integration of gameplay and story of this eyebrow raising plot development could only benefit Metroid or any other similar series instead of just handwaving it all.

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