Mother Ship/Chozodia

        Last time, I talked about Ridley in various games, how he fought, and so forth. I also mentioned, briefly, what happened to Samus after their first battle in Zero Mission. I’d like to go on to that topic, though I won’t be talking about Mother Brain much- that would be a completely different subject, one that could be better discussed later. No, it seems Samus’s mission does not end where everyone thought it did…
        You see, after Samus defeated Mother Brain and escaped Tourian’s destruction in her ship, she started to leave Zebes when she was attacked by a swarm of Space Pirate ships. She nearly escaped them, but was eventually shot down by a stray laser, sending her ship crashing down to Zebes once more, without her Power Suit.
        Stuck only in her Zero Suit, Samus has no way to defend herself other than a, as she says, “rather useless emergency pistol”. In exchange, however, she is a bit more nimble than before, able to grab onto ledges and fit in tight spaces easily. Her suit can do these things as well, but only with the addition of Power Grip and Morph Ball items, probably because, regardless of how streamlined it is, the Power Suit is simply too bulky and heavy to perform those actions otherwise.
        As for said pistol, it is referred to in later games as the Paralyzer, with good reason. The normal shots will destroy blocks, but do nothing at all to the armored Space Pirate enemies. However, it charges on its own, and fully charged shots will stun them momentarily. This proves invaluable for Samus, since she has no chance of leaving the planet except by infiltrating the Space Pirate Mother Ship.
        This changes the game from the usual Metroid gameplay to that of a stealth game. Samus is sneaking into the ship after all, and must avoid being seen, for two reasons. Firstly, if she is spotted an alarm will go off, causing Space Pirates to flood the area, and you have no way to kill them. Secondly, because without her Power Suit Samus is essentially unprotected by the pirate’s shots, meaning they take off an entire energy tank’s worth of damage. You’d best hope you found plenty beforehand, because that’s how many hits you can take.
        Don’t expect to get through the level without being spotted ones or twice- it isn’t impossible, but it is nearly so. When you are spotted, the important thing is, of course, not to let them keep up with you. Dodge fire, and get out of the room as quickly as possible. When you leave the room, a single Pirate will follow you in, and you can potentially freeze him or get out of his line of sight. If you escape their sight for a while, the alarm will stop and you can continue on your way.
        As I said, the Pirates do a lot of damage, so there are Save Rooms throughout the ship, and they actually heal you, unlike the ones around the rest of the game. This is especially good news considering there are no enemies you can kill and therefore no power ups or health. The only way a Pirate can be slain is if they accidentally shoot each other.
        As you traverse the ship, the first thing you will note is a cutscene of an eye opening. That will come into play later. At first there will be a room with just one Pirate. You have to time how you fall down to his level so that he is facing the other way, and even then you’ll need quick reflexes to get away before he turns again.
        As I said, staying under the radar is very hard. Later on you will find spotlights in some areas, laser wires that sound the alarm, and eye-like robots that move on walls projecting beams of light. If you go through the light, naturally, you’ll trip the alarm, so you have to wait for the beam to be disrupted by platforms and the like. If the alarm is tripped, they will fire energy blasts as they move instead.
        Eventually you will come to a glass bridge, marking the cut-off point between the actual ship and the neighboring Chozodia, an ancient Chozo site. Naturally, the Pirates are on patrol here too, along with their alarm systems. They are very tenacious, as I said before, and can traverse the area even better than Samus. They aren’t as nimble, but they can jump from one platform to another, crawl in tight spaces like her, and can crawl up walls to catch her, even shooting at her from them when they have a clear shot.
        However, it is here in Chozodia that the stealth game ends. Samus finds her way to a corridor with a massive pillar acting as part of the ceiling. Going in, you’re treated to a cutscene depicting a giant Chozo mural, and a flashback to Samus’s memory of the room from when she was a child. She doesn’t get to feel that nostalgia for long, however, as the mural starts to glow. The four symbols in it fire lasers at the mirror in the middle, causing it to show Samus‘s reflection.
        This is the Ruins Test, a odd boss battle. At first it will do nothing as ominous plays, but shoot it will clear up two facts; firing while it shows Samus will hurt you, and firing will it shows the Chozo symbol will let you progress. It causes the symbol to float back to its original position, and you have to repeat this for the next three symbols.
        However, after the first one is shot, the mirror begins to move, with a ghostly Chozo image holding it and levitating around the room. Occasionally the Chozo image will glow, and lightning will fall on your current position, stopping you from remaining still for long. As more of the symbols are hit, the apparition will move faster, lightning will come down quicker, and the symbol will appear for a shorter amount of time, making this harder and harder. The lightning will begin traveling along the floor if it misses when there is one left, adding another danger.
        However, the reward is well worth it. Samus will regain her Power Suit at last, and the three unknown items you collect throughout the game will finally be deciphered. The first is the Plasma Beam, powering up Samus’s weapon while also allowing it to shoot through multiple enemies at once. Next is the Gravity Suit, reducing damage, allowing Samus to move freely when submerged, and stopping the lava damage you had to deal with beforehand. Finally we have the Space Jump, which lets her jump freely in midair, basically letting her fly through the use of endless jumps.
        Now that Samus is fully armed, there is absolutely nothing the Space Pirates can do to stop her. She can traverse anywhere in the game freely, no matter if it is underwater, flooded in lava, or high in the air. She can rip through her foes like paper tissue with her new Plasma Beam. In short, she was in danger for a while, but now she’s back, and the game knows it, replacing the previous themes of Chozodia and the Mother Ship with a triumphant reprise of the Brinstar theme.
        Samus escapes the room via a hole in the wall, and the pillar falls, blocking off the room forever. As she drops in, the Pirates that had been chasing her spot her and the alarm goes off… but she can literally blow the two away in a single shot, and the alert is changed from a proclamation of doom to a mere change of scenery, signifying nothing of importance to you. Samus is unstoppable.
        At this point Samus has only two real objectives- to find the Power Bombs, and, after that, escape Zebes. The player would have seen a Pirate walking off with the Power Bombs during the stealth segment, so it’s time to head back in the Mother Ship to find them. Once you have them, in addition to harming everything onscreen and breaking Power Bomb blocks, it can also destroy the glass bridge between Chozodia and the ship, which lets Samus leave the two areas and return to the previous parts of the game. Thus, you can go back and find any power ups you may have missed, but it isn’t necessary to beat the game.
        Anyway, Power Bombs in hand, Samus can reach the final room of the game, where the last boss is waiting. Robot Ridley, or Mecha Ridley, is of course a robotic duplicate of the real thing constructed as monument to his own ego and power. He isn’t complete though, so the most he can do is crawl in your direction with his front arms, lacking any legs or wings like the real thing. Still, the room itself is small, and just stretching his neck out lets him nearly reach the ceiling, so neither would be of great help here anyway.
        Remember the green eye watching you from before? It seems Robo-Ridley knew Samus was here from the start, likely why everyone was on alert, meaning its basically is in control of the entire ship and surveillance. However, it is no slouch in battle either. It begins with the door locking behind you and a very loud mechanical noise starts up as it crawls to you. The room lights up as the alarms go off, and the fight is on.
        He always starts by raising his claw and smashing it down on you. This is dodged by jumping as it comes down. He will also shoot out fireballs down at the ground and at the ceiling, which are where Samus will generally be- the robot’s bulk means there isn’t much room to move about.
He can also fire lasers from his eye, aimed at you in particular, though he only shoots two shots at the time. After he takes a bit of damage he will add in homing missiles as well, making things a bit harder but it also works in your favor, as you can shoot the missiles with your regular beam shots to destroy them and get power ups.
        This is necessary because the robot only has one weak point, a glowing red core in his chest. It is covered in glass plating like Mother Brain, and like her the plating and core can only be harmed by Missiles and Super Missiles. This means if you run out, you’ll need to shoot the missiles to get ammo. It is a much smaller target as well, meaning Robot Ridley can easily cover it by simply being in his resting position. He raises up from that when he attacks, meaning that is your only chance to strike. He switches back to the position the instant he is done attacking, with a short pause between attacks, presumably to assess the situation.
        However, he is eventually beaten, and the robot deactivates when its core is destroyed. Not before it commits one last act, however. A few seconds after it collapses, its eye glows red and beeps, indicated the self-destruct sequence has been activated! Samus has to escape the ship before it is destroyed, making her way through the Pirates who are trying to stop her. This also puts the ship into permanent alarm state, so the eyes on the wall who shoot you, and there will be barriers to try and obstruct you. However, there is always a way around them.
        Thankfully, this alarm also locks off certain areas, presumably so no personnel get stuck on the ship as it explodes. This also prevents you from going the wrong way, and leads you straight to their hangar area. On the way there you’ll run into a robot that moves slowly across the hall. You don’t have time to wait on it, so shoot it with missiles or especially Super Missiles. This will speed it up.
        After that you’ll face one last obstacle: Black Pirates. These fellows are far stronger than their red counterparts, but act the same. They are immune to missiles, but can be hurt by beam shots. Don’t bother charging- just shoot them. Their attacks will hit a lot harder than regular Pirates, so take them out quickly or they very well could do the same to you. A good strategy is to drop down to them, then Space Jump back up to the area above them. They will follow and you can shoot them while they crawl up, since your shots pass through walls. This also means you have more room to maneuver.
        Once they’re dealt with, all that’s left is to get in the ship. The pilot will jump out to attack, but you can easily jump through him and in thanks to the Screw Attack. After that the ship will take off, and you’ve won the game! My favorite part is that after you get in, a Pirate will show up, shoot at the ship, and even try to jump on and stop you! Needless to say, he fails miserably. But anyway, that’s the final area of Zero Mission, and all that it entails. I hope you enjoyed, my dear viewers, and I will see you again soon!


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