Today I’ll be talking about Gandrayda, the last of Samus’s fellow hunters that she has to face in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Last time we covered Rundas, the first, and I’m afraid we’ll be skipping Ghor entirely for the time being- cool as he is, I can’t really think of much to say about him that I didn’t mention in the Rundas article, and his fight was, comparatively, much easier, so much so that I don’t feel it really needs an analysis. So, we’ll be skipping on ahead.
        After dealing with both planet Bryyo and Elysia, Samus is informed that the Federation has decoded a message from Gandrayda before she ceased transmitting, leading them to the Pirate Homeworld. Once there, Samus sneaks around the Pirate Command Center, avoiding detection and the deadly acid rain, eventually finding the X-Ray Visor to help her crack through the Pirates’ security measures, and she is contacted by a Federation Trooper, explaining that he was captured in the battle on Norion, that he escaped, and he needs help, giving Samus his location.
        This leads Samus to another sector of the planet, Pirate Research, where she eventually finds the trooper pinned down by enemy fire. Samus saved him, and he thanks her, saying that he knows how to reach the Pirate’s facility for the Hazard Sheild, which protects the user from acid rain that perpetually falls around the planet. He helps her activate a elevator and goes up with her.
        Once they stop, Samus goes to the door, only for the trroper to shoot at Samus, which she dodges by switching to her Morph Ball and dodging before changing back, aiming straight at him. The trooper cackles and shimmers, before transforming back into Gandrayda. She chides Samus for falling into the trap, then attacks. Unlike Rundas, who was armored and fast, or Ghor, who needed to be subdued before you could hurt him and had a vast arsenal, Gandrayda uses her natural shapeshifting to her advantage to form nearly identical replicas of previous enemies to battle, and when in her natural state she jumps around constantly, using her maneuverability and small frame to dodge your fire.
        As the battle goes on, it gets more and more dangerous as she uses new tactics and transformations. To begin with she will fight with her own powers, throwing out homing electric discs that can be shot down for power ups and a homing energy wave along the ground, all while jumping and running around to throw off your missiles and aim. However, if you can actually hit her with a charge shot she will be stunned momentarily, knocked over. She can also pounce on you, forcing you to shake the Wii Remote to throw her off while she claws and hits you.
        After taking a bit of damage she will change tactics and start transforming into enemies you have faced previously. In particular she will turn into a Berserker Lord, Pirate Aerotrooper, and Swarmbots. The Berserker Knight, a giant mutated Pirate. These enemies are mostly invulnerable to Samus’s attacks, and the only way to beat them is to knock their own attacks back at them to destroy the armor around their core. Once that is exposed, Samus can harm them. Gandrayda uses the exact same attacks and defense here, but after enough time has passed or she takes enough damage she changes back.
        The Aerotrooper is a common enough enemy, and like the Berserker Gandrayda’s new form comes with defense, in this case armor that needs to be destroyed. She will mostly use this form to hold off your attacks while flying about and firing homing shots at you. The Swarmbots, on the other hand, form into a circle and fire shots at Samus after charing up energy. While normally invulnerable, shooting the charged energy before they fire will destroy the bots. Smashing into them with the Screw Attack will also dispatch them and force Gandrayda to change back.
        Once a quarter of her health is gone, she sends out a surge of electricity to cause the room’s roof to open up, making a perimeter around the battlefield covered in acid rain. She also adds two new transformations- Rundas and Ghor. As Rundas she spends most of her time flying about and letting out the slow ice projectiles, but she will occasionally land and slash with the ice blade or fire out freezing blasts. It’s much the same as the previous fight, but now there are no pillars in the way and your Plasma Beam will wear out the copy’s ice armor very quickly.
        As Ghor, She will charge at you, fire out a sweeping Plasma Beam, and shoot missiles, being invincible during the latter, but it offers plenty of potential power ups. You harm her by hitting the small part that appears after some of Ghor’s attacks with the Boost Ball, stunning the robot and allowing you to harm her again. She can also use a grappling hook to grab you as a Morph Ball or when using the Screw Attack and slam you into the ground.
        Once Gandrayda is down to half her health, she will make six structures come out of the arena platform, and transform into a copy of Samus herself. As a Samus copy, she can use the Boost Ball to pinball around the arena and bounce off these structures to hit you. When she unmorphs, she fires a sweeping laser from her arm cannon. Both these attacks have the issue that Samus can dodge them by jumping, so try to stay in the air as much as you can. She can also let out a shockwave if you get too close.
        When she is down to a quarter of her health she stops transforming entirely and activates her Hypermode. Naturally, any attacks but your own Hypermode blasts will do pitiful amounts of damage, and she will move faster and throw more powerful attacks. Occasionally her Hypermode will wear off and she will turn invisible, forcing you to track her with the X-Ray Visor. When she can use Hypermode again, she will change back and let out an energy pulse that ruins your X-Ray Visor, forcing you to switch between Visors instead of just using X-Ray the whole time.
        But that is the extent of her tricks, and eventually she is defeated, sending her sprawling back in much the same way Rundas was, tisting and shifting into different forms in an attempt to survive, even turning into Samus herself and reaches for the real Samus desperately as Dark Samus appears to consume her.
        Samus looks away and clenches her fist, clearly enraged that she can nothing to save Gandrayda. But finally she is gone, and leaves behind the Grapple Voltage, allowing Samus to drain energy from terminals and some enemies to heal herself, or pour energy in. And as an added touch, every time she uses the Grapple Beam it is purple now, the same color as the dead hunter.
        I do rather like that, in a way. The Ice Missiles, Plasma Beam, and Grapple Voltage all act as mementos of the dead hunters, constant reminders every time you use them of the casualties of this war against the Space Pirates and especially Phazon, and yet another reminder for Samus of what could very well happen to her.

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