Dark Samus

        When I left off on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, I talked about Gandrayda, the last of the hunters Samus had to face on her mission to stop Dark Samus. Today we will be moving past that confrontation to the final battle, the true villain behind everything: Dark Samus herself. However, since she doesn’t just appear in this one game, we’ll be backtracking a little first.
        Dark Samus first appeared in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, at least as Dark Samus, but in the first game she appeared as the titular Metroid Prime, a giant Metroid mutated by Phazon to the point of being hardly recognizable as a Metroid. Much like the Guardians Samus faces in the third game, here Prime serves the purpose of the Guardian of the Tallon IV Leviathan, and defeating her frees the planet from the grip of Phazon. However, the battle itself was far from easy.
        I won’t go into two many details, but Metroid Prime has a multitude of weapons which, judging from Pirate Lore, she assimilated from their soldiers and devices- a bit like Samus does. These include a grapple beam to pull Samus in range of her claws, missiles, energy orbs, and a giant laser, the latter two of which could have different attributes based on what form of energy the beat was channeling. This also determined her current weakness.         Eventually Samus beats the monster, and it falls down a pit… to reveal that was she was fighting was its carapace, and the real entity looks much more Metroid-like, though still clearly different, such as having eyes, and tendrils instead of fangs.
        The Core of Metroid Prime fought with simple shockwaves and summoned Metroids of various types, which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t completely invulnerable to Samus’s weapons. The only way to beat it is to use the pools of Phazon it leaves behind on occasion when it turns invisible or visible to produce a ‘Hypermode’ attack, allowing Samus to do some damage. This repeats a few times, and the monster is done for. It manages to pry off Samus’s Phazon Suit in an attempt to save itself, but it explodes, and Samus barely gets away.
        However, as the second game shows, it survived by merging with the stolen suit to become Dark Samus. At this point the creature fled Tallon IV in search of new Phazon, which it endlessly craved. She ended up on Aether, as did the regular Samus, where they met up first while Dark Samus was feeding. The black copy leisurely finished her meal before dropping down and walking across from Samus, both raising their arm cannons.
        The battle begins, and Dark Samus quickly shows she is similar in more than just appearance. She uses Phazon variants of Samus’s various moves, such as a ‘shrapnel beam’ in place of the Power Beam that fires out a large barrage of small shots, more ordinary homing missiles, and pulling up an energy shield to harm Samus at close range and deflect her own missiles. As the battle wears on she adds a new trick where she covers herself in Phazon energy to slam down on a target like a meteor, kind of comparable to the Screw Attack. She will also float up into the air to fire Super Missiles.
        Of course, Samus wins, and Dark Samus dissipates into blue particles. These later reform for a rematch in another area, on an elevator specifically. By now she’s gained some power and has new moves, using more of Samus’s weaponry as well. She can fire a thin sweeping beam that Samus has to jump over, or a mimicry of her ice beam that encases Samus in damaging Phazon. She also uses the Boost Ball to zip around quickly and damage Samus while being difficult to track. After she takes some damage, she also turns invisible on occasion, forcing Samus to use the Dark Visor to keep up. Again, she loses, but this time she doesn’t destabilize completely, escaping the elevator by blasting her way out of it and falling.
        She reappears briefly to destroy a bridge to mar Samus’s progress, but her next big appearance is after the fight with the Emperor Ing. Samus is about to escape the collapsing planet, but a giant wall of Phazon covers her exit, and she slowly turns around, knowing full well that Dark Samus has returned. This time she has made sure to be much more powerful, absorbing so much Phazon that her form is on the verge of falling apart of its own, her ‘skin’ transparent and organs showing.
        This time she’s much stronger, and you have a time limit to deal with- if you don’t defeat her in under eight minutes, Dark Aether will be destroyed along with both combatants, minus whatever time you too to get to the battle from the fight with the Emperor Ing. Getting too close to the walls is also deadly, as its lined with Phazon. As for the fight itself, at first she uses slow but strong moves. She is vulnerable some of the time, between attacks, but has so much energy around her doing them that you cannot harm her.
        As for said attacks, the first is a absolutely massive Phazon laser, which she fires three times. When she drops back down and becomes vulnerable, she will generally become invisible, but she can be shot at now. The Echo Visor is needed this time. While invisible she will float about, and pull up her shield if you get too close, but will eventually either do the laser again or her next move, and you can tell which by her position. If she is positioned anywhere but the center of the area, it’s the laser.
        As for her next move, she pulls up a Phazon bubble around herself that cannot be pierced by your weaponry, while she either shoots a homing missile at you, or expends excess Phazon to maintain herself, as indicated by the bubble expanding and contracting, firing off small sparks of Phazon energy. This Phazon can hurt you if it lands on you, but it is also your opportunity to actually do some damage. While you can hurt her with normal attacks between her two moves, she takes very little damage from your strikes, and the odds of beating her before Dark Aether collapses is virtually nil. As such, you have to do the same thing you did to Metroid Prime- use the excess Phazon to your advantage.
        Make a Charge Shot and catch the sparks on your blast. Once you have three, the blast will turn blue and it can pierce Dark Samus’s bubble, making her moan in pain and lose a tremendous amount of health. From there the path to victory should be obvious- catch as much as you can and fire her own energy back at her.
        With the fight done, Dark Samus collapses, but even after all that she gets up and staggers over to Samus, trying to grab her… before fading into particles once more. Samus escapes, albeit barely, and the Luminoth thank her as she leaves the planet. All is well… for Aether, at least. However, the hidden ending shows that even an entire dimension being obliterated isn’t enough to destroy Dark Samus, because she reforms anyway.
        And so we come to Corruption. We know what Dark Samus has done, but now her Leviathans have been destroyed, planets saved, the Pirate Homeworld taken, and now it’s time to take the fight to her on Phaaze, source of all Phazon. Using one of her own Leviathans, the Federation opens a wormhole to Phaaze, and launches a massive assault on the planet, which is guarded by a fleet of Space Pirates. All of this serves as a distraction for Samus, who flies in, avoiding the chaos, to land on Phaaze itself.
        However, much as the last two games had a last minute new trick to make the final battle different, so too do they here, even though Samus already has Hypermode. So much as stepping on Phaaze blasts her with more Phazon radiation than ever, threatening to corrupt her entirely. However, she manages to use the vent on her PED suit to stave off complete corruption. So she’s alive! Bad news is, she’s so corrupted her ship doesn’t recognize her, and she’s in permanent Hypermode.
        This works very differently from regular Hypermode. If the meter fills up completely you still die, but since it constitutes all of your energy tanks, how long it will take to do so depends on how many you found, and it is far harder to reduce thanks to the radiation around you. Firing shots of any sort doesn’t seem to decrease the meter so much as just stop it from rising.
        In order to make it drop, you’ll need to rely on the enemies. Destroying them produces power ups that decrease the meter, ‘anti-Phazon’, and using the Phazon Grapple on the Phaz-Ings lets you drain your Phazon into them, lowering your guage and making them explode. Phazon Puffers also appear in some spots, and will absorb your Phazon to feed themselves- however, you have to kill them shortly afterward, or they will fire it all back.
        Samus has to get past various puzzles, mostly involving destroying enemies or pieces of the environment to proceed, and tons of Metroids, to finally find the Genesis Chamber. Here she finds an infant Leviathan growing in a massive cocoon, which she then must destroyed while being assaulted by eternally spawning Metroids in groups of three. Once the baby Leviathan is destroyed, its destroyed produces enough ‘anti-Phazon’ to hopefully bring you back down to zero, and reveals a hole leading down to Dark Samus’s Sanctum.
        Here Dark Samus emerges for one final bout, as her theme starts to play. Luckily, she fights fairly similarly to how she did previously, though many of her tricks have altered somewhat. Her shrapnel beam and shield works about the same, but her missile attack has been altered radically, firing out a huge barrage of slow-moving homing shots. Luckily they can be destroyed by your shots, and the Phazon charge shot shoots out many smaller blasts, allowing you to destroy them easily.
        She has also added some new tricks thanks to the hunters Samus defeated. Rundas’s power lets her calling down ice pillars to block your attacks and hide her from view, which can be destroyed by your or her attacks, but do help block her shrapnel beam. She also seems to jump around far more acrobatically now, a feature she likely got from Gandrayda.
        Once enough damage is taken, she will float up and start absorbing energy from Phaaze to heal herself. Shooting her will make her stop, of course, and she realizes you aren’t going to leave her alone, and so produces ‘Dark Echoes’, weaker copies of her that use some of her moves. In addition, they can work together to accomplish new moves, such as firing Ghor’s Plasma Beam in a circle while spinning, floating up and raining missiles down on you, and a bizarre flying move where they try to slam into you repeatedly.
        When she tries to heal now, any Echoes will join her, presenting a fake target to let her heal up. It may be better to shoot them, though- they can’t take more than a charge blast and there is at most two of them, so they won’t take too long, and they can be very annoying if left alone. However, you can tell them apart with the Scan Visor, X-Ray Visor, or just by noting that their visors are black while Dark Samus’s is whiter.
        She can also fuse with them for temporary invincibility, which overloads the X-Ray Visor, bad since she can turn invisible as well, and forces you to endure her attacks until she splits apart again. All in all, the best strategy is to destroy the Dark Echoes as soon as they appear, and spend the rest of your time blasting Dark Samus at every opportunity. Without her clones to back her up, there is little she can do to stop your fire.
        It’s also worth noting that even though you’re firing nothing but Phazon at her, unlike the last two games, Dark Samus takes about as much damage as most enemies do from your usual fire, and when you beat her she does not explode, but is sent flying back. She lands on her feet, and summons the Aurora Unit she stole and connected to Phaaze, allowing her to control the planet. She then merges with it, likely a trick she got from Ghor, and this the final battle commences.
        AU 313 I find to be a much more simplistic boss in a lot of ways. While it is not vulnerable at all times like Dark Samus, the weakness is fairly easy to make use of. Tentacles and what seem to be metallic eyes occasionally come out of the unit, the tentacles to fire shots at you and the eyes to… well, look at you better. Shooting the tentacles will leave behind a yellow spot you can shoot at to stun them, and shooting the eye will stagger it even faster. Once it is stunned, it will collapse, and Samus can pull open a hatch on it to fire at its interior, doing massive damage.
        As for its attacks, it can fire a purple laser that follows you, which is fairly easy to dodge, launch Phazon balls from its tendrils, ground itself to activate four cannons to fire at you, and lastly summon Dark Echoes. These Echoes are much weaker than the ones Dark Samus made, and will either fire at Samus or roll into Boost Ball to ram into her. These take less damage before shattering, and will eventually fade on their own.
        Once enough damage is taken, the AU will separate from its spinal column to float around on its own. It can fire lasers from turrets in various directions, at which point only the area under it is safe, as well as drop to the ground and spin around the area. More importantly it can unleash a shockwave across the area, but it reveals a node of some sort when doing so, letting you shoot this and stun the AU. It will also fire two Phazon bursts at you sometimes, but doing so stuns itself.
        And that is your opportunity. While it is stunned, get behind the AU and you’ll see a glowing spot where the spine used to be connected. Blast that and you’ll be able to destroy it. This takes less damage than the last weak spot, and since it can move freely it will quickly turn to face you and hide its weak point as soon as the stun wears off.
        However, once the weak spot is known and you have the means to stun it, the damage quickly pours on, and it won’t last for too long. While it was something of a close call when I beat it a day ago, I can’t say this fight was as difficult as the Dark Samus battle… but I understand why. It’s a giant brain, it’s not made for combat. Fusing with it was, ultimately, a last resort for Dark Samus when she ran out of options. And for good reason.
        With the AU defeated, its connection to all of Phaaze is severed, and its death starts a chain reaction that starts destroying the entire planet. Not only that, but this destroys all Phazon, anywhere, starting with Dark Samus herself, who finally fades out of existence right before Samus’s eyes. Her own corruption fades, and she makes it out before the planet can blow, taking all traces of the corruption she fought with it.
        In spite of this amazing and complete victory over the evil force that Samus fought for three games, the game ends on a somber note as she reflects on the three hunters who died before she could stop it, and even the credits add in that this victory is inconsequential when placed against the vastness of space, and that “the victory is but a twinkle, a light of hope in the darkness.” And this note is understandable. While it is great that Phazon has been destroyed, many have been slain because of it, those lives cannot be brought back. In spite of this sad note to end on, I still love this game, and the Metroid Prime trilogy as a whole, and I hope you enjoyed it as well, dear reader.

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