Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.

DISCLAIMER: The following article contains spoilers for the games in the Metroid franchise.

Samus Aran

Samus in her power suit fighting a scary alien in Metroid Dread.

Metroid Dread.

Samus Aran Fast Facts

Samus Aran is the bounty hunter main character of the Metroid franchise. She made her debut in 1986’s Metroid, a side-scrolling exploration adventure game. Clad in an orange power suit with a visage-concealing helmet and a massive energy cannon on her left arm, many players of the original game did not realize Samus’ gender. This is because the game only showed Samus without her armor on if it was completed in an impressively short interval of time.

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Samus’ identity was further confused by a mistranslation of the original Metroid instruction manual. Manual copy inadvertently misgendered Samus by erroneously using he/him pronouns. Among other elements, this contributed to the incorrect presumption many players had that Samus was a man. But as Samus appeared in more games, including every entry in the widely applauded Super Smash Bros. franchise, the true nature of her identity became more widely recognized.

A Solitary Hero

Born human on the Earth colony K-2L, Samus’ parents were killed by Space Pirates. This served as a catalyst for a lifelong conflict. In particular, Samus has vowed revenge against the monstrously dragon-like pirate, Ridley (named for the director of Alien, to which the Metroid series owes stylistic and thematic debt).

Metroid's Ridley, a purple space dragon with yellow eyes, attacks Star Fox in Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Images credit: Nintendo.

Fortunately, Samus survived the horrible tragedy. She was subsequently taken in by the Chozo, an ancient, enigmatic and technologically advanced bird-person race. Brought to the planet Zebes, Samus had her human DNA augmented with Chozo DNA. Then, she was taught to be a warrior. While she subsequently left the planet and developed her reputation as a bounty hunter across the galaxy, she would return to Zebes multiple times. This includes during the events of Metroid, 1994’s Super Metroid, and 2002’s Metroid Prime.

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However, Samus’ augmentations and her upgradable power suit are not the only things created by the Chozo. They also created the Metroids. These jellyfish-like creatures are dangerous parasites. Worse still, the Space Pirates attempt to capitalize on the deadly bioengineered organism’s existence, even going so far as to be taking orders from the Mother Brain. In order to stop the pirates, Samus destroys Mother Brain and the Zebes laboratory, as depicted in 2004’s Metroid: Zero Mission, a retelling of Samus’ origin story.

Samus’ relationship with the Metroids grew more complicated in 1992’s Metroid II: Return of Samus. This is because she adopted — or rather, was adopted by — a baby Metroid. Imprinting upon her as though she were its mother, Samus bonds with the baby because she realizes they are both orphans.

The Real Deal

Samus is the real deal. Incredibly skilled and capable, the only thing that can stop Samus from completing her mission is herself (as when she disobeyed orders to destroy the baby Metroid). While the infant was subsequently killed by the Mother Brain, scientists developed a vaccine after studying it that saves Samus’ life in 2002’s Metroid Fusion. 

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This process necessitates corrupted portions of Samus’ power suit be sent away for study. A hero who is considerably more exposed to the world than she is within her power suit results. While the power suit returns in 2021’s Metroid Dread, even many casual Nintendo players now know the true nature of Samus’ identity. She’s a woman, and she’s a hyper-competent badass. Deal with it.

Why She Matters

Why does Samus matter? Samus shows us we can survive the darkest of tragedies to be reborn as someone new. She demonstrates that the erroneous perceptions of others do not affect the truth of who we are. And she reveals that not only can we overcome seemingly insurmountable opponents, but we can also forge new relationships with our enemies. This can be a wholly transformative experience in and of itself.

Corrupted Samus Power Suit in front of the moon in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

So, be like Samus. Wear your armor unapologetically. However, don’t be afraid to reveal who you are underneath. Be open to better understanding your enemies and forging new allyships with them. Do not be alarmed as the things you pick up or encounter along the way help you rebuild yourself in new and unexpected ways. And remember that the key to overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles is to put that arm cannon back on, no matter how many times you have to do it.

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