The original Metroid is one of those rare classic games that continue to resonate in the hearts of gamers to this very day. Whether it is the non-linear gameplay or the surprise ending that shocked gamers around the world, Metroid moved video gaming as an entertainment medium forward, making simple baseball and golf games feel as if they just weren't enough.
The game combined the greatest aspects of Nintendo's most popular franchises: Super Mario Bros.'s platforming and The Legend of Zelda's exploration and character upgrades. Along with a setting similar to the creepiest sci-fi movies, Metroid players will never forget the moment they successfully escaped planet Zebes, or when they found out that the space bounty hunter that they controlled was a woman the entire time.
Although gamers will remember all of the most memorable events of Metroid, there are probably many aspects of the game that they weren't aware of. The following is a compilation of ten things that you probably never knew about Metroid.
1. The location of Mother Brain is located directly above the game's entrance.
Looking at the above excerpt of Metroid's map (courtesy of nesmaps.com), we can clearly see that the location of the game's final boss, Mother Brain, is located directly above the game's entrance.
2. The name “Metroid” is a combination of the words “metro” and “android.”
The game's title is a portmanteau of “metro” (as in underground railway) and “android.” This is meant to allude to the game's mostly underground setting and the protagonist's robot-like features.
3. Samus wasn't always a woman.
It wasn't until half way through Metroid's development did the idea of having Samus as a woman come about.
“We were partway through the development process,” recalls the game's director Yoshio Sakamoto, “when one of the staff members said 'Hey, wouldn't that be kind of cool if it turned out that this person inside the suit was a woman?'”
4. Gunpei Yokoi, the producer of the Metroid series, started his career as a janitor for Nintendo.
Mr. Yokoi was first hired by Nintendo in 1965 to clean and maintain the assembly-line machines used to manufacture its Hanafuda cards. In addition to producing the Metroid series, he created the Game Boy, Game and Watch, R.O.B., Virtual Boy, and became a mentor to Shigeru Miyamoto.
5. Ridley, the second boss of the game, was named after Ridley Scott.
The story and atmosphere of Metroid were heavily inspired by Alien (1979), a science-fiction movie directed by Ridley Scott.
6. The “JUSTIN BAILEY” means…
…absolutely nothing. Contrary to such popular rumors such as the “Justin Bailey” code being a clever way of saying “just in bailey” (bailey being a slang for “swimsuit”), the truth is that the famous password is nothing more than a random set of words. There are several other passwords that have the same effect.
7. “Planet Zebes” was mistranslated as “Planet Zebeth” during the game's opening story
No, it's not a typo, nor is it the name of another planet. The alien world was simply mistranslated from “Zebes” to “Zebeth.” In Japanese, the “S” sound and the “TH” sound are interchangeable.
8. Players are able to access unused map data with a glitch
Unused map data that Nintendo never intended players to access can be reached by performing a certain glitch. By getting stuck in one of those blue doors, players will eventually be able to walk through walls, granting them access to what they once thought were “secret worlds.”
9. The morph ball was designed as a programming shortcut
Samus has the unique ability to morph into a sphere, allowing her access to areas with low ceilings and narrow passages. Why doesn't she just crawl? That's because the morph ball required far less animating than a cyborg crawling on all fours, and Metroid's development team took full advantage of this shortcut.
10. The only time the main Metroid theme is heard (other than the intro) is after Mother Brain is defeated
Composer Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka did this in order to give the players a cleansing of emotional tension after the final battle–that is, right before you're forced to evacuate a self-destructing planet in under 3 minutes.