GF-POLICE

25y anniversary

Metroid turned 25 in 2011. Newest drawing of Kraid I have. I don't mind seeing a chibi style used as the original Samus has quite a large helmet indeed. I'm using "my" chibi proportions here.

Metroid and Me

As a young child my first exposure to video games pretty much coincided with the video game crash of 1983, While I have fond memories of Lock & Chase, Demon Attack and Game & Watch handhelds, it felt that something was missing from most games. I wanted them to be larger, have more stuff, a world to explore.

When I was about ten (the best age for enjoying games?), a triad of games appeared and granted me my wish: Zelda, Kid Icarus and Metroid. I have since learned that there were many other fantastic games out at the time, and sometimes I wonder how those could have shaped me instead.

Kid Icarus had a wonderful atmosphere and interesting monsters, but it was very linear and I wanted to explore the world more, not getting stuck on boring or hard parts. In the original Metroid and Zelda getting stuck often simply meant you went on to do something else, like looking for secrets, mapping or fooling around. It was difficult to know if you were actually stuck because there were no clear tasks or goalposts. Of course, players not used to this style will often complain about not knowing what to do after just being dropped into the world. It's worth to note that back in 80's Sweden, the only source of hints was schoolyard rumors. We only had simple Nintendo flyers until our version of Nintendo Power came out years later (and it was mostly comics). Playing through a game then really felt like mapping uncharted territory.

Proportions

I don't think my Samus will be a giant cyborg woman. IIRC, her height is only mentioned later on in the series. Besides, I might not feature Samus at all. These suits were based on the sprite. As a side note, Ellen Ripley is 5'7" whilst Sigourney Weaver is/was 5'11½". It's the only indication of Samus' height that I've got, other than the suggestion that she can pass for a man when all armoured up. Kim Basinger Samus appeared with Super Metroid I think, and her height was given as 6'3" by one source!

I know that the newer games in the Metroid series are certainly well respected and enjoyed by many people, but they are different beasts than the original that I enjoy. Because of the Zero Mission remake being so... modernized, I now consider the original Metroid to have been displaced into its own universe. For these reasons, Metroid 1 is the only source of canon I'll draw from here! This means most stuff on this page will be inconsistent with canon from other games in the series and might appear confusing to someone intimate with that material.

8 pixel mockup

Pixel art from 2006 or 2007 which I fiddled with triannually. 31 colors so far.

Back in 2007 I started fooling around with mockups for an 8*8 pixel Metroid game. I liked the idea because I had been playing around with smaller tiles back in the Amiga days, enjoying the extra screen space it yielded. Monitors are really large now though, so I might use my 16*16 graphics from my Famicube mockup instead as I like the look of it more. Also, other people have since made 8px engines, the novelty is long gone.

Samus is using a GFP strike ship in this mockup. The design is meant to remind the player about the two flanking pillars where she starts in the original game. The background elements here are nonsense, but I have decided to use a mostly black background, with non-tiley background elements rather than the faded tiles that some games use. When the only difference between foreground and background tiles is shade, it can get planarly confusing.

Metroid mockup for Famicube, by Arne

My 16*16px mockup, using Famicube restrictions. The terrain shows hint of actually being technology, overgrown by some now fossilized... possibly alien coral. Looks like I forgot to do ^^ ground tiles. I like the idea of using monolithic, dark background elements, humming silently through the eons.

GFP deployment

Designs from 2006. I turned these into sprites.

I didn't want to make my Metroid game about about Samus, so I decided to put the focus on the Galactic Federation Police and/or bounty hunters mentioned in the manual. I had done some drawings of those already. They amalgamated into this rapid deployment strike force (Sleepers?), mostly robotic because it worked better with the lone heroine setup. This ship sketch was the base of the pixel art above.

Tyrana Mow

Character design from 2006, with some newly aquired scars.

Agent Tyrana Mow from the Galactic Federation Police - one of the few agents stationed in the Obez Periphery. The GFP forces were divided and spread thin after Space Pirate attacks on several Cluster Worlds, perhaps a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from their activity elsewhere.

Story & world development

Obez Periphery - Orwyrm's Omnidex entry, summary

The Obez Periphery is a sparsely populated star sector, far away from any Cluster Worlds. As of year 208E* of the Cosmic Calendar, little of the Obez Periphery has been explored. Many of the stars still carry the randomly chosen names issued by automated explorer probes some 400 years ago. However, the sector briefly appeared in the news when a sort of intelligent "pancake" creature inhabiting the high gravity world Gebelzoth devoured the research team there to study it (See Disaster at Gebelzoth for the dramatised thriller).

Disaster as Gebelzoth

Other notable traits of the sector is its ratio of self-annihilated civilisations, only three discovered so far, quite below average for a sector of this size. Recent rumors also has it that some sort of derelict automated space stations have been discovered, and that they are quite functional!

The sector has been settled by an array of foreign species, busying themselves running many small scale mining and "agriculture" operations. None these can be said to be very profitable due to the distance to the commercial main sectors. People eking out a living in the Obez Periphery probably do so out of a need to disappear. The GFP occasionally sweep the sector to pull in the worst of the worst and to keep certain operations in check.

-- Last updated: 208E --

* I'm thinking the Cosmic Calendar (CC) uses X as a number, perhaps in a base 12 system. 0123456789XE.

Ripper vermin on the rise.

Debris field

According to new studies released by the Galactic Trade Institute, GTI, accidents caused by Ripper swarms have increased in frequency over the last decade, even though the Ripper population is stable. The higher accident ratio is attributed to unexplained changes in the Ripper migratory patterns, now causing them to occupy high traffic areas, the most notorious case being Starlane 47, an important corridor of space between Chia and Smith's Landing. Rippers are tough, brainless creatures capable of collectively entering subspace during migration. A spaceship slamming into a swarm of Rippers in either normal space or subspace can be completely ripped apart if the swarm is dense enough.

Pictured: Last year the mega-class luxury liner Queen Wictoria was lost to a Ripper swarm on her maiden voyage, killing nearly 26 000 travellers, including the entire royal family of Old Gotholm which had commissioned her.

The Metroid story

Manual art In the year 2000 of the history of the cosmos, representatives from the many different planets in the galaxy established a congress called the Galactic Federation, and an age of prosperity began. A successful exchange of cultures and civilization resulted, and thousands of interstellar spaceships ferried back and forth between planets. But space pirates also appeared to attack the spaceships.

The Federation Bureau created the Galactic Federation Police, but the pirates' attacks were powerful and it was not easy to catch them in the vastness of space. The Federation Bureau and the Federation Police called together warriors known for their great courage and sent them to do battle with the pirates. These great warriors were called "space hunters." They received large rewards when they captured pirates, and made their living as space bounty hunters.

Manual art

It is now year 20X5 of the history of the cosmos, and something terrible has happened. Space pirates have attacked a deep-space research spaceship and seized a capsule containing an unknown life-form that had just been discovered on Planet SR388. This life-form is in a state of suspended animation, but can be reactivated and will multiply when exposed to beta rays for 24 hours. It is suspected that the entire civilization of Planet SR388 was destroyed by some unknown person or thing, and there is a strong possibility that the life-form just discovered was the cause of the planet's destruction.

To carelessly let it multiply would be extremely dangerous. The Federation researchers had named it "Metroid" and were bringing it back to Earth-- when it was stolen by the space pirates! If Metroid is multiplied by the space pirates and then used as a weapon, the entire galactic civilization will be destroyed.

Manual art

After a desperate search, the Federation Police have at last found the pirates' headquarters, the fortress planet Zebes, and launched a general attack. But the pirates' resistance is strong, and the Police have been unable to take the planet. Meanwhile, in a room hidden deep within the center of the fortress, the preparations for multiplying the Metroid are progressing steadily.

As a last resort, the Federation Police have decided on this strategy: to send a space hunter to penetrate the center of the fortress and destroy Mother Brain. The space hunter chosen for this mission is Samus Aran. He is the greatest of all the space hunters and has successfully completed numerous missions that everybody thought were absolutely impossible. He is a cyborg: his entire body has been surgically strengthened with robotics, giving him superpowers. Even the space pirates fear his space suit, which can absorb any enemy's power. But his true form is shrouded in mystery.

The planet Zebes is a natural fortress. Its sides are covered with a special kind of stone, and its interior is a complicated maze. On top of that, the pirates have planted devices and booby traps in the maze, and the pirates' eery followers lie in wait around every corner. Samus has now succeeded in penetrating Zebes. But time is running out. Will he be able to destroy the Metroid and save the galaxy?

- Quoted from the Metroid 1 manual.

Metroid screenshot - Title screen

Metroid screenshot - Spawn point

Metroid screenshot - Ridley boss fight

Fortress Planetoids

scale Why is Samus Aran alone on Zebes? The back story tells us that Zebes is a well defended 'fortress planet', so I'm thinking it's like an artificial, enormous porcupine, an ancient defensive "Death Star" festooned with turrets, subspace disruptors and sensors. The title screen and music somehow leaves me with the impression that Zebes has little or no atmosphere.

The low gravity might make sense if Zebes about 1/10th to 1/20th the radius of Earth (about Death Star size), but is composed out of a hard, heavy material rather than water ice. The Chozo found these unusual small dense worlds and turned them into enormous bastions. They apparently operate even after the Chozo's long absence.

scale The Space Pirates appears to have stumbled upon several of these planetoids, perhaps in a region of space neglected by the GFP. They somehow infiltrated and gained control over the ancient defensive systems (using a/the Mother Brain). The native creatures could still attack pretty much everyone, causing some amusing fights. Possibly the Space Pirate brought some hounds of their own. The Space Pirates have gained full door control, and generally avoid the creature habitats. Perhaps they purge some tunnels using shoot-everything turrets.

Many Chozo artefacts have already been discovered by the Space Pirates. It could be suggested that they looted some of the more accessible locations, moving treasures to Space Pirate vaults. Some bosses have used treasures for themselves (Ridley does drop +75 missiles).

Base architecture & functions

When doing the levels, it'll be useful keep theming and structure in mind. The installations and architecture of the Chozo and Space Pirates needs to be kept distinctly separate. The Chozo structures are large and mysterious, whilst the Space Pirate props appears to have been haphazardly brought in and placed wherever there's room, sometimes interfacing with the older Chozo systems.

In my Famicube mockup I suggest that Brinstar is an artificial construct with some sort of teal pancakes fossilised on top, but I think a lot of the terrain is sort of "natural" (but weird), only special locations have been augmented.

Enemy creatures

This is my 2016 edition of the Metroid enemies. I've been drawing them since the 80's, but my older Metroid work was quite bad I feel. Most of these are new approaches. I've noticed that as I get better at drawing, my solutions become more accurate. My old work was... I suppose every artist has a set of go-to shapes which grows over time. When I look at my work I see a very small set, and a lot of garbage lines in places where I couldn't even find a shape.

Usually the design change a little as I refine line art and block in colors. I'll also have to consider what I want to creatures to be. I think the Choze imported them and adapted/reengineered them to serve various roles on the Fortress Planetoids/Worlds.

Metroid Enemies

I've turned the Rippers into a sort of space hazard. If they crash on planets every now and then, perhaps they unwittingly brought FTL and hover tech to some races (setting the humans in motion)?

Metroid Enemies

Norfair. I'm thinking most enemy types come in various variants (I'll have to look up which colour is stronger). The Chozo might have collected various creatures from all about re-engineered them to serve as a natural defence, or perhaps maintenance role.

Metroid Enemies

Hideout 1. Having some trouble with Geega. Maybe I should redraw it so it looks like a larvae form of Dessgeega? Well, larvae does look quite different from the final result, so maybe not. It could cocoon.

Dessgeega is from Hideout 2, but whatever. I really like the sprite, but I don't think I'm doing it justice here. Too much stuff on it, but at the same time I don't want to do something very simple... like a plain cartoon of the sprite. Some ideas used here: devolved rear legs, a sort of piston muscle system. I don't like the eyes, too crustacean. Not sure if I like the beak either.

Metroid Enemies

Hideout 2. Holtz always gave me trouble but it's maybe starting to work.

Races and characters

Metroid characters

Variants of Samus, 2007 / 2016. Also, Ridley.

Ridley is one of those designs which I didn't quite understand when I was younger, so I tried to draw something else cool looking and it always felt like a miss. Eventually I just drew it as it looked and I'm kind of appreciating the wonkiness of the design now. I'm basing my designs on the sprites first and foremost, only using the manual art to fill in the unknowns. I'm ignoring the ptera-ridley design of the later games. Is Ridley the member of a race or an unique creation? Perhaps a few different Ridleys were created? Ridley and Erren? There is a "fake" Ridley with a more red tone, but it wasn't fully implemented in the game.

Samus has fangirls in the manga/guide, but possibly they do not know her gender. Does Samus actually have to be a human? Is it mentioned anywhere in the early material? I forget things. She could possibly be a Space Elf of some sort. Space Elves are fun. I played collected Eldar in 40K. Anyways, Samus is just a somewhat notorious Space Hunter in my M1-based setting, not a Chozo-powered special goddess. I believe the Space Hunters are useful to the GFP because of their shady bounty hunter backgrounds and daring personalities.

Metroid characters

If the GFP called in Space Hunters for some important task, I'm imagining this sort of relationship. Not everyone enjoys dealing with "those types".

Humans might not be all that important in the Galactic Federation. Huh? Didn't they try to bring the Metroid back to a research facility on Earth, suggesting it's HQ? Well, they did try to bring a civilisation-buster there...

Metroid characters

The races from the council shot in the instruction booklet / manual. 2016. The "Shade" is somewhat based on the pirates in Samus' promo video in the manga/guide.

Most Tortodak are very loyal, for the right price. Through clever negotiations on the GFP's part they now employ a large force of Tortodaks. That said, the sprawling Galactic Federation and its peripheral sectors has given rise to new cultural values and opportunities. The Tortodaks has gradually become quite diverse, similar to the exotic Humans.

Long ago, an enigmatic race of crab-men colonised the home world of the primitive Wuwik and uplifted the species from their animal state. Despite now being an old race themselves, the ditzy worms have few accomplishments to show for it, instead carelessly riding on the progress of others.

Despite being a race of cyborgs, the Zygocthori are quite religious. They appear captivated by the state of mind itself, rather than the details of any particular religion. Their selfless ability to adapt to and incorporate new information into existing systems often makes them great administrators and leaders. It's also not uncommon to see Zygocthorian pirate captains.

It is said that the Pulgul are born old and disinterested, and that they are soon giving up their seat on the Grand Council in favour of one of the minority races, such as the Humans or Lurr. The Grand Council, unlike the Regional Council, has only 6 seats according to tradition.

Millenia before the formation of the Galactic Federation and its Great Council there was another council of sorts, also with six seats. Out of these races Voice is the only remnant - She is the last of her race, left behind to keep an eye on things. While her agenda is hard to make out, she was instrumental in forming the current council. Her exceedingly rare appearances have also been exceedingly useful. It is suspected that she has no physical body and spends most of her time half-dreaming on some remote, hidden planet as the decades and centuries drift by.

The troublesome Shades are perhaps the race least deserving of a seat on the Great Council, but the Voice has insisted on their inclusion and carries enough weight to quiet any protests. The Shades are a warrior race, but their appearance and manners can perhaps make them appear more intimidating than they are. Shades are genderless, but other races refer to Shades with a female pronoun, whilst Shades refer to members of other races with [creature] or "He" if the situation absolutely demands politeness. They don't have much interest in, or ability to tell people apart. Conversely, other races have trouble telling Shades apart as they are almost identical and mostly wear black armour.

Metroid characters

Loose characters coming along, some based on drawings I had up on "Planet Zebes" in 1999+. Might be GFP agents. I need to design a standard armour for them though.

Space Pirates

I never did like the walking Space Pirates from Super Metroid. Perhaps I had imagined the Space Pirates being more... exotic, because NES Metroid only showed Kraid and Ridley as humanoid(ish) - the other enemies were creatures (bugs and stuff). Reading my old thoughts on the matter in 2016 leaves me more conflicted. Did I ever consider the creatures to be Space Pirates? I think they make more sense as local Zebesian fauna. Also, looking in the manual I see a humanoid Space Pirate with a pirate hat. Were Kraid, Ridley and the Mother Brain the only Space Pirates on Zebes?

Looking at things now, I don't get the impression that the Space Pirates are a... race or a specific group of races. It seems more like there are... well, pirates in space, and some of them got a hold of the Metroid being shipped from SR388.

One way to flesh them out is to thing about what they need to do. They obviously need to be able to launch pirate raids with spacecrafts, store loot, sustain a population, produce power and equipment and experiment in a lab. How many guys do they need for this? Perhaps Space Pirates should be mostly "mini bosses", a rag-tag collection of characters? That could be fun. This works with my difficulty setting idea where Tyrana starts in one of several personal storage rooms, stealing the loot there (which belongs to a humanoid Space Pirate). It'll be interesting to design all these Space Pirate characters (only a few have to be humanoid).

Metroid characters

The pirate captain is only seen as a silhouette in the manual. Here I've represented him with two different designs (cyclop and Shade). Perhaps the Shades will be the grunts if I need any (piloting fighters in plot, adding variation to creature type encounters). Some more alien looking Space Pirates also belong here, including Kraid and Ridley or their equivalents. Also, maybe the Space Pirates were experimenting with the local creatures before getting their hands on the more effective Metroids.

Conversely, the creatures fill the role of mindless clone to destroy in droves. However, I think they should have more complex behaviour, as if they are a part of a Chozoian system. They'll go about their business (maintenance?) and any trespasser will be treated more like in infection the immune system has to deal with (the fortress planet being an organism with veins. Some creatures will flee, some will ignore, others might attack if capable.

Metroids

The Metroids were discovered on SR388 where they apparently had killed everything. The space pirates captured a specimen and plans to use it for their own purposes. As stated in the story, the Metroids are extremely dangerous. Think massive demolition steel ball coming at 40mph! Think crazy 'DragonBall' power! Even a super-upgraded Samus will have serious trouble against one of them. They should be something different from regular enemies. The trick is of course to freeze them, but they might even grow resistance against that. If they were easy to defeat, they wouldn't be much of a weapon, would they?

Why doesn't the Mother Brain send Metroids after the intruder that's causing trouble as the game progresses? I don't know, but maybe the wild areas of Zebes are not under the Mother Brain's control. If the player wanders into "Tourian", the Space Pirate main area, perhaps things will go south real quick?

Metroid Enemies

This is really an old design, with the speedy, manacing sort of look. I've included a younger variant with more tentacles to pay homage to the version in the manual.

Mother Brain

"The mechanical life vein"? What is the role of the Mother Brain? Is it an administrative system used by the Space Pirates, or a one of a kind leader found only on Zebes? I'm thinking it might be more like the former, similar to Pilot in Farscape. The Mother Brain is able to control the otherwise unruly Metroids using some kind of mind link, and it has also interfaced with many of the Fortress Planetoid's systems, making the world habitable for the Space Pirates.

Mobilebrain

Mother Brain painting from 2003, 2005, cleaned up for 2016.

Chozo, or not

It appears the name "Chozo" doesn't appear until later in the series, so I wouldn't be naming them outside of this document where I'm using it as a placeholder. I'm fine with them being nameless ancients, like the mysterious jockey in Alien... before it was explained, and named. I always imagined the jockey being a random alien who had an unfortunate, chance encounter with an Alien, a long, long time ago. By not calling the Chozo by name, or even using a new one, I might make it more clear that I'm building exclusively on the original Metroid lore. How about... The Engineers? *chuckle*

Given that they built up these fortress planetoids and neighbouring worlds were wiped out by Metroids, it's quite possible that they weren't so good and wise. This point could be driven further by including some unsettling background architecture. However, it's also possible that they holed up in their Fortress Worlds because there was a Metroid menace lurking about. The player might find a Metroid counter weapon.

Chozo

In my interpretation of the story, the Chozo are long gone (gone or gone). Here's one walking about though. They are biomechanical like Giger's Alien designs (in particular the Jockey).

Space Hunters

When Space Pirates appeared to plunder and loot ships and colonies, the centralised and bureaucratic GFP were unable to deal with the threat, and in many ways they still are. Space Pirates seemingly come out of nowhere, from the peripheral systems. The GFP are always need agents with knowledge of these cultures external to their own. A difficult prospect - those with the right knowledge often have reason to avoid the GFP.

Eventually though, with the right incentive, a form of mercenary appeared, with one foot in each world - the Space Hunter. These are former, or active bounty hunters, pirates, outcasts... Not everyone in the GFP are happy about the dealings with these "scum".

Metroid characters

Space Hunters, various sources. 2016.

However, the GFP have begun taking measures themselves, such as producing their own Special Dealings agents. When things get really tough they also have a militarised force. The most recent use of this force was against the Fortress Planetoids in the Obez Periphery, a venture which met with spectacular failure.

Ships

Chozo

A few ship doodles, exploring "weird" ship shapes.

I like the idea of doing the Space Pirate ships similar to the Super Metroid ship, but give it a big Harlockian skull and bones logo at the front. I've based the design here a bit on the one in the manga/guide. If Maki Ryder has a ship, it should look a bit like her bike (from Mach Rider). I also wanted to do some creepy organic ships, but I don't know if they'll come in handy. I wanted Ridley's ship to be a bit pointy. Just a first rough.

Nintendomagazinet

Samus' ship from Nintendo Magazinet. I remember liking the garbage world comic.

For Samus' ship, I think I've arrived at something while experimenting with pixel art:

Metroid ship

NES style mockup, 2016. Using about 80 8*8 tiles as I'm not being very efficient. There are actualy quite a few unused tiles in Brinstar.

I went ahead and did a ship based on Alien, maybe doubly so - it's the Narcissus mixed with the Arrowhead from R-Type (which is also alien inspired). Arrozissus.

An in-game ship might make more sense if seen as a miniature on the surface/title screen, as that's where the end/escape of Tourian probably leads to. It's possible Samus chose the spawn point carefully because she detected the Maru Mari in Brinstar. I don't know if she teleports in or what though. For a hack, I'd probably make a surface area, add in my big ship, then do a bank switch elevator down to between the starting pillars in blue Brinstar. There appears to be some unused tiles in Brinstar which could be used for more terrain variation.

Also seen: experimenting with new enemy sprites. My idea is to vary their size a bit, because it feels a bit more organic than compulsion-filling the 16*16 box. The Geemer/Zoomer are the first enemies encountered so they should be small. The Mellow are very weak and should be smaller too. Unsure about cyclops Rio, but a lot of enemies are doing the two-eye head thing and I wanted variation. I did these before drawing the enemies seen elsewhere, so their design is constantly in flux as I feel my way around. Have to settle eventually though.

Alt Samus sprites

Vaguely related, I also did some suits based on the alternative fluff art suit, the main fluff art suit, and the Super Metroid suit.

Tomb worlds

The tree thousand tomb worlds so far discovered can make one think that it is perhaps fortunate that these warlike races destroyed themselves before achieving spaceflight and setting the galaxy ablaze. Some tomb worlds date back a billion years, others just a few thousand, but their cratered, irradiated surfaces often tell of a similar fate.

However, recently five unusual tomb worlds were discovered in the Northern Rim sector. Excavations quickly revealed that these had not been primitive worlds, but colonies founded by an advanced, seemingly peaceful space faring civilisation. Some 12 000 years ago they were stripped of all life by something incredibly voracious. Many theories have been put forth to explain what happened.

Probotectors on SR388

The most supported theory is that they were hit by a bio-weapon, exotic or of their own manufacture. Meanwhile, the priests of Xaan insist that the worlds were trapped in the web of the great spider goddess Ragol, and their scribes have already published two new tomes on the subject. Many of the older civilisations believe that they were hit by one of the mythological space dwelling entities, such as a Celestial Sapphire or Transcendental Cloud or Star Eaters.

Excavations of all five planets revealed no trace of the bio-weapon, or at least this was the official story. Trouble began when Space Pirates raided a research ship leaving the primary dig site on SR388, then scurried off in a hurry toward the Obez Periphery, a desolate sector of space known to host various unwanted elements.

Zebeth surface

It's believed that they brought [codename Metroid] to their base on Zebes, however, intelligence now suggest that they split their forces up and also sent something to a second base, Zebul. Samus Aran (Space Hunter) was sent to deal with the situation on Zebes, whilst Tyrana Mow was sent to Zebul as she was the closest agent.

Both Zebes and Zebul are considered impenetrable fortresses and direct attacks have met with disaster in the past. A few agents in smaller ships have been able to slip under the sensor net and deploy on Zebul, only never to be heard from again. The Space Pirate bases in the Obez Periphery have long been a thumb in the eye of the Galactic Federation Police even though they are far too remote to be a military threat. No one had thought that a group of bandits could get their hands on something so dangerous, in such close proximity to their safe havens.

Intro sequence for Tyrana Mow

EMERGENCY ORDER

Header -------------------------------------------
Att: Tyrana Mow, Sleeper Striker Unit COM 
Loc: OP446 Jaranazenaga system, Obez Periphery
Pri: URGENT, break cloak.
Bty: 60,000,000 credits.

Body ---------------------------------------------
Commence covert strike on Fortress Planetoid Zebul
in system OP444 and execute priority orders.

PRIORITY ORDERS

Sabotage any ongoing Space Pirate research.

Permission granted to use the Nitromega device.

Eliminate any Space Pirate leaders encountered.

Caution: Space Pirates likely in possession of 
type 1 bio-weapon or artefact.

>>> GALACTIC FEDERAL POLICE, M510

Why isn't the ship shot down by the defences at sight? Maybe the GFP got ahold of a one-time pass code? It works for a small ship, but not an invasion fleet. When the ship gets close to the surface the pirates can see who's coming of course.

A small army of robotic troops deploy from the legs of the GFP dropship, along with a human coordinator. After some brief assembling they're on the move towards an elevator shaft. Soon a few scouting Memu appears. Confusion. Are they dangerous? The Memu soon become a nuisance. A tank opens fire with its secondary gun, slaying a few. The remaining Memu quickly withdraw.

GFP deployment

The GFP forces form up. Several strange creatures go to attack, most are disposed of easily, though some may cause a little trouble. In the background, a Metroid perched on a natural pillar swoops quickly out of view. The GFP appears to be winning without taking too much damage. The opposition is growing thin. Is it over? They begin to advance again.

8 pixel mockup

Suddenly a Metroid slams into the leading tank, crushing it. The GFP troops open fire on the Metroid but it just shrugs it off as it hangs over the smoldering wreckage. Is it dazed, or pondering what to do next? It pounces on the creaking wreckage once again slowly lifting it into the air, then drops or drags it onto an infantry group. Another Metroid appears. Bratatatata. Our heroine makes herself scarce.

GFP deployment

The camera moves to the back of the line where our brave heroine is. Everything is interactive from here, but there is no way to win. Retreating forces spill onto the screen. Some time passes as the last GFP troops are dealt with. Once the GFP have been decimated, the Metroids carry away the crates brought by the GFP, (they are controlled by someone wishing to loot?). The crates are brought to different subterranean storage rooms.

8 pixel mockup

By now our heroine is either in peril or hiding inside one of the crates. This sets difficulty: Easy, Normal, Hard or Impossible. Unlike most games damage is not manipulated by the difficulty "setting". The actual difficulty simply depends on where Tyrana ends up. The Space Pirate minibosses each have vaults with loot, so Tyrana makes use of anything found where she ends up! In Easy mode Tyrana would steal one of the minibosses' really good stuff and start in a good place. With no in-game story, it's easier to vary the starting location like this.

Possibly, there could also be several alternative Normal mode starting locations, just to add some replay value. A vault is easy to exit by hard to enter (without the right key) so even if adjacent Tyrana couldn't easily raid them early on.

Vault

The player will start in one of the Space Pirates' personal vaults, and is given the opportunity to loot it. There are also treasures with a narrative role, but they could work a bit like score (if the character is a bounty hunter then she could be greedy like that). Treasures and crates are in the background plane and have to be examined like in the old game Impossible Mission. Different Space Pirates have different types of collections, like ancient artefacts or bio samples.

Normal - Crate A: Tyrana is dropped off in Space Pirate A's vault where she finds a full armour, but only a mediocre beam and no missiles.

Hard - Crate B: Tyrana is dropped off in Space Pirate A's vault where she only finds a lighter suit. It might take a while to find a suit upgrade, if even possible. Tyrana does not come with a beefy armour as default, because she's actually some sort of technician (base buster?) and the only agent the GFP had in the region.

Easy - Captured: I think the ship should not be off limits as a place to enter, but, if Tyrana tries to hide in the ship a Metroid will follow her and grab her. Regardless, in this scenario Tyrana fails to hide in time and is taken directly to the Mother Brain. Now Samus (overpowered) has to rescue Tyrana, after finishing Zebes of course.

Impossible - Captured: Tyrana manages to interface with a robot (undocumented feature - button combination) and get it into a crate, and is then snatched like in regular Easy mode. Tyrana is put in a vat of some sort, BUT, the interface link remains active. Robots can't be upgraded as effectively as cyborgs like Samus or Tyrana. Note that if Tyrana hides in a crate, she would be playable as normal as she's not captured.

I don't like how Samus constantly has to be nerfed in various contrived ways in every game. My solution to this was to not feature Samus. However... maybe if player not fast enough to reach the last boss, an overpowered Samus (she finished Zebes) crashes the party, steals the kill and takes all the bounty! Cheeky! If I recall correctly, the original FDS Metroid had money bag rewards based on time played, so the bounty hunter narrative makes sense.

More notes on gameplay

I like the idea of manuals containing lots of extra fluff to compliment the game. It's what made the Games Workshop games so appealing. Nowadays video games often put the instructions, tutorials and extra fluff in the game itself, but I think this can be a little obtrusive, especially in a very open game built for replay value.

Because this project is based on the original Metroid, player skill, character skill and curiosity will limit the progression, not keys and doors, or scripted sequences. The character is leveled up by exploration of the game world. Metroid 1 was a bit linear at the start I suppose, but once you had the MaruMari, Missiles, Bombs and Icebeam (all found early, etc you could waltz around more freely.

So, I think treasures should be mostly upgrades which increases character skill. I wouldn't be opposed to having a few random treasures, unique for each game, so starting a new game gives a feeling of... what will I encounter this time? The Space Pirates could have brought something and locked in a vault. I don't think the native treasures should be random because the planet has just been sitting there waiting. It's a foundation. The Space Pirates are the chaotic element, but possibly they have already looted some treasure rooms randomly (treasures might be found in their vaults or on their person as drops).

There are several different weapon types which can be upgraded individually.

Chozo pets

An old idea of mine was that, while the Chozo are long gone, they left behind pets which still linger around the Chozo ruins. Perhaps they find warmth near the Chozo artefacts. Perhaps when disturbed they scurry off. Also seen, missiles with pop-out stabilisers.

Boosters are assigned permanently, but are have less and less effect for each that is added (+1.0, 0.8, 0.64, 0.512, 0.4096, ...). For example, a weapon beam will start with 3.0 in a stat, and upgrade will add 1.0, the next one 0.8, and the next 0.64, resulting in a total of 5.44, which is a multiplier used with a hardcoded weapon performance value in the code. Since there's a limited amount of boosters in the game, the player can choose to play the game differently each time.

Examples of things that can limit the progress of the player are...

MATH

I'll try to use my rudimentary understanding of math to solve Zebes size and density and figure out the specs of my fortress planet. Note that I'm assuming that Samus is human and not a Cyborg (which would be able to jump higher, maybe). Also, maybe Samus is using a hover belt of some sort.

REFERENCE
Earth radius: 1E = 6,378km
Moon radius: 0.27E
Iron density: 8.0
Water density: 1.0
Planet Earth density: 5.5
Small moon density:1.0~2.0)
---
FORTRESS PLANET(oid)
Radius: 0.049E = 312km
Density: 7.0 (grams per cu.cm)
Gravity: (7.0/5.5)*0.049 = 0.0625 (approximate)
Solving jump height:
Earth_jump_height * (earth_g/fort_g) + crouch'n leg tweak
0.25m * 16 (=4m) + 0.4m = 4.4m
---
METROID 1
jumpheight: (5 blocks + 0.5 crouch) * (Samus_height 1.6m / 2 blocks =) 80cm = 4.4m
Zebes gravity: 0.0625 (1/16 E)
---
An alternative method could be to simply calculate how fast Samus falls...


Other art

Alana Bailey

Suit design from 2005 with some fancy 2016 on top. No longer Samus.

Alana Bailey, is supposedly stationed in the Obez Periphery, but last sighted doing promo work for her swimsuit line in the nearby Abunai sector. Perhaps her brand is so successful that swimsuits are sometimes known as Baileys?

Metroid Prime Federation Force Golem by Arne

Writing this, there it seems the Federation Force is getting their own game! I absolutely do not mind seeing a "chibi" style, but I'm vehemently opposed to what I call "malt cross proportions" (limbs getting thicker further from the body), so here's my own take on the Golem mobile suit. I changed the head because I didn't care for the Golems looking like large Federation troopers. The eyes play on the idea of stereoscopic sight, because it's a 3DS game. I won't use this design for the project.

Ladytroid

Ladytroid experiment from 2004. I think I was trying to do a not-Metroid.

Bubblegum Crisis type Samus

I once considered doing a sort of Bubblegum Crisis style suit for either Samus or the GFP.

Also see my Planet Zebes page for some of my older Metroid material. I pronounce Zebes in a sort of Swedish "Se~Bäss" way.


Art by Arne Niklas Jansson

AndroidArts.com