While Metroid may not be as well-known as Zelda or Mario, our love for Nintendo’s sci-fi action platformer surpasses that of those blockbusters. Dread was unveiled just a few months ago during Nintendo’s E3 2021 Direct presentation. With less than a month until the game’s release on October 8, here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know before playing Metroid Dread.
Metroid Dread is being developed by MercurySteam, a studio with whom Nintendo previously collaborated on Metroid: Samus Returns in 2017. Clive Barker’s Jericho, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 were previously produced by MercurySteam. With a few exceptions, the studio has a solid track record, so we’re optimistic that Metroid Dread will live up to the anticipation.
Dread is the fifth official entry in the 2D Metroid series, and it is a direct successor to the 2002 game Metroid Fusion, which was first released for the Game Boy Advance. Nintendo has stated that this game closes the core storyline centered on Samus’ dealings with the parasitic Metroid race.
Metroid has never been a story-driven series, and we’re sure Nintendo will keep players up to date on any important aspects as they play, but you won’t need to have played the other Metroid games to enjoy Dread. However, many of the previous Metroid games (notably Super Metroid) are still enjoyable now, so if you missed them the first time around, it’s worth revisiting them.
Metroid Dread was first mentioned shortly after Metroid Fusion was released in 2002. Yoshio Sakamoto, the series’ producer, has stated that he attempted to create Dread for the Nintendo DS at least twice. After the release of Metroid: Samus Returns by MercurySteam in 2017, Nintendo resurrected the Dread name and gave the project the green light for the Switch.
Samus Aran, the Bounty Hunter, has returned. Samus visited a space station infested with hostile, shape-shifting organisms known as X Parasites in Metroid Fusion. The Galactic Federation acquired proof that the X parasites survived the destruction and are now infecting the isolated planet of ZDR after Samus dealt with that possible disaster. The Federation responded by sending a team of robots to investigate the situation. When those units vanish shortly after their arrival, Samus Aran is called in to investigate.
Samus is immune to the X Parasites thanks to the events of Metroid Fusion. Unfortunately, X parasites aren’t the only threat on ZDR, as Samus is soon attacked and her skills stolen by a member of the ancient alien race known as Chozo. When Samus awakens from the attack, she realizes she is trapped deep beneath the surface of ZDR and must fight her way out while avoiding the Federation robots who are now pursuing her down.
Planet ZDR is a little-known world. This lonely extraterrestrial world has a purple atmosphere and is home to the Corpious, a gigantic fang-toothed monster. The Corpious has no legs and is propelled across the ground by two muscular arms. The beast can also turn invisible and use its long, scorpion-like tail to attack adversaries.
The Artaria sector of ZDR’s deep underground caves is rich in rocky outcroppings and underground waterfalls. Cataris is a zone on planet ZDR that acts as an industrial hub for transporting thermo-powered energy from nearby magma sources. Until Samus obtains a Power Suit, the high heat in this zone may cause harm to her equipment.
Commander Adam Malkovich, a “celebrated military genius” who served in the Galactic Federation Army, may be remembered by longtime followers. As mentioned in Metroid: Other M, Samus served under Malkovich when she was younger. During Samus’ voyage in Metroid Fusion, she thought about Adam a few times and even named a computer A.I. after him. In Dread, the AI version of Adam reappears, although he refuses to command Samus. Instead, this AI serves as the game’s loremaster, providing the player with story elements.
What do the E.M.M.I.s represent?
Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifiers are high-tech operations robots developed by the Galactic Federation for “research applications.” These E.M.M.I.s, on the other hand, are lethal weapons. The E.M.M.I.s was created to extract DNA, and they now pursue Samus across Planet ZDR, most likely because she carries Metroid DNA.
The E.M.M.I.s are difficult to destroy. Samus may only dismantle them if she improves her arm cannon at specific areas on Planet ZDR for a limited time. As a result, Samus has no choice but to sneak past the machines. This is no simple task, as E.M.M.Is can hear Samus’ footsteps and would persistently pursue her if they become aware of her existence. Players have a small opportunity to conduct a melee counter when an E.M.M.I. clutches Samus, giving Samus a chance to flee. If players fail this counter, the E.M.M.I.s impale her right away, causing a Game Over.
The Galactic Federation sent seven E.M.M.I.s to Planet ZDR, each of which is colored differently. The skills of E.M.M.Is vary. The green E.M.M.I., for example, can crawl through narrow corridors, while the yellow E.M.M.I. can run at great speeds and the blue E.M.M.I. can freeze and shatter items.
Metroid has always been a series about discovery. Samus steadily uncovers new weapons and abilities as she explores the depths of Planet ZDR, giving her access to new places. This cycle has always been at the core of Metroid, and Dread will keep it that way.
Many of Samus’s basic powers, like her arm cannon, missiles, grapple hook, and the morph ball that allows her to reach out-of-reach regions, are still available to her. MercurySteam introduced a melee counter in Metroid: Samus Returns, allowing Samus to deflect opponent blows and expose them to harsh counterattacks. For Dread, the same approach reappears. Samus, on the other hand, has a unique slide that allows her to glide through tight areas without transforming into her morph ball.
During Samus’ journey, she acquires access to cutting-edge technology and weapons. Samus can use the Phantom Cloak ability to make herself invisible for a short time. This power, however, depletes a resource known as Aeion, which was first introduced in Samus Returns. Aeion now slowly replenishes over time, unlike in the previous game. Samus can dash across the screen thanks to another Aeion ability called Flash Shift.
Aeion isn’t required for every power. The Spider grapple, for example, aids Samus in climbing walls and ceilings marked with a blue, magnetic surface. This is comparable to the Spider Ball from earlier Metroid games, however, it does not require Samus to transform into a morph ball. Meanwhile, Samus can use the Storm Missile weapon upgrade to lock on to several targets and fire a barrage of missiles. Samus can use her free aim to lock on to up to five targets and fire three missiles at each one.