Scanning Your Environment in Metroid Prime Remastered Tells a Chilling Story of a World Falling to Ruin

Uncover a galaxy of fear.

by J.R. Waugh
Metroid Prime Remastered Scanning Samus
Image: Nintendo / Retro Studios

Metroid Prime Remastered is a shockingly excellent port of one of the most outstanding GameCube titles ever. The game distinguishes itself as a sci-fi shooter/adventure game by taking a less-is-more approach to telling its story, without forcing players to watch bloated exposition-laden cutscenes. By scanning your environment in Metroid Prime Remastered, you’ll discover a chilling tale: part crime scene investigation, part apocalyptic prophecy.

The True Story of Metroid Prime Remastered is Hidden Around You

Metroid Prime Remastered is very much the same story as the 2002 original, but with a gorgeous new coat of paint. It runs exceptionally well but doesn’t pile on any features or expand the game with new cutscenes or dialogue because it doesn’t need to. Soon after landing at the first location of the game, you’ll be able to equip your Scan Visor and, if you read the details, you’ll find a detailed, dark story to read at your leisure.

The game allows you to experience these stories through Samus’ eyes, even catching glimpses of her face reflected in your visor in some instances. While it starts as flavor text, you’ll find it expands into a dark, terrifying universe very different from any other Nintendo series.

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It starts with finding dead, maimed, disfigured, or incapacitated Space Pirates clinging to life. These enemies are not sympathetic creatures in any sense in the Metroid universe, but something about landing at the Frigate Orpheon to find them so beaten-down is fearsome. They’re usually a more hardy opponent, and to see some limping, firing at you with futile results, sets up expectations of greater threats ahead. While this is true, even just seeing the effects of the plot on the world around you is fascinating.

As you explore further, leaving Frigate Orpheon to see Tallon IV, the flavor text turns into lore. The Pirates were conducting genetic experiments, often with horrifying mutations as a result. Every Space Pirate you encountered on the vessel was injured or killed in different ways. But when you get on the strange new world, you discover a planetary post-mortem, playing out in real-time. The Chozo, the alien race who raised Samus, once operated on this planet and saw a calamitous plague known as the Great Poison, breaking down the world.

Scanning Your Environment in the Game Feels Like a Self-Updating Obituary

While your initial assumptions are that of a literal poison in a traditional sense, scanning even something as simple as foliage or lichen shows corruption such as toxins and radiation, destroying the world’s surface in Metroid Prime. It’s the result of a corrupting substance called Phazon.

It’s not even a slow death, either, for Tallon IV. The Chozo recognize the ecosystem is falling apart, with numerous species having difficulties surviving this blight, themselves included. Despite their faith in a savior, Samus, the task ahead of her is monumental with the world’s expiration date drawing near.

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As you explore more of the planet, you’ll discover a research station with a map of the surrounding solar system, including Tallon IV and even Zebes, the setting of the original Metroid. The map details the planets’ mass, their status, and in the case of Tallon IV, clarification that it was once a paradise, but exposure to Phazon is causing rapid decay.

This decay will lead to a terrifyingly quick global extinction in approximately 25 years, to become a Class XIII Wasteland, if not for Samus’ intervention. But what’s more interesting is the lore of other surrounding worlds yet to be explored.

Metroid Prime Remastered Teases Worlds in Worse Shape That Are Yet to Be Seen

While on that same map, check out the planet Twin Tabula. It’s a quick scan, and you’ll discover a planet afflicted by Twin Fever, a viral infection that causes double vision, with death drawing near when the symptom fades. This isn’t the only planet you can scan on the map, either, with Oormine II being ravaged by nuclear dust storms and seismic events.

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But the one to take the cake is none other than Bilium. This planet is infested with Miteralis in its atmosphere, a virus described as “a sentient gaseous Global Exterminator virus.” Despite other threats in the series beyond Metroids making an appearance, such as the X Parasite, players would understandably be curious to see how this could be brought into future Metroid projects.

But in a world where the environment is toxic, unbearably hot, and increasingly hostile, and a solar system is in peril while the world around her is collapsing, Samus must push on. The mission has evolved into far more than responding to a distress signal, and while she handles the crisis in stoic silence, you might justifiably understand the expression you see in those rare glimpses of her face.

Image: Nintendo / Retro Studios

Through scanning in the Metroid Prime games, you’ll find Samus is responding to the calamitous threat of Phazon, and the Leviathans that transport them to corrupt the universe. You see the effects of these moments through her eyes and appreciate Samus for the badass she is.

Those eyes are those of one of the greatest bounty hunters ever to have lived, pushing on in a galaxy of terrors. That look is a look of focus with a touch of fear, and scanning everything the game has to offer will show that you still haven’t seen the worst of it.