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Ridley, as depicted in Super Metroid
|First game||Metroid (1986)|
Ridley (Japanese: リドリー?) is a video game villain for the Metroid series, and is the series' primary villain despite not typically acting as the main antagonist in individual games he appears in. He is a dragon-like extraterrestrial that acts as Samus Aran's archenemy due to his attack on her homeworld; despite being killed multiple times by her, he is always revived by the Space Pirates continuously feeding him Bio-Matter (which is live flesh and blood). Originally appearing as a subordinate of Mother Brain, the primary antagonist of multiple titles in the Metroid series, he appears in Metroid Prime and Prime 3 by himself in his Meta Ridley form. Despite his monstrous appearance, he is revealed to be very intelligent and capable of speech in the Metroid e-manga, though he does not speak in the Metroid video games.
Ridley originally appeared in the Nintendo Entertainment System video game Metroid. Mike Sneath, one of three senior character artists for Metroid Prime, was responsible for designing the Meta Ridley version of Ridley seen in Metroid Prime. It took him about "20 to 25 days" to model and texture Meta Ridley, citing the wings as having taken a few days of his time, commenting that it took him a while to get the shaders to work to give his wings the appearance of having a "holographic energy". He was not involved with designing the battle with Meta Ridley, which was left up to the game designers. Andrew Jones, the lead concept artist for Metroid Prime, had little to do with the design of Ridley. The initial design submitted was rejected by Nintendo, while the second design the artists submitted was approved. Steve Barcia, the executive producer of Retro Studios, called Ridley his favorite enemy from Metroid Prime due to the quality of the battle and his fan appeal. He added that such a battle was rare for a first person shooter, which helped to set Metroid Prime apart. A younger clone of Ridley also appears in Metroid: Other M and features Ridley's infant and adolescent forms, along with his traditional adult form.
Throughout the series, Ridley has made a variety of changes in his appearance. He was originally roughly the same size of protagonist Samus Aran in the original Metroid title. In Super Metroid, he is significantly larger than in the original title, sporting purple skin, a large wingspan, glowing eyes, claws, and resembling a dragon or a pterodactyl. His Prime series cyborg form is referred to as Meta Ridley, while a robotic duplicate, Ridley Robot, is also shown in Zero Mission. The instruction manual for the original Metroid refers to Ridley as the last of his species, which was native to Zebes. He appears to be sentient, and is even capable of speech, as evidenced in the Metroid manga. His trophy description in Super Smash Bros. Melee confirms Ridley's gender as male. Series creator suggests that he was made the general of the Space Pirates due to how evil he is or how powerful he is. Both Ridley and Meta Ridley appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as bosses that must be defeated.
Before the events of Metroid, Ridley led an attack on Samus Aran's home planet, killing all of its inhabitants except for Samus, who is rescued by the Chozo, an ancient, bird-like species of aliens. He first appears in Metroid as a comparatively diminutive creature, and one of three primary antagonists along with Kraid and Mother Brain. In the Zero Mission remake, he is accompanied by a robotic version of himself called Mecha Ridley. This robot is created as an image to demonstrate his power, but was incomplete and lacked the ability to walk or fly. Ridley is killed by Samus, but later revived as Meta Ridley for Metroid Prime, acting as the Space Pirate commander. Again killed in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, in which he appears in his standard Meta form and as a Phazon-enhanced version referred to ingame as Omega Ridley, he later appears in his regular form in Super Metroid where he kidnaps the last surviving Baby Metroid and takes to Zebes with the intent of delivering it to Mother Brain. Ridley is killed once again by Samus, this time with no chance of being revived as the entire planet Zebes is destroyed at the end of the game, however unknown to Samus a small piece of him survived clinging to her Powersuit, and would ultimately allow her nemesis to return in Metroid: Other M.
In Metroid: Other M, a clone of Ridley was unintentionally created by a rogue group within Galactic Federation during an illegal top secret program to engineer bioweapons, many of which are deliberately based on the Space Pirates. He first starts off as a small, furred, bird-like creature whom the Bottle Ship scientists had named "Little Birdie". During the game, Little Birdie/Ridley undergoes metamorphosis twice; first into a large, lizard-like creature and then into his traditional form.
It is revealed by M.B. (a human android modeled after Mother Brain and the main antagonist of Other M), posing as Bottle Ship director Dr. Madeline Bergman, that Birdie/Ridley was cloned from some of the genetic material recovered off Samus' Powersuit following the destruction of Zebes and that the team of scientists had unknowingly revived Ridley, who was thought unsuitable to be a bioweapon and kept by the Bottle Ship researchers and treated like pet. Despite its small size, the infant Birdie retains Ridley's dark intelligence and cunning. By playing dead in its cage, Birdie/Ridley managed to lure one of the scientists into its cage were it brutally attacked and killed him. His body is later discovered in Ridley's enclosure by Samus, who sensed a dark intelligence at work.
Shortly after discovering the researchers body, Samus briefly encounters Birdie/Ridley who hides its true nature by acting cute and harmless by playing with a fruit before running off, but continues keeping an eye on Samus. Following the King Kihunter boss fight, Samus witnesses it consuming the remains of the Kihunter hive, with Samus concluding it was using her power to help it obtain food. Birdie/Ridley later enters the Biosphere Test Area, where it sheds its infant Birdie form and matures into its adolescent Lizard Form and kills GFCM Lyle Smithsonian. He attacks the rest of Adam's 7th platoon while Samus was dealing with a group of Cyborg Zebesians. He and Samus briefly lock eyes before Samus rushes to aid the 7th Platoon, only to be attacked from above by Lizard Ridley, who pins her to the ground and attacks her with his tail, and summons Reos & Griptians to deal with the GF soldiers. Samus manages to fend him off by attacking his tail, allowing Anthony Higgs to hit Ridley with a shot from his Plasma Gun, freeing Samus her from his clutches. The injured Ridley manages to escape by crashing through a nearby wall. After finding Lyle's body and the shell of Birdie, Samus is informed the mysterious creature is headed for Sector 3. While hiding in Sector 3, Ridley sheds its adolescent form, and matures into its traditional adult form. Later in the game he manages to trap Samus and Anthony in the Geothermal Power Plant. Shocked to find Ridley is somehow alive again, Samus briefly experiences PTSD flashbacks of Ridley's attack on K-2L (due to her being emotionally vulnerable following the death of The Baby Metroid), which he takes advantage of by grabbing Samus. Samus is saved once again by the intervention of Anthony who blasts Ridley once again with his Plasma Gun. However, Samus' Powersuit is briefly disabled and she reverts to her Zero Suit. Ridley turns his attention on Anthony, who heroically challenges Ridley. A swipe of his tail knocks Anthony off the platform into the lava below, seemingly killing him. Anthony's sacrifice snaps Samus back to her senses, restoring her Powersuit. Activating her arm cannon's plasma beam, Samus confronts Ridley's clone intending to avenge her fallen comrade. After a heated battle, Ridley falls seemingly defeated, however it was only feigning death in order to attack Samus from behind. However, Samus evades Ridley's sneak attack, forcing a severely injured Ridley to use his breath to weaken a nearby by wall and crashes through it.
Afterwords, Samus learns of how Ridley was unintentionally cloned and of the Federations Metroid bioweapon program from the android M.B., who claims to be Madeline Bergman. Ridley's clone demonstrates the ability to command other bioforms and the frequency of his cry is stated by Adam Malkovich and M.B. to increase aggression in other bioforms on the Bottle Ship, indicating Ridley abilities as a leader may be genetic. Clone Ridley also demonstrates a habit of retreating when badly injured. It remains unclear as to whether Ridley fell under MB's control following her takeover, or was free and acting on its own.
One of Adam's final missions to Samus is to finish off Ridley, who Adam refers to as being just as dangerous as the Metroids if left unchecked, and claims Samus is the only one capable of stopping Ridley. However. Samus later discovers his corpse after he is killed, having had his energy drained by the Queen Metroid on the Bottle Ship. His mummified corpse turns up again in Metroid Fusion on the BSL station, after having apparently been removed from the Bottle Ship by the Galactic Federation and placed in a sub-zero storage room, though for what purpose remains unclear. It is later infected by an X parasite, allowing it to gain the ability to transform into Ridley-X. Samus later defeats Ridley-X and absorbs its Core-X, regaining her signature Screw Attack. What was left of Clone Ridley's remains were destroyed along with the X when the BSL station crashes into SR388.
In other media
Ridley has made multiple appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series. He first appeared in Super Smash Bros. in the background of the Planet Zebes stage, then in Super Smash Bros. Melee during the opening sequence and as a collectible trophy, and made a more significant role in its sequel, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where he appears as a boss battle during the game's single player mode the Subspace Emissary. He appears in both regular and Meta Ridley forms. He also returned as a boss on the Pyrosphere stage in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, fighting alongside players who inflict enough damage on him. Many fans believed that Ridley would be a playable character for Melee, and it was rumoured that he would appear along with Toon Link and Bowser Jr. for Brawl. Director of the Super Smash Bros. series, Masahiro Sakurai, stated in an interview with Nintendo Power that the development team never considered including Ridley as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. His boss battle theme was included as a stage music in Brawl as well. Ridley appeared as a part of the Nintendo Monopoly set, where his image was put there in place of the Tennessee Avenue image. Ridley also appears in Dead or Alive: Dimensions as part of a Metroid: Other M-themed stage, capable of shooting fireballs at the arena and physically attacking combatants who get too close. A mechanical version of Ridley appears as a boss during the Metroid Blast minigame in Nintendo Land, along with an alternate version called "Ice Ridley".
Ridley appears a few times in the Captain N: The Game Master comics from 1990. In these comics, he looks almost exactly like he appears in the NES version manual, though his face is more lizard-like. Both Kraid and Ridley are approximately human-sized. In the Captain N cartoon series, Ridley is depicted as one of a species. Nintendo Power featured two Metroid adaptations. The Super Metroid one has 60 pages, following the plot of the video game of the same name. The Metroid Prime one has 18 pages, and follows the plot of the video game of the same name. In the Metroid e-Manga created by Yoshio Sakamoto Samus first met Ridley while he was commanding the attack on her home colony of K-2L. As Ridley was observing the destruction of the colony, Samus met face to face with him. Her young mind overwhelmed by the carnage, but having recently been taught by the Chozo elder Old Bird that even unsightly creatures can be decent, she tried to befriend him, desperate for assurance that everything would be all right. For a second, he paused, and appeared to show pity toward her before abruptly revealing his true nature to her by gleefully preparing to annihilate her. Samus' mother, Virginia Aran, then appeared amidst the confusion of the Pirate raid and was instead the one destroyed by Ridley's fire breath. This memory scarred Samus for life, and she therefore vowed to avenge her parents and destroy Ridley and all the Space Pirates.
Throughout the history of the Metroid series, series antagonist Ridley has received positive reception. He is regarded as a favorite amongst the Metroid series developers. Nintendo Power listed him as their sixth favorite Nintendo villain, citing both his involvement in Samus' parents' death as well as his determination, dying at Samus' hands many times yet still coming back. Computer and Video Games editor Mike Jackson described Ridley as a "fan favorite". GameDaily called him the 16th greatest Nintendo character, commenting that he "beats Mother Brain by a mile as the coolest Metroid villain." IGN editor Jesse Schedeen called Ridley the real villain of the Metroid series, commenting that he would have to be included in a Metroid film if one were made due to him being too important to leave out. 1UP.com editor Nadia Oxford described the Nintendo Comics System version of Ridley as being more of a "squashed bug" than a "fearsome reptile". The 1UP.com staff listed the battle with Ridley in Super Metroid as being one of the most iconic in Nintendo history. They stated that his appearance in Super Metroid is more memorable than any other appearance in the Metroid series, and that his appearance added some familiarity to Metroid fans. GamesRadar listed him third on their list of video game villains who will never stay dead, calling him Samus' "great white whale" that even while he has tormented her through her life, she just cannot seem to kill him. Gaming Nexus criticized the lack of fellow Metroid villain Kraid in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, but stated that the developers made up for it by adding the best Ridley battle in the series' history. IGN editors Phil Pirrello and Richard George listed Ridley as the second most deserving Nintendo character for inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, stating that Samus was the only playable character in the game to represent the Metroid series, and that Ridley would broaden the series' range.
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