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Metroid Fusion

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Metroid Fusion
A woman in a powered exoskeleton kneels down and faces the viewer.
North American box art
Developer(s)Nintendo R&D1
Director(s)Yoshio Sakamoto
Takehiko Hosokawa
Producer(s)Takehiro Izushi
Designer(s)Tomoyoshi Yamane
Takehiko Hosokawa
Programmer(s)Katsuya Yamano
Artist(s)Tomoyoshi Yamane
Writer(s)Yoshio Sakamoto
  • Minako Hamano
  • Akira Fujiwara
Platform(s)Game Boy Advance
  • NA: November 18, 2002
  • EU: November 22, 2002
  • AU: November 29, 2002
  • JP: February 14, 2003
  • CHN: February 2, 2006

Metroid Fusion[a][b] is an action-adventure game published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance handheld console in 2002. It was developed by Nintendo Research & Development 1, which had developed the previous game in the series, Super Metroid (1994). Players control bounty hunter Samus Aran, who investigates a space station swarming with organisms infected with shapeshifting parasites known as X.

Like previous Metroid games, Fusion is a side-scrolling game with platform jumping, shooting, and puzzle elements, but introduces mission-based progression that guides the player through certain areas. It was released the day after the GameCube game Metroid Prime in North America; both games can be linked using the GameCube – Game Boy Advance link cable to unlock additional content for Prime.

Fusion was acclaimed by critics for its tight gameplay, controls, graphics and music, though minor criticism was directed at the game's length and linearity compared to previous Metroid titles. It received several awards, including Handheld Game of the Year at the 2002 Interactive Achievement Awards, Best Game Boy Advance Adventure Game from IGN, and Best Action Game on Game Boy Advance from GameSpot. It was rereleased on the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console in December 2011 for select customers as part of the 3DS Ambassador Program, and the Wii U's Virtual Console in April 2014. A sequel, Metroid Dread, is scheduled for release on October 8, 2021 for the Nintendo Switch.


A video game screenshot of a person in a powered exoskeleton firing a missile at a monster.
Samus Aran fights the Nightmare boss in its Core-X form.

Metroid Fusion is an action-adventure game in which the player controls Samus Aran. Like previous games in the series, Fusion is set in a large open-ended world with elevators that connect regions, which each in turn contains rooms separated by doors. Samus opens most doors by shooting at them, while some only open after she reaches a certain point. The way the game unfolds is more linear than other Metroid games due to its focus on storyline; for example, Fusion introduces Navigation Rooms, which tell the player where to go.[2]

The gameplay involves solving puzzles to uncover secrets, platform jumping, shooting enemies, and searching for power-ups that allow Samus to reach new areas. Samus can absorb X Parasites, which restore health, missiles, and bombs. Power-ups are obtained by downloading them in Data Rooms or absorbing a Core-X, which appears after defeating a boss.[2] The game includes features new to the franchise, such as the ability to grab ledges and climb ladders.[3]

The player can use the GameCube – Game Boy Advance link cable to connect to Fusion and unlock features in Prime:[4] after completing Prime, they can unlock Samus's Fusion Suit,[5] and after completing Fusion, they can unlock an emulated version of the first Metroid game.[6] In Metroid: Zero Mission (2004), players can connect to Fusion using the Game Boy Advance Game Link Cable to unlock a Fusion picture gallery,[7] which includes its ending images.[8]


Bounty hunter Samus Aran explores the surface of the planet SR388 with a survey crew from Biologic Space Laboratories (BSL). She is attacked by parasitic organisms known as X. On the way back to the BSL station, Samus loses consciousness and her ship crashes. The BSL ship she was escorting recovers her body and transfers it to the Galactic Federation for medical treatment, who discover that the X has infected Samus' central nervous system. They cure her with a vaccine made from cells taken from the infant Metroid that Samus adopted on SR388.[9]:88 The vaccine gives her the ability to absorb the X nuclei for nourishment,[2]:8 but burdens her with the Metroids' vulnerability to cold.[10] Samus's infected Power Suit is sent to the BSL station for examination,[11] although parts of the suit were too integrated with her body to remove during surgery.[12]

When Samus recovers consciousness, she discovers that an explosion has occurred on the BSL station. She is sent to investigate.[13] The mission is overseen by her new gunship's computer, whom Samus nicknames "Adam" after her former commanding officer, Adam Malkovich.[2]:13 Samus learns that the X parasites can replicate their hosts' physical appearances,[14] and that the X have infected the station with the help of the "SA-X", an X parasite mimicking Samus at full power.[15]

Samus avoids the SA-X and explores the space station,[9]:98, 107 defeating larger creatures infected by the X to recover her abilities.[16] She discovers a restricted lab containing Metroids, and the SA-X sets off the labs' auto-destruct sequence. Samus escapes but the lab is destroyed.[9]:135–136 The computer berates Samus for ignoring orders, and admits that the Federation was secretly using the lab to breed Metroids. It also reveals that the SA-X has asexually reproduced, subsequently cloning itself. The computer advises Samus to leave the station.[17]

On her way to her ship, the computer orders Samus to leave the rest of the investigation to the Federation, which plans to capture SA-X for military purposes.[18] Knowing that the X would only infect the arriving Federation troops and absorb their spacefaring knowledge to conquer the universe, Samus states her intention to destroy the station.[19] Although the computer initially intends to stop Samus, she calls it "Adam", and reveals that Adam died saving her life.[20] The computer suggests that she should alter the station's propulsion to intercept with SR388 and destroy the planet along with all X populations.[21] Samus realizes that the computer is the consciousness of Adam, uploaded after death.[22] En route to initiate the propulsion sequence, Samus confronts an SA-X, defeats it, and sets the BSL station on a collision course with SR388. As Samus prepares to leave, she is attacked by an Omega Metroid. The SA-X appears and attacks it, but is destroyed; Samus absorbs its nucleus and uses her newly restored Ice Beam to destroy the Omega Metroid.[9]:141–143 Her ship arrives, piloted by creatures Samus rescued from the station's Habitation Deck, and they escape before the station crashes into the planet, destroying it.[23]


A video game screenshot of a person in a powered exoskeleton firing a beam.
Image from an early version displayed at E3 2001

Nintendo confirmed a Metroid game for the Game Boy Advance on March 23, 2001. Ken Lobb, Nintendo of America's director of game development, confirmed that it would be a new game and not a port of the 1994 Super NES game Super Metroid.[24] Early footage was shown at the 2001 E3 convention under the name Metroid IV.[25] The footage showed Samus in a dark suit, running on walls and ceilings, with simpler, more "Game Boy Color-like" graphics.[26] At E3 2002, Nintendo demonstrated the game again, now under the title Metroid Fusion, with updated graphics. IGN awarded Metroid Fusion Best of Show and Best Action Game.[27]

Metroid Fusion was developed by Nintendo Research & Development 1 (R&D1), the same team that created Super Metroid.[28] Fusion's gameplay, screen layout, and controls mimic those of Super Metroid, with enhancements. Metroid Fusion is the first 2D Metroid game with animated cutscenes; the story is revealed through text and close-ups.[28] It was written and directed by series designer Yoshio Sakamoto, and produced by Takehiro Izushi.[29]

Sakamoto decided to create an original story instead of remaking a Metroid game because he "always [tries] to do something really unprecedented, something people have never played before". He continued, saying, "Many of our designers and creators want to challenge something new rather than simply porting over an old title. That's something I hope we'll always do. If you can challenge something new, you can look forward to the public response, be it good or bad."[30] The game introduces gameplay mechanics that are new to the Metroid series. Metroid Fusion offers a more direct, almost mission-based structure that supports the player to explore areas. Objectives are also flexible in how they can be completed, acting "more as a guide for what the player should do instead of giving a completely blank map and saying 'Here you go, figure out what to do and how to do it'".[26]

According to the lead programmer Katsuya Yamano, Nintendo R&D1 did not consult previous Metroid games for programming techniques, and instead used their previous game Wario Land 4 as a reference. The system director, Takehiko Hosokawa, states that while parts of old Metroid gameplay remain in Fusion, the developers introduced new elements. Samus's suit design was revamped; the canonical explanation is that this was because an X Parasite had attacked Samus and made her lose all her abilities. Missiles were expanded with two "upgrades", much like the various beam upgrades: the Ice Missile which has a similar effect to the Ice Beam, and the Diffusion Missile which greatly increases the blast radius. Other minor abilities were added to Fusion, such as climbing walls and ceilings. The health and missile drops are replaced by X Parasites that are similarly released after defeating enemies.[31]

The music for Metroid Fusion was composed by Minako Hamano and Akira Fujiwara.[29] According to Hamano, Sakamoto wanted her to create music in accordance with Adam's dialogue. Hamano aimed for "serious, ambient music rather than melody" because she did not want the exploration themes to be "annoying". She also borrowed jingles that were previously used in Super Metroid, and arranged them for Fusion. As Nintendo of America wanted the developers to look for "Hollywood-like" voice actors, Hamano added a voice of an announcer. The developers were planning on featuring voice acting into the game, but the voices were only used for warning announcements due to ROM cartridge limitations.[31] A two-disc album, Metroid Prime & Fusion Original Soundtracks, was published by Scitron on June 18, 2003, with the catalog number SCDC-00276/7. The second disc contain musical tracks from Fusion, along with an additional track arranged by Shinji Hosoe.[32]


Metroid Fusion was scheduled for a North American release date of November 18, 2002.[33] On August 22, 2002, Nintendo announced that the game can connect to Metroid Prime for the GameCube, a Metroid game that was released on the same day as Fusion.[28] In Europe, the game was released on November 22, 2002,[34] followed by the Australian release on November 29.[35] The game was also released in Japan on February 14, 2003,[36] and in China on March 2, 2006.[37]

In its debut week, Metroid Fusion achieved sales above 100,000 units in North America.[38] It finished the month of November 2002 with 199,723 copies sold in the United States alone, for total revenues of US$5,590,768, making it the third bestselling Game Boy Advance game in that month,[39] and the tenth bestselling game across all platforms.[40] The game went on to sell 940,000 copies by August 2006, with revenues of US$27 million. During the period between January 2000 and August 2006, it was the 21st highest-selling game launched for the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS or PlayStation Portable in that country.[41] As of November 2004, the game has sold 180,000 units in Japan.[42]

Metroid Fusion was released worldwide on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in December 2011 as part of the "3DS Ambassadors" program, one of ten Game Boy Advance games for those who purchased their 3DS consoles before a price drop.[43] During the Nintendo Direct presentation in February 2014, Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata revealed that Metroid Fusion would be among the first three Game Boy Advance games to be released on the Wii U Virtual Console in April 2014.[44]


Metroid Fusion received critical acclaim, according to Metacritic.[46] Japanese game magazine Famitsu gave it 34 out of 40.[36] X-Play claimed that it was a "pleasure to play", and praised its "beautiful" graphics and audio.[58] The game satisfied IGN, which appreciated the lengthy minimum of 10 to 12 hours of playtime required to complete the game, further hailing it as an "outstanding achievement on the Game Boy Advance".[54] GamesRadar and GamePro, however, felt that the game was "a little short", but still "love[d] every minute of it", finding the hidden secrets and new power-ups "sublimely ingenious".[50][52] The sentiment was shared with GameSpot, which was disappointed that the game ended so soon, but still stated, "Metroid fans should absolutely get it, as should anyone willing to trade off some quantity for some serious quality in their gaming time."[3] Metroid Fusion received several accolades. It was named Handheld Game of the Year at the 2002 Interactive Achievement Awards.[59] The game was also chosen as Best Game Boy Advance Adventure Game by IGN[60] and Best Action Game on Game Boy Advance by GameSpot,[61] which had named it the handheld's best game of November 2002 earlier in the year.[62] It was a runner-up for GameSpot's annual "Best Sound", "Best Graphics", "Best Story" and overall "Game of the Year" awards among Game Boy Advance games.[63]

Nintendo World Report and Eurogamer were excited about the game, both calling it the best 2D Metroid game and the best Game Boy Advance game so far.[48][56] Video game magazine Game Informer agreed, describing the game as "everything you could want from a Game Boy Advance game" from beginning to end, giving it a perfect review score.[49] Play also enjoyed the game, describing it as a "magnified, modified, and improved" version of everything great from Metroid and Super Metroid.[57]

Comparing the game to Super Metroid, GameSpot thought that Metroid Fusion offered that game's best qualities packaged in a new adventure.[3] Nintendo Power heralded it as a return to the classic Metroid action gameplay style.[55] The "perfect" controls were praised by Electronic Gaming Monthly, concluding its review by claiming "all games should feel this good."[47] The game did not feel new to GameSpy, which complained that even the final enemy encounter draws heavy inspiration from Super Metroid.[51] GameZone found that the small screen was a poor environment in which to play Metroid Fusion, but they ultimately still found it an exciting game.[53]


A sequel to Fusion, Metroid Dread, was in development for the Nintendo DS in the late 2000s, but was cancelled due to technical limitations. At E3 2021, a new version of the game was announced for Nintendo Switch, developed by MercurySteam, developers of Samus Returns (2017).[64]



  1. ^ Japanese: メトロイドフュージョン, Hepburn: Metoroido Fyūjon
  2. ^ The opening cutscene alternatively refers to the game as Metroid 4.[1]


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  11. ^ Nintendo R&D1 (2002). Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Scene: Opening. Samus: During my surgery, the research team sent the last batch of creatures we captured there, as well as the infected pieces of my Power Suit.
  12. ^ Nintendo R&D1 (2002). Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Scene: Opening. Samus: It then came to light that the organic components of my Power Suit had become so integrated with my system that it could not be removed while I was unconscious.
  13. ^ Nintendo R&D1 (2002). Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Scene: Opening. Samus: After regaining consciousness, I learned that an unexplained explosion rocked the station. For some reason, this awoke a nameless fear in my heart, and now I am being sent there to investigate.
  14. ^ Nintendo R&D1 (2002). Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Level/area: Main Deck - Navigation Room. Computer: The gelatinous X parasites invade and rapidly reproduce, killing the host creature. They also absorb DNA and use it to mimic the host.
  15. ^ Nintendo R&D1 (2002). Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Level/area: Sector 2 (TRO) - Navigation Room. Computer: Samus, it's an X mimicking you. I have named it the SA-X. I believe the SA-X came from the capsule containing your infected suit parts. It used a Power Bomb to escape the Quarantine Bay. That explosion breached the capsules containing all the X that started this disaster. But the SA-X is definitely our biggest worry right now. The SA-X is mimicking you at full power. You can't face it.
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  18. ^ Nintendo R&D1 (2002). Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Level/area: Sector 1 (SRX) - Navigation Room. Computer: Samus, we're done here. Leave the rest to the Federation... [...] The Federation has taken an interest in the X and SA-X. They believe this life-form had endless potential applications. [...] / Samus: This is madness! They won't stand a chance here! This station will devour them! What could be worth the risk!? / Computer: Capturing the SA-X, of course.
  19. ^ Nintendo R&D1 (2002). Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Level/area: Sector 1 (SRX) - Navigation Room. Samus: As soon as the Federation ships land, the X will overwhelm them and absorb the knowledge and power of their occupants. The X are just waiting for the hunt to begin, and then they'll spread across the universe. Galactic civilization will end. [...] The X must not leave here. I must destroy them all before the Federation arrives. This station has a self-destruct mechanism. I must use it to destroy the X here and on the planet. I must send them to oblivion. Them, the station, and myself, if I have to.
  20. ^ Nintendo R&D1 (2002). Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Level/area: Sector 1 (SRX) - Navigation Room. Computer: I have been ordered to confine you until the ships arrive. / Samus: Don't let them do this. Can't you see what will happen, Adam? / [...] / Computer: ...Who is Adam? / Samus: ...A friend of mine. / [...] / Computer: Did this "Adam" care for you? Would he sit in a safe Command Room and order you to die? / Samus: He would understand that some must live and some must die... He knew what it meant. He made that sacrifice once. / Computer: So, he chose life for you? Our fair warrior, Samus Aran... Your Adam gave his life so that you might keep yours... For the sake of the universe...
  21. ^ Nintendo R&D1 (2002). Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Level/area: Sector 1 (SRX) - Navigation Room. Adam: ...If you were to alter the station's orbit, then you might be able to include the planet in the vaporization field of the self-destruct detonation. [...] You would have to start the propulsion sequence now. Before the Federation arrives. Samus, this is your last mission. Go to the Operations Room and adjust the station's orbit path to intercept SR388. Then return to your ship and escape. Move quickly, and stay alive. That's an order! Any objections, Lady?
  22. ^ Nintendo R&D1 (2002). Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Scene: Ending. Samus: That perfect military mind... The wisdom of Adam Malkovich continued to serve even after death. Until today, I had no idea that the minds of leaders and scientists were frequently uploaded to computers. My incredible reunion with Adam may have saved the universe...
  23. ^ Nintendo R&D1 (2002). Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Scene: Ending. Samus: Just one detail still bothers me. This ship can only be started manually. Yet, before I faced the Omega Metroid, the ship moved on its own, guided by someone's hands. Is it possible? Adam...? / Adam: Lady, what's troubling you? You wonder how I started the ship? Just think about it. They lent me a hand...
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