Samus Aran's Power Suit has several interchangeable, upgradeable components. One of those is her beam weapon. Various forms of power beams and missiles, some requiring ammunition, are useful for taking advantage of an enemy's vulnerabilities. In some Metroid games beam upgrades would replace one another and always become more powerful. In others, beams are interchangeable and each has unique advantages.
Note, that some beams and screenshots of beams contain unavoidable spoilers.
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Samus's beam weapons (with the exception of the Dark, Light, Annihilator and to some extent the Phazon Beam) have unlimited ammo. In early Metroid games she had to change between them by setting one down at a Chozo Statue and picking another one up. In the Metroid Prime games, Samus can change beams at any time. In Metroid Fusion her new beams simply 'fused' together into one single beam. The icons for beams in Metroid Prime imply that Samus changes beams by moving the hand inside her gun-arm to a specific handshapes. In the Metroid Prime games, changing beams also changed what her cannon looked like.
|Power Beam | Wave Beam | Ice Beam | Plasma Beam | Spazer Beam | Wide Beam | Dark Beam | Light Beam | Annihilator Beam | Hyper Beam | Grapple Beam|
|The Power Beam is a shot of pure, yellow energy. It hits things and they hurt. When charged, it hits things and they hurt more. It appears in every single Metroid game.|
|The Wave Beam is an electrically charged beam that usually fires in a wavelike pattern, with two or three small bolts moving toward and away from the central aiming axis. When charged it fires a big ball of disruptive electrical juice. It appears in Metroid, Metroid II: Return of Samus, Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, and Metroid Fusion. In 2D Metroid games, the Wave Beam can pass through walls... And maybe it can in 3D Metroid games also, but you couldn't tell either way, right?|
|The Ice Beam is a slow and powerful weapon, somewhat like hurling a big cold rock. Ice Beam shots, especially charged ones, often have the ability to freeze an enemy in its tracks. The Ice Beam is also capable of killing Metroids pretty easily. In some Metroid games, freezing a airborne enemy with the Ice Beam causes it to float in mid-air, and become a platform. It appears in all Metroid games except for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (where it is replaced by the Dark Beam sorda...) and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (where it is replaced by Ice Missiles). Ice Missiles also appear in Metroid Fusion.|
|The Plasma Beam is ultra-hot and can pierce through enemies and sometimes walls. When charged it can incinerate pirates in a single shot. This baby is bad news. It appears in Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, Metroid II: Return of Samus, and Metroid Fusion. Also, Plasma Beam appearce in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, but it looks like Ice Beam from Metroid Prime. (both of these beams have same shape)|
|The Spazer Beam (or just Spazer) fires several quick shots, far apart to achieve a large blast area. It has a really cool name. It appears in Metroid II: Return of Samus and Super Metroid.|
|The Wide Beam is exactly what it sounds like. If you think about it, it's pretty much the Spazer. Samus gets this in Metroid Fusion after absorbing the X Parasite "Wide Core-X".|
|The Dark Beam fires Dark energy, which the Ing are conveniently resistant to, but is necessary for some puzzles and stuff. Charged Dark Beam shots have the capacity to freeze an enemy in place with darkness. The Dark Beam uses Dark Beam ammunition. It appears in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.|
|The Light Beam fires Light energy, which the Ing don't like very much at all. It is somewhat like the Plasma Beam, and when charged will similarly incinerate things. The Light Beam uses Light Beam ammunition. It appears in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.|
|The Annihilator Beam fires a combination of Dark and Light energy, and as its name suggests, is not something you want to be standing in the way of. Its shots home in on enemies. Charged shots from the Annihilator Beam are powerful enough to create a sonic disturbance in the immediate area, which look awesome. The Annihilator Beam uses both Dark Beam and Light Beam ammunition. It appears in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.|
|The Hyper Beam can only be used in the final battle of Metroid Prime and Super Metroid (See Deus Ex Machina). Though the start menu calls it Phazon Beam in Prime, an on-screen display says 'Hyper Mode'. In Metroid Prime it is accessed by stepping in puddles of liquid Phazon while battling Metroid Prime. In Super Metroid, the Baby Metroid saves your life so Mother Brain disintegrates it. The Hyper Beam is the result of the lifeforce of the Baby Metroid being absorbed into Samus' suit. The last Metroid sacrifices itself to give you a really cool weapon (insert proverbial tear). It also appears in Metroid Prime 3, where it can be used after the beginning. Also on Planet Phaaze you enter a state of permanent Hyper Mode for the whole section.|
|The Grapple Beam is primarily used to reach distant ledges. it can be used as a weapon in Super Metroid and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The Grapple Beam uses Samus's left arm in the Prime Trilogy, leaving her right arm free to shoot stuff. However, in the earlier 2D versions, it shot out of her arm cannon. Samus gets the Grapple Beam in Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and Super Metroid. In Super Smash Brothers and Super Smash Brothers Melee she can use it to catch her opponents and draw them towards her, but she is unable to do this in any actual Metroid games.|
Samus's Beam Upgrades
Sometimes Samus can get upgrades that affect all her beams.
|Long Beam | Charge Beam|
|This upgrade was found only in Metroid and Metroid: Zero Mission and extended the range of Samus's shots. Basically, you go from having what is pretty much a beam sword to having an actual gun. Samus internalizes this upgrade after the events of the two aforementioned games.|
|Most games also have a Charge Beam upgrade granting Samus the ability to charge her beam shots to be more powerful.|
|Another component of Samus's arsenal is the Missile Launcher, which fires from the same gun-arm as her beam weapons. Missiles require ammunition, but do more damage than beam shots. In Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Super Smash Brothers and Super Smash Brothers Melee Samus's missiles will also home in on the enemies.
The container Samus stores missiles in is sometimes called 'Missile Rocket', or 'Missile Upgrade'.
|Missiles | Super Missiles | Seeker Missiles | Ice Missiles | Diffusion Missiles|
|In every game in the Metroid series Samus can shoot missiles that cause more damage than her Power Beam but consume ammunition. Samus's missiles have a homing effect in Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Super Smash Brothers and Super Smash Brothers Melee.|
|A more powerful form of the missile. In early Metroid games it consumed its own unique kind of ammo, but in the Metroid Prime games it consumes five missiles.|
|In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes this upgrade allows for up to five missile lock-ons to be set at once, so that when released missiles will simultaneously be fired at all five targets.|
In Metroid Fusion, the Ice Missiles are a missile upgrade that can freeze enemies. Since Samus cannot use the Ice Beam with her current suit, the Ice Missiles are a replacement for the Ice Beam. Not to mention it’s pretty damn cool!
|In Metroid Fusion, the Ice Missiles can be upgraded to Diffusion Missiles, that freeze a large area on impact. The Galactic Federation gives these to Samus as a cruel reminder (in pun form!) that she's been freakified by being fused with Metroid DNA.|
Special Combo Abilities
These abilities combine Samus's weapons for unique effects.
|Missiles/Beam Combos | Bomb/Beam Combos | Energy Recharge|
|In Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Samus can combine missiles, the Charge Beam, and each of her beams to create a new effect. Beam Combos use missile ammunition (usage varies by beam combo) and beam ammunition if the specified beam uses it.|
|The Super Missile uses the Power Beam. When charged and fired, it does a bang-up job of blowing stuff up. It appears in Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Though it has the same name as the missile, Super Missile, it's... Not. The Super Missile missiles consume their own ammo, and the Super Missile combo consumes five missiles.|
|The Wavebuster uses the Wave Beam. When charged and unleashed, the Wavebuster fires a stream of writhing electric energy outward until the trigger is let go, ala Ghostbusters. It appears in Metroid Prime.|
|The Ice Spreader uses the Ice Beam. When charged and fired, the Ice Spreader shot will freeze the area around whatever it hits on impact. It appears in Metroid Prime.|
|The Flamethrower uses the Plasma Beam. It works pretty much like you probably imagine it does, a stream of fire erupting from the gun as long as it's being fired. It appears in Metroid Prime.|
|The Darkburst uses the Dark Beam (and its ammunition). When charged and fired, it will temporarily open a black hole. Very strong enemies in its vicinity will be damaged. Smaller enemies will be completely absorbed. It appears in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.|
|The Sunburst uses the Light Beam (and its ammunition). When charged and fired, it lets loose a massive beam of light that destroys nearly anything in its path. It appears in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.|
|The Sonic Boom uses the Annihilator Beam (and both Light Beam and Dark Beam ammunition). When charged and fired, it breaks the sound barrier and messes around with dimensional properties, severely damaging and screwing up anything in its blast radius. It appears in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.|
|In Super Metroid Samus can combine Power Bombs, the Charge Beam, and each of her beams to create a new effect. Bomb Combos use missile ammunition (usage varies by beam combo) and beam ammunition if the specified beam uses it. To use Bomb Combos, you have to select Power Bombs while not in Morph Ball mode.|
|The Plasma Bomb used the Plasma Beam. It creates four green charged Plasma Beam shots that fly around Samus pulsating inward and outward a few times and then fly away.|
|The Ice Bomb used the Ice Beam. It creates a spinning shield of four charged Ice Beam shots around Samus. If one of the shots hits an enemy it'll freeze it on contact but vanish in the process.|
|The Wave Bomb used the Wave Beam. It creates four charged Wave Beam shots that fly back and forth around Samus in an X formation and home in on enemies. They disappear after a while or when they hit an enemy that's too strong to destroy.|
|The Spazer Bomb used the Spazer Beam. It creates vertical Spazer shots that fly back and forth a few times before flying off.|
|Only in Super Metroid can Samus use the Crystal Flash technique to refill all of her energy. This move can only be performed if the following conditions are met:
If all the conditions are met, setting a Power Bomb while holding down L, R and X will result in Samus being fully reenergized.
|Most of the Galactic Federation Police use Beta Ray cannons. Samus does not. Though they are effective against most things, Metroids are not only immune to Beta Rays, but getting shot by a Beta Ray heals a Metroid and can even cause it to duplicate. The Ing also seem to be immune to them. Pretty much anything important to the plot is immune to any weapon except for those Samus can use. Makes you wonder why they don't just give the soldiers Power Beams and send them on their way on the off chance that they may then not get minced by whatever enemy the galaxy is being held at ransom by. Ah well.|
- The beam's name, "Hyper Beam" is also the name of an attack from Pokémon.