The mechanics of the Arm Cannon.

Samus Aran's Arm Cannon is her primary weapon, capable of both shooting energy-based beam attacks and ballistic Missiles. The Arm Cannon, as its name implies, is affixed to the Power Suit's right forearm.

Functionality[edit | edit source]

What separates the Arm Cannon from other firearms is its ability to access various weapons systems by quickly changing its configuration, thus eliminating the need for multiple (and sometimes bulky) guns such as weapons mounted on the Federation Force's Mechs and Anthony Higgs' Plasma Gun. For example, during her mission on Tallon IV, Samus could switch between four beam systems (excluding the Phazon Beam), Missiles, and four Charge Combos for the beams. Despite its complexity, the Arm Cannon in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is unable to switch between the beams collected throughout the course of the game. Instead, they stack, resulting in a Power Beam that gains more power and new attributes as more beams get added. By default, Samus' Arm Cannon always features the Power Beam.

Interestingly, much of the technology Samus Aran uses, including her Map and Metroid Detector, seems to be mounted along the Arm Cannon as suggested by various cutscenes in Metroid Prime and Metroid: Samus Returns.

In addition to beams and missiles, the Arm Cannon can also be used as a melee weapon as shown in Metroid: Samus Returns via the Melee Counter during which Samus swings her Arm Cannon.

Physical description[edit | edit source]

The Arm Cannon in Metroid Prime.

The Arm Cannon in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

In the Prime series, the Arm Cannon features many different configurations. The standard configuration, where the Cannon appears completely smooth, always represents the Power Beam. The wide configuration, where the sides of the Cannon expand, is used for the Wave, Light, and Nova Beams. The high configuration, where the top and bottom pieces of the Cannon move vertically, is used for the Ice Beam, Dark Beam, and Ghor's version of the Plasma Beam (though the Plasma Beam is only in this configuration in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.) The long configuration, where the muzzle of the Cannon extends forward, is used for the Plasma Beam (only in Metroid Prime) and the Annihilator Beam. A fifth configuration, only seen in Corruption when Samus enters Hypermode, shows the Cannon opening up in apparently the wide configuration, but with half-pipe like chutes on the sides, presumably for ventilation. In Prime, the Phazon Beam expands the gun in all directions at once. The last configuration, where four parts of the Arm Cannon protrude in four directions, the tip of the Cannon contracts and turns blue, and a ring separates from the Arm Cannon and widens, is used only for the Zero Laser. In Metroid Prime Hunters, the Arm Cannon's configuration is not changed, however, the lights of the cannon does change color when using Affinity Weapons.

The Arm Cannon is also shown to have many other functions, such as uplinking with computers or other systems, welding, melee combat, and controlling Samus' Gunship. In the Prime series, it is occasionally shown to have colored buttons on the inside of the left round section when it flips open (this may represent the canonical way Samus changes beams). The Arm Cannon can also be picked up and thrown by smashers in Super Smash Bros. Brawl when Samus sheds her Power Suit as part of the three pieces it leaves behind. The Arm Cannon's three rings are shock absorbers to deal with recoil.

The Arm Cannon's appearance in Metroid Fusion greatly differs from previous models.

In Metroid: Other M, the exterior of the Arm Cannon has two green circles.

The inside of the Arm Cannon is more simplistic and is simply a long, narrow tube with some sort of trigger mechanism at the end, into which Samus inserts her hand. It can only be seen when using the X-Ray Visor because other visors cannot look through the solid Arm Cannon. The opening scene for Metroid: Other M shows what the inside of the arm cannon's barrel looks like and what happens when a beam is fired, and Metroid Prime Trilogy shows another, alternative look during the start-up video and through to the Samus Data Screen.

Arm Cannon weapon systems[edit | edit source]

Beam weapons[edit | edit source]

Concept art of several Beams for the Arm Cannon from Corruption.

Ballistic systems[edit | edit source]

Fusion Suit arm cannon Missile configuration.

Charge combos[edit | edit source]

Other[edit | edit source]

Use by individuals other than Samus Aran[edit | edit source]

Though Samus's Arm Cannon is of Chozo design, other species (as seen in Metroid Prime Hunters) have created their own arm cannons with identical functions, some likely inspired by the bird race's. Dark Samus uses an organic version of the Chozo's Arm Cannon, created from Metroid Prime's essence fusing with Samus's Phazon Suit; it can fire many of her weapons, with a few being Phazon-based.

A violent Chozo having used an Arm Cannon to kill several others of his or her kind can also be seen in the final image of the Chozo Memories in Metroid: Samus Returns.

Official data[edit | edit source]

Logbook entry[edit | edit source]

Arm Cannon

Metroid Prime Hunters

Logbook entry

An essential part of SAMUS's POWER SUIT, the ARM CANNON is UPGRADABLE and adaptable to other weaponry. To fire the weapon, press the FIRE button, Switch weapons by tapping the weapon icons at the top of the touch screen.

Official Metroid Prime website[edit | edit source]

The Arm Cannon as it appeared in the Metroid Prime beta.

"Weapon effect: Devastating potential

Weapon range: 3-10 m

Weapon potential: Lethal

The Arm Cannon is Samus Aran's primary offensive weapon. Built into the right arm of the Power Suit, the Arm Cannon is upgradeable with a variety of weapons, including the Wave Beam, Ice Beam, and others. When used in combination with secondary weapons such as missiles, the Arm Cannon can become a devastating offensive tool."

Nintendo Power issue 162, page 37[edit | edit source]

"Unlike many first-person titles that require you to exchange one weapon for another, all of Samus's attacks are contained in one compact unit: the Arm Cannon.
The Arm Cannon can switch from one weapon to the next with a simple flick of the C Stick. In the scene above, Samus is attacking an enemy with the Wave Beam.
Another Arm Cannon upgrade is the Ice Beam, which freezes some enemies solid with a single blast and eliminates some others."

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Samus cycles through beams in Metroid Prime.

Samus fires the Arm Cannon in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

Samus' hand can be briefly seen inside her cannon when changing beams in Metroid Prime.

  • A common misconception among new fans of the Metroid series, as with Samus's gender and name, is that the Arm Cannon is a prosthetic arm for Samus, who in reality has not lost her right arm. Later games have made efforts to dispel this myth further by showing Samus's right hand in one way or another, either by showing her wearing the Zero Suit, which frees both of her hands to grab onto ledges, or by showing her right hand inside the cannon via an X-Ray Visor.
  • The Arm Cannon is an unlockable weapon in Phantasy Star Ø for the Nintendo DS; It is also an unlockable weapon in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, along with two armor sets based on the Power Suit and Zero Suit
  • The X-Ray Visor, when activated, allows Samus's hand inside the Arm Cannon to be seen. In Metroid Prime, Samus uses her hand to change configurations by changing her finger positions, which match the symbols featured in Beam Select. In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Samus can be seen pulling some kind of trigger with her index finger to fire.
  • In Corruption, after performing some interface while equipped with only the Power Beam, the Arm Cannon will seemingly "phase out" but will return to its original position shortly.
  • In Corruption, the Arm Cannon is the only part of Samus's suit that does not get recolored by Phazon as her corruption progresses. The Arm Cannon only ever shows signs of Phazon changes when using Hypermode.
  • As seen in the first Concept Gallery, the Metroid Prime Wave Beam configuration was initially intended for the Plasma Beam, and vice-versa.
  • In Prime, if Samus is idle and waits long enough she will flip a panel with four lights that show the colors of the game's four beams. This can occur even before she obtains three of these four beams.
  • In New Play Control! Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime Trilogy, it is possible to see Samus's hand when she changes beams while pointing the cannon upwards.
  • In many Prime cutscenes, the Arm Cannon is revealed to be rifled on the inside. This makes little sense, as all of her Beams are energy-based (rifling is used to give a spin to bullets/grenades in order to make them fly straight). It may be used for her Missiles, but these do not require rifling either. Missiles have small wings to keep them flying straight (or guiding them while homing), although Super Missiles are bulb-shaped and do not have wings in some of the games.
  • The Melee Counter in Samus Returns is the first time outside of the Super Smash Bros. series that Samus is depicted using her Arm Cannon as a melee weapon as uses it to perform the Melee Counter.
  • The Arm Cannon has been released as a licensed replica.
  • Concept art for Meta Ridley in the Metroid Prime Trilogy art booklet has him wielding a similar weapon to Samus's Arm Cannon on his left arm, implying that his cybernetics were to incorporate Chozo technology.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References and footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ a b In the Prime series, Super Missile is used as a Charge Combo that simply drains five Missiles per shot. In most 2D games, the Super Missile is a separate weapon with its own ammo much like the Power Bomb. In Metroid Fusion, it overwrites the original Missile data and increases its power.

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