The Central Unit is an AI and recurring miniboss in Metroid Dread, serving as the control unit of the E.M.M.I. They appear as a blue organic brain with a single eye, completely encased in plates of black armor. Each E.M.M.I. Zone on ZDR contains a Central Unit, holding unique energy that Samus Aran uses to temporarily obtain the Omega Cannon and destroy the unit's resident E.M.M.I.
Shortly after arriving on ZDR, Samus encounters a damaged and fallen Central Unit in Artaria. When she touches the exposed brain, its unique energy temporarily transforms her Arm Cannon into the powerful Omega Cannon, allowing her to temporarily use the Omega Blaster ability to defeat the damaged E.M.M.I.-01P.
From there, Samus is tasked with tracking down the Central Units of five more E.M.M.I. Zones. These units are active, and she is forced into a miniboss battle with each one. The unit itself floats in the center of the room, and does not attack directly (although it can deal damage on contact), instead relying on ceiling- and wall-mounted Central Unit Cannons and Rinkas, the latter of which can be destroyed for energy and Missile Ammo. Samus must attack the Central Unit with Missiles and Charge Shots until its armor breaks, exposing the brain; if Samus can hit the Central Unit with a Shinespark, she will instantly shatter the armor plating. The unarmored unit's defenses will begin to attack more frequently, but the vulnerable brain takes damage from uncharged beams and can be killed instantly by a Shinespark or Screw Attack. Once a Central Unit dies, Samus can absorb its unique energy and regain the Omega Cannon, and then is able to leave the room and hunt down the E.M.M.I.; the unit's death prompts lockdown in its zone and permanently places the E.M.M.I. in pursuit mode until its destruction.
"These brain-like organic supercomputers hold the key to wielding the Omega Cannon—a weapon strong enough to take down an E.M.M.I."
- "Survive the Central Unit’s defenses and destroy it. Recover its energy to temporarily wield the Omega Cannon."
- A tweet from Nintendo of America says there is "something familiar" about the Central Unit, followed by a brain emoji. The brain-like single-eyed nature of the Central Unit and its use of Rinkas and cannons strongly suggest it was modeled after Mother Brain. The scene where its eye looks around upon entering E.M.M.I.-02SM's Zone is similar to the scene upon descending the elevator to Norfair in Metroid: Zero Mission, in which Mother Brain observes Samus from afar.
- If the corresponding E.M.M.I. is not activated, the Central Unit will remain idle, firing neither the Central Unit Cannons nor the Rinkas. Defeating it in this state will not grant Samus the ability to use the Omega Cannon.
- Beside each Central Unit's resting dock is a pair of Chozo characters that read "CU", likely meaning Central Unit.
- Returning to the rooms of fallen Central Units after the X Parasites are released from Elun shows that they have not been reanimated or otherwise assimilated by the X, despite there being no apparent obstacles for the X to reach the Units. This indicates that the Central Units are not organic, as the X are unlikely to ignore a lifeform with access to weapon systems as extensive as those of a Central Unit.
- The Artaria and Ferenia Central Units are fought as the third and twelfth bosses in Boss Rush. They are fought out of order from the story's sequence, as the Artaria unit is fought after Kraid and the Ferenia unit after the Elite Chozo Soldier, whereas in the story they are fought in the opposite order.
- ^ a b Looygi Bros. "13 Cool Details in Metroid Dread (Part 5)". YouTube. December 28, 2021. Retrieved January 19, 2022.
- ^ Looygi Bros. "11 Cool Details in Metroid Dread (Part 6)". YouTube. January 16, 2022. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
- ^ Nintendo of America (NintendoAmerica). "This Central Unit looks a bit familiar... 🧠 🤔 #MetroidDread #NintendoTreehouseLive https://nintendo.com/e3/" 15 June 2021 1:06 p.m. Tweet. https://twitter.com/NintendoAmerica/status/1404847759639732224
- ^ Looygi Bros. "10 Cool Details in Metroid Dread (Part 2)" YouTube. December 11, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.