The Ice Beam (アイスビーム Aisu Bīmu ) is one of Samus's signature beam weapons that appears in all Metroid games except for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metroid Prime Hunters, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Though she collects the Dark Beam in Echoes, the Judicator in Hunters and the Ice Missile in Corruption, which have similar properties). It fires a potent beam that has the power to freeze most enemies.
When frozen, certain enemies can be shattered with Missiles (or charged shots in the Prime series). It is commonly used to combat Metroids, especially larvae, as it exploits their weakness to low temperatures. The official website for Metroid Prime states this as being one of "Samus Aran's favorite tactics".
|“||So we could blast a hole into a wall. That got us thinking – what else could we do, can we perhaps go up? So we came up with the ice-beam. The ice-beam is also the result of rational thinking. We had very limited memory. So we decided that Samus should be able to jump on frozen enemies and use them as a platform. And that was a great help for saving memory. All we had to do was change an object's colour and by simply changing the so-called collision-check the former enemy suddenly becomes a stepping stone; a really nice gameplay element that hardly requires any memory at all. So the original Metroid was the result of a lot of hard work and many of the features were hit upon by coincidence.||„|
In Metroid Fusion, the Ice Beam was thought to be incompatible with the Fusion Suit by the Galactic Federation, as the Metroid Vaccine gave Samus a vulnerability to ice. This was proven by the Cold X, the cold climates of several rooms within the Biologic Space Laboratories and the SA-X's own Ice Beam being able to completely freeze her in place. However, following the acquisition of the Varia Suit upgrade, this vulnerability was seemingly neutralized, as Samus could withstand all mentioned threats; thus she did not receive the Ice Beam until near the end of the game from the SA-X. Before that point, freezing was done with the Ice and Diffusion Missiles, suggesting that Samus' Missiles are not integrated as close to her body when compared to her Beam weapons. The Ice Missiles replaced the Ice Beam in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption as well, because the game used a beam-stacking system instead of a beam-switching system, so it would not be possible to combine the Ice and Plasma Beams, the latter of which represents fire in the Prime trilogy.
In Metroid: Other MEdit
Samus retains the Ice Beam from Super Metroid, but does not use it until she is authorized to after joining forces with Adam Malkovich's 07th Platoon. Soon after she enters the Pyrosphere for the first time, she is locked in a room with multiple fire-based creatures. Realizing that her standard Power Beam is too inferior against them, Adam authorizes her to use the Ice Beam.
The Ice Beam behaves much like its 2D counterparts. Key differences include its inability to completely freeze most enemies (only small creatures such as Geemers can be encased in solid ice). Rather, when it impacts a larger creature, it can partially freeze them, such as freezing one of a Sidehopper's legs in place, or a Zebesian's claws. This ability of the beam is key in battling certain bosses, of course. Another difference from the rest of the series is that if an enemy is completely frozen in midair, it will actually fall to the ground and shatter. Unlike the 2D counterparts, the Ice Beam does not "color" the Wave and Plasma Beams white or blue, as the strongest beam in her current arsenal will override its hue.
In Metroid PrimeEdit
The Ice Beam is a slow-firing interchangeable Beam upgrade to Samus' arsenal. Upon impact with a solid surface, the shot will freeze into a small fragment of ice and then shatter. When the Ice Beam is charged up, the Ice Beam will not only create a larger fragment of ice upon impact, but it will also freeze various enemies in their place. The Ice Beam is able to open White Doors. The 10 Missile Beam Combo for the Ice Beam is the Ice Spreader, which is a missile that releases a rapidly spreading sheet of ice upon the impacted surface. Such a weapon is highly effective against flying enemies, or those that attack or move in swarms. A glitch in the game allows collecting the upgrade before fighting the Flaahgra, which can then lead to more opportunities for Sequence Breaking. This does not aid in the fight against Flaahgra, however, as the Ice Beam has no effect on either Flaahgra or the Mirror Arrays that Samus must flip over to defeat Flaahgra.
Although the Ice Beam can kill weaker enemies in one hit, a glancing shot on these can freeze them instead.
Oddly enough, when Samus freezes a Magmoor in Prime, its head is the only thing that is visibly frozen.
In Metroid: Samus ReturnsEdit
Unlike the 2D counterparts, the Ice Beam in Samus Returns does not stack with the Wave, Spazer, or Plasma Beams, and has a separate selection option from the standard Power Beam, along with the Grapple Beam. Interestingly, the Ice Beam option is disabled when Samus activates the Beam Burst Aeion ability as the Beam Burst takes up both the Power Beam and Ice Beam slots when active, leaving the Beam Burst and Grapple Beam the only selectible beam options. Metroids past the larval stage can still be battled using the aforementioned Aeion ability.
The Ice Beam also does significantly less damage than in previous installments, to the point where it is even weaker than the standard Power Beam. However, using Missiles or the Melee Counter on a frozen enemy will cause them to instantly shatter.
Unlike Metroid II: Return of Samus, all Metroids can be injured by the Ice Beam. Although Metroids above the larval stage can no longer be frozen over, a charged shot on the Alpha and Gamma Metroids will freeze over their underbellies, briefly staggering them and preventing the creatures from covering themselves in energy. It can also be used to ground Gamma Metroids as they fall to the ground when their underbellies are frozen and causes them to perform their lunge attack that can be parried by the Melee Counter.
Presumably, the Ice Beam was left separate from the Power Beam due to its effectiveness in combating Metroids and its platforming ability.
Ice Beam PlatformsEdit
Samus has the ability to safely stand on frozen enemies, creating Ice Beam Platforms. This technique has been present in all traditional 2D games in the series to date, and was created for the original game in order to save memory. It is usually crucial at some point in the games, as it gives extra height for jumping. The same technique can be achieved using Ice Missiles. In the Prime series, creating and using Ice Beam Platforms with the Ice Beam (as well as the Dark Beam or Ice Missiles in the sequels) is possible but usually impractical due to the games' 3D environment, and it is impossible in Metroid: Other M as enemies no longer completely freeze over and are now affected by gravity.
Official Nintendo Player's Guide
Metroid II: Return of Samus manual
Super Metroid manual
Super Metroid Players' Guide (Ice Ray, page 9)
Official Metroid Prime website
Metroid Prime manual
Samus and Joey volume 3
Use the Ice Beam to open White Doors.
Zero Mission Samus Screen data
Metroid.com (Other M)
Metroid: Other M manual
Other M Samus Screen data
Metroid: Other M on-screen tutorial
Metroid: Samus Returns website
Samus Returns Samus Screen data
The Armory (p. 11)
Walkthrough (p. 48)
Nintendo of America tweet
Behind the scenesEdit
Although the exact methodology by which the Ice Beam freezes enemies is unknown, laser cooling is already used in terrestrial laboratory conditions to reduce the temperature of low-density gases. Currently, the technique is only applied to isolated atoms or molecules, but with more advanced technology it could conceivably be applied to large-scale objects.
However, two other freezing weapons in the Metroid universe- the Freeze Gun and Judicator- appear to work by firing a chemical refrigerant and ultracold plasma, respectively. Although both of these weapons consume ammunition and the Ice Beam does not, the ability of the Ice Spreader to "load" the active agent of the beam onto Missiles implies a physical projectile (as opposed to the energy beams used in laser cooling).
- After obtaining the Ice Beam in Metroid: Zero Mission, all further Beam upgrades will be stacked with the Ice Beam, and given its signature blue hue. However, if the Ice Beam is skipped by sequence breaking, the other beams can be seen to have uniquely colored sprites.
- Ice Beam shares the name of a move in Pokemon.
- Prior to Metroid: Other M, enemies frozen with the Ice Beam whilst in midair would remain in that specific spot until the ice thaws out, able to be used as a platform by Samus. Not even in the 3-D Prime or its sequels (where enemies were frozen with the Dark Beam and Ice Missiles, respectively) would enemies fall to the ground when frozen in midair. Other M is the first game to realistically portray frozen enemies, such as Metroids which fall to the floor until they break free.
- In the original Metroid, enemies do not take damage from being frozen by the Ice Beam. Instead, the act of shooting a frozen enemy will unfreeze it while simultaneously causing damage. Because of this, the player will need to shoot the enemy twice as many times with the Ice Beam as they would with the normal Beam.
- The Ice Beam is found thrice in Metroid II, unlike the other beams. The first time is in Phase 2, and the second time in Phase 7's Chozo ruins (where all beams are found in separate chambers in one shaft). The third and final time is in Phase 9, before Samus fights the Queen Metroid. This is for ease of access as there is no stacking of beams in Metroid II. In Samus Returns, which features the Ice Beam as a separate weapon from the other Beams, it is placed exclusively in Area 1.
- A frozen enemy that is close enough to death will die once the freeze effect wears off in Metroid II.
- In Super Metroid, the Ice Beam does not kill enemies on the last shot, but rather freezes them. The next shot will be fatal, provided that the enemy is still frozen.
- Due to her fusion with the baby's DNA in Metroid Fusion, Samus is deathly vulnerable to the SA-X's Ice Beam until she acquires the Varia Suit upgrade.
- Curiously, the SA-X's Ice Beam lacks the ice particles and wavy effects.
- GameTrailers ranked the Ice Beam as number 4 in the top 10 best weapons in video games due to its use as both a weapon and an exploration aid by turning enemies into platforms in the 2-D games. 
- In Metroid Prime, the Ice Beam is not absolute necessity to defeat Metroids, unlike their prior 2D counterparts. This inconsistency with established lore initially earned it criticism from fans at the time. In the game's sequels, this was rectified by new lore that states Metroids undergo through biological and physiological changes as they adapt to environments outside of SR388 and are exposed to radioactive elements. Thus, the Metroids from Metroid Prime, which were given the subspecies name of Tallon Metroid, are weaker than those from SR388 and Zebes due to their adaptation and/or exposure to Phazon.
- Metroid Prime's version of the Plasma Beam, which has the opposite elemental alignment, is far more effective in dispatching the eponymous foes than using the Ice Beam alone. However, the classic Ice Beam and Missile(s) combo remains the fastest method of killing the creatures when using the Arm Cannon in the same game.
- The Ice Beam is referred to as the freeze beam in a Metroid Prime print ad.
- Curiously, in the New Play Control! and Metroid Prime Trilogy versions of Prime, the Arm Cannon does not freeze over when charged. The sound of it doing so, however, remains.
- The Ice Beam, along with Samus herself and some of her other abilities, were slated to appear in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, but was ultimately removed due to a decision that used the PlayStation 2 to support the game's demo. The Ice Beam appeared to be based on the Prime iteration.
- In the first Metroid Prime, the symbol for the Ice Beam is a hand print sticking out its thumb, index, and pinky fingers. Donning the Scan Visor reveals that Samus positions her hand in this manner to activate the beam.
- In Metroid Prime, the Ice Beam was modeled and skinned by Gene Kohler.
- Ironically, in Other M, the Ice Beam is still effective on ice-based enemies.
- In Other M, if an enemy is left completely frozen solid (such as a Sova or an Asborean), it will explode and die shorty after. Sturdier enemies such as Baristutes and Magdollites will have body parts frozen over, rendering them immobile until they break free.
- The effect of the Freeze Gun seems to be stronger than the Ice Beam, as a single shot was able to freeze a Magdollite solid, while it takes a fully charged shot of the Ice Beam just to freeze over a Magdollite's mouth. At the same time, the Freeze Guns did not demonstrate this effectiveness during the battle against the Brug Mass..
- In chapter 4 of Samus and Joey, volume 1, Samus escapes captivity from thousands of Megaroid crystals by using her Plasma Beam and Ice Beam to destroy them, via thermal shock.
- All games that feature the Ice Beam also feature the Wave Beam, and vice versa.
|Armaments||Arm Cannon • Paralyzer|
|Weapons|| Power Beam • Wave Beam • Ice Beam • Plasma Beam • Grapple Beam • Hyper Beam: (MP3/SM) • Phazon Beam • Dark Beam • Light Beam • Annihilator Beam |
Nova Beam • Zero Laser
|Enhancements||Beam Burst • Charge Beam • Diffusion Beam • Long Beam • Phazon bullets • Spazer Beam • Tractor beam • Wide Beam|
|Affinity Weapons||Volt Driver • Battlehammer • Magmaul • Shock Coil • Judicator • Imperialist • Omega Cannon • Electro Lob|