Imago's hideout originally appeared in Metroid, but with a very different design. This room can only be entered through a secret passage in the ceiling of an adjacent room, making it entirely optional.
It is a hallway constructed primarily from purple blocks and grating, leading to a small silver chamber on the far left side where a Missile Tank can be found on a pedestal. There are two lava pools and a few small gaps in the floor to fall through into them, including a pair of invisible pitfalls in the silver chamber.
The main threat of the room comes from the infestation of hostile creatures, including Holtz, Dessgeegas, and especially Zebbos. The narrow and cramped corridor is full of Air Holes that continuously spawn the Zebbos while giving Samus Aran very little room to avoid them or use the Screw Attack. This layout is very similar to sections of the Zebbo Nest, likely as one of many examples of conserving memory in the game's programming.
While its location remains the same in Metroid: Zero Mission, the design and role of Imago's hideout is thoroughly overhauled in this remake. In a normal playthrough, it is necessary to enter Imago's hideout in order to progress through Ridley's Lair, since this is where Samus can obtain her first Super Missile. While still connected to the same room as in Metroid, the main entrance to Imago's hideout is now through a tunnel in Norfair, where the Kiru Giru larva burrowed after being freed from Tangle Vines.
Because of its close proximity to Norfair, Imago's hideout features the same natural purple rocks and strange blue flora, which cannot be found elsewhere in Ridley's Lair (except for connecting rooms). Most of the room is sloped upward towards the left. Similar to Metroid, a pedestal on the far left side of the room holds a Super Missile Tank. However, the newly-matured Imago is using its hideout as its nest, blocking off the Super Missile Tank with a large cluster of its eggs. Five additional eggs can also be found resting individually on the slope.
Samus drops into Imago's hideout through Pit Blocks and is locked in this room by a Metal Door. As she makes her way to the left, she breaks the five eggs, which angers Imago and provokes it into attacking her. During the battle, Imago flies through the entire room before flying up through an inaccessible hole in the ceiling and changing direction for the next pass. Once Imago's stinger has been shot off, the bee-like creature dive-bombs into its nest, destroying the rest of the eggs and exposing the Super Missile Tank.
Once a Super Missile is obtained, it is no longer necessary to visit Imago's old hideout. Therefore, by using Sequence Breaking to collect a Super Missile elsewhere, Samus can progress through Ridley's Lair without needing to enter this room first. In a Low Percent Run without Super Missiles, it is even possible to avoid Imago's hideout entirely by using a hidden path through the right side of Ridley's Lair.
- Missile Tank
- In Metroid, a Missile Tank can be obtained simply by traversing the room all the way to the left side, where it can be found on a pedestal.
- Super Missile Tank
- In Zero Mission, a Super Missile Tank buried beneath Imago's nest is revealed upon defeating Imago, in approximately the same location as the Missile Tank in the original game.
- Although the room's design and role was significantly altered in the remake, Zebbos (the room's most common enemies in Metroid) and Imago are both bee-like creatures. Therefore, both versions of this room are similar in that they are both act primarily as nests for bee-like enemies.
- There is a specific position in Imago's hideout where Samus can avoid damage entirely when facing Imago. By positioning Samus barely at the bottom of the first slope upon entering the chamber (her feet should be even with the first 'indent' near the bottom of the slope) and crouching, Imago's stingers will hit just in front of her and sail over her head while Imago remains unable to ram Samus. Samus will remain able to shoot Imago's abdomen at least twice per pass.
- In Victory Techniques for Metroid, Samus encounters Holtz and Zebbos for the first time in Imago's hideout. She is stung by the Zebbos and complains afterward that they marred her beautiful physique. She then proceeds to fall into the invisible pitfall in front of the Missile Tank.
- ^ Metroid: Zero Mission: The Official Nintendo Player's Guide pg. 61: "Drop in, make your way to the left and fall through to Imago's hideout."
- ^ Metroid: Zero Mission: The Official Nintendo Player's Guide pg. 92: "When you reach the lower-right area, take the elevator down to Ridley's lair instead of venturing through Imago's old hideout."