Lava (or magma), as depicted in the Metroid series, is a hazardous and viscous substance of molten rock that harms or kills most beings that come in contact with it. The substance is usually found in superheated rooms, but this is not without exceptions. It appears in all games in the series except Metroid II: Return of Samus, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (though purple liquid in Return of Samus, Dark Water in Echoes, and Fuel Gel in Corruption seem to take lava's role of hazardous substance). The substance is mostly seen inside or around a volcano.
Samus Aran's speed when running through the substance is slowed down in all Metroid games. In Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission, this hindrance in movement is nullified when the Gravity Suit is equipped. The Gravity Suit also gives Samus immunity to the harmful effects of magma/lava. However, superheated magma found in the depths of Norfair, Ridley's Hideout, Tourian, and Crateria can still harm her through the suit's protection in Super Metroid for unclear reasons. The same applies to lava within Metroid Prime's Magmoor Caverns and Metroid: Other M's Pyrosphere.
In Super Metroid, Samus cannot run or use the Speed Booster in lava, even with the Gravity Suit; this is likely due to lava being very thick to the point that even the Gravity Suit cannot allow complete unhindered movement through it. In Other M, Samus is very limited in her actions while submerged in the substance: she cannot engage Morph Ball mode and is unable to jump out of lava depending on her position.
The superheated lava of lower Norfair is capable of melting the entire body of the Crocomire, leaving nothing but its bones. Lava Tides are a common hazard associated with the superheated lava, where it periodically rises and falls in level.
The rebuilt Tourian headquarters in Super Metroid is filled with two different lava-like substances that ignore the mentioned suit's protection: the first one seems to be a highly concentrated liquid not found anywhere else on Zebes, while the second is the previously mentioned superheated magma found mostly in lower Norfair. When Zebes was about to explode near the ending, superheated magma was also seen rising up to the surface in the old Tourian Shaft.
Some areas in the original Famicom/NES Metroid and Zero Mission feature fake lava where Samus can fall right through to reach secret areas without being harmed.
In addition to the similar purple liquid seen in Metroid II: Return of Samus and Metroid: Samus Returns, lava is also shown to exist on SR388 in the remake. Sector 1 (SRX) on the Biologic Space Laboratories research station only contains lava in areas mimicking the planet, and uses the same lava in the volcanic habitats of Sector 3 (PYR).
According to concept art for Sovas in Metroid: Other M, there are apparently microbes that are not only able to resist the extreme temperatures of lava, but thrive in it as well. Sovas can be seen "drinking" lava to feed on these microbes. As Sovas are native to Zebes and feed on them, it can be assumed that the microbes are native to the planet as well.
Lava appears as the main stage hazard of Norfair, introduced in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. There are rising and falling Lava Tides that submerge the stage; lava walls that cover the left or right sides of the stage; lava jets that spray up from the background; and an enormous lava wave that can only be effectively avoided with the safety capsule.
Lava also appears on Planet Zebes: Brinstar Depths and Pyrosphere, but only as a background element that does not directly affect gameplay. On Brinstar Depths, Kraid periodically emerges from the lava to attack the stage, and then he sinks back down; therefore, Kraid's appearance is first telegraphed by large splashes of lava. However, lava has not been seen in Brinstar or Kraid's Lair in any canonical game.
- Lava and Metroid were referenced in the film Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. In one scene, the characters were discussing the constant presence of lava in video games. One character says that "In Metroid, it's actually magma.", which is only true for instances where the substance is found underground.
- The superheated lava seen in Croc's pit is referred to as acid in Japanese and German guidebooks. The Japanese guide even specifies the acid as hydrochloric acid (塩酸). However, all English media refers to the liquid as lava.
|Hazardous||Acid (Beta/Fake) • Acid Rain • Afloraltite • Dark Water • Fire • Fuel Gel • Lava (Fake) • Phazon • Purple liquid|
|Gases||Dark vapor • Industrial-grade pesticide • Meta-viprium gas • Nohadin gas • Noxious gasses • Poison gas • Talvania Gas|
|Destructible|| Barnacle-like material • Bendezium • Brinstone • Cordite • Denzium • Frigidite • Glass • Grobnite • Ice • Maldium • Meltable Metal • Metroid webs • Radion • Sandstone • Talloric Alloy • Vegetation • Zebetite |
Kelbium and Zafrite
|Phazon||Red • Crystal • Black Crystal • Mass • Ore • Elite Nutrient Mix • Strain Vertigo • Phazite (Red) • Concentrated|
|Crystals||Ammolite/Witherite Shards • Black Phazon • Crystallized Fuel Gel • Crystals • Dark Sentinel • Lift • Liftvine • Light • Minerals • Phazon • Red magma • Sentinel|
|Ore||Urthic • Phazon|
|Miscellaneous||Invisible platform • Jovian steel • Liquid Resource • Sand • Vaccine "Metroid" • Waste • Water • Yellow goo • Yellow liquid|
|Food, Nourishment and Sustenance|
|Plants & Fungi||Blueroot Tree • Fruit • Red Starburst • Sap Sac • Saturnine • Tangle Vine Fruit|
|Species||Geruta • Embers • Kiru Giru • Pirate Militia • Reo • Ripper • Sciser • Scritter • Skree • Space Pirate • Tallon Crab • Torizo • X Parasite • Zoomer|
|Specific Humans||Samus Aran • Virginia Aran|
|Carrion||"Deceased Soldier" • Amok Mommy|
|Liquid||Lava • Phazon|
|Artificial/Misc.||Deca-triticale • Elite Nutrient Mix • Energy • Nutrient-grade biomatter • Synthetic Metroid rations • Wrecked Ship|