This article is about the technique from Samus Returns and Metroid Dread. For the technique from Other M, see Counter Attack.
Our new action for this game that I really recommend is the defensive Melee Counter. Land this move on an enemy just as they're about to strike and you can stun them, then hit them with your own powerful attack. In previous Metroid games, you had to defeat the enemy from far away and dodge when they charge, but now Melee Counter lets you surprise enemies, giving you a new combat style to enjoy.

Yoshio Sakamoto, Developer Diary[1]

Promotional artwork of Samus using a Melee Counter on a Zeta Metroid

The Melee Counter is a new technique that is used to parry enemy attacks. This technique debuted in Metroid: Samus Returns and re-appears in Metroid Dread. It is performed by pressing the X button before a charging enemy makes contact.


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Metroid: Samus Returns[]

Samus mounts a Gamma Metroid and shoots it during a Grab Sequence.

The Lightning Counter.

When performing a Melee Counter, Samus swings her Arm Cannon upwards in a manner similar to an uppercut. The opportunity to use the Melee Counter is always indicated by a white flash and clicking noise from the enemy. A successful Melee Counter is called a Counter Hit,[2] and will instantly ready a fully charged Charge Beam and stun the countered enemy while releasing a large amount of Aeion energy.

If not countering an open attack, the Melee Counter does very little damage on its own, only knocking back most enemies slightly. It is also completely ineffective against Chozo robots including Autracks, Autoads, Gunzoos, and Wallfires. Despite this, the move is still capable of killing certain weak enemies such as Rock Icicles and Chute Leeches. If the Melee Counter is used on an enemy frozen by the Ice Beam (excluding Metroid larvae), the lifeform will instantly shatter akin to being hit with a Missile.

Samus can perform a Melee Counter while standing on the ground, in mid-air, and holding onto a ledge. This allows her to counter airborne enemy attacks and make herself less vulnerable while holding onto ledges. The Melee Counter cannot be used against an advancing enemy that is surrounded by electrical or fire energy, such as a Gamma Metroid or Electric Gullugg. The counter can also destroy smaller projectiles, such as the acid spat out by a Stronger Hornoad.

Performing a Counter Hit on Metroids and bosses and then pressing the attack button will trigger a Grab Sequence,[2][3] a cinematic where Samus continually shoots her target while automatically grabbing or dodging her enemy's attacks. Samus's attacks are determined by player input, including how many times she fires and whether she is using Missiles or Beams. However, the Grab Sequence will not trigger if the Counter Hit is performed in midair.

When using the Lightning Armor, the Melee Counter is enhanced into the Lightning Counter,[2] which has dramatically increased range at the cost of slightly depleting the Aeion Gauge.

Metroid Dread[]

The Melee Counter returns in Metroid Dread, but with some adjustments that make the technique more dynamic. If the Melee Counter is performed in the air, Samus will swing her cannon in a downwards motion instead, whereas the aerial variant in Samus Returns simply used the same uppercut animation as the standing variant. Samus can also perform a Melee Counter while sliding or in Morph Ball, where Samus will do a different bicycle kick to counter attacks.[4] Counter Hits also no longer release Aeion, but an enemy defeated after a Counter Hit will drop more energy and ammo. Performing a Melee Counter on an enemy frozen with the Ice Missiles will shatter it, killing it instantly.

In addition to all of the previous ways that the Melee Counter could be used in Dread, Samus can now perform a Melee Counter while running, triggering a Dash Melee wherein she parries an enemy attack while she dashes forward. Unlike a standard Melee Counter, this can be used to directly damage enemies and is even able to immediately kill some weaker enemies, such as Kreeps. However, the Dash Melee will only produce a successful Counter Hit under the same circumstances as a standard Melee Counter. The Varia Suit and Gravity Suit each slightly increase the damage dealt by a Dash Melee.

Mawkin enemies (specifically Chozo Soldiers and Raven Beak) will perform a Finish Counter[3] when near defeat. This triggers an interactive cutscene in which Samus must use the Melee Counter to deflect two attacks in succession before she is able to retaliate. If successful, the fight will be finished. If she fails to use the counter in time, she takes damage and the fight resumes until another Finish Counter is triggered. In Rookie Mode, Finish Counters are easier to time correctly.[5]

Samus herself also seems to have become more accustomed to using her Melee Counter out of gameplay, regularly using her Arm Cannon in cutscenes like a sword for close-up attacks and parries.

List of enemies that can be Melee Countered[]

Enemies denoted with an asterisk (*) will initiate a Grab Sequence upon a successful Counter Hit.

Samus Returns[]


Enemies denoted with a dagger (†) will initiate a Finish Counter when near defeat.

List of enemies that can be killed directly by Melee Counter[]

"Multiple mutations will cause a Metroid to grow into an even larger and more powerful adversary."

Please help improve this Designate which Dread enemies require the Varia/Gravity Suit in order to kill with Dash Melee. by expanding it.
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Enemies denoted with an asterisk (*) require the Lightning Counter. Enemies denoted with a dagger (†) can be killed by a single Dash Melee; two daggers (††) require the Varia Suit and three daggers (†††) require the Gravity Suit.

Official data[]

E3 website[]

"Classic Metroid II: Return of Samus gameplay is joined by a wealth of new content, including a set of brand new abilities that utilizes a mysterious energy resource called “Aeion,” a powerful melee counterattack, and 360-degree Free Aim Mode."


"Samus can deflect projectiles and defend against attacks by swinging her arm. Use it at the same time as an enemy attack to do the following actions."

Counter Hit
"Counter an enemy's special attack to stun the enemy and automatically take aim at it.
  • Press [Y] right after a Counter Hit to use a powerful beam attack."
Grab Sequence
"Counter a boss's special attack to create an opening. Attack during this opening to perform a special action that deals a lot of damage."
Melee Counter Tips
"You'll see a flash right before an enemy performs an attack that can be countered. It's important to observe your enemies' movements if you want to counter-attack effectively."

Samus Returns on-screen tutorials[]

The on-screen tutorial

"Use your Melee Counter right before a charging enemy makes contact to parry. After doing so, you will automatically take aim. Press [X] to use your Melee Counter now."

"Press [X] to use your Melee Counter right before a charging enemy makes contact."

Dread on-screen tutorials[]

The tutorial.

"Use a Melee Counter at the right moment to parry certain attacks and automatically take aim at the attacker. Press [X] to use your Melee Counter now."

"Parry enemy attacks by pressing [X] at the right moment to use your Melee Counter."

"Defeating an enemy that has been stunned as the result of a parry will cause it to drop more items."

"Press [X] while running to execute a powerful Dash Melee. Unlike other Melee Counters, the Dash Melee damages the enemy."

Nintendo of America tweets[]

"Countering boss attacks with precision timing sometimes allows Samus to deploy a devastating barrage of missiles in #MetroidDread.


"The Melee Counter ability returns, but in #MetroidDread you can execute a new Dash Melee, allowing you to counter the enemy while moving forward, adding a bit of damage. Expect more depth to the action and smoother gameplay with Samus’ movement abilities in Metroid Dread."[7]

"Samus’ Melee Counter in #MetroidDread creates an opportunity to stun the enemy by parrying their attack with a counter. A powerful follow-up move can be performed, which provides Samus with extra energy & ammo. She can also counter while running."[8]

Metroid Dread Report[]

Melee Counter and Dash Melee
"With a well-timed Melee Counter, Samus can strike at an enemy's weak point. This ability was first seen in the Metroid: Samus Returns game for the Nintendo 3DS™ system, and in this installment she can use the move while running with Dash Melee. This helps Samus to now leverage counters as offensive actions by jumping in close to the enemy and countering."
Melee Counter (Volume 5)
"This action creates an opportunity for Samus to stun an enemy by striking it right as it’s about to attack. If successful, the stunned enemy is then open to getting hit with a powerful follow-up attack. Samus can Dash Counter while running, too."[]

"Land a well-timed Melee Counter to knock an enemy off-balance and strike at their weak point with a powerful attack."
"Counter on the move and maintain momentum with a Dash Melee. Samus can jump in close to the enemy and use her counter as an offensive attack."

Metroid Dread loading screen tips[]

Enemies that have been stunned using a Melee Counter will drop more items
when defeated.
Press Switch Dread X button.png when running to use the Dash Melee. Striking an enemy with the Dash Melee will damage it.
Some bosses use attacks that can be countered. Successfully counter one to enter a sequence in which you can greatly damage the boss.
When near defeat, Mawkin foes will use a finish counter. Counter it at the right moment to finish them off.

Development notes[]

The idea of a parry mechanic in Samus Returns was suggested by MercurySteam,[citation needed] who had previously used a similar technique in their Castlevania: Lords of Shadow games. Nintendo's development team concepted the Dash Melee, and worked with MercurySteam to incorporate it into Dread.[9]


  • The Melee Counter is also similar to the Counter Attack from Metroid: Other M. Furthermore, the Grab Sequences resemble the Overblast, Lethal Strike, and other finishing moves from the same game.
  • When performing the Melee Counter, Samus uses the Arm Cannon as a melee weapon which is ironic as it is traditionally a ranged weapon.
    • Samus bludgeoning enemies with her Arm Cannon was first seen in the Super Metroid 4koma. Given the comedic nature of the comics, this turned out to be a bad idea as the mechanical stress caused the Arm Cannon to malfunction and backfire.
    • Its appearance in Samus Returns marks the first time Samus has used her Arm Cannon as a melee weapon in gameplay outside of the non-canon Super Smash Bros. series.
    • Samus can be seen performing an energy slash similar to the Melee Counter with her Arm Cannon on the cover of Metroid: Zero Mission, although it is apparently directed downward.
  • After successfully countering an enemy, Samus' beam will be charged even if she does not have the Charge Beam power-up.
  • Raven Beak uniquely has two Grab Sequences: the first Counter is a short sequence consisting of a backflip; all subsequent Counters thereafter have Samus sidestep and dodge around Raven Beak, extending the length of her counterattack.
  • In Samus Returns, no robotic enemies be Melee Countered, making this maneuver only effective against living bioforms. However, this is no longer the case in Dread, where robots such as the Autclast, Autsniper, and Shakernaut can be countered.


See also[]


  1. ^ Metroid: Samus Returns - Developer Diary (Nintendo 3DS) (YouTube). Nintendo UK (June 14, 2017). Retrieved on July 14, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Name from page 6 of the electronic manual
  3. ^ a b Metroid Dread Game Over tips
  4. ^ Looygi Bros. "10 Cool Details in Metroid Dread (Part 2)" YouTube. December 11, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  5. ^ How to Update Metroid Dread. Nintendo of America. Archived from the original on 2022-02-10. Retrieved on 2022-02-10.
  6. ^ Nintendo of America (NintendoAmerica). 15 June 2021 4:32 p.m. Tweet.
  7. ^ Nintendo of America (NintendoAmerica). 16 June 2021 11:20 a.m. Tweet.
  8. ^ Nintendo of America (NintendoAmerica). 24 August 2021 1:00 p.m. Tweet.
  9. ^ Jarop. "Metroid Dread dev on taking the series to HD, E.M.M.I.’s design, much more". Nintendo Everything (originally published in Famitsu, translated from Japanese). January 30, 2022. Retrieved March 19, 2022.