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Metroid: Zebes Invasion Order (メトロイド ゼーベス侵入指令 Metroid: Zebes Shin'nyū Shirei ), also translated as Metroid: Zebes Incursion Directive, is a Metroid gamebook that was published only in Japan in December 1986 by Futabasha. Written by Nobuyuki Shioda and illustrated by Sumi Arisaka, it is the fifth book in the Famicon Bouken Game Book series. The book contains the earliest depiction of Samus Aran's face and Gunship; the former is a secret in the original game, while the latter is not present. The book loosely follows the plot of Metroid, released earlier that year.
It has never been officially translated into English. An unofficial translation by former Wikitroid editor MetroidLuver13/Looh was in development in 2017 before being cancelled. The Metroid Database translated the entire book and released it on December 25, 2018, adapted in the form of a Twine text adventure game that streamlines the gameplay experience.
While it is not considered canon, some plot elements from Zebes Invasion Order (most notably the large mutant Metroid and the post-Mother Brain storyline) were later reused in games such as Super Metroid and Metroid: Zero Mission. It is unknown if the book had any influence upon these games, or if it is only a coincidence.
A bounty was placed on the Pirates, creating a new occupation in the galaxy: Space Hunters. However, the more actively the Space Hunters worked, the more the weaker Space Pirates joined together with their stronger comrades, forming a massive organization with immense power.
As this is going on, a Special Investigations Group creates a team to conduct research on the recently discovered Metroid from planet SR388. They are known for having destroyed the entire civilization on that planet. Some of the research involved studying various stages of Metroid development via "ecology capsules", but the brunt of the study involved Beta-Ray exposure to "inactive", seemingly dead Metroids. It was found that in a trial run on one particular Metroid, developed from a capsule, within 24 hours it would come back to life after such exposure. That Metroid, unfortunately, annihilates the entire research team, leaving the facility in ruin. The Federation goes so far as to send in the entirety of the 3rd Division of the Federation Space Army, who inevitably eliminate this Metroid.
Later, the Space Pirates manage to steal an ecology capsule for themselves. Should they learn of the Metroids' capabilities, they could be used as a biological weapon against the Federation. Frantically, the Federation initiates a manhunt, and discovers a Pirate stronghold on the asteroid called Zebes. The capsule is thought to be at the center of the stronghold, where the massive computer "Mother Brain" resides.
Though they tried to penetrate this stronghold themselves, they did not have enough power to overcome any of the Space Pirate's weaknesses. They decide to entrust this mission to the Space Hunters, but with no ordinary bounty. Samus Aran accepts the task from the Federation directly.
Samus lands on Zebes successfully and notes that the area is divided into three regions: area A (Brinstar), area B (Norfair), and area C (Tourian). She begins her mission in Brinstar. Navigating rooms one-by-one, Samus explores Zebes in search of the two Mini-Bosses Kraid and Ridley, who hold the Key Stones required to activate the Stone Statues and enter Tourian. Along the way, she can collect power-ups, including Missile Tanks and Energy Packs, to increase her ability to explore and battle.
In Brinstar, Samus encounters Zoomers, Rios, Zebs, and Side Hoppers. Through exploration, she can find the Bombs, Ice Beam, and Varia. In room A-22, Samus fights her way past a Side Hopper and a Doublehopper before fighting Kraid himself.
In Norfair, Samus encounters Zoomers, Gerutas, Holtz, Multiviolas, and Dessgeegas. Through exploration, she can find the Screw Attack, Wave Beam, and Ice Beam. In room B-65, Ridley attempts to trick Samus with a fake Key Stone trap, but she prevails and defeats him.
In Tourian, Samus fights her way past Metroids and dodges Rinkas. Using missiles, she destroys three regenerating Zebetite barriers before confronting Mother Brain herself in room C-95. At last, with Mother Brain defeated, Samus retrieves the Metroid capsule, ascends an escape shaft, and flees Zebes in her Gunship.
However, it is revealed that the Metroid developing in the stolen capsule has broken out of it and mutated into a massive Metroid with pointed, tentacle-like arms, which Samus calls "Metroid=Mutant", or "M=M" for short. With M=M loose aboard her Gunship, Samus is forced to send out a distress signal in the cockpit and/or flee in an Escape Pod.
As a result, Samus ends up being forced to dock inside a massive Pirate Ship, where she is captured by the Space Pirates. She is brought before the Pirate Boss in the control room, where she ultimately ends up unmasked and her true gender is revealed for the first time. As she breaks free, the M=M appears aboard the ship as well and wreaks havoc. In the aftermath, Samus must make a choice: does she attempt to retrieve the stolen Metroid capsule, or make her escape as quickly as possible?
In the Bad Ending, Samus heads to the Pirate Ship's docking bay, only to be confronted by the M=M. She is able to defeat the M=M and escape in a small spacecraft, destroying the Pirate Ship with a large missile. Unfortunately, her failure to retrieve the Metroid capsule means that there are unresolved mysteries, and the surviving M=M has also latched onto her escape ship.
In the Good Ending, Samus returns to the control room to retrieve the Metroid capsule, but the Pirate Boss challenges her to a sword duel. The M=M interrupts the fight, giving Samus the opportunity to escape with the capsule. As she leaves the docking bay in a small spacecraft, she fires a large missile to destroy the Pirate Ship, annihilating the Space Pirates and the M=M. With her mission complete, she enters cryosleep and returns to Earth. However, the epilogue implies that the M=M survives in the vacuum of space, and it is seeking its nemesis Samus.
The plot of the book diverges once Samus arrives on Zebes, as the remainder of the book is a series of choices that the reader can make.
While Samus is exploring Zebes, the reader can decide which direction they want Samus to move and therefore the order in which beams and other upgrades are acquired, just as in Metroid. The maps of Brinstar, Norfair, and Tourian even resemble the in-game layouts of these areas, although the cardinal directions have been rotated. Usually, entering a room results in an encounter with a type of enemy found in that area; the reader can choose whether Samus fights (including which specific weapon she uses: beam, missile, or Screw Attack) or flees.
The reader is required to keep track of their current energy and missile levels, as well as any collected power-ups. A lot of choices (particularly success in defeating an enemy) are determined via rolling a six-sided dice. As a result, Samus can die at any point, including to small enemies during "fight" sequences.
To preserve the feeling of exploration in Metroid, there are several hidden rooms, and the book only provides incomplete chapter numbers instead of directly revealing where they are. The reader is required to search through the book to find the missing chapter number in order to enter the room. For example, the book may hint at chapter 1X4 as the location of a hidden room, and the reader needs to check chapters 104, 114, etc. to find it.
During the last arc of the book, after Mother Brain has been defeated, the book's structure becomes a more traditional "choose your own adventure" type book; instead of navigating mazes, searching for upgrades, and keeping track of energy/missiles for each battle, the reader is simply given a few options to choose from. During this sequence, Samus can run into M=M at different points, with the choice to fight or flee; sometimes, M=M itself will flee the battle.
The following translation is provided by GlitterBerri.
Tens of minutes passed as the pirate underlings struggled to remove my helmet. In spite of their difficulties, the lock eventually gave way.
As the pirates lifted my helmet, inch by inch, their mute amazement became ever more apparent.
...None of them had expected to witness the sight that was now before them.
For the first time, they were able to hear my voice.
"Yes. As you can see, I am a human woman." -> Proceed to 285.
- The following details in the plot were reused in later games:
- Super Metroid: The stolen Metroid capsule contains an enlarged mutant Metroid, which shares a unique relationship with Samus that no other Metroid has shown. This Metroid mutant interrupts Samus's final battle with the Space Pirates' leader, giving her the opportunity to emerge victorious.
- Metroid Fusion: As Samus tries to return to her ship and escape, an advanced form of Metroid can be fought as the final boss in the docking bay.
- Metroid: Zero Mission: Ridley is initially nowhere inside his room, and only appears behind Samus when she attempts to leave with an important item. After defeating Mother Brain and escaping Tourian in her original mission to Zebes, Samus is forced to evacuate her own gunship due to an enemy attack. She then boards a Space Pirate Mother Ship and has her helmet removed, exposing her identity. She then defeats the Space Pirates' de-facto leader and flees in an escape ship as the Mother Ship explodes.
- Metroid Prime 2: Echoes: A heavily-mutated Metroid has an obsession with viewing Samus as its arch-nemesis. It repeatedly survives and regenerates from being defeated by Samus, even when the site of their battle is destroyed.
- Although Zebes is canonically considered a planet, it is referred to as an asteroid in this book.
- To escape from a Metroid that latches onto her, Samus needs to fire four missiles. This is not possible in Metroid games, where she must instead use bombs to escape.
- The book seems to add some more similarities between Metroid and Alien, such as the M=M sneaking aboard Samus's escape pod and Samus sending it out the open airlock.
- In this book, the Space Pirates are depicted as humans, rather than the alien creatures they were depicted as in later games starting with Super Metroid (and to a certain extent implied in other extension media such as the Japanese manual for the game).
Some of these images were previously sourced from Nicovideo (requires login). The video begins from the start of マザーブレイン撃破後の第二部, or After Destroying Mother Brain, Part 2, and includes some of the pages of possible choices the reader can make from there. The book itself is 285 pages long. Translations for the images can be found on their respective pages.
- Metroid: Zebes Invasion Order transcript on Geocities
- Twinetroid, a translated recreation of Zebes Invasion Order hosted on Metroid Database