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|“||‘Defective product’.... Me...?!! A defective product... You dare claim that I am defective...!!||„|
Mother Brain (マザーブレイン Mazā Burein ) (Referred to simply as Mother in the opening of Metroid: Other M) is a recurring antagonist and boss in the Metroid series. She is a cold and ill-tempered AI created by the Chozo, but turned against them when the Space Pirates invaded Zebes. After showing her intellectual might, Mother Brain became leader of the Pirates and greatly increased the efficiency of their attacks against the Galactic Federation over the years.
She was seen as the main antagonist in Metroid, Super Metroid, and Metroid: Zero Mission. She is also seen in a flashback during Metroid: Other M, and a copy of her consciousness was responsible for the events of that game as well.
In the Japanese website for Zero Mission, she is given the title Mad Overseer (狂気の支配者).
Mother Brain's primary body shares a similar appearance to an exposed human brain, but is gargantuan in size and implanted with various mechanical components. These implants consist of metal barbs and conical spikes that protrude outward from the surface of the pulsing cerebrum, thick tubes or pipes situated near the cerebellum and on her underside is a mass of machinery with cables and wires, some of which connect directly into the structure below Mother Brain's body. It can be assumed that part of this wiring is connected to a form of life-support system, as it has been stated that the Pirate leader requires constant supply of Zebetites to remain alive.
Mother Brain's most distinguishing trait is the single large eye found below the cerebral hemispheres, though it is usually hidden beneath folds of flesh. Her eye's pupil can change to a round or vertical shape at will, similar to that of a Cat's. She is found within a sealed glass tank known as a Control Capsule that protects her from external attacks and other outside elements; this, coupled with the machinery underneath her, leaves her completely immobile.
This body is seen in Metroid: Zero Mission and is the one most often shown in recent media both within and outside the Metroid series.
Her body in Super Metroid remains mostly the same as her depiction in Zero Mission, with the first notable difference being the presence of a facial skeleton beneath her single eye. It is covered with tan-colored skin and consists of cheek bones along with an upper and lower jaw lined with sharp teeth. Inside the mouth is a tongue and likely the glands which produce the spittle seen later on. The sides of her new face are embedded with wires and metal pipes. Other changes are subtle: a slight reduction in overall size, the presence of an eyelid allowing her to blink and the brain tissue colored with an orange pigment. Furthermore, there are now wires that extend from the cerebrum to the topside of her capsule. The Cerebrum also apparently has two layers. An orange, thick layer and a glowing red layer with several detailed lines. The latter was revealed after she narrowly survived being drained by the Baby.
However, the most drastic addition is the giant body designed for mobile combat which connects to Mother Brain from underneath after a forced separation from her life-support system. It is broadly humanoid in shape, featuring a pair of arms and legs, as well as a sagging pot-belly and a skintight exoskeleton on her upper torso; when connected, Mother Brain's former body is found at the top of the new body's spiked neck where it behaves as the "head" and gains control of the metallic limbs. When standing in a bipedal posture, she becomes the second tallest creature on Zebes, surpassed only by Kraid. Overall, the combat form appears to be comprised of both machine and organic tissue, with vague similarities to a Torizo. When in use, Mother Brain emits purple smoke from her mouth and/or from the circuitry on the sides of her face.
Metroid: Other M features a flashback cutscene showing Mother Brain atop her mobile form. The combat body is slightly altered, with a slimmer, skeletal design and longer arms while Mother Brain herself appears smaller in comparison to it.
Mother Brain's very first appearance in the NES/Famicom Metroid game featured a "face" instead of the single eyeball that would be established in later games and its remake. Her visage had a pair of eyes, a nose-like protuberance and underneath were two tusks with a metal cable in-between that extended to the base below her, giving her a vague resemblance to an elephant. This version of Mother Brain became non-canon as early as Super Metroid in which the intro sequence featured a flashback of the final battle from the NES/Famicom game, with the tusks clearly absent.
Background and personality
In the Metroid games
Very little was known of Mother Brain, although it was believed that her origins were deeply connected with the Space Pirates: in-game texts, instruction manuals and players' guides described her as their leader, being the perpetrator of their malicious plans and controlling all operations on Zebes. In particular, she is stated to have come up with the idea of using the highly dangerous Metroids as bioweapons against galactic society. Her location in Tourian and the surrounding security emphasized her role of not only being the top ranking member of the pirates, but also as a vital piece of equipment, as her defeat initiates Tourian's self-destruct sequence.
Her personality was an even greater mystery, with only her immobile and mostly expressionless form giving, intentionally or not, the impression of a very cold disposition. Her behavior in Super Metroid indicated she was highly cunning; anticipating a repeat of her previous encounter with Samus, she lured her into a false sense of victory before emerging with the new mobile body, cornering and overwhelming her foe with massive firepower. In addition, after knocking enough of Samus's health out that the latter could no longer even stand up, Mother Brain also was shown to repeatedly toy with Samus by hitting her with her more minor attacks until she was at an inch of life left before deciding to use the Laser Brain Attack a final time with a triumphant roar, hinting at a more sadistic nature. Despite these calculated moves however, there was evidence of Mother Brain losing control during spontaneous bursts of emotions when, in a fit of rage, she foiled her own plans by destroying the last living Metroid after the creature saved Samus's life, as well as panic when Samus attacks her in retaliation by trying to use every attack in her disposal in an erratic manner.
In the Metroid manga
It was not until the release of the prequel manga that she would be revealed as a highly advanced, artificial intelligence created long ago by the benevolent Chozo, the same race that eventually raised the orphaned Samus Aran as their own. In fact, Samus spent most of her childhood under the watchful eye of Mother Brain when the latter was still an ally of her creators. Their relationship was filled with tension however: when the A.I met Samus, she used a flying monitor to observe her with such scrutiny that it frightened the young child and the former quickly disregarded her as a weak creature that would die from the harsh environment of Zebes. In Samus's adolescent years, Mother Brain occasionally provided assistance and advice during her physical training, albeit condescendingly and with arrogance. A particular event showed Mother Brain deliberately provoking Samus when the super-computer used Work Robots to incinerate several Iono Feria tamed by the orphan under the pretense that they were still dangerous. The A.I displayed concern as she watched Samus grow both in confidence and power, a sign that the former had an unknown agenda planned ahead.
Years after Samus left Zebes, Mother Brain betrayed the Chozo when the Space Pirates invaded the planet and helped them conquer it. Demonstrating her superiority complex, she spoke of her frustrations with her creators and claimed she had long surpassed them. She also calculated that taking control over the Pirates would allow her to bring order to the universe through violence and war, thus she designated herself as master and subsequently gave the role of Space Pirate commanders to Gray Voice, the only Chozo who shared her vision, and Ridley. Mother Brain tried to persuade Samus into becoming a commander through psychological manipulation, stating to have created her Power Suit and that the Chozo's true intention for raising the orphan was to turn her into a bioweapon. She went as far as claiming to be a "parent" to Samus.
Mother Brain was eventually attacked by Gray Voice when he revealed he was only cooperating to win her trust. During the battle, he called her a "defective" product and speculated that she developed fear, hatred and jealousy of other sentient life, in particular of Samus due to the orphan showing far more promise at successfully protecting the cosmos than the rogue A.I ever would. These statements left Mother Brain shaken to the point of affecting her otherwise calm demeanor; she had trouble making proper sentences and she desperately pleaded for Ridley's help when he arrived to rescue her. As Ridley gained the upper hand and mortally wounded Gray Voice however, Mother Brain was quick to sadistically mock her attacker and quipped that he was "just a bird who can't even fly". Samus escaped Mother Brain's clutches during these events and they would not confront each other again until the former's "Zero Mission" years later.
Although Mother Brain claims that she was following her directive per what the Chozo intended, it is heavily implied that she truly desired to have full control of the universe for its own sake. Furthermore, it comes to light that Mother Brain is in fact using the Space Pirates to further her own goals, referring to them and all other beings in existence as simple beasts. She intends on having her forces fight the Galactic Federation until both organizations become sufficiently crippled, at which point she will "cradle" the survivors to "sleep" and, after resetting the universe to zero, help them reach an intellectual level that she deems worthy of life. Thus, achieving her goal of bringing true order. She also plans on using an "evolved" form of the Metroid species to secure her dominion over all life.
It is to be noted that her means and views on "order" had noticeable similarities to the renegade Mawkin Chozo Raven Beak's "Power is Everything" philosophy of bringing order through warfare, which implies that her programming, and by extension her going renegade may have been influenced to some degree by Raven Beak.
As a sentient, organic super-computer built by the advanced Chozo, Mother Brain is capable of performing an extremely wide range of complex operations and algorithms of unimaginable magnitude. Connected directly to Tourian, she oversees the planet's many technological functions and security systems, along with archiving vast amounts of information and historical data, making her an invaluable intellectual support to whomever she allies herself with. Due to her inability to move under normal circumstances, she resorts to using a small, floating spherical monitor in the manga to observe, accompany, and converse with individuals outside of her physical body's location. This monitor is not her only means to observe the outside world however, and she likely can see through any type of surveillance tech connected to the vast system on Zebes. This amount of control, coupled with her self-awareness and high intelligence, is potentially what led to Mother Brain going rogue.
Several sources in past media imply that Mother Brain can influence/control her Pirate forces and wildlife with telepathy. This would explain why a large portion of the native flora and fauna on Zebes are highly aggressive toward Samus in the games, as the Pirate leader is directing them against her. Indeed, the manga has Samus directly accuse the A.I of this act. A cutscene in Zero Mission shows Mother Brain observing Samus in a moving elevator seemingly with no surveillance camera inside, potentially hinting at the former using her telepathy to see across vast distances.
The Metroid species are seemingly one of the few organisms that are immune to Mother Brain's telepathy. Events in Zero Mission and Super Metroid show the titular creatures attacking Space Pirates, including Mother Brain herself. The Metroid Prime series provide further proof with logbook entries stating that the Pirates have yet to develop any method of making their Metroid specimens obey orders. Curiously, Samus claims in Other M that the Pirate leader is the only thing that can control them; despite her statement, the same game shows all Metroids within the BOTTLE SHIP are still being kept in containment (with the exception of a single infant) despite a copy of Mother Brain being present onboard, which implies they are still an uncontrollable threat.
The first mention of Mother Brain's psionic abilities in media appeared in the non-canon Nintendo Comic System story: The Coming of a Hero, in which she is shown to display mental control over the Metroids. In the Super Metroid comic, the last Metroid rejected Mother Brain as it believed Samus was its mother, an act that shows her inability to control the deadly species.
Aside from her telepathy and the skills relating to her status as a super-computer, she can control weapon systems linked to her network (wired or wirelessly) such as the Cannons and the manga's Work Robots equipped with flamethrowers. Mother Brain gains additional weapons once she connects to her mobile body via the machinery on her underside: massive physical strength, blue ringed beams and bombs which are both expelled through her mouth, as well as an explosive barrage unleashed from her hands. Finally, the Pirate leader displays the ability to shoot a variety of beam projectiles out of her single eye, the most notable being the Brain blast and the devastating Laser Brain Attack, though only the former seems to be an innate weapon due to all others being exclusively used after the appearance of her mobile body. On that note, the blue ringed beams were also shown to be potent enough to significantly wound a Big Metroid if not kill it outright.
Mother Brain's role has been mostly vague in the Metroid series. There is debate as to whether she or Ridley is the supreme leader of the Space Pirates, with this question growing more confusing with the addition of High Command from the Metroid Prime games.
According to Super Metroid's manual, Metroid: Zero Mission's manual, and the official manga, Ridley is the general of the Space Pirates while Mother Brain is the biological computer which controls Zebes' defenses. However, Metroid's manual, Metroid Fusion's manual, Metroid: Zero Mission's game box, the Super Metroid Nintendo Power comic, and Super Metroid's in-game introduction refer to Mother Brain as the leader of the Space Pirates, with Metroid's manual saying that Ridley is controlled by Mother Brain. The manga later retcons this to rectify any confusion by stating that Mother Brain took over as one of the pirates' leaders, while keeping Ridley in his former position. Additionally, her referring to Ridley and the other Space Pirates as "simple beasts" might help explain the previous statement of Mother Brain controlling Ridley.
The Space Pirate Data in Metroid Prime refers to a High Command that commands the Space Pirates, which included ordering Ridley to be reconstructed. Whether or not Ridley is part of High Command is unclear; he may be the Pirate general, answering to High Command and/or Mother Brain. The group's presence has only been mentioned during the time of Mother Brain's inactivity and as such, High Command itself may or may not be subservient to her.
Media outside of the Metroid series often describe Ridley as the highest ranking member of the Space Pirates. Some of the latest Metroid games, such as Metroid: Other M (its instruction manual, official website and in-game) along with the prologue cutscene in Metroid: Samus Returns, state that Mother Brain is the true leader.
Though speculative, a way of rectifying all this is that Mother Brain is more of a separate antagonist who's allied with the Space Pirates and is viewed by them as extremely valuable to their conquest designs. So although Mother Brain is afforded great authority as the guiding strategist, to the degree that the Pirates defer to her, she is not truly their leader, which is a role taken by High Command. At the end of the day, the science team on Tallon IV sought Space Pirate domination and showed no subservience or reverence for Mother Brain, beyond her reconstruction being a priority. Similarly, Mother Brain had no regard for the Pirates and viewed them as beasts and disposable.
Under this viewpoint, it may be that Ridley and Kraid's positioning on Zebes was not just to protect Mother Brain while she perfected the process of turning Metroids into a bioweapon, but also to eliminate her once she was no longer of any use to the Pirates. The creation of Master Brain by the Pirates may have been a project with the secondary goal of crafting a more subservient version of Mother Brain, who likewise would likely have eliminated the Pirates, save for the Zebesian variety who were under her complete control, once they were no longer of any use.
In the Metroid manga published by Magazine Z, Mother Brain's backstory is explored. Beginning as an ally of the Chozo until her betrayal, she takes control of the Space Pirates and puts her plans into motion, becoming the antagonist established in the video game series. The manga ends as Samus enters Mother Brain's chamber in Tourian during the former's Zero Mission.
The boss battle against Mother Brain mainly consists of maneuvering around the defense systems and hazards present in her room: 15 Cannons, 14 Rinka generators, two pools of lava and five Zebetites. There is neither health nor ammo drops to be found in the room, therefore a miscalculated move can result in Samus being overwhelmed by the boss's defenses and build up unrecoverable damage unless she leaves the room entirely.
The Zebetites are the first targets to destroy before reaching Mother Brain and Samus can use the nearby floating platforms to help line up her Missile shots against them. However, these platforms are a double-edge sword as they are positioned in the line of fire of the Cannons above. Samus can alternatively exploit the infinitely spawning Rinkas with her Ice beam by turning them into makeshift platforms in safer spots. As she approaches the end of the corridor, the floors are replaced with pools of lava which Samus may fall into after getting hit by the many projectiles in the room, therefore greater care is needed at this point. After destroying the final Zebetite, Samus can use the space it occupied to begin firing directly at Mother Brain. The front of her glass tank will break after the first Missile and leave her exposed to all following damage. Mother Brain's cerebrum will gradually pulse faster as her health gets depleted.
After destroying her, the self-destruct sequence triggers and Samus must escape Tourian.
Her boss battle in the NES version is slightly more difficult than in the FDS version. In the NES version, only the central portion of her control capsule is broken off, requiring Samus to stand in place in the former Zebetite container immediately in front of Mother Brain to do damage while also avoiding rinkas. In the FDS version, the entire bottom half of the control capsule was left shattered, which allows Samus to be able to stand in point blank range of Mother Brain to shoot missiles, although the rinkas still make things slightly challenging overall.
In the remake, Mother Brain makes two appearances prior to her boss battle. First, in the game's introduction where Samus's main objectives and targets are described. Afterwards, she is seen observing Samus's progress in a cutscene that plays when the latter boards an elevator to Norfair.
The first half of the battle, which consists of reaching Mother Brain's location, remains nearly identical to the original's except for minor alterations such as a reduction in the number of defenses and the Rinkas dropping health and ammo when destroyed. Only four Zebetites, twelve Cannons and twelve Rinka generators are present this time around.
Upon reaching Mother Brain, the battle begins to differ significantly: Samus gets locked into the last segment of the corridor with no means of going back. This segment has two small platforms over a large pool of lava, two Rinka generators and two Cannons. The Space Pirate leader's glass tank requires 20 Missiles (or 4 Super Missiles) to shatter, and her weakpoint is her single eye, itself taking 35 missiles, that can be targeted if Samus crouches while firing. Samus can also stand on the very edge of the glass container next to Mother Brain. Additionally, Mother Brain can now directly attack by gathering energy into her body to release a brain blast from her eye; when charging the blast, the eyeball recedes back into her body and is protected by several layers of flesh. This attack is used whenever Samus inflicts a set amount of damage or whenever she gets back onto the platforms after falling off either directly into the lava or merely grabbing onto the ledges.
Unexpectedly, Mother Brain is no longer the final boss and the game continues after her destruction.
The game's instruction manual describes the events that led to the destruction of Mother Brain in the original Metroid and Zero Mission. It is also stated that some time after Samus left planet Zebes, Space Pirate survivors who were in orbit during the former's assault on the planet began to rebuild their headquarters as well as resuscitate Mother Brain and her two sub-commanders, Ridley and Kraid. Mother Brain would not be seen or directly mentioned again throughout the entire Prime series and High Command leads the Space Pirates in her absence.
Mother Brain was also going to be mentioned in an unused dialogue in the opening:
|“||Ten years ago, beneath the surface of Planet Zebes, the mercenaries known as "Space Pirates" were defeated by interstellar bounty hunter Samus Aran. Descending to the very core of the pirate stronghold, Samus exterminated the energy based parasites called "Metroids" and defeated Mother Brain, the leader of the pirate horde.
But the Space Pirates were far from finished. Several pirate research vessels were orbiting Zebes when Samus fought on the surface below.
After the fall of Mother Brain, the ships escaped, with the hope of finding enough resources to rebuild their forces and take their revenge.
After discovering a possible pirate colony on planet Tallon IV, Samus has once again prepared for war, hoping to end the Pirate threat forever.
—Unused introductory monologue.
|“||Against all odds, Samus Aran eradicated the Metroids on Zebes and defeated Mother Brain, the leader of the Space Pirates. And so their sinister plans were thwarted... for a time.||„|
—Metroid: Samus Returns introduction
While Mother Brain does not physically appear in Samus Returns, she makes a brief cameo along with Metroid larvae, Rinkas and Cannons in the introduction in a panel recounting the battle during her Zero Mission. As a result of misuse of the Metroids by Mother Brain and the Space Pirates, the Federation decided to send Samus to SR388 to exterminate the former.
Mother Brain is first seen in a short flashback of the battle that took place during Samus's previous mission on Zebes. Afterwards, the villain is not seen again until the final boss battle.
The first part of the final conflict remains roughly the same as prior battles: reach Mother Brain while overcoming her security defenses. The lava is initially absent, but the entire corridor will shake as the former is released into the lower floors. The front of the Control Capsule will shatter after several Missiles or Super Missiles while the rest breaks down as Samus inflicts damage to Mother Brain. Unlike Zero Mission, Mother Brain can be fired upon any exposed area of her body, making this part of the battle more akin to the original Metroid. Her body is not only vulnerable to concussive weaponry, but also to the properties of the Charge Beam. The Pirate leader never opens her eye or mouth, merely shaking and groaning with every hit.
To Samus's surprise, the battle concludes faster than their previous confrontation, leading to the collapse of the structure Mother Brain was on as her body falls to ground while turning pale. Additionally, the gun barrels of the nearby Cannons explode, the lava is drained from the room and the path behind Samus closes. A tense moment of silence passes before Mother Brain suddenly rises off the ground, now connected to a sitting bipedal body that was seemingly hidden underground.
As the body stands up and Mother Brain's color reverts back to normal, she finally opens her eye and roars at Samus, marking the start of the battle's second phase.
No longer an immobile being that largely relies on security systems, Mother Brain uses her new body to its maximum extent. She closes the distance between herself and Samus in an attempt to corner the latter while unleashing projectiles from her mouth, hands and eye. Her body is invulnerable save for the "head" and attacking the latter will push her back, giving room to avoid her attacks. After a set amount of direct hits, Mother Brain will gather energy into her cerebrum for her most devastating weapon: the Laser Brain Attack which can neither be stopped nor dodged. If Samus has a high amount of health following the attack, the A.I will fire additional shots from her weapon until the former is unable to move, prompting Mother Brain to approach and use regular attacks to drop her health under 100 units of energy. The Pirate leader will then roar triumphantly before charging the Laser Brain Attack once more, intending to finish off Samus.
Before the shot is fired, the mutated Metroid that imprinted onto Samus flies in and latches onto Mother Brain. As it absorbs her energy, she will thrash violently until she falters and her entire body becomes a husk. The Metroid then latches onto the still-crippled Samus and transfers the absorbed energy into her. Shockingly, Mother Brain somehow resurrects herself and, visibly injured and unable to use her Laser Brain Attack, she angrily attacks the Metroid as it heals Samus. Eventually, Mother Brain deals a killing blow as it tries to attack her again. At that moment, Samus manages to stand up and begins firing the Hyper Beam, revealing that the Metroid stole Mother Brain's weapon and was partly used to forge Samus's own. She uses it to overpower her enemy and avenge her fallen "child", causing the A.I to yell in agony with every hit until the mobile body explodes. Mother Brain then falls to the ground, once more turning into a husk as she weakly opens her eye and mouth before crumbling to dust. Afterwards, a Countdown starts, this time to obliterate the entire planet of Zebes.
As of Super Metroid, the original A.I created by the Chozo has been eradicated from the universe, and her resurrection is unlikely.
Loosely based on the events of the game, Mother Brain tries to convince the baby that she was its mother, not Samus, but failed immensely. When Chief Hardy accidentally killed the baby, Samus was enraged. Believing that Mother Brain was its killer, Samus killed her. She spent time in her body a bit more than in the game, as she was using her body when attempting to convince the baby that she was its mom.
A 3D version of the Final Conflict in Super Metroid is featured in the Metroid: Other M introduction cutscene. The baby carries Samus into the air before being destroyed by the Laser Brain Attack. It then explodes over Samus into many small particles, resembling a rain of snow. Mother Brain then closes in to destroy Samus, who whispers "Mother! Time to go..." and finishes her off with the Hyper Beam before escaping Zebes.
Later in the game, when Samus learns that Metroids were being propagated on the BOTTLE SHIP, she wonders out loud if the scientists recreated Mother Brain. A female scientist clarifies that they modeled a large, featureless brain after the Pirate leader, codenamed "MB" and programmed it to reproduce the Mother Brain's thought processes.
Near the endgame, another survivor reveals that the scientist Samus encountered before was actually MB in an android form. MB's first form (the aforementioned brain) was originally used to control the Space Pirate special-forces unit, while her second humanoid form was created in an attempt to control the ship's propagated Metroids. However, MB went rogue and seemingly manifested a malevolent personality akin to Mother Brain's. The brain MB is destroyed by Adam Malkovich when he triggered Sector Zero's self-destruct sequence, and the android MB is ultimately killed by the arriving Galactic Federation Army.
Mother Brain herself does not appear in the main game, but there are several references to her. First, the Central Units resemble Mother Brain and use Rinkas and Central Unit Cannons similar to hers. Mother Brain appears in the Ending Reward unlocked when the game is completed on Normal Mode in under four hours, and she also appears in the respective images rewarded for unlocking all Ending Rewards and Chozo Archives.
Mother Brain is also depicted in hieroglyphs that can be found in an elevator room connecting Ferenia to Dairon. The same hieroglyphs appear to depict a battle between the Mawkin and the Zebesians. Mother Brain is positioned on the Mawkin's side of the fresco, which may imply that this event took place prior to Mother Brain betraying the Chozo.
In other media
- A microgame called Metroid in WarioWare, Inc.: Mega MicroGame$! and WarioWare, Inc.: Mega PartyGame$! re-enacts the fight between Samus and Mother Brain from Metroid. It is slightly different than the original fight, but mostly the same. It also seemed to retain the siren system from the Famicom Disk System version.
- Mother Brain is mentioned in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. If Mario returns to the Mushroom Kingdom castle before going off to Land's End, Samus will be sleeping in the palace's guest room bed, and if talked to, will say that she is resting up for Mother Brain. It is to be noted that this was only the case in the English localization, as in the Japanese version, she actually references the tagline for Metroid II, "Metroid... Omoroido!"
- In the Nintendo Comics System-published story Duh Stoopid Bomb! which contains characters from the Mario series, Mother Brain's name appears on a list of people who think King Toadstool is dumb.
- Mother Brain appears in the background of level 12 in Marathon Mode in Tetris DS, which is Metroid-themed.
- Mother Brain and her usage of Metroids is given an indirect reference in Animal Crossing: New Leaf via the Fortune Cookie that supplies the player with a Metroid, where the text states "Wise men say the brain is a terrible thing to waste."
- Mother Brain appears as a boss in I Wanna Be the Guy, where she is guarded by Rinkas, Metroids, and Zebetites.
In the TV show Captain N: The Game Master, Mother Brain is the main villain. She is portrayed as a female supervillain with a human-like face, bearing little resemblance to her actual appearance ingame. This depiction of Mother Brain also appeared in the Nintendo Comics System and Captain N comic book series, as well as in an obscure German comic, where she was shown with larger, more grotesque lips.
Mother Brain's voice in the television series was provided by the late Levi Stubbs of the The Four Tops. Stubbs had previously played a similar character, Audrey II, in the 1986 version of Little Shop of Horrors. Like Audrey II, Mother Brain has a feisty and flamboyant personality. She is very power-hungry but also incompetent and easily frustrated by her slow-witted assistants, King Hippo and the Eggplant Wizard.
One comic called Nervous Meltdown depicted her perception of herself within her consciousness.
On February 7th, 2014, Masahiro Sakurai posted an image on Miiverse and confirmed that Mother Brain would appear as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Her appearance is taken from Zero Mission, where she appears onstage in her Control Capsule with Rinkas flying around. She uses the Laser Brain Attack from Super Metroid, possessing a quicker firing rate but shorter range. Use of the Attack causes the Capsule to break. Mother Brain charges and fires the beam (which retains its sound effect from Super Metroid) twice, aiming it toward the ground. Mother Brain can also turn in her capsule to aim at opponents accordingly. Before she disappears, she seems to bounce, or "nod" at the summoning character. Mother Brain can be killed, with her trophy description quipping that it will not trigger a countdown as tradition.
Mother Brain returns as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Additionally, she appears as an Ace class Primary Spirit who can be equipped to fighters to provide a stat boost. Much like the Sticker from Brawl, she uses her artwork from Zero Mission. She is a Shield type, giving her advantage over Attack types but disadvantage against Grab types.
Like all other Primary Spirits, she can be leveled up through battle experience, Dojo training, or snack eating; upon reaching Level 99, she can be enhanced to Mother Brain (2nd Form), using artwork of her final form from Super Metroid. This resets her level to 1, but promotes her class to Legend and grants her the Giant skill: at the start of a battle, any fighter who has Mother Brain (2nd Form) equipped will be giant.
Mother Brain's Spirit can be unlocked in the World of Light Adventure Mode, where she appears in the Final Battle as one of Dharkon's Spirits. She can also randomly appear on the Spirit Board. In Spirit Battles, Mother Brain possesses a Dark Samus Puppet Fighter in her dark red costume. Dark Samus favors using her Charge Shot, and she is joined by Mother Brain as an Assist Trophy. The battle takes place on the Omega Form of Planet Zebes: Brinstar Depths, with Escape as the background music (presumably referencing the theme's use after beating Mother Brain in Metroid and Zero Mission). All combatants have increased power when using energy attacks.
- Blood of the Chozo (mentioned in introductory post)
- Samus & Joey
- Metroid Prime (manual)
- Metroid: Volume 1
- Metroid: Volume 2
- Metroid: Zero Mission
- Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Bonus Disc
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- New Play Control! Metroid Prime (manual)
- Another Side Story (mentioned)
- Metroid: Other M (appears in flashback)
- NES Remix 2
- Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U
- Metroid: Samus Returns (cutscene, mentioned)
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Metroid Dread (hidden fresco, Chozo Archives)
References to Mother Brain
It is revealed that the Galactic Federation builds and uses organic super-computers known as Aurora Units that share many similarities to the Pirate leader, Mother Brain. These constructs are seemingly organic, neuron masses encased in metal plates floating within a tank, making the AUs also resemble giant brains confined in jars. Both Pirate leader and Federation constructs are employed as computers to navigate in a large digital network and process enormous amounts of information, as well as keeping their users constantly up to date on current events; the manga indicates that Mother Brain can link up the Federation and Chozo information databases, not unlike Aurora Unit 217.
In addition, an unused Federation Log for Aurora Unit 242 in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption indirectly refers to Mother Brain, as the character Fleet Admiral Castor Dane was mentioned in the log to be very critical of Aurora Unit 242's nickname of "Other Brain."
The final boss of the game, Aurora Unit 313, is an AU gone rogue. Following this change of personality, the Space Pirates seemingly granted it additional attributes that correspond to Mother Brain's, such as nearby turrets firing Rinka-like projectiles, an ocular organ-like device that fires a purple laser, and a cable supporting 313, foreshadowing Mother Brain's neck in Super Metroid. The Aurora Unit 313 theme is an arrangement of Darkness, Dark Samus' theme, arranged to resemble Mother Brain's theme in Zero Mission.
Additionally, prior to the release of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, a trailer showcasing the Aurora Units featured Galactic Federation blueprints for a "future Aurora complex", which bears a near-identical resemblance to Mother Brain's room built by Zebesians in Super Metroid. While there is currently no official word on a possible connection between Mother Brain and the Aurora Units, a few theories have been formulated to explain all of the existing similarities.
The final boss of the game is an entity known as Master Brain, which resembles a brain-like organism within a pink-colored force field. Not much is known about Master Brain other than it is directly affiliated with the Space Pirates and that it visually more mechanical than organic, giving it a closer resemblance to an Aurora Unit than Mother Brain.
"Mother Brain lies in the central base of the fortress planet Zebes, the home of the space pirates. Its aim is to cultivate Metroid to multiply and conquer space. Zeebetite is its energy source. You have to discover Mother Brain's weak point before you can launch a missile attack. When hit, it makes a shrieking noise."
Virtual Console retranslation
"Mother Brain lies in the center of the planet Zebes. She plans to cultivate the Metroids and use them to conquer the universe. It's claimed that she is a massive mechanical life-form, but nobody knows for sure…"
"This is the backbone of the fortress planet Zebes, and it is the one determined to multiply Metroid. It is Samus’ ultimate target. In order to destroy it, over 30 continuous missile shots are required."
Super Metroid interview
Interviewer: Huh? Made it dirty?
Mashimo: Apparently, the characters I drew were fairly cute. Characters like Crocomire were so charming that when they were killed, the player would feel sad about them.
Osawa: He wanted to them to look like Fujiko Fujio's work! Then Yamane came into the picture.
Mashimo: When that happened, the characters became harsher so that the player could defeat them.
Osawa: Fujiko Fujio became Hino Hideshi!* (Laughs)
Sakamoto: Like Mother Brain!
Osawa: At first, I drew her. Then, I made the character look like an old lady living in my apartment complex. (Laughs)
Mashimo: I wanted to see a shopping bag hanging from her hands.
Osawa: Then Yamane-sensei appeared.
Mashimo: After that, saliva dribbled down, she spit out foul breath, and she was filthy.
Sakamoto: Well it wasn't static as the rest was terrible, so we cut down on the amount of drool. Anyhow, in the final version, there was a moderate amount of drool. (Laughs)
- Fujiko Fujio was the two-person manga team behind Doraemon. Hino Hideshi is a famous horror manga artist.
- Mixing It With Mother Brain (page 70)
- "The perpetrator of all the trouble. Mother Brain is at the very core of Zebes, controlling all the operations on and around the planet. It will take every ounce of strength, courage and determination to make it past this heinous enemy.
- Your weapons should be numerous by now, but you'll need to make a swift decision on which one to use. Will it be the super missiles or the power bombs? How about one of the beams? You're on your own now - few adventurers have ever seen the Mother Brain, let alone lived to tell the tale. But you've got this far so don't give up now!"
Metroid FAQ (Metroid Zero Mission Official Site)
- "If the Chozo made Mother Brain, why is she so dangerous?"
- Yoshio Sakamoto: "Mother Brain was not originally dangerous, and was an indispensable artificial intelligence that served as the center of the advanced Chozo civilization. However, as an extremely superior standalone AI, Mother Brain sprouted dangerous thoughts and went berserk."
Captain N: The Game Master – The Complete Series
The Forces of Chaos
"Mother Brain is part grotesquely enlarged human brain, part souped-up bionic support system, and all evil. Every electrical device on Metroid, from the robot workers in the airlocks to the TV monitors and toasters, has been wired to do her bidding. In her high-tech nest at the center of the planet, Mother Brain spins her schemes and directs the Forces of Chaos' grand conspiracy. "
|“||The Triforce is as good as mine! Once I get rid of you potato heads, that is.||„|
- Mother Brain Metroid: Zero Mission - Flinch Resistance +147 (All)
Mother Brain and the Baby Metroid
"A dream - I was reliving the tragic moments of my recent past. The Baby Metroid that had emerged from its egg in front of me so long ago was protecting me from the assault of Mother Brain. It would sacrifice its life to save me, and in doing so, give me the power of the Hyper Beam that would spell Mother Brain's doom."
"Pic of the day. Housed within the Control Capsule! Protected by Rinkas! Eyeball armed with a Laser Brain Attack!! The massive Assist Trophy Mother Brain joins the collection!!"
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U website
"Mother Brain from the Metroid series is an enormous Assist Trophy that fires vertically tracking laser rays. Fighters caught in the rays will rack up numerous hits and damage, so it's better not to be in front of her. By the way, it's possible to defeat Mother Brain by attacking her."
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Trophy
- "Hailing from the Metroid series, this evil boss resides on the planet Zebes. When she appears in Smash Bros., she attacks with energy projectiles and a beam from her eye. It's actually possible to defeat her, and for once doing so won't start a self-destruct sequence."
- "A mainstay of the Metroid series and the final boss Samus faces on Planet Zebes. In this game, she grows to a gargantuan size and fires all sorts of energy blasts at you. Good news: you can beat her! Better news: doing so won't trigger a self-destruct sequence forcing you to make your escape!"
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Tips
"Attack Mother Brain to defeat her! The glass around her will shatter after she fires lasers—that's your chance to strike!"
"Mother Brain will fire ring-shaped projectiles called Rinkas from off-screen. These are energy based, so they can be absorbed or reflected."
"Mother Brain will send colorful lasers shooting up and down the screen. They can't be absorbed or reflected, so you'll have to just avoid them!"
"It's totally fine to use Mother Brain to shield yourself from the attacks of your rivals."
Tips (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate)
Assist Trophy: Mother Brain – "Attack Mother Brain to defeat her! The glass around her will shatter after she fires lasers—that's your chance to strike!"
Assist Trophy: Mother Brain's Rinkas – "Mother Brain will fire ring-shaped projectiles called Rinkas from off-screen. These are energy based, so they can be absorbed or reflected."
Assist Trophy: Mother Brain's Lasers – "Mother Brain will send colorful lasers shooting up and down the screen. They can't be absorbed or reflected, so you'll have to just avoid them!"
Assist Trophy: Mother Brain as a Shield – "It's totally fine to use Mother Brain to shield yourself from the attacks of your rivals."
- Mother Brain might be a play on the part for computers, the Motherboard, as she is connected to a board-like structure. Alternatively, since the Metroid series was inspired by the Alien movies as speculated, Mother Brain's name may have derived from the main computer of the Nostromo, "Mother".
- Mother Brain has been very well-received by the gaming community, often considered one of the best video game villains:
- In a PC World article, Mother Brain was voted as #6 of the top 47 "most diabolical videogame villains of all time."
- In Game Informer magazine, Mother Brain was rated #2 on their "Best Boss Fights Of All Time" list.
- Why Zebes exploded following Mother Brain's death in Super Metroid and not in Metroid/Zero Mission was never explained. It is possible that as she was being repaired from her first defeat, she became symbolically linked to the planet, similar to how Aurora Unit 313 was linked to planet Phaaze, consequently starting a chain reaction when killed.
- In Super Metroid, when attacked by the baby, Mother Brain crouches in a pose similar to the Chozo Statues. This may hint that the Space Pirates may have used Chozo technology to build Mother Brain's mechanical body, or it may simply refer to the fact that Mother Brain is Chozo technology.
- Characters named Mother Brain also appear in Chrono Trigger, Phantasy Star II, and Blaster Master Zero.
- Mother Brain is the only creature known to survive having all her energy apparently drained by a Metroid. Despite being reduced to a grayed lifeless husk, she seemingly "resurrects" herself moments later, though it may be related to her bio-mechanical nature.
- Although Mother Brain was shown talking in the Magazine Z manga, she was only shown making vocalizations in Super Metroid and Other M (not counting MB), both merely depicting her roaring incomprehensibly while she was using her body. In Super Metroid, her roars were taken directly from Mothra from the Godzilla franchise, albeit slowed down.
- In the title sequence for the first Metroid, under the Emergency Orders segment, Mother Brain was described as "the mechanical life vein." This was a mistranslation of the term "mechanical life-form." The opening sequence for Metroid: Zero Mission features the corrected term.
For artwork, see Mother Brain's Gallery.
References and footnotes
|Auroras||217 • 242 • 313 • 486|
|Technology||AU Status Screen • Aurora Unit access doors • Aurora Unit tank • Circuit board • SkyTown's network|
|Aurora Chambers||Olympus • SkyTown • Valhalla • Future Aurora Complex|
|Music||Aurora Unit 313 (theme)|
|Similar||Mother Brain • MB • Cortex Chamber • Master Brain • Central Unit|
|Metroid series||Ridley • Mother Brain • Queen Metroid • MB • James Pierce • SA-X • Raven Beak|
|Metroid Prime series||Metroid Prime • Gorea • Emperor Ing • Dark Samus • Doomseye|
|Spinoff/Other Media||True Chozo • Dragüd • Amok Mommy • Dominion • Greed • Mad AI|
|Alimbics||Alimbic Datashade • Essence transference • Seal Sphere|
|Chozo||Distant sight • Essence transference • SenseMove|
|Other||Neural thread • Psycho-Amplifier • Telekinetic barrier|
|Telepaths||Mother Brain • MB • Gorea • U-Mos • Federation Empath • Alimbic Order of Elders • Body Snatcher|
|Artificial Intelligence (AI)|
"SkyTown announcer" | Bottle Ship P.A. Announcer | MB
ADAM | Computer voice | Mad AI | Overdog
|Hybrids||Asborean • Chozo Statue • Darkling • Dark Samus • Dark Suit • Light Suit • PED Suit • Samus Aran • Omega Suit|
|Biomechanical||Aurora Unit • Security Robot B.O.X. • Cortex Chamber • Dark Diligence Drone • Dark Ingsmasher • Dark Quad • Fusion Suit • Mother Brain • Nightmare • Quadraxis • SA-X • Space Pirate Boarding Pod|
|Cyborgs||Crash Pillar • Ghor (-G) • Kyratian • Leviathan Battleship • Pirate Militia • Preed (Dark) • Puffer Mine • Ridley (Meta/Omega/Proteus) • Samus Aran • Slench • Space Pirate • Weavel • Zebesian (Cyborg/Super) |
Large Leviathan-class armed ship • U-ton