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The Parasite Queen is the first boss in Metroid Prime and, by extension, the first boss in the Metroid Prime trilogy. As such, it is also the first Metroid boss to be fought in 3D. It is encountered on the Space Pirate Frigate Orpheon, in the Reactor Core.
The Parasite Queen was a Parasite genetically enhanced by Phazon. The Parasites were some of the first species to be experimented on with Phazon by the Space Pirates. Common results were an enormous increase in mass and length, as well as an enhancement of the acidic glands located near the creatures' mouths; a side effect to the latter trait is the constant drooling of a green liquid substance.
There were originally three Parasite Queens prior to the events of Metroid Prime; two of them managed to break free from their stasis tanks on the Orpheon and wreaked havoc throughout the vessel, slaughtering much of its crew. The Space Pirates managed to kill one of them as it reached the Frigate's evacuation chamber, while the other reached the ship's Reactor, where it was later fought by Samus. After being sufficiently weakened, it fell into the Reactor Core, causing the ship to self-destruct. In the PAL and Wii versions of Prime, when the queen dies, its shield can be seen exploding before the cutscene triggers.
The third Queen that had remained in its tank awoke after the ship's reactor became unstable, though this one was immediately dispatched by Pirates as it broke through its glass. Additionally, the corpse of a heavily mutated Parasite (to the extent that a large part of its upper body and head had rotted away) was seen within another tank, though this one most probably never reached Queen state, as it was still receiving Phazon dosages at the time of its death. The two Parasite Queens that escaped are undoubtedly the source of the Parasite infestation in the Frigate, as they must have given birth to an unknown number of offspring, causing the Space Pirate personnel to evacuate; it would appear a queen gives birth to Parasites through the orifice on the end of its tail.
In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, heavily degraded and mutilated Parasite Queen corpses can be found behind the Elevator in Xenoresearch A Lift in Eastern SkyTown of planet Elysia, insinuating that the Space Pirates' Parasite research had been ongoing ever since the Tallon IV campaign.
The Parasite Queen is a very straightforward boss. All Samus has to do is lock on the creature and fire at it while dodging its energy blasts shot from its mouth. It will use the reactor's shields to protect itself, though the shields have spaces in them which allow firepower to reach the Parasite Queen. Strangely, while the shields reflect Samus's weapons, they don't hinder the boss's beams at all, even when they're positioned between the Queen and her target. The shields may be a one-way energy shield, allowing one way, but not the other. The Power Beam, Charge Beam, and especially Missiles are very effective against the creature.
Whenever the Parasite Queen is about to fire its energy blasts at Samus, it can be seen absorbing the reactor core's energy located below with its tail. Electrical surges are seen running through its tail and into the boss's mouth; whether or not the beam blast is equably composed of the reactor's energy and of the acid present in the creature's oral glands is never specified in its scan.
The Parasite Queen will open its mouth sometimes to roar at Samus. If Samus scans the Parasite Queen with the Scan Visor, she will learn this is its weak spot. She can now target the mouth, causing great damage to the Parasite Queen when she fires at it. Sometimes the shields will spin rapidly around the creature. Samus can either fire her Power Beam repeatedly to do some damage or charge her Power Beam and then fire it once the shields stop spinning. Once the Parasite Queen is destroyed, it damages the frigate's reactor core. Due to this incident, Samus has seven minutes to evacuate the frigate.
The Parasite Queen can be defeated quite easily by rapidly firing missiles, but this is only if Samus has fifteen while fighting it. The Parasite Queen, however, cannot be defeated solely using missiles on Hard/Hypermode, so Samus will have to use her Power Beam as well in order to finish its health quickly. The fastest defeat of this boss is 3.8 seconds and can be seen here.
Morphology: Parasite Queen
Parasite female, genetically enhanced by unknown means.
A weak spot has been detected in this creature's mouth. Use your auto-targeting to acquire this new target!
Scans indicate the presence of a potent mutagen, origins unknown. Creature exhibits the ability to fire weapon-grade blasts of energy from its mouth, a trait not present in the standard parasite genome. It appears the Pirates have begun a bioengineering program, with considerable results.
Homeworld: Not found in nature
Civilization type: Unknown
"The Parasite Queen exhibits the ability to fire weapon-grade blasts of energy from its mouth, a trait not present in the standard parasite genome. The creature will violently attack any creature it determines to be a threat. Genetically enhanced by unknown means, the Parasite Queen is a female specimen.
The creature has massive arms and a hulking upper body which dwarves its abdominal region. Powerful jaws filled with razor-sharp teeth account for most of the head."
Miscellaneous Frigate Orpheon scans
- "Two Parasite Queen specimens have become volatile on Deck Beta. All security personnel should report to the Biotech Research Area."
- "Morphology: Unknown. Info >> High levels of radiation detected."
- "Analysis shows incredibly large muscle structures surrounding the jaw area. Fluid sacs containing acid are also detected."
- "Tail section possesses a mouthlike orifice. Most likely used for birthing offspring."
- "Morphology: Unknown. Info >> This specimen has been horribly mutated. There are no life readings."
- In stasis
- "Morphology: Unknown. Low life signs detected. This creature appears to be in a state of stasis hibernation."
- "Containment seal breached. Larva vital signs critical. Secure area and terminate specimen."
- Wall diagram
- "Parasite egg in pupa stage.
Its tough exoskeleton protects it from its mother's acidic embryonic fluid."
- Wall diagram
- "The fluid sacs in the mouth enlarge after mutation. This allows for increased production of corrosive bile."
- Wall diagram
- "After mutation, the carapace of the larva becomes rigid. The carapace is quite resilient, able to resist the attacks of many predators."
- Wall diagram
- "Combat mutation applications are complete. The primary legs of this creature possess galvanized tips, allowing it to penetrate any known alloy."
Multiple Parasite Queen corpses can be found in the Xenoresearch Labs.
"Morphology: Unknown. Cell tissue has begun dissolving due to various experiments."
"Morphology: Unknown. Mutated specimen appears similar to parasitic Tallon IV bioforms."
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Trophy
"Space Pirates performed many experiments using Phazon as a means to artificially enhance physical strength. The Parasite Queen is the result of these experiments on one small life-form. This Parasite Queen lived in a nuclear power reactor and fired destructive beams at Samus from her mouth. The barrier that spun around the queen reflected her and Samus's attacks."
Metroid Prime, 2002
According to Jack Mathews, the tech lead for Prime, the Parasite Queen was the first boss designed for the game. She was originally intended to lay eggs from her tail that would bear "creatures", likely Parasites. However, when this concept was implemented, Retro Studios agreed that it was overly complicated and not fun to play, and removed the mechanic as a result. Some evidence of this idea can be found in the Emergency Evacuation Area, where a dead Parasite Queen's tail can be scanned; there, the orifice is said to "likely [be] used for birthing offspring." Additionally, a hologram in Biotech Research Area 1 makes reference to Parasite eggs produced by Queens.
Initially, the Parasite Queen's lock-on target is her belly, but this changes to her mouth after she is scanned. According to Zoid Kirsch, this was a design idea to encourage frequent scanning. Kirsch came up with the shield around the Queen as a means of teaching the player how to Strafe and Dash.
Derek Bonikowski animation
Mike Sneath design notes
"The Parasite Queen took me about 20 days to model and texture. It was actually my very first boss I got to do for Metroid," explained Mike. "Quite a few people have asked about the bump maps or multi pass rendering we did on some of the characters and I always reply, 'What bump maps?' [Smiles] The Parasite Queen, for example, is purely color maps. There are no fancy render passes or bump maps. I just spent a lot of time and put a lot of effort on the texture maps to make it look right. The only inspiration I had for modeling the Parasite Queen was the concept." In addition to the in-game model, Mark is also responsible for the Parasite Queen model shown in the FMV (Full Motion Video) video during E3 2001.
What may be of even more interest is the fact that Samus could have been fighting "The Queen" in another setting that did not make the final cut. "I made the Parasite Queen almost at the beginning of when we started Metroid, Mike told N-Sider. "LeRoy [Strauss] made the chamber you see in the game maybe a year or so later. There was a previous chamber, which was scrapped because the game play wasn't working properly so the designer remade the chamber."
Lead Art Director, Todd Keller, was once again credited for the wonderful harmony in the style and design of the Parasite Queen and Reactor Chamber, which was vital to insure that it didn't appear as if two different artists had worked on the scene.
Mike Sneath interview
|“||I was not really involved in the design of any of the creatures for Metroid Prime. My main responsibility was to match as close as possible the concept art that was provided to me by my art lead Todd Keller. The look and feel of the creatures mainly came from Andrew Jones. The Parasite Queen and Thardus were concepted by a concept artist that was on the project in the very early days of the game’s development but I do not recall his name. All other characters were conceptualized by Andrew Jones. I only create the concept for one character and that is the space pirates you see at the very beginning of the game on the ship.
...Even though I had a concept of the character I had to look to other sources to inspire what I wanted the surfaces of the creature to appear like. For the back of the creature’s shell I mostly looked at photos of lobsters and different species of crabs. For the underbelly of the creature I had tried at first to use a lizard skin and an alligator skin for the texture but both did not look right as they didn’t have ‘alien’ feel to them.
What ended up working the best was to create my own version of the parasite’s underbelly from scratch in Photoshop. This of course took longer but the results fit the look and feel of the creature much better than using real world animal skin as a starting point. The gameplay for this boss was developed over time thus different ideas where explored. The room that boss is in was created after I had finished the art for it.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Parasite Queen appears in the background of the Frigate Orpheon stage. Its theme music is one of the songs that plays on the stage. Interestingly, the model in the game is different from its appearance in Metroid Prime. The Parasite Queen is also an unlockable Trophy.
The Parasite Queen also appears as a Support Spirit, which can be equipped alongside a Primary Spirit with two available support slots. The Parasite Queen's class is Advanced. It provides the Screen-Flip Immunity attribute, which stops the screen from flipping upside down. Interestingly, the Parasite Queen's Spirit artwork is unique to Ultimate, rather than a reused asset from Metroid Prime.
The Parasite Queen Spirit can appear on the Spirit Board or in World of Light; in the latter mode, the Parasite Queen appears in the Base when the Fighters use an incorrect console while trying to disable the second forcefield. In Spirit Battles, the Parasite Queen uses a giant blue Ridley as its Puppet Fighter. The battle takes place on the Frigate Orpheon stage, with the actual Parasite Queen observing the fight in the background as usual. Ridley has increased attack power and shields frequently, the latter presumably referencing the Parasite Queen's use of reactor shields. Although Support Spirits do not normally have types, the Parasite Queen is considered an Attack type during this battle, meaning it is strong against the Grab type and weak against the Shield type.
- If the Parasite Queen is hit with the Boost Ball (via hacking), it will die instantly; oddly, the creature will not be shown in the following cutscene. The Phazon Beam (also via hacking) is also capable of killing the Parasite Queen in one shot; due to enemies' energy buff on Hard/Hypermode, the Parasite Queen will simply receive massive damage from the Phazon Beam, potentially killing it almost instantly within a matter of seconds.
- The Parasite Queen is possibly the only boss in Metroid Prime that can take damage from all of Samus' weapons.
- As mentioned before, it was originally intended for Samus to battle a much less restricted Parasite Queen; in other words, the Queen was not going to be fought within a container as seen in the final version of the game. This is shown in Metroid Prime's very first trailer, with the boss having much more freedom for movement such as running across the room and climbing on walls .
- In the Metroid Prime comic, Samus kills the Parasite Queen simply by firing Missiles at an ionized nitrogenic coolant tank close to the creature. In addition, the Parasite Queen was given a slightly different appearance in the comic, specifically, a ribbed stomach, spines on both her sides, as well as a draconian face, and especially eyes.
- The Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Trophy states that the Queen's attacks are hindered by the shield. This is true in the sense that its movements and any physical attacks it might have used in combat were ultimately blocked by it. The Queen's beam, however, was not hindered at all by the shield.
- The Parasite Queen's theme bears some strong similarities to Mother Brain's theme in Super Metroid. It was remixed for the battles against Arctic Spawn and Fire Spawn in Metroid Prime Hunters.
- When the Queen falls into the Reactor Core, the resulting blast looks very similar to that of a Power Bomb.
- The Parasite Queen's scan is the only Logbook entry to include an exclamation mark in the Prime series.
- ^ (2015, December 1). Extra Life 2015 (Part 2) [Stream]. Crackdown. Twitch. Archived from the original on June 10, 2022.
- ^ Kiwi Talkz. "#121 - Zoid Interview (Metroid Prime, Cameras, Scripting, Sequence Breaking , Programming etc.)" YouTube. January 22, 2022. Retrieved July 25, 2022. (starts at 24:28)
- ^ "Interview: Mike Sneath", Shinesparkers, 2010-11-06. Retrieved on 2021-02-09.
- ^ Sakurai, Masahiro (Sora_Sakurai). "2002年のきょう『METROID PRIME』が北米で発売。日本より3ヶ月ほど早かった。" Translated: "2002 Today "METROID PRIME" is released in North America. It was about 3 months earlier than Japan." 14 November 2020 10:00 p.m. Tweet. https://twitter.com/Sora_Sakurai/status/1327808541533605889
|Carnivores||Phazon tendril • Ridley • Vorash • Yapping Maw|
Plants: Bloodflower • Dark Phlogus • Samus Eater • Shrieker • Sporb • Tangle Vine • Tangle Weed • Venom Weed • Zazabi
|Detritivores||Grizby • Phazon Leech • Parasite (Plated/Ice/Queen) • Sbug|
|Insectivores||Bryyonian Shriekbat • Flickerbat • Gel Ray • Glowing spidervine • Ice Shriekbat|
|Omnivores||Green Kralee • Human • Ice Parasite • Little birdie • Space Pirate|