The Rinka (リンカ Linker ) is a floating projectile of energy found almost exclusively within planet Zebes' Tourian bases. Their physical appearance is best described as a ring of burning energy, approximately the size of Samus Aran's torso. They inflict damage by physical contact.
Several official sources in the Metroid series have given different interpretations on their nature, such as either being living organisms or simply non-living, fire-based projectiles; recent video game releases have inclined more on the latter.
Their most unique trait is their ability to move through solid matter, much like the Wave Beam.
Rinkas are one of the obstacles Samus comes across in the Space Pirate headquarters known as Tourian. They are easily destroyed with any of her weapons, however the Rinkas are endlessly generated throughout most of the base and fly towards Samus as they try to prevent her from reaching Mother Brain, evidently serving as a security system. Only three Rinkas can be present onscreen at most, and others will quickly appear as soon as one is destroyed or flies offscreen. Unlike all destructible enemies in the game, Rinkas never drop any health or Missile ammo. They are quite slow in their flight pattern and will simply target wherever Samus' location was at the time they phased into existence; afterwards, they lack any homing or guidance system as they will move towards her last known position and fly past it, regardless if she is still there, until they disappear offscreen. As previously stated, they possess the strange ability to ignore solid matter, allowing them to reach their destination no matter the number of floors, walls or ceilings present.
Unique to this game is the Rinka's capacity to spontaneously materialize out of thin air and from within any nearby surfaces, allowing them to potentially catch Samus off-guard and collide into her, especially when she may be focused on killing the resident Metroid larvae. As a result, there are two instances in Tourian where she will receive unavoidable damage when she travels through doors, as the Rinkas will phase through the latter and harm her inside where she is temporarily unable to attack or avoid the projectiles.
Rinkas are often, by themselves, a minor danger and more of a nuisance. In the Zebesian Command Center, they are only able to spawn out of specific, square-shaped tiles found near the floor and above Mother Brain's Cannons, yet it is in this very room where the Rinkas arguably pose a greater threat: contrary to the other rooms within Tourian that offered either more space to move around or less hazards to deal with, Mother Brain's chamber is instead a tight cluttered hallway featuring the aforementioned Cannons and pools of lava, both of which the Rinkas can push Samus into (and vice versa) and thus quickly accumulate damage. Additionally, the Zebetites prevent her from progressing further into the chamber until they are destroyed; this increases the Rinkas' chances of both hitting her and colliding with her Missiles, wasting her limited ammo and giving the Zebetites time to regenerate when they are not hit with a constant barrage of Missiles.
The Ice Beam is the most effective weapon against the Rinkas in all 2D games of the series that feature them. Constantly freezing those on-screen will stop any additional Rinkas from materializing and because their movements come to a complete stop until they thaw out, their generators are therefore neutralized for an extensive period of time.
Metroid: Zero Mission
In the remake of the first game, Rinkas appear in two different types: the common red variant and the rare green variant, with the latter generated and flying at a faster speed. Unlike the original game, Rinkas can no longer materialize from thin air and will now always spawn from red, quadrangle-shaped generators found within walls, floors and ceilings. If the Rinkas are destroyed, they will provide Energy Capsules and Missile Ammo, allowing Samus to resupply herself whenever needed.
Green Rinkas appear more commonly in the corridor before the Zebesian Command Center, and much more rarely in the rooms before. They also always drop items when destroyed.
Several quadrangle-shaped generators are located in the escape shaft beyond Mother Brain's room, but do not launch out any Rinkas. This is likely a result of the Space Pirate leader's destruction.
Metroid: Samus Returns
Rinkas make a brief appearance in an image seen only in the introduction of Metroid: Samus Returns. They are seen alongside Mother Brain, Metroid larvae, and cannons in an image recounting the events of Samus's Zero Mission.
The ring-shaped projectiles return in the second Tourian base constructed on Zebes, behaving almost identically to their prior appearances. Rinkas materialize from two sources: red or blue glowing circular generators (identical to the main body of Cannons) scattered throughout the area, and square-shaped, metal titles found exclusively in Mother Brain's chamber. Like their appearance in the NES/Famicom game, the projectiles do not drop any health or ammo of any sort, making them more of an inconvenience once more.
Interestingly, the quadrangle generators from Zero Mission are found in some rooms within Tourian, but no longer create Rinkas. Once again, no Rinkas are formed in the rooms beyond Mother Brain's after her destruction.
Rinkas appear in the introduction sequence, during the flashback depicting the Mother Brain battle in Metroid.
Metroid: Other M
The projectiles are shot from Ring Beam Units and slowly home in on Samus. The Rinkas make popping sounds each time they are spawned and deal severe damage to Samus. Contrary to their appearances in other games, they bounce off of any surface they come into contact with and can no longer pass through solid objects. However, this loss has turned them into a greater threat; as they continuously spring away from a surface, they will always remain within the room and will persistently target Samus until they are destroyed, therefore increasing their chances of successfully colliding into her.
In Metroid Dread, the Central Units rely on Central Unit Cannons and Rinkas for defense. Much like in previous 2D games, these Rinkas are fired from generators on the walls, aimed at Samus's current position. They are impervious to the standard beam, although they can be destroyed by the Charge Beam, Missiles, Dash Melee, and Screw Attack to drop energy and missile ammo. The Rinkas' role further reinforces the similarities between Central Units and Mother Brain.
In other franchises
Rinkas are also featured in the following pieces of media:
- WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! and WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$! has a microgame named Metroid that re-enacts the fight between Samus and Mother Brain in the first game. Rinkas are found on the second and third levels. If they hit Samus, they will only make her shake.
- Rinkas appear alongside Mother Brain when her Assist Trophy is used in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. They behave closer to their NES/Famicom appearance than any other game in the Metroid series due to their ability to randomly materialize out of thin-air constantly. They fly towards the players' last known locations and increase their damage percentage if they make contact.
In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Aurora Unit 313 is able to activate cannons surrounding its base into shooting red spheres that tracked Samus' position in the room. Considering the fact that Aurora Units have an unspecified link to Mother Brain, along with cylinder-shaped canisters in the same game which are stated by the game's developers to pay tribute to Zebetites, AU 313's projectiles are more likely an homage to Rinkas.
"These fireball creatures suddenly appear in the last scene. Lots of them appear but they are not very strong."
"These are fire rings which appear unexpectedly. A maximum of three appear where Samus is located."
|Color||HP||ATK||E||BE||M||SM||PB||Tourian. Freeze them so no more will come out to get you.|
- The Rinkas (page 69)
- "One of the traps that you'll encounter in Tourian consists of the Rinkas. These aren't too tough to control - it's a matter of shooting them so that they freeze so you can make it past."
- ^ Confirmed to be Rinkas by internal data