- This article is about the entire faction. For other uses, see Space Pirate (Disambiguation).
|“||Death to the Hunter. Death to all who oppose us!||„|
—Space Pirate terminal, Omega Research
Space Pirates (宇宙海賊 Uchū Kaizoku ) are an antagonistic faction that acts as one of the major villains in the Metroid series.
- 1 History
- 2 Physiology
- 3 Diet and Biochemistry
- 4 Abilities and traits
- 5 Leadership
- 6 Society
- 7 Technology
- 8 Homeworld
- 9 Official data
- 10 Derek Bonikowski Prime Beta animation
- 11 Trivia
- 12 Gallery
- 13 References
Space Pirates have been present since the early days of the Galactic Federation. They quickly established themselves as a fearsome force, necessitating the formation of the Galactic Federation Police. The Pirates were notorious for attacking and raiding vessels in one moment, and disappearing the next. The Pirates would also lay claim to planets, establish the now-captured planet as their territory and any surviving natives as their slaves. They were known to be zealous of their right to rule that they would not only refer to the conquered planet as their own "homeworld", they would also take the name of the previously dominant race, referring to themselves as the rightful inhabitants.
The Pirates have been responsible for some of the most disastrous events in Galactic history, such as the Phazon Crisis, and have been responsible for the raids of numerous planets, including Zebes, Bryyo, Norion, Elysia, Tallon IV, Aether, Naishii, Jigrad, and K-2L.
In general, the average Pirate soldier is tall and bipedal, though they favor a more hunched posture. However, beyond this their physiology has changed dramatically with almost every encounter, sometimes resembling crustaceans, insects, reptiles and even avians. This has led many to believe that the Space Pirates are less likely a single species and more likely a faction comprised of multiple different species. This is supported by the fact that members of other species, such as Evirs and Kihunters, are associated with the Space Pirates.
However, it has been suggested that there is only one Pirate race, whose ever-changing appearance is attributed to their obsession with self-experimentation, as well as stolen Chozo technology that optimizes their bodies for the environments of the planets they conquer. In designing the various Space Pirates for the first Metroid Prime game, Andrew Jones sought to create a diverse set of designs that still appeared to be part of the same reptilian race; however, it is not confirmed if this extends to the more insectoid Space Pirates seen in the sequels. Metroid: Volume 2 shows Zebesians undergoing genetic experimentation with the Body Adaptation Machine to adapt to the environment of Zebes. Scans in Metroid Prime confirm that Space Pirates are perfectly willing to undergo any process, be it physical or even genetic, that makes them more powerful as a species. This makes it particularly difficult to identify an example of a 'standard' member of any race that comprises the Space Pirates.
The Space Pirates that conquered and occupied Zebes mostly resembled crustaceans, with ridged exoskeletons and long, lobster-like claws that housed their laser weapons. These so-called "Zebesians" were the only version of Pirate to have plantigrade legs ending in sharp, single-toed feet somewhat resembling sabatons, though some were seen with two toes and one in back. Their heads varied immensely among the group, with some appearing to have vague insect qualities, others having razor-sharp fish-like jaws, and finally, those featuring what appear to be avian beaks and feathered crests.
The Pirates encountered by Samus orbiting and occupying the planet Tallon IV were significantly more reptilian, with three-fingered claws, digitigrade legs, and raptor-like feet. Scans for one of the injured pirates on Orpheon indicate that their leg joints can end up welded together if exposed to acidic burns, hindering movement. Their angular heads had sharp-toothed, snarling jaws, a pair of swept-back tendrils and yellow eyes that seemed to be perpetually ablaze. This “fire” could only be extinguished with the Pirate’s death. Curiously, the cybernetically enhanced Pirate, then known as Meta Ridley, also displayed this trait, despite apparently being of a different species. The standard Space Pirate had grey-purple flesh, with green, bristle-lined plating partially covering its body and loops over each shoulder.
The Space Pirates stationed on Aether resembled the Zebesian breed, with the same lobster-like claw-weapons and rough, grey exoskeletons. However, they also had the digitigrade leg structure of the Tallon IV variation, insect-like mandibles and blade-like structures growing from their shoulders. For whatever reason, the basic Pirate Trooper's exoskeleton did not completely cover his body, leaving back tissue exposed in several areas as well as what appeared to be the Pirate’s beating heart.
The Pirates living on the inhospitable "Homeworld" explored in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption had a particularly unusual morphology. They possessed eight eyes instead of the usual two, with a row of four on either side of their sloping, fishlike heads. Their upturned mouths were lined with long, needle-like teeth, as was the pair of lower mandibles. Most unusual of all was that the limbs of the slave class Pirate Militia appeared to be artificially grafted on, with their "true" bodies consisting of merely their head and a brown, eel-like body. It is unknown if this was the case for the bulkier non-slave classes or if the Militia's limbs were surgically removed as a form of punishment.
The Space Pirates encountered by the Federation Force in the Bermuda System vaguely resembled the variations encountered on Aether but with far more insect-like traits. They had large, red eyes, yellowish heads and bodies, and pinkish-red tissue under their grey armor plating.
Diet and Biochemistry
Pirates appear to be omnivorous. A fish is found in a crate in a Pirate base in Metroid Prime, while Metroid Prime 3: Corruption indicates that they may have cannibalistic tendencies. On the other hand, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes features a species of plant considered a delicacy by the Pirates. Regardless of the variation, Pirates are known to have some sort of urinary or excretory system, as power latrines were mentioned in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.
It was stated in the manga that Pirate biochemistry possesses a large concentration of alkaloids, which can be traced to locate members of the species.
Abilities and traits
The Zebesian Pirates were equipped with a claw-like energy weapon on both arms, which fired when the claws were opened. However, all other known Space Pirate were commonly equipped with some type of projectile weapon on the right wrist, while a retractable energy scythe was mounted on the left. The type of ranged weaponry varied, however: The Tallon IV Pirates wielded Galvanic Accelerator Cannons, while the Pirate Troopers on Aether wielded thinner versions of the Zebesian claw-like weapon. Those encountered on the Pirate Homeworld had retractible guns integrated into their armguards, which fired purple energy blasts. Specialized classes of Pirate were known to wield additional equipment, including shields, grenade launchers, and even jetpacks.
Space Pirates have been shown to be able to cling to ceilings to ambush unwary prey (a tactic particularly common among the Shadow Pirates) and crawl through spaces where Samus Aran would need to use her Morph Ball. They also seem to move faster than the average human as well as being physically stronger. An example of this greater-than-human strength can be seen in Corruption where, during the attack on Norion, a single Pirate Militia is encountered swinging at a Federation Marine and knocking him down an energy shaft.
An important trait of the Space Pirates which has led to several problems for them is their avarice of power and technology. They have been known to tamper with their own genome, as well as other creatures, to create stronger versions of the original, evidenced by the use of Phazon to create the Hunter Metroids, Parasite Queens, Elite Pirates, Phazon Elite, Omega Pirate, Berserker Knights, and Berserker Lords. They also experiment with foreign technology. Successful experiments include the Trooper Pirates that utilize Samus's beam weaponry (which were weaker than Samus' beams and left them vulnerable to the same beam weapons) and the use of Federation weaponry on the Elite Pirates. Unsuccessful experiments include the attempt to reverse-engineer Samus's Morph Ball ability, which resulted in horrible disfigurements and fatalities.
There is some uncertainty as to whether Ridley, Mother Brain, or High Command is/are the actual leader(s) of the Space Pirates. According to the manga, Ridley was their leader until Mother Brain took control of the Pirates, stating them to be fearful creatures who always needed to be obedient to a master; Mother Brain, Grey Voice, and the reluctant Samus were all designated as Commanders, although Samus refused. It is possible that High Command led the Pirates before Mother Brain took over and after her first death, but not during her leadership. Ridley, perhaps, may be in High Command. Another possibility is High Command runs the operations for the Space Pirates and is directly below Ridley, explaining how he was considered the Leader prior to Mother Brain. Other beings, such as Kraid, Phantoon, and Draygon are suspected to be important figures as well, as they are portrayed alongside Ridley as statues on two occasions.
The in-game dialogue in Metroid: Other M, its official website and instruction manual, along with the intro segment of Metroid: Samus Returns, all state Mother Brain is the true leader during the events of the Zero Mission, SR-388 incident, and Raid on Planet Zebes.
Space Pirates, although often vicious and cold-hearted, have been known to keep pets, such as Gronkats, Olbaps, Fish, and even Metroids (despite warnings in a scan that Metroids are not to be kept as such). This is shown in several Pirate Data scans throughout the Metroid Prime Trilogy, such as a notice ordering Pirates to dispose of such pets due to Phazon madness. In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, there is even a room where an unfortunate Space Pirate can be seen being slowly devoured by Infant Metroids in a Phazon tank.
The Pirates are merciless to those who break their rules (although they have been known to use other less draconian forms of punishment, such as docking pay, cutting food rations, or assigning them to slightly dangerous tasks). There are many posted warnings threatening execution for various reasons, and disloyal militia often end up killed and eaten by their superiors. In addition to this, an even worse punishment is suggested by the appearance of what resembles a Space Pirate head within the Pirate Cargo Drones found on the Pirate Homeworld in Corruption, suggesting that soldiers who fail to obey orders are decapitated and built into said drones.
Several Pirate scans in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes reveal that when a Pirate Commando shows any sign of cowardice, they are shot in the back - a hypocritical action, considering the cowardly imagery of shooting another in the back. It's possible that this may, in fact, be a form of ironic punishment: repaying cowardice with what itself appears to be cowardice. However, they do appear to allow freedom of speech, as in the Prime games (especially Echoes), there are scannable terminals in which Space Pirates have expressed criticism of High Command or Science Team.
They are fairly tall creatures in comparison to many other sentient organisms and seem biased against shorter beings, going so far as to attempt to murder a young human slave simply for being too short in the manga. They also tend to zealously support any causes that will strengthen their race and organization, regardless of cost. They are often, however, quick to panic and flee when things go awry.
Space Pirates may have some form of honor code amongst themselves, such as when Samus successfully defends the Theronian Bomb so that it may be dropped on the shield defending the Elysian Leviathan, all the remaining Pirates committed suicide via leaping off the edges of the platform to their doom. This may imply that they realize that they have failed and that they are retaining their honor by ending their lives, or because either they would rather seek death than continue facing her in combat or die by their own hands than meet whatever punishment their superiors have in store for failure. Pirate Aerotroopers are also notorious for their suicidal dive-bombing attacks, which they all trigger when near death. The Logbook in Echoes states that they do this to prevent capture; "death before dishonor".
In Echoes, one pirate mentions in its log that the Federation Marines owe them a "fate-debt" for their attack on their supply ship. Whether or not this is a concept practiced by most Pirates, or if it is merely a cultural upbringing, is unknown.
Space Pirates have been shown to use various forms of technology. In Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes the Space Pirates are shown to utilize standard mechanical technology. They have been known to steal the technology of other races evidenced by scans taken in Prime that refer to stolen Plasma Cannons and the turrets in Corruption that are said to be of a Federation design which has been modified. By Corruption the Space Pirates seem to have adopted organic technology as well, as evidenced by the ships that appear to have flesh on and inside of them and the "eyes" that watch Samus within the Space Pirate Boarding Pods on the G.F.S. Olympus. Space Pirates also use genetic tampering to enhance themselves in many ways, especially with Phazon as seen in Prime with the Elite Pirate series and in Corruption with the new Troopers' Hypermode and the Berserker Knights and Lords.
They are also known for their use of other lifeforms as biological weapons, such as all of the captured creatures in their Tallon IV facilities, or the Metroids (they desired to use the Metroids for that very purpose), even devoting various resources to obtaining, breeding and modifying them to serve their purposes, such as Phazon and Metroid Eggs.
Originally believed as the definitive planet of origin of all Pirates (similar to how Zebes was regarded), this Space Pirate Homeworld is visited for the first time in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The Metroid Prime Trilogy art booklet states the planet is just one of the Space Pirate homeworlds and is never given an official name in the U.S version of the game. However, Urtragian Shriekbats are found in some areas of the planet and its name in the Japanese and Spanish releases of Prime 3 is Urtraghus. It is likely this planet is one of many celestial bodies the Pirates have conquered over the years that was radically changed into a world befitting of the title "homeworld". It is unknown how many planets have been converted into Pirate homeworlds, and the true planet of origin from which the marauding race(s) was born has yet to be discovered.
The planet seen in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is constantly plagued by falling Acid Rain, which harms even the Pirates themselves without proper protection, such as the Hazard Shield. The planet is completely covered by Space Pirate structures, and seemingly lacks any signs of flora or fauna. All traces of nature seem to have been eliminated, and it seems that the planet has become completely urbanized. Once Dark Samus gained control of Phaaze, the planet was the first to be struck with a Leviathan. The spread of corruption on the planet caused all matter on the planet to slowly begin changing into Phazon. By the time Samus arrives, Phazon begins to gain consciousness in the form of Massive Tentacles.
|Color||HP||ATK||E||BE||M||SM||PB||All Areas. This variety of Space Pirate comes in a variety of colors and strengths. They shoot lasers from their hands. Use your most powerful beam on them. If that doesn't work, use Super Missiles.|
|Color||HP||ATK||E||BE||M||SM||PB||All Areas. Unlike their pedestrian counterparts, these pirates only move about on the walls in vertical shafts.|
Morphology: Space Pirate
Sentient aggressor species well trained in weapon and melee combat.
Space Pirates wield Galvanic Accelerator Cannons and forearm-mounted Scythes in combat. This species seeks to become the dominant force in the galaxy, and their technology may help them realize this goal. Ruthless and amoral, the Pirates care little for the cost of their ambition. Only the results matter, and they take these very seriously.
Gene Kohler design notes
"When I finally came to my first encounter with the Flying Space Pirates, I couldn't help but notice their eyes were made of flames. Even more intriguing was the fact that I realized that nearly all of the Space Pirates had flaming eyes. I couldn't help but ask why this was. Was this to make them appear more menacing? Gene confirmed my suspicions, "Yep… you hit the nail on the head. I think it is simply to make them look cooler to view and visually more enjoyable to fight."
"Another artistic style I noticed while playing was the varying designs of the Space Pirates. Gene explained by telling N-Sider that, "Andrew [Jones] wanted the Pirates to look like they belong to the same race, but also strived to give them a different look that pertained to their combat specialty. It would have been pretty boring to simply see a regular pirate with a jet pack on for the Flying Pirate… put a glowing purple helmet on a regular pirate and call it a Trooper… you know?" A Good move on Andrew and Retro's part. By giving the Space Pirates different appearances, they were able to successfully diversify the creatures - a feat that no doubt enhanced the overall experience of the game."
Official Metroid Prime website
Civilization Type: Mercenary
Space Pirates represent a highly intelligent, extremely aggressive species that field well-trained armies in ruthless attacks on the Galactic Federation. Space Pirates seek to become the dominant force in the galaxy, and their technology may help them realize this goal. Fierce warriors, they wield galvanic accelerator cannons and forearm-mounted scythes in battle.
QUESTION: I heard a rumor that a game would come out with a Space Pirate protagonist. Is that true?
ANSWER: Where did you hear this? If true, that would be fun!
QUESTION: This is somewhat of an artless question, but how are the alien-form [shape] Space Pirates and Luminoth able to move from area to area? It seems like they're about 3 meters tall, and wondered if there was a strain on their back or something.
ANSWER: Their [both] joints are very flexible, and we haven't heard anything about their backs being in pain...
QUESTION: Previously it seemed like the Space Pirates were formidable at conquering [parts of] the galaxy, but to just what extent is that? How many participants were there, and what sort of fighting power did they have?
ANSWER: If they were only able to defeat the Galactic Federation and Samus then their space conquest would be finished. Since they have troops scattered around in various places, it’s hard to quantify their numbers and strength.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Pirates made a minor appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a trophy.
"An enemy of Samus. They land on Tallon IV and use the energy they find there--called Phazon--for brutal experiments on the planet's life-forms. Samus makes for Tallon IV to destroy the experiment facilities. In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, the pirates go to Aether to find Phazon. A war is being waged there, and a race of dark beasts, the Ing, make research difficult." GCN Metroid Prime GCN Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
- Space Pirate Super Metroid - [Darkness] Attack +13 (Ganondorf)
- Weavel Metroid Prime Hunters - Carry Beam Sword (All)
- Zebes Inhabitant Metroid Fusion - [Arm] Attack + 5 (All)
GALACTIC FEDERATION INTEL FILE: SPACE PIRATES
"A ruthless group of loathsome creatures, Space Pirates have invaded and captured countless planets in the galaxy, raiding their resources and enslaving their inhabitants. Their insidious threat inspired the formation of the Federation Force."
Derek Bonikowski Prime Beta animation
- According to Mike Sneath, most of the Metroid Prime enemies "were conceptualized by Andrew Jones. I only create [sic] the concept for one character and that is the space pirates you see at the very beginning of the game on the ship."
- The Space Pirates also appear as enemies in Kid Icarus: Uprising. Standard and Commando variants exist, as well as a new Space Pirate Sniper class.
- Interestingly, any specification of genders within the actual Space Pirate species is very uncommon in the Metroid series. So far, all noteworthy individuals were implied to be males, such as Weavel or P-1. Individuals who have been associated with the Pirates but are clearly not the same species, such as Gandrayda, Dark Samus, and to a certain extent Mother Brain, are known to be female.
- In the 2D games, the Crateria - The Space Pirates Appear theme serves as the leitmotif of the Space Pirates. In the Metroid Prime games, Space Pirates have a new leitmotif that plays during battles. Corruption brought the two themes together by reintroducing the first theme as the Pirate Homeworld theme.
- Although most entries for the Metroid franchise, including the manual for the Famicom Disk System version, either explicitly show the Space Pirates as or otherwise strongly imply that they were of alien origin, the 1986 Choose Your Own Adventure game Metroid: Zebes Invasion Order shows the Space Pirates (or at least the Pirate Boss) as being of human origin.
- On the Frigate Orpheon, it is possible to scan dead and wounded Pirates. Flavour text is provided explaining their injuries in gruesome details.
For more art, see Space Pirates' Gallery.
|Sentient Species in the Metroid series|
|Human | Space Pirate | Craftsmen | Kriken | Luminoth|
|Reptilicus | Diamont | Elysian | Ing | ancient Bion race|
|Alimbic | Chozo | N'kren | Phrygisian | Enoema | Vhozon | Ylla | machine race |
"Elfin" | "Simian" | "Ceratopsid" | "Space dragon"
|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|
|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 • Cyborg Zebesian (Super) • Ghor (-G) • Kyratian • Leviathan Battleship • Pirate Militia • Preed (Dark) • Puffer Mine • Ridley (Meta/Omega) • Samus Aran • Slench • Space Pirate • Weavel • Zebesian |
Large Leviathan-class armed ship • U-ton
|Food, Nourishment and Sustenance|
|Plants & Fungi||Blueroot Tree • Fruit • Red Starburst • Sap Sac • Saturnine • Tangle Vine Fruit|
|Species||Geruta • Embers • Kiru Giru • Pirate Militia • Reo • Ripper • Sciser • Scritter • Skree • Space Pirate • Tallon Crab • Torizo • X Parasite • Zoomer|
|Carrion||"Deceased Soldier" • Amok Mommy|
|Liquid||Lava • Phazon|
|Artificial/Misc.||Deca-triticale • Elite Nutrient Mix • Energy • Nutrient-grade biomatter • Synthetic Metroid rations • Wrecked Ship|