The Starship (スターシップ Sutā Shippu ), also referred to as Samus's Ship, is chronologically the first gunship flown by Samus Aran in the Metroid series, used during her Zero Mission to planet Zebes.
When the original Metroid was released, Samus's ship was never depicted in the game or any supplementary materials. However, a number of non-canonical sources released during this time did portray Samus's ship, naming it the Cosmo Liner (コスモライナー) and Hunter IV.
The Starship is mainly oval-shaped. The front part of the ship contains the cockpit and flares out into two wings, one on each side, that house the engines. The majority of the ship is colored red, but the underside is yellow. Like Samus's other ships, the design of the Starship's front somewhat resembles her helmet. Samus enters and exits the ship by standing on the topside hatch and pressing down, allowing her to recharge energy and missiles as well as save the game.
On Samus's first mission to Zebes, she flies to the planet in her Starship and touches down on the Landing Site on Crateria. After defeating Mother Brain, Samus returns to Crateria and escapes in the Starship before the Self-Destruct System completes its countdown. During her escape, Space Pirate vessels stage an ambush and Samus's Starship is shot down, crash-landing near the Space Pirate Mother Ship. As her Starship is rendered unspaceworthy by the crash, Samus infiltrates the Mother Ship and leaves the planet in a stolen Escape Ship, leaving her crippled Starship on the surface.
The ship is absent in the original Metroid as the game starts with Samus entering Brinstar and ends with her escaping Tourian after she destroys Mother Brain. The area of Crateria and her ambushed flight from Zebes were added in Zero Mission.
According to the Metroid Prime website, Samus's Gunship in Metroid Prime both "survived Samus Aran's mission on Planet Zebes and is the only space-faring vessel ever registered under the bounty hunter's name". If this is true, then the Starship from Zero Mission would have been retrieved and reconstructed after its original crash. It is known that Zebes was occupied by Federation researchers after Samus's Zero Mission, who presumably salvaged and repaired the original Starship. However, since the Metroid Prime website predates the release of Zero Mission, this information may have since been retconned and may no longer be considered canonical.
Metroid: Volume 2 briefly shows the Starship, having landed on Crateria at the start of the Zebes mission. The prologue of Metroid: Samus Returns, which recaps the events of Zero Mission, depicts Samus's original Starship flying toward Zebes.
In early media
While this strategy guide manga re-tells the story of first Metroid, it features a ship belonging to Samus known as the Cosmo Liner. This is the earliest known depiction of Samus's ship and, due to being used in her mission to Zebes, acts as a predecessor to the canonical Starship from Zero Mission.
In Samus's promotional video, the Cosmo Liner pursues a Space Pirate ship. Samus stands atop her ship and fires her Arm Cannon at the pirate ship, incidentally similar to Zero Suit Samus's Zero Laser in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and flies away from a city full of civilians waving at her. During the month-long flight to the fortress planet Zebes, Samus plays The Legend of Zelda on her Family Computer Disk System aboard the Cosmo Liner.
Zebes is protected by a fleet of Space Pirate ships, which engage the Cosmo Liner in battle. Samus emerges from the Cosmo Liner's topside hatch, similar to her ships in later Metroid games. Using voice commands, she tells the Liner to initiate V-MAX, allowing the ship's power to be amplified three times beyond its normal capacity. The Cosmo Liner flies through the Space Pirates and destroys their fleet, but Samus falls off the Cosmo Liner and plunges down to Zebes below, eventually landing headfirst into the Starting Point.
After defeating Mother Brain, Samus escapes to the surface and flies away from Zebes atop her Cosmo Liner, continuing on to her next adventure.
Metroid: Zebes Invasion Order, a gamebook based upon the original Metroid, also features an early predecessor to the Starship with a spaceship (宇宙艇 uchuutei ) used during Samus's mission to Zebes, with the ship likewise involved in an additional epilogue sequence after Tourian's destruction.
The spaceship is described as small in size. It possesses internal energy tanks containing an energy conversion device, which changes energy into solid mass to load large amounts onto the small craft. Other rooms include an Oxygen Storage Room and Navigational Engine Room. Samus is able to resupply her Missiles aboard the ship, much like later games. The spaceship also comes with an Escape Pod, marking the first instance of this feature later canonically described in the Metroid Fusion prologue.
When landing on the surface of the Zebes asteroid, Samus hides her spaceship with a camouflage cover. After escaping Tourian, she returns to the ship and quickly primes the engines, lifting off only ten seconds before Zebes explodes. She brings the Metroid capsule aboard the ship and leaves it in the cabin, but the Metroid=Mutant emerges and gets loose aboard the ship. The choices that the reader makes will determine how the story subsequently plays out.
The Metroid=Mutant may absorb the energy tanks' energy conversion device, causing the ship's engines to overload and go out of control. Samus can use the Escape Pod to flee before the spaceship explodes.
Samus may go to the spaceship's cockpit to broadcast a distress signal, while the Metroid=Mutant breaks into the Oxygen Storage Room. If Samus follows the Metroid=Mutant to the Oxygen Storage Room, she is forced to use the Ice Beam, since Missiles are ill-advised in the narrow confines of the spaceship; if Samus survives this fight, the spaceship's distress signal is received by a massive Pirate Ship and the spaceship is captured. Alternatively, Samus can barricade herself in the cockpit, but the M=M uses magnetic field line generator from the Navigational Engine Room to undo the cockpit's electromagnetic lock; she can use the Escape Pod, but if she stays and fights, the Pirate Ship answers the distress signal.
Samus is shown flying a starship in the Nintendo Comics System Captain N: The Game Master comics named the "Hunter IV", presumably referencing her occupation as a Space Hunter, much like the later hunter-class gunship designation from the Metroid Prime series. Unlike Victory Techniques for Metroid or Zebes Invasion Order, the Hunter IV is not explicitly used in her Zebes mission, but with the original Metroid being the sole basis of these comics, it likewise acts as an early predecessor to the Starship featured in Metroid's remake.
In When Friends Fall Out, Samus flies the Hunter IV to the Locker, with Kevin Keene, Princess Lana, and Duke sharing the cockpit. They retrieve the Medusa Ray from Samus's locker and stow it aboard the Hunter IV, intending to bring it back to the Palace of Power to undo Kid Icarus's petrification. During a fight in the Locker's docking bay, Lana takes the Medusa Ray from the Hunter IV and threatens to shoot Samus with it. Later, aboard the Hunter IV, the Flame-Chip reveals Samus's innocence to Duke; in a flashback, Samus is seen escaping to the Hunter IV after fleeing Ridley and Kraid.
Metroid: Zero Mission manual
- "This is the location of Samus's spaceship. You can save your progress and replenish energy and Missiles here."
- 044 GET BACK TO SHIP SHAPE (pg. 38)
- "After diving off the high ledge above the open area, you'll land on your ship. Since your mission is not complete, you won't be able to take off, but you will be able to restore your energy and missile supplies and save your progress."
|Features of Samus's Gunship|
|Personal||Adam's helmet • Chozo biotech computer • Data records • Logbook • Mii Bobblehead • Samus Screen • Ship Bumper Stickers • In the Cockpit • Music player|
|Armaments||Plasma Beam • Power Beam • Ship Grapple Beam • Ship Missile Launcher • Gunship Multiball • Bunker-Busting Annihilator • Gunship|
|Mission features||Auto-repair function • Biohazard scanner • Blast Shield • Bombing Run • Command Visor • Commander Adam Malkovich • Cryostasis • Escape Pod |
Heads-Up Display • Helm controls • Landing Gear Legs • Microfactories
Missile Station • Recharge Station • Save Station • Tetra Galaxy Scan Screen • Transmission console • B-Unit
|Cargo||Theronian Bomb (1st piece • 2nd piece • 3rd piece) • Colossal War Golem|
|Passengers||Baby • Anthony Higgs • Dr. Madeline Bergman • Commander Adam Malkovich (computerized) • Dachoras • Etecoons|