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The Thermal Visor. Orange areas are giving off heat, purple areas are neutral.

The Thermal Visor is a visor in Metroid Prime, and it is the only Visor that is exclusive to Metroid Prime, although several aspects of the Thermal Visor carried over to the Echo and X-Ray Visors of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, respectively. It is acquired in the Research Core in the Phendrana Drifts.

The Thermal Visor uses thermography, allowing Samus Aran to locate enemies or objects by their heat signatures. It can be used to see Shadow Pirates and is also useful in total darkness, extreme cold, and in poor weather conditions, like those in Phendrana Drifts; though it functions poorly in superheated areas, such as the Magmoor Caverns. It also overloads when Thardus' weak point is revealed. When in use, the visor emits a repetitive, fast-paced, mechanistic chord.

Other uses for the Thermal Visor include locating Power Conduits to energize with the Wave Beam, allowing Samus to open unenergized doors (similar to the Nova/X Ray combo in Metroid Prime 3), locating Thardus' weak spot, and locating Metroid Prime when it becomes invisible to the Combat Visor and X-Ray Visor. However, one setback of the Thermal Visor is it can be overloaded via Phazon exposure, or strong thermal flashes such as small explosions. Additionally, when using the Thermal Visor, enemies which do not emit heat (such as the Mega Turrets) blend in with the environment and are much harder to target.

Official data[]

Official Metroid Prime website[]

The Thermal Visor in item form.

Weapon effect: N/A

Weapon range: N/A

Weapon potential: Non-Lethal

"Power Suit Upgrade

The Thermal Visor upgrades Samus Aran's Heads Up Display with the ability to see in the infrared spectrum. Hot objects are displayed in bright colors, and cool objects are dim. Samus uses the Thermal Visor to identify the weak points of certain foes, to see in the dark, and to improve visibility in poor weather conditions. Enemies with internal temperatures which do not vary greatly from their surrounding environments are difficult to identify through the Thermal Visor."

Metroid Prime flash[]

"In combat, use the Thermal Visor to track heat signatures of enemies using cloaking technology. Defensive properties: can be used for night vision, to locate enemy weak spot and find hidden clues."

Metroid Prime manual[]

"Once Samus finds the Thermal Visor, she can track enemies using their heat signatures. Not only does the visor help locate enemies hidden in dark areas, but it can also be used for acquiring alternate targets on enemies. A thermal scan can often find a hidden weak spot on an otherwise difficult enemy. Not only that, but thermal scans show other clues that the naked eye cannot discern; if you run into a dead end, try scanning the entire area with the Thermal Visor equipped."

Inventory data[]

Thermal Visor

Metroid Prime

Inventory entry

The Thermal Visor allows you to see in the infrared spectrum. Hot objects are bright in the Visor, while colder ones are dim.
Press GC D-pad down.gif/Hold Wii - button.png then point left to select the Thermal Visor.

Samus's Notes

The Thermal Visor will show the weak points of certain foes.
Use the Thermal Visor to see in total darkness and poor weather conditions.
Brightly lit areas, explosions, and intense heat can impair the Thermal Visor.
Enemies with temperatures close to their surroundings will be tough to spot with this Visor.

Development notes[]

The Thermal Visor went through multiple iterations before being finished, and was engineered by Jack Mathews and Karl Deckard. Mathews' plans for the visor were much more ambitious at first. He had given the artist in charge carte blanche to give any geometry a hot or cold temperature, in the hope that they would be so meticulous as to make small light fixtures appear hot in the Thermal Visor. This did not come to pass due to the scale of such a request.[1]


  • If charging an Ice Beam or Plasma Beam, the Thermal Visor shows temperature changes dropping and rising respectively on Samus' Arm Cannon.
  • If an enemy is frozen by the Ice Beam, they will no longer display heat signatures on the Thermal Visor.



  1. ^ Kiwi Talkz. "#116 - Jack Mathews Interview (Metroid Prime Trilogy, Prototypes, Business, Armature Studios etc.)". YouTube. November 26, 2021. Retrieved June 7, 2022. (starts at 21:07)