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Samus is most commonly depicted wearing this suit, but like many of her other upgrades, it is lost at or prior to the beginning of most games, requiring her to track the upgrade down at a later point in time. It is acquired by picking up an item, which is called the Varia in Metroid and Metroid II: Return of Samus.
In general, the Varia Suit reduces damage taken, nullifies damage from acid, slightly increases speed in Metroid II, and protects Samus Aran from extreme heat and sub-zero temperatures. The maximum temperature that the Varia Suit can protect against is unknown, but the Gravity Suit is generally required for some of the higher temperature liquids. The name "Varia" is a mistranslation of the word "barrier" (although the Return of Samus manual uses the correct translation), which describes its shielding properties; coincidentally, it also resembles the English words "variety" or "variable", referring to how the suit can handle a variety of temperatures, a trait demonstrated in Metroid Fusion.
Traditionally, the Varia upgrade adds stronger, orange-colored armor plates onto the arms and legs of the basic Power Suit. The Varia Suit’s ridged shoulders are round and bulky, while the red chestplate becomes thicker with dual lights.
In the original Metroid, the Varia Suit would turn Samus' armor pink, but a design change was made in Metroid II, as the Game Boy used a monochrome system. During Metroid: Zero Mission it just turns the flat-shouldered Power Suit orange; the Varia Suit with the iconic bulky shoulder pads is obtained after Samus' Power Suit is destroyed in her Gunship's crash-landing. It is referred to as the Fully Powered Suit. It allows Samus to walk in acid unharmed, and stops damage from purple parasites, but not lava. She retains this suit for future use, which explains the jump from the sleek orange Power Suit in Zero Mission to the large-shouldered Varia in Metroid Prime.
In Metroid Fusion, the Varia upgrade (like much of Samus’s other equipment) is sent via Data Room. Unlike other upgrades, it is intercepted by a Core-X before Samus can reach it, necessitating the defeat of the Barrier Core-X and absorption of the X Parasite. Restoration of Varia functionality to the Fusion Suit changes its color scheme from blue over bright yellow to a yellow-green over a rich magenta, but does not alter its dimensions. For its appearance in Fusion Mode in Metroid: Samus Returns, the magenta and yellow green colors are changed to a darker green and pink, now resembling the color scheme of a Metroid.
In Metroid Prime, she starts out with the Varia Suit, although after she was caught in a massive energy surge while activating an elevator to escape the doomed Frigate Orpheon, she lost most of her upgrades, including the Varia Suit, thus forcing her to adopt the comparably weaker Power Suit instead. She eventually regained the suit after defeating Flaahgra. In the later Prime entries, she retains her Varia Suit until getting further upgrades.
In Metroid: Other M, the Varia Feature is noticeably different, and is not a starting item. The ridges on the shoulders appear to have been removed, along with the shoulders being slightly smaller, the top of the visor is more flat, and the lights on the chest plate have been altered, so that they curve from the side of the plate to the bottom. The lights on the legs have moved to the back of the legs and are less visible and the line pattern is also different. In-game, Adam authorizes Samus to use it shortly before the fight with the Goyagma. It features damage reduction again, like in the 2-D titles and Metroid Prime. When activated, while not changing the shape, it will turn the usual areas into a light orange.
The following chart details the benefits bestowed by the Varia in each game:
|Game||Damage reduction||Other benefits|
|Metroid||50%||Damage is cut by half.|
|Metroid: Zero Mission||20%||Stops damage from superheated areas, Parasites and acid. Reduces damage by one-fifth.|
|Metroid Prime||10%||Stops damage from superheated areas and cuts damage by one-tenth. Technically, Samus begins the game with the Varia Suit, although she loses it after the prologue.|
|Metroid Prime: Hunters||N/A||Samus begins the game with the Varia Suit.|
|Metroid Prime 2: Echoes||N/A||Samus begins the game with the Varia Suit.|
|Metroid Prime 3: Corruption||N/A||Samus begins the game with the Varia Suit.|
|Metroid II: Return of Samus||50%||Speed increase by 10% and cuts damage in half.|
|Metroid: Samus Returns||25%||Stops damage from superheated areas and cuts damage by a quarter.|
|Super Metroid||50%||Stops damage from superheated rooms and cuts damage by half.|
|Metroid: Other M||50%||Stops damage from superheated areas and cuts damage by half.|
|Metroid Fusion||40%||Stops damage from superheated and sub-zero rooms. Allows safe absorption of Blue X. Reduces damage by two-fifths.|
Official Nintendo Player's GuideEdit
- "This is a wonderful item which cuts in half any damage done to Samus by his enemies. It will be very useful when you fall into the Sea of Lava or battle with Mini Bosses, so be sure to get it."
Metroid II: Return of Samus manualEdit
- BARRIER SUIT (pg. 14)
- "Becomes enabled when Samus finds the Varia."
- Varia (pg. 19)
- "This item effectively doubles the energy absorption of Samus' cybernetic suit, enabling her to withstand enemy attacks much more effectively."
Super Metroid manualEdit
"This suit cuts the damage from enemy attacks in half and allows you to explore in high-temperature zones."
Super Metroid Players' Guide (page 9)Edit
"The Varia Suit halves the damage inflicted by nasties and allows Samus to withstand the excessive heat encountered in certain sections of the game. Location: Brinstar."
Metroid Fusion manualEdit
"Reduces the damage suffered from enemy attacks. Nullifies damage from high and low temperatures."
"The Varia Suit can withstand some of the station's extreme temperature variations. It is also more effective at shielding Samus from enemy attacks."
Official Metroid Prime websiteEdit
"The Varia Suit adds increased heat resistance to Samus Aran's Power Suit. While the Varia Suit can handle higher temperatures than normal, extreme heat sources and heat-based attacks are still capable of damaging the Varia Suit's shield strength."
"The Varia Suit shields you from extremely high temperatures like those found in the fiery caves of Magmoor, deep under the surface of Tallon IV. It also increases your shield power slightly."
Metroid Prime manualEdit
"Once Samus finds the Varia Suit, she will be able to survive extremely high temperatures like those found in the fiery depths of Magmoor Caverns."
The Varia Suit adds increased heat resistance to the Power Suit.
This modification increases your defensive shielding.
While the Varia Suit can handle higher temperatures than normal, extreme heat sources and heat-based attacks will still cause damage.
Metroid: Zero Mission manualEdit
"This enhanced suit reduces the amount of damage taken from enemies. It also negates the effects of intense heat and acid."
Zero Mission Samus Screen dataEdit
"Decreases damage taken from enemies. Prevents damage from acid and heat."
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes manualEdit
"Samus's standard Power Suit, built for her by the Chozo people, is made even stronger by the Varia Suit upgrade. It provides shielding in battle and augmented physical strength, and its life-support systems allow her to survive in water and even space without addition equipment."
"A suit with a higher level of protection than the Power Suit. It eliminates damage caused by very hot or cold areas. It is also more resilient to enemy attacks than the Power Suit and greatly differs in shoulder design. Recent visual depictions of Samus often show her wearing the Varia Suit."
- SNES Super Metroid
- GCN Metroid Prime
- Samus - Metroid Prime 2: Echoes [Explosive] Attack +18 (All)
Pyroclasm in the Pyrosphere: "The Pyrosphere, a simulated volcanic area encompassing Sector 3, was predictably awash in magma flows, lava pools, and a host of beasts adapted to extreme heat. Nonetheless, finding an erupting volcano caught me off-guard, especially when it began raining chunks of flaming rock on me. The Varia feature of my suit quickly became necessary."
Metroid: Other M on-screen tutorialEdit
- VARIA FEATURE
- This will reduce damage from enemies and cut heat damage in lava zones.
Metroid: Other M manualEdit
"Cuts damage from high temperatures and reduces damage from enemy attacks."
Other M Status screen dataEdit
"Effects: Cuts damage from heat and reduces enemy attack damage."
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS trophyEdit
- (NTSC) "When most people think of Samus, they think of her wearing the Varia Suit. It not only grants her power far beyond her own physical strength but also can unleash a deadly array of beams from the Arm Cannon. And, in a feature quite unique to the Metroid series, it lets her morph into a ball instead of having to crawl!"
- (PAL) "The Varia Suit is the armour Samus is most commonly seen in. It not only grants her power for beyond her own physical strength - it can also unleash a deadly array of beams from the Arm Cannon. And, in a feature quite unique to the Metroid series, it lets her morph into a ball. Do you reckon it's comfy in there?"
Mike Sneath interviewEdit
"When I first modelled the Varia suit it was under a very tight deadline and as I finished each part of the suit another artist Rodney Brunet would paint the texture plus another artist Ludovic Texier created the gun arm of Samus. The deadline was so tight because model had to be complete so it could be rigged and animated. At the time the goal was to make sure we could create this cool movie for E3 when Nintendo would announce that we were creating Metroid. So at that time we simply had to take the old Samus Varia suit and just recreate it so we could get the E3 movie done.
"We had used that version of Samus for about a year and then I think after about a year into the project was when Nintendo had asked Retro to explore a new updated design for Samus. When the new Varia suit redesign ideas were being considered, Gene Kohler (the other character artist on Metroid) was already doing a great job on Samus' gun arm and Gene already had a reputation as not only a great character artist but he really kicked ass when it came to making metal armor look really cool with all the work he did on Retro's RPG title before it got canned."
Metroid: Samus Returns Samus ScreenEdit
"The Varia Suit reduces damage taken from enemy attacks. It also prevents damage from extreme heat."
- The Armory (p. 12)
- "Most who've played a Metroid title will immediately recognize the Varia Suit. With bold orange and red hues, the prominent dome-shaped pauldrons, and the ability to resist extreme heat, this suit upgrade is a staple in Samus' arsenal."
- Walkthrough (p. 71)
- "You find a new Power Suit upgrade in the next room: a staple of the Metroid series known as the Varia Suit. It allows you to traverse the hot areas on SR388 without taking damage, but you still need to take care around lava; the Varia Suit doesn't do much if you fall in."
- Varia Suit Limitations (p. 71)
- "The Varia Suit may protect you from the extreme temperatures of the red zones, but lava and Wallfires are still going to hurt, so take care when approaching other fiery obstacles."
Nintendo of America tweetEdit
"Use this handy trick to get the powerful Varia Suit upgrade early (no High Jump Boots required). Just make sure to bring at least 5 missiles to break open the item room door! Try it out for yourself with a #NintendoSwitchOnline membership. #NES"
In other mediaEdit
- The Varia Suit is the armor in which Samus is most often depicted in spin-offs, comics, manga and other licensed (and unlicensed) works. It is Samus' standard attire in the Super Smash Bros. series. The Gravity Suit is an alternate color scheme. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Samus has a color change which resembles the Varia Suit in Missile mode in the original Metroid, but with the bulky shoulder pads. The Gravity Suit is also available. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Fusion Suit and the Dark Suit are other color schemes, and in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, the Light Suit and a Dark Samus color swap are available as well.
- The Varia Suit has been made into a model by First 4 Figures, and depicts Samus in her pose seen in promotional artwork from Metroid Prime: 
- In the Battle Mii minigame for the Wii U, two Miis are controlled, one in the Varia Suit, as they attempt to shoot down Samus' Gunship.
- Animal Crossing: City Folk and Animal Crossing: New Leaf feature clothes based on the Varia Suit. In City Folk, a Varia Suit t-shirt is obtainable through the Tom Nook Point System for 5000 points, and through random Lucky Tickets in the Nookling's store in New Leaf. New Leaf also includes trousers and shoes based on the Suit, and both games feature Samus' helmet as an obtainable item.
- The Varia Suit is the only suit to appear in every Metroid game in one way or another, sometimes even over the basic Power Suit.
- In the original Metroid, the Varia upgrade did not give the Power Suit additional armor plating as in later games. Instead, it merely changed to a light pink color.
- If Samus then equipped Missiles, the pink would change to purple and the green would change to light blue, causing a color scheme that strongly resembles the Gravity Suit. It's highly likely that this scheme inspired the look of the suit when it was introduced in Super Metroid.
- The only time Samus ever demonstrated the use of the Varia Suit outside her Power Suit was in the original Metroid with the Justin Bailey suit.
- The Varia Suit's color scheme in Metroid Fusion reflects this: green (Samus' hair) overlaying purple (her leotard).
- Due to the color limitations of the Game Boy, the Varia Suit was redesigned with the now iconic round shoulders and orange hue in Metroid II: Return of Samus.
- Super Metroid was the first game to refer to the upgrade as the "Varia Suit". Both of its predecessors simply called it the Varia.
- This was also the first game to introduce the suit's ability to protect Samus from extreme heat.
- In Metroid Fusion, the Varia Suit would also protect Samus from extremely low temperatures as well, though this is likely due to the Fusion Suit containing Metroid DNA and inheriting their vulnerability to cold.
- The Varia Suit gains a resistance to acid in Metroid: Zero Mission, though this ability is inexplicably lost in all chronologically later appearances.
- Some relatively early depictions of the Varia Suit seem to depict a watch or compass within the green circle on the back of Samus's left hand, such as Nintendo Power's Super Metroid poster and some artwork for Metroid II: Return of Samus.
- In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, the Varia Suit is identified as a "Chozo Battle Suit" and is given the serial number SA1-4468-VM6-P. This can be seen when Samus' upgrades are stolen by the Ing and when rebooting after being attacked by a Rezbit.
- The "SA" likely stands for "Samus Aran", similar to the name of the SA-X.
- Although the Varia Suit generally has the trademark round shoulder pads and red and orange colouration in its appearances, the suit's design varies from game-to-game. Metroid Fusion, which uses a new Power Suit entirely, represents the Varia Suit upgrade with a simple lime/purple variant of that. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes sticks to the basic design, but uses smaller shoulders and other minor changes. Finally, Metroid: Other M's Varia Feature is not even a suit, but a sort of 'mode' within the basic Power Suit.
- In Metroid: Zero Mission, if Samus completely skips the Varia Suit but finishes the Ruins Test, she will automatically acquire its effect along with the Gravity Suit.
- In Metroid: Zero Mission, some Chozo Statues, if looked at closely, appear to have the Varia Suit's characteristic large shoulders. The same is true of the Chozo Statue that holds the Spider Ball in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. This could mean the Chozo wore suits similar to Samus' or that large shoulders were part of their physiology that they wanted to reflect in Samus's suit design.
- In Metroid Prime, the Varia Suit was modeled and skinned by Gene Kohler, but the original model was designed by Rodney Brunet.
- In Metroid Prime, it is possible to skip the Varia Suit and enter the Phendrana Drifts by sequence breaking.
- Metroid: Other M is the only game that forces Samus to run through superheated areas before Commander Adam Malkovich authorizes use of the Varia Feature. Due to this, superheated areas damage Samus by one Energy unit instead of five.
- Metroid's manual depicted artwork of Samus with an aura around the Varia Suit. Auras are also featured in the Phazon Suit in Prime, the Hazard Shield in Corruption (which only activates when standing in Acid Rain, Fuel Gel and in non-Trilogy versions, Phazon), and the Gravity Suit in Other M.
- Even though the various power suits are not shown to have a right arm, the beginning of the Dark Horse comic adaptation for Metroid Prime briefly showed Samus having two arms while putting on her helmet while suited up.
- In Metroid Fusion the Varia Suit avoids the freezing effect of the Ice Beam from SA-X and the Blue X. However, in the Prime series Samus can be frozen even when having this suit in her arsenal. But even stranger is the fact that the SA-X, which is supposed to have the Varia Suit with it, can be frozen by Samus's Ice Missiles.
|Samus Aran's Suits|
|Power Suits||Power Suit • Varia Suit (Varia) • Gravity Suit • Zero Suit • Justin Bailey • Phazon Suit • Dark Suit • Light Suit • Fusion Suit • PED Suit • Hazard Shield • "Unnamed Suit" • Fully Powered Suit • Green Samus|
|Attire||Ending Outfit • Military Dress • Civilian Clothes • Parka • Training outfit|
|Mechanics||Power Suit Mechanics • Fusion Suit Mechanics • Zero Suit Mechanics|
|Metroid Prime and Dark Samus|
|Abilities|| Metroid Prime: Particle Wave Projector • Seeker Missile • Snare Beam • Ultrafrigid Beam|
Dark Samus: Bomb • Boost Ball • Charge Beam • Dark Echo • Missile Launcher • Missile • Phazon bullets • Screw Attack • Shrapnel Beam • Stealth field generator • Varia Suit
|Misc.|| VS. Metroid Prime (Spider) • Metroid Prime Battle • Dark Samus Intro • Dark Samus Appears Part 2 • Darkness • Escape • Dark Samus Biography • Dark Samus Gallery |
Dark Samus Rooms • Dark Samus in Super Smash Bros. • 04ε: Dark Samus