Visors are items that appear throughout the Metroid Prime series. Visors are used and collected by Samus Aran, and are often essential for progression in certain missions. The X-Ray Scope was the first visor that appeared in Super Metroid. Metroid: Other M implements the Search View maneuver, which switches to a first-person mode when the Wii Remote is aimed at the screen. In the Metroid Prime series the various visors were created by Danny Richardson.
A Visor is a technology designed to assist users in various situations. Visors are displays used in the "visor" section of a helmet, or in other forms of optical technology. The visor displays data and aids users in operations. The Scan Visor for example, is used by Samus to access information on creatures and objects, allowing her to understand enemy weak points, or the status of a device. Using the Scan Visor to scan a terminal in Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is the only way to activate the elevators that transport Samus through the different "worlds."
Visors are a technology used by many races in the modern age. They have multiple functions, though are mainly for combat application. Many races develop their own Visors, and as they all serve different purposes, are extremely useful to Samus. Races known to have developed Visors are:
- The Chozo, who leave Visor systems on planets they once inhabited as gifts and rewards for warriors. The Chozo are considered to be one of the most technologically advanced races, and so their Visors are more advanced than others.
- The Luminoth, another highly advanced race. The Luminoth developed two known Visors for military purposes, the Dark and Echo Visors, to aid in the war between them and the Ing.
- The Space Pirates have also been known to create Visor systems for their use. The Pirates are known to steal technology from other races, so their Visor systems may not be entirely of their own creation.
Use by Samus
Samus Aran often uses many different Visor systems to aid her in the field. Samus has also stolen the technology from the Pirates on two occasions. The modular nature of her Chozo Power Suit allows her to use Visor systems from almost any race (although in some cases it may not integrate as fluently as Visors of Chozo origin).
Samus always begins with her default visors, the Combat Visor and the Scan Visor, which are the only ones which appear in all four Prime games.
Below is a description of each Visor used and its functions.
- Combat Visor - This Visor provides Samus with basic displays for combat. It shows Samus' Missile count, caution meter, acquired beams and Visors, and also features a targeting system for handling enemies as well as a radar display that shows the location of all enemies in the room. This Visor is of Chozo origin.
- Scan Visor - The Scan Visor is a device used to uncover information on enemies, discover clues, and activate certain devices. Samus can scan Scan Points that appear in her Sight Window. This Visor is of Chozo origin.
- Thermal Visor - Displays a thermal image of the area in Samus' vision. Used for finding abnormal heat signatures, invisible or speedy enemies, and improved vision in dark areas (to some extent). This Visor is of Space Pirate origin.
- X-Ray Visor - Uses X-Rays to produce an image that helps Samus locate invisible or timespace-warping enemies and see behind walls. In its second appearance, it is used for targeting weak spots in Phazite armor, seeing behind walls, and revealing hidden codes. This Visor is of Chozo origin in the first appearance, and Space Pirate in the second.
- Dark Visor - This Visor pierces Dark Aether's haze, revealing hidden objects and improving targeting for some enemies. Used to spot inter-dimensional objects and creatures. This Visor is of Luminoth origin.
- Echo Visor - Creates an echolocation image to spot sound anomalies. The world is displayed mono-chromatically, with white ripples displaying sounds. Also improves clarity of environmental sounds. This Visor is of Luminoth Origin.
- Command Visor - Creates a green image and is used in conjunction with the Arm Cannon to command Samus' Gunship. Tasks include bombing runs, picking certain objects up, setting them back down, and landing. This Visor is of Chozo and Galactic Federation origin.
Acquiring a new visor often has a scene play where Samus activates the visor, which varies from game to game:
- In Metroid Prime, Samus bends over slightly and proceeds to use her index and middle fingers to swipe the visor from right to left, causing it to glow.
- In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Samus's suit proceeds to glow and is surrounded by several light orbs before they proceed to merge with her visor. She then clutches the back of her head before turning to the right.
- In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Samus has a purple hexagon marking emerge from the floor and has blackened images surrounding her as light is transferred to her visor. It then has a zoom-up of her visor which has opaque data-esque graphics before turning back to its usual form. She then turns around with her visor temporarily flashing the new visor setting.
Metroid Prime manual
"Samus's most important tool is her suit, and it can provide her with a wealth of information by interfacing with various visors. Samus will start the game with two--the standard Combat Visor and the Scan Visor--but eventually she'll use four, each of which can be accessed easily by pressing different directions on the + Control Pad."
Metroid Official Site interview
|“||First, we think they’ll like the game’s “visor system”. When changing visors, the player can discover many different things. For instance, if they want to know more about the story or the enemies, go and scan them. If you want to find an enemy that’s hiding in the darkness, just switch to the thermal visor. To find out things hidden in a certain area, it’s the X-Ray visor. We hope that everyone playing the game explores the wonderful world of Metroid Prime that we’ve created, and that they explore it as well.
A lot of Samus’s abilities are made for an exploration system. The several visors she can use are an example of that. The system of using the different visors to check the surroundings and solve puzzles was an important first step of changing the concept of existing first-person games.
Nintendo Power volume 162, page 37
- "The visor is Samus’s window on the world, and you’ll use it to experience all the wonders and terrors of Tallon IV. But the visor is much more than an armored windshield – it also displays data on enemy life forms and unknown objects. When you begin Metroid Prime, you have two visors: the Scan Visor and the Combat Visor. As you move through the game, you will gain visor upgrades – such as the Thermal Visor – that give Samus an upper hand against her foes."
Mike Wikan comments
|“||I can remember when we were developing Metroid Prime 1 very early on. We were discussing with Mr. Miyamoto how we could explore Samus's control scheme or do something unique. Mr. Miyamoto said, "Well, what if Samus could take off her head, and maybe put a head on that had bug eyes? Or, a head that saw in the dark, or whatever. Just switch heads." And we came out of the meeting, and we went back into our office, and we're like "Bug eyes?" and we drew pictures on the wall of Samus's helmet, and then Samus with a bug head, and just stared at it, trying to understand. Surely, he can't mean that he wants Samus to switch heads and put on a bug head. And then we realized what he was saying was, what if Samus had a means of perceiving the world in a different way? Whereas with a Western developer you might say, what if you had X-ray vision, or what if you had thermal vision? He was saying, how you perceive the world as a whole. And by looking in that way, we started examining, "will you perceive things with sound? Will you perceive things with light?" That was really kind of the origin of how the whole visor system also grew.||„|
- In the Wii versions of the Prime series games, except the Metroid Prime version, the four lights on top of the Visor display the remaining battery life for the Wii remote in use. This is useful for quick reference on how much battery life is left without having to press the Home button.
- The names of the Dark and Echo Visors make a reference to the Japanese name of Prime 2: Metroid Prime 2: Dark Echoes.
- In the 1990 and 1991 versions of The Power Game Calendar, Samus's visor is circular in a manner similar to an antiquated diving suit helmet. This was because of the 3D modeling that was done from her NES sprites.
|Combat Visor | Scan Visor | Thermal Visor | X-Ray Visor|
Dark Visor | Echo Visor | Command Visor
Hacker Mode | X-Ray Scope | Search View