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The Wave Beam (ウェイブビーム Weibu Biimu ), named so for the oscillating "wave energy" it fires, is a beam that Samus acquires in most games, with the exceptions of Metroid Prime Hunters, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (though she gains the Annihilator Beam in Echoes, the Volt Driver in Hunters, and both the Grapple Voltage and the Nova Beam in Corruption, which all share a few similar properties with the Wave Beam). It fires wave energy (often in the shape of a sine curve) that can usually go through walls.
2D Metroid series
In Metroid and Metroid II: Return of Samus, the Wave Beam generated a single bolt that moved forward in a helical manner and passed through walls. It also acted as such in Super Metroid, but simultaneously using the Wave Beam with either the Charge Beam, the Spazer Beam, or the Plasma Beam shoots multiple bolts that move in a helix. It was one of the more powerful beam weapons.
In Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion, the Wave Beam was a beam that could go through walls. In these games, it stacked on to the beams that Samus had acquired thus far. In Super Metroid, it could be added to any other combination of beams to make them go through walls and give them a helical trajectory, or be used alone, making a purple waving ball. In Metroid Fusion, it adds a wall penetrating effect to the already-acquired Charge, Wide, and Plasma Beams. In Zero Mission, it added a widening effect and a wall passing effect to whatever beams Samus has by that point (Samus could actually obtain the item without any other beams, but she could have the Ice, Charge, Long, and even Plasma beams by then, due to the game's non-linear nature). On its own, it has a white colour with a slight purple hue.
In Metroid Fusion, this upgrade was possessed by the haywire robot B.O.X., during its second appearance. This is the second to last beam achieved by Samus on BSL Station, before the Ice Beam. It is also implied that the SA-X also had this beam in its' possession in addition to the Ice Beam due to its beam shots penetrating walls similar to the Wave Beam. If acquired first through debug, the beam will actually take the other beam functions due to it being the last beam in the intended sequence. As the sequence is hard-coded alongside events, it is not accessible without the other beams.
In Metroid: Other M, the beam fires three purple undulating shots at once, similar to in Prime. Other M's Wave Beam also has similar properties in the 2D games; bypassing walls. However, it is only limited to "transparent and semitransparent" objects, such as glass.
It is authorized by Adam in the Cryosphere, when Samus is trapped in a "box" made of glass walls while being attacked by several Super Zebesians. The Super Zebesians seem to have their own variant of the Wave Beam as their energy beams can penetrate the glass, but not Samus's shots until the Wave Beam is authorized.
In Metroid: Samus Returns, a remake of Metroid II, the Wave Beam can now stack with all Beams, with the exception of the Ice Beam, which is a separately selectable weapon. The Wave Beam is required to destroy the Taramarga, a door-blocking creature equipped with a sturdy rock. Notably, it lacks any undulating firing pattern, instead resembling Other M's straight firing Wave Beam.
In Metroid Dread, the Wave Beam is in possession of E.M.M.I.-06WB, which is using the powerup to enhance its field of vision and shoot stunning projectiles that can penetrate through walls. Like Fusion, it is the second to last beam upgrade in the game, the last being the Hyper Beam. It can destroy Wave Beam Covers.
In Metroid Prime, the Wave Beam takes on a different role. Here, it is one of the three "elemental" beams, representing the element of electricity. It is the first beam Samus acquires on her mission to Tallon IV (excluding the Charge Beam). The Wave Beam does not go through walls. However, if the player is locked on to an enemy, the beam has a homing feature that can follow an enemy around until it hits. The Wave Beam is acquired after defeating an Adult Sheegoth in the Chapel of the Elders, located in Phendrana Drifts. When fired normally, it launches three separate rounds that undulate inwards and outwards continuously with impressive homing capabilities. When charged, it fires a slower-moving single round that, when used on a few certain enemies, can cause a stunning effect. Its uses outside of battle include energizing Power Conduits and opening Purple Doors. It is the only weapon that can destroy the Pulse Bombu and the Scatter Bombu. On a related note, the Wave Beam can used on certain machine based enemies to cause them to ultimately malfunction. If the Wave Beam is used to destroy an Auto Defense Turret or a Mega Turret, the turret will swivel and constantly fire out of control before exploding. If used on a Sentry Drone, it will come crashing down instantly to the floor when defeated instead of performing its usual explosion.
Also in Metroid Prime, the Wave Beam can be upgraded with a Charge Combo called the Wavebuster. This allows Samus to fire a perpetual wave of electrical energy at an enemy, and like the normal beam it has a limited homing feature, but doesn't require a lock-on. However, its range is somewhat low. This attack uses up ten Missiles to activate and uses five Missiles per second when holding the fire button. Although it has an extreme ammunition cost with less damage-per-missile than the Super Missile, it deals damage at an incredible rate, making it valuable for quickly defeating enemies in a pinch.
Behind the scenes
2D Metroid series
Most forms of destructive energy in the universe are carried by electromagnetic waves, making the concept of a "wave beam" somewhat redundant. However, its abilities seem to stem specifically from this wave-based nature in particular, drastically increasing the wavelength of an energy beam to within the VHF radio range would expand the area it covered and allow it to pass through most solid obstacles. This technique is well-known to terrestrial science and is commonly used to prevent solid objects from obstructing music and television broadcasts.
Metroid Prime series
Like the Volt Driver, this version of the Wave Beam appears to fire some form of artificial ball lightning, a self-sustaining globe of electrical energy that is occasionally reported to "follow" living creatures and very rarely detonates with explosive force when touched. Although reliable eye-witness accounts confirm ball lightning's existence and similar phenomena have been produced using a wide variety of technological methods, its exact nature and cause remain unknown. Ironically, most explanations of ball lightning do not relate the phenomenon to electromagnetic waves in any way.
Metroid: Other M
The version of the Wave Beam seen in Metroid: Other M is very similar to the two-dimensional version, but its lower radius and ability to pass only though transparant materials suggests the beam now operates in the visible spectrum, as opposed to radio.
- "The beams are wave-shaped and are stronger than normal beams. If you already have a long beam, the long beam will become a long wave beam."
- "This beam flies in a wave pattern and is more powerful than the normal beam."
- "This is a powerful weapon. This beam travels like a wave, and destroys in all directions. Also, it has the power to penetrate and destroy obstacles."
Metroid II: Return of Samus manual
- "The beam travels in a wave shape. It is a very powerful beam and has a wide range of effect."
Super Metroid manual
- "The Wave Beam sends out a charge in a wavy pattern and pierces some obstacles."
Super Metroid Players' Guide (page 9)
- "Shoots in a wavy pattern and is more powerful than the Ice Ray.
- Location: Norfair.
Official Metroid Prime website
- Weapon effect: Enemies enveloped in electrical energy.
- Weapon range: 3 – 10 m
- Weapon potential: Lethal
- "Chozo Technology. Samus Aran uses the Wave Beam to fire powerful electric bolts from the Arm Cannon. Enemies struck by the Wave Beam's blast are enveloped in electrical energy for a few moments. The Wave Beam's electrical charge can also "lock-on" to its target to a limited extent."
- "The Wave Beam fires a triple blast of electrical energy, which is very effective against certain enemy types. Also can be used to restart inactive power systems. Combine with the Charge Beam to increase effectiveness."
Metroid Prime manual
- "The Wave Beam fires three oscillating waves of energy. As with the other beam weapons, the Wave Beam is especially effective against certain enemies and can be powered up once Samus finds the Charge Beam. The Wave Beam also features a limited homing effect."
Fire the Wave Beam to open Purple Doors.
The Wave Beam won't home in on targets without a lock-on. Press and hold / to lock on.
Charge the Wave Beam to fire a fierce electric blast. Enemies struck by this blast will be enveloped in electrical energy for a few moments.
Metroid Fusion manual
- "Shoot through obstacles with this undulating beam."
Metroid: Zero Mission manual
- "This allows Samus to fire beams of energy waves that penetrate solid objects."
Zero Mission Samus Screen data
- "This beam, which is made up of energy waves, can pass through solid objects."
Metroid.com (Metroid: Other M)
- "This beam passes through windows and other transparent objects. With added functionality comes added power—the Wave Beam also makes short work of many tougher creatures."
Metroid: Other M manual
- "Adds the ability to penetrate transparent and semi-transparent objects. This powerful beam can also be shot as a Charge Beam."
Other M Samus Screen data
- "Effect: Increases damage.
Secondary effect of penetrating materials that are transparent or semitransparent."
Metroid: Other M on-screen tutorial
- WAVE BEAM
- This makes the beam penetrate transparent obstacles.
Metroid.com (Metroid: Samus Returns)
- WAVE BEAM
- "Fires energy waves that travel in a spiral path and go through walls."
Samus Returns Samus Screen data
- "The Wave Beam's energy waves can pass through solid objects."
- The Armory (p. 11)
- "The Wave Beam defies spatial physics to allow Samus to fire through solid objects. This is handy in its own right, but combine that with the fact it's also a damage upgrade over the standard Power Beam and you may find yourself forgetting the Power Beam ever existed."
- Walkthrough (p. 75)
- "The Wave Beam can shoot through solid objects and pierce enemies. It's a replacement of your basic Power Beam, and it's certainly more effective. Use it to get through the pink Taramarga doors and to hit enemies from safer locations."
Metroid Dread Samus Screen data
|Fires an energy wave that can pass through solid objects and terrain.|
Press to fire.
Can also destroy Wave Beam Covers.
- In the original Metroid, the Wave Beam was the only way Samus could attack low-to-the-ground enemies such as Zoomers with projectile-type weapons due to the fact that she was unable to crouch or aim downward. Both of these capabilities were added in the game's direct sequel, Metroid II: Return of Samus.
- The Wave Beam was the only beam weapon able to penetrate armored enemies' plating in Metroid II: Return of Samus. In subsequent games, only the Plasma Beam is.
- In Metroid and Super Metroid, the Wave Beam has a similar sprite to the Energy Capsules.
- Normally, getting the Wave Beam in Super Metroid requires using the Grappling Beam to traverse the Grapple Crossing. However, a Wall Jump can be used to get the beam early.
- Super Metroid was the first game in the series to utilize the beam's wall piercing capability as a means of progression.
- The Wave Beam has appeared in every main series Metroid game to date.
- In Metroid Prime, the Wavebuster combo is especially useful for destroying the Cloaked Drone in the Phazon Mines, as Samus is unable to lock on to invisible enemies and getting a direct hit can be difficult otherwise.
- The Wave Beam Arm Cannon configuration is also used for the Light Beam in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and the Nova Beam in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
- In the New Play Control! and Metroid Prime Trilogy versions of Prime, sparks of electricity no longer appear on the Arm Cannon when charging. This was due to technical issues with implementation of Wii controls.
- The Wave Beam was slated to appear in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance along with Samus herself and many of her other abilities, though they were removed due to Nintendo not giving consent for her inclusion. The Wave Beam in Ultimate Alliance appears to be based off of the Prime iteration.
- In the first Metroid Prime, the symbol for the Wave Beam is a hand print with all of its fingers spread apart. Using the X-Ray Visor reveals that this is the configuration Samus uses to activate the Beam.
- In Metroid: Other M, it is stated that the Wave Beam can pass through any fully or semi-permeable object. However, this is not entirely true, as the Bottle Ship Residential Area contains glass railings that the Wave Beam cannot shoot through.
- Up until Metroid Dread, all games that featured the Wave Beam also featured the Ice Beam, and vice versa.
- The word "Wave Beam" is probably a weapon code, as simple physic "beams" are usually straight.
- The Wave Beam in Metroid Prime has a unique effect when charging it, like all other beams. When charging, electric bolts spread across the Arm Cannon. However, the effect is not present in the New Play Control! and Metroid Prime Trilogy versions of the game. This was due to implementation issues when applying the particle effects to the free-moving Arm Cannon, however all subsequent effects beams have on the Arm Cannon remain in the Prime Trilogy versions of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
- ^ Metroid: Zero Mission Instruction Booklet, p. 25
|Armaments||Arm Cannon • Paralyzer|
|Weapons||Power Beam • Wave Beam • Ice Beam • Plasma Beam • Grapple Beam |
Hyper Beam: (MD/MP3/SM) • Phazon Beam • Dark Beam • Light Beam
Annihilator Beam • Nova Beam • Zero Laser
|Enhancements||Beam Burst • Charge Beam • Diffusion Beam • Long Beam • Phazon bullets • Spazer Beam • Tractor beam • Wide Beam • Omega Cannon (Dread)|
|Affinity Weapons||Volt Driver • Battlehammer • Magmaul • Shock Coil • Judicator • Imperialist • Omega Cannon (Hunters) • Electro Lob|