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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,[1] 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.

Main series[edit | edit source]

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, as long as the other beams had been turned off, with the exception of the Power Beam, which could not be turned off. 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 Ice Beam blasts penetrating walls similar to the Wave Beam.

Metroid: Other M

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.

Metroid Prime[edit | edit source]

The Wave Beam in Chapel of the Elders.

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 achieves on her mission to Tallon IV. 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, if the Wave Beam is used on an Auto Defense Turret or a Mega Turret, it will swivel and constantly fire out of control before exploding.

Samus acquires the Wave Beam.

Also in Metroid Prime, the Wave Beam can also 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 at quickly defeating enemies in a pinch.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

2D series[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Early Prime Arm Cannon configuration.

  • 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 shares 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.
  • All games that feature the Wave Beam also feature the Ice Beam, and vice versa.
  • The word "Wave Beam" is probably a weapon code, as simple physic "beams" are usually straight.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ Metroid: Zero Mission Instruction Booklet, p. 25

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