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For other uses, see Zebesian (Disambiguation).

Zebesians (ゼーベス星人 Zēbesu Seijin?) are a sub-group of Space Pirates that hail from planet Zebes. They comprise the vast majority of their species' forces in the 2D games of the Metroid series, including Metroid: Other M; Zebesians are often seen as the face of the Space Pirates in media associated with those games.

Despite the term "Zebesian", Zebes is in fact not their birthplace, but has been occupied as one of their main headquarters after they wiped out the planet's previous civilization. Series director Yoshio Sakamoto has said that the Pirates that invaded Zebes took "Zebesian" as a general name for themselves after the conquest of the planet, comparing it to most "Americans" actually being descended from Europeans and only calling themselves Americans after conquering the Siberian American tribes.[1] The true planet from which not only Zebesians, but the entirety of Space Pirates originate from is currently unknown; presumably, they are not from the Pirate Homeworld as the Metroid Prime Trilogy art booklet states that it is merely one of several homeworlds, akin to how Zebes was regarded.

Ridley is said to have been the "original Zebesian" according to the information in the first game's instruction manual. The Virtual Console re-translation of the manual says that he is "an indigenous life-form of Zebes". This fact has not been mentioned elsewhere and may not be canon; however, this may be similar to how ancient Roman generals took the titles of places they conquered, such as Germanicus.

Intelligence[edit | edit source]

The intelligence of the Zebesians and their capacity for higher thought is under question; there is conflicting evidence concerning whether or not they can function without a leader to control them.

In Metroid: Other M, Samus states that Zebesians, even if led by Ridley's clone, would be unable to work as an intelligent group and would eventually become feral unless led by Mother Brain. However, the Metroid manga features the race led by Ridley alone actively and strategically attacking Galactic Federation-controlled planets long before they met Mother Brain.

The Metroid Prime series also contradicts Other M by portraying Space Pirates working mostly independently (although the Space Pirates in the Prime games are not Zebesians). The same behavior occurs in Metroid: Zero Mission, when the Pirates are able to operate onboard the Mother Ship after Ridley and Mother Brain's defeat. However, it is possible that Mecha Ridley was able to control them to some degree, or they were simply not aware of Mother Brain and Ridley's defeat and were just following predesignated orders such as guarding the ship.

However, it is also possible that in Other M Samus was referring to the Cyborg and Super Zebesians, which seem to be more feral than normal Pirates, since they have not formed any sort of coherent society or manipulate the BOTTLE SHIP's equipment in any way even though there has been a significant amount of time between their release and discovery by Samus. This is heavily supported by the Zebesian's Trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which states that the BOTTLE SHIP Zebesians are emotionless bioweapons that lack the natural Zebesians' intelligence.

Appearances and variants[edit | edit source]

Metroid: Zero Mission[edit | edit source]

The Zebesians in Metroid: Zero Mission are chronologically the first basic Space Pirate forces encountered in the Metroid series of games, though their leaders, Kraid and Ridley, are actually battled earlier in the game. When Samus first entered Tourian, a cutscene showed the first Zebesian in the game being fed on by several Metroid larvae; as she explored further, a high number of withered, colorless Zebesian corpses were scattered about in nearly every room prior to the Zebesian Command Center. This served to clarify on why the original Metroid game featured no Zebesians within their own HQ, as they are now shown to have died as a result of a Metroid outbreak.

Living Zebesian individuals are finally and exclusively encountered within Chozodia, specifically the Space Pirate Mother Ship and Chozo temple sections of the area. Their main form of attack involved opening their clawed weapons and shooting beams in the direction of Samus Aran, which they were capable of doing both on ground level or while clinging to a wall. If she were to be spotted by their Searchlights, Floating-eye sensors, Pirate Alarm Systems or by a Zebesian during her explorations, the Pirates would be more than capable of giving chase by crawling through tunnels, jumping, wall climbing and wall jumping, as well as running at a slightly higher speed than Samus when she is not using her Speed Booster. These enemies are one of the rare few who do not drop any health or ammunition when killed.

Zero Mission features only two variants of Zebesians:

Red Space Pirate

  • Red Space Pirates[2] are extremely common in Chozodia and are initially very dangerous while Samus is in her Zero Suit. Lacking the Power Suit, the weak Paralyzer is her only weapon and can merely immobilize the Red Zebesians for a few seconds if hit with a fully-charged shot; the only available method for disposing them is to cause the Pirates to unintentionally fire at each other through carefully timed jumps. One hit from a laser in Hard Mode will take away 100 energy. Once Samus obtains the Fully Powered Suit with her collected power-ups, the Red Zebesians can be easily killed with the offensive gear at her disposal.
  • Gray Space Pirates appear exclusively in the Space Pirate Mother Ship segments. This version attacks like the ordinary Red Space Pirate, but is highly agile, incredibly powerful and far more durable. Unlike the red variant, they are only vulnerable to Beam attacks; additionally, they cannot be frozen with the Ice Beam and their armor negates the Plasma Beam's piercing effect, therefore preventing the beam from inflicting greater damage. Only one or two of this Pirate class may be found within the same room, but can be ignored with the exception of a pair guarding the escape-ship bay. On Hard Mode, they can quickly kill Samus and the aforementioned pair can force a repeat of the Ridley Robot battle.

Metroid: Samus Returns[edit | edit source]

Metroid onboard Space Research Vessel Marina in MSR.png

Zebesian Pirates are absent for the entire game except in a single image depicted in the introduction sequence to explain the events that led to the SR-388 incident. They are glimpsed in the form of shadows cast onto a floor as they approach a Metroid specimen contained within the Space Research Vessel Marina.

Super Metroid[edit | edit source]

The Zebesian variants were far more diverse during Samus' second mission to Zebes and were present in every area on the planet with the exception of the Wrecked Ship, which still featured Pirate activity in the form of other organisms. With each new class of Zebesian encountered, Samus required stronger weaponry to defeat them. When hit by a weapon, regardless of whether it damaged them or not, the Zebesians often took a defensive stance and covered their heads with their claws.

Samus battling a green pirate guarding Kraid's Lair.

Super Metroid's Zebesians, including their beam projectiles, are noticeably sluggish when compared to those found in Zero Mission. In the latter game, Zebesians were capable of shooting both horizontally and diagonally while the Super Metroid Zebesians were restricted to shooting only what was directly in front of them. Also, the Zebesians in Super Metroid never chased after Samus, even if she entered their line of sight. With the exception of the Silver Space Pirates, the overall lack of agility and poor aim of Super Metroid's Zebesian Space Pirates made them somewhat easy to defeat. Additionally, they dropped energy or ammunition when killed by Samus, unlike the prequel's Pirates. The only advantage they had over their Zero Mission counterparts was their ability to fire three beams in a single attack, as the former could only shoot two each time (one from each claw).

Curiously, Zebesian Pirates can be seen shooting beams from not only their claws, but from their eyes as well. This is especially noticeable with any wall-climbing variant. So far, Super Metroid is the only game where the Zebesians illustrate this ability.

Space Pirate

The different types of Zebesian, from the weakest to the strongest class, are as follows:

  • Space Pirates[2] are grayish teal in their most basic appearance, which can only be found in Crateria within the ruins of old Tourian's escape shaft and Command Center. A single uncharged Power Beam shot will kill them.
  • Green Space Pirates[2] are first encountered in Crateria several rooms before the entrances to both the rebuilt Tourian and Brinstar's jungle section. They reappear in Kraid's Lair where they, along with green Kihunters, protect the chamber where Kraid resides. Samus can only use Missiles and Bombs to destroy them until she acquires more powerful weaponry.
  • Red Space Pirates[2] can be found in certain areas of Norfair. They can be frozen with the Ice Beam.
  • Pink Space Pirate

    Pink Space Pirates[2] are located in Maridia, notably within the room holding the Plasma Beam where they are grouped in mass numbers. Their ability to move freely underwater strongly implies the use of Gravity Suit-like technology, and their wall-jumping abilities are exceedingly fast in comparison to prior variants. When first encountered, the Pink Pirates are only vulnerable to a select few of Samus' offensive gear: the Spin Jump Attack and the Speed Booster, the latter which is impractical to use due to the landscape where the enemies are found. If the Ice Beam is used in conjunction with the Spin Jump Attack, the Pirates will be frozen. Once the Plasma Beam is obtained, their threat becomes negligible; curiously, only standard shots of the beam weapon will harm them, as any charged shots will bounce off of the Pirates' bodies.

A yellow pirate.

  • Yellow Space Pirates[2] are deep in Ridley's Hideout. They are the second-strongest type of Zebesian in-game, as the firepower needed to destroy them are relatively high. For instance, a direct hit with a fully charged Plasma Beam, nine Missiles or three Power Bombs. They can be killed instantly with the powerful Screw Attack. Strangely, a wall-climbing yellow Pirate is weaker than a wall-climbing Pink Zebesian.
  • Silver Space Pirates can be regarded as the top branch of Zebesian soldiers. Their behavior and attack patterns are greatly distinct from all previous variants, mostly relying on physical attacks. Samus is forced to combat a pair of Silver Pirates located very close to Ridley's room, essentially making the two his personal guards. Aside from the pair located in Ridley's Hideout, all other Silver Pirates are featured in the rebuilt Tourian and the old one's escape shaft at the very end of the game, however most of these latter ones behave like any non-Silver Pirate despite their silver color.

Metroid: Other M[edit | edit source]

Samus battles a Cyborg Zebesian in the Pyrosphere.

In Metroid: Other M, feral Zebesians have been gathered and cybernetically enhanced as part of a bioweapon program in the BOTTLE SHIP; this program was intended to create a Special Forces Unit with a similar structure to the Space Pirates for the Galactic Federation. Due to these Zebesians' animal-like behavior and lack of any signs of intelligence, they were likely born in the ship's labs via cloning (thus prevented from receiving any educational upbringing their Pirate society might offer), and/or were survivors from Zebes that were captured by the Federation and made feral through the process that turned them into obedient cyborgs. They were ultimately put aside when the Federation saw more value in Project Metroid Warriors.

Their original, unenhanced bodies are mostly purple in color with green accents. They feature beak-like segments for mouths with protrusions on the back of their heads resembling quills or feathers, giving them a somewhat bird-like appearance. Nearly all Zebesians seen in the game possess newly-added prosthetic limbs and metal-covered heads and chestpieces; these Federation-based implants seem quite crude in comparison to those made by Pirates from the Prime series. Controlled and presumably stimulated by MB and Ridley's clone respectively, all Zebesians are capable of wall-clinging, firing beams, jumping ground-pound attacks and claw slashes. When hit with the Ice Beam, only their claws are frozen rather than their whole body.

Three variants appear in Other M:

  • Zebesian Hologram appear in the game's tutorial. Controlled by the Head Quarantine Officer, the holographic Pirate was used for the SenseMove, Missile and regular combat training segments. Interesting to note is that this hologram represents an unenhanced Zebesian, a variant which is never encountered in the entire game despite the first trailer of Other M, along with concept and promotional art, initially portraying Samus fighting such normal Pirates in the BOTTLE SHIP.
  • Cyborg Zebesians are the weakest of the two cybernetically-enhanced types inhabiting the BOTTLE SHIP. They are either partially or entirely covered in metal. Regardless, their claws are completely replaced with prosthetic ones capable of firing Missiles as well as beams. Their armor and fins begin to break off as they take damage, revealing arm cannons under the prosthetic claws.
  • Super Zebesians are red-armored Zebesians that can fire a red and green charged version of their basic laser out of a large cannon that has replaced one of their claws. This charged shot has the properties of a Wave Beam. Super Zebesians will sometimes raise their claws upward and can fire a barrage of multiple projectiles in a single attack as well; both patterns reference their counterparts from Super Metroid.

Metroid Fusion[edit | edit source]

Metroid Fusion artwork

This game's basic Zebesians use a design that reappears in the Metroid Manga. It was seen in the first trailer for Metroid: Other M, however, the final game features similar-looking, albeit non-organic Zebesians.

All Zebesians in Fusion are either infected by the X Parasites or mimics formed by the latter. They led to the creation of three variants:

  • Zebesians have improved natural armor that makes them more resilient than the majority of the classes seen in Super Metroid and cannot be frozen. They retain the thin cannons within their claws that open up when firing. This variant, which are always seen walking back and forth, is the most commonly encountered. Wall-crawling Zebesians are only present in the BSL Station's Sector 1 and are strangely weaker than the walking variant. They die with a single Missile shot and can be frozen. They retain the same jumping and shooting behavior of previous games' wall-crawling Pirates.
  • Zebesian (Aqua) result from X Parasites combining Skultera DNA with a Zebesian, creating an unnatural being designed specifically for underwater combat.
  • Gold Space Pirates are very rare and are the strongest variant of X-infected Zebesians. Despite the similarity in color to the yellow variant from Super Metroid, they are immensely different in strength and are in fact more akin to the Silver Pirates from the same game.

Other appearances[edit | edit source]

"What's the matter? All I said was that Komaytos look like little Metr—"

Non-canon warning: This article or section contains information that may not be considered an official part of the Metroid series in the overall storyline by Nintendo.

Metroid Prime[edit | edit source]

Martin L'Heureux animation

The game's instruction manual depicts the artwork of a Zebesian on the pages retelling the Space Pirates' recent history, most of which is focused on Zebes. The Pirate is drawn in the more realistic art style of the Metroid Prime series, exhibiting far more detail than the designs seen in the 2-D games. The Zebesian's eyes are covered with mechanical lenses with wires that stretch to its head's temple and further onto the back of its neck. Its lobster-like claws possess a great deal of machinery not only in the form of a gun-barrel protruding from the inside, but also metal plating and structures on the back of the claws with cables that reach all the way to an unseen section of the Zebesian's backside. Metal tubes are shown sticking out from under its back and several straps are seen on the Pirate's body, including a belt carrying unknown tools and gadgets. Instead of its 2-D counterparts' sabaton-like feet, this Zebesian design possesses three sharp toes on the front and a fourth one on the back.

Although this Space Pirate type is never encountered in the final game, it was originally intended to appear as an enemy. A model and several animations were created by Martin L'Heureux for a Pirate based on the manual's artwork. It was ultimately scrapped along with another design resembling a hulking Zebesian[1]. The only in-game representation vaguely resembling the 2-D design is a corpse of what appears to be a heavily mutated Zebesian within a containment tube in the Phendrana Drifts laboratories. Both the hulking and mutated Zebesian were likely planned as being the result of Phazon experiments.

Nintendo Land[edit | edit source]

Animatronic Zebesian in Nintendo Land.

Zebesians make an appearance as animatronic robots in Metroid Blast, appearing throughout the Assault Mission mode. A Zebesian passively patrols the area in an upright compact form until it spots a Mii player, at which point its head and shoulders spring outward as it adopts a hunched stature. The Zebesian can attack with beams from its claws or with a melee swipe. Their weakpoint is a power button on their torso; these buttons are typically blue and need to be shot three times to destroy the Zebesian, although certain variations are stronger or weaker.

In Metroid Blast, Zebesians appear with the following variations, which have not been officially named:

  • Standard Zebesian: A normal walking Zebesian, colored purple with lime green highlights, similar to the design from Metroid Fusion and Other M. They attack by rapidly shooting three purple beams from their claws, which travel at slightly different angles. These Zebesians are notably present during Kraid's boss fights, where they are constantly released on platforms from his heavily-armed, fortress-like body.
  • Ice Zebesian: A walking Zebesian, colored white with purple highlights. They behave similarly to the standard variant, but their purple beams are replaced with ice spread shots. Each shot simultaneously fires three ice spheres, with one traveling straight forward and the other two angled to the sides. The ice deals no damage but freezes a Mii on impact, leaving them vulnerable to the Zebesian's melee attack (or another enemy's damaging attack). However, they can be tricked into shooting and freezing other enemies such as Metroids.
  • Flying Zebesian: A normal flying Zebesian, using a jetpack similar to the Flying Pirates and Pirate Aerotroopers from the Metroid Prime series. They shoot purple beams, just like the standard Zebesian.
  • Flying Ice Zebesian: A flying Zebesian that shares the color scheme and weaponry of the Ice Zebesian. These Zebesians are especially common in later missions.
  • Super Zebesian: A walking Zebesian, colored red with lime green highlights, similar to the Red Space Pirate from Zero Mission and Super Zebesian from Other M. These Zebesians have an additional blue power button on their backs, making them twice as durable as other Zebesians. They are introduced in mission "19. Strike from Behind", which gives a clue on how to fight them; otherwise, the blast radius of a Charge Bomb or Missile can still hit their back button.
  • Sniper Zebesian: A stationary Zebesian, colored dark gray with light blue highlights. Unlike other Zebesians, this variant is armed with a sniper rifle, allowing them to shoot faraway Miis with deadly accuracy. When their laser sight locks on, it will start beeping as warning, and if the Mii will be shot if they do not dash away quickly enough. To balance the playing field, these snipers have a red power button, which only needs to be shot once to destroy the Zebesian. They are introduced in mission "16. Evade the Snipers".

The standard purple Zebesian is also featured as a prize for Nintendo Land Plaza that can be randomly unlocked in a pachinko game. It is initially found standing perfectly still in its passive state. When interacted with, it will unfold and perform its melee attack animation. Interacting with it again will return it to its passive state.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit | edit source]

A Zebesian Spirit being sent to the real world

A Zebesian is one of hundreds of unlockable Spirits, using official artwork taken from Super Metroid. It is an Advanced class Primary Spirit that can be equipped to fighters to give them a stat boos; it also features the Fist Attack ↑ trait, which boosts the strength of the user's punches and elbow strikes. It is a Neutral type, giving it no advantages or disadvantages against other Spirits. It also has two support slots for equipping additional Support Spirits.

As one of the many characters who lost their physical bodies due to Galeem's attack, the Zebesian can be unlocked through the World of Light Adventure Mode, where it is found in a volcanic area of the Light Realm. It can also be unlocked through the Spirit Board. Its Spirit is possessed by four Dark Samus Puppet Fighters, using their dark purple alternate costumes. Each Dark Samus has her Charge Shot increased in power. The Dark Samus Team is fought on Planet Zebes: Brinstar, with Brinstar (Melee) as the background music.

The Zebesian was one of the first Spirits from the game to be showcased, appearing in the November 1, 2018 Nintendo Direct. A Zebesian (along with Rabbid Peach, Titania, Formula, and Duster) is used to demonstrate the feature to send Spirits back to the real world, leaving behind their cores for summoning more Spirits. Although not shown in the Direct, a Zebesian's core can be combined with a Sidestepper's core in order to summon a Scizor from Pokémon.

Non-canon warning: Non-canonical information ends here.

Official data[edit | edit source]

Super Metroid manual[edit | edit source]

"These feared aliens are known as the scourge of the Galaxy. They are known for stealing galactic trading ships and leaving the crews stranded in space."

Super Metroid Players' Guide[edit | edit source]

Wall Pirates
"They may not pose much of a threat on the face of things, but they are particularly agile, leaping from one side of the screen to the other, and have a stinging laser beam. A quick and accurate shot should deal with them."

Official Metroid Fusion website[edit | edit source]

"Using their advanced technology, these galactic marauders are bent on becoming the dominant force in the galaxy. Their presence on the research vessel orbiting SR388 is cause for alarm."

Metroid Fusion manual[edit | edit source]

"These feared aliens once tried to use Metroids to further their schemes. They cling to walls and attack."

Brawl sticker[edit | edit source]

Metroid: Other M Art Folio: Close Combat[edit | edit source]

"I prefer to use my Arm Cannon, as it allows me to take out most threats from a safe distance. When circumstances call for it, however, I'm happy to engage the enemy hand-to-hand. The augmented power of my suit lends me extra power in combat-sometimes a well-placed kick is the only way to deal with a grappling Zebesian."

Nintendo Land[edit | edit source]

"The Zebesians are a race of Space Pirates from the Planet Zebes. Though the skill is unnecessary for everyday life, they can fire beams from their scissor-like appendages. What a plus."

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U trophy[edit | edit source]

Zebesian trophy.png

"This race forms the backbone of the evil Space Pirates, an organization plotting to take over the galaxy. Metroid: Other M features Cyborg Zebesians, bioweapons created through cloning and genetic manipulation of Zebesian DNA. These emotionless soldiers have none of the intelligence of the natural Zebesian race."

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In the internal data of Super Metroid, Zebesians are referred to as Batta. This may be derived from the Japanese word for locust (バッタ?), relating to their insectoid appearance.
  • In Super Metroid, Mother Brain can fire two different beams from her single eyeball; one of them is identical to the beams fired by Zebesian Pirates in the same game.
  • In the first few trailers and released screenshots of Metroid: Zero Mission, Zebesian Pirates have a slightly different head structure from those seen in the final version of the game. They were originally going to have a more bird-like design, similar to those seen in Fusion. Additionally, they are placed in a room seemingly located within Brinstar while Samus is wearing her basic Power Suit, all of which suggest that the Pirates were initially going to be encountered much earlier in the game.
  • The Pink Pirate's unhindered movement underwater is not dissimilar in concept to the Aqua Pirate technology in Metroid Prime, whom are directly stated to be using Gravity Suit technology.
  • In Super Metroid, when a red Zebesian is shot with the Ice Beam and jumped on, Samus will not stand on its head but on an invisible platform above its head.
  • A Zebesian appears on the Super Metroid Stare-E-O Poster.
  • While the second syllable of Zebes is pronounced as as a "short /ĕ/" sound in most Metroid media, the second syllable of of Zebesian is pronounced as a "long /ē/" sound in Other M and Nintendo Land.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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