One of Samus Aran's most crucial features in her missions has been her ability to create a Map of the current area she is in. The Power Suit maps out rooms as Samus progresses, but Samus can download full-fledged maps from Map Stations she comes across (except in Metroid Prime Hunters).
2-D games and Other MEdit
The original Metroid and Metroid II: Return of Samus did not feature maps, thereby making gameplay somewhat difficult. Super Metroid was the first game to feature a map for all areas (except Ceres Space Colony) and this has been a feature ever since. 2-D maps are divided into Map Tiles which represent Scroll Blocks within the actual game. Map data from a Map Station would be highlighted in blue, and become pink as the player enters their respective Scroll Block. Super Metroid marked bosses on the map as well using skeleton heads, placing a red X and square around the head when the boss was killed. Metroid Fusion also marks bosses on the map in a similar fashion, but does not indicate when they are killed. Metroid Fusion, Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid: Other M will display item tallies and clear time on the map screen. In Metroid Fusion, the map will show item tallies for each type of pickup in total, and pressing the select button will narrow it down to the area Samus is in. It will also show a picture of each item on the top of the map with a check mark next to it once Samus has collected all of the items in that sector. In Zero Mission, it would only show pickup data for the area that Samus is in, though she can view the other maps by pressing the select button. A check mark will be placed next to each pickup counter in their respective area once they have all been collected. In both Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission, Map Stations would display unvisited rooms as gray, when Samus enters them, the tile turns blue. Rooms not given on the map station are highlighted in green to make them stand out more as off the beaten path. In Metroid: Zero Mission alone, Heated Rooms would be displayed in orange once they are entered, signifying that the Varia Suit would be needed to traverse them. The top right corner of all four of these games displays a Minimap. In later games, specific locations are pointed out, such as areas Adam Malkovich orders Samus to go to. In Zero Mission, the Chozo Statues reveal the locations of upgrades, but Samus is not restricted on her path and forced to seek out these upgrades, rather, she can do so whenever she prefers.
Super Metroid also introduced items being pointed out on the map, a dot would appear to signify something of significance on the map, but did not show all hidden items. Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission expanded on this, making uncollected items be represented as circles on their respective map tile, and turn into dots when they are collected. These games also showed dots on almost any map tile that had an item in it, instead of only pointing out a few of them.
In Super Metroid, Samus’s current position is indicated by a blinking yellow block on the Minimap and a white empty box on the main Map. In Metroid Fusion, Samus’s current position on both the main Map and the Minimap is indicated by a flashing white box. In Metroid: Zero Mission, her current position is once again marked by a flashing white box on the Minimap, but is indicated by her Power Suit’s helmet on the main Map (or Samus’s face when in her Zero Suit).
Super Metroid featured a map of the entire planet when loading a save file from the Samus Data Screen, showing each area as hexagons. Prime and Echoes carried on this tradition in the World Maps.
The map in the Prime series functions mostly like the 2-D games, but with a major difference: rooms are displayed in holographic shapes and there is a legend and control display, but no clear time or tallies (these are left to other areas of the Pause Menu or Samus Data Screen). In all four games visited rooms are displayed in orange while non-visited rooms are blue. Samus' location is represented by a pulsating green arrow with a red tip. The interface for the map in Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is mainly identical, but changed in Metroid Prime Hunters and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
All three Metroid Prime Trilogy games (Hunters excluded) feature Level and World Maps. Level focuses on the area Samus is currently in, while World Map allows her to examine maps of other areas. This resembles the map of Zebes seen in Super Metroid as both featured all areas in different colors, in shapes resembling clusters of honeycombs. Echoes features the ability to switch to the Dark Aether or Aether counterpart of the current room/area in the map viewer. The Dark room will be colored deep red. In Corruption, Samus has a Galaxy Map of other planets with destinations that she can fly to in her Gunship. Locations are gradually added as they are discovered.
The Hint system in all three games causes some rooms to appear on the map before they are visited, and names them while placing a question mark on the room's hologram and whatever objective is required (for example, a Half-pipe found in Tallon Canyon). Downloaded, unvisited rooms that appear on the map do not display the room name until Samus has visited them, except in Corruption.
The Metroid Prime 3: Corruption key lists a purple "Grapple Voltage Door", though no such doors exist in the game. This may have been a scrapped gameplay element, though there are terminals that must be energized or drained using the Grapple Voltage, which power shields that sometimes block doors. Additionally, the yellow Multi-Lock Blast Shield door is featured in the key despite only being featured in one instance in the game.
In Corruption, the Chozo Observatory features a series of puzzles that utilize Elysian satellites to download Logbook entries on Tallon IV and Aether, and also marking locations of expansions in almost all areas of the game (except the G.F.S. Valhalla) similar to the 2-D games. The Pirate Homeworld satellite requires the X-Ray Visor and Nova Beam as the panel to trigger the satellite launch is blocked by Phazite. Individual rooms can be bookmarked for future reference, and are highlighted green when this is done.
Metroid Prime manualEdit
Minimap: "This area shows a small section of the current map. If you press the Z Button, you'll call up the full-screen map (see page 24)."
"By pressing the Z Button during game play, you can call up a three-dimensional map display of the region Samus is currently in. Unless Samus has downloaded the full map for that particular region by finding a Map Room, the only areas that will appear will be ones that she has explored already. Once she downloads the map, however, rooms she has explored will glow orange while those yet to be explored will appear without color.
The coloured dots on the map are exits-the colours indicate which weapons will open the doors. Samus herself will appear as an arrow pointing in the direction she currently faces. You can zoom in or out with the L and R Buttons, move around with the C Stick, or rotate the 3-D display with the Control Stick. To view the World Map, press the A Button. To toggle the map key on and off, press the Y Button."
- "An enhanced mapping system, which populates as you discover new areas and allows you to place pins in points of interest, making it easier to return later on."