Posttraumatic stress disorder

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No! It can't be!

—Samus in Metroid: Other M


Samus Aran's reaction to Ridley's appearance, as seen in Metroid: Other M.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (also known simply as PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. PTSD causes nightmares and flashbacks of the event that instilled it, often triggered unpredictably by stimuli related to those of the original event. The symptoms must persist for at least a month to be classified as PTSD.

Samus Aran of the Metroid series has shown symptoms of this disorder regarding the attack on her home of K-2L, where she witnessed Ridley kill her mother right in front of her and threaten to do the same to her. It has been depicted somewhat recurrently throughout the series, but most notably in the Metroid manga and again in Metroid: Other M.

Metroid MangaEdit


In volume 2 of the manga, Samus is tortured by Ridley when she, Mauk and Kreatz invade Zebes. Gray Voice even says that she seems to be exhibiting symptoms of PTSD, and that it appears Ridley has caused her to undergo emotional duress. She falls to the ground complaining that she can't breathe, and her Power Suit disappears.

She is next seen on the ground making hacking noises, presumably coughing. Ridley, after this, recognizes Samus as the child from K-2L. He then tells her how he healed himself after her father destroyed his warship: by consuming the dead flesh of the colony's citizens, even going so far as to taunt her by saying that her mother may have been one of his meals.

The last thing Ridley does to her before leaving is calling her pitiful. As her friends come out of hiding to free the prisoners, Samus stands up, with blank eyes, and begs to be killed. The Chozo that were imprisoned realize that all the repressed memories of her colony's demise are coming back to her, and they comfort her, telling her that she can let out all the emotion that she had been holding in. Eventually, she is able to recover, and shoots Ridley away when he attempts to attack Grey Voice.

Near the end of the manga, Samus seemingly triumphs over her PTSD and manages to destroy Ridley. In the actual game Metroid: Zero Mission, Samus' eyes are briefly seen through her visor before Ridley attacks. She seems to have a shocked expression, but is able to come to her senses and fight him.

Metroid: Other MEdit

At the beginning of the game, Samus states that she killed Mother Brain, and that Zebes then exploded, taking Mother Brain, the Space Pirates, the baby, and Ridley with it, but this later proves to be not entirely accurate, as all of them had each been secretly recreated on a Federation vessel.

Samus, on her mission to the BOTTLE SHIP, encounters Little Birdie, a small, white creature that stalks her. She believes it to be of no harm. When she finds a facility of interest, she is attacked by the Mystery Creature, an evolution of Little birdie, as she finds out after nearly being killed by it. It flees, and Samus' main objective is to track it down. Commander Adam Malkovich later contacts Samus and tells her that the monster appears to be headed to the Geothermal Power Plant, where Anthony Higgs was said to be going to destroy the magma-eruption port.

After Samus completes the latter objective, the lava increases the light in the room, and Samus finds that the monster in the room is a reborn Ridley. The shock of seeing Ridley alive again, despite the fact that his remains were consumed in the explosion that destroyed Zebes, makes her flash back to her first meeting with Ridley, paralyzing her like her child self as she loses her suit's composure. Adam saw the events and attempted to contact Samus, but she was unable to speak. He frantically attempted over and over again to communicate with her until his communicator was shut off, presumably by the Deleter. Ridley then dragged her across the wall until Anthony shot him, and she fell to the platform below, unable to stand up, until Anthony was seemingly killed. Samus regained her composure and destroyed Ridley in her rage. He managed to survive, as he always did, and escaped.

Before Adam walked off to Sector Zero, Samus was told to defeat Ridley as one of her several and final missions from him. She later found Ridley as a mummy in the Bioweapon Research Center, having been killed by the Queen Metroid. The corpse stayed there until the Galactic Federation invaded the station and was probably taken to the BSL, where it can be seen in a freezer.


The Metroid: Other M PTSD scene has been heavily criticized by some gamers due to the fact that Samus, who has in the past (aside from the manga) appeared to be always strong and competent, suffers a panic attack at the mere sight of Ridley. This is compounded by the fact that she has fought and defeated him 4 times before, as victories often build confidence.

Some criticizing gamers may have only played the games and be unaware of the past connection between Samus and Ridley. Others are aware of the past connections and yet still criticize it, citing either (or both) her lack of a reaction to Ridley's survival in the other (preceding or succeeding) games as well as the fact that the ending of the Metroid manga also had her triumphing over Ridley and even mocking him.

Samus never visibly exhibited severe signs of PTSD during any other encounters with Ridley, nor did she react when she encountered him again on the Biologic Space Laboratories research station in Metroid Fusion.

Samus had assumed Ridley to be killed for good at the end of Super Metroid, only for him to suddenly appear before her alive and well, while in Metroid Fusion she had more time to mentally steel herself for the inevitable battle against Neo-Ridley after witnessing the X Parasite emerge from his frozen husk.

She also did not show any signs of PTSD during her post-Zebes encounters with Ridley during the Prime series, or in Super Metroid, despite Ridley's apparent death and disintegration in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

In addition, because the only other source to depict Samus as having an episode of PTSD, the 2002 Manga, was not released outside Japan and the scene not directly identifying her as having PTSD, another criticism of the scene was that there was no lead-in or any indication of what exactly Samus was going through.


  • In the Story feature of Other M, Samus is described as "panic-stricken".
  • Klaus Schneider seems to have his own episodes of PTSD after being narrowly killed by the Alpha Splinter.

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