|“||No! It can't be!||„|
—Samus 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 so far only been explicitly depicted only in the Metroid manga and in Metroid: Other M.
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 overcomes her PTSD and triumphs in the battle against Ridley, seemingly killing him. She lets out a victorious war-cry as well.
In the actual game Metroid: Zero Mission, Samus' eyes are briefly seen through her visor as Ridley flies down to battle. She seems to have a shocked expression, but nothing more to establish a significant reference to her PTSD.
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 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.
Metroid: Other M's PTSD scene has been heavily criticized by fans due to the fact that Samus, who has in the past (aside from the prequel manga) always been portrayed as being 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 seven times before, as victories often build confidence: Metroid: Zero Mission (both the authentic Ridley and a robot built in his image) Metroid Prime, twice in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Metroid: Samus Returns, and Super Metroid.
Some fans have only played the games and are unaware of the past connection between Samus and Ridley, which is not explained in the scene or anywhere in the game despite Other M's major focus on story telling. However, there are those who are aware of the past connections and still criticize it, citing her as never having displayed any signs of PTSD towards Ridley's numerous survivals in the other games, both preceding and succeeding; in the latter case, Samus also did not display any reaction when she encountered the frozen body of Ridley's clone in Metroid Fusion. Fans also argue that the ending of the Metroid manga, a prequel to the entire video game series, developed Samus' character into overcoming her trauma, depicted by her triumphing over Ridley and even going as far as mocking him.
Samus states in Other M to have killed Ridley definitively at the end of Super Metroid, only for him to suddenly appear before her alive and well, therefore explaining her immense shock. However, this is also a point of criticism for fans, due to the fact that Ridley has already been depicted dying in battles prior to Super Metroid, specifically in Zero Mission and Metroid Prime 3 where he is shown disintegrating entirely, therefore nullifying the justification to her belief that her nemesis had died once and for all during her second mission on Zebes.
Metroid: Samus Returns, a game released several years after Other M, and who's events take place between the Prime series and Super Metroid, also has no depiction of Samus suffering an episode of PTSD upon seeing Proteus Ridley. In fact, she showed no hesitation when she immediately jumped down from the cliff overlooking her Gunship to begin fighting him.
Because the only other source to depict Samus as having an episode of PTSD, the 2002 manga, was not officially released outside Japan, and the scene did not directly identify her as having PTSD, the scene was also criticized for having no lead-in, backstory or any indication of what exactly Samus was going through, leaving fans both new and old confused.
Those who criticize Samus' PTSD moment from Other M also argue that such an event would have been more fitting in Zero Mission, the game in which she fights and defeats Ridley for the first time in the chronology of the series. Furthermore, they argue that Zero Mission was fully capable of presenting cutscenes and dialogue, which Yoshio Sakamoto did not take advantage of to present a PTSD in Samus. This leads to the belief that Sakamoto chose to use her PTSD strictly as a convenient plot-device for Other M.
Finally, there are fans who believe that the game's PTSD was simply poorly and/or unconvincingly presented, saying that Samus can be depicted having a soft, vulnerable side but not in the manner that Other M went about it.
A possible explanation towards her seemingly "out of character" depiction in Other M is offered below:
In addition to what has been stated above, it can be argued that in Other M, Samus was at a crossroads in her life. Her mortal enemies, the Space Pirates, which she had dedicated her life to fighting, had finally been destroyed. However, so had Zebes, the planet on which she grew up following the destruction of K-2L. Additionally, Samus was mourning the death of the baby, which had saved her life and died doing so. This period of grief and uncertainty may have been further compounded by her reunion with Adam and Anthony on the BOTTLE SHIP, bringing up many emotions due to her close relationships with them in the past.
Having left Adam on bad terms after the death of his brother Ian, Samus's feelings of regret over how she handled Ian's death rise to the surface after seeing Adam again, having come to realize the difficult position that he was in. Throughout the game, she expresses concern over how he would perceive her past and current actions, such as bringing the infant Metroid back (a breach of protocol and her mission orders). Her discovery of the Federation's involvement in the BOTTLE SHIP conspiracy and the actions of The Deleter made her suspicious that Anthony or Adam could be the Deleter, and at the same time feared for their safety.
Before encountering Ridley, Samus was surprised by the red laser sight of Anthony's Plasma Gun. She immediately prepared to shoot him on reflex before he shouted at her to move, as he was targeting Ridley. It can be argued that this put her on edge, and exacerbated her PTSD relapse when she was surprised by Ridley. Most of her previous encounters (barring Samus Returns and the beginning of Super Metroid) with Ridley occurred when she was alone and only had to concern herself with her own safety. It was only Anthony's apparent death that brought Samus back to her senses and gave her the resolve to fight and defeat Ridley.
- In the Story feature of Other M, Samus is described as "panic-stricken".
- Klaus Schneider has his own episodes of PTSD after being narrowly killed by the Alpha Splinter in Metroid Prime: Episode of Aether.
- Samus's PTSD regarding Ridley is given a brief nod in A Piercing Screech where, after Ridley reveals himself by bursting from under the bridge, there is a brief close-up of Samus's visor that shows Samus's eyes in a state of panic.
- Wikipedia article
- An interview with a military veteran suffering from PTSD and an expert on the disorder related to the Metroid: Other M scene
|Organic||Flesh-eating bacteria • Miteralis • 'Twin Fever' • X Parasite|
|Phazon||Phazon Fever • Terminal Corruption • "the scritters"|
|Artificial||Corruption virus • Rezbit Virus|
|Conditions||Posttraumatic stress disorder|