Space Pirate

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This article is about the species. For the form that makes up the soldier force of the Space Pirates on Zebes, see Zebesian.

The feared and mysterious Space Pirates. In truth they are... a subordinate species that naturally follows the orders of a strong master. It is just like how the worker bees follow the queen bee, their hierarchical programming is decided at the genetic level.

Mother Brain


Space Pirates (宇宙海賊 Uchū Kaizoku?) have been present since the early days of the Galactic Federation. They quickly established themselves as a fearsome force, necessitating the formation of the Galactic Federation Police. The Pirates were notorious for attacking and raiding vessels in one moment, and disappearing the next. The Pirates would also lay claim to planets, establish the now-captured planet as their territory and its natives as their slaves. They were known to be so zealous of their right to rule that they would even refer to themselves as the rightful inhabitants of the planet, taking on the name of the race of the former inhabitants and referring to the true natives as their slaves. The Pirates have been responsible for some of the most disastrous events in Galactic history, such as the Phazon Crisis, and have been responsible for the raids of numerous planets, including Zebes, Bryyo, Norion, Elysia, Tallon IV, Aether, Naishii, Jigrad, and K-2L.



Metroid: Zero Mission

Metroid 3-Pirate walkalot

Super Metroid

Pirate appearance varies heavily between games, but most appear to be bipeds possessing exoskeletons similar to arthropods (insects, arachnids, crustaceans, etc.), and some reptilian and avian (bird-like) traits. Although they are tall creatures, they tend to assume a hunched posture. In the 2-D games and manga, they generally have single-toed feet with sharp tips, somewhat like sabatons. The Prime series features Pirates with two toes in the front and one in back. Modified Pirates with this foot structure are also seen on Zebes in the manga. Pirates also varyingly possess either lobster-like claws or hands with one large scythe-like finger and two smaller, more jointed ones. While Zebesian Pirates are often portrayed as having a plantigrade leg structure, Space Pirates in the Prime Series are digitigrades.

This discrepancy in the number of joints and toes and the size of their claws can be compared with real-life arthropods such as crustaceans, arachnids and insects, which all have vastly-different body types. As with arthropods, this would likely make all the different Pirate types members of a phylum as opposed to a species. The genetic modifications they perform to strengthen themselves may be yet another reason.

Pirates possess many sharp teeth, though their exact mouth structure also varies heavily. The manga and Metroid Prime feature them with fish-like mouths, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption feature insectoid mandibles, while other Pirates seen in the manga and Metroid Fusion have beaks instead.

Various scan images of Space Pirate physiology from Metroid Prime.

Most Pirates have two eyes visible on the sides of their head, though some, such as Shadow Pirates and pirates in both Fusion and Other M, have what appears to be a larger third eye orb on their foreheads, though its purpose is unknown.

In nearly every appearance, and sometimes within a single title, they possess very different physiologies, with differences in body armor and body structure. This had led to theories that that the Pirates are a collective of multiple species, or tribes, joined under a single organization. However, scans in Metroid Prime, as well as interviews with various creators, do indicate that there is only one species of Pirate, despite their varied forms. The manga also refers to them as a race, and explains that Pirates are genetically modified by stolen Chozo technology in order to become optimized for each planet they're stationed on. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption also touches on this, featuring one basic Pirate type with ten or so configurations, modified in both equipment and body form. It is also suggested that they constantly 'upgrade' themselves, either biologically, technologically, or both, in order to give themselves the advantage in strength and power.

Strangely, the Pirates in Metroid Prime, including Ridley, had yellow flames emanating from their eyes; if the fire is absent, that means the Pirate is dead. This is most obvious during the death of the Omega Pirate: after its death, the fire in its eyes can be seen going out in its death cutscene. No other incarnation of Space Pirate has displayed this trait.

It is stated in the manga that Pirate biochemistry possesses a large concentration of alkaloids, which can be traced to locate members of the species.

Spacepirate manual

Metroid Prime manual

Interestingly, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption depicts helmetless Space Pirates as having glowing orbs resembling four extra eyes. Omega Ridley is also seen with six of these orbs below his eyes, so this may be a result of Phazon infusion rather than a physiological feature. The Pirates in Corruption also have extensive Phazon mutations; multiple Phazon growths and crystals can be seen on each Pirate's body and scans also say that the Space Pirate Troopers are 'crudely enhanced with Phazon', possibly because once Dark Samus took control of the species and brought vast quantities of it to them, they decided to upgrade all their forces with it to enhance their strength. There are also some uncorrupted troops in the form of the Pirate Militia, who are usually expendable criminals and thus not as well-equipped as normal Troopers.

It is possible that the variations in Space Pirates encountered over the years is similar to the variations of race in Humans (though more pronounced), with the differences exaggerated further by genetic alterations.

Pirates appear to be omnivorous. A fish is found on a crate in a Pirate base in Metroid Prime, while Metroid Prime 3: Corruption indicates that they may have cannibalistic tendencies. On the other hand, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes features a species of plant considered a delicacy by the Pirates.

Pirates may also be warm-blooded, as viewing them with the Thermal Visor will show them with a heat signature, while a cold-blooded creature would be the same color as the surrounding air if viewed through heat-vision. Echoes also mentioned that the base on Aether had cooling systems for its inhabitants. They seem to favor environments with very dim lighting, which would be impractical for anything cold-blooded.

They do have some sort of urinary or excretory system, as power latrines were mentioned in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

Abilities and traitsEdit

Phendrana Drifts Screenshot (93)

The standard Pirate form encountered by Samus Aran on Tallon IV.

In Metroid Prime, a standard Space Pirate is equipped with a Galvanic Accelerator Cannon on their right wrist, and a retractable Scythe on their left.

Space Pirates have been shown to be able to cling to ceilings to ambush unwary prey (a tactic particularly common among the Shadow Pirates), and crawl through spaces where Samus Aran would need to use her Morph Ball. They also seem to move faster than the average human as well as being physically stronger. An example of this greater-than-human strength can be seen in Corruption where, during the attack on Norion, a single Pirate Militia is encountered swinging at a Federation Marine and knocking him down an energy shaft.

An important trait of the Space Pirates which has led to several problems for them is their avarice of power and technology. They have been known to tamper with their own genome, as well as other creatures, to create stronger versions of the original, evidenced by the use of Phazon to create the Hunter Metroids, Parasite Queens, Elite Pirates, Phazon Elite, Omega Pirate, Berserker Knights and Berserker Lords. They also experiment with foreign technology. Successful experiments include the Beam Troopers that utilize Samus's beam weaponry (which were weaker than Samus' beams and left them vulnerable to the same beam weapons) and the use of Federation weaponry on the Elite Pirates. By Corruption, they could also extend a chela which could both be used as a slashing weapon and also shoot purple energy blasts. Unsuccessful experiments include the attempt to reverse-engineer Samus's Morph Ball ability, which resulted in horrible disfigurements and fatalities.


There is some debate as to whether Ridley, Mother Brain, or High Command is/are the actual leader(s) of the Space Pirates. According to the manga, Ridley was their leader until Mother Brain took control of the Pirates, stating them to be fearful creatures who always needed to be obedient to a master. Herself, Grey Voice, and the reluctant Samus were all designated as Commanders. Samus however, refused. It is possible that High Command lead the Pirates before Mother Brain took over and after her first death, but not during her leadership. Ridley, perhaps, may be in High Command. Other beings, such as Kraid, Phantoon and Draygon are suspected to be important figures as well, as they are portrayed alongside Ridley as statues on two occasions.

Metroid: Other M 's official website states Mother Brain is the true leader, as well as the instruction manual and the game itself where it is mentioned several times.


Space Pirates, although often vicious and cold-hearted, have been known to keep pets, such as Gronkats, Olbaps, Fish, and even Metroids (despite warnings in a scan that Metroids are not to be kept as such). This is shown in several Pirate Data scans throughout the Metroid Prime Trilogy, such as a notice ordering Pirates to dispose of such pets due to Phazon madness. In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, there is even a room where an unfortunate Space Pirate can be seen being slowly devoured by Infant Metroids in a Phazon tank.

The Pirates are merciless to those who break their rules (although they have been known to use other less draconian forms of punishment, such as docking pay, cutting food rations, or assigning them to slightly dangerous tasks). There are many posted warnings threatening execution for various reasons, and disloyal militia often end up killed and eaten by their superiors. In addition to this, an even worse punishment is suggested by the appearance of what resembles a Space Pirate head within the Pirate Cargo Drones found on the Pirate Homeworld in Corruption, suggesting that soldiers who fail to obey orders are decapitated and built into said drones.

Several Pirate scans in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes reveal that when a Pirate Commando shows any sign of cowardice, they are shot in the back - a hypocritical action, considering the cowardly imagery of shooting another in the back. It's possible that this may, in fact, be a form of ironic punishment: repaying cowardice with what itself appears to be cowardice. However, they do appear to allow freedom of speech, as in the Prime games (especially Echoes), there are scannable terminals in which Space Pirates have expressed criticism of High Command or Science Team.

Metroid v1 45 copy

Space Pirate raiding fleet in the E-manga.

They are fairly tall creatures in comparison to many other sentient organisms, and seem biased against shorter beings, going so far as to attempt to murder a young human slave simply for being too short in the manga. They also tend to zealously support any causes that will strengthen their race and organization, regardless of cost. They are often, however, quick to panic and flee when things go awry.

Space Pirates may have some form of honor code amongst themselves, such as when Samus successfully defends the Theronian Bomb so that it may be dropped on the shield defending the Elysian Leviathan, all the remaining Pirates committed suicide via leaping off the edges of the platform to their doom. This may imply that they realize that they have failed and that they are retaining their honor by ending their lives, or because either they would rather seek death than continue facing her in combat or die by their own hands than meet whatever punishment their superiors have in store for failure. Pirate Aerotroopers are also notorious for their suicidal dive-bombing attacks, which they all trigger when near death. The Logbook in Echoes states that they do this to prevent capture; "death before dishonor".

In Echoes, one pirate mentions in its log that the Federation Marines owe them a "fate-debt" for their attack on their supply ship. Whether or not this is a concept practiced by most Pirates, or if it is merely a cultural upbringing, is unknown.


Space Pirate Weaponry

Space Pirate weaponry

Space Pirates have been shown to use various forms of technology. In Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes the Space Pirates are shown to utilize standard mechanical technology. They have been known to steal technology of other races evidenced by scans taken in Prime that refer to stolen Plasma Cannons and the turrets in Corruption that are said to be of Federation design which have been modified. By Corruption the Space Pirates seem to have adopted organic technology as well, as evidenced by their ships that appear to have flesh on and inside of them and the "eyes" that watch Samus within the Space Pirate Boarding Pods on the G.F.S. Olympus. Space Pirates also use genetic tampering to enhance themselves in many ways, especially with Phazon as seen in Prime with the Elite Pirate series and in Corruption with the new Troopers' Hypermode and the Berserker Knights and Lords.

They are also known for their use of other lifeforms as biological weapons, such as all of the captured creatures in their Tallon IV facilities, or the Metroids (they desired to use the Metroids for that very purpose), even devoting various resources to obtaining, breeding, & modifying them to serve their purposes, such as Phazon and Metroid Eggs.

In Echoes, there is mention of a "Datanet" in one of the Pirate logs. It is likely similar to the GF Database mentioned in Corruption. Captain N: The Game Master depicts the Merchant One.


Main article: Pirate Homeworld

The Space Pirate Homeworld.

Originally believed as the definitive planet of origin of all Pirates (similar to how Zebes was regarded), this Space Pirate Homeworld is visited for the first time in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The Metroid Prime Trilogy art booklet states the planet is one of the Space Pirate homeworlds [1], and is never given an official name in the U.S version of the game. However, Urtragian Shriekbats are found in some areas of the planet and its name in the Japanese release of Prime 3 is Urtraghus. It is likely this planet is one of many celestial bodies the Pirates have conquered over the years that was radically changed into a world befitting of the title homeworld. It is unknown how many planets have been converted into Pirate homeworlds, and the true planet of origin from which the marauding race was born has yet to be discovered.

The planet seen in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is constantly plagued by falling Acid Rain, which harms even the Pirates themselves without proper protection, such as the Hazard Shield. The planet is completely covered by Space Pirate structures, and seemingly lacks any signs of flora or fauna. All traces of nature seem to have been eliminated, and it seems that the planet has become completely urbanized. Once Dark Samus gained control of Phaaze, the planet was the first to be struck with a Leviathan. The spread of corruption on the planet caused all matter on the planet to slowly begin changing into Phazon. By the time Samus arrives, Phazon begins to gain consciousness in the form of Massive Tentacles.

Official dataEdit

Super Metroid Nintendo Player's GuideEdit

"This variety of Space Pirate comes in a variety of colors and strengths. They shoot lasers from their hands. Use your most powerful beam on them. If that doesn't work, use Super Missiles."
"Unlike their pedestrian counterparts, these pirates only move about on the walls in vertical shafts."

Logbook entryEdit

Pirate arm cannon scanpic
Pirate schematics scanpic

Space Pirate

Metroid Prime

Temporary scan

Morphology: Space Pirate
Sentient aggressor species well trained in weapon and melee combat.

Logbook entry

Space Pirates wield Galvanic Accelerator Cannons and forearm-mounted Scythes in combat. This species seeks to become the dominant force in the galaxy, and their technology may help them realize this goal. Ruthless and amoral, the Pirates care little for the cost of their ambition. Only the results matter, and they take these very seriously.

Gene Kohler design notesEdit

"When I finally came to my first encounter with the Flying Space Pirates, I couldn't help but notice their eyes were made of flames. Even more intriguing was the fact that I realized that nearly all of the Space Pirates had flaming eyes. I couldn't help but ask why this was. Was this to make them appear more menacing? Gene confirmed my suspicions, "Yep… you hit the nail on the head. I think it is simply to make them look cooler to view and visually more enjoyable to fight."

"Another artistic style I noticed while playing was the varying designs of the Space Pirates. Gene explained by telling N-Sider that, "Andrew [Jones] wanted the Pirates to look like they belong to the same race, but also strived to give them a different look that pertained to their combat specialty. It would have been pretty boring to simply see a regular pirate with a jet pack on for the Flying Pirate… put a glowing purple helmet on a regular pirate and call it a Trooper… you know?" A Good move on Andrew and Retro's part. By giving the Space Pirates different appearances, they were able to successfully diversify the creatures - a feat that no doubt enhanced the overall experience of the game."[2]

Official Metroid Prime websiteEdit

SpacePirate cropped

Concept art displayed on website.

Homeworld: Unknown

Civilization Type: Mercenary

Space Pirates represent a highly intelligent, extremely agressive species that field well-trained armies in ruthless attacks on the Galactic Federation. Space Pirates seek to become the dominant force in the galaxy, and their technology may help them realize this goal. Fierce warriors, they wield galvanic accelerator cannons and forearm-mounted scythes in battle.

Super Smash Bros. BrawlEdit

Pirates made a minor appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a trophy.


"An enemy of Samus. They land on Tallon IV and use the energy they find there--called Phazon--for brutal experiments on the planet's life-forms. Samus makes for Tallon IV to destroy the experiment facilities. In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, the pirates go to Aether to find Phazon. A war is being waged there, and a race of dark beasts, the Ing, make research difficult." GCN Metroid Prime GCN Metroid Prime 2: Echoes


Metroid Prime: Federation Force official websiteEdit

Fed Force Pirate head

Render displayed on website.


"A ruthless group of loathsome creatures, Space Pirates have invaded and captured countless planets in the galaxy, raiding their resources and enslaving their inhabitants. Their insidious threat inspired the formation of the Federation Force."

Derek Bonikowski Prime Beta animationEdit

Space Pirate Beta animation00:05

Space Pirate Beta animation


  • According to Mike Sneath, most of the Metroid Prime enemies "were conceptualized by Andrew Jones. I only create [sic] the concept for one character and that is the space pirates you see at the very beginning of the game on the ship."
  • The Space Pirates also appear as enemies in Kid Icarus: Uprising. Standard and Commando variants exist, as well as a new Space Pirate Sniper class.
  • Interestingly, no female Space Pirates of the actual species have ever been encountered or mentioned. Gandrayda and Dark Samus are considered Space Pirates, but they do not belong to the species.
  • This is the music played when battling Space Pirates in the Prime series.


For more art, see Space Pirates' Gallery.

Pirate scan images (Prime)Edit

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