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The Varia Suit (バリアスーツ Baria Sūtsu) (referred to simply as Varia in Metroid and Metroid II: Return of Samus and Varia Feature in Metroid: Other M) is a Power Suit upgrade. The name is a mistranslation of the word "barrier" (interestingly, the Metroid II manual uses Barrier Suit anyway), although it may be a nod to the words "variety" or "variable", referring to how the suit can handle a variety of temperatures, a trait demonstrated in Metroid Fusion. In general, the Varia Suit reduces damage taken, nullifies damage from Acid, slightly increases speed, and protects Samus Aran from extreme heat and sub-zero temperatures. Samus is most commonly depicted wearing this suit, but like many of her other upgrades, it is lost at or prior to the beginning of most games, requiring her to track the upgrade down at a later point in time. The maximum temperature that the Varia Suit can protect against is unknown, but the Gravity Suit is generally required for some of the higher temperature liquids.
In the seriesEdit
When added to the standard Power Suit, the Varia provides extra (red-orange) armor. In the original Metroid the Varia Suit would turn Samus' armor pink, but a design change was made in Metroid II, as the Game Boy used a monochrome system. During Metroid: Zero Mission it just turns the flat-shouldered Power Suit orange; the Varia Suit with the iconic bulky shoulder pads is obtained after Samus' Power Suit is destroyed in her gunship's crash-landing. It is referred to as the fully powered suit. It allows Samus to walk in Acid unharmed, and stops damage from purple parasites, but not Lava. She retains this suit for future use, which explains the jump from the sleek orange Power Suit in Zero Mission to the large-shouldered Varia in Metroid Prime.
In Metroid Fusion, the Varia upgrade (like much of Samus’s other equipment) is sent via Data Room. Unlike other upgrades, it is intercepted by a Core-X before Samus can reach it, necessitating the defeat of Mega Core-X and absorption of the X-parasite. Restoration of Varia functionality to the Fusion Suit changes its color scheme from blue over bright yellow to a yellow-green over a rich magenta, but does not alter its dimensions.
In Metroid: Other M, the Varia Feature is noticeably different, and is not a starting item. The ridges on the shoulders appear to have been removed, along with the shoulders being slightly smaller, the top of the visor is more flat, and the lights on the chest plate have been altered, so that they curve from the side of the plate to the bottom. The lights on the legs have moved to the back of the legs and are less visible and the line pattern is also different. In-game, Adam authorizes Samus to use it shortly before the fight with the Goyagma. It features damage reduction again, like in the 2-D titles and Metroid Prime. When activated, while not changing the shape, it will turn the usual areas into a light orange.
The following chart details the benefits bestowed by the Varia in each game:
|Game||Damage reduction||Other benefits|
|Metroid||50%||Damage is cut by half.|
|Metroid: Zero Mission||20%||Stops damage from superheated areas, Parasites and acid. Reduces damage by one-fifth.|
|Metroid Prime||10%||Stops damage from superheated areas and cuts damage by one-tenth. Technically, Samus begins the game with the Varia Suit, although she loses it after the prologue.|
|Metroid Prime: Hunters||N/A||Samus begins the game with the Varia Suit.|
|Metroid Prime 2: Echoes||N/A||Samus begins the game with the Varia Suit.|
|Metroid Prime 3: Corruption||N/A||Samus begins the game with the Varia Suit.|
|Metroid II: Return of Samus||50%||Speed increase by 10% and cuts damage in half.|
|Super Metroid||50%||Stops damage from superheated rooms and cuts damage by half.|
|Metroid: Other M||50%||Stops damage from superheated areas and cuts damage by half.|
|Metroid Fusion||40%||Stops damage from superheated and sub-zero rooms. Allows safe absorption of Blue X. Reduces damage by two-fifths.|
Official Nintendo Player's GuideEdit
"This is a wonderful item which cuts in half any damage done to Samus by his enemies. It will be very useful when you fall into the Sea of Lava or battle with Mini Bosses, so be sure to get it."
Metroid II: Return of Samus manualEdit
"This item effectively doubles the energy absorption of Samus' cybernetic suit, enabling her to withstand enemy attacks much more effectively."
Super Metroid manualEdit
"This suit cuts the damage from enemy attacks in half and allows you to explore in high-temperature zones."
Metroid Fusion manualEdit
"Reduces the damage suffered from enemy attacks. Nullifies damage from high and low temperatures."
"The Varia Suit can withstand some of the station's extreme temperature variations. It is also more effective at shielding Samus from enemy attacks."
Official Metroid Prime websiteEdit
"The Varia Suit adds increased heat resistance to Samus Aran's Power Suit. While the Varia Suit can handle higher temperatures than normal, extreme heat sources and heat-based attacks are still capable of damaging the Varia Suit's shield strength."
Metroid Prime manualEdit
"Once Samus finds the Varia Suit, she will be able to survive extremely high temperatures like those found in the fiery depths of Magmoor Caverns."
The Varia Suit adds increased heat resistance to the Power Suit.
This modification increases your defensive shielding.
While the Varia Suit can handle higher temperatures than normal, extreme heat sources and heat-based attacks will still cause damage.
Metroid: Zero Mission manualEdit
"This enhanced suit reduces the amount of damage taken from enemies. It also negates the effects of intense heat and acid."
Zero Mission Samus Screen dataEdit
"Decreases damage taken from enemies. Prevents damage from acid and heat."
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes manualEdit
"Samus's standard Power Suit, built for her by the Chozo people, is made even stronger by the Varia Suit upgrade. It provides shielding in battle and augmented physical strength, and its life-support systems allow her to survive in water and even space without addition equipment."
Super Smash Bros. Brawl trophyEdit
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Varia Suit appears as a trophy. The trophy description is as follows:
"A suit with a higher level of protection than the Power Suit. It eliminates damage caused by very hot or cold areas. It is also more resilient to enemy attacks than the Power Suit and greatly differs in shoulder design. Recent visual depictions of Samus often show her wearing the Varia Suit."
SNES Super Metroid
GCN Metroid Prime
- Samus - Metroid Prime 2: Echoes [Explosive] Attack +18 (All)
Pyroclasm in the PyrosphereEdit
"The Pyrosphere, a simulated volcanic area encompassing Sector 3, was predictably awash in magma flows, lava pools, and a host of beasts adapted to extreme heat. Nonetheless, finding an erupting volcano caught me off-guard, especially when it began raining chunks of flaming rock on me. The Varia feature of my suit quickly became necessary."
Metroid: Other M Onscreen TutorialEdit
This will reduce damage from enemies and cut heat damage in lava zones.
Metroid: Other M manualEdit
"Cuts damage from high temperatures and reduces damage from enemy attacks."
Metroid: Other M Status screen dataEdit
"Effects: Cuts damage from heat and reduces enemy attack damage."
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS trophyEdit
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, the Varia Suit appears as a trophy. The trophy description is as follows:
- "When most people think of Samus, they think of her wearing the Varia Suit. It not only grants her power far beyond her own physical strength but also can unleash a deadly array of beams from the Arm Cannon. And, in a feature quite unique to the Metroid series, it lets her morph into a ball instead of having to crawl!"
- "The Varia Suit is the armour Samus is most commonly seen in. It not only grants her power for beyond her own physical strength - it can also unleash a deadly array of beams from the Arm Cannon. And, in a feature quite unique to the Metroid series, it lets her morph into a ball. Do you reckon it's comfy in there?"
Mike Sneath interviewEdit
"When I first modelled the Varia suit it was under a very tight deadline and as I finished each part of the suit another artist Rodney Brunet would paint the texture plus another artist Ludovic Texier created the gun arm of Samus. The deadline was so tight because model had to be complete so it could be rigged and animated. At the time the goal was to make sure we could create this cool movie for E3 when Nintendo would announce that we were creating Metroid. So at that time we simply had to take the old Samus Varia suit and just recreate it so we could get the E3 movie done.
"We had used that version of Samus for about a year and then I think after about a year into the project was when Nintendo had asked Retro to explore a new updated design for Samus. When the new Varia suit redesign ideas were being considered, Gene Kohler (the other character artist on Metroid) was already doing a great job on Samus' gun arm and Gene already had a reputation as not only a great character artist but he really kicked ass when it came to making metal armor look really cool with all the work he did on Retro's RPG title before it got canned."
In other mediaEdit
- The Varia Suit is the armor in which Samus is most often depicted in spin-offs, comics, manga and other licensed (and unlicensed) works. It is Samus' standard attire in the Super Smash Bros. series. The Gravity Suit is an alternate color scheme. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Samus has a color change which resembles the Varia Suit in Missile mode in the original Metroid, but with the bulky shoulder pads. The Gravity Suit is also available. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Fusion Suit and the Dark Suit are other color schemes.
- The Varia Suit has been made into a model by First 4 Figures, and depicts Samus in her pose seen in promotional artwork from Metroid Prime: 
- In the Battle Mii minigame for the Wii U, two Miis are controlled, one in the Varia Suit, as they attempt to shoot down Samus' Gunship.
- Animal Crossing: City Folk and Animal Crossing: New Leaf feature clothes based on the Varia Suit. In City Folk, a Varia Suit t-shirt is obtainable through the Tom Nook Point System for 5000 points, and through random Lucky Tickets in the Nookling's store in New Leaf. New Leaf also includes trousers and shoes based on the Suit, and both games feature Samus' helmet as an obtainable item.
- The Varia Suit is the only suit to appear in every Metroid game in one way or another, sometimes even over the basic Power Suit.
- In the original Metroid, the Varia upgrade did not give the Power Suit additional armor plating as in later games. Instead, it merely changed to a light pink color.
- If Samus then equipped Missiles, the pink would change to purple and the green would change to light blue, causing a color scheme that strongly resembles the Gravity Suit. It's highly likely that this scheme inspired the look of the suit when it was introduced in Super Metroid.
- The only time Samus ever demonstrated the use of the Varia Suit outside her Power Suit was in the original Metroid.
- The Varia Suit's color scheme in Metroid Fusion reflects this: green (Samus' hair) overlaying purple (her leotard).
- Due to the color limitations of the Game Boy, the Varia Suit was redesigned with the now iconic round shoulders and orange hue in Metroid II: Return of Samus.
- Super Metroid was the first game to refer to the upgrade as the "Varia Suit". Both of its predecessors simply called it the Varia.
- This was also the first game to introduce the suit's ability to protect Samus from extreme heat.
- In Metroid Fusion, the Varia Suit would also protect Samus from extremely low temperatures as well, though this is likely due to the Fusion Suit's vulnerability to cold.
- The Varia Suit gains a resistance to acid in Metroid: Zero Mission, though this ability is inexplicably lost in all chronologically later appearances.
- Some relatively early depictions of the Varia Suit seem to depict a watch or compass within the green circle on the back of Samus's left hand, such as Nintendo Power's Super Metroid poster and some artwork for Metroid II: Return of Samus.
- In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, the Varia Suit is identified as a "Chozo Battle Suit" and is given the serial number SA1-4468-VM6-P. This can be seen when Samus' upgrades are stolen by the Ing and when rebooting after being attacked by a Rezbit.
- The "SA" likely stands for "Samus Aran".
- Although the Varia Suit generally has the trademark round shoulder pads and red and gold colouration in its appearances, the suit's design varies from game-to-game. Metroid Fusion, which uses a new Power Suit entirely, represents the Varia Suit upgrade with a simple red/orange variant of that. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes sticks to the basic design, but uses smaller shoulders and other minor changes. Finally, Metroid: Other M's Varia Feature isn't even a suit, but a sort of 'mode' within the again-basic Varia Suit.
- In Metroid: Zero Mission, if Samus completely skips the Varia Suit but finishes the Ruins Test, she will automatically acquire its effect along with the Gravity Suit.
- In Metroid: Zero Mission, some Chozo Statues, if looked at closely, appear to have the Varia Suit's characteristic large shoulders. The same is true of the Chozo Statue that holds the Spider Ball in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. This could mean the Chozo wore suits similar to Samus' or that large shoulders were part of their physiology that they wanted to reflect in Samus's suit design.
- In Metroid Prime, the Varia Suit was modeled and skinned by Gene Kohler, but the original model was designed by Rodney Brunet.
- Metroid: Other M is the only game that forces Samus to run through superheated areas before obtaining protection from the Varia Feature. Due to this, superheated areas damage Samus by one Energy unit instead of five.
- Metroid's manual depicted artwork of Samus with an aura around the Varia Suit. Auras are also featured in the Phazon Suit in Prime, the Hazard Shield in Corruption (which only activates when standing in Acid Rain, Fuel Gel and in non-Trilogy versions, Phazon), and the Gravity Suit in Other M.
|Samus Aran's Suits|
|Power Suits||Power Suit • Varia Suit (Varia) • Gravity Suit • Zero Suit • Justin Bailey • Phazon Suit • Dark Suit • Light Suit • Fusion Suit • PED Suit • Hazard Shield • "Unnamed Suit" • Fully Powered Suit|
|Attire||Ending Outfit • Military Dress • Civilian Clothes • Parka|
|Mechanics||Power Suit Mechanics • Fusion Suit Mechanics • Suit Upgrade Properties|
|Metroid Prime and Dark Samus|
|Abilities|| Metroid Prime: Particle Wave Projector • Seeker Missile • Snare Beam • Ultrafrigid Beam|
Dark Samus: Boost Ball • Charge Beam • Dark Echo • Missile Launcher • Phazon bullets • Shrapnel Beam • Stealth field generator
|Misc.||Dark Samus Biography • Dark Samus Gallery • Dark Samus Rooms|