Metroid is an action-adventure game franchise created by Nintendo. The player controls bounty hunter Samus Aran, who protects the galaxy from Space Pirates and other malevolent forces and their attempts to harness the power of the parasitic Metroid creatures.
The first Metroid was developed by Nintendo R&D1 and released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986. It was followed by Metroid II: Return of Samus (1991) for the handheld Game Boy and Super Metroid (1994) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. After a hiatus, Metroid Fusion (2002) and Metroid: Zero Mission (2004) were released for the Game Boy Advance.
The first 3D Metroid game, Metroid Prime (2002), was developed by Retro Studios for the GameCube, followed by Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (2004) and the Wii game Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (2007). Metroid: Other M (2010), developed by Team Ninja for the Wii, received weaker reviews. After another hiatus, developer MercurySteam helmed the return of 2D Metroid with Metroid: Samus Returns (2017) for the handheld Nintendo 3DS, followed by Metroid Dread (2021) for the Nintendo Switch.
Metroid combines the platforming of Super Mario Bros. and the exploration of The Legend of Zelda with a science fiction setting and an emphasis on nonlinear gameplay. Players battle hostile alien enemies and obtain power-ups as they progress through the game world. The series is known for its isolated atmosphere, featuring few non-player characters. Most Metroid games are side-scrolling, while the Prime games adopt a first-person perspective.
As of September 2012, the Metroid series had sold over 17.44 million copies. Metroid games are often ranked among the greatest of all time. The series has been represented in other Nintendo media, including the Super Smash Bros. series. Additional media includes soundtracks, comic books, and manga. Along with the 1997 Konami game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the early Metroid games defined the Metroidvania subgenre, inspiring other games with continuous, explorable side-scrolling levels. Samus was one of the first prominent female video game characters.
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