It was late February, 2008, and it was snowing outside in Chicago, Illinois. I was looking outside the living room window, looking forlorn. The weatherman said it was predicted to snow for the next couple hours. I had wanted to go outside to walk. I need to lose a few pounds. But I hated the snow, so I decided to wait out the blizzard.
To pass the time, I went up into my bedroom. I grabbed my Gameboy Advance which I had sitting on the shelf, and looked through the games I had to choose from. I settled on Metroid Fusion, even though I just played it earlier that day. I chose it because, out of all the games I had available, Metroid Fusion would take me the longest, despite being one of the most linear Metroid games.
I put the game into the handheld console and fired it up. I selected my save file and pressed continue. I remembered exactly where I was when I last saved. I was not far from Serris's tank. Now if you don't know who Serris is, he is one of the bosses you face in Metroid Fusion. For me, he is one of the most difficult because he uses this speed attack against you in water before you get the Gravity Suit. Yeah, it's more annoying than it sounds.
Anyway, I made my way through Sector 4. The save station was not far away from Serris's battle room. There were still a couple of enemies to face on the way there, such as scisers...oh god how I hate the scisers...but at least they were easy to dispose of. I killed the last one I would find on the way to Serris's room. I made sure that my health was good before I would engage the behemoth. I would need all the edge I could get.
Now in Serris's room, I jumped onto the platforms cautiously. I knew that the battle would trigger any second now. As I moved my way towards the middle of the flooded room, I heard Serris's loud screech. Soon his glowing body began darting across the screen.
I crouched Samus down on a single platform and readied my missile. It was not the best strategy. I would often miss or get hit from behind or above. But anything was better than risking getting knocked into the water. If that happened, I was screwed. I stayed in my spot and when I caught a fleeting glimpse of Serris heading my way, the glowing having stopped, I blasted him with the missile.
He glowed again and he began speeding again. I repeated my strategy. A few times, I was struck and knocked back, but fortunately I was able to keep Samus out of the water. Serris rose his head up behind me and I managed to land another missile on his face. This repeated itself for a couple minutes until I was knocked into the water. And Serris disappeared from view completely.
Shit, I had to get back to the surface before he got to me. I moved slowly to the left, hoping Serris wouldn't catch up to me. To my surprise, Serris never came. I stopped walking and waited. Maybe the Serris form was shed, exposing the real form underneath, the Core-X. But nothing showed up.
Curious, I moved to the left until I touched the ladder. I climbed up and jumped back onto one of the platforms above the deep water. I moved to the center of the room. There, I found the squishy, gooey thing you normally find in Core-X's, the things that contain important upgrades and what not. This stuff was blue and green, which was strange because I was certain it was supposed to be a different color. I shrugged it off, thinking that maybe I just remembered it wrong.
It still didn't explain why Serris and the Core-X suddenly vanished, but I could chalk that up to dumb luck. Everything was happening so fast. I could have missed something. I went over to the substance and jumped at it. Strangely, it moved out of the way, as if it didn't want to be absorbed. It reminded me of SA-X, when it was like this. But it would move all the way off the screen; this stuff just moved barely enough to miss being absorbed my Samus.
Undaunted, I jumped at it again. This time, the substance didn't try to escape. Samus absorbed it into her system. I watched as a brief flash went across the screen. The Gameboy Advance played the little jingle when you find an upgrade. I read the message on the screen. I narrowed my eyes. It looked really weird, like some text glitch attacked the handheld console. Rather than telling me that my Speed Booster was restored, it instead said this:
“Congratulations. You got 010100110110010101110010011100100110100101110011!”
I tilted my head. What was this malarky? Binary code? I don't know how to read that, and I wasn't about to get on the computer just to look that up. Now I know something was wrong with this game. But how? I had only stopped playing it for a few hours.
The game appeared normal after that hiccup. Samus did obtain the Speed Booster ability, which I needed to lower the water. I made my way through Sector 4 again. The level had changed, as is to be expected, to force Samus to use Speed Booster. I loved this ability, but I do find it annoying that you don't have to press any buttons to perform it. What if I don't want to use the Speed Booster at a certain point?
Anyway, I continued playing the game. I was getting a little tired of playing. Serris's battle had drained me. But I wanted to at least take care of the water levels first so I could access the next area right away the next time I played. But as I progressed through the game, I noticed something odd.
Each time Samus used her Speed Booster, I heard a screeching sound. It kind of sounded like a roar, but it was too faint to tell. Other than that, the Speed Booster worked exactly how it should, making Samus crash through the walls, opening them up. As I advanced, each time I would use Speed Booster, that animal screech would get slowly louder.
I made it to the control room. I moved Samus as far back as I could. Then I started running. As soon as Samus went turbo, things went crazy. I mean really crazy. If you played this game, you know how this game was really supposed to go, right? Samus was supposed to break through that wall and lower the water's level. Well what happened next made me snap my head back in utter shock.
Samus's entire body was glowing. Her armor began to crack. She let out a bloodcurdling scream. It was intermixed with an even louder screech, higher than before. I instantly recognized it as Serris's own scream he emits during battle. Samus continued screaming as her remaining armor continued to crack and buckle under some unseen weight.
What the hell was going on here? This wasn't supposed to happen. Up until now, I could handle the game's sudden weirdness. I mean, who was going to be afraid of a binary number? Sheesh. But this, this was something else. I had never seen Samus in so much pain. There was no blood or anything, but the cracking sounds she was making as her armor broke, it was horrifying. I turned my head away and covered my ears.
Then the screaming and screeching finally stopped. I looked back at the small screen. My eyes widened at what I saw. What the fuck is this? What am I looking at? I know it sounds hard to believe, but, standing before my eyes, was....
….a new Serris.
The new Serris stood, no, floated above Samus's ripped corpse. I took a closer look. No, not her ripped corpse; her inner armor she was stuck in at the start of the gameplay. I looked back at the new Serris and noticed his body's coloration used the same colors as Samus's armor. A second later, I realized what had happened.
Samus had transformed into a new Serris, or whatever creature he was supposed to be. Despite how disturbed I was earlier, I had to admit, this feature was kind of cool. Maybe Nintendo had released an updated version and I was lucky enough to get a copy. Yeah that had to be it.
I played around with this new form. I used the directional pad to test her movement. She moved around similar to a worm. Her body would scrunch up, then stretch, then scrunch up, and stretch. Progress was not as fast as I hoped to be. I then tried out the Speed Booster again. Oh yeah baby, this is what I am talking about. Samus Serris, or Samris as I nicknamed her now, moved super fast around the room, even faster than Samus normally would.
I crashed through the wall to get to the machine to lower the water level. But it wouldn't work. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the water to lower. No buttons would respond to my command. I growled in frustration. Just like this game to troll me at this point. I get a cool form and now I cannot even advance to the next area. Well I did tell myself I would shut off the game after this. So I left the room to find the save room to, well of course, save the game.
When I got through the door, the map suddenly came up. This wasn't something it did unless Adam the computer was giving me a new assignment. This shouldn't be happening as I haven't completed my task he gave me regarding the water. Regardless, I looked at the map to see where it wanted me to go next. There was a small white dot flashing in another part of Sector 4. Good, at least I didn't have to travel far.
I realized it was leading me to the room that would allow me to unlock the red doors. But how could I go through there? I was still missing several upgrades. And I didn't even have my Gravity Suit yet. How was I supposed to get there?
I decided it was best that I go back and find the Gravity Suit upgrade first, as well as the other upgrades I was missing. But when I tried to go through the door I just came in from, the door turned gray. No sheen on it, just a complete dull gray. I tried to ram through, but the door would not budge. I tried another pathway, but that door had met the same fate.
I had no choice but to go through the one door that was still active. I moved through the level, realizing that all the doors were now gray except for the ones that were leading into the red level room. And as I passed through the doors, they would shut behind me and deactivate, not allowing me to go backwards. The game must really want me to go to that one room. Seeing no other option, I continued on.
When I hit the first room with water, I realized that I was not impeded despite having no Gravity Suit. I felt stupid. Of course I could now move through water. I was a...whatever the hell Serris was. I moved Sam...er...Samris...through the water. She moved amazingly fast, even faster underwater than in the air. To take care of the enemies, I used her Speed Booster, tearing through them like they were jelly.
I came to the room where I was supposed to navigate the morph ball bomb maze. I rose Samris up into the air. I crossed my fingers, hoping this was enough room to perform the Speed Booster. I charged down through the floor. The Speed Booster activated almost immediately, and I watched as Samris tore through the floor, breaking apart the metal structure, destroying the minor enemies, and appearing in my destination.
The room was normal, just like the other parts of the game. Everything was where it should have been. The only thing odd was Samus's transformation into Samris. Perhaps this was some sort of easter egg? I thought about it again. I still agreed with myself it was the best possible solution. I couldn't help but feel very excited. I couldn't wait to show my friends this new feature. I would have to remind myself to play through the game again and record my footage to see what the requirements were to get the Samris form.
I went over to the machine to activate the red doors. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it in this form. My answer was quickly given to me. Samris placed her head on the machine. Her 'brain' thing glowed. The machine whirred to life briefly, and the game gave me the usual message of successfully unlocking the red doors. Part of me wondered if there were any consequences to be had to activate the red doors this early. But another part of me was excited to have found a way to break sequence.
Suddenly the alarm went off. The red door turned gray. The room itself started to flash a deep red, similar to when SA-X sets off the alarm later in the game when you discover the Metroid laboratory. I tensed up and moved Samris to the back corner of the room. I looked around the room carefully. What could have caused that alarm?
Out of the ceiling, something fell down with terrific speed. It created a huge dent in the floor. Blocks of concrete shot everywhere. A few of them hit Samris, causing her to take minor damage. When the dust settled down, I widened my eyes when I saw who was standing in the debris.
It was SA-X. But..how?
It wasn't supposed to appear in this room. It was never supposed to show up here. In fact, if memory serves me well, SA-X never shows up in Sector 4. I couldn't help but stare at SA-X in shock. I rubbed my eyes to see if I was looking at it wrong. I wasn't. SA-X continued to stand there, unmoving, the arm cannon pointed at Samris.
This was obviously some new incorporated boss fight. I moved Samris forward to attack. Activating her Speed Booster, she struck SA-X with great force. I watched with a smirk on my face as SA-X was knocked back. I hated SA-X so much in the earlier parts of the game, when you cannot damage it. But as a new Serris, each time I struck with the Speed Booster, it made SA-X noticeably slower and weaker.
It still managed to land a few blows on Samris. Its ice beam froze her solid. Her health started to lower. But seconds later, she would smash through the ice and let out a roar. She moved through the air, making it difficult for SA-X at attack her. Eventually, SA-X resorted to using its Screw Attack. It flew in the air, very close to Samris, doing whatever it could to damage her.
One of the Screw Attacks hit Samris and caused her to fall to the ground. The attack chipped a good chunk of her armor off, exposing a long, red line on her side. She was quick to recover. She rose her reptilian head up and shook herself off. I used another Speed Booster. This knocked SA-X into the wall. There was a loud crack as it slammed against the hard surface.
I waited for SA-X to make its next move, but it didn't move. I realized that it was stuck. The lights in the room stopped flashing. The door behind Samris flashed and activated once more. Satisfied, I turned to leave. The fight must be over now.
But Samris wouldn't respond to my commands. She just stood there, her many eyes still staring at SA-X in an almost...hungry manner. She started to move on her own. My eyes widened in shock and horror as Samris slithered closer to SA-X, raised her head above SA-X, and opened her mouth wide, baring her sharp fangs. Unable to do anything, I stared at the screen. I couldn't turn my eyes away from it, even during the next thing that happened.
Samris opened her mouth even further, to the point where it looked like it was going to dislocate. She proceeded to swallow SA-X whole. No chewing. No blood spurting. No guts falling out. Just a complete swallow, like a snake. SA-X struggled as hard as it could. I wondered why it wasn't using its weapons. But then Samris turned around and I caught a glimpse of the front. I covered my mouth and moved back.
The inside of Samris was an empty vortex, with lightning flashing and bizarre glowing. As SA-X moved further down the throat, its body started to disintegrate fast. Soon, only its head and arm were left. It reached out of Samris's mouth, desperate to escape. Then, slowly, it disappeared completely. Samris swallowed loudly. I could hear, almost feel, SA-X's destroyed body slither down her throat and into her gullet. Samris shook her head slightly and seemed to almost smile in satisfaction.
Why was this happening? This wasn't like Samus at all. She wasn't some monster. The game even indicated that she doesn't see herself as a monster, unlike SA-X. SA-X was the one who was ruthlessly hunting Samus down to kill her. So maybe it deserved this?
I shook my head. No, no one deserved what happened to SA-X. To slowly die like that. It was just god awful....
I wanted to shut the game off and take my mind off what happened. But for some reason, I couldn't. Something compelled me to continue. I wanted to see what would happen now that SA-X was killed off. Maybe this meant I could beat the game early.
I went to move Samris out of the room, but she wouldn't respond. Still? She won't listen to me? That was just fucking great. What more could go wrong with this game?
I wish I hadn't said that.
The game went dark completely. I heard a few sounds, like the handheld console was struggling to run. When it came back, I had to stifle myself not to scream at what I was seeing before me. The game started to display many pictures, of the same art style as Metroid Fusion usually did. But these weren't anything I ever saw in the game before.
Samris was tearing into different creatures. She swallowed up many Space Pirates. She tore apart Nightmare and left his mostly metal machine body on the ground. She broke apart Ridley's frozen ice body and then swallowed his X form. The next pictures continued showing the same thing: Samris devouring or destroying multiple enemies, both minor and major, even ones I had already defeated.
Then suddenly, it switched to Samris cornering the dachoras and etecoons, the creatures that helped Samus in Super Metroid. I tried to do something to stop her, but I was unable to do anything. The next picture depicted Samris swallowing the dachoras and etecoons in a single gulp. Samris then started to move in the picture and she let out a roar.
I started to tremble. Samus wasn't even Samus anymore. To mercilessly kill the very animals that helped her out in the past, that was just sick. That wasn't the Samus I knew. But then something hit me. Something I should have caught on earlier. Why hadn't I seen this before? There was a reason Samus was behaving this way.
And that was...it wasn't Samus at all. My mind reeled back to the events of before. Samus falling to the ground. A new Serris emerging from her form. It wasn't Samus transforming into Serris. It was Serris being reborn through her, costing the woman her own life. Serris knew he was going to lose, so he had set up a trap for Samus to absorb him so he could use her body and her lifeforce to heal himself and to transform himself into Samris.
I managed to shut the game off just as it depicted Samris tearing into computer Adam's computer lense and swallow it. I took the game out and tossed it onto my bed. I glared at it, panting heavily. This couldn't have been Nintendo's work. No way would they put something like that in a Metroid game. This must have been a hack.
I grabbed the cartridge and examined it. I looked at the underneath of it. I gasped at what I saw. Something had been shoved up in there. I gripped it and pulled it out. I looked at it. It was the same thing that enabled the cartridge to play a game. But this was of a slightly different shade. I only saw this one other time and it was when my sister downloaded a modified version of Metroid: Zero Mission and placed it in her copy of the game.
I placed the cartridge down on my desk and went over to confront my sister. Metroid Fusion was my game, not hers. I don't know why she felt compelled to replace my game without asking me. Now I was going to have to find a fresh copy.
I knocked on her door and she opened it up. When I told her about what happened with my game and demanded to know why she replaced it, she shrugged her shoulders and insisted she didn't replace my game with her modified cartridge. She told me she had been looking for it all day because she wanted to try it out. I didn't believe her, but decided not to argue with her further. She asked me to get her cartridge, so I did.
I went back to my room, grabbed it, and gave it to her. She thanked me as she took it out of her hands, but then she stopped and narrowed her eyes. She looked at me with more rage than I ever seen from her and she yelled at me that I ruined her cartridge. I put up my hands and told her I didn't do anything to the cartridge. She still didn't believe me and asked me how her cartridge got damaged if I didn't do anything.
I took a look at the cartridge piece. I gasped in horror when I saw what she was talking about. Along the devices edge, I could see deep indentions. I must have damaged it when I took it out. I felt guilty and promised my sister that I would make it up to her.
I also looked up that binary number I got earlier in the game. It translated to “Serris”...