|“||The Diggernaut is an ancient Chozo machine created to dig out the caverns of SR388, giving the Chozo more space to build their settlement. The Diggernaut has since malfunctioned, or was set with some sort of security protocol. Whatever the truth is, the Diggernaut serves as a thorn in your side during most of your mission.||„|
|~ Metroid: Samus Returns Official Guide on the Diggernaut.|
The Diggernaut is a supporting antagonist and boss in the 2017 video game Metroid: Samus Returns. It is a rogue Chozo mining robot that hunts down Samus throughout her expedition on SR388.
The Diggernaut is a large gold colored cyclops-like machine that has two large cylinder-shaped drills as arms. It walks on four insectoid appendages extruding from underneath its body. Its "head" is made of a faceplate with a single red eye, which is also its weak spot.
The Diggernaut was one of the first robots built by the Chozo civilization after colonizing SR388, performed with the process of drilling through the ground to expand the settlement. When the Chozos abandoned the planet, the Diggernaut continued to dig throughout the caverns, but eventually went rogue due to a lack of maintenance.
Years later, Samus Aran arrives on SR388 to eradicate the remaining Metroids. In Area 3, Samus encounters a lone red light underneath a pile of rubble. Believing it to be a Grapple Point, she uses her Grapple Beam to pull on it, which is revealed to be the Diggernaut's eye. This gives the robot a surge of electricity and reawakens, clearing the debris blocking Samus' path as it rises. The Diggernaut briefly stares at Samus before walking away.
Later in Area 4, Samus discovers a destroyed Chozo statue with its Item Sphere removed. After investigating a crack in the floor, she encounters the Diggernaut, who, perceiving Samus as a threat, uses one of its drills to chase her down a series of tunnels.
Touching the Diggernaut's drill will kill Samus instantly, so she will have to do her best in order not to be rammed into it. Several obstacles and enemies are located in the tunnels and will attempt to distract Samus from avoiding the drill, though she can avoid most of them using the Spider Ball and Aeion abilities.
Eventually, Samus comes across a single hole in a wall at a dead end, and makes her way in there through the Morph Ball, narrowly avoiding the drill from crushing her. Presuming her to be dead, the Diggernaut extracts its arm and spits out the Item Sphere before leaving. Samus can then collect the Item Sphere and obtain the Space Jump.
In Area 6, before Samus can grab the Item Sphere obtaining the Power Bombs, the Diggernaut appears and vacuums up both the Item Sphere and the Chozo Statue. Later in the Area, Samus comes across a dark room with a large metallic door at the end of it. The door opens revealing the Diggernaut, ready to face her itself.
The Diggernaut uses its drills to drag along the floor and foreground, which Samus can avoid with a Space Jump. Eventually, it will tilt its head forward and shoot out two lasers from each side of its faceplate. Shooting the faceplate enough times will stun the Diggernaut and bring its drills forward. When approaching a drill, Samus has to use the Spider Ball on the side of the drill with Spider Ball tracks or risk damage. Once on the inside, Samus has to wait until the drill turns to the side revealing the Bomb Slot, in which Samus uses a Bomb to destroy.
Following the destruction of one drill, the Diggernaut uses its other drill on the ceiling, in which multiple purple blobs rain below, though Samus can blast them and obtain Energy and Missiles. The Diggernaut will aim a laser at Samus as she fires at the blobs, only firing should Samus be perfectly still. Afterwards, the Diggernaut uses its vacuum to create a vortex, dealing three tanks of Energy of damage should Samus be sucked in, though it is possible to simply jump or use the Spider Ball to avoid it. The premise is to lay Bombs for the Diggernaut to vacuum up. The Diggernaut will then fire more lasers from its eye, three compared to two from before. After enough damage is dealt to the faceplate, Samus bombs the other drill, disabling them both and moves the battle to the second phase.
The Diggernaut uses its disabled drills as blunt weapons, slamming them onto the floor thrice, creating small shock waves. It will then fire eight lasers from its eyes in two sets of four, with gaps in-between for Samus to jump through. It will then use its vacuum attack again, in which Samus must use Bombs in order to continue on the fight. After sustaining enough damage, the Diggernaut's faceplate will come into the foreground, lined with Spider Ball Tracks and three weak points. Samus must attach herself to the faceplate with the Spider Ball and lay Bombs on each weak point before the faceplate generates electricity to detach her. However, the weak points are rotating clockwise and must match with a line on an inner layer, which is rotating counter-clockwise in order to deal damage. The Diggernaut will resume its previous attacks after some time. Once all three circuits are severed, the Diggernaut collapses and drops the Item Sphere.
As Samus walks towards the Item Sphere, the Diggernaut in its last surge of life attempts to crush Samus while she is distracted. However, Samus loses her patience, and uses her Plasma Beam to blast off the Diggernaut's head, disabling it for good. Using a newly obtained Power Bomb will obliterate the rest of the machine and unblock the path.
- The Diggernaut is one of the two bosses featured in Samus Returns that did not appear in the original Metroid II: Return of Samus, the other being Proteus Ridley.
- The Diggernaut's name is a portmanteau of the words "digger", referring to its purpose to mine, and "juggernaut", referring to its massive size and sheer power.
- The Diggernaut shares a similar role with the Rhedogian from Other M and B.O.X. from Fusion as an enemy that attacks Samus throughout her mission and later battles her as a boss.
- In the Chozo memories image and before the boss battle, several small robots similar in appearance to the Diggernaut accompany the machine, though oddly none of them are fought alongside the Diggernaut, or in the entire game in that matter.
- The Diggernaut is the only boss in the game that cannot be Melee Countered.
- The Spider Ball tracks on the Diggernaut's drills may be a homage to the Metroid Prime series.
- The Diggernaut appears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a Support Spirit that prevents the fighter from being buried.