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Ridley, also known as Geoform 187, is a major antagonist of Nintendo's Metroid video game franchise. He is Samus' arch-nemesis, having murdered her parents when she was just a toddler, and her hatred of Ridley is as strong as his for her.
He is a large alien creature with some draconian traits (physiology) and is considered to be the leader of the Space Pirates stationed on Zebes, as well as being the supreme commander of the Space Pirate confederation. Highly intelligent, Ridley seems to have a great amount of hatred for the bounty hunter Samus Aran, due to his numerous confrontations and battles with her. Throughout the main games, he is able to be brought back to life after his presumed death, either through technological enhancements, genetic mutations, and even cloning. It is his strong defiance and persistence that allows Ridley to fight again despite being defeated countless times by Samus.
Ridley is the secondary main antagonist in every game he appears in, as he normally prefers working for each game's main antagonist.
While his species' true name is not currently known, he is often regarded as a 'space dragon'. He is one of the last of his kind remaining after the Galactic Federation performed a series of mass genocide programs that brought his entire species to the brink of extinction. Next to nothing is known of his pre-military background (if in fact he even had any), but it is safe to say that he made his way up the ranks until finally he was bestowed the designation as leader of the Space Pirates in battle. He also appears to have considerable favor amongst High Command. Ridley's introduction takes place on an Earth-established Colonial Planet, known simply as K-2L; where he conducts a massive raid in order to restock fuel and supplies and plunder, and also allows his soldiers to cut loose and destroy whatever they want. It is also on K-2L that Samus Aran (as a 3-year old) first encounters him. Samus attempts to befriend Ridley, being the sadistic monster he was, he tried to kill Samus. However, her mother pushes her out of the way of Ridley's attack at the cost of her life. Meanwhile, Samus's father destroys the supplies the pirates were after, and is also killed in the blast. Ridley also appears to be injured by the wreckage, but survives. However, he never imagined that he created his own nemesis in Samus.
Years later, Ridley returned to Zebes, to establish a Central Command Center beneath the planet's surface. His forces annihilated the native Chozo Colony established on its surface before carrying out these orders. Also, he killed Grey Voice when the latter tried to shut down Mother Brain (he pretended to join the Space Pirates so he would try and get close enough to Mother Brain to shut her down, realizing her treachery). Up until this time, the Galactic Federation disregarded Zebes as a low priority, class XIII Wanderer Planet. This changed when the Space Pirates stole a specimen of the dangerous Metroid and word came that the Pirates planned to clone an army of the creatures in their base of operations beneath its surface. The Federation was quick to send its fleets into battle, in order to remove the threat. Ridley personally led many battles against the Galactic Federation's forces, over control of the planet, and defeated everything the Federation Police Force had to attack with. However, some time after these battles, he left Zebes on his flag-ship as well as the Space Pirate Mothership, to fight the fleet of Adam Malkovich, only to later receive a distress signal from Zebes after Kraid's defeat and return to do battle with Samus Aran, a Bounty Hunter the Federation had sent to destroy Mother Brain. While the great Space Dragon threw everything he had at his old-yet-new nemesis, he did not come out the victor, and instead found himself nearly destroyed.
Ridley eventually confronted Samus. In Metroid, this battle took place in MiniBoss Hideout II, whilst in Zero Mission, it took place in Ridley, an area named after him. Both are the same area, just renamed for Zero Mission. In Metroid, Ridley is about Samus' height, if slightly taller, and merely hops around throwing zigzagging fireballs at her. Samus can fire almost anything at him and he gets hurt. Once Samus defeats him, 75 missiles are added to her maximum amount. In Zero Mission, however, he is much more difficult. Ridley flies around and tries to kill Samus with his "classic" attacks - tail swipes, plasma breath, fireballs, and claw slashes. After Samus defeats him, she is allowed to leave with the Unknown Item that had started the battle.
There is also a boss called Ridley Robot, who serves as the end boss of Zero Mission. After Samus explores the Space Pirate Mothership and recovers her lost Power Suit, she eventually stumbles onto a mechanized version of Ridley, which she must destroy in order to leave the ship. After its destruction, it activates its self-destruct mechanism, which obliterates the mothership in a massive explosion. Fortunately, Samus is able to escape just before the ship detonates.
Ridley, after sustaining severe injury, was wounded beyond fighting capability. However, a scan in the Space Pirate Frigate Orpheon, in the later Metroid Prime game, indicates that he in fact survived the attack.
Space Pirates, by order of High Command, recovered his fatally-crippled body and infused it with machinery, reconstructing Geoform 187 into "Meta Ridley". On Tallon IV, Meta Ridley apparently visits many of the Space Pirate bases, first going to the Phendrana Drifts to see the Pirate base, and then flying off towards the Phazon Mines, where he presumably remains until Samus arrives. They later engage each other in battle at the Artifact Temple. At its conclusion (after which his life-bar is depleted), the Chozo Statues blast Meta Ridley and send him hurtling to his death in a fiery explosion.
Despite his fall, he somehow survived, possibly due to the Space Pirates salvaging him, or possibly due to the strength of his cyborg modifications. In any case, Meta Ridley reappeared on Norion during the Space Pirate attack on the Galactic Federation Marine Corps, where Samus fought him once again. He first tried to attack Samus while she was in vulnerable Morph Ball mode, but Samus managed to use her Morph Ball Bombs to escape. He then ambushed her at Generator C, sending both of them down a deep shaft, with the intention of crushing Samus at the bottom. Despite the enclosed environment of the fight, Samus was able to defeat him once more and after delivering several shots directly into his throat, left him for dead before being saved by Rundas. Ridley, however, survived this battle and then went to the Pirate Homeworld and was attracted to the Leviathan (implied in the Infant Leviathan scan), where he was corrupted and made into "Omega Ridley". Samus later encountered the creature in the Leviathan and defeated him. Although it's interesting to note that Ridley's disintegration (unlike other Leviathan guardians) was never actually seen.
Even after these devastating battles, though, Ridley manages to rise again, this time with a purely organic body (possibly due to the fact his previous defeats as a cyborg left him wary of robotic abilities). This time, he destroys the Ceres Space Colony and steals the last living Metroid from it. He and Samus have yet another skirmish, but just before Samus is mortally wounded Ridley leaves as the space station's self destruct sequence begins. He flies off to the rebuilt Space Pirate base on Zebes, where they plan to clone Metroids and make an army of them for galactic domination.
Ridley is once again equipped with his "classic attacks" (as a matter of fact, Super Metroid was the first game to feature these attacks) when Samus finds him in his lair in the deep, central part of Norfair. Samus must defeat him again as one of the bosses to unlock access to Tourian. With the loss of the armor plating from his previous form, he is now much more vulnerable to attack. His previous form demanded that he be shot in the chest or mouth, but he is now vulnerable to both Missile launchers and Charge Beams from any angle; however, Ridley has the ability to swat Missiles away with his whip-like tail. After Samus defeats Mother Brain, Zebes explodes, but apparently, the explosion is not powerful enough to destroy the entire great dragon.
The fact that Ridley is fully organic in this game is a call for theories from many fans of the games. After the events of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, a common theory claims that after the defeat of Omega Ridley in the core of the Leviathan, massive Phazon exposure from the explosion recreates his organic tissue. Of course, this is after planet Phaaze "dies" and all Phazon and the things it once corrupted are cured. Another, much simpler theory, is that the Pirate group that stayed on Zebes cloned him from DNA before or after his initial defeat on Zebes.
Pragmatically, it should be noted that this problem simply arises because of the release order of the series. "Biological" Ridley had appeared in Super Metroid almost a decade before he became a cyborg in the Prime series, and the latter series did not provide an explanation to sort out the discrepancy. An official explanation or retcon may be provided in a later game or Manga.
After Samus had defeated the Space Pirates and destroyed Zebes, a corrupt Galactic Federation science team collected samples of alien DNA from Samus's suit and cloned them in their labs on the Bottle Ship. One of the samples belonged to Ridley, but the clone that was created was his juvenile form, which the science team dubbed "Little Birdy". Birdy was about the size of a thrush, with white fuzz, red eyes, pointed ears, a frog-like mouth and stilt-like legs. Samus encountered Little Birdy twice in Sector 1 (Biosphere) upon the Bottle Ship, first when it tried to eat a large fruit, and again after destroying a Kihunter hive, devouring Kihunter honey.
Ridley's metabolism allowed him to mature very fast, therefore after Ridley, as Little Birdy, had consumed enough sustenance, he grew into a new form officially called the Mystery Creature. This form bears resemblence to both Ridley's dragon form and Little Birdy, possessing a more reptillian appearance with a long tail ending in a sharp spearhead, and a coat of white fur, a vestige of Ridley's Birdy form.
Ridley's final encounter with Samus on the Bottle Ship was in the depths of Sector 2 (Pyrosphere). After a long battle, Samus defeated Ridley, but her friend, Anthony Higgs was knocked into the lava below. Ridley survives, however, and flees to another part of the ship. He is last seen as a withered husk near the Queen Metroid's containment area, his life force sucked dry by the Queen Metroid. After the end of the incident on the Bottle Ship, BSL recovers his body and takes it to their base near SR-388.
Due to the fact that the Memories of Ridley are able to combine with his DNA, when the Metroid Queen takes Ridley's life force, Ridley's conscious takes control of it and gives it some of his powers, such as protective purple crystals and fire breath. Ridley (as the Metroid Queen) fights Samus but is defeated and destroyed.
Ridley X - Ridley's Last Hurrah
Like some recurring nightmare, Samus found the frozen remains of Ridley located within a frozen stasis chamber upon the Biologic Space Laboratories research station's main deck. To her relief, he was frozen successfully and could not move or provide any kind of terror in this state. Unfortunately, his inability to move led to his eventual infection by an X Parasite. This X cracked the frozen Ridley and destroyed his corporeal form once more, apparently finally finishing him off. However, Ridley's molecules were absorbed into the parasite, recreating him and allowing him to live once more. Samus soon encountered this Neo Ridley (who was Ridley revived through the X-Parasite) and defeated him, as well, leaving no known trace of Ridley as the BSL crash landed into SR388.
Due to the other Space Pirates found on the BSL, it seems likely that they invaded the laboratories, only to be subdued without Samus' intervention. It is currently unknown when Ridley will make a return appearance.
- Ridley's name is likely derived from Ridley Scott, the director of the first film of the Alien film series, from which Metroid games are stated to have taken a lot of inspiration.
- Ridley is the only other character besides SA-X and Dark Samus to best Samus in a fight. In the Super Metroid intro, Ridley is able to incapacitate Samus long enough to steal the last Metroid and accomplish his mission, though if a player is skilled enough, Ridley can be somewhat defeated. The result is Ridley losing his grip on the Metroid Hatchling's canister and dropping it, but quickly grabs it again and flees.
- Ridley is the most common reappearing villain in the Metroid series, as he has appeared in every Metroid game to date except for Metroid II: Return of Samus, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and Metroid Prime Hunters.
- Ridley is capable of being bipedal, shown in Metroid Prime 3, in the second phase of the battle between Samus and Omega Ridley, once she destroys the joints on his Phazite armor and his weak spot is exposed, he stands on two feet and clumsily walks around swiping at Samus as she blasts his chest with Phazon energy from Hypermode. Also, in Metroid Prime, he stumbles on two legs as the Chozo spirits blast at his exposed chest cavity. However, he also stands on his two feet during the battle when Samus fires a round into his mouth exposing his chest. While preparing his charge attack, he stands on his feet as well.
- In all of his 2-D appearances, his wings are curiously smaller than his body size, logically making them unlikely to even lift Ridley off the ground, and yet he soars through the air with ease (even his X-Parasite mimic). This is so that during his fights, he doesn't take up too much of the screen, and so that his flapping wings don't damage Samus as they would if properly sized. His 3-D appearances and manga rectify this mystery by giving him wings that exceed his main body.
- In the Pirate Command sector of the Pirate Homeworld, images of Ridley can be found on the glowing orange monitors.
- A possible explanation for Ridley's color changes throughout the series may be due to an ablility to control the pigments in his skin in a way similar to a chameleon or an octopus. When Samus first enters his arena in Super Metroid, Ridley is not visible at first. Ridley's eyes soon open in front of Samus, and he then becomes fully visible before soaring into the air to attack. This may indicate that Ridley can camouflage himself like a chameleon.
- Ridley's signature music was originally used as a generic boss fight background music in Super Metroid, but in later games, it has been associated solely with Ridley. Although there have been variations of Ridley's theme in each game (different tempo, extra beats, etc), the music's rhythm and sound are consistent and used for every incarnation except for his very first boss fight in the original Metroid.
- Meta Ridley can be seen on Nintendo Monopoly representing Tennessee Avenue for $180, though the property is simply referred to as "Ridley".
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, partial in-game data exists for a Ridley Assist Trophy, but it is not in-game. It was likely scrapped in development.
- Ridley's theme is the one of the 3 most remixed theme in the metroid series, it has a total of 10 official remixes.
- Because Ridley was captured by BSL between Other M and Fusion,it's possible that Ridley's DNA is still in their posession.
- In Metroid Other M, Ridley has an attack in which he scrapes Samus against the wall.The same attack was seen in a cutsecene in Super Smash Bros Brawl
- From a piece of concept art, Ridley was planned to be a boss in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, as a Darkling.
- The only non Metroid related character that has been seen facing Ridley so far is Pikachu from Pokémon in Super Smash Brothers Brawl.
- Ridley is able to hold memories within his DNA, this is how the Ridley clone managed to retain Ridley's memories of Samus.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption