A long while back, a reader named Fizzle asked a simple question about Ridley from the Metroid series:
In the English manual for the original NES Metroid, Ridley was described as “the original life form of planet Zebes” and that he’s controlled by Mother Brain. Is this true for the Japanese version? What does “original life form” mean exactly?
As a follow up, is this perhaps mentioned in any other Japanese media for later games? I don’t think any English versions mention it again.
This sounds pretty simple, so let’s take a peek at the manuals!
|Famicom Metroid manual
|NES Metroid manual
Side-by-side, the text looks something like:
|Japanese Version (basic translation)
|The master of Boss Lair II.
|It’s the head of the Mini-Boss Hideout II.
|Jumps into the air and spews fire.
|It jumps up into the air and breathes fire.
|A native life form of Planet Zebes that is under Mother Brain’s control.
|It’s the original life form of the planet Zebes and is controlled by Mother Brain.
|Destroy it and you win 75 missile blasts!!!
So it looks like the translation is pretty much the same as the original text! Save for the added line at the end there, of course 😛
The Japanese term used is 先住生物, which refers to an aboriginal or native creature. Although, to get nitpicky, the official translation sort of makes it sounds like Ridley is the one and only original life form of Zebes or that Ridley is a member of the original species on Zebes or something like that, but it’s actually just an ordinary native creature.
You know, it’s not entirely related, but this also makes me wonder what the Chozo are considered. I don’t think they’re native to Zebes, according to later games, right? But I wonder if they were considered native to the planet when only the first Metroid game existed. Does anyone know?
Anyway, as for what other Japanese games have had to say about Ridley, I sadly don’t own any of the Japanese Metroid games except for the first one, and it’s a bit tough to find scans of them online. If anyone can help in that regard, I can update this post, though!