Thursday, December 22, 2011
25 Days of Villains - #4: Ridley
Leader of the Space Pirates and one of Samus Aran's oldest foes, Ridley is as mean as they come. His appearance is still reptilian like the rest of the Space Pirates, but he is considerably larger, looking much like a dragon. He's faced Samus many times in battle, and each confrontation proves as lethal and unforgiving as the last.
During her Zero Mission, Samus encountered Ridley as one of two major obstacles to reaching Mother Brain. Though she was able to defeat Ridley, she discovered later on that the Space Pirates were attempting to save him by combining his organic body with mechanical elements. While Samus was able to destroy the prototype before she escaped Zebes, Meta-Ridley would be completed on board the Frigate Orpheon orbiting the planet of Tallon IV. After Samus killed the mutated Parasite Queen and started a chain reaction that led the ship to crash into the planet, Ridley began tracking her. He watched from a distance in the tundra of Phendrana Drifts, eventually facing her head-on at the Chozo Temple where the Phazon meteor crashed. Ridley went all-out, firing seeker missiles from a distance and lashing out with his tail at close range. Despite the intense fight, Samus emerged victorious, if only for a brief while.
On Norion, as the Space Pirates engaged Federation Forces, Ridley attempted to take the generators offline. At the same time, Samus was trying to keep them online to aid the Federation's defenses, and the two engaged in battle in the midst of a free-fall down the catacombs of the base. Some years after the eradication of Dark Samus and the Metroid populous of SR388, Ridley took it upon himself to steal the last living Metroid. His forces performed all manner of experimentation on the life forms of Tallon IV and Aether during Metroid Prime and Prime 2: Echoes, the Metroids included. Though Samus was able to defeat Ridley, his goal of mutating the last Metroid was already underway.
Ridley's remains were destroyed at the end of Super Metroid, confirming his final death. But in all the times Samus faced him, Ridley exhibited a balance of intellect and deadly force. On the one hand, he is well-versed in the aforementioned genetic experimentation as well as battle tactics, with the Space Pirate forces having proved themselves capable opponents to the Federation fleet. Facing Samus one-on-one, Ridley always has speed and brute force on his side, and his attacks are carefully planned.
Though Ridley's theme has been relatively consistent through the years, the version that plays in Metroid Prime is easily my favorite. The electronic sounds really help to embody both the sense of sci-fi exploration and the intensity of facing Ridley.