Metroid Dread

September 30, 2021

Metroid Dread Report vol. 9: Handy tips for newcomers

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Metroid Dread Report vol. 9: Handy tips for newcomers

Welcome to the Metroid™ Dread Report! This series will introduce the latest information on the Metroid Dread game and the world of the Metroid series, along with behind-the-scenes glimpses from the game’s development team.

Metroid Dread is almost here! Since the previous game in this saga released 19 years ago—2002’s Metroid Fusion for the Game Boy Advance™ system—we understand that Metroid Dread may be the first 2D Metroid game for a lot of you. Whether you’re new to the series or simply want to brush up your bounty-hunting skills, here are some helpful hints to keep in mind during your early explorations.


The Galactic Federation—a joint congress created by many different planets in the galaxy—dispatched a special research unit to planet ZDR. The unit’s objective was to investigate the possible presence of the deadly X parasite, a lifeform capable of mimicking organic creatures fully. However, the unit went dark. Now, it’s up to Samus Aran, the most powerful bounty hunter in the galaxy, to head to this unexplored planet and find out what happened. But what she finds there is desperate terror...

~Transmission from the dev team~

The story is introduced at the start of the game, so you’ve got nothing to worry about catching up on before starting—even if you’ve never touched a single game in this series. Animated illustrations of key moments are used to help bring you up to speed. Players of previous games may also enjoy seeing these moments come to life in this new way. If you’d like to learn more about the story of the series, please check out vol. 4 of the Metroid Dread Report.


This adventure is part of the 2D Metroid series, known for its side-scrolling mix of exploration and action. The game itself explains the controls for Samus’ various abilities, so you can jump right in and learn as you go.

Basic actions

Left Stick: Move

You can have Samus run by tilting to the left or right on the Left Control Stick. Tilt it down once to make Samus crouch.

Y Button: Beam

Unleash Beam attacks from Samus’ Arm Cannon.

Hold R Button + Y Button: Missile

Fire powerful Missiles from Samus’ Arm Cannon. The number of Missiles that Samus has remaining is shown in the upper-left corner during gameplay. Replenish Missiles by scooping up items that appear when an enemy is defeated.

B Button: Jump

Press B while tilting the Left Stick to the left or right to make Samus do a Spin Jump. Samus can also grab onto ledges by tilting the Left Stick toward them while jumping or falling.

Standard abilities

Left/Right on the Left Stick + ZL Button: Slide

Move through narrow passageways.

X Button: Melee Counter

Stun enemies by striking them during an opening in their attack. Follow up successful counters with an Arm Cannon blast. Enemies will temporarily flash a light when their attack can be countered, so make sure you get your timing down to strike during this window. You can whip out a Melee Counter when running, jumping, sliding, crouching, and more.

Left/right on the Left Stick + X Button: Dash Melee

A Melee Counter becomes a powerful Dash Melee when running. This can instantly close the gap between you and the enemy so you can land an aggressive counter. Plus, this can damage enemies, unlike other Melee Counters.

Hold L Button + Left Stick: Free Aim

Aim and shoot with 360°movement. You can do this while standing, crouching, grabbing a ledge, or jumping. You can also adjust the aim of the Arm Cannon while running, too: just tilt the Left Control Stick up or down at a diagonal.

B Button near a wall while Spin Jumping: Wall Jump

Propel yourself up and away by kicking off the wall.

~Transmission from the dev team~

One of our goals when developing Metroid Dread has been to allow for organic connections between actions. Take the Melee Counter, for example: not only do they create the chance to unleash a powerful follow-up attack, you can get a higher-than-usual yield of ammo and energy items, which just might help you turn the tide in battle. Plus, it’s just really exhilarating to land a Melee Counter, so please try doing it whenever you can! In the first area, some enemies can be defeated with a single Dash Melee, which is a great opportunity to experience the excitement of seamlessly taking out the enemies in your way as you explore.


The Metroid series’ genre is “exploration action.” As the name suggests, you explore a vast world and can grow stronger as you go. You can check out the areas you’ve explored on a map, so map-reading skills come in extreme handy. Here, you can open the full map by pressing the + Button.

Select an icon on the map to see the point of interest’s name.

Select an icon and press the Y Button to switch on Icon Highlight, which will highlight similar points of interest across the map.

Areas that still contain hidden items will glow on the map.

You can download map data for your current location at the Map Station. Once you’ve downloaded the data, you can use Map Stations to save your progress.

~Transmission from the dev team~

Maps are a very important part of the Metroid series. What new locations can you now explore with the ability you just acquired? Are there any doors you haven’t yet opened? Whenever you’re stuck, a close study of the map should clue you in on the path forward.

The new Icon Highlight feature is especially handy since it can be used to spotlight all doors a newly acquired ability can unlock. Remember this! Also, you don’t have to defeat all the weaker enemies you see. If you find yourself lost and retreading ground in search of where to go next, you can choose to strategically avoid them.

Make your way across planet ZDR

You can find new routes and expand your reach across the map by discovering the trick to clearing certain blockages.

Beam Block

Destroy these with Beam attacks to make way.

Missile Block

Blast them away with a Missile.

Beam Door

These yellow doors open when hit with a Beam attack.

Charged Beam Door

These pulsing yellow doors can only be opened when hit with a Charged Beam.

Network Station

Receive intel from Adam that may help you decide where to go next. Can also be used to save your game.

~Transmission from the dev team~

On ZDR, there are parts of the terrain that Samus can destroy with Beam and Missile attacks. Breaking through them to open new paths is a foundational piece of exploration in the Metroid series. Some of these breakable blocks blend in well with their environment. If you get stuck, be on the lookout for suspicious spots and blast them with your Beam, Missile, or the Bomb that you obtain later in the game.

The E.M.M.I.

These research robots were dispatched by the Galactic Federation but since went dark. They patrol enclosed areas called E.M.M.I. Zones and will relentlessly pursue Samus if they spot her within. The usual Beam and Missile attacks won’t slow them down one bit. For Samus, getting caught would mean certain doom…

They can detect Samus by sound and sight.

Once their target is visually identified, they move at great speed to catch it.

Should Samus be caught, she has a slim chance to escape with a well-timed Melee Counter—but this window of opportunity is extremely narrow and incredibly difficult to get right.

When the E.M.M.I. are alerted to Samus’ presence, the E.M.M.I. Zone locks down. Samus must elude their attention before she can try to leave.

Standard attacks don’t make a dent. The only effective weapon is the Omega Cannon, a special weapon that can be obtained under certain conditions.

~Transmission from the dev team~

Once in its clutches, the E.M.M.I. can take out its target in one hit. This fatal attack isn’t completely impossible to parry, though. Much like other enemies, the E.M.M.I. will flash a light for a fleeting moment when it’s vulnerable to a Melee Counter. However, the timing of this flash varies each time, and mashing the X Button to counter won’t work—you must strike just when the time is right. This window of opportunity is very small and difficult to hit, but it’s important to keep trying.

In the next report

A few things the team doesn’t want you to miss. Stay tuned!

Clips of Samus running through different locations of planet ZDR.

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