Metroid Dread Report Vol. 11: Power through with these pointers for exploration and combat
Welcome to this special edition of the Metroid Dread Report! Now that Metroid Dread has been available for Nintendo Switch for some time, have you enjoyed exploring the mysterious planet ZDR? In this report, we’d like to spotlight a few field-tested hints and strategies that might help when things are looking challenging.
Please note that some of these hints may be considered spoilers! If you’d prefer to avoid such things, we suggest you only check out the portions labelled 'Transmission from the dev team' for some spoiler-free insights.
Finding your bearings
Q: Where am I supposed to go next? When I don't play for a while, I forget what I was doing…
A: Check the Mission Log for clues!
In the Mission Log, you can check out entries of recent accomplishments, such as which abilities you’ve recently obtained or which bosses you’ve defeated. You can also re-read messages from Adam and the in-game text tutorials that occasionally appear. Many times, a new ability or a recent message from Adam can be a big hint as to where you need to head next. You might find it worth checking your Mission Log whenever you find yourself stumped.
Q: I'm stuck, because every path seems to be a dead end. How do I move forward?
A: There may be hidden blocks somewhere that you can destroy…
The hidden breakable blocks you’ll encounter on the main story path always have some kind of hint alluding to what’s beyond. It may be an enemy, a glimpse at a passageway, or even a suspicious sound.
You might also come across interactive devices, shown on the map as a white icon in the shape of a hand. When you interact with them, the map will change in some way and a new route may be created.
Q: I acquired a new ability. How do I know where to use it?
A: Try using the Icon Highlight feature on the map screen. Sometimes, the way forward can be found in an area you've already visited.
Your adventure will lead you back and forth between the different areas to explore new paths forward. The navigation features on the map screen can help you identify your next step.
Once you’ve acquired an ability, you can check the map screen for locked doors and destructible blocks that your new ability can help you pass through. The Icon Highlight feature on the map screen is an extremely useful tool for exploration; you can use it to locate specific types of doors, blocks and even items not just in the area you’re in, but elsewhere too. If you feel you’ve scoured the area around you but still can’t find a place to leverage your new ability, try exploring a previous area instead.
~Transmission from the dev team~
"The Metroid series is full of games where the player is encouraged to explore, so we created this game with 'getting lost' as one of the key elements. However, no matter how lost you are, there is always a way to figure out where to go next. There are hidden hints found in the world during gameplay, on the map screen, and in the Mission Log. We hope you enjoy piecing together these clues as you explore planet ZDR."
Exploring to the fullest
Q: What does 'Clear Time' mean?
A: This is the amount of time it took you to complete the game.
In Metroid Dread, the rewards you get once you've finished the game are earned based on your play time. The faster you complete the game, the more rewards you can get.
That said, the clear time doesn't including time spent on the map screen, so you don’t need to rush your map reading. What's more, if you see the 'Game Over' screen, the time does not continue to add up the more you retry – it will only be counted from the point where you restart the game. You don't need to stress about time mounting up if you taste defeat, so focus on how to overcome the obstacles ahead instead!
Q: Aside from the ending rewards, what else can I go after?
A: How about trying the unlockable Hard Mode or aiming for 100% item collection?
Once you complete the game, you’ll unlock the even more challenging Hard Mode, which has its own set of ending rewards to earn.
Please keep in mind that you’ll need to play on the same save file to collect rewards for both Normal and Hard modes in the same gallery. If you’d like to leave your original save intact for whatever reason, we suggest you copy it to a different slot.
You can also unlock individual Chozo Archive rewards in your gallery. Collecting 100% of the items hidden in each area of ZDR will unlock a reward, with eight in total to earn.
~Transmission from the dev team~
"Games in the Metroid series have traditionally rewarded players based on their clear time, and we’ve designed them in ways that allow for players to complete their adventures by exploring many different paths through the world."
"Using the techniques outlined in this Metroid Dread Report, you might be able to complete the game using a route that differs from the main path. We encourage you to seek new ways forward during a second or third time through."
Making the most of Samus' abilities
Q: What’s the most effective way to use the Phantom Cloak?
A: Try using it with Samus’ back against the wall in an E.M.M.I. Zone.
The Phantom Cloak renders Samus invisible, but that doesn’t mean she can’t get hit by enemies when it’s active. If Samus collides with an E.M.M.I. or if it has already locked onto her (look for a red ring surrounding Samus), the Phantom Cloak will be useless. Please be careful!
Try standing close to the wall in a dead end and activating Phantom Cloak. The E.M.M.I. will scout the area and check to ensure Samus is not there. If she isn’t spotted, the E.M.M.I. will go away and Samus will be safe for the moment.
There may be cases where you use the Phantom Cloak in places other than dead ends. If so, try to move yourself somewhere safe while invisible.
The Phantom Cloak is also effective against regular enemies, too. It can be especially useful at times when Samus’ energy is low, allowing her to move forward without being spotted.
Q: How do I make the best use of Storm Missiles?
A: You can use it without going into Free Aim mode. Also, it can attack enemies surrounded by electricity.
Activate the Storm Missile by holding down the R Button. If you stand your ground and use Free Aim, it might be easier to lock on to certain enemies. However, it isn’t necessary to use Free Aim to lock on, you can lock on simply by holding the R Button. This way, you can target enemies in front of Samus, or aim at enemies while running, which adds a layer of versatility to the ability. Also, you can damage enemies surrounded by electricity that otherwise shrug off attacks.
Q: How can I make better use of the Flash Shift?
A: Try going immediately into an attack position right after dodging.
Flash Shift is an Aeion ability that allows Samus to move forward and backward multiple times at high speed. You can activate it by tilting the Left Stick in the direction you wish to go and then pressing the A Button. But if you press the A Button first and then tilt in the opposite direction that Samus is facing, you can immediately move away with a back step. When using this technique while confronting enemies, that means Samus can reposition herself away from the enemy without having to turn around.
The timing can be a bit difficult at first, but this can be helpful against strong enemies. Try it out for yourself!
Q: How can I make better use of the Spin Boost and Space Jump?
A: You can launch Samus into another leap while falling from the top of a jump arc. This can also be done underwater to cross gaps.
Using the Spin Boost and Space Jump abilities in concert will allow Samus to continuously Spin Jump. Press the B Button right as Samus begins to fall from the top of her Spin Jump arc. You can’t do this during a regular jump or before reaching the top of the Spin Jump arc, so please be mindful of Samus’ movements to accomplish this.
Continuous Spin Jumping also works while underwater. While Samus can’t go any higher than the first jump in her standard Power Suit or Varia Suit, she can continue jumping along the same height to cross gaps. Certain areas require this technique to successfully explore, so keep a watchful eye on the terrain even when submerged.
Q: How in the world do you destroy some of these Speed Booster blocks?!
A: The key is to use the Speed Booster and Shine Spark to their fullest.
Some items can only be obtained after using the Speed Booster and Shine Spark abilities. These techniques may seem advanced at first, but with practise they come much more naturally.
Clicking the Left Stick while moving will activate the Speed Booster – with enough runway, Samus will begin to glow and move at a very high speed. During a Speed Boost, tilting the Left Stick down will allow Samus to charge a Shine Spark. You can then use this by pressing the B Button. If you tilt the Left Stick right after that, you can launch her at high speed in that direction.
Speed Booster momentum can be maintained even after jumping, sliding, and wall jumping. If you launch a Shine Spark against a hill, you will automatically switch to Speed Booster again when you touch the hill and continue running.
At the start of a Shine Spark, you can tilt the Left Stick to determine which of the eight directions in which you want to launch Samus. While a Shine Spark can’t be used during a Spin Jump, you can activate it after cancelling a Spin Jump via shooting your Arm Cannon or activating Free Aim.
~Transmission from the dev team~
"Samus’ power will grow as she progresses. By the end, she’ll have many abilities at her disposal, which is a defining characteristic of the Metroid series."
"You can check what abilities are available to her and how to use them by looking at the Samus screen in the menu, as well as in Mission Log entries. If you get stuck, it can be helpful to check there."
"When acquiring a new ability, many times there are indicators of how to best use it. These could be demonstrated in a cutscene or simply by inviting you to try it out against enemies or bosses that soon appear. We suggest you keep these clues in mind when strategising your way through the world."
Q: Some of the boss battles are really difficult for me. How am I supposed to defeat them?
A: Keep a close eye on how they strike and look for patterns.
The bosses Samus faces are extremely strong and durable, so there may be times where you find yourself struggling to get through. Please don’t be discouraged though, you can prevail!
Even the most intimidating bosses have weaknesses. As you battle them, watch for movements that signal the type of attack coming up. Knowing what’s coming may make attacks easier to dodge, so try to watch their movements carefully for hints on how to defeat them.
Take Corpius as an example: its attacks include stabbing its tail into the ground, swinging its tail, and spitting acid. If you can identify patterns in its movements before each attack, you can better evade and be one step closer to victory.
Q: Is there a way to complete boss battles faster?
A: Seize your chance to use the Melee Counter!
Some bosses have attacks that spark light immediately beforehand. If you successfully Melee Counter such attacks and strike during the opening it creates, you can begin a 'grab sequence' where you can dish out heavy damage with Missile attacks. You’ll also obtain replenishments for Missiles and Energy, so make sure not to miss your Melee Counter chance! Also, try to rapid-fire Missiles instead of Beam attacks while grabbing the enemy.
~Transmission from the dev team~
"Basically, each boss has a weak point where a Charge Beam or Missile is effective most of the time. If you hear a 'clink' sound as if the attack was repelled, it means the boss didn’t take damage. A standard Beam attack may be effective on certain parts of the enemy, so watch how it reacts and listen for sounds that suggest the attack has dealt damage. Missiles can be replenished with a successful Melee Counter, so don’t hesitate to use them as much as you need."
"Bosses are strong, but there are no attacks that cannot be dodged! Watch their moves carefully and don’t hesitate to challenge them."
Q: Are there any techniques not covered in the tutorials?
A: Yes, several!
Reach new heights with the 'bomb jump'
This technique uses the Morph Ball and Bomb. The blast of an exploding Bomb will launch Samus when in Morph Ball form. If you set another Bomb while in the air and position Samus over it as it explodes, Samus can go even higher. Continuously doing this will let you reach places that the regular jump cannot.
Speed up ledge climbs with 'quick rise'
If you press the B Button at just the right time when climbing up the edge of a platform, you can lift yourself up quicker than usual. This may make just a tiny difference when done once but being consistent with it might help you cut down your clear time somewhat. If you’re aiming for certain ending rewards, try to apply this technique regularly.
Reach the unreachable with 'slide jump'
If you Slide right before the edge of a platform and then press the B Button to jump right after you slide off the side, you can jump in the air. This technique allows you to reach spots that are otherwise inaccessible early on and can open the way for new routes through the map.
Shatter enemies in one strike with 'Ice Breaker'
You can crush an enemy in one blow by freezing it with Ice Missiles and striking it with a Melee Counter. This technique allows you to shatter enemies while running through them, allowing for an even speedier pace.
~Transmission from the dev team~
"Combining Samus’ abilities allows you to move more fluidly through the world and carve out alternate paths through the world of ZDR. You’ll need these techniques to obtain all ending rewards and fill out the Chozo Archive. Even if you’ve completed the game once already, we encourage you to have another go at it using what you’ve learned."
Metroid Dread is available now on Nintendo Switch! If you haven't played it yet, there's a free demo available that lets you get a feel for the movement and atmosphere. Try it out today!
Haven't read the previous Metroid Dread Reports? Go here to check them out.
Don't forget, you can join the Nintendo Switch UK community on Facebook or follow @NintendoUK on Twitter for more on Metroid Dread and lots of other games coming to Nintendo Switch. There's also information about the game, as well as the ability to buy it, on the official Metroid Dread gamepage.