At the biannual Games Done Quick speedrunning marathon, there’s always an ongoing contest: In Super Metroid, should the runners save or kill the animals? Super Metroid’s creators say... SAVE THEM.
After defeating the final boss of Super Metroid, you, as protagonist Samus Aran, must escape from the exploding planet of Zebes. Along the way, you can stop and rescue a few of the creatures who helped you out throughout the game. It makes for a dilemma during speedruns. On one hand, saving those animals costs valuable seconds. On the other hand, they’re just so cute.
So at every Games Done Quick, there’s a contest. People who donate money to the marathon’s charity organization can choose whether they want to save or kill the animals. At the end of the Super Metroid run, the runner will go with whichever option won.
Well, Super Metroid director Yoshio Sakamoto and composer Kenji Yamamoto think the animals need to be saved. In a fascinating interview published this week on Nintendo’s website to advertise the upcoming SNES Classic, the two shared their thoughts on this little easter egg:
Yamamoto-san, what part of Super Metroid do you recommend?
Yamamoto: This is a bit detailed, but after you beat the last boss, Mother Brain, Samus escapes, right? The planet is beginning to explode, so you really have to hustle. But at a certain spot, there’s a Dachora and some Etecoons…
Sakamoto: Dachoras and Etecoons are alien creatures who teach Samus new moves, and they’ve gotten trapped while trying to evacuate.
If you help them, the ending changes. Is that right?
Sakamoto: The ending doesn’t exactly change, but when the planet explodes and Samus just barely clears the blast in her ship, out to the side you can see…
Yamamoto: The Dachora and Etecoons escape, too.
Sakamoto: About one dot of light shoots out from the exploding planet! (laughs)
(laughs) You understand from that one dot of light that they survived.
Sakamoto: I tried it myself, and the dot was so small I could barely see it! (laughs)
Is that because it was an old tube TV?
Sakamoto: Yes. With the high resolution screens today, you should be able to see it clearly. I hope people will check that out for themselves.
Yamamoto: There may also be people who played Super Metroid before who don’t know about that. I hope they will play the game again and help those creatures!
There you have it, GDQ. These animals were meant to be saved.