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The opening FMV shows the battle between Samus and Mother Brain at the end of Super Metroid. The playable part of the game starts several months after Super Metroid, and the epilogue takes place probably several days or weeks after that. The entire game plays several years before Metroid Fusion.

The correct chronological order of the games is: Metroid (Zero Mission) - Metroid Prime - Metroid Prime: Hunters - Metroid Prime 2: Echoes - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - Metroid 2: The Return of Samus - Super Metroid - Metroid: Other M - Metroid Fusion

Many fans have questioned this, as they find it inconsistent with Samus' well-established fearless character, as well as the fact that she has encountered and defeated Ridley several times before in her life.

Metroid: Other M was meant to delve deeper into Samus Aran's personal life and history, to show that she is also a human being, with both the strength and frailty that comes with it. As a result, the game shows a side of her we have not seen, mostly because most of the other games (except for Metroid: Fusion) dealt with exploration rather than conversations, and Samus hardly did any talking, or interact with other much. Nate Bihldorff, who was localization manager on Other M, had the following to say on the matter:

Since Metroid has traditionally been extremely light on exposition, fans have filled in a lot of the blanks with their own imaginations. Samus' storyher voice, her motivations, everything about her has largely been a matter of individual perception, especially in the US, where people haven't read any of the official manga related to her childhood. Mr. Sakamoto (long-time writer/director on the series) is the only one who knows who she really is, and his vision for her and her voice was always going to be different than the character people had built in their heads.

I've seen the same comments you have, and while I understand where they come from, I definitely don't agree with most of them. For me, Samus's detached monologue speaks to the reticence of a wounded character, one scarred by the tragic events of her childhood. The glimpse of the pain and fear she carriesshown in the flashback scene when she sees Ridleyis not a sign of weakness, but of strength. People who call out that scene as anything but empowering are kind of missing the point, in my opinionshe does end up torching Ridley, after all. There is no courage without fear, in my mind, and knowing that Samus overcomes that repressed terror makes her all the more heroic than someone who plods forward without a hint of humanity.
Several explanations can be given for her reaction to Ridley in the game:

1) Players may not realize that the game takes place shortly after the events of Super Metroid, which ended with a tragic event for Samus, i.e. the death of the infant Metroid that sacrificed itself for her. Although Samus went back to work, her reactions throughout the game suggest she is still suffering from post-traumatic stress, making it easy for her to get unhinged whenever something unexpected happens. 2) In the previous games, Samus always went in alone, because she was still having bad memories from losing Adam's brother years ago. Being on her own without back-up meant that making a mistake would mean certain death. Now that she is in a ship with the other soldiers, she may feel some sense of false security, and she may be less prepared for stressful situations. 3) Adding to the stress is the unexpected appearance of Adam Malkovich, with whom she has a complicated history. Nowhere is this more clear than in the scene where Adam sacrifices himself near the end, and Samus loses her composure. 4) Granted, Samus has encountered Ridley several times times before already, because the Space Pirates kept resurrecting him time and again. She was more or less prepared to face-off with him sooner or later at those times. However, after Zebes was destroyed, she was probably feeling a sense of relief that with the Space Pirates as good as gone, the ordeal was over and she would not see him anymore. That false sense of security made the unexpected encounter with Ridley all the more traumatic; it even triggers a deeply-rooted memory from her childhood, when she met Ridley for the first time.


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