Ridley was a born soldier. His love of combat and violence is second-to-none in the galaxy. Maybe that’s why it’s so fitting he joined the Space Pirates; with them, he wouldn’t be confined to piddling details like “decorum” and “honor”. His ruthlessness allowed him to rise through the ranks until Ridley was quickly promoted to leader of their military. Ridley is also responsible for killing Samus’ parents when she was young, which has naturally given them a contentious relationship. Yet the two are finding themselves entwined in combat constantly. Neither one can escape the other; no matter how many times Samus manages to kill him.
It all started in Super Smash Bros Melee. The game’s glorious opening cutscene featured a short segment in which Samus and Ridley were embroiled in a fierce battle. Since every single other character shown in that opening was playable in Melee, fans turning on their GameCubes were expecting to see Ridley among the playable cast. But no matter how many hours people put into the game, no one could find wherever Ridley was. Where did he go?
As it slowly dawned on players that Ridley was not going to be in their Nintendo crossover game, they started to feel betrayed. How could that cutscene lie to them? They desperately wanted Ridley, because Metroid was still a huge franchise for Nintendo at the time. Ridley was the only other feasible character to enter Smash as well since isolation is a recurring theme in the franchise. It’s difficult to point to really any other recurring character in the Metroid franchise when the entire point is to keep you away from interacting with others. Ridley was the sole exception to this rule, who had shown up in both Metroid and Super Metroid, and was known to return in the upcoming Metroid Prime.
So when Brawl came out, people were perplexed when Ridley was a partial no-show again. He was featured heavily in the game, but as a boss character in the Subspace Emissary story campaign. Director Masahiro Sakurai’s reasoning? He was too big. Maybe it would be technically possible to get him to work, but so much of Ridley’s impact came from his towering menace. But people still thought he’d make it into Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS, only to find him sidelined as a stage hazard.
Enough was enough. It was finally Ridley’s time to shine.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate’s interpretation of Ridley draws from pretty much every iteration of Metroid out there. His proportions to Samus match up exactly to both their NES sprites, which, let’s face it; it’s the only reason Sakurai let him in. Ridley’s moveset draws further inspiration from the NES game, where his neutral B fireballs have a similar wave pattern. However, his tail stab featured in the reveal trailer is lifted from Super Metroid and even hits for similar levels of damage. Other M dissenters may be disappointed to see his “drag across the ground” move from that game returns. But, hey, no one was really complaining about Ridley’s attacks in Other M.
Eagle-eyed fans have also noted several Easter eggs in Ridley’s alt-colors. Outside of the obvious Meta-Ridley costume from Metroid Prime, there are several homages to various pieces of promotional art. His red and orange coloring is a direct nod to the iconic US SNES box art of Super Metroid, while his black skin is a nod to how he actually looked in-game. That pure purple coloring is a direct lift from the NES game. His green skin is from the promotional art of Metroid: Zero Mission. And, finally, we’re not 100% certain about his blue form, but we believe it’s a nod to Metroid Fusion’s X Parasite form of Ridley.
Ridley has been such a highly requested character since near the beginning of the Smash Bros franchise that we’re thrilled to finally see him included in the game. Everything about Ridley in Ultimate looks to be an absolute dream for people who have been waiting for him forever. We can’t wait until we get a chance to play for ourselves!
We’re just starting here! We’ll be counting down all SSBU fighters, join us next time for our report on Daisy!