Ridley is a vicious, dragon-like monster that has appeared as a recurring antagonist in the Metroid video game series. Often misconceived as being a savage beast, he is actually highly intelligent as well as sadistic. Ridley is one of the highest-ranking commanders of the Space Pirates, leading many of their campaigns of conquest across the galaxy. Among the Pirates and other races, he has come to be known as the Cunning God of Death, due both to his cruel and murderous nature and his talent for escaping certain death. Ridley is considered to be the arch-enemy of Metroid protagonist Samus Aran and while they have fought each other many times, Ridley has been defeated and seemingly killed on each occasion, only to come back stronger than before.
Pre-game history Edit
Nothing is known about Ridley's past before he joined the ranks of the Space Pirates, but it is assumed that he quickly rose to become their military leader through clever strategy, success in battle and perhaps more underhanded means such as murdering his superiors.
Ridley's earliest known history was when he commanded a Space Pirate raid on the Star Colony K-2L. The colony was destroyed and its entire population slaughtered save for one survivor: the 3-year old Samus Aran. During the raid, Ridley encountered Samus for the first time and the little girl, naive and understanding nothing about what was taking place around her, attempted to befriend the creature before her. Samus' mother stepped in to protect her daughter, only for Ridley to kill her. Samus' father, a Galactic Federation soldier, attacked Ridley and also destroyed many of the supplies the Pirates were stealing, but he perished in the same explosion he triggered. Wounded, Ridley retreated and the Pirates fled, leaving young Samus alone amidst the ruins of her home. Samus would later be found and rescued by a Chozo scout party who would raise her as one of them and teach her how to survive and fight against the many dangers of the galaxy. Ridley had no idea that he had inadvertantly created the Space Pirates' greatest enemy.
Metroid/Metroid: Zero Mission Edit
Up until this time, the Galactic Federation had disregarded Zebes as a low priority, class XIII Wanderer Planet. The Space Research Vessel Marina had begun returning from SR388 to Galactic Federation Headquarters with a newly discovered specimen, dubbed the Metroid. The Pirates swiftly attacked the vessel, destroying it and seizing the specimen, bringing it to Zebes. The Pirates discovered the Metroid's dangerous ability to drain life energy from organisms, and that in just 24 hours, they could multiply them by exposure to beta rays.
Ridley's personal flagship, the Space Pirate Mother Ship fought the fleet under the command of Adam Malkovich, but he later returned to Zebes after receiving a distress signal following the defeat of his comrade Kraid. He reached his lair just in time to come face to face with the brave challenger who would dare invade Zebes, and was surprised to find the challenger was Samus Aran, now a young woman, a Bounty Hunter employed by the Federation to destroy the Metroids and Mother Brain.
Samus was also surprised to find Ridley, but was able to fight and defeat her nemesis, allowing her to leave with the Unknown Item she had just obtained.
At the end of Samus' Zero Mission, after crash-landing near the Mother Ship, she encountered an incomplete cybernetic construct built by Ridley himself, Robot Ridley. Built in his image, it was designed to be used as a powerful weapon. She managed to destroy it, but in doing so she triggered a self-destruct sequence that was set to obliterate the ship in five minutes. Samus escaped via a hijacked Space Pirate Fighter.
Metroid Prime Edit
Ridley, though wounded beyond fighting capability, was still alive, even after Samus had supposedly killed him. After the destruction of Tourian, several Pirate ships that were in Zebes' orbit had managed to escape to regroup their strength elsewhere; the crippled Ridley was brought onto one of them, the Frigate Orpheon.
The Space Pirates, by order of High Command, reconstructed his body and infused it with machinery, turning him into "Meta Ridley". His transformation would reach its final stages when the Orpheon arrived on planet Tallon IV's orbit. When the Parasite Queens broke out on the Frigate Orpheon, Ridley re-encountered Samus while she was escaping the exploding frigate. While she stood in shock witnessing her reborn nemesis, Meta Ridley broke free of his restraints and escaped the frigate, flying down to Tallon IV. Samus raced back to the Exterior Docking Hangar and tracked him to the planet below.
As she pursued Ridley, she lost tracking of him, and was required to search for him via ground-based recon. She saw him flying over the Phendrana Shorelines when she arrived at the Phendrana Drifts, and watched him fly away, presumably to the Glacier One facility or even the Phazon Mines to alert the Pirates occupying these bases that the Hunter was here. After Samus destroyed both laboratory operations, she had collected the twelve Chozo Artifacts needed to access the Impact Crater. While preparing to open the Artifact Temple, Meta Ridley flew in and destroyed the Chozo Totems, preventing Samus from accessing the crater. In retaliation, she battled him once again. At the battle's conclusion, the temple's Chozo Statues blasted Meta Ridley and sent him hurtling into the Impact Crater, where an explosion was seen. His fate remained unknown.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Edit
Despite his fall, Meta Ridley somehow survived. Sometime before the events of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Dark Samus used the power of Phazon to make not only the Pirate ship Colossus's crew, but also all the inhabitants of Urtraghus (a pirate homeworld) bow to her will, with Meta Ridley included. Now loyal to her, he played a role in the Norion invasion, where Samus fought him once again.
He was first seen by Samus from afar when he easily decimated a squad of Federation Marines. He later tried to attack Samus while she was crossing through a Morph Ball tunnel (where she was quite vulnerable), but she managed to use her bombs to escape his grip. He then ambushed her in Generator C after she had begun activating it, with the intention of crushing Samus, but instead broke through the glass floor, sending both of them down the Generator Shaft. Samus had no time to react to his sudden disappearance and was forced to battle him again. Ridley was not fully healed from his fight on Tallon IV and was quite weak, allowing Samus to easily defeat him. At the battle's conclusion, she delivers several shots directly into his throat, leaves him to fall the rest of the way down the Generator Shaft as she was rescued by Rundas.
Ridley, however, survived this battle too: he traveled to the Pirate Homeworld and at an undetermined time became the Pirate Seed's guardian; the massive quantities of raw Phazon given to him directly by the Phazon Core turned him into "Omega Ridley". Whether or not he willingly approached the Leviathan or was forced (by Dark Samus or the Leviathan itself) is unknown. Samus encountered him in the Leviathan and defeated him. However, Ridley's disintegration (unlike other Leviathan guardians) was never actually seen. He may have potentially fled the seed before Samus could notice, due to the massive corruption she herself was receiving.
Super Metroid Edit
Even after these devastating battles, though, Ridley managed to survive and return once more, this time with a purely organic body. He was sent on a solo mission to capture the baby, the last living Metroid specimen after Samus exterminated them on SR388, on Ceres Space Colony. After killing all scientists he awaited Samus' arrival.
Indeed, she arrived, and before she was able to take the baby's capsule and the baby with it, Ridley appeared and ambushed Samus. Samus returned fire, eventually forcing Ridley to activate Ceres' self-destruction sequence and flee with the Metroid hatchling. Samus escaped and pursued Ridley.
He led her back to Zebes, where, as she discovered, some Pirates had stayed behind to rebuild the fortress and return to their old method of raising Metroids. Samus began a rampage through Zebes, killing the reborn Kraid and the newly recruited Phantoon and Draygon before she descended for Ridley's Lair. She dropped down into a chamber and Ridley appeared, preparing to fight her. With the loss of the armor plating from his previous form, he was now much more vulnerable to attack, and Samus was able to defeat him once more. Unfortunately, she found in the connecting chamber the baby's broken capsule, with the baby itself nowhere to be found.
Samus then figured that the Metroid must be in Tourian, and because she defeated all four Pirate leaders, she now had access to the rebuilt Tourian. She proved correct, encountering the baby, now a Big Metroid, and killed Mother Brain for the final time, but not before she witnessed the baby's brutal murder. Samus escaped the self-destruction protocol, destined to obliterate all of Zebes, and it exploded, eradicating from the galaxy Mother Brain, the Space Pirates, the Metroids, and Ridley. This event marks the first true death of Samus' nemesis.
It is unknown how or why Ridley went from his Omega form to his purely organic body seen in Super Metroid. It is known, however, that Phazon contains healing properties and also worth noting is that Samus was fully cleansed of all traces of Phazon in her body following the destruction of both Dark Samus and Phaaze; these two factors may have significance on Ridley's curious return.
Ridley has been described as having the appearance of a skeletal dragon: while much larger than a human, his body has a lean build with thin arms and legs, an elongated neck and a long, spindly tail ending in a sharp point. His head closely resembles that of a pterodactyl with a backward-curved cranium and a long beak lined with many sharp fangs. A pair of large webbed wings on Ridley's back allow him to fly.
Ridley's colouration has changed between each of his appearances, usually a side effect of the circumstances surrounding his return from each defeat he has suffered. For example, after his first defeat on Zebes, he went from being green to metallic grey as his body had been augmented with cybernetic armour.
Ridley is capable of flying at high speeds and is remarkably tough despite his seemingly frail appearance, capable of taking larges amounts of damage. He is capable of launching projectiles of flaming gas from his mouth that strike with explosive force and he can easily slash and impale victims with his tail. His augmented forms were considerably more durable than his original form, granting him increased physical strength and additional weapons.