Figma,  Video Games

Figma Samus Aran (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Ver.)


I’m so glad Max Factory/Good Smile is pursuing their Nintendo lineup, especially with Metroid. I wasn’t surprised when they went back and released Zelda figures from Twilight Princess, because at this point Zelda is more Nintendo’s poster child than even Mario is, but everyone seems to forget Metroid exists, at least until recently (the Prime 4 announcement and Samus Returns has injected some life back thankfully).

When this Corruption incarnation of our favorite intergalactic bounty hunter was announced, I was both excited and taken aback – I didn’t think Nintendo still cared to go all the way back to Prime 3 and greenlight a figure from such an old and neglected title, but here we are.

Day one preorder. I don’t have the Figma collection I used to anymore, but it doesn’t matter – the prototype photos promised that this would be the articulated Samus figure to own (I say articulated because it’s no First4Figures statue, but those are in their own league).

Surprisingly, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, Samus retails for pretty high right out of the gate – around $80 USD before inflation and rarity hits. I know the Other M version skyrocketed for a time because it wasn’t being reprinted, and new ones were very difficult to come by. Hopefully the same doesn’t happen here.

So, right off, no bullshit – Max Factory/Good Smile absolutely nailed it. Full disclosure: I’m a Samus fanboy, and this piece is going right in the shrine.

The proportions, the colors, the way everything moves – right out of the box this Figma exudes motion. It looks dynamic, which is especially ironic given that the Prime versions of the armor are probably known to be some of the least dynamic/acrobatic in the series (this is compared to the ninja stunts and close-quarters roundhouses Samus pulled in her Other M suit).

Surprisingly, the paint isn’t actually all that special – it’s strangely underwhelming in person.

It isn’t what I’d typically associate with deep, metallic/reflective paint – and while that’s exactly what I’d expect out of Samus’ armor, whatever Max Factory/Good Smile did here still looks perfect in this application. The red on her helmet and chest actually skirt closer to candy red.

All the details feel and look crisp – the armor as a whole looks chiseled, and it looks like almost no compromises were made to take the in-game model and transform it into a physical Figma with joints and movement range.

Some very cool bits of extra ingenuity that allow for more movement include articulated flaps at the hips and stomach armor that retracts in to allow for a significant degree of torso bending.

I don’t think it’s physically possible for me to get tired of looking at this piece.

The underside of the arm cannon is almost hyper-detailed compared to the rest of the figure. This is accurate though.

I very strongly considered panel-lining all the details the way I did with my Other M Figma, but ultimately decided to leave it untarnished for now. I’m afraid of the panel lining being too stark and changing the look too much, since I like it so much as it is.

Ahem, okay, I’ve sung this thing’s praises for long enough. Onto the not-so-great now. For starters, this Figma looks great, poses great, and did I mention how great it looks? But that doesn’t quite hold up in terms of physical feel.

This is really a minor nitpick in the grand scheme of things, but nevertheless it was something I noticed the moment I took this Samus out of its box – it feels almost hollow. Too light, as though all the parts are paper-thin with no filling inside to ensure durability.

I doubt people complain about figure weight and feel often (at least, I rarely see it mentioned), but for this Samus it’s accentuated by the fact that the previous Samus Figma felt as though it was much more solid. Each segment – thighs, arms, torso, head – feels heavier and more durable in the Other M version.

And yet despite that feeling, the Figma still looks world-class, which is where that troublesome dissonance is coming from – it looks so good even close-up, but when you hold it, it feels more like a cheap hollow plastic figurine.

Now, another point of contention I have is with this thing’s value – I mentioned earlier that it starts with a pretty hefty tag right at release, as far as Figma go. Quality feeling aside, for $80 I expect a fantastic figure with a load of accessories and exceptional play value – Twilight Princess Link is the personification of that, and I think I paid $20 less for that Figma than I did for this one.

Unfortunately though, you don’t get much in this package. I could understand Zero Suit Samus not coming with much because come on – how much can you really tack on to the Zero Suit – but for armored Samus Max Factory did more with their first release than they did for this one.

You get an optional missile-firing arm cannon tip, three extra left hands, a morph ball…and the standard Figma stand. That’s it. Maybe Samus’ base body was just that much more expensive to produce, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow when TP Link gave us an entire armory.

But Max Factory decided to add insult to injury here – see that little black dot at the center of the arm cannon barrel? When I first opened the figure I was disappointed to see that – what an out-of-place eyesore. It’s so clearly a hole for a peg – at least Other M did it right by having the diameter of the hole be the entirety of the arm cannon barrel – but wait, if there’s a hole here that must mean it came with new beam effects, right?!

Hah. No. What’s most interesting is that the instructions for this Figma make no mention of this feature, and it’s really just left up to intuition for those who’ve owned the previous Figma Samus. This arm cannon was designed to be modular with the old beam effects, and that’s all well and good for us who already own the previous Figma (kind of) but it ends up being nothing but a design compromise and missed play value to those who don’t.

Plus, I’m not even really happy with this – (forgive me for getting too deep into the Metroid lore/gameplay here) but for Samus’ arm cannon configuration here she should only be able to fire the power beam – short, tiny yellow pellets.

The beam effects that came with the Other M version had game-accurate long pink pellets (I painted mine though, which is why they’re transparent blue and magenta here) – which were true to that version’s armor alone, not this one.

So, even if you had the original Figma and unlocked this “bonus” feature, it still wouldn’t be accurate. Which begs the question – why didn’t Max Factory just include Prime-accurate beam effects for this Figma? Instead they went out of their way to design the beam compatibility around an older and inaccurate model, and for that sake they introduced a tiny ugly peg hole in the middle of the arm cannon barrel.

I’m also still a little tilted that we’ve gotten two Figma Samus’ (Samii?) at this point and still no missile effect. We’ve gotten a swap-out cannon tip both times to give the look of a missile about to fire (or in missile firing mode) but an actual missile with a smoke trailing effect coming out of the cannon is a total missed opportunity, I think.

I’m also of the opinion that the missile open mode for the arm cannon this time doesn’t actually look that great – the barrel tip is way too shallow, it needs to be black and go deeper the way the regular beam option does. It would’ve been really cool for them to include just a missile tip molded into the barrel, the way it’s seen in-game, but alas.

Some diehard fan over at Nintendo/Max Factory/Good Smile must’ve suggested actual missiles as an accessory, but was fired for being too good for this world and replaced by some chump who then proceeded to throw out the idea that they should instead include a thumbs up hand, which Samus flashes once throughout the entire game – during the final ending game cutscene no less!

Oh right, you get a morph ball too. Don’t get me wrong, I love the morph ball as a power up and I think it’s a timeless upgrade and vital aspect to the Metroid games, but in figure form I discovered long ago that it’s extremely underwhelming. After all, it’s just…a ball.

Now, I’ve been mentioning the Other M Figma throughout this write up quite a bit, so I think it’s only fair we really get to see them properly compared.

Remember, mine was painted white on impulse.

I already mentioned how they differ in feel above, but in terms of looks I think the Corruption version is the clear winner, repaint or not. It’s less of a look at how Max Factory/Good Smile has improved in sculpting their Figmas and more of how much I enjoy each core concept design though – the Prime suits will always be my favorites.

I also definitely have to acknowledge that I’m more enamored with the Prime Figma’s looks because it’s newer – the Other M version was released way back in 2012 – at this point more than five years ago!

The articulation range between the two is also very similar, nearly identical. This version has a little more engineering in it to allow it to move more, but it ends up being about the same amount as the previous Figma because the Prime armor is more bulky, thus requiring some clever work-arounds to achieve the same level of movement as the much sleeker Other M suit. Even the shoulder joints are the exact same!

This Samus don’t care about no Baby – every Metroid dies!

The girl he tells you not to worry about versus you.

Also, yes she can ball up for some classic fetal position Screw Attack action (now that I think of it – wouldn’t some effect parts to emulate the Screw Attack be so cool?! Gah so much wasted accessory potential here).

So, all in, I think my feelings here are clear – I love this Figma for what it is. It’s beautiful and I can’t get tired of admiring it, but I hate it for what it could’ve been. My gripes with the figure itself are minor, but that’s it – there’s nothing else to gripe about except that there’s not enough in the box, especially for the money paid. Here’s to hoping the next iteration (hopefully there is one) of our bounty hunting mistress comes with a little more fun.

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