Elite Pirates are Space Pirates that have had Phazon infused into their DNA as part of a Space Pirate program called Project Helix. Samus battles three in the Phazon Mines, though there were several in stasis that did not attack Samus. There are two, even more powerful, Elite Pirates present as well: the Phazon Elite and the Omega Pirate.
Elite Pirates attack by using Wave Quake Generators to create shock waves that spread out in a sizable radius and by siphoning the energy from beam weapons to fuel the plasma cannons kept on their shoulders.
After Samus enters Elite Control, the exits will become blocked with shields. The first Elite Pirate will break out of its stasis pod and attack. While dodging its shock waves, Samus may use her Thermal Visor to target its plasma cannon, allowing her to destroy it. This enables her to stay outside of the range of all of its attacks.
A third Elite, this one without a plasma cannon, attacks in the Dynamo Access shortly after Samus returns to the Phazon Mines after collecting several upgrades. Its stasis tank is laced with Phazon, unlike the others, and its face has a distinct red color, further distinguishing it.
The Phazon-laden cryochamber in the Dynamo Access
An Elite Pirate armed with a Plasma Artillery Cannon
- "Confidence is high regarding Phazon applications. We know enough about Phazon now to begin combining it with Space Pirate DNA. The code name for this venture will be 'Project Helix'. Preliminary studies indicate that Phazon infusion could produce radical new Pirate genomes. Benevolent mutation levels are high in current test subjects. Phazon madness is a concern, but refinements in the infusion process should reduce or neutralize the odds of mental degeneration." —Space Pirate Data (Metroid Prime)
- "Recommended battle systems for Elite Pirates are as follows: shoulder-mounted Plasma Artillery Cannon, Repulsion Shield, Wave Quake projector, energy-siphon system, and retractable Wrist Bayonets." —Scan Data (Metroid Prime)
- "Phazon-enhanced Space Pirate. Incredibly strong, armored, and well armed. Elite Pirates are potent foes. Their energy-siphon system absorbs Beam weapon shots, which they use to fuel a massive Plasma Artillery Cannon. The nature of this system makes them vulnerable to concussion-based weapons. Well armed, the Elite Pirate is effective in close combat and at a distance. Their massive size can be a weakness, and their sluggish speed allows for evasion and quick attacks." — Logbook "Elite Pirate" (Metroid Prime)