The Ice Beam is a weapon which has been used regularly by Samus Aran, absent only in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metroid Prime Hunters, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. In the games it appears, it is a pivotal weapon when fighting Metroids since the most effective way of defeating them is freezing them. The Ice Beam was created by the Chozo according to the official Metroid Prime website and inferences hinted in Metroid Prime and the Metroid Manga.
When fired, it produces a frigid beam that can freeze many targets. Frozen targets can then be destroyed by a Missile impact, or used as platforms. Due to their sensitivity to cold, the Ice Beam is a potent weapon in the extermination of Metroids. This weapon has appeared in nearly every game in the Metroid series, and has played a vital role in each appearances.
In the original Metroid, Samus was able to choose between the Wave Beam and the Ice Beam but was unable to defeat Metroids without the latter. In Metroid: Zero Mission, Samus obtains both the Wave Beam and Ice Beam. Like its original counterpart, it is necessary to defeat the Metroids. In both games, the Ice Beam is also used for freezing enemies then using them as platforms. This is usually helpful if not necessary to obtain certain expansions.
In the Prime series, it appears only in Metroid Prime, although the other games have some sort of substitute for it. The original Prime introduces the Ice Beam to the third dimension. It is obtained in the Chozo Ruins' Antechamber. The Ice Beam configuration on the Arm Cannon constantly looses a frigid aura. The beam shoots white shots of a low-temperature substance. These shots fired are slower than any other beams in the game. Enemies damaged by this weapon can be slowed or, if enough damage has been dealt, frozen completely. Completely frozen enemies cannot move and can be shattered with a single Missile. Some enemies, such as bosses or well-shielded enemies, cannot be frozen.
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes instead has the Dark Beam, similarly shaped to Prime's Ice Beam, which can encase enemies in dark matter. Enemies encased in this dark matter cannot move and can be destroyed with a Missile.
The Ice Beam was absent in Metroid Prime Hunters, which features a similar weapon known as the Judicator. The Judicator is the Affinity Weapon of the bounty hunter Noxus. This weapon shoots plasma at sub-zero temperatures.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption also lacked an Ice Beam but did have Ice Missiles. These Missiles could freeze enemies. Unlike earlier Prime games, a frozen enemy cannot be shattered with a Missile. To the contrary, Missiles are deflected from a frozen body. They can, however, be shattered with a Charged shot. The Ice Missiles can also be used with the Seeker Missile upgrade to launch multiple Ice Missiles at once.
Metroid II: Return of Samus
The Ice Beam appears relatively early in Metroid II: Return of Samus. It is unchanged in ability in the game. However, its projectiles appear to have spiked edges.
The Ice Beam also appeared in Super Metroid. Here, Samus could also freeze enemies for platform use. The upgrade is located in the first area of Norfair, and the Speed Booster is required to gain access. Fortunately, unlike the predecessors, the Ice Beam upgrade increases damage caused to enemies, and only freezes them when they have taken enough damage. Frozen enemies, curiously, could not be Speed Boosted through.
Metroid: Other M
Authorized in Pyrosphere, the Ice Beam can freeze small enemies. Adam authorizes the weapon while Samus battles enhanced Zebesians and other enemies with increased shielding capabilities. The upgrade is required to defeat many bosses in Other M. Aside from its increased power, the freezing ability of the Ice Beam becomes useful. It is also required to bypass certain obstructions, such as freezing a platform in place. Unlike other games, frozen enemies cannot be used as platforms, but the weapon does set some enemies up for an Overblast or a Lethal Strike. Also unlike other games, frozen enemies fall due to gravity instead of staying in place. Most freezable enemies are only partially freezable; that is, only a section of their bodies is frozen. For example, Dessgeega are frozen only at the legs, and Zebesians' claws are frozen shut.
The Ice Beam made one extremely brief appearance in the Metroid Manga. Samus presumably obtained the Ice Beam between the time she left the Federation and when she returned to complete her Zero Mission. Samus shoots the Ice Beam, Wave Beam, and Plasma Beam once against Ridley.
Metroid: Other M Freeze Gun
In Other M, aside from Samus's Ice Beam, the Galactic Federation 07th Platoon is armed with notable Freeze Guns. These guns are vital to the plot's advancement. They are used to defeat the game's first boss, Brug Mass. It appears later in the game as well, saving Higgs' life and causing the deaths of Maurice Favreau and K.G. Misawa. Madeline Bergman also uses one to freeze MB, albeit reluctantly.
In Metroid Fusion, the Ice Beam only appears under Samus's control in the cutscene starting the game and the very end of those events. Throughout the game, it is under the SA-Xs' control, due to it having mimicked Samus while she had it in her arsenal. At the end of the game, once Samus defeats a SA-X and its mutant form on the Main Deck, its X escapes. However, once Samus reaches the Omega Metroid, she absorbs the SA-X, returning her previous Ice Beam capabilities to her. Strangely, Samus was told that she would be unable to regain the Ice Beam functionality due to her changed cellular structure, as her DNA changed to resemble that of a Metroid, and Metroids are vulnerable to extreme cold.
Ice Missiles also appeared in Fusion. These Missiles can, like other ice-based weaponry, freeze enemies. Frozen enemies can, again, be used as platforms. There is an upgrade to these Missiles known as the Diffusion Missile. This Missile upgrade allows Samus to charge her Missiles. Upon release a circle of a freezing medium will appear throughout the area. This weapon is necessary to defeat the SA-X.
- "This allows you to freeze an enemy temporarily. If you already have a long beam, then the ice beam becomes a long ice beam. This can't be used at the same time as the wave beam. When you freeze an enemy, you can climb over it." Metroid Instruction Booklet, Pg 22
- "This weapon allows Samus to freeze enemies temporarily. Samus can stand on frozen enemies." Metroid: Zero Mission Instruction Booklet, Pg 25
- "The Ice Beam has a slower rate of fire than the Power Beam, but it makes up for this flaw with its ability to immobilize enemies briefly with a layer of ice. Some enemies are particularly vulnerable to this weapon, so experiment with it. The Ice Beam may destroy weak enemies rather than freezing them." Metroid Prime Instruction Booklet, Pg 17
- "This beam can stop some enemies by freezing them. It has a slower rate of fire and cannot do rapid-fire, but the force of each shot is more powerful than the Power Beam." Metroid Prime: Trilogy Instruction Booklet, Pg 14
- "This beam will freeze an enemy for a short period of time, making them unable to move. Samus can jump on a frozen enemy without receiving damage." Metroid II: Return of Samus Instruction Booklet, Pg 21
- "The Ice Beam freezes enemies for a short time. You can use frozen enemies as platforms." Super Metroid Instruction Booklet, Pg 23
- "Adds the ability to freeze enemies. Effective against hot creatures, it also increases the beam's attack power. You can also fire Charge Beams." Metroid: Other M Instruction Booklet, Pg 19
- "Ice Beam has been added to your beam. You can now freeze targets with the Charge Beam." —Screen Data (Metroid: Other M)