Aerotroopers are an aerial variety of Space Pirates. Making their first appearance in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, they also appeared in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption as common enemies and as a transformation of Gandrayda. These units are the successor to the Flying Pirates in Metroid Prime.
These Space Pirates are often sent on highly dangerous missions and often employ suicidal tactics as a last resort move. Their jet packs can be ignited using the Light Beam in Echoes, while in Corruption, a combination of the charged Plasma Beam and the Grapple Lasso can be used to strip them of their jetpacks and send them hurling toward the ground, if there is any below. The explosion of the jetpack instantly ignites the Aerotrooper into a cloud of ashes and smoke.
When on the verge of defeat, as a final maneuver, they will employ a high-damaging, swirling attack on their opponent which can be avoided via the usage of the Dark Beam (in Echoes) or the Ice Missiles (in Corruption). Aerotroopers use these suicide tactics regarding a chivalry or bushido-like conduct of "death before dishonor".
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Aerotroopers appear infrequently but are well equipped and armored and have good evasive abilities. They utilize a rather large and bulky jetpack obtruding from their left flank. The thrusters are shown to produce a lot of smoke and sparks, which adds to a very rudimentary and intimidating appearance. They are equipped with heavily modified green Galvanic Accelerator Cannons and deadly accurate homing Missiles. Aerotroopers also have a characteristic suicidal, or Kamikaze-based attack, which they use when exposed to extreme structural damage to their airborne stability. 3 Missiles (6 Missiles or a Super Missile in Hard Mode) are required for Samus to shoot them down.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
The Metroid Prime 3: Corruption variation of Aerotroopers substitutes and discards the bulky pack system seen on Aether in favor of a new jetpack system that allows for greater evasiveness (which is even capable of breaking lock-ons), but it comes at the cost of durability due to the lack of armor. The jetpacks also come with a potentially fatal flaw; if the pack is ignited by the Plasma Beam, the jetpacks can be ripped off their backs using the Grapple Lasso, making the Aerotroopers crash into the ground and die. Samus obtains a Friend Voucher called "Crash Landing" for the first time she kills them by this method.
The Aerotroopers' jetpack uses a Twin Remote Attack Pod system, armed with Particle Cannons, Helix Missiles, and a Gel Bomb that sticks to the targets until they are detonated or removed through high-velocity movement. The Aerotrooper can also make use of Phazon by going into Hypermode, which increases their offense and durability, but contrary to Logbook Entries, does not enable them to teleport. Even in Hypermode however, they are susceptible to Phazon-based weapons.
Several types of Aerotrooper exist in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
- Main article: Armored Aerotrooper
These Aerotroopers are armed with the standard armor which slightly resists the beam weapons. Missiles penetrate their armor easily.
- Main article: Advanced Aerotrooper
Their enhanced armor which can only be penetrated by Missiles or Missile-like attacks.
- Main article: Assualt Aerotrooper
Their armor resists Missile attacks but are susceptible to Beam Attacks. Only Aerotroopers of elite ranks can join this order.
- Hidden within the game data for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes are older scan data lists that includes the names of enemies not present in the final version of the game. One of these names is Dark Pirate Aerotrooper, suggesting that Ing-posessed Aerotroopers were going to appear in Echoes.
- "Pirate Aerotroopers are known for their cold precision and utter cruelty. Armed with both beam and Missile systems, the Aerotrooper can be a difficult for to engage, especially at range. Their jet packs can be overloaded with heat-based attacks, however. These units prefer death before dishonor: an injured Aerotrooper will make a suicide attempt strike before allowing himself to be captured." —Logbook (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "Aerotroopers are dangerous foes, but their lack of armor leaves them vulnerable to explosive blasts. A weakness also lies in the jet pack: igniting it will allow the pack to be separated from the pilot. They use twin Remote Attack Pods to engage targets. The Attack Pods are capable of using a Particle Cannon or a Helix Missile Pod. They can tap their Phazon power unit to warp from point to point." —Logbook (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption)