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Sharp-looking Charge Beam—Just the way I like it!
— GF quarantine officer
The Charge Beam is an upgrade to Samus Aran's Arm Cannon that allows her to deal significantly more destructive shots than regular beam shots. The Charge Beam modification can be combined with most other weaponry that Samus acquires. The Charge Beam will always deal more damage per time than using regular shots if fired correctly. It can be used to overcome certain obstacles, such as the Atmospheric Stabilizers, and is sometimes necessary to defeat creatures, such as the very powerful Black Zebesians. The Charge Beam is necessary to fire Charge Combos and use the Charge Attack.
Though powerful, the Charge Beam requires a small charge time before it can be fired. The charge always pays off, however, dealing a significantly increased amount of damage. The Charge Beam is an upgrade that comes with many other abilities considering that it modifies Samus's beam usage, rather than create a new beam.
The Charge Beam usually fires a larger burst of the weapon Samus has equipped, though it may occasionally have special properties that the beam lacked in its unaltered form. The Light, Dark, and Annihilator Beams fire the Lightblast, Entangler, and Disruptor respectively. The Lightblast fires a shotgun-like beam consisting of many small, but powerful and fast beams. The Entangler snags the target with shadow tendrils, causing them to be frozen. The Disruptor doesn't have the homing properties of the Annihilator Beam, but can stun enemies for a short time. The Hyper Beam bestowed to Samus by the Federation's ingenuity fires a very unique Charged Shot. Rather than firing one large beam, Samus's charged Hyper Beam fires a stream of Hyper Beam shots with a rapid frequency.
If Samus Spin Jumps while holding a fully charged Charge Beam, she will execute the Charge Attack, an attack similar to the Screw Attack. It can damage enemies at most as powerful as the Charge Beam, though at the cost of taking damage herself if she does not destroy the enemy.
By combining the power of many of her different beams with the Missile Launcher, Samus can fire extremely powerful Charge Combos. Save for the Super Missile, these weapons put a heavy strain on Samus's Missile Ammo and Beam Ammo supply, with the benefit if firing heavy amounts of damage in a short period of time.
Samus can also combine the Charge Beam to perform various other special moves, most of which are unique to her second mission on Zebes. Samus can combine the Charge Beam, Power Bomb, and various weapons to use special abilities such as the Crystal Flash. She can also hold a Charge then switch to Morph Ball mode to activate the Five Bomb Drop.
The Charge Beam is a handy tool available during most of Samus's missions. Though she usually has to find where the Chozo have hidden the upgrade, she will occasionally have it already equipped from a previous mission.
Metroid: Zero Mission
The Charge Beam appears as an optional upgrade in Zero Mission. It allows Samus to charge her beam for a more powerful shot and allows her to use the Charge Attack. Interestingly, Samus can use the Charge Beam to a lesser capacity if she skips the Long Beam. The upgrade is one of few upgrades in Zero Mission not obtained on a Chozo Statue. It is dropped by Deorem in Brinstar upon its defeat.
Metroid Prime Series
In the Metroid Prime series, the Charge Beam also took longer to travel, with any beam being used. This is most noticeable in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. In addition to the Charge Beam, Samus can find Charge Combos that, when combined with Missiles, make new abilities with devastating power. There are Charge Combos for every Beam in Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Samus is already equipped with the Charge Beam on her missions in Aether and the planets in Corruption, though she had to find the upgrade on Tallon IV.
Samus's Charge Beam is lost to the explosion on Frigate Orpheon that disables many of her Power Suit's functions. She later finds the Charge Beam hidden behind a runic symbol gate along with Chozo Lore in Watery Hall on Tallon IV. She must get past the runic gate by activating four runic symbols; the gate was presumably left behind by the Chozo to grant limited access to the Charge Beam.
The Chozo left the Charge Beam upgrade on a Chozo Statue in Brinstar. Samus can find this weapon prior to fighting Spore Spawn, and use it to fell many creatures. The Charge Beam can be used with any of Samus's weapons except for the Hyper Beam. Using it with power stored by the Power Bomb endows Samus with interesting abilities, ranging from regaining health to attacking at various angles.
Metroid: Other M
Samus retains her Charge Beam when she enters the Bottle Ship, and she is willing to use it without Adam's authorization, unlike most of her other weapons. She makes use of the Beam to hinder large or armored enemies, and can combine it with any of her other Beams. She also obtains the Diffusion Beam, giving her Charge Beam more explosive damage to take out many foes at once.
Samus loses her Charge Beam to the X that eventually become the first SA-X. The particular Hard Core-X that takes her Charge Beam takes on a form familiar to the Charge Beam and Samus, that of a Fake Chozo Statue. Samus regains her Charge Beam upon its defeat, and uses it to regain control over all of the Atmospheric Stabilizers.
Though the SA-X takes Samus's Charge Beam, it does not use it itself, opting instead to fire single Beams powered by the Ice, Wave, and Plasma Beams.
- "Obtaining this power-up allows Samus to charge beam energy into a single, powerful beam blast. Hold the B button to charge and release it to fire." Metroid: Zero Mission Instruction Booklet, Pg 24
- "The charge item allows you to charge your beam and send out a super-powerful blast." Super Metroid Instruction Booklet, Pg 23
- "Charge up the normal beam's energy for a more powerful shot. Press and hold the B Button. Release when energy is built up." Metroid Fusion Instruction Booklet, Pg 32
- "CHARGE BEAM
Press and hold until fully charged and then release." —Screen Data (Metroid: Other M)