Mother Brain
Metroid series

Mother Brain, as depicted in Metroid: Zero Mission.
First appearance Metroid (1986)
Designed by Hiroji Kiyotake

Mother Brain (マザーブレイン?) is a fictional video game villain created by Nintendo for the Metroid series. She is a large brain with one eye, who sits in a large jar. From this jar, she controls the Space Pirates on Zebes. She is killed multiple times by series protagonist Samus Aran. Her Super Metroid design was originally milder than its final version, resembling an "old lady living in an apartment complex" when designed by Toru Osawa. This design was altered by Tomomi Yamane, who gave her an overall more monstrous appearance. She has made several appearances in other media, most notably in the cartoon, Captain N: The Game Master.

Since appearing in the Metroid series, she has received positive reception, being listed by IGN as the ninth best video game villain of all time; other web sites echoed this sentiment, including, GameSpy, and Cracked. However, her appearance in Captain N: The Game Master was far less well-received, with an editor for Cracked commenting that the creators substituted humour for a "sassy black woman" voice.

Concept and characteristics

Mother Brain was drawn by Hiroji Kiyotake for the NES Metroid video game. Mother Brain is depicted as a very large brain with cybernetic spikes and a single eye; usually contained in a glass tube which Samus must break to attack it. However, in the Super NES video game Super Metroid, she is seen in a bipedal form. When designing the bipedal version of Mother Brain for Super Metroid, Toru Osawa described what he wanted her to look like as being an "old lady living in my apartment complex." However, Tomomi Yamane added to the design, giving her dripping saliva, foul breath, and a filthy appearance.[1]


Mother Brain first appeared in the NES video game, Metroid, and again in the third Metroid title, Super Metroid. She would appear again in the Game Boy Advance video game Metroid: Zero Mission, a remake of the NES Metroid, which explains what happens after Mother Brain's defeat. The Wii video game Metroid Prime 3: Corruption revealed that the Galactic Federation had constructed biomechanical supercomputers called Auroras, and that there were plans for a "Future Aurora Complex", which appears to be the Mother Brain depicted in Super Metroid.[2] In the trailer for Metroid: Other M, the scene of Mother Brain destroying the baby Metroid is reenacted in an FMV cutscene. Also, the primary antagonist, MB, is an android partially constructed from Mother Brain's DNA, hence the name. Mother Brain also makes cameos in other video games, including WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Tetris DS.

In other media

Mother Brain makes multiple appearances in other media, most notably in the television show Captain N: The Game Master, where she serves as the primary antagonist to the protagonists. She has two minions under her command - King Hippo from the Punch-Out!! series, and Eggplant Wizard from the Kid Icarus series. In the show, she was voiced by Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops, who was also well known for playing the voice of Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. This depiction of Mother Brain appears in other media, including the Nintendo Comics System and the Captain N comic books. She also appears in other comics, including a manga based on Metroid: Zero Mission, as well as a Nintendo Power comic book based on Super Metroid.


Since her appearance in the original NES Metroid game, she has received mostly positive reception. She ranked in as the ninth best video game villain by IGN, stating that it would win an ugly contest "hands-down".[3] She was awarded seventh place on a reader poll conducted by GameSpot.[4] She made's 25 most badass boss fights list, the authors calling it one of the most emotionally moving climactic battles in video game history.[5] The GameSpy staff included Mother Brain as one of their favourite bosses; Ryan Scott specifically praised it as being one of the most "jaw-dropping" battles in video game history.[6] Developer Ron Alpert described Mother Brain as being iconic.[7] A brief mention of her is made in an article written by IGN about fellow Metroid antagonist Ridley, commenting that he is the true antagonist of the series.[8] While discussing Mother Brain's possibility as a character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, IGN editor Lucas M. Thomas comments that while she would not make a good playable character, she could be a quality part of a level.[9] Cracked named her one of the best Nintendo villains, joking that she was the "Osama Bin Laden of space", due to her hiding in an underground lair giving orders to dangerous fanatics. They also mocked her depiction in Captain N, commenting that "for want of any actual comedy, she was given the voice of a sassy black woman, which was an acceptable substitute at the time."[10]

The Boston Phoenix editors Ryan Stewart and Mitch Krpata named Mother Brain the fourth greatest boss in video game history, stating that while she had triumphant roles in Metroid and Captain N, she didn't come into her own until Super Metroid. They cited the overall quality of the ending for why she was so notable in this role. [11] GameDaily listed Mother Brain as the 12th best evil mastermind in video games.[12] GamesRadar editor David Houghton listed Mother Brain as one gaming's most hideous mums, describing her as looking like a "turd on a stick jammed into the top of a long-dead chicken."[13] In explaining why Metroid was among gaming's greatest games, GameSpot editor Avery Score cited the battles with Mother Brain and Kraid, describing the battles as epic.[14] Fellow GameSpot editor Giancarlo Varanini described Mother Brain as "appropriately disgusting".[15] GamePro listed Mother Brain as the sixth most diabolical video game villain, describing the battle with her as one of the most notorious and epic assaults in gaming history.[16] listed Mother Brain as one of the runner-ups for the "Miss Entertainment", commenting that she has sadly diminished in her attempts to thwart Samus, though they hope that she returns.[17] Mother Brain is also featured in the on-going GameSpot's All-time greatest game villain.[18]


  1. Super Metroid Guide. Nintendo. 1994. pp. 86–95. 
  2. Matt Casamassina (August 14, 2007). "The Return of Aran's Fiercest Enemy". IGN. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  3. "Mother Brain is number 9". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  4. "/features/vgs/universal/tenspot_villainsreader/p7_01.html". GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  5. "25 of the Most Badass Boss Fights of All Time from". Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  6. "GameSpy: GameSpy's Favorite Videogame Bosses - Page 2". Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  7. "Ron Alpert's Blog - Retro Game of the Day! Metroid". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  8. Schedeen, Jesse (2009-11-20). "Big Boss of the Day: Metroid's Ridley - Stars Feature at IGN". Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  9. Thomas, Lucas M. (2007-12-14). "Smash It Up! - Reader's Arenas - Wii Feature at IGN". Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  10. Sunsets, Prussian (2010-06-25). "Best Nintendo Villains". Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  11. "The 20 Greatest Bosses in Video Game History - #4: Mother Brain - Ultimate Lists - Boston Phoenix". 2006-10-13. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  12. November 26, 2008 (2008-11-26). "Gallery and Images". GameDaily. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  13. "Gaming's most hideous mums". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  14. "The Greatest Games of All Time". Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  15. "Metroid: Other M Hands-On - Wii News at GameSpot". 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  16. Sterbakov, Hugh. "The 47 Most Diabolical Video-Game Villains of All Time (Page 5 of 7), page 5, Feature Story from". GamePro. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  17. "Versus: Miss Entertainment". Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  18. "Gamespot's All-time greatest game Villain contest". GameSpot. 2010-08-05.;standings. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
Metroid series:
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