During the Smash Bros Nintendo Direct a few days ago we saw the return of Zero Suit Samus. I mentioned in my BEDA on the news that there had been complaints about her having rocket heels. But since then I’ve been seeing more and more posts on this subject show up on my Tumblr news feed so I thought I might talk more about the subject.
First I think it’s important to note that Smash Bros haven’t just given Samus heels. In the most recent Metroid game, Metroid: Other M, the suit has heels built into it. So if we’re going to complain about giving Samus heels then it’s Other M we should be criticizing.
In fact most problems people have with the new Zero Suit Samus design such as her larger breasts and the mole under her lip are carried over from Metroid: Other M which if I recall is universally hated as the worst Metroid game to date. So really Smash Bros just kept her newest design.
But lets talk about the new shoes. Personally I’m glad they’re not built into the suit any more, it’s clear she’s wearing these instead of her Power Suit rather than under it like the Other M heels would be. I do like the design but yes the weakest part of said design in my eyes is the heel. But it doesn’t really bother me, yes they’d look better without the heels but like I said they’re an improvement over the Other M heels.
Now the defense I’ve read for the design choices (especially those made in Other M) tend to be people missing the problem. They’re usually centered around previous times Samus has worn something designed to look attractive. Yes, Samus outside of the suit is frequently designed with the intent of being sexy and that’s why we have the Zero Suit look in the first place. But the problem isn’t that her design looks hot but that each change to her design tends to be to make her look more sexy. The “she was always sexy” argument doesn’t work when the problem is that design teams seem to think she isn’t sexy enough.
Other defense arguments are for the heels themselves trying to claim they are practical. Chell’s boots will frequently get brought up in these topics. But really these are just excuses and head canon. No one in the design process was thinking about heels being where all the wires and thrusters are. And no one would look at non heel rocket boots and think that they needed heels to be more practical.
So in conclusion I like the design but still think that removing the heels would have been a better choice than replacing them. I like this design despite its problems not because of them.