Here you’ll find detailed instructions on how to survive every SA-X encounter, including the final confrontation.
SA-X Encounter in Sector 2
Jump behind the pillar in this room and you’ll hear what no doubt is a sound keeping you up at night by this point: the quiet footsteps of t0he SA-X. The SA-X will stalk this room back and forth without leaving, and we’ll need to lay a Power Bomb to break away the wall and proceed.
Steel yourself and lay a Power Bomb. Before it explodes, get your Ice Missiles ready and point them right at the SA-X. Hit it with a Missile and move! You’ll have about two seconds before the SA-X unfreezes and starts firing at you. The Power Bomb you laid will reveal two tunnels in the wall. TAKE THE HIGHER ONE!! The lower one is a dead end, and puts you right in the line of the SA-X’s fire, so you’ll be a turkey on Thanksgiving if you take that route. Roll into the second tunnel and move.
The SA-X will not follow you in the tunnel as it can’t use the Morph Ball, but we’re not out of the woods yet. The SA-X will be firing beams at you, and its beams have both Ice and Wave beam features, meaning that the SA-X will be shooting beams at you from the other side of the wall and the beams will travel through, and if they hit you they will inflict massive damage. A couple well timed jumps should get you to the door safely, but just be on guard!
SA-X Encounter #2
You’ll end up in Sector 2, and hear those oh-so-familiar footsteps. Now is the time for courage, because once again, there is no avoiding the SA-X. We have to confront it and get past it. Get your Ice Missiles ready.
Drop down and immediately freeze the SA-X. It will probably be pretty hard to avoid taking a hit when you land; you can try and time it to where you think the SA-X will be furthest away, but even then, you need to draw its attention away from the door so you yourself can proceed through the door. Not saying you can’t avoid being hit, but just saying that if the SA-X hits you, don’t panic, just make sure you freeze it before it can hit you again. Worth noting: getting hit will take away two Energy Tanks.
Now, your instinct is probably telling you to freeze and run as quick as you can, but just like the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady is going to win the day here.
When you hit the SA-X with an Ice Missile, it will be frozen for about a second and a half. However, if you hit it while it’s frozen with a new Ice Missile, that restarts the count. The trick is to always make sure that the SA-X is frozen. Hit it, jump over it if you need to, turn around and freeze it again. Take a step or two, turn around and hit it. Rinse and repeat to get through the first door.
As soon as you get into the second room, just start firing Missiles at the doorway. You’ve got about a second before the SA-X gets in, but we don’t want to chance anything. Once you can hear that you’ve frozen it, lay a Power Bomb and immediately get up and hit the SA-X with another Missile before it thaws. The bomb will blow up the wall behind you; just keep bombarding the SA-X with Missiles until the wall gives away. Once the wall is gone, make a run for it and head towards the door. There’s enough obstacles in the way to ensure that the SA-X doesn’t get off many clear shots at you, and if it does sneak one off, it should be easy enough to jump over.
Get to room three and do the exact same thing as last time, blast the door entrance with Missiles until you can hear you’ve frozen the SA-X. Keep firing and move back slowly until you’re under the switch for the gate. Hit the SA-X with a Missile, aim up and shoot the gate switch, and immediately hit the SA-X with more Missiles. Repeat this for the second gate switch. Take your time moving back and just keep pelting the SA-X with a steady stream of Missiles. Once you’re through the second gate, quickly jump up and shoot the third gate lock and then run like hell through the door.
Once you get to this room, jump up and grab the ledge and hide behind the pillar. The SA-X will come in and leave. You’ve lost it for now. Congratulations: you’ve survived the SA-X.
The Final Battle Versus The SA-X
Once you arrive at the Operations Deck, steel yourself, because it’s finally time to confront the menace that has been terrorizing us the entire game.
Get towards the top, and you’ll hear a crash. The SA-X has arrived.
You’ll be fully loaded for this fight, with max Missiles, Power Bombs, and Energy Tanks, and it’s a good thing, because the SA-X is not playing around. The SA-X is you, but with a key difference: it will be shooting the Ice Beam at you, which will inflict massive damage on you due to Samus’s Metroid DNA. If you get hit by the Ice Beam, that’s a full tank of energy gone. Yikes. Speaking of massive damage, you’ll also lose a full tank of energy if the SA-X hits you with a Screw Attack. This is tough because the SA-X will constantly be jumping and shooting, so you don’t have a lot of room for error.
The good news is that aside from the Ice Beam and Screw Attack, the SA-X doesn’t really have any other attacks it utilizes. No Power Bombs, Shinesparks, etc. at least to contend with. The other saving grace is that your Screw Attack will allow you to pass through the SA-X’s Ice Beam shots, so make sure that you’re jumping constantly. You’ll want to use charged shots against the SA-X; Missiles will freeze it, but won’t do any damage.
I’ve experimented a few different ways to fight this fight, and the most effective method I’ve found is one that actually seems a little daunting – fight the SA-X at close range in close quarters. If you choose, you can make use of the two floating platforms above you, get up there and wait for the SA-X to up, blasting it a charged shot and then running back down after only to lead it back after and repeat the cycle, but I find that not only does this take forever, but your chances of a mistime and getting blasted by the Screw Attack jump up exponentially since this strategy involves the SA-X jumping to follow you a lot.
Instead, get on the ground and stay there. We’re going to try and lure the SA-X into a groove that, if we execute successfully, we can finish this battle fast and dirty in. Charge up a shot and hit the SA-X; jump as soon as you’ve fired, because chances are good that the SA-X fired an Ice Beam at the exact same time as you. Jump over the SA-X – it might have already started its own jump at this point, so just make sure you jump high enough over the SA-X to clear it. Land behind the SA-X, and immediately charge up another shot; the SA-X should still be landing from its own jump, so wait until it’s on the ground (the SA-X’s Screw Attack protects it from your beams just as yours does its) and as soon as it looks at you, blast it again.
The key is jumping over it as soon as you’ve fired and getting another charged shot ready to go right away. This can be risky, since sometimes the SA-X will do something unexpected such as Screw Attack in the wrong direction or fire a shot you’re not expecting, but for the most part, the SA-X will follow the same pattern of jumping after its hit, turning around, walking right into another charged shot, and repeating. You might have to take some damage to bait it into this cycle, but once you get it going, you can finish the SA-X off quickly. I counted about 15 charged shots until the SA-X fell.
The fight won’t be over once the SA-X falls, though. Instead, the SA-X will mutate into some kind of weird Samus/X/Metroid looking monster. Although this thing looks pretty scary, he possesses almost no real threat. He’ll jump in the air and try to land on you, but he’s so big and so slow that avoiding him will be so easy, you’d have to really be trying to get hit. You’ll only need a couple more shots right to its skull, and you’ll defeat it.
A Core-X will appear, and you’ll deal with this one the same way you’ve dealt with all the rest, but don’t get sloppy – this one shoots Ice Beams at you, which inflict big damage. Destroy it. Before you’re able to absorb the X that spawns out of the Core, it will float away… darn. Nevertheless, finish what you set out to do – hit up the Operations Room and change the course of the B.S.L.