You're now about half-way through the Space Pirate base and it's time to do the rest.
Jump across the top of the projector to the purple door.
West Tower Entrance
This tunnel is patrolled by Bombus and Crystallites. Fire a missile to clear the door at the end.
Just a basic elevator, so scan the panel and step into the hologram as usual.
This is an open platform between the tower you were just in and a similar tower. There are Space Pirates waiting for you though; the doors lock and a battle begins. When the ground forces are gone their flying cousins arrive and you have to fight them too. You may have seen Flying Pirates at the Frigate Crash Site where they just flew away. They're pretty serious enemies this time though, firing barrages of missiles at you. When you do defeat them, they do a kamikaze move to use their explosive jet packs as weapons, so be sure to dodge when you see them diving toward you. You may want to spend some Super Missiles to take them down, but watch your missile supply for later. Get a scan of the Flying Pirates if you missed it before.
When the battle is over break open the crates for energy and missiles. When you've done everything you can, check the map to see which way you came from and which way you need to go, then go into the remaining tower.
This is pretty much just a mirror image of the West Tower.
Aether Lab Entryway
A mirror image of West Tower Entrance except there are only Bombus here.
Research Lab Aether
This is a multi-level room similar to Research Lab Hydra, but this time you're going from the top level down. If you've never played a Metroid game before and were wondering what it means, the mystery is solved because there is a Metroid floating in a tank at the entrance. Get a scan while it's contained, though you don't actually have a choice because the way forward is blocked until you do.
After you got the scan the Metroid breaks out of its container. It doesn't look that intimidating, just a small, floating lump of jelly, but when you learn what it can do it will be scary enough. It tries to attach itself to you and if it does it will start sucking health. The only way to free yourself is to switch to Morph Ball and start dropping bombs. So it's best to avoid that by defeating it as quickly as you can. Metroids are weak to cold based weapons, but since you don't have one of those at the moment you'll have make do with what you have. A Super Missile will usually take them out in a single shot, and you will often recoup the missiles used. If you're low on missiles though, use a Charge Beam, but be aware that for such little creatures they are surprisingly tough.
When the Metroid has been defeated a Space Pirate crashes through the wall to attack. Get two Pirate Data scans here, then jump through the hole in the wall made by the Pirate to a ledge below. Start clearing the remaining Pirates so you can explore the room in peace. Be careful with your missiles since you can easily break open another container with a Metroid inside.
There is a further Space Pirate entry on the ledge you landed on after jumping through the wall. Now go down the ramp and notice a Morph Ball sized catwalk above and to the left. There is a small platform at the end, so jump to it, switch to Morph Ball, and follow the catwalk to a Missile Expansion.
Get two more Pirate Data scans, for a total of five, in a nook across from the exit at ground level. As in the other lab, there are many other panels to scan for additional information. Finally, locate a container with an Energy Tank inside and fire a missile to break it open. (If you're at full health then you may want to hold off on this until the trip back since you get a free health refill when you pick up a tank and you'd be wasting it if you picked up the tank when you're already full.)
The door out is on the floor this time, so shoot to open and drop through.
Research Core Access
This passage is guarded by Ice Beetles, tougher than the ordinary Beetles you've seen already.
At last the end of the Pirate base! There are some Space Pirates and Flying Pirates that object to your presence here, but compared to what you've gone through to get here they shouldn't be too much of a problem. There are also Auto Turrets covering the lower levels, so keep an eye on your radar and try to take them out before they notice you. The room is very dark; lit only by luminescent floor panels and the glow from electronic gear.
The room has multiple balconies and ramps that allow you to get up and down without acrobatics. Your goal is at ground level, but you're going to need to unlock a force field to get what you want and you might as well do the unlocking on the way down.
First scan the set of consoles at the top level, one lowers the first barrier and the other has information useful in the next boss battle. Go down two levels to find another set of consoles and scan them to lower the second barrier. Go down to ground level and scan the consoles there to lower the third and final barrier, then pick up what you've come all this way for, the Thermal Visor.
The power goes out, the room goes even darker, and Shadow Pirates appear. They use their invisibility power this time, and it's hard to see anyway, so you're pretty much forced to switch to Thermal if you want survive.
When the battle is over start making your way up the ramps to the door where you came in. Watch out for the Metroids that were safely behind force fields earlier though, since with the power out they break out of their cages and attack.
At the top level you'll find that the usual ring of light around the door is out, meaning that is has no power and won't open. Scan it to learn that you can recharge it by feeding energy into a nearby power conduit. The conduits are invisible in normal vision, but show up as bright yellow in your Thermal Visor. So switch to Thermal and you'll see the conduit as a glowing circle to the right of the door. Fire the Wave Beam at it to power up the door; the Wave Beam is the only form of energy that will do the trick.
Expansions (Phendrana Drifts)
Now that you have what you came for, you need to make the long trek back to a neutral area. There are two big differences this time though. First, the Pirates are now more aware of you so you can expect to find either them or their drones in places where they weren't earlier. Second, the power shutdown seems to have affected the entire base so you'll have to make most of the trip in the dark. It's a good thing you got the Thermal Visor when you did.
Research Core Access (cont.)
Security Drones have replaced the Ice Beetles that were here earlier. They are weak to electrical energy so use a Charged Wave Beam.
Research Lab Aether
The room is now dark and guarded by Shadow Pirates. They like to find hiding places in the ceiling so they can drop down on you without warning, but your Thermal Visor spoils that idea for them. Switch to the Combat Visor occasionally to locate the Auto Turrets here; they don't show up in Thermal. As before, watch your missiles so you don't release any Metroids from their tanks. Also, don't forget to pick up the Energy Tank here if you left it before.
The next few rooms are unchanged except for minor changes in enemies and the inside rooms being dark. It's a good idea to save when you get to the Observatory.
The Auto Turrets here have been upgraded to Security Drones.
Research Lab Hydra
As in the other lab, there are Shadow Pirates here now and you need to look for them hiding on the ceiling. Scan a pillar on the top level to learn it's made of Cordite. This is a hint that it can be destroyed by a Super Missile, so fire one and get a Missile Expansion in return.
Continue to ground level fighting the Shadow Pirates as needed. There are Metroids in tanks here now so watch your Missiles.
Continue on to the Research Entrance to meet a last wave of Shadow Pirates. There is light from the outside here you can switch to your Battle Visor when you're through fighting.
The way is clear now to the Ruined Courtyard where you can save.
Expansions (Chozo Ruins)
There is one final expansion you can get now, but it's back in the Chozo Ruins so you may want to postpone getting it until later. If you do make the trip though you'll notice a few changes on the way:
- In Ice Ruins West the Baby Sheegoths have been replaced by one full grown Sheegoth. You're not really safe on the rooftops here because the Sheegoth can shake you off just walking around. The Ice Shiekbats are gone now.
- In Ruins Entryway the Bombus have been replaced by Ice Burrowers.
- There are now Flying Pirates in Monitor Station and the Triclops Pit.
There are other changes as well.
Get to the Main Plaza and climb the ledges to the bridge, but don't cross. Instead, continue to the end of the ledge and look across the courtyard to see a large tree. If you scan the tree it says something about it being weakened, but it's not that weak because the Charge Beam and ordinary Missiles just bounce off. But a Super Missile will break it, so fire one and jump across to collect a Missile Expansion.