Metroid: Zero Mission is a remake of Metroid for the Game Boy Advance. It is a metroidvania style of game where you explore a large alien world full of hostile lifeforms. The mission is to destroy the Mother Brain that is controlling the planet. You do so by exploring the strange world and finding items and powerups along the way that make you stronger and help you progress. You start out by being able to shoot, crouch, and jump. You can get more items to help you proceed such as the morph ball for getting into tight spaces and missiles for packing a powerful punch. You can save in certain save stations spread out throughout the world. This is to create a risk versus reward system. Do you explore further and risk losing all your progress if you die, or do you play it safe and go back to a save room you’ve previously located first?
This game, much like the original, isn’t easy. You’re quite fragile so if you’re not careful, you’re going to die. The original NES title had unmarked checkpoints and gave you a password upon death so you would never lose the items you found, just your progress in exploration, so the save stations are a nice addition into this remake. The visuals and sounds have also been redone, along with adding in a map system similar to that of Super Metroid. There are some other new things added here and there to spice the game up, plus a whole new bonus section at the end with a more stealthy element. There’s not much else to say except that, if you’ve played a Metroid game, you’ll know what to expect for gameplay. The controls are very tight and much less floaty than the original. This game uses the Metroid Fusion engine and is even a tad more responsive than that. It’s a big adventure that you can play on the handheld.
The problems in this game will mostly come from differences from the original. I didn’t like the music as much as the 8-bit tracks. The game is certainly much easier and more forgiving, which fans of the original might not care for. Any minor differences could be seen in a poor light by diehard fans, possibly. I liked the visual style for making it more clear when you’re in different areas, but again the fans may prefer the 8-bit style. The biggest issues are probably the control and control scheme. You have to use the shoulder buttons use secondary weapons and aim diagonally while standing in place, which can be strange at first. The change in the control can be very jarring as your jumps are a lot more swift, as is your movement, while the original had a slower, floatier feel to it. Still, most of these things are minor and can be adjusted to, which makes it an incredibly well-designed game.
Honestly, I LOVE this game’s design. It’s a great style and a wonderful remake of an NES game that I thought had a few serious issues to address. Metroid: Zero Mission is a near-flawless metroidvania game. Plus, you can also play the original Metroid on the same cartridge as well, so it’s like two games in one! It’s a hell of a deal and certainly worth your time if you liked Metroid, Super Metroid, or Metroid Fusion. And I was going to review Super Metroid but it was on my Wii virtual console and my Wii broke so… sorry.