Metroid: Zero Mission
Hot on the heels of the latest Metroid series release, Metroid Dread for the Nintendo Switch, I just had to revisit this Game Boy Advance classic, which I overlooked as simply the original Metroid with updated graphics.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Just as Nintendo had done with rebooting Metroid II: Return of Samus as Metroid: Samus Returns on the 3DS, they took the first Metroid game and gave it a shot of steroids on the GBA years earlier.
Retelling the same story with a map closely resembling the original game, the rest falls into brand-new territory with not only updated graphics and sound, but much of the map is laid out with new terrain, areas, and controls to help you navigate both.
In addition, many weapons and features from latter Metroid games make an appearance, which turns the old school experience into a unique one of its own. I was so blown away by this game, it has instantly jumped into my top list of GBA titles ever made.
My only knock on Zero Mission is that it’s a short four-hour run-through. I could’ve backtracked for a few more items to 100% the game, and add a bit more time with it, but as you can see, it wasn’t necessary to complete the game.
I will say that Zero Mission is much more forgiving than the original Metroid, and its also a lot more accessible. There’s a hard mode if you wish to crank the difficulty back to the first game, but the main items helping are more energy tanks, save rooms (which didn’t exist with the password system on the NES), and maps/map rooms so you can find your way around.
Extra touches with the new power-ups don’t feel out of place either, including the speed booster first introduced in Super Metroid.
Speaking of completing the game, the bosses are all revamped as well – from Mother Brain to Kraid and Ridley, expect a different experience than what you saw on the NES. It’s familiar, but also welcome.
The images below have some spoilers I won’t note here, and if you haven’t had the pleasure of playing this title yet, do so: it’s not only one of the better Metroid games (as if there’s a bad one) but one of the best in the genre it created too. Not only is it a great remake, but it successfully refines and adds upon its source material.