Metroid: Zero Mission Reader Review
As seems to be the Nintendo policy these days, here comes a remake, this time in the form of Metroid glammed up for GBA. But is it any good? Is it better than Fusion? Is it better than Prime? Read on to find out.
The game doesn't really have a story, but as usual you start the game with next to nothing. But, in the typical Metroid way, you start to pick things up pretty quickly, and are blasting Metroids into next week in no time. All of the old upgrades are back in Zero Mission such as Screw Attack (Stop laughing at the back), Super Missiles, and the Speed Booster. All of these help you in your quest to defeat Mother Brain in some way or form. None of these items are there for show. Everything has a piece to play.
And that's what makes Zero Mission so good. Almost nothing is there for the sake of it. See that ledge that is just next to a wall? You can probably get a Missile Tank if you climb up there. But this also raises a problem. There's simply too much to do and you never know exactly whether a Tank is hidden or not. Okay, so I'm grasping at straws here, but you really have to inspect every little nook and cranny to get 100 per cent at the Game Credits. So let's say you come up to a boss (They're not very hard this time round, which I'll come to later). You seem to be fairly well equipped for this battle. You've collected everything you've seen so BRING IT ON! Within moments you'll be dead. Some could argue that someone who plays Metroid games like this shouldn't be playing Metroid games, but it's pretty unfair.
Since Zero Mission is just Metroid except with all the trimmings, it obviously looks a damn sight nicer than its NES counterpart. Walls crumble when you walk past them. When enemies are killed they explode with a little wisp of smoke left behind. If you watch Samus's body when she jumps, you'll notice subtle movements in her legs and arms. I could say something else about animation, but it would ruin the second half of the game.
Now, since the GBA is essentially a SNES in your pocket, the sound isn't exactly a symphony orchestra. Yes, it's very atmospheric at times and can create immense amounts of tension, but the whole soundtrack consists of 'bleeps' and 'blops'. Not impressive, but when you're playing a game as immersive as Zero Mission, who's going to notice?
Anybody that's been frightened off by Metroid Fusion's horrid difficulty level, no need to be scared now. Zero Mission is significantly easier than it's predecessor. The only boss I had any problems with was Mother Brain. So anyone expecting another Nightmare somewhere throughout the game, you can go and pick this up without fear. An easy Metroid game, I hear you say? Why, this is heresy from Nintendo, you say. Well, partly it is. Fusion and Prime were so challenging, why wasn't ZM? Maybe Nintendo wanted to branch out to Joe Public, but I don't think a game about a space hunter shooting aliens was ever going to appeal to most people, so Nintendo shouldn't have changed it really.
Now, the lifespan. How long's it going to last you? Zero Mission has received some flak for being way too short and I would agree. It took me around four hours to finish, and that's on the top end of the scale. So if you stick with it, you could complete it in one sitting and have time to take it back to the shop later! Bargain!
So now the most important factor of a game comes forward for trial. The gameplay. It's the old Metroid formula. B to Shoot, A to Jump, R for Missiles. It's nothing radically different, but the whole thing plays like a dream. Everything is so fluid, and you'll slap your head when you mistakes because you know it's your own fault. The whole game premise is so simple and yet so deep at the same time. Marvellous stuff.
More Nintendo magic for your pocket. A flawed gem that I would recommend any GBA owner to pick up.
8 / 10