'Metroid: Zero Mission' (GBA) Review

'Metroid: Zero Mission' (GBA) Review

By Skyler Miller - Posted Mar 15, 2004

What's good enough for Mario and Link is certainly good enough for Samus, so isn't it about time everyone's favorite female bounty hunter got the Game Boy Advance remake treatment? Is "Metroid: Zero Mission" just a lazy retread of the first "Metroid" or does it do the legacy proud? On this episode of "X-Play," we find out.

No zero

Be assured that "Zero Mission" isn't a straightforward port. Most of the room layouts are the same, but the game diverges from its template in several ways that may or may not be noticeable depending on how familiar you are with the original. What's clear is how much easier "Zero Mission" is than the 1987 classic. Like most NES games, it was downright infuriating. You started out with a tiny amount of health, had to make your own maps if you wanted to keep track of where you were, and could only save your progress with passwords given at infrequent intervals. In contrast, the remake offers more health, a map (hooray!), save points, and new upgrades like the power grip. There are also a few cutscenes interspersed throughout, but more work could've been done to flesh out the story line with additional interludes and commentary from the main character, Samus.

A long way back from Zebes

While some the decreased difficulty level may annoy some purists, we are talking about a portable game here, one that's ideally meant to be played in short bursts over several sittings. And keep in mind that a hard mode is unlocked when you beat the game the first time around, as does the original NES version of "Metroid," which will be plenty difficult for all you hard-core gamers out there. The attractive visual look of "Zero Mission" is borrowed from "Super Metroid" and "Metroid Fusion," with music remixed from the original "Metroid" soundtrack. Samus's animation is smooth and fluid, and the overall presentation rivals some of the best of the 2-D era.

Everything old is new again

Continuing its general holding pattern, Nintendo has graced us with yet another portable remake rather than a brand new adventure. But enough time has passed since 1987's "Metroid" that the core of "Zero Mission" will feel fresh to most players. Heck, most people playing videogames these days weren't even born in 1987. And for the old-school types, it keeps the spirit of the original intact while adding enough flair to make it worthwhile. While not without its minor shortcomings, "Metroid: Zero Mission" is damn enjoyable and perfect for blasting space pirates on the go.

"Metroid: Zero Mission" (GBA)