Daily Rant, Game Review, Video Games

Day 217: Metroid Zero Mission Review

Two Metroid reviews back to back. If that doesn’t give you an idea of how my life is, I don’t know what will.

After many years, many games, and many advances in technology, Nintendo decided it was time to revisit the story and setting of the original NES classic. This time, the game would have all the enhancements 2D Metroid games that have been made since the original, along with the extra power of the Game Boy Advance.

The result? Metroid Zero Mission.

Despite being a ‘remake’, this game is so different from the first that it could easily be confused for a stand alone entry. The level design has been drastically altered, including whole new areas and boss fights, culminating in a tense as shit Zero Suit section at the end. It plays much like it’s predecessor Fusion, with tight controls, ledge grabs and simple weapon maneuvering.

This is also one of the best looking games on the GBA. Each sprite looks spectacular, they’re all animated beautifully, and the backgrounds and environments all look fantastic. The whole game is a total treat for the eyes.

That goes for the cutscenes as well. Throughout the game, there are several comic-book style cutscenes that show you very minor things. Samus’ arrival, Ridley’s descent, the Mother Brain detecting Samus’ presence and a few more scenes make the game feel much more cinematic.

Music wise, it’s a Metroid game. Which is to say it’s fantastic, featuring some great tracks that fit each area or boss fight perfectly. The score is excellent through and through.

Sounds great so far, right? A Metroid remake with more stuff, tighter controls and great visuals? What could go wrong?

Well… a few things.

This game is painfully linear, and it holds your hand to an insulting degree. Whereas the original game simply let go of your hand and let you have at it, this game clings to it like a paranoid mother to her baby.

And I hate being babied.

Each power up is held by a Chozo statue. Once you collect it, it creates a blip on your map pointing you to the next one. Combine that with the level design being incredibly restrictive when you don’t have power ups, and you have one of the most linear games in the series. Sure it does break the formula a few times, and it does open up at the end of the game, but it takes way too long to get there.

And in a game all about exploring, not being able to explore for a majority of the game is a huge problem.

This is also one of the more brutal Metroid games. Make no mistake, that NES difficulty hasn’t been lost over the years. This game can, and most likely will, kick your ass. The Mother Brain fight in particular is absolutely viscous, and it tends to make me just a little upset.

Much to the chagrin of many a GBA in my younger years.

All in all, this game has much more good going for it than bad. It’s fun to play, it looks great, sounds great, and it’s a definite improvement over the NES version. However, the hand holding can be a bit insulting at times, and only being able to really explore at the very end of the game is a huge problem.

Still, if you want a fun 2D sci-fi adventure, you can’t do much better than Zero Mission.

Unless you play Fusion. Or Super.

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