Metroid Zero Mission
The Metroid series is back for more, this time with a remixed edition of the game that started it all!
This is an extremely tough game to review. Without a doubt, this is the best Metroid game on the Game Boy Advance, and it personally rivals Metroid Prime and the NES original for the best game in the Metroid series. The feel of the whole game is perfect, from graphics to gameplay. While you play the title, you're once again floored by what Nintendo has created.
Unfortunately, you're also floored by how quickly the experience ends. This is one short game in normal mode, and I finished it with 70% of items in just over four hours. I will applaud Nintendo for having harder difficulty modes, and that should satisfy even the best gamer, but their games are usually well-balanced enough to not resort to the difficulty tricks reminiscent of a lot of third-party software.
I'm not going to say that a game needs to go on endlessly for no other reason than to satisfy reviewers and hardcore gamers. However, there is value in enjoying the aroma and flavor of a great bottle of wine. Metroid: Zero Mission is that great wine, but as soon as you start to really enjoy it, you're staring at an empty bottle.
The problem with the game's difficulty may be that Nintendo makes Samus too powerful, too quickly. This isn't the Samus of yesteryear, and while this is Metroid NES Redux, Samus can gain all of the abilities she's learned in the past games. The difficulty level plummets as she gathers these abilities at a furious pace, and it's almost laughable how the final level shows off her powers with Arnold Schwarzenegger-like invincibility.
Still, you have to give props to Nintendo for what they've done. The audiovisual quality is breathtaking, taking the GBA series closer to Super Metroid territory than any other title since. Everything is vibrant and lively and recreated in such detail on the small screen. The audio is a mix of the standard but classic sound effects with a mix of gothic and Gregorian music.
The way the game plays is equally impressive. As a classic series that only once departed from the 2D realm, you can see the years of tweaking and honing the control in Metroid: Zero Mission. Everything just feels a lot tighter: missles are easier to get to, the morph ball is easier to manipulate, and Samus shows herself off as the best female heroine the video game industry has to offer.
And for those of you who think this is just another Nintendo remake, you're definitely in for a treat. This isn't just Metroid NES redone on the small screen with minor improvements. This is almost an entirely new game, even if you still have the original Metroid in your head.
This is one slick package that will have veteran gamers experiencing deja vu...but not quite. It's as if you start to remember the locales, but something happens to tell you things aren't quite what they used to be. Nintendo has taken Metroid and tweaked the location of items and the overall level structure to have the game flow a lot better, so things are consistently and surprisingly fresh.
They've also added locations not in Metroid NES, like Chozodia, which helps connect the stories of Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime with the original. Unlike the others, the story is nothing to write home about. It seems they wanted the story told through visuals rather than words, but the high-quality storyboards are inconsequential. Don't expect too much insight into the Metroid series playing this one.
Metroid: Zero Mission is a huge leap in the right direction, but there are things that hold it back from showing Nintendo has completely turned over a new leaf. Still, you have to applaud the extra effort they've shown in taking yet another NES game and placing it on the GBA, but with so many improvements they could have packaged it as an original. If you're even remotely interested in the Metroid series, buy this game and enjoy the ride. Even in its short state, it's as good as gaming gets.
What's Hot: Jam packed gameplay and beautiful presentation.
What's Not: May be a bit too easy for some.