Hurray for enhanced Remakes!
Writing this review after Metroid II for GB sure seems like a breath of fresh air as we now have a map! I felt this would be the appropriate game to review next since I ended up playing the 2nd before the first and the first entry in the series released on NES is quite dated – gameplay-wise.
Metroid Zero mission was released in 2004 and is basically a retelling of the story of the first Metroid with enhanced gameplay – essentially the gameplay from Super Metroid. The story follows Samus Aran as she travels to the planet Zebes after learning a bunch of space pirates are planning on cloning Metroids in order to use them for their own personal benefit.
Once again you must explore a planet in a 2D exploration fashion. You start off with minimal abilities, which you acquire more as you venture further. These new abilities will allow you to open locked doors and travel to new areas and rooms (A stable of the Metroid Series). The actual speed of running is much quicker than Metroid II – closer to Super Metroid. You can shoot at an angle by holding a shoulder button and launch missiles with the other shoulder button on your GBA. The famous rolling around in a ball also makes a return once you acquire the ability. The stable of acquiring an ability from the clutches of a statue is still here.
Exploration is a lot less tedious than Metroid II since we now have a map and map rooms for uploading new area data. Also, there are statues that will restore your ammo and health once you morph ball in their hands.
This is not a true remake of the first Metroid, however. There are new items, abilities, mini bosses, and a completely new area. For the first time in the series you will be able to use Samus without her space suit later on. This will add a whole new challenge as this area will require stealth movements in order to progress.
The graphics are quite good with nice background art to look at and solid special effects. GBA can’t exactly pull off the rich colours that Super Metroid on Super Nintendo can, but it is still quite a treat to look at.
The sound department is quite good as there will be certain areas where you may find yourself humming a tune every now and then. Every bullet fired or screech made by an any is certainly audible and helps with the immersion.
Metroid: Zero Mission is a great addition to the series and a well done enhanced remake of the original. The Metroid spirit is certainly alive here and will keep you playing for hours on end. Once again, the faster you complete it, the greater the end reward, which in the case of Metroid is a picture after the credits.