Metroid Zero Mission is a remake of the first Metroid for the NES. The premise is simple. Bounty hunter Samus Aran has been ordered to destroy the aliens known as Metroids on the planet Zebes. Except for the intro, there’s no other text in the game. Instead, the story is told through interactions with the environment and occasional cut-scenes, which were added for this remake. It’s a basic premise that’s not quite engaging, but cool nonetheless.
What Zero Mission lacks in story, it makes up for in gameplay. Its game design has inspired many games to clone it like the Castlevania series. The design revolves around one giant map that you explore to get new equipment in order to make it to new areas, all the while killing enemies in your way. Samus’ abilities are basic at first: run, jump, and shoot. Through the game she’ll gain new abilities like the freeze ray or enhance old skills like a double jump. Metroid’s design appeals to the human nature of discovery. Because of this, I found myself beating the gamer in just a few play sessions over a few hours. The one downside is its repetitive backtracking, but it’s a minor annoyance rather than a flaw.
This remake spruced up the graphics quite a bit from the NES original. It’s still a GBA game, but the colorful sprites and animations still look amazing. The main theme is still catchy while the other tracks aren’t as much. They do, however, set the mood for an unnerving adventure in solitude. The original portion of the game can easily be finished in about 3 hours, and the extra mission at the end can be completed in about an hour. This extra mission felt needlessly tagged on and is a bit clunky and downright frustrating in my opinion.
Metroid Zero Mission is one of the best remakes of any game. The gameplay is fun and addictive and it still looks amazing. Its nature is also one that heavily relies on repetitive backtracking and it is fairly short, but again, small annoyances. Despite these small annoyances, this game shouldn’t be missed. It’s a classic series that can be easily revisited by anyone even those unfamiliar with this Metroid, or other Metroid style games.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on April 17, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.