Metroid: Zero Mission - GBA

Got packs, screens, info?
Viewed: 2D Side-on, Scrolling Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Nintendo Soft. Co.: Nintendo
Publishers: Nintendo (GB)
Released: 9 Apr 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 7+, ESRB Everyone
Accessories: GameCube Game Boy Player


Get Adobe Flash player


Robochicks – perhaps the best thing ever, and replete with longevity levels akin to the grass-munching giants of the Galapagos. Ahem. There was no Metroid offering on the Nintendo 64, a shameful omission and perhaps a costly one, though Nintendo is certainly aiming to restore this balance, releasing the GBA insta-classic Fusion, GameCube Prime, and now Zero Mission for the Game Boy Advance.

So you've played Fusion, or perhaps even Samus' first 'proper' outing with the Super prefix exclusively available on the SNES. You know the deal – explore, power up, kill, discover. Of course, this doesn't cover the depths of Metroid to their fullest extent and it's perhaps the allure of the franchise that makes each game so special.

You may not believe this, but there was a time when everything Japanese wasn't cool by default. A game set in Japan released for current systems immediately receives at least a foothold in the starkly cynical printed press rating system, but this was not always the case. When Metroid was born, the Japanese thought America was the world's coolest place. So did the Americans, a belief also shared by Europe's target games-buying demographic at the time.

So, with infallible commercial thinking, Super Metroid was given an indubitable American gloss, which would have come across as somewhat dated and tiresome, if it weren't for the Japanese blood pumping through its heart. There is a quintessentially Japanese undertone to every aspect of any 2D post-SM Metroid, something that lets you know that this game was not made by western hands and not conceived by western minds. It's perhaps this balancing of the eastern/western aspect to the 2D series that has seen it re-emerge firebrand-style into one of Nintendo's biggest wholly owned franchises and has enabled Samus to again sit atop her genre.

Short and sweet – not always true, as bemoaned by girlfriends across the globe since the 80's. Zero Mission is a short game, perhaps offering five hours of gaming to any player with a decent level of 2D action/platformer experience. It is also a simple fact that although sublime throughout, Zero Mission lacks the war of attrition vibe, the seemingly endless torment on offer in both Super Metroid and Fusion, which, depending who you are, could be perceived as either good or bad.

For instance, a games-interested female we know played through Zero Mission and loved it. She finished the game with a decent ranking and it became a firm favourite, one of the few games she ever played from start to finish. When asked about Metroid Fusion, she said, "I got stuck and had to get help. Then I got stuck again, then again. In the end I gave up, it just got too hard."

It is true that throughout Fusion, certain points in the game were as tough as anything the genre has ever offered, easily rivalling the puzzle elements in games such as Konami's early Castlevania titles. This aspect has been removed from ZM. If difficulty was a quantifiable commodity, Zero Mission runs at about half that found within previous 2D outings. Balancing accessibility with gamer acceptance is perhaps the most difficult aspect of modern videogame development and it may be fair to say that this balance has not been perfectly set in the latest Metroid release.

But that said, Zero Mission is still an undeniably sublime gaming experience. It oozes class, has a great plot, some staggering twists, and takes you back to the very birth of the Metroid. In the wait for Metroid Fusion 2, this offers more than a release stopgap, offering a full - though admittedly brief - super, Super Metroid blast.


Metroid: Zero Mission - GBA Artwork