Metroid: Zero Mission
Platform:  Game Boy Advance
Players:  1

    First off, let me inform everyone that the Metroid series is my favorite video game series and, as such, I may be a tad biased when reviewing this game.  But since I play through this game once a week on average, I figured I may as well review it.

Description:  Metroid: Zero Mission takes the original Metroid game and adds many elements found in Super Metroid, as well as adding story and areas not found in the original.  You have all of the same weapons and items as the original with the addition of the space jump, super missle, power bomb, jump ball, speed booster, and gravity suit, all of which appear in Super Metroid.  All of the enemies in the first Metroid appear as well, and a couple new enemies make an appearance.  If you have never played the Metroid series, the basic story is that you play a bounty hunter named Samus Aran that was brought up by the Chozo people, a race of bird-men that are peaceful yet have the ability to harness great power.  They pass on the power suit to Samus, a suit of armor that accepts upgrades which are found throughout your travels.  You are on a mission to find out why space pirates have been attacking and colonizing the planet SR388, but upon arriving you find that something more sinister is going on.  Armed with only your armor and power beam, you set out to discover what went wrong.

Graphics:  This game's graphics are amazing, looking almost as good as Super Metroid and far better than Metroid Fusion.  The game does a very good job of keeping the same general look from the original Metroid while making it a much more graphically pleasing experience.  Cutscenes are typical Gameboy Advance video, resembling an anime version of the Metroid series.

Sound:  The sound is very nice when playing through headphones or external speakers.  The sound does get a little distorted when playing on the Gameboy Advance or Nintendo DS, but many games have had this problem on these systems.  The music is very well done.  Next to replay factor, it's my second favorite aspect of this game.

Play Control:  This is very nicely done, as with all of the other Metroid games.  Since Metroid Fusion, I have found that I prefer the missile switching implemented in these two games versus the NES and SNES Metroid games, where you had to press select to engage them.  I did find that playing this game on the Gameboy Micro was a little difficult to get used to, but this was because of the system's design, not the game's.  The shoulder buttons on the Micro respond differently than the GBA and DS, and they require more force to depress.  This was never an issue for other GBA games that I've played on the Micro because I haven't had to react as fast as I need to in this game.

Replay:  Well, as I said, I replay this once a week on average.  Once you know what you absolutely have to get and what you can skip, you can get through the game rather quickly (under an hour, usually).  After you've completed the game, the original Metroid is unlocked, appearing exactly the way it does on the NES.  This saves you the money you'd spend on the classic NES version of the game, assuming you can complete the game.

Final Verdict:  This is a very good example of a 2-D platformer, second only to its predecessor on the Super Nintendo.  If you like the GBA Castlevanias, you'll enjoy this.  When I finally got around to buying it, I was hard pressed to find a copy new and, once I did find one, it was marked up to $35.  However, it does give you the ability to play classic Metroid upon completion, making it worth the money.

Written on 04-20-06 by Shane,

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