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Platform: GameBoy Advance
Genre: Sidescroller / Action
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Released: Q1 2004

 

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Metroid: Zero Mission

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Pros:

- Great action

- Dead-on pacing

- Metroid fans will lap this up

 

Cons:

- Puts all the buttons to use in some situations

- Maybe too short

 

 

 

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"It’s one of those titles that is equal parts nostalgia, new content, and addictive play that is the hallmark of so many “instant” classic games nowadays."

 

If Metroid Zero Mission (MZM) has one fault, it’s that at times you have to utilize almost every button – at the same time.  This kind of finger workout is rarely found even on the home-based consoles.  These instances aren’t the norm.  Usually it’s the boss battles that require a lot of dexterity but it can cause frustration for those with cucumber fingers.

 

But I’ve leapt ahead of myself.

 

metroid zero mission          metroid zero hour

 

Just in case you’re in the dark about the Metroid series, you take the role of Samus Aran, an armor-plated tool of vengeance with an arsenal of moves and weaponry that would give Ghost (of StarCraft fame) a run for her money.  Samus can run at super speeds, freeze enemies in their tracks, fire missiles, drop bombs, perform somersault flips, and roll up into a ball to explore all the nooks and crannies of the planet Zebes, HQ for the nefarious Space Pirates.  Fans of the Metroid series will find much to appreciate – including a lot of nods to the original and Metroid Prime (on the GameCube).

 

Although the story is unoriginal, its execution is great.  Besides some good graphics and great audio, the developers did an awesome job keeping MZM’s pace at just the right level.  What I mean by pace is the placing of power-ups and environmental puzzles in just the right way to keep you continuously playing.  For instance, for Samus to open red doors she must have the found the basic missile upgrade.  Finding the upgrades involves a lot of back-tracking and careful searching in most cases but because enemies respawn and there are lots of hidden things to find, it’s not as laborious as you might think.

 

 

The environments are huge but fortunately there are plenty of Save Rooms, so when you do bite it, you don’t have to play over huge sections.  There is an argument to be made that there are too many Save Rooms – that they make the game too easy – but I didn’t feel that to be the case.  I finished MZM in under 6 hours of in-game time but when it rated my achievement with a 57% I started playing again.

 

metroid zero mission          metroid zero mission

 

When you do finish the game, the original Metroid (for the NES) becomes available and acts as yet another reminder to how far gaming has come.

 

Metroid Zero Mission is a great addition to anyone’s GBA game library.  It’s one of those titles that is equal parts nostalgia, new content, and addictive play that is the hallmark of so many “instant” classic games nowadays.

 

- Omni

(February 28, 2004)

 

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