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[metroid 1] Metroid: Zero Mission [2004]

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So, this is actually going to be first in a series of four Metroid reviews I plan to write. They could easily be my all-time favorite games, and are a significant component of my childhood. Before I get into it, be warned of spoilers. There will be a section clearly marked "Story" on each review, so if you plan on playing one of these games just skip reading it. You also might want to avoid looking at some of the pictures. Especially at the end of this review.

This game was actually an official re-make the the original Metroid game, however I haven't played the original one all the way though, so I don't feel like doing a review for it.


Game Name: Metroid: Zero Mission


Platform: Gameboy Advance/Gameboy Advance SP/Nintendo Gamecube/Nintendo DS


Time Spent: Countless hours, maybe a couple hundred?

Do you recommend?


If you like cool sci-fi action/adventure games, you'll LOVE this game.

I easily recommended it to anyone who is even loosely interested in these genres.


What you rate the game: 9/10


Initial Thoughts:


Well, I first played this game about five years ago when I bought my first GBA, it was actually a Gameboy Advance SP. I got it at a garage sale which was being set up in my own home for only 5$ (an excellent deal, although I had to buy a charger online). Inside, was a GBA cartridge which was Metroid: Zero Mission. Until then, I had never heard of the series whatsoever.


I actually had some GBA cartridges already which I played on a Nintendo Gamecube, but when I booted it up that night and played Metroid for the first time, I was immediately addicted. The graphics of the game (I'll abbreviate it to MZM from now on) and the feeling of being in a highly motile power suit on a strange alien planet with absolutely no explanation other than the very brief opening sequence of the game "Emergency order: destroy all Metroids and space pirate leader Mother Brain" quickly sucked me in. This game had the best graphics of any video game I'd played at the time, and I'd never played a game with this kind of violence (the closed I'd come to on both accounts would be Super Mario Brothers 3 believe it or not).

Just compare these pictures to see what I mean.







Anyways, following the "Emergency order" introduction sequence, you can start a new save file (you may have up to three which is kinda nice, especially for speed-runs). You start the game in an underground cavern not online the one depicted above. And thats it, no hand-holding or anything. So, you quickly figure out your innate abilities: summersault-jump in a Ironman-like power suit, crouch, fire a small and short-range beam, and move around.


The feel of playing the charter, Samas, is also very enjoyable. It feels very acrobatic, as if it takes real skill to master her true abilities (which it actually does, as I'll get into later) however it's also simple and easy to learn for new players.

You basically spend the game collecting upgrades at ancient statues which also restore your health, exploring new areas and building up your minimap, running into dead-ends which you often unlock much later in the game, and fighting bosses.


The game may feel very non-linnerar because you have to explore everything to figure out where to go in order to advance, but it's actually secretly linear. The game does a truly outstanding job of giving the illusion of choice, therefore both capturing both perks of linear and open-world gameplay. You do, in fact, need to explore off-course hidden areas in order to increase your missile, super missile, and power bomb capacity if you have any hope of getting past some of the bosses.


As far as enemies and bosses go, they're all either native species of the planet MZM takes place on which are either passive or actively attack you, or are space pirate generals or troopers. They're all uniquely designed and truly make you wonder what they're abilities are when you first run into them. Indeed, you need to know exactly what the creatures of planet Zebes do if you want to survive. The game isn't easy, and requires caution and a "shoot-first" mindset in order to get though.

What's great about the bosses, is how you literally stumble across them and suddenly they pop out of nowhere and one of the amazing boss-fight musics starts playing. They're design and abilities strike terror into your heart and require you to be light on your feet. You also need to learn their weaknesses, as often they are only vulnerable in the eyes, mouth, abdomen, or other specific locations.

The picture below is an excellent example.

[spoiler=Example Boss]


Karid, one of the space pirate generals who attacks with slashing, boomerang-fingernails, and giant claws which shoot out of his stomach.



For me, the boss-battles and soundtrack were the most enjoyable parts of the game. You can listen to the entire game's music on youtube

if you're interested.


Story & Part 2 of the game:


After navigating through the five main sections of planet Zebes (Chozodia, Crateria, Norfair, Kraid, and Ridley) each with their own unique and colorful design, and defeating the main bosses plus mini-bosses in each area and finding all the upgrades to your suit and weapons, you eventually unlock the path to Tourain, which is where the main objective, the leader of the space pirates, Mother Brain, resides along with all the Metroids.

[spoiler=World Map]





I could describe each of the areas in great detail, but I think it'll best be shown though pictures I'll place at the end of this review. However, I will describe the feeling of Tourain. It's truly horrific. As soon as you enter it, creepy music for the map begins playing. The entire game is creepy and mysterious, but this area really had me on edge. Entering each new room, a Metroid or two would pop out of the corner, unseen until you draw need and attack you. They're one of the hardest enemies to defeat, especially when there's two of them attacking you at the same time. Even with your nearly fully-upgraded suit and weapons, they're a serious threat.

The final boss battle against Mother Brain is also very difficult. I mean, just look at this shit!

[spoiler=Final Boss Room]


Oh, and this is after getting though five rooms like this one with heavy doors which regenerate their strength if not attacked quickly and two kinds of cannons firing at you.



Even after defeating all the Metroids, space pirate leader Mother Brain, and escaping the tense self-desctuct sequence and escaping into space in your ship, and seemingly beating the game, surprise! Space pirates shoot down your ship!




We're only half-way though the game at this point! This section of the game was NOT in the original version of the game (nor were many of the mini-bosses and suit upgrades) and was one of the most enjoyable parts of the game for me. As the picture describes, you infiltrate the space pirate's mothership with nothing but a slow-charging pistol which merely stuns the pirates when full-charged, and only for literally a second. The music changes once again (as it always does when you enter a new area) but this time it's neither creepy or epic and archaic-sounding, instead it's something out of Mission Impossible.

You spend most of your time abroad the mothership avoiding space pirates, which are EVERYWHERE, so that you don't set of the alarm which locks certain doors and causes pirates to be drawn to you.


[spoiler=Inside the Mothership]ametroid.retropixel.net_games_metroidzm_walkthrough_9_05.gif.5abfb7c5e6f786ffe3271e78247b9337.gif

You need to hide out and wait in order to deactivate the alarm. That red thing is one of the pirates by the way. They shoot lasers and climb walls, too.



Eventually, you find your way into the Chozo ruins just outside of the mothership, recover your lost power suit plus a few new extremely powerful upgrades, and become able to 1-shot the space pirates! It doesn't take long at this point to backtrack into the mothership and discover the game's true final boss. Sadly, this boss is the most disappointing fights of the game. Once again, you escape a self-destruct sequence and escape into one of the space pirates fighter ships except this time, you're successful and your mission is complete!


Even after the game's official ending, you can replay your old save file and if you're clever enough to try some things with your power bombs and shatter a glass tube, you can reenter an old area of the game with your full-upgraded suit and then access literally any area of the game from there. A very nice feature for those who want to collect all the items which increase missile/super missile/power bomb capacity or just like to explore and have fun with the power-suit like me.



So, I said a few things without explaining them or said I'd get to them later. In this section, I will focus purely on the story of the game, almost all of which is not described in-game but instead from other official Nintendo sources. Also, some of this stuff is pretty important to know for when I've written my next three reviews.

In ancient times, an alien race called the Chozo took over the galaxy and spread their technology everywhere. At one point, a deadly parasite called X (which can shape-shift into their prey after killing them) sweeps the galaxy killing everything in it's party. The Chozo create the Metroid species, which drains the life force out of anything, to target the X parasites. The Chozo then mysteriously disappear.

In their absence, the governments of various planets including Earth band together to from the Galactic Federation. Because of this, universal (literally) peace is established, and there are no longer any militaries or armies. However, space pirates begin attacking federation ships and stealing various goods to expand their empire! The federation responds by hiring various bounty hunters and mercenaries including Samas Aran (the charter you play as in-game) to single-handedly destroy all Metroids the space pirates are trying to use in their plot to take over the galaxy and stop their leader, Mother Brain.


Samas's own backstory begins when she was a little girl. Her family was killed on a ship during a space pirate invasion, she was the lone survivor. A mysterious Chozo, which had long thought to be extinct, finds the ship and basically abducts her and takes her back to their home world, planet Zebes, where he infuses her DNA with Chozo DNA and grants her a highly-advance Chozo power-suit in order to survive the harsh conditions of Zebes. She would move on to become a bounty hunter, often volunteering for jobs against the space pirates.


Unlockable Features:


Another great part of the game is that it actually contains the original version of Metroid as well, and you can play it from the "options" section in the main menu after having beat MZM.



Pros: (At least 2 reasons)


- Amazing soundtrack

- Cool upgrades

- Thrilling and horrific atmosphere and bosses

- Well-desinged graphics and creatures

- Compelling story


Cons: (At least 2 reasons)


- Lack of handholding/general guidance leads to the player being unaware of things which shouldn't really be secret, such as being able to access old areas after (or even technically before) beating the game when you've got you're fully-powered suit.

- Often, it is very difficult to figure out where you're supposed to be and even if you happen to find the right room to be in, there's often a hidden passage way or certain blocks you have to randomly decide to try to break in order to advance. However, it's not too bad, although it is a time-investment.


Final Thoughts:


I don't have much to say which hasn't already been said.

If you like having freedom in a game but still having a linear objective, feeling like a super-powerd badass in a completely unknown and creepy planet, then you'll love this game. As you become better at the game, you may find some cool tricks you can do even from the very start of the game such as wall-jumping and bomb-bouncing. These tricks require some skill with the controls, which is a nice feature for advanced players.

I've posted some pictures with captions below as well, they can tell you a lot more about the game then my words can!

If you're interested in playing this game, you can download a GBA emulator for Windows/Mac here and play for free on your computer (you'll have to find the ROM for MZM on their database and download it in addition to the emulator).

DISCLAIMER: This is technically illegal, as it is an emulator of an official Nintendo game, even if it's no longer in production & sale. I am not responsible for your actions should you use one of these emulators or ROMs.


[spoiler=A bunch of screenshots of maps, bosses, and upgrades]ai.ytimg.com_vi_UE4CsaQTLDo_maxresdefault.thumb.jpg.3d18028451760b58693f7fde1b18b803.jpg

The first area of the game, Brinstar



The second area of the game, Norfair



Another part of Norfair



The third area of the game, Crateria

This area is actually the only area on the surface of the planet



The firth area of the game, Kraid's Lair



The sixth area of the game, Ridley's Lair along with the Ridley space-pirate commander boss-fight about to begin



The seventh area of the game, Tourian while being attacked by a bunch of Metroids



The sixth area of the game, Chozodia, after having exited the space pirate mothership and entered the Chozo Ruins to recover your power suit



Immago, an example of one of the mini-bosses



Deorem, an example of one of the mini-bosses



The game's final boss



The upgrade panel as it appears when all upgrades are collected after restoring your suit in the Chozo Ruins












Edited by james8470 (see edit history)

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There will be a section clearly marked "Story" on each review, so if you plan on playing one of these games just skip reading it. You also might want to avoid looking at some of the pictures. Especially at the end of this review.

Just as an FYI, you can use spoiler tags for this exact purpose.


[spoiler=like this]xd


Edited by Guest (see edit history)

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Being a huge fan of the metroid series(hence the name) this is refreshing. Your points were well expressed and It had made me want to find my cartridge again. Only thing i will mention is when you're suggesting to the reader to download a rom without saying the user will need to own a physical copy for it to be 'legal', personally this is just a fail safe most people have to say and in this case, to make sure there's no random Nintendo employee browsing .


10/10 would read again

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