Metroid: Zero Mission Review

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Nintendo

# of Players: 1

Category: Action

Release Dates

N Amer - 02/09/2004

Official Game Website

Metroid: Zero Mission Review

Thank the Gaming Gods for the revival of classic gaming goodness such as Prince of Persia, Rygar and now the Metroid games.  Accompanying the release of the stellar Metroid Prime on the GameCube, our beloved Game Boy Advance was treated to a fast-paced 2D-action game connected to Prime’s main story.  That’s right, gamers; I’m talking about Metroid Fusion . . . one of the best GBA games featuring our favorite female hero, Samus.  Following up on this excellent game is Metroid: Zero Mission, a game that ties the two stories like a retelling of the classic NES Metroid game most of us have grown up with back in the day.  Is this game as good as the near perfection that is Fusion?  The answer is a big YES, but let’s get to the review anyway.


Zero Mission follows a most interesting premise that would be ruined if I explained it even just a little, but one thing gamers should know is that this one certainly explains a lot about the things gamers go through in Metroid Fusion.  In short, this game serves as a sort of prequel that is told through cut scenes and dialogue and ties in with Fusion and thus with Metroid Prime.  While Zero Missions looks and plays like the original NES game, the differences are in the playing style as well as the chapter stops that explain what exactly went down in the planet Zebes.


As Samus, you start the game off with her standard skills (jumping, shooting and running). Yet very quickly gain her more impressive talents such as morphing into a somewhat armored ball to zip through extremely narrow ducts or her helpful clinging to platform ledges for better shots at your alien foes.  You also gain better weapon fire such as her powerful missiles (Super Missiles anyone?) used for a more powerful impact against tougher enemies or areas cracked surfaces that you can break through.  And all of this is executed easily and smoothly thanks to the easy-to-get-into controls.  This makes the game really enjoyable and less frustrating than the old Metroid game (so that encounter with Ridley isn’t such a pain to get through here).


The levels are also expansive and can be explored through without being quickly rushed to continue on your path like it’s done in Fusion.  Zero Mission has directional indicators that give you an idea where to go but still allows gamers to take their time.  This is actually a very good quality since the game is really quite short.  Part of the reason you can zip through this game quickly is that the game isn’t that hard at all.  You’ll find a few spots here and there that will hold you back--and making its return is the dreaded Big Brain that Samus goes up against at the end of the original NES game.  The great thing about this confrontation, though, is that the game continues beyond that point to tie things together for Fusion.


Here’s the good news, though.  The game rewards the player in far better ways than Fusion.  I’m talking about extras and goodies to unlock at the end of the game.  Finish the game twice or thrice and you get alternate endings.  Beat the game once and you get a bonus Hard mode (try this only if you can get through the levels with your eyes closed) but the biggest treat of all is the fact that the game awards you with the classic NES Metroid game.  Must  . . . stop . . . drooling.


Not only does this game play excellently, but it also remains to be one of the most spectacular looking GBA games.  Fusion managed to display some nicely detailed levels filled with everything from breakable platforms to environmental details all throughout the game.  Samus still looks great in action and so does the enemy, but it’s the dazzling special effects that wins the big points once again.  While much of the “wow factor” has been diminished, this game is still impressive enough.


Joining the beautiful visuals are the sound effects and music that make this a complete visual and auditory treat.  Weapons fire is loud and, if you’re wearing earphones, you’ll be impressed of the distinct sounds that can be picked up through them.  The game’s tunes, though, is the highlight of the game’s sound and it neatly ties together nicely depending on the level and area.  Really, it’s hard to imagine great tunes coming from the small speakers of the GBA.


Zero Mission makes this yet another spectacular Metroid game for your Game Boy Advance and it’s one that should not be missed if you like the series or action games in general.  Yes it’s on the short side (a little too short for this fan’s liking) but the overall joy you’ll get from playing this game--as well as the many extras--make this an absolute Must Have for anyone with a GBA.  Buy this one right away, you will not regret it one bit. 


#Reviewer's Scoring Details


Gameplay: 9.5
It’s hard to improve perfection but somehow Zero Mission was able to smooth out the “rough spots” experienced in Fusion.  Samus has all her classic abilities but somehow they just seem more graceful and smoother to execute.  The levels have plenty to do and this time around you’re not forced to quickly go through each level.  The only thing I can find wrong about this game is its length . . . why oh why must it end so quickly?


Graphics: 9.0
Remember how Metroid Fusion blew you away with its wonderfully detailed levels and spectacular effects?  Well these visual features are back in this game and, while there isn’t any great graphical improvement, this still makes for a pretty and impressive looking game.  It’s also something of a nostalgic joy to see Samus back in her original armor.  Yet the biggest thrill is watching the dazzling effects caused by your rockets and seeing the Mother Brain in all its pulsing and electrifying glory.


Sound: 9.0
Sound-wise, Zero Mission is an audible treat in every sense.  For starters, the music is a wonderful mix of the original tunes with some new tunes that intensify the game’s action in different levels.  The sound effects caused by weapons fire or the damage caused to the enemy has distinct sounds that are even better heard using earphones.  The sound is the perfect compliment for such a good-looking game.  Good work, guys!


Difficulty: Medium
Those who found Metroid Fusion not so challenging will find that there’s nothing new about Zero Mission’s difficulty setting.  There are challenges aplenty and there are a nice number of enemy hordes to fight off but this is still a somewhat easy game.  Just about the only time I found a true challenge was when I went up against the Mother Brain.  To add to the challenge, though, a Hard mode is unlocked after beating the game the first time around.  Make that three levels in total, then.  Be warned, though, Hard mode will have you yanking out fists full of hair because this mode is just way too hard.


Concept: 9.0
With so many extras to unlock, you will find yourself forgiving the game designers for making the game so short when you see that the best feature to unlock is the original NES Metroid game.  Remember beating Metroid Prime and getting the original game as a reward?  Well now GBA gamers will be able to play the classic.  To top it all off, the game also offers a Hard Mode for those hardcore fans that want to experience the game with poor shields and weaker weapons.  You can even link up your Metroid Fusion game for some other extra goodies.  It doesn’t get any better than this.


Overall: 9.5
It’s hard to imagine a Game Boy Advance game that could match the style and addictive action of Metroid Fusion, but Zero Mission surpasses even the now classic handheld game quite easily.  Zero Mission is the kind of game that action fans won’t be able to put down even if the room around them begins to crumble apart.  Really, there’s just too much to love about this game.   So, Loyal Readers, if you trusted me before with your game purchases, trust me now: buy this one right away.

GameZone Review Detail


GZ Rating


Zero Mission makes this yet another spectacular Metroid game for your Game Boy Advance and it’s one that should not be missed if you like the series or action games in general. 

Reviewer: Eduardo Zacarias

Review Date: 02/15/2004

Avg. Web Rating


Purchase Options

Reviews Across the Web