End Boss Month #24: Metroid: Zero Mission

Remakes are a difficult thing to pull off. The best are like Resident Evil on the GameCube, widely praised for its ability to remain true to the source while also vastly improving it. And then there are the games like Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes which, while not bad, left some cold with its new mechanics and crazy cutscenes. It’s a difficult line to toe, and a subjective one at that. But with that in mind, let’s take a look at the final boss of one of my favorite remakes out there; Metroid: Zero Mission.

Zero Mission is a full revamp of the original NES game that takes advantage of just about every advancement made to the Metroidvania subgenre since Samus first destroyed Mother Brain. There’s new gear, an actual map with objective markers, a more coherent, less Engrishy story with cutscenes, and well, it just looks, sounds and plays better in every conceivable way. On top of all of this, though, is the fact that Mother Brain got downgraded from final boss to the boss that’s fought before encountering a lot of crazy new stuff.

And near the end of all of this crazy new stuff? Mecha-Ridley. That’s right, not regular-ass Ridley (or Green Lantern Ridley, for that matter); he kinda sorta got missiled in the face earlier in the game. But now he’s back, he’s electronic, he’s pissed off, and Samus has to fight him if she wants to escape.

Don't call him Robo-Ridley. He hates alliteration.
Don't call him Robo-Ridley. He hates alliteration.

The fight against Mecha-Ridley isn’t just a reskinned Ridley fight. This incarnation is pretty much stationary, but can swipe at Samus and fire projectiles of the fire, laser, and missile varieties. And if you’re crazy enough to do a 100% item collection run, he gets even harder. That’s right; the fight’s difficulty rises if you decide to go at it after collecting every single power-up scattered around Zebes. And when you do defeat him, his wrecked body triggers a self-destruct mechanism, meaning that it's time for that traditional Metroid "getting the hell out of Dodge" sequence.

I’ve never attempted a 100% run of the game myself, so I couldn’t really say how much the rise in difficulty truly matters, but I never personally had much trouble with him. I actually found the demoted Mother Brain the more difficult boss. That being said, facing Mecha-Ridley is still pretty satisfying, as he’s the one enemy that really presents a challenge to Samus after she regains her powersuit and starts mowing through mooks left and right. He’s what brings the player down to Earth, or Zebes, after suddenly becoming a war goddess capable of massive carnage.

So, while Mecha-Ridley isn’t exactly the most iconic final boss of the Metroid series (I’m sure that some of you are still scratching your head over why I picked this game over Super Metroid), he’s a unique addition to a not-insubstantial sequence that takes off right where the original game ended. Like any addition brought to remake, Mecha-Ridley could have fallen flat, but he holds his own quite well.