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.

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.

12 Comments
13 Comments
Posted by Hailinel

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.

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.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

I’ve never attempted a 100% run of the game myself

Neither did I, mainly because of that one upgrade that requires you to Shinespark while in morph ball form.

Posted by believer258

I remember Mother Brain being very (and unfairly) hard, while this Ridley was difficult but not bad.

Posted by Mento

I dig the 100% completion end boss upgrade. It's an intelligent way of getting around the unfortunate issue of players curb-stomping what should be their toughest challenge because of all the extracurricular side-quests they've been beefing up on. I don't want to go into much detail in case he comes up in the final week's worth of End Bosses, but Last Remnant had a similar deal as well.

I believe Zero Mission is the only Metroid game I haven't played. I really ought to rectify that. It's a shame it wasn't the Metroid freebie given to 3DS Ambassadors instead of Fusion (not that I'm disparaging Fusion, it's just I already own it).

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Posted by DeF

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel said:

I’ve never attempted a 100% run of the game myself

Neither did I, mainly because of that one upgrade that requires you to Shinespark while in morph ball form.

I think I forced myself to try it over and over again for a few hours but it's been a while.

For some reason I couldn't beat Mecha Ridley until I took a break for a few years and then randomly tried it again and beat him on the first go. (A similar thing happened with the Prime Metroid lol which I finally was able to defeat for the first time last August during Metroid's anniversary lol)

Posted by Hailinel

@Mento said:

I dig the 100% completion end boss upgrade. It's an intelligent way of getting around the unfortunate issue of players curb-stomping what should be their toughest challenge because of all the extracurricular side-quests they've been beefing up on. I don't want to go into much detail in case he comes up in the final week's worth of End Bosses, but Last Remnant had a similar deal as well.

I believe Zero Mission is the only Metroid game I haven't played. I really ought to rectify that. It's a shame it wasn't the Metroid freebie given to 3DS Ambassadors instead of Fusion (not that I'm disparaging Fusion, it's just I already own it).

I have no experience with The Last Remnant and don't plan on touching that game for this feature. I'm curious to know how that game did this sort of thing.

@believer258 said:

I remember Mother Brain being very (and unfairly) hard, while this Ridley was difficult but not bad.

I don't know if I'd ever accuse the Mother Brain fight of being unfair, but I do recall dying and cursing quite a lot.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

I don't know if I'd ever accuse the Mother Brain fight of being unfair

*ahem*

Posted by believer258

@Hailinel said:

@Mento said:

I dig the 100% completion end boss upgrade. It's an intelligent way of getting around the unfortunate issue of players curb-stomping what should be their toughest challenge because of all the extracurricular side-quests they've been beefing up on. I don't want to go into much detail in case he comes up in the final week's worth of End Bosses, but Last Remnant had a similar deal as well.

I believe Zero Mission is the only Metroid game I haven't played. I really ought to rectify that. It's a shame it wasn't the Metroid freebie given to 3DS Ambassadors instead of Fusion (not that I'm disparaging Fusion, it's just I already own it).

I have no experience with The Last Remnant and don't plan on touching that game for this feature. I'm curious to know how that game did this sort of thing.

@believer258 said:

I remember Mother Brain being very (and unfairly) hard, while this Ridley was difficult but not bad.

I don't know if I'd ever accuse the Mother Brain fight of being unfair, but I do recall dying and cursing quite a lot.

It was really annoying because I couldn't get a fair shot in as I was getting blasted by her brain beam thingy or the missiles and shit coming out of the walls, and the lava in the bottom just turned the frustration up to 11.

If I'm not mistaken, if you're at the level cap when you meet Sephiroth in FF7, the fight becomes near impossible. I found that out here.

Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King: I Wanna Be The Guy doesn't count.

@believer258: No doubt. It was a battle that required a hell of a lot of patience.

Posted by coakroach

Way to remind me that I never beat Mother Brain

:(

Posted by Mento

@Hailinel: It's pretty much as it sounds. The Conquerer (yo, spoilers but not really) gets a massive stat boost and becomes the Absolute Conquerer if you complete all the game's side-quests before facing him. Said side-quests include several superbosses that easily surpass the original Conquerer, but the Absolute Conquerer is the strongest enemy bar none.

Like Mecha-Ridley and 's example with Safer Sephiroth (which has to be the wildest stab in the dark at translating "Seraph"), I think it's more a test for those that have clearly mastered the game rather than a system to keep the final boss competitive with the other superbosses.

I guess I should also point out that in the PC port of Last Remnant, the Conquerer apparently has several tiers of power depending on the % of side-stuff you've completed, which is more in line with the "keeping the boss competitive" aspect.

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Posted by Tokoname

Awesome. Though, yes, Super Metroid is the most iconic game in the series for me, I am a massive fan of all the 2D Metroid games. I never found the bosses of Zero Mission too difficult, as you say, but I have never heard of the 100% completion thing. Gonna have to give that a go, for sure.

Posted by Hailinel

@Mento: Sounds really interesting. I just wish that Square Enix hadn't cancelled the PS3 version of the game or I'd likely have given it a shot by now.