Metroid: Zero Mission is a GBA remake of the original NES Metroid, using updated graphics and controls based on and inspired by the then-recent Metroid Fusion. As well as a map function missing from the original, the game has a few updated features and bonus areas, including a unique Ridley fight.
Metroid: Zero Mission follows the same basic plot as that of the original Metroid. On an emergency order from the Galactic Federation, bounty hunter Samus Aran travels to the planet Zebes in order to infiltrate a lair of space pirates, exterminate the metroids that they have in their possession, and destroy the space pirates' bio-mechanical computer, Mother Brain. The bosses Ridley and Kraid also return and are given appearances more in line with their redesigned forms that appeared in Super Metroid.
The plot is further expanded by cutscenes at key points to illustrate the story in more detail. It also works in key points of Samus's backstory that had been established in later games, depicting moments of her childhood as an orphan on Zebes, raised by the Chozo that once inhabited the planet. The biggest deviation from the original Metroid comes at the point where the first game ended. in Zero Mission, after Samus defeats Mother Brain and escapes to her ship, she is attacked by space pirates and forced to crash land, losing her power suit in the process. Armed with only an emergency pistol, she must sneak into the inner-most chamber of an old Chozo temple and complete a trial to acquire a newer, more powerful suit. Once done, she confronts a now cybernetic Ridley and uses a spare space pirate craft to escape.
Metroid Zero Mission controls similarly to Metroid Fusion. Players fire with B and jump with A. Zero Mission brings in power ups made famous by Super Metroid for this remake for a different take on the first game. Some effects also happen automatically such as the Speed Booster which turns off after walking for a while without getting obstructed. Players also have more control over some more advanced techniques in this game such as the Shinespark, which can now be cancelled by inclines while still allowing it to continue for a short while. An addition was made to the Shinespark, as it can now be used in Morph Ball mode, a technique which is necessary to get 100% of all items in the game.
Sequence Breaking was a big part in the design of Metroid Zero Mission. Some paths that exist in the game are solely there for the purpose of sequence breaking, and are otherwise unreachable without using techniques such as wall jumping, shinesparking or diagonal bomb jumping; all of which are techniques non-existent in the original Metroid.
After defeating Mother Brain and escaping Zebes, Samus is attacked by Space Pirates, leaving her marooned on Zebes without her Power Suit. This new part of the game which puts Samus in her Zero Suit, introduced first in this game. Samus is very weak in this segment, and only a few hits will result in a Game Over. Samus cannot kill enemies in this section, only stun them. This section of the game is a side-scrolling stealth segment which leads Samus getting the Gravity Suit as well as all the Unknown items she has picked up thus far. This will eventually lead to the final boss of the game as well as final escape sequence.
An extension of Samus' Power Beam, allowing her to shoot farther to reach those annoying enemies at the corners of the screen and blow up all the rocks blocking Morph Ball tunnels.
A fully charged blast has the same power as a missile, but it doesn't open red doors. Also if Samus somersaults into small enemies while holding a charge she will destroy them; a less powerful Screw Attack.
The Wave Beam increases Samus's beam width and allows her to shoot through walls. It can also reveal destructible blocks.
One shot of Ice Beam freezes some enemies in their tracks for a short period of time, making them easier to avoid. Since frozen enemies don't harm Samus, they can be used as platforms.
One of the unknown items Samus can collect early on which later becomes the Plasma Beam once Samus has fully upgraded her suit. Rather than stopping with one enemy Plasma Beam allows Samus's beam to keep flying to hit multiple enemies.
Morph Ball Bomb
Finally Samus's Morph Ball is no longer weak and defenseless. Morph Ball Bombs are used for opening new paths and she can use them to preform a bomb jump. Using Bombs on certain areas will reveal special blocks that require certain items to get past, such as Power Bombs and Missiles.
This is the game's final upgrade. This bomb has a radius of about a screen and a half and destroys anything in its way.
A missile is more powerful than Samus's beam and can open red hatches, making it a great addition to her arsenal. In easy and normal difficulties the missile tank gives Samus five missiles, but on hard difficulty it gives her only two.
Super Missile Tank
A Super Missile is around five missiles combined into one huge explosion that opens green hatches and brings bosses to their knees. On easy and normal difficulty, the tank gives Samus two Super Missiles, where as it gives her one on hard difficulty.
The Varia Suit allows Samus to enter hot rooms that originally drained her health. She can even go in acid without fear of damage, but lava still zaps her health. Without a better suit upgrade, she will move at half speed while in these areas.
Another one of the unknown items; the Gravity Suit allows Samus to jump normally in acid, lava, or water and prevents damage from lava. The Gravity Suit also allows her to move freely in these areas without being slowed down.
Samus's first upgrade she get immediately after starting. Morph Ball allows her to enter small passages and evade enemies quicker.
Power Grip allows Samus to grab onto edges that she couldn't jump onto before. She can also fire her beam in five directions while hanging.
This greatly increases how high Samus can jump, and even adds a jump to the Morph Ball. Using this allows her to reach areas that were once unreachable through jumping normally.
This allows Samus to continuously jump while in mid-air. When Samus acquires the Screw Attack, she can jump without fear of taking damage from enemies, which would cause her to lose her jump otherwise.
This upgrade allows Samus to run faster through long corridors, destroying everything in her way, including blocks with an arrow on them. While activated, pressing down on the D-pad will allow her to perform the Shinespark technique which can be done by jumping twice and pressing a direction.
This upgrade turns Samus's somersault into an upgrade that allows her to plow through all enemies (except for bosses), and destroys certain blocks by jumping into them.
These increase Samus's Health by 100 on every difficulty besides Hard. On Hard difficulty, Energy Tanks only increase her health by 50.
Areas on Zebes
Metroid Zero Mission takes all of the areas from the original Metroid and adds a couple of its' own.
This is the starting area of the game. Samus even starts in the exact same location as well. Most of the environments are rock and plant based. Here, she can obtain the Morph Ball, the Long Beam, the Varia Suit, Bombs and the Charge Beam; not necessarily in that order. She can also reach the areas Norfair, Tourian, Kraid and Crateria. Brinstar is basically the game's hub world since it connects to almost every other area in the game.
The environment here is made up mostly of rocks and lava/acid. Some areas are not accessible if Samus do not have the Varia Suit due to the extreme temperatures, which will cause her to constantly take damage until she dies. In this area she can get the Ice Beam, the High Jump, the Wave Beam and the Speed Attack. In Norfair, she can access the areas Brinstar, Crateria, and Ridley. She can also access Kraid, but only through sequence breaking.
This area is where Samus faces the first boss of the game, Kraid. Kraid is a giant lizard that is 2 screens tall. By defeating Kraid she obtains access to the Speed Booster. In Kraid, she can also get one of three unknown items, which are unlocked later in the game. Kraid, like Ridley is an area that existed in the original Metroid dedicated to confronting one of the game's main bosses. In Kraid, she can access Brinstar as well as Norfair, but the latter can only be reached through sequence breaking from this area.
This area is where Samus faces the second boss of the game, Ridley. The area has a similar environmental breakdown as Norfair. Ridley is a giant, flying fire breathing dragon monster. By defeating Ridley, Samus obtains another unknown item. Along with Kraid, by defeating Ridley Samus opens up one of two paths that are required to be opened to reach the final area of the game, Tourian.
This is the final area of the game, or at least the original game, and is only accessible through Brinstar. The area is very mechanical, but also contains lava. This area also introduces the player to Metroids, biological lifeforms that suck Samus's energy away at the slightest touch. They're also hard to shake off. At the end of Tourian, Samus will face Mother Brain. Mother Brain is somewhat different from the original Metroid in that it actually attacks Samus directly. After defeating Mother Brain, the game's first escape sequence, while similar to the original game takes Samus to Crateria and Samus' Ship, both of which were unseen in the first game.
This new area of Zebes contains Samus' Ship as well as access to Tourian, Brinstar, Norfair and Chozodia. Samus can get the Power Grip early on in the game here. Samus will rarely visit Crateria throughout the game. Crateria is on the surface of Zebes, so it has no hazards outside of enemies.
Chozodia and Pirate's Ship
While Samus can access this area somewhat early on in the game, it is dominantly the final area of the game, containing the real final boss of the game. Here Samus can access Crateria, which is a short distance away from the other main areas of the game and she can get the Gravity Suit, and in turn unlock the 3 unknown items she has obtained throughout the game. Those items include the Plasma Beam among others. At the end Samus faces Meta Ridley, a giant mechanical version of Ridley. Defeating this boss will trigger the final escape sequence of the game, which forces Samus to hijack a Space Pirate Escape Pod.
Other Features and Trivia
- The game also allows the player to play a copy of the original Metroid for NES.
- The game allows the player to view the Gallery, which contains all the wallpapers they've obtained from beating the game in various ways.
- The player can unlock Hard Mode by beating the game on Normal.
- The player can unlock Sound Test by beating the game on Hard once.
- The player can use a Link Cable to link up with Metroid Fusion to unlock the Fusion Gallery.
- By achieving a 100% item collection rate, the final boss will take longer to kill and will deal more damage.