Written by  :  STU2 (72)
Written on  :  Jun 11, 2006
Platform  :  Game Boy Advance
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Metroid: The Director's Extended Cut - "Going Back To Where It All Started"

The Good

Metroid: Zero Mission is the second Metroid game I've beaten; I beat Metroid Fusion a while back and started Metroid Prime but got nowhere (need to pick that up and play it again sometime).

M:ZM is essentially a remake of the very first Metroid game released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. However, it is more like a Director's Cut than a straight remake; a good example of another Director's Cut game would be the Gamecube version of the original Resident Evil. While the core game is intact, new locations, enemies, and bosses have been added to the game to extend the experience and provide more of a back story to your adventure.

Originally released in 2004, the graphics for M:ZM definitely stand up to the test of time. The majority of the time I played this game on my NES Edition Gameboy Advance SP; however, the graphics show up even better if you play it on the GameBoy Player that you can attach to your Gamecube. Colors are brighter, graphics are enhanced, and the music and effects sound clearer.

The gameplay is your typical Metroid style. You are thrown into an environment and have to go around recovering/acquiring various abilities in order to advance further through the area. Sometimes you will come across a locked door that you cannot even open without an ability you won't acquire until maybe a few more hours into the game. While this adds a certain level of longitivity to the game, it occassionally gives off a sense of artificially prolonging the game. However, completionists will delight in trying to achieve a perfect 100% collection score with a minimal time.

If you can complete the main mission, you will unlock a perfectly emulated version of the original Metroid for the NES, as well as a Hard mode that will definitely give you a challenge.

The Bad

While the Metroid series has never been known for its immersive story, it seemed that there was even less of a story than in Metroid Fusion. In M:F, cutscenes would occur more frequently, and you would constantly be getting updates from that computer personality.

The essential story of M:ZM seems to be 1- Destroy Mother Brain, and then 2-Destroy the Space Pirate ship. Not really much of a story, although I guess it's comparable to the "story" in the original Halo. However, it does get the job done; although it leaves us with a lot of questions, such as "Why was Samus raised on this planet by these creatures in the first place?"

One thing I appreciated about Metroid: Fusion was the directions your computer "friend" gave you, as well as good story reasons why you should go there. In Metroid: Zero MIssion, you are still prodded at times, but there is no reason as to why. Whenever you stumble across a Chozon statue, you will typically gain a new ability, and then be treated to a quick little shot of where you need to go next, without any reason as to why you should go there (other than you really can't go anywhere else).

I know a lot of fans of the series hated the prodding in the other game. They are disciples of the Super Metroid game where you have to find and discover everything for yourself. I am afraid I must disagree with them on this. Some motivation as well as direction is always a helpful thing in games, and is an evidence of good game design. Ever play a game where you have no clue where to go or do next? Not fun.

I beat the game just shy of 5 hours with a 76% completion rate. Obviously the game is a little on the short side. However, I'm thankful for the fact that I had already beaten another 2D Metroid game, because if I hadn't, and I hadn't used any guides or FAQs, it would probably have taken me much longer with a smaller completion rate.

The Bottom Line

A short action adventure title that can whittle away an afternoon or car ride, Metroid: Zero Mission is an excellent introduction to the series and is also a fun and enjoyable game for long term fans of the genre. I highly recommend it.