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Metroid Zero Mission (GBA)

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Manufacturer: Nintendo / Genre: Action

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    1 Review
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      28.04.2004 02:30
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      After a somewhat quiet period in the N64 days it seems Samus is very much back in action. We?ve had the very brilliant Metroid Prime on the Cube, which took the Metroid series into gorgeous 3D. Then Metroid Fusion came along last year on the GBA. The series has progressed from strength to strength since it first appeared way back in 1986 on the NES when the world first got a glimpse of bounty hunter Samus Aran. Since then it has become, along with the Mario and Zelda games, a key franchise for Nintendo. This year we should we are treated with two new games. Metroid Prime 2 is on its way and we now have Metroid: Zero Mission for the GBA. So, the question is, with the revival will mainstream press actually realise that under the suit is a woman? Probably not. The story of Zero Mission follows in similar vain to the original and seeing as this is classed as a remake it isn?t that surprising. It seems the Space Pirates are up to no good and causing havoc in space after attacking a research vessel and taking the life forms that were getting studied upon it. The life forms in question are Metroids and are particularly nasty little things. These hovering blobs can latch on and suck the life out of the host and they are so vicious that they are stated as being the reason for the extinction of Planet SR388. If the Space Pirates managed to clone Metroids to build up their numbers (and it?s a kind of thing the little scamps would do) then all life on every planet would be under threat. The Federation Police located their base for testing to be Planet Zebes, former home of the mysterious Chozo race, yet despite heavy attacks none were successful. As a final resort they decided to send one lone bounty hunter to infiltrate the base, take on the Space Pirates and defeat the deadly Mother Brain. That bounty hunter in question is Samus Aran and she undertakes her task to infiltrate her planet, once her home, and save the universe of extinction. < br>Do not be put off by the fact that this is another remake for the GBA. While the graphics and sound have had the overhaul they need to bring it up do date the changes in the game are not just cosmetic. The game is markedly different from the original Metroid game. There are new areas to explore and some new style enemies thrown in for good measure. Following on from the uptake of Metroid Prime there is a lot more backstory into the Chozo and how Samus was brought up on the planet. With that said the game has more akin to the remake of Resident Evil than just a straight update. Unlike last years Fusion, Zero Mission seems to have gone back to the game style people know and love the series for. As good as it was Fusion was criticised by fans for being too linear, with little chance to explore new areas when you want because of a set path to follow. Zero Mission gives you the chance to explore the planet with a lot more ease. There are, of course, sections which you cant access without the right equipment but in general there are many chances to veer off the main path and visit other more secluded areas on the map, often with rewarding results. Also making a return is a popular favourite among the followers of sequence breaking. This is a form of play that lets people acquire items before they are intended. This has been in many Metroid games before, some breaks intentional others not, it seems Zero Mission was built with the sequence breaking in mind with a few opportunities to get rewards before their time?not that it will be easy. With a large area to explore there is certainly a lot to find in Zero Mission and getting the 100% item acquisition will take some time. It isn?t just about exploring. Samus also needs to fight her away around the planet too. There are plenty of enemies for Samus to get her weapons into. Most are the standard affair of parasites and hovering drones but there are a few bigger, faster and tougher e nemies on show as well as the bosses. Luckily Samus has a nice arsenal of weapons to help her out. As ever these must be acquired as you go along so you wont be formidable from the beginning. Weapon acquisition happens at quite a good pace, with each one coming in at a time when you?ll expect to have it though it does seem the power bomb comes a bit too late into the proceedings. The game also has a good section of stealth in the final quarter where you must try to rely on dodging the enemies and not go in guns blazing. While no Thief or Splinter Cell it?s nice to see some diversity to the normal type of gameplay. Another change from last years GBA game is that combat is surprisingly easy. While save stations don?t recharge your health and equipment (at least not during most of the game) enemies lay down enough spoils when you kill them to be able to progress with relative ease if you are familiar with the games. Bosses are big but most are not a serious threat, be thankful to know there is no Nightmare this time round to give you trouble, as most bosses are pushovers aside from the end ones where difficulty is a touch higher. It seems Zero Mission seems to have pitched the difficulty for newcomers, which seems at odds with the inclusion of sequence breaking. There is obviously the choice to increase the difficulty but it would have been nice to see a few more tough enemies on your travels. Zero Mission looks every bit as good as Fusion did. From the indoor, maze-like sections of research station to the sprawling, rocky outdoor wasteland this is one of the best looking games on the GBA. Most effects are the same as Fusion with a little more tweaks here and there but it is the variety of environments on show that impresses with this game and it is also nice to see Samus back in her orange and gold suit. Bosses are big and can often nearly fill up the whole screen and like everything in the game they are superbly animated with fluid movements throughout. The story is told via animated storyboards throughout the game, which are very nicely styled and nice to see them used to help progress the story along. The game also sounds good, especially the music, with a reworking of a few of the classic themes and this game really does do playing it via the GameBoy Player justice just to get some more powerful speakers helping bring the sound out. Unfortunately a slight drawback of the game is the fact it is over far, far too quickly. You will be shocked to see that no sooner you get into it that the games end sequence will come up and its game over. You can easily complete this game with a good run through in less than four hours. If you want to get every single item for completion then you can expect to double that. Reports of people completing the game in less than one hour are no cause for high alarm as they have probably had multiple play troughs and know the areas. However it still is an incredibly short life span and it really could have done with an extra hour or two. With that in mind you need to make your mind as to whether you will want to pay the full price for the game or wait a while. It is worth noting, however, that on completion you can play the original Metroid game, which adds a few more hours to the cartridge and is noticeably a lot tougher with little in the way of power ups or even a map it?s an example of how games have been made more ?accessible? over the years. Zero Mission is a great inclusion to the already high quality Metroid franchise. Everything will be instantly familiar to veterans yet remade differently enough to find out and experience new things and a good starting point for people who are new to the series. Highly addictive and highly entertaining it will make good use of your GBA. It is just a shame that as fantastic the experience is it doesn?t last as long as you?d want it to. That said it is still a must for any Metroid fan and is on e of the standout titles on the GBA today. [7 out of 10] METROID: ZERO MISSION IS Entertaining throughout Worthy of any fans collection Going back to its Metroid roots METROID: ZERO MISSION IS NOT Going to last long A typical remake Too challenging

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