is an action-adventure video game
produced by Nintendo
for the Game Boy Advance handheld console
. It is part of the Metroid series
, an enhanced remake
of the original Metroid
game designed to retell the game's story. Like the other titles in the series, it features intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran
as the player-controlled main character.
Zero Mission was developed by Nintendo's internal team, Nintendo R&D1, under the direction of Yoshio Sakamoto. The game was released on February 9, 2004 in North America, and on May 27, 2004 in Japan.
As a remake of Metroid
, Zero Mission's
general layout is very similar to the original. However, many new items, areas, and mini bosses have been added, as well as an automatic minimap, and an entirely new area near the end of the game called Chozodia. At first glance, it appears to be a linear
game, forcing the player to acquire certain items in a certain order. However, careful exploration of the environment allows for the player to disregard a large part of this ordering. This technique has been termed sequence breaking
and makes it possible, if very difficult, to finish the game collecting only 9% of the items. Progress can be saved in certain rooms, called, appropriately, "Save Rooms", or Samus's ship on Crateria.
Zero Mission makes a strong departure from the series with the inclusion of an all-new gameplay sequence in which the player must control Samus without her Power Suit. In this portion of the game, Samus is more vulnerable to damage, she must crawl through ducts on her hands and knees without the help of the Morph Ball power, and her only weapon is a weak pistol that can only stun an enemy for a brief moment. However, Samus retains all energy tanks she acquired previously. This marks the first time she has been playable during the course of normal gameplay without her suit — in each previous Metroid game, seeing Samus without her armor has been a feature in one or more of the game's endings or a cosmetic Easter egg.
Items and objects
Many powerups and items make reappearances from previous games in the series, with similar uses and effects. The core items from the franchise (the Varia Suit and Gravity Suit, the Speed Booster, the Morph Ball, and various weapons) are present in the same form as in other 2D installments, and, unlike in the original Metroid, the player is able to possess both the Ice and Wave beams simultaneously. The Hi-Jump Boots (simply titled Hi-Jump in this game) and Spring Ball are combined into one item, which was first done in Metroid Fusion. The Wave and Spazer Beams are also combined. The only new item is the Power Grip, which allows Samus to grab ledges and pull herself up with a single hand, an ability that she had innately in Metroid Fusion. The Wall Jump technique is usable in this game, but unlike in Metroid Fusion, it can be used infinitely on a single wall to gain height. The Shinespark technique, which debuted in Super Metroid, is also present.
Music and graphics
Most of the music in Zero Mission
consists of orchestral arrangements of Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka's
soundtrack from the NES version of Metroid
. The game also borrows tracks from Super Metroid
and includes a few pieces that are completely new to the series. Zero Mission
's soundtrack was produced by Minako Hamano
and Kenji Yamamoto
, who collaborated on the music for Super Metroid
, and separately went on to compose music for Metroid Fusion
and Metroid Prime
A style resembling hand-drawn comic book panels pervades the game's backgrounds, as well as the cinematic cutscenes that appear infrequently throughout the story. Alpha blending is used extensively throughout the game; opaque foreground elements which obscure hidden areas will smoothly fade away once the player finds the entrance.
This game is on most occasions referred to as the better looking of the two Metroid games current available for Game Boy Advance. Many believe Zero Mission is graphically superior because Fusion was one of the first releases for the system - conversely, the developers (like others) were not sure exactly how much the system could handle. The graphics, nevertheless, still look quite similar. Samus, however, is noticeably more detailed in Zero Mission.
A feature unique to Zero Mission
, Metroid Prime
, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
is the ability to unlock extra features, such as an emulated version of the Metroid
NES port by completing the game, and a sound test screen by beating the game on the Hard difficulty. Using a Game Boy Advance link cable and a second system, players can link this game to Metroid Fusion
, unlocking all ending images from Fusion
(including the Japanese endings from other difficulties) for view on the Zero Mission
cartridge. Completing the game within a given time, obtaining a high (100%) or low (15%) item collection rate, and playing on different difficulties rewards the player with various pictures of Samus in different poses. These pictures can be viewed at anytime after obtaining them in the gallery. Time Attack mode is available on a save file where the game has been beaten and a code has been input to unlock it. In Time Attack mode, the player plays through the game on Normal difficulty and receives a password after beating the game depending on their final time. This password was used to enter a contest Nintendo of Japan held.
It was rated the 46th best game made on a Nintendo System in Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games list.