I have played this one before, though just enough time has passed now for me to have entirely forgotten everything about it. I actually managed to finish the game... on the easy difficulty. This time though I'll be playing it on normal mode, so I'm expecting it to be closer to the original's level of challenge and kick my ass from one side of Zebes to the other.
Super Metroid's version of it did. Doesn't look bad though, even with that cartoony background, and it's nice to see they've added a mini-map in the corner.
Also I guess the crawly spiky things went wandering off somewhere else in the remake. I assumed at first that they were just above the visible screen area, and they'd be crawling down any second now, but it turns out that the level really is only as tall as the screen in the GBA game. There's nothing above the screen for them to crawl down from.
|Super Metroid (SNES)|
|Evolution of Samus (1986-2004)|
Anyway screw the screen size and character design, I'm far more interested in comparing these guys:
|Evilution of the scary face block (1986-2004)|
Anyway the morph ball is still present and accounted for, exactly where I found it in Metroid 1. A little shinier than I remember, but as long as it still lets Samus curl up into an impossibly small ball and roll through tiny gaps, it'll do just fine (bombs are no doubt still sold separately.)
I still have to shoot doors to open them too, another weird quirk of Chozo architecture. She's not even blasting them apart, they really are
A SHORT WALK TO THE RIGHT LATER.
I somehow managed to play the original Metroid for an hour or so first time around without ever running into one of these Chozo statues, but on a replay I learned that they're actually everywhere in the game. They usually come bearing suit upgrades though (Samus wears a Chozo designed suit so it makes sense... kinda.) This guy is entirely empty handed though. Though his empty hand is glowing... hey, that gives me a morph ball related idea!
+500 points for having an actual proper in-game map as well. No need to hunt down the appropriate issue of Nintendo Power to find your way around in this one.
In the original Metroid on the NES I tended to reappear right back at the start of the area I was in every time I ran out of health, which was kind of a pain in the arse. Though it was at least kind enough to give me infinite continues, passwords, and let me keep the gear I'd collected along the way. Original original Metroid on the Famicom Disk System has saves instead of passwords, though no proper save point rooms like this, so it was basically the same as the NES game in practice.
The enemies in Zero Mission drop far more health fortunately, around 4 times as much right now, which pretty much removes the grind entirely.
I'm actually ambivalent to this kind of game design. On one hand I like being able to go off the path and explore, but on the other hand it's a bit of a pain in the ass to only discover I've gone the wrong way after I've already fought through several screens full of enemies. Plus of course then I've got to fight my way back through them all again to get out, as they like to respawn.
Uh, okay shooting him isn't working... oh duh, I have to use missiles! A few rockets in the eye ought to sort him out, provided I can get my shots on target. Which I can't.
Wow, he eventually got bored and left, boss fight cancelled I guess. That's gotta be the first time a boss's gotten bored of a fight and quit before I was able to. Kind of embarrassing really.
Look how close those S save game rooms are on the map, there's barely any walk needed to get back to the where you left off after getting killed. Which is good.
I suppose I could always just leave this pit without collecting the entirely optional upgrade. After all, I'll probably be able to collect it later with far less effort after I've grabbed a few extra gadgets for my suit... but I'm way too stubborn for that. I ain't leaving this room without those missiles.
MUCH MUCH MUCH LATER.
Actually she's just watching me descend to the next level on an lift during a brief illustrated interlude. But if this is anything like the original Metroid (and to be honest it's starting to become pretty unrecognisable at this point), then I'll soon be backtracking back up to the starting area to unlock some new path.
Also I haven't got the running upgrade yet, so I wasn't fast enough to make it across this floor before it collapsed under my feet, sending me tumbling to the ground below. Lucky I never suffer fall damage really.
SOME INTENSIVE METROIDVANIAING LATER.
Uh, how do I get this thing moving? Shooting in the opposite direction isn't doing a damn thing and shooting the red light isn't working either. But shooting is basically all I can do!
I suppose this is another one of those dead ends then for now. I'll have to make a mental note of where this is (because there's no way of making actual notes on them map of course), then come back if I find a thing to activate these things.
Then comes the most fun part of all, trying to figure out his pattern and how I can injure him! Well I'm sure it must be fun to someone anyway. Personally I generally can't stand boss fights for whatever reason, even when they're perfectly reasonable like this one is.
A FEW DUMB MISTAKES LATER.
I still haven't found a lava-proof suit, though perhaps I won't even need one now that I've collected two extra energy tanks of health. I mean the lava isn't instantly lethal and I only have to survive long enough to reach a door and get out of there. Well I've tried every other room and bombed every floor for secret passages, and I got nothing better left to do to than go swimming in lava, so I might as well jump right in.
Perhaps I've just gotten used to the Metroid games and their tricks by this point, but to me this game actually seems to play fair most of the time... up until now. But I'm calling bullshit on this. There's no way I could have been expected to know that this particular pool of lava would disappear when I jumped into it, even if it is the only obvious way left to go.
A MERE HANDFUL OF CORRIDORS LATER.
Wait a second, I'm sure I've fought this boss in a game before, but that's impossible unless...
|Super Metroid (SNES)|
I can't really blame the game for this, but whenever I reach a fight like this I have to pause after a minute or two and go for a walk, maybe get a snack. Perhaps go watch a film or go play something entirely different because oh shit I just don't want to fight this guy anymore! It's not even frustration because I'm doing badly, I just don't want to carry on with this routine any longer.
Oh, I didn't get killed during the boss fight, I actually beat Kraid no trouble (to my great surprise). No I ended up getting falling into lava few minutes later, then getting stuck there when one of those flying things harassed me and prevented me from getting back out. And that was actually my first loss in the game, so I think it's probably fair to say the game is a little easier than the original Metroid. Far far less frustrating as well.
Alright, what did I think about Metroid: Zero Mission then? Well it seemed a lot like Super Metroid, with the frustration dialled down a few notches. There were still a lot of situations where I was bombing walls to look for secret passages just to make any progress, but they seemed a bit less secret this time around. I found that I could spot a lot of them even before blasting chunks out of the walls and aside from that cruel fake lava trick I found myself able to make steady progress just by thinking things out logically. Plus I like how it often led me back out of a room through a different path to the one I came in from, so I wasn't retreading the same areas over and over again so much like I did in the original game.
Back when I played Metroid on the NES I mentioned that there were two things that really killed the game for me (aside from the difficulty) and that was not having a map, and always getting thrown back to the area entrance on death, and Zero Mission has none of these issues. In fact I can imagine that some people would find the game far too easy and get frustrated that you have to finish the game on Normal difficulty before unlocking Hard mode. Which actually is a really dumb feature, I don't get why they did that.
But me, I love the game. It looks great, sounds great, plays great, it points you in the right direction without leading you around the whole way, and they even got rid of the grind for health! I wouldn't mind finishing it a second time actually.
And those were the words I wrote about Metroid: Zero Mission, I hope they brought some light into your day. And if you're feeling in the mood for sharing some words of your own about the game or my site, the comments box stands ready to convey your wisdom to the world.