Metroid: Zero Mission (Wii U Virtual Console)
Originally released in 2004 for the GBA, this remake of the original Metroid made pretty much everything appropriate for the modern era. There's an in-game map, save points, controls that do not add artificial difficulty and chozo statues that provide hints for where you should go next, so that the player isn't completely lost. Said hints do not need to be followed though, they are merely a rough guide as almost all of the key upgrades can be collected in varying order or skipped altogether. This sort of sequence-breaking is encouraged by different images for the ending, including challenges to finish the game with 15% or fewer of the items being collected.
The source material is respectfully modernized with almost no exception, but the key word here is "almost". The director, Yoshio Sakamoto, must be a big fan of Hideo Kojima, because I can't explain the inclusion of a lengthy stealth section any other way (plus the need for much more dialogue and cutscenes in other Metroid titles like Fusion and Other M). This sort of gameplay has no place in Metroid and no game developer should look up to Kojima who'd rather make movies than games. Having to move Samus around in her Zero Suit only equipped with a laughable blaster is an annoying interruption of an otherwise fantastic game.
The other major point of criticism pales in comparison. Power Bombs can only be obtained towards the very end of the game and then you have to return all the way to collect the expansions that require Power Bombs to get them. That feels tacked on.
What is awesome is that there isn't only an easy difficulty setting to make this remake more manageable for newcomers, but there's also a hard setting that features higher difficulty than even the original had. Not only do enemies hit a lot harder, but the benefits of upgrades are also reduced. For example, an energy tank only adds 50 points to your max health instead of 100, a missile expansion only adds 2 to your maximum capacity instead of 5. What's also cool is that the final boss receives a significant health boost on any difficulty if you finish the game with 100%.
The original Metroid is included as an unlockable in Zero Mission, so if you haven't played either the original or remake, you don't need to choose which one to buy. With Metroid: Zero Mission you get both games in one package.
|Controls||10||Tight controls that use the same scheme as in Metroid Fusion.
Special techniques like wall jump work better than in Super.
|Gameplay||The remake of the original Metroid updates everything to
modern standards, so it is a blast to play.
|Story||Several short cutscenes were added to embellish key moments.
Setting and atmosphere are outstanding.
|Single-player||An unnecessary lengthy stealth section aside, this game is
almost perfect and keeps you hooked all the way through.
|Graphics||The engine struggles a bit when several space pirates are on
screen at once, but such occasions are rare.
|Sound||The remixed soundtrack hits it out of the park.
Brinstar and Kraid's Lair are especially great.
|Value||On the short side despite two additional areas being added.
The original Metroid is included as unlockable.
|Replay Value||A hard mode that pushes the difficulty even above the original's.
A gallery that encourages challenge playthroughs.
|Score||9||Metroid: Zero Mission is one of the best remakes ever made,
comfortably securing a spot among the best in its genre.