Super Metroid: Zero Mission Review
Super Metroid: Zero Mission combines the 1994 Super Metroid game with the 2004 Metroid: Zero Mission game. This unofficial addition to the Metroid series brings a new story and gameplay to the classic series.
It was developed by Japanese hacker SBniconico who released two versions of the game. The first version is the standard edition which has the basic level of difficulty while the Hard Edition has been modified to be more difficult. The game was officially released in April 2011 and the repro edition of the game contains the completed Super Zero Mission game.
As expected, the game takes place on Planet Zebes where the player controls Samus Aran as she travels through the various caverns and environments in the game. There is no plot building at the start of the game and Samus appears to be on the planet for no reason. She exits her ship then begins to explore the planet and the various caverns it holds.
The game seems to follow the same path as Metroid: Zero Mission with the first boss in the game being Kraid and the second being Ripley. There is no background to this however so players who have never touched a Metroid game could become confused by the lack of direction in the game.
For those who don't know the plot of Metroid: Zero Mission, Samus has been sent to Planet Zebes to reclaim the samples of Metroids which was stolen by Space Pirates. Samus must infiltrate the Space Pirate's base, destroy Mother Brain and reclaim or destroy the Metroid samples.
The plot in the game seems to follow Metroid: Zero Mission where the space pirates play a major role as antagonists in the game. The player must escape the planet to avoid being destroyed when the Space Pirate Mothership self-destructs and destroys most of Planet Zebes.
Unlike other ROM hacks, Super Metroid: Zero Mission feels very similar to Metroid: Zero Mission. It follows the classic sidescrolling action-adventure gameplay elements that places emphasis on combat and exploration.
The levels in the game are spread across a variety of linear screens which contain a door or elevator that the player can use to access the next level. Most of these doors are one way and stops the player from being able to travel backwards through the levels. Some levels in the game are a single stationary screen, just like the games it's been created from while most are of a side-scrolling nature.
Side-scrolling levels are formed of a linear pathway for the player to follow which is filled with enemies that can be killed or avoided. Platforming plays a large role later in the game where the player must follow the path upwards to progress through the game. As to be expected from a Metroid game, Samus is able turn into her 'morph ball' form which allows her to crawl through small gaps and lets her access new areas of the level. When she jumps, she also spins in her ball form and can use wall jumps to reach higher places without the assistance of platforms.
As the game progresses, Samus discovers new abilities by exploring the different levels. Each of these abilities unlocks a new power for Samus which is useful for traversing the levels or combating more powerful enemies. Unlocking new abilities can also allow Samus to return to previous points in the game to progress through areas that were previously inaccessible to her.
Continuing to follow the Metroid gameplay traditions, the developer of this ROM hack has opted to keep the classic combat mechanics. Samus still uses her classic arm gun which is used to kill enemies from range however, she also unlocks other classic attacks throughout the game. This includes a charged cannon attack and timed special abilities which can be used to get through tricky parts of the game.
For the most part, this combat system is simple to learn and use as most enemies early in the game are stationary. As the game progresses, the enemies in the game begin to move more erratically which can make them tricky to hit consistently.
There are a variety of different types of enemies in the game along with several bosses which use a consistent attack pattern. Bosses in this game are the same as Metroid: Zero Mission and use the same attack patterns. Veterans of that game may find this game to be a little tedious as a result as there is very little new content to keep the game entertaining for long periods of time.
Combat in the game does require a little bit of strategy and precision in a similar fashion to the main games in the Metroid series. Players who love the combat from the series should be able to get into this game fairly easily and enjoy what it has to offer them.
The developer of the ROM hack decided to create two versions of it. The original version is known as the 'standard' edition which contains a difficulty level expected from a Metroid game. There are plenty of enemies for the player to kill as they progress through the game and they each have a health level expected from a Metroid family game.
The 'hard' edition of the game is very different however. It contains many more enemies for the player to kill with slightly higher health and damage than usual which provides a real challenge for players.
The standard edition is still a nice challenge for most players however and even veterans of the Metroid series could have some trouble with this version of the game. The hard edition has been designed with hardcore veteran players in mind who know the Metroid games inside and out.
Both versions of the game become steadily more difficult over time however, the player grows with the difficulty so it shouldn't be too bad for most players. Newcomers to the Metroid series could find themselves in trouble however when attempting to play the hard version of the game. Dealing with the bosses in the hard version is especially frustrating and death can occur frequently.
Super Metroid: Zero Mission is a challenging game regardless of which edition a player decides to attempt. The enemy filled levels don't provide much room to stop and think about how to progress through the levels. The bosses only become much more tricky as the game progresses but the strategies from the original Metroid: Zero Mission still work against them in this ROM hack.
Graphics & Audio
Like with other most ROM hacks, the developer has re-used many of the original graphics from Metroid: Zero Mission. Samus uses the same character model as the original game and many of the enemies in the game also feature the same character models. As a result, the game could easily be mixed up with the original game.
It looks and feels just like a classic Metroid game however, there are some new additions to the game. These graphical additions are new levels with new backgrounds that blend in nicely with the original content from the official game.
There is a slight downside to this which makes some of these new backgrounds stand out in the game. These backgrounds 'blend' too much with the foreground platforms and objects that the player can interact with. It can result in a few confusing minutes as the background can appear to 'block' doorways or items that Samus can interact with.
The new levels however are a nice addition to the game and fit the Metroid series well. They contain the right number of enemies and look like they fit into the world of Metroid without standing out too much.
As a bonus, there is also some new sound fx and music in the game. These new additions blend nicely with the official music and work nicely to build atmosphere in the new levels in the game. Most of the sound fx have been re-used however so Metroid fans will find that this game sounds very familiar to Super Metroid and Metroid: Zero Mission.
The completed version of the game is free from bugs and glitches which is great as the game is completable. Like with other ROM hacks,various versions of this game exists online which may not be the completed version of the game. There are two main versions of this game however would could making finding the right completed version a little confusing.
The reproduction version featured on PJ's Games contains the standard completed version of the game.
Super Metroid: Zero Mission plays like a classic Metroid game which makes it fit right at home with the series. The new graphics and audio blend in nicely with the original gameplay from the two games which were merged during the creation of this game.
The 'plot' of he game does let it down slightly however as there is no new plot to the game. It plays just like Metroid: Zero Mission and follows the same boss pattern which can make the two games almost identical. Fans of Zero Mission may find this ROM hack to be too repetitive as a result and it could become tedious after a few hours of playing. Die-hard fans of the Metroid series should be able to ignore this downside however as the gameplay does make-up for it.
There are no real new gameplay additions to the game but the new features in the game are done nicely so that they blend in with the classic gameplay. Players can expect to spend time revisiting certain new areas once they've unlocked new abilities while also blasting through new enemies of varying difficulty.
Super Metroid: Zero Mission is a solid addition to the Metroid family however, some players may struggle with this game. There are still plenty of great features in the game and the solid level design results in some entertaining gameplay which is still challenging to all players.
- Nice level design
- Challenging gameplay
- Exploration can be rewarding
- Limited plot explanation
- Lack of new content