Metroid: Zero Mission[a] is a side-scrolling action-adventure video game published by Nintendo, and developed by its Research & Development 1 (R&D1) division for the Game Boy Advance. It is a remake of the 1986 game Metroid—the first installment in the Metroid video game series, and is designed to retell that entry’s story with modernized gameplay. It was initially released in North America in February 2004.
Like the other titles in the series, the player controls space-faring bounty hunter Samus Aran, who travels to planet Zebes after learning that Space Pirates are experimenting with Metroids in an attempt to duplicate them and use them for their own gain. The gameplay focuses on exploration, with the player searching for power-ups that are used to reach previously inaccessible areas. The remake also features new items, additional areas, mini-bosses, difficulty levels, and a rewritten story which explores Samus’s past.
Reviews were generally positive towards the game. Praise focused on the new content, while criticism targeted the game’s short length. Metroid: Zero Mission received several honors, including a 46th-place ranking in a list of the Top 200 Games compiled by Nintendo Power. It was also chosen as the 9th Best Game Boy Advance Game by IGN. The game has sold over 439,000 units in the United States and 69,000 in Japan as of February 2005. The game became available as a Wii U Virtual Console title in Japan in 2014, with other territories later.
Samus faces off against Mother Brain. The scene from Metroid is shown on the left, while Metroid: Zero Mission is on the right.
Metroid: Zero Mission takes place on Planet Zebes, a large, open-ended world with areas connected by doors and elevators. The player controls Samus Aran as she travels through the planet’s caverns and environments, hunting Space Pirates. Along the way, the player collects power-ups that enhance Samus’s armor and weaponry, as well as grant her special abilities. These abilities allow Samus to access areas that were previously inaccessible, so that the game can be played linearly or non-linearly. For example, the player may come across underground caverns that bypass certain sections, a method termed sequence breaking. To save their progress, players can enter either Save Rooms or Samus’s ship on Crateria. As a remake of Metroid, Metroid: Zero Mission’s layout bears a resemblance to the original, and various powerups and items make reappearances from previous games in the series, with similar uses, effects, and appearances. However, the game adds new items, areas, and mini-bosses, as well as a completely new area named Chozodia.
Zero Mission is the first game in the Metroid series to include a sequence in which the player controls Samus without her Power Suit. In this portion of the game, Samus is more vulnerable to damage, must crawl through ducts on her hands and knees without the help of her Morph Ball mode, and has a weak pistol that briefly stuns enemies as her only weapon. However, Samus retains all energy tanks she acquired previously.
Completion of the game unlocks an emulated version of the original Metroid game. Zero Mission also allows players to unlock the Metroid Fusion picture gallery by linking between Zero Mission and Fusion cartridges via the Game Boy Advance Game Link Cable.