Metroid Zero Mission
28th Apr 2004 | 10:51
Back when Lara Croft was still a dribble in her daddy's love pouch, Nintendo's buxom bounty hunter had us feverishly jerking our pads through the night in a streak of sweat-drenched alien annihilation.
Taking its cue from Samus's original Metroid adventure, Zero Mission crams the best bits into a taut reinterpretation of the game that spawned a franchise.
The classic Metroid gameplay still shines as you explore the depths of planet Zebes, penetrating the maze-like subterranean world, uncovering ancient technologies to augment Samus's abilities and overcoming the obstacles ahead. Favourites such as the Morph Ball and Power Grip return and as always, the atmosphere's thicker than Rik Waller's gut blubber, thanks to some impressively moody visuals and a sublime reworking of the original Metroid musical score.
Thankfully, the difficulty level's been lowered since Samus's last GBA outing. Anyone who lobbed their pocket pal down the crapper in frustration over Metroid Fusion should fare better here - most enemies crumple after a few blasts and boss battles are a doddle once you've located their weak spots.
Unfortunately, without the ferocious challenge of Fusion, the brevity of the game becomes all too apparent. To hide this, Nintendo has rather cheaply chosen to hinder advancement by obscuring the route to your next destination as much as possible. Key areas are hidden behind rocks and walls that give nothing away, and uncovering a new path is often down to chance rather than logic.
Even so, all but the most cack-handed of gamers should romp through Zero Mission in a couple of hours, particularly as Fusion's giveaway navigation system makes a return, showing you which direction to head in next. To Nintendo's credit, there are some juicy extras to probe, including a toughed-up version of the game and the original NES Metroid for anyone that wants to compare the two.
The brief playtime and lack of innovation might put you off. Still, Metroid rocks so hard, if Samus promised you a night of intergalactic canoodling, you'd be happy if all she put out was a quick grope in the shrubbery.