GSQ5: Zero mission zero

After being let down by Other M, I decided to replay Zero Mission on my trip to Tokyo and was reminded how completely amazing it was. I guess we can take solace in that fact that Sakamoto’s crew had a couple of really great Metroids in them, even if they may not entirely grok what made them great. Meanwhile, uh, here’s a piece on Zero Mission’s source material.

25 thoughts on “GSQ5: Zero mission zero

  1. To this day I argue that Zero Mission has the best engine out of all 2D Metroid games. Super Metroid may be better overall, but ZM plays a ton better in how crisp and responsive it is. I’d love to see Super get an enhanced remake for the 3DS.

  2. Only a Metroid fan could actually defend and try to justify a game’s recycled, re-skinned enemies.

  3. Thats my biggest gripe with Super Metroid: It carried over the loose, floaty controls from the original Metroid. So yeah, Zero Mission is pretty damn great.

  4. Super Metroid worked in spite of the floatiness, because the controls and mechanics were otherwise incredibly fluid and responsive.

    Not that Zero Mission’s sense of gravity was unwelcome.

  5. Fuck Zero Mission, as soon as I was starting to get newfound respect for it during a second playthrough, the cart has to go erase my save. The exact same thing happened with Fusion, and none of my other GBA games had this bullshit problem. It’s like the Metroid games hate me or something. :(

  6. Great article, a very enjoyable read, although wouldn’t the palette swaps be as much to do with technical limitations though? Similar to how the Goomba’s and Piranha Plant’s change colour in the underground levels in Mario?

  7. “[W]ouldn’t the palette swaps be as much to do with technical limitations though?”

    If so, chalk it up to yet another example of NES era Nintendo devilishly converting a liability into an asset.

  8. It feels somewhat disingenuous to call them strict pallet swaps. There were enemies with repeating behavior patterns, but they were skinned completely different. The wall huggers (zoomers, novas, zeelas, and violas) were spikey in Brinstar and walking balls of fire in Norfair,and then two more completely different sprites in the Hideouts. Now if one was yellow, the other was blue and that was that, then I’d understand the criticism. As it stands, it’s a remarkably clever way to make each area feel like a new ecosystem.

  9. Zero Mission is probably my favorite Metroid, ahead of of Metroid Prime and Super Metroid. It’s not as long as MP and it controls tighter than SM. They’re tiny matters but they’re enough to give Zero a slight edge from those two.

    That reminds me that I still haven’t played Other M yet. I need to get around to do that.

  10. I think I’m probably the only person on the interwebs who hates Zero Mission and loves the original.

    “[W]ouldn’t the palette swaps be as much to do with technical limitations though? Similar to how the Goomba’s and Piranha Plant’s change colour in the underground levels in Mario?”

    In Mario’s case, it actually had nothing to do with technical limitations. The developers just decided, since it’s darker underground, that the enemies should have darker color palettes to match the scenery.

  11. I find it somewhat odd that this whole conversation about palette swapping comes from me talking about how Metroid actually made new sprites for the various instances of “basically the same monster but with better stats” instead of just swapping colors.

  12. They really need to release Metroid on the DS, complete with an Etrian Odyssey esque mapping system. That would be really awesome,

  13. Both Metroid and The Legend of Zelda offer such glorious freedom to explore. While I wouldn’t suggest that modern games should be quite so opaque as they were, I do think it’s a shame that their openness has so rarely been imitated.

  14. Refa, the problem with that idea is that I already have Metroid 1’s map memorized.

    Of course, that could be solved with randomly generated worlds (which should be simple enough given Metroid 1’s simple map structure), but I think that would result in my life being consumed by the game.

  15. Heh, that would be pretty cool. And an 8 bit demake of Metroid II and Super Metroid would be pretty awesome extras if they put the first game on the DS. I don’t think Super Metroid would be any better in 8 bit (although it would improve Metroid II), but it’d be an interesting expiriment. Both of these will never happen, but it’d be pretty cool if it did.

  16. to me, zero mission all but pisses on the grave of the metroid franchise. Including an automap was the dagger in the heart. I wholly appreciate the graphical and control upgrade parlaying to a new audience though!

  17. Including an automap? Wow, no Metroid game has done that before…No, no, wait a second. What was that there game, ah Super Metroid…Holy shit, Zero Mission sure fucked up the Metroid franchise by including an auto map, something that NO other Metroid game has EVER done before.

  18. Other M’s game-play WAS fairly ingenious though, shoehorned first-person aside. They managed to make a seamless 2D-3D transition. And it gets my love just for including the Space Jump/Screw Attack/Speed Booster and making them work in a 3D environment.

    It’s really, really hard to look past the godawful story though, I’ll give you that. Ow.

    The original Metroid hasn’t aged well, but it’s still fun to go through sometimes. It’s hard to keep with it with the awesome Zero Mission right there though.

  19. Super Metroid’s physics seem low-gravity, but they’re nothing if not responsive; the “floatiness” just gives Samus an incredible degree of aerial control. Fusion and Zero Mission are absolutely joyless slogs in comparison, where Samus seems to be tied to the ground by an invisible leash.

  20. Or MAYBE it’s because those games are on handhelds, and having huge floaty jumps would generally make you hit things you couldn’t see. Try thinking about it before complaining…

  21. I meant in terms of movement and (the lack of) acrobatics. Although Fusion pretty much fits the bill all around.

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