Is it just me or is the Metroid series getting a gigantic boost in development terms recently. This is the third sequel in less than two years, which is totally bizarre considering that many fans were lost without a Metroid update during the Nintendo 64 years. However, while Metroid Fusion may not have achieved the critical class of it's 2D ancestor, Super Metroid, and Metroid Prime may have been missing something that made Metroid, well, Metroid; along comes Metroid: Zero Mission. A remake of the original Samus mission which totally floors your perspection on what a remake is.
Those expecting a simple remake are in for a surprise, especially if you happen to actually finish the game. Some may have spoiled themselves by reading about the ending of the game, but for those that don't have a clue will enjoy it immensely. Even if it is a tad bit scary. The entire game feels so brand new that it's amazing, one that you just cannot put down until you finish it. After the last 2D incarnation of Fusion which was argued about for it's narrative qualities and "on-rails" approach, the simplicity and non-linearity is back with exploration and back-tracking a must to find every upgrade; and now with 3 difficulty settings, you'll certainly need every single missile and energy tank you can find on the hardest setting.
Intelligent Systems have taken a note from Enix's Dragon Quest series remake text book and remade a game that was essentially simple sprites with crappy sound, yet somehow managed to out-do themselves with this update of a classic. From the first time Samus sets down on the floor in her Power Suit, you know this is going to be great. The graphics themselves speak their own volumes. Sure some might be borrowed from either Fusion of Super Metroid but at least they're in high quality. Samus runs and shoots with ease as usual and the sprite quality is still top grade. Enemies are light years ahead of their 8-bit sprites and so they should be and Kraid, Ridley as well as Mother Brain all look good. There's even a few sub-bosses thrown in to the mix for those expecting a simple play through of a classic they may have finished long ago.
Yamamoto and Hamano are back at the helm for Zero Mission and their composition does not disappoint. They must have squeezed the life out of the limited memory for the sound to produce what they have achieved. Everyone who has played at least one Metroid title knows that Metroid music is sublimal and atmospheric yet brooding at the same time and Zero Mission keeps up with the tradition triumphantly. Another classic by the boys behind Super Metroid. Sound effects also sound crisp and nice, charging up Samus' beam still sounds like it should and firing a few missiles near simultaneously never hurts the sound a bit.
Metroid: Zero Mission arrives in PAL regions on 19th March and we'll be sure to have a full review for those willing to bite their teeth into the game once it ships. Glad to see that Samus is back, yet again.