Metroid: Zero Mission overview

Metroid: Zero Mission title screen.
Metroid: Zero Mission title screen.

Welcome to the next chapter of Ms. Aran's adventures. This time around she's gracing the portable power of the Game Boy Advance a second time, but this one is like a walk down a souped-up 32-bit memory lane.

The story of Zero Mission retells Samus' first encounter with the Metroids and her initial battles with the nefarious Space Pirates on planet Zebes. But this time the true story is to unfold with a stellar twist following the defeat of Mother Brain.

What is that twist you ask? Well, ideally you should play through the game and find out yourself. Or... you could just read the walkthrough, but that'll ruin all the fun, wouldn't it? So get ready for some retro-style Metroid and a trip through some familiar and not-so familiar environments.

Many people have often pulled apart previous Metroid titles (not literally) looking for ways to sequence break; finding items in an order not originally planned by the game's designers. Often that would only be possible by finding and exploiting glitches in the game. But not this time.

Nintendo have actually designed Metroid: Zero Mission with sequence breaking in mind, so there's potentially numerous ways you can go about recovering items. The walkthrough will primarily deal with playing through the game with a 100% item goal rate.

Controller overview

The Game Boy Advance.
The Game Boy Advance.

If you're a veteran player of Metroid Fusion you'll be in for a treat. The control system in Zero Mission is almost identical to Fusion's so you'll be right at home from the word go.

Veteran Super Metroid players won't be left out either, as the classic 2D Metroid style is back in full. Samus can run, jump, shoot and perform any number of abilities as she acquires new pickups.

You'll feel as though you're playing the original NES Metroid but with the graphical beauty of its 16 and 32-bit cousins.

Button Operation
D-Pad Move Samus around the world, also hold to dash and eventually activate the Speed Booster. Also hold left/right to grab hold of ledges once you've found the Power Grip.

Press up to aim Samus' beam weapon upward. Also press Up while in Morph Ball mode to return Samus to a standing position.

Press down once to crouch. Press down a second time while crouching to activate Morph Ball mode.
A Press to jump. Hold down for a higher and longer jump.
B Press to fire Samus' beam weapon. Hold down to charge up the Charge Beam before releasing a more powerful blast. Also use B to fire Missiles/Super Missiles and lay Power Bombs by holding R and pressing B. Drop bombs in Morph Ball mode with B.
L Aim Samus' beam weapon up at a 45 degree angle. Press down while aiming to aim downward.
R Arm Samus' missile launcher. Press B while holding R to fire a missile. Do the same while in Morph Ball mode to lay a Power Bomb.
Start Bring up the map screen. From there press R to view a schematic of Samus' Power Suit upgrades. Press L from the map to bring up the Easy Sleep screen.
Select Use this to switch between Missiles and Super Missiles.

Easy Sleep Mode

If you're ever stuck away from a Save Room but need to dash off to do something else while playing your GBA/DS, use Easy Sleep mode to preserve battery power so you won't come back to find all your progress lost. From the map screen, hit L to bring up the Easy Sleep prompt and select Yes.

The screen will turn black but the power indicator remains on, so whatever you do don't turn off the power. Bring the game out of its sleepy state by pressing L + R + Select together. But remember that battery power will continue to drain while it's sleeping so don't leave it that way too long or it'll run dry.

Difficulty settings

As an extra feature, Zero Mission contains three difficulty settings - Easy, Normal and Hard. You'll find the Easy and Normal modes fairly similar, in Normal you'll take more damage, recover less energy and encounter tougher enemies compared to Easy. In Hard however it's an entirely different ball game. Missiles, Energy Tanks, etc. won't give you as much power as they do in the other settings and enemies tear a chunk out of Samus with each hit. For starters, play through on Easy or Normal, Hard is a genuine challenge.

Here's a list of the major differences in Hard:

  • Energy Tanks only give you 50 units of energy instead of the usual 100.
  • Missile Tanks only give you 2 extra Missiles instead of 5.
  • Super Missile and Power Bomb Tanks only give you an extra 1 round of ammo.
  • Some enemies inflict more than 50% damage than in Easy and Normal.

So only try Hard if you're up for a true challenge. Throughout the bosses guide and walkthrough I'll often raise tricky situations present in Hard mode and offer some helpful hints.