The original Metroid was a groundbreaking masterpiece on the NES, but hardware limitations and a few questionable design choices make it a hard game to return to for some gamers, and a hard sell to new players. Thankfully, there’s Zero Mission! The Game Boy Advance remake improved the graphics, modernized the controls, and added new items, weapons, and a much-needed map.

So how did this second stab at Samus’ first adventure compare to the first in terms of game design? Metroid and Metroid: Zero Mission are the subjects of the latest video from the phenomenal “Boss Keys” YouTube series from creator Mark Brown. The video focuses in particular on the differences between how they handle the “Metroidvania” formula. This includes criteria like:

  • How the world is laid out
  • How the player knows where to go at each turn
  • How much of the world can be explored at each step
  • How much choice the player has in their path through the game
  • How much backtracking is needed to finish the game

It’s an excellent video that explores the strengths and weaknesses of the original title and its GBA successor. It’s also the first in a series of videos in which Boss Keys will be exploring some of the most popular Metroid titles before moving on to modern games that have been inspired by the Metroidvania formula.

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Ben Lamoreux

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