GBA had a lot of very good side scrolling games.I don’t think that there is any other console that comes close to the quality and the quantity of side scorollers that GBA had.I concede that there were a lot of ports too, which can be counted against it, but I love ports on handhelds so it does not matter to me much.In some ways though I think this worked against some games.
For instance there were 3 Metroid and 3 castlevania games released during 2002-2004.That is a total of 6 games that have almost the same structure.So no matter how big a fan you are there is bound to be genre fatigue.I suffered from it and missed out on Metroid:Zero Mission a game I had a chance to play recently while on a break from the stuff that I do
What a time I have had! Zero mission is a classic metroid game.A side scrolling action with emphasis on exploration.When I say exploration I don’t mean the one we see in the open world games of today.It is still linear but the world of Metorid has a cohesive feel to it.You can walk between the areas of the game at any time.There are no disjointed levels.The level design of the game is astounding.Planet Zebes feels like a diverse place.Each section representing a part which together makes the entire planet.Killing the boss of each section alters the map in some way,usually making a previously unaccessible area available.This dynamic makes the game a lot fun and keeps things fresh even when you are traversing the same areas.
The formal narrative in metroid is minimal.There are a few cut scenes but they are not the games primary narration mechanism.Zero mission is all about absorbing the details.There is little that is explained in it’s entirety.Looking at the various backgrounds in some of the games sections hints at a lore of zebes.Allusions of a hidden civilization, strange statues that heal Samus, but like another game that I played recently, every thing in the game is a mystery.
Speaking of metroid without making a mention of games bosses would be crazy.Because they are really good.The fights are not too long a skilled player can defeat a boss in a matter of seconds.But there is a pattern to them and unless that pattern is recognized they can make quick work of you.It is a shame though that the games most awesome powers are reserved for the end cause it would have been a blast to screw attack some pesky inhabitants of brinstar early in the game.Well at least I can replay with abilities intact.