It was first released in 2004 and features modernised graphics and gameplay, but the same core gameplay as the 1986 original.
Metroid: Zero Mission looks and feels a bit like Super Metroid, which is no bad thing.
Samus does have an inherent sluggishness to her movement, but you get used to it quickly because it’s been the same in every Metroid game up until now and that’s just how she moves. When she’s moving, though, she really has some momentum.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering what I mean by “she”… The person inside the suit (Samus Aran) is (and always has been) a woman. She’s an intergalactic bounty hunter on the trail of space pirates who are trying to breed alien creatures (called Metroids) as biological weapons. And the trail takes her to the planet Zebes where she must explore and deal with the local wildlife in order to collect her lost powers.
Metroid: Zero Mission contains a whole load of new stuff – compared to the original – including: new areas, new items, new bosses, a new story exploring Samus’s past, new difficulty levels, and new unlockables (including an emulated version of the original Famicom Metroid, unlocked after completing Zero Mission once).
The graphics have been given a major overhaul and look absolutely fantastic in Zero Mission – they are full of colour and variety. Samus animates similarly to the one seen in the aforementioned Super Metroid, although she seems to be more agile in this and therefore has more variety in her animation and body positions.
While maybe not quite as good as Metroid Fusion in terms of variety, Metroid: Zero Mission I think does look better than Fusion. It benefits from a ‘cleaner’ graphical style.
Both Metroid games on the Game Boy Advance are classics worth playing today, but if I had to choose just one I would probably choose Zero Mission because it’s both a great game and also a fantastic tribute to the original.