In a multi-part retrospective to commemorate the site's 10th Anniversary, we take a look back at every year of the site's existence.
2004 NWR GameBoy Advance Game of the Year
Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA)Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Release Date: February 9, 2004
Why Did it Win? A re-imagining of the original Metroid (NES), Metroid: Zero Mission is still regarded as one of the best 2D entries in the series. Modernizing the original game, it also polished over the few rough spots found in the previous year's Metroid Fusion (GBA). The original Metroid wasn't particularly well-received, but given eighteen years of hardware and design advancements and a solid gameplay core, Zero Mission delivered on all fronts (although it was a bit short). Its upgraded gameplay differed drastically from that of the original, while still telling an extended version of Samus' first mission on Planet Zebes.
Is It Still Worthy? Though it was nearing the end of its lifespan, the GBA had a number of quality titles released in 2004. However, none was as perfected as Zero Mission. It was a year of remakes and re-releases (such as Donkey Kong Country 2, Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls, and Nintendo's Classic NES Series), but Zero Mission set the bar for what can and should be done in a remake. The attention to detail and balance between original story and compelling gameplay propelled Zero Mission to the top of a field already full of remakes.