Released in February 2004, Metroid Zero Mission replaces the original 1986 Metroid in the Metroid universe as a "retelling" of that chapter in Samus's history. The layout and enemies are true to the classic Metroid, but then there's more to the game once Mother Brain is defeated!
Runs on easy are not accepted as it's not different enough from normal. Similar for the low% category: 10% on Hard is actually less than 9% on Normal (4 vs 5 missiles). 9% Hard is possible on the European version.
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0:27:40 by Andrew Brockmann, done in 3 segments.
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Unfortunately, this run had to be rushed. I completed the first two segments in two days, while the last segment took several days over the course of the next few weeks. I had originally intended to improve the last segment to get about 27:30, but never found the time or the motivation, so a few months later I finally chose to submit the 27:40. Because the run was rushed, I made numerous mistakes, but 27:40 is still a good time that I am proud of. Besides, when I started the run, I wasn't expecting to get a time much better than 27:45.
Segment 1 started off well, with only minor inaccuracies. The hive room was likely the sloppiest room in this run, but 1:54 after the hives is still a fine time, so I kept going. I still haven't regained the ability to double bomb jump, so I had to settle for a slow single bomb jump in the power grip pit (which is still better than no bomb jump if you ask me). I didn't start to make significant errors until Norfair after the power grip. These errors continued almost until the end of the segment. However, I was more than happy to go with this segment because it only took me about an hour of attempts to pull off.
Segment 2 also started off rather well. My first major mistake was immediately before the acid worm skip. I jumped a little too soon and missed the first 2x2 block. I was glad to pull off the acid worm skip afterward. Also, with some extra missiles, it's possible to power through the side-hopper room before Kraid without stopping to avoid the enemies, but I fail the timing of it more often than not, so I opted to skip it. Kraid died in about a second. I made a few mistakes en route to Tourian, but they weren't large enough to warrant a reset. I had wanted a sub-15 time in Tourian, so seeing 15:04 on the clock was somewhat discouraging. I chose to continue playing on the off chance that the metroids would give me good refills. They did. To understand just how unlikely this is, I believe you would need experience trying to get a fast metroid segment. I'll just say that I almost felt like I had won the lottery; killing two birds with one stone (acid worm skip and metroids) and even getting a good time (I expected no better than 16:20) was too pleasant a surprise for me to care about the mistakes in the segment. (You can see my surprise at the end of the segment when I pause for a few long seconds before saving.)
Segment 3 was by far the sloppiest, although it was also the longest. There is no good excuse for my mistakes before the Mother Brain. However, the Mother Brain fight and escape were both quite fast (it looks to me like the escape was about 1:32.90). The suitless sequence was almost flawless, with only a few mistakes. Unfortunately, the suit boss presented me with slow diagrams, making for a slow fight. It wasn't a total loss, though, since it gave me plenty of time to hop around like a rabbit. I made numerous minor mistakes after the suit boss, but eventually pulled myself together. Besides almost dying, it was smooth sailing until Mecha Ridley. The Mecha Ridley fight, however, was awful (though it mostly wasn't my fault). It didn't want to give me a claw swipe immediately, and I ended up wasting a super missile. When it finally did swipe, it also shot some missiles. With only 24 health, I couldn't afford to be hit, so I had to destroy those missiles instead of trying to fire more super missiles. If this fight had gone perfectly, I could easily have saved 5 seconds or more. I was hesitant to submit this segment almost solely because of Mecha Ridley. Fortunately, the escape afterward was one of my fastest (about 3:45:7X remaining).
I believe a sub-27 time might be humanly possible on console, although I'm not sure it could be done with this route. I hope to someday try to improve both this and my 28:42 single segment with a Kraid first route or perhaps even Dragonfangs' Ridley first TAS route, although that won't be for quite some time (if ever). Enjoy.
Single-segment 0:28:42 by Andrew Brockmann.
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I had originally planned to do an any% segmented run, but I was too rusty when I started recording to achieve a sub 28. Single segment runs are an excellent way to regain one's skills, so I chose to do an any% single segment run first. My first few runs were around 29:30. As I became accustomed to the game again, my times dropped to about 29:00 on average.
I decided I would try to beat transience's 28:50 in a single segment run. This proved to be much more difficult than I had originally thought. The metroids can easily cost about 20-30 seconds in single segment runs, and it's very easy to make crucial errors at the end of the game (the Chozo boss, Mecha Ridley, and the escape shinespark all come to mind). Many of my runs were killed by the Chozo boss, who is easily the most random boss in this game (although that isn't saying an awful lot).
After about two weeks of doing single segment runs every other day, I finally got this 28:42. Although it's nowhere near perfect, I was starting to feel rather frustrated with my single segment attempts, so I'm perfectly happy to go with this.
Some points of interest in this run are as follows:
Overall, I am rather pleased with this run. It is certainly improvable, and I might try to beat it sometime, but I most likely won't, so this might be my last single segment run for a while. However, I will try to take about a minute off of this time in a segmented any% run.
Hard mode 0:34:00 by Andrew Bolton, done in 8 segments.
In the last couple segments, the run sort of goes downhill. I saved too frequently and didn't really go for perfection, although I still did pretty good. I could have also easily gotten a 0:33:59 or ever a 0:33:55 or something, but I didn't really care at the time. I'd taken about a 3 week break before doing the segment that starts before Mother Brain, and I really just didn't want to finish the run. So yeah, that's where the :29 or so Tourian escape time came from. Just the same, I hope you enjoy the run, and as it's only the first run of its kind in this category, it's likely to be beaten without too much effort by someone.
Single-segment 100% 0:56:11 by Damien Moody.
First off, all my boss fights were good this time. Imago Cocoon was especially well done (exactly the way I meant to do it last time).
Second, the only major loss I had was in Norfair, in the vertical shaft after Ice Beam with the 3 Rippers. They were in a rather awkward position and made it difficult to get the wall jumps off in between them.
Third, I tried quite a few of the newer tricks discovered at M2K2, including the Norfair Shinespark, and the quick way back up after getting the missiles just above Ridley. Those two, however, I screwed up (the ball jumping was just me not getting my thumb on the jump button quick enough. The shinespark was just bad timing...granted that one's a bitch to pull off). I did manage to hold a shine all the way from Chozodia to the top of the shaft before Tourian. I don't know if it's any faster really...but it looks cool I guess. ;-)
I was trying for sub-56 minutes, but the odds of me getting one of those after getting this one weren't particularly good, so I figure I'll just come back to it at a later date. I'm working on Hard 100% now, so be on the lookout for that sometime in the near future.
Hard 100% 0:55:25 by Andrew Brockmann, done in 9 segments.
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Segments 1 and 2 were nearly perfect and there isn't much room for improvement in either. Highlights include a two round charge beamst fight and an outstanding acid worm fight. In the sidehopper room at the end of segment 2, I chose to jump over the sidehoppers to save my missiles for Kraid. There were only a few errors throughout both segments and even those would be difficult to eliminate.
Segment 3 was honestly pretty sloppy and is littered with small mistakes. The Kraid fight could also be up to three seconds faster if Kraid cooperates. Even if this segment is performed flawlessly, though, the random factors in this segment could still cause you to lose a lot of time. For the most part, this segment's random factors were favorable, so I was willingly to accept this segment.
Segment 4 was quite good. I made a few silly looking mistakes but didn't lose much time. There are a lot of items in Ridley that are difficult to get, and fortunately I was able to get them all without trouble.
I made no attempt to end segment 4 with full super missiles and instead chose to recharge before Ridley. I don't think I lose any time by recharging; although it takes a few seconds, I gain time by having an extra super for Ridley and not having to go out of my way to pick up super missile refills. Even if I do lose time here, it isn't a significant loss.
Segment 5 was excellent, and I don't think there's much room for improvement in it. The Ridley fight was fast, and I got a one round fight against Imago. This segment is one of the shortest and is probably the easiest overall.
Segment 6 was weird for me because I'm not used to the positions of the metroids in hard mode. I was very conservative with my super missile use in the last room because in 100%, you can afford to end the segment with many fewer missiles than you start with. (I start the segment with 84/7, but only have to end it with 49/7.) For all I know, this segment might not be very optimized, but it seems plenty fast to me.
Segment 7 was very clean, especially considering how long it is. The Mother Brain fight and escape were fast; the suitless sequence was nearly perfect; the Chozo fight was good; almost everything else went well, and probably about half the time I lost was because of the random pulse bombu. I just wish it wasn't necessary to go far out of my way to refill my power bombs.
Segment 8 had numerous small mistakes but was still quite fast for a long segment. There were many neat shinespark tricks in this segment, including a particularly long speed boost near the beginning of the segment. I was annoyed at how often it was necessary to refill power bombs, but I suppose that can't be helped.
The final segment was short and fast. The Mecha Ridley fight could be faster with a little luck, but I'm not too concerned about it. The Chozodia escape was remarkably fast, especially considering I didn't have any super missiles for shooting the robot. In fact, my escape was roughly as good as my best 100% normal escape, in which I did have extra super missiles. This segment was a terrific finale to the run.
Overall, I believe this run is great. The single largest mistake in the run cost about two seconds, which is excellent in my opinion. My 55:25 beats my 57:16 practice run by almost two minutes and Kridly's 58:24 run by about three minutes. This time could definitely be beaten, although I don't think I'll ever try to improve it unless something really motivates me to. I'm now curious about how low I could get in 100% normal, so I'll probably try that someday. For the time being, however, I feel like taking a long break from speedrunning this game. Enjoy.
Hard 10% 0:45:42 by Andrew Bolton, done in 10 segments.
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Ekarderif from M2K2 recently started recording a technical demo of a 9% Hard run of this game. Watching the first few segments, I was initially rather put out, mostly because I felt I could never do any of the tricks he could and that people wouldn't appreciate cart runs anymore. After talking about it in M2K2's IRC chatroom, I decided to try some of the tricks shown in his run. I think that was really all I needed; as with anyone, I was very rusty at first, taking MZM back after so long away from it. I couldn't even do some of the tricks that, while difficult, I had down very well in my prime, when I did the predecessor to this run. After playing around for a bit, I managed to get back most of what I had before dropping the game, outside of enemy damage and the like. Having decided earlier that 9% Hard on the cart was something currently outside the bounds of my patience, I looked to something that I could potentially handle, and use as a way to bring back my overall confidence in my Metroid: Zero Mission speedrunning skills as a whole. 10% Hard was my very first thought, because a while back I had attempted a 10% Hard run that used the same route as the previous world record run, and had surpassed and ended with a time that, if memory serves, was around the 46 minute mark. However, I didn't want to recycle the same run as I did last time, out of fear of boring both the viewer and myself. I had also never tried a 10% Hard run that used a Super Missile as the tenth percent, but had only heard about them. I took it upon myself to do a quick trial run, which had many mistakes but ended with a time 0f roughly 50 minutes. Considering that that was not more than a minute longer than my previously optimized 10% Hard run, I knew that if I optimized the Super Missile route I could easily surpass the older run, and maybe even the better 4 missile run I had previously completed, but not recorded.
The main reason this run is faster than the older run is because of how far MZM speedrunning has come as a whole, not simply because I've increased my personal abilities. If it weren't for all the little tricks discovered by the MZM speedrunners as a whole, I would not have beaten my old time by really all that much at all. However, I'm curious as to whether or not the old route could beat this one, and that's mostly because of the enormous amount of time saved in the zebetite/Mother Brain room due to the use of Super Missiles. That's something for someone else to try though, at least for a little while.
The segment commentary was written after each segment was completed, one at a time. It more or less just expands on what happened in the segments and gives a little bit of insight into what I was thinking while running.
Segment 1: Start -> Norfair - 00:00 -> 06:06
This is all the same as most runs, for the beginning. I fell in the acid after the first missile and I didn't get any missile refills from Charge Beamst OR the geemer before the hives; I tend to draw attention to whatever is bugging me, hence tapping R. The room after the Hive Room is where this run changes from the others: I didn't get the missile tank in there, obviously because I'm getting a super missile tank later. I had, however, messed up a couple times earlier on, so I felt I needed to play it safe. I kind of got screwed on the bugs after bombs, as well, but it's cool. I didn't use my last missile on the way back through the hive room, which made it take a little longer, but also left me with max health heading down the elevator to Norfair.
Once inside, I sort of wasted my missiles, and neglected to get the one refill I saw at the end of the room because it was too far out of the way.
In Crateria, I did everything the same as usual, but after the Power Grip I chose to leave Crateria as Ekarderif does in his 9% Hard Tech Demo, by returning to the Power Grip room and bombjumping across the gap, then leaving the way I came in. I'm not actually sure if this is any faster, but... well, anything to make the run seem new and exciting is ok by me.
Back in Norfair, I shot all the flaming droppy-type baddies and fortunately got a missile refill, which I then used throughout the room to take out those red floaty fish thingies. I hate those guys.
Saved with 6:06 on the clock, full health/missiles. Probably could have been faster, but I can deal.
Segment 2: Norfair -> Ridley - 06:06 -> 09:44
I had to redo this seg a lot, mostly because I'd run out of missiles or something like that in the room before the larva. Everything went fairly smoothly this time however, I even got the first shots off on the larva where you aim straight up and hit the very edge of the vine. I did, however, take some damage, which had to be remedied at the bug pipe right inside Ridley.
I also had a little bit of trouble with the dessgeegas right before the super missile, mostly because I was in a rush to finish the segment and became reckless. In any case, I took a hit, then saved without max energy.
The main reason I decided to just save instead of restarting is because I can refill anything I'm not max on at the chozo statue before the Ridley battle, which doesn't take all that long anyway.
Segment 3: Ridley Battle - 09:44 -> 11:37
It's fairly rare to get a super missile refill on Ridley as it is, so I didn't want to strain myself and try to get a good battle, while still continuing the segment beyond the battle itself.
Going right into the battle, I unload what I've got, then take out his fireballs. The basic strategy here is the same as in a 9% run: try to get as many missile refills onscreen as possible, then use them one at a time (as in, pick one up, shoot both missiles, then get the next one). This obviously allows for the maximum amount of shots to connect in a single volley of his fireballs.
However, it makes a huge difference where he is when he shoots the fireballs, as far as how many shots I'll be able to get off. If he's just turned around, I have a max possibility of getting 8 missiles off on him. However, if he goes halfway across the room and shoots them at the wall right in front of him, they all end up bunched together against the wall, so I have no choice but to get them all at once.
As this is a super missile run, though, I wouldn't accept any battles where I didn't get a single super missile refill; I want it to look like it's actually helping. As I finally got one off at the end there, I was satisfied with the battle as a whole, and chose to accept it. It should be good enough, in any case.
Segment 4: Ridley -> Kraid - 11:37 -> 18:29
I found right away during practice runs that holtz likes to give out super missile refills if you kill him with a super missile. I did need to leave Ridley with one though, as I find it hard to get them outside of it and didn't want to refill.
Once back in Norfair I proceeded as always through the shaft back to the top, then rolled left through that room. I was one missile short of full at that point, but the little polyp spewers on the ground always leave a missile refill, but take a missile to destroy... obviously that works out pretty well. I took a hit before leaving but...
The first room here in brinstar has three pipes, which are nice for refilling on the move, which I did. On down to Kraid's area.
Once in Kraid, I proceeded on to Acid Worm as per usual. I would normally have saved before him, but the last segment was so short, and Acid Worm is the main reason I lose time on this run, because he refuses to give super missile refills. That means that every time he comes up the max damage I can do to him is 2, and while I start with a 7 damage hit (rather than 4 as in a 2 missile run), that obviously doesn't make up for what little difference there is.
After killing AW, I went back to the beginning shaft, then down and left, moving onward toward Kraid himself. I fortunately received a super missile refill, so I didn't have to refill at the unknown item statue. In the room with the sidehoppers and rios, I made a point of not killing every enemy, as that takes a lot longer and isn't necessary.
Saved before Kraid, because this segment is already long enough and the Kraid strategy for this run is difficult to perform consecutively.
Segment 5: Kraid Battle -> Tourian - 18:29 -> 21:01
Because the Kraid battle has different stages, the last of which involving him going nuts and destroying my platform, I figured it would be best to save my Super Missile for the last hit.
However, because the game defaults to super missiles when I run out of normal missiles, I had to press select every time I collected a missile refill. This is the main reason the battle is difficult, just making sure I press select when I need to.
The battle, in terms of missile volleys, looks something like this: 2, 3, 3, 7.
After the battle, I proceeded as normal, but took damage from the googly-eyed sonofabitch due to carelessness.
Back in Brinstar, I hurried up the purple shaft, putting my power grip to good use, the refilling at the chozo.
Saving obviously makes sense just inside Tourian, as the Metroid are next. :(
Segment 6: First half Metroids - 21:01 -> 24:33
I sorta got screwed on the super missile refills, but this segment was solid enough I chose to roll with it. It's also incredibly difficult to get off right, so even when I would get super missiles I'd get all excited and use it, then just plunge into the three other metroids I assumed would die from the first super. *cough*
That bit at the end was... pretty awesome, as far as playing goes. I love when I get surrounded and manage to come back beautifully, always feels rad.
Segment 7: Metroids, Zebetites - 24:33 -> 28:05
Once again, super missiles = no. I wasn't feeling too good about this seg as I got to the end of the Metroids, pretty much to the point where I don't want to talk about it... but at the same time I was so frustrated with it I stopped caring.
This is what led me to include the zebetites in the same segment; I felt that the 7 seconds saved by not saving would, hopefully make up my poor metroids a little bit, but only if I got lucky refills on the zebetites.
Which, I feel, I did. I didn't really want to make them their own segment in any case, since it would be short and boring, so that was another reason for me to do it. After the third zebetite, when I got hit three times, I was cursing my luck, but I got insanely awesome refills off the rinkas so I was cool with continuing from there.
The last little bit went pretty well too, considering it was tacked onto the end of the Metroid segment. Overall, not a perfect segment, but a good one to be done with.
Segment 8: Mother Brain -> Post-Stealth - 28:05 -> 35:57
Because the last two segments weren't exactly of supreme quality, I felt it more or less necessary to extend this segment beyond the save point just inside the Mothership, as I did with my 100% run (although, the main reason for doing it there was so I didn't need to recharge... but that's beside the point).
The Mother Brain battle itself was, I felt, pretty sweet. Lots of neat avoiding turret fire and the like.
As far as the escape goes, I have no idea what was wrong with my hand but I was NOT getting those walljumps off... really sort of embarrassing. Sorry guys.
In the Mothership, I managed to skip the map, which is always nice. I did get unnecessarily detected in the... third pirate room, where I missed ANOTHER walljump, but not too much time was lost by avoiding it where I did. I also got detected, obviously intentionally, by the eye-scanner thing on the wall, which gained me a bit of time since I don't have to sit around anywhere waiting for them to get off my tail.
Overall, a successful segment. While no super missile refills on MB, they're rare to the point where I don't care. I'm pleased I managed to top the Mother Brain segment from my 100% run (or anyway, I feel like it's topping it, so that's good enough).
Segment 9: New Suit -> Pre-Iron Ted - 35:57 -> 41:27
Initially I figured a segment that was just the new suit, and nothing else, would be a waste of time (just like having a zebetites only segment). I figured it wouldn't be to hard to include it in the same segment where I reach the final save point. Looking back on this segment though, I can confidently say this: I was wrong.
While not the most frustrating segment of the entire run (that would be either of the metroid segments), it was definitely a difficult one. This is mainly because, when separated, the Chozo Test (as I call it) and just getting to the last save are fairly easy, but the frustration of the occasional messed up Chozo Test tacked onto the initial difficulty of just making it to the last save point was a little bit stressful.
In review, the segment turned out about as good or bad as it could have; I could have been more lucky on the Test, as far as when it lit up, but that's just luck. I could also have probably moved faster through a few rooms, but as a whole this whole part is fairly straightforward. I do like the room where the paths of this run and the 4 missile 10% run split, and I go down, mostly cause I just burst into the room, fall right in front of the pirate and just blow a hole in the ground.
I was having a little bit of difficulty with the very last couple of rooms, mostly the vertical shaft below the save point I ended in.
As for the time, in comparison to the test run I did before this recorded run (which I finished with a time of 45:49, 3:24 faster than the previous world record of 49:41), I'm 23 seconds ahead here at the last save, meaning at this point my goal of a time around 45:3x seems achievable. Hope this works out.
Segment 10: Iron Ted + Escape - 41:27 -> 45:42
Alas, not quite a 45:30 run, but... well, I'm not too concerned. I killed Iron Ted on my first battle attempt, so I was willing to go with it, if only to avoid further stress from this run... I wanted to leave this experience feeling good about speedrunning again, and it seems to have worked.
Right into the battle with Iron Ted, I seemed to get really lucky as far as where he was shooting his laser (after his chest cavity had been blown open, of course). It's really rather random, as far as what order he goes in... there's four directions he'll shoot the laser: Up at a slight angle, straight across, down at a slight angle, and down at a sharper angle (45 degrees). The pattern he usually sticks to (as in, about 80% of the time) is across-across-down slightly. If he's in that pattern, he'll also occasionally go nuts in the last bit of his life and shoot four times, with the fourth shot being down at a sharp angle.
Another of his patterns that I've noticed is just up-up-up, which he'll occasionally switch up by shooting one slightly down, but more or less tries to blow open the ceiling for some reason. I'm not really sure what exactly causes him to fall into one of the patterns, but I always more or less rejoice when he decides to play dumb and shoot up the whole time, as he did in this case.
Getting the super missile there at the end was a sweet way to finish him, as well as allowing me to leave the battle with 2 missiles to shoot the stupid robot with.
As for the escape, I did fumble around a bit in the room after the very first pirates, as far as shooting the blocks goes, but the rest went relatively smoothly. In the room connected to the save point, I dropped down on top of a pirate and my shot hit him probably about 1 frame before I would have hit him, which was really rather neat.
I didn't get shot by the bombus at all either, which was nice, because while I can take a shot from them before dying, I usually get a little tense after the first one. Overall, the escape went nicely, and I ended the run with a quick mid-air morph into the ship. I didn't mean to. It just sort of happened... but I don't really mind.
Overall, this run was an enjoyable experience. I'd like to thank SABERinBLUE for the moral support, as well as Nate for capturing it and Radix for hosting it, and the rest of the Metroid 2002 community for making the Metroid series as a whole worth my while, to this day. I hope you enjoy this change of pace, as far as MZM runs go. I certainly know I did, and it's nice to feel good about MZM again, rather than bashing it every chance I got.
The end time was 45:42, only seven seconds faster than my practice run's time, which means I obviously lost... a lot of time in that final segment. While I could go back and redo it literally right now, I won't simply because I want to leave a little leeway for both myself, if I want to do another run of this type in the future, or for anyone else who might be "insane enough to try it", as the m2k2 kids like to say. Good luck to any competitors, because there are definitely several places where this run could be cleaned up.
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