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Metroid: Zero Mission : 15% Completion Guide

Version 2.06 by
Josh_Laddin
11/13/09

 


     .----.                                   ________
   _/__--__                   ==============         =    
  /     _|                  ==METROID:--ZERO-MISSION==
 |      |=_|                   ==============_________=
 |_====_|-|                                   _________  
  |--___,--._              =================         ==
  |\_--[=__/_[#] //_     ==-------------15%----------==
   =-=[=]____[#]/ \      ==-------COMPLETION--FAQ----==
    |===-|                   =================_________==
    /-\||                                   _________
   |/-- |                    ==============         =
   |   ---                  ==----------------------==
   | | |--                   ==============_________=
   | | |-- 
   |--| __ /
   ---/, /---/
  /   |/|---|
 |  _/  |---/
/  /    |--/
/ ||    |-||
<\-   |_\-
___|     ----


By Josh Laddin
Version 2.06 - September 19, 2006

Big thanks go to Saber in Blue for providing the excellent ASCII art
above that this FAQ was sorely missing.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Table of Contents
----------------------------------------------------------------------

1) Introduction

2) Version history

3) Collecting the right items
  3.a) Essential Items
  3.b) Leftover item allotment

4) Techniques you should master
  4.a) Bomb jumping
  4.b) Diagonal bomb jumping
  4.c) Horizontal bomb jumping
  4.d) Wall jumping
  4.e) Shinesparking

5) 15% walkthrough (Normal Mode)

6) Hard mode notes

7) Boss and mini-boss strategies
  7.a) Centipede
  7.b) Acid Worm
  7.c) Kraid
  7.d) Cocooned Wasp
  7.e) Freed Wasp
  7.f) Ridley
  7.g) Mother Brain
  7.h) Chozo Guardian
  7.i) Mecha Ridley
  7.j) Black Pirates

8) Closing


----------------------------------------------------------------------
      1 - Introduction
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Greetings to whoever took the time to read this. This is my first FAQ,
and as such it isn't that big. I just don't have the time to make a 
comprehensive walkthrough for a game. Metroid is one of my favorite 
video game series of all time, and I love doing various challenges in
them (Metroid Fusion with 1% completion comes to mind). So I thought 
I'd write this about doing the 15% or less completion challenge. It
was really tough for me to do and I know I would have appreciated
something like this while doing my run. But enough about me.

What is it? Well, if you've beaten the game (or any Metroid game for 
that matter), you know you get a percentage at the end that shows how
many items you collected throughout the game. In this game, there are
exactly 100 items, so each is worth 1%. This challenge is to finish 
the game with 15% or less, meaning you can collect no more than 15 
items by the end of the game.

Why do it? Besides the sheer difficulty and bragging rights 
(especially if you do it on hard mode), there are two ending screens 
that you can only get if you finish the game with 15% or less.
Metroid: Zero Mission has 8 endings, all with different requirements.
2 of them require a 15% game, one for normal mode, and one for hard.
There is no time limit for these endings, so you don't have to worry
about that. 9% is actually the least percentage you can possibly get.
UPDATE: I finally got off my lazy ass and did the 9% challenge!

I guess I should also mention sequence breaking here. If you don't
know, "sequence breaking" is basically getting an item or reaching an
area before you're supposed to. Did you know you could kill Ridley
before Kraid? Sequence breaking can help you a lot in a 15% run. Most
sequence breaks require an advanced technique like bomb jumping, so
you should definitely get the hang of doing them.

Lastly, this is NOT meant to be a comprehensive walkthrough to the
game. I'm not going to hold your hand through every area. There are 
enough FAQs out there to help you through the game normally. I am
going to be assuming that you've beaten the game at least once (and
if you haven't, you really shouldn't be reading this right now) and
you know your way around fairly well enough. My walkthrough will
mostly be to get around places and events that are especially
difficult and frustrating for a 15% run. Oh, and there will be
spoilers here (not that the story matters to most people anyway).
There, I've spoken my piece.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
      2 - Version history
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Version 2.05 - December 18, 2005
  -Another way to get out after killing Kraid

Version 2.04 - August 6, 2005
  -Added a short note about keeping an extra save file

Version 2.03 - January 4, 2005
  -Added a way to get super missiles without fighting the freed wasp

Version 2.02 - October 28, 2004
  -Added a note early on, after the bombs

Version 2.01 - October 22, 2004
  -Finished the 9% challenge, and updated the Intro to reflect it

Version 2.0 - July 23, 2004
  -An extra hint for the Chozo Guardian boss
  -Yet another bit of advice for the Varia suit
  -Now have a name for Mother Brain's red barriers
  -More Mecha Ridley stuff
  -Added a link to a cool Ridley-killing video

Version 1.96 - May 10, 2004
  -Inserted a tidbit on Mecha Ridley

Version 1.95 - April 20, 2004
  -Added yet another note to the Black Pirate strategy
  -Added quite a bit more info on the Mother Brain fight
  -Detailed how to get the Screw attack without the Speed booster
  -Added another way of getting through a part of the escape from
     Kraid's Lair

Version 1.87 - March 7, 2004
  -Finally got some ASCII art for the title of the FAQ to spruce it up
  -Made a small note about power-ups against Mother Brain
  -Added more to the Black Pirate strategy
  -Added an alternate strategy against Mother Brain involving the
     Screw attack
  -Made a note about the horizontal bomb jump method for getting to
     Kraid without the zip lines
  -Made a note about reaching the Varia suit without the Power grip

Version 1.66 - February 25, 2004
  -Added an alternate way of beating the Freed Wasp
  -Changed part of the description for leaving Norfair
  -Added the description for getting the Hi jump
  -Reevaluated my stance on the Screw attack in hard mode and
     explained it in the "Hard mode notes" section
  -Changed strategy for the fight against Kraid
  -Added a short note about energy tanks to the end of the item
     collection section
  -Added a way to get through the long zip line room in Kraid's Lair
     during the escape without taking damage
  -Added yet another way to reach the Varia suit
  -Added horizontal bomb jumping
  -Corrected a small amount of typos and formatting errors

Version 1.32 - February 22, 2004
  -Added more stuff to the Mecha Ridley boss strategy that I initially
     forgot
  -Added note about requesting my video of killing the final black
     pirates to their respective sections
  -Added alternate way of getting the Varia suit
  -Added sequence break in Kraid's Lair to skip the zip lines

Version 1.11 - February 20, 2004
  -Added Version history
  -Corrected various spelling and grammar errors

Version 1.0 - February 19, 2004
  -Initial release


----------------------------------------------------------------------
      3 - Collecting the right items
----------------------------------------------------------------------

A successful 15% run is mostly dependent on your item choice. 9% is
required of you, and the remaining 6% you can spend on whatever you
like, but you'd better make it the most useful stuff possible. You
don't want to waste a point on power bombs, for instance, when they
are entirely unnecessary for killing enemies or opening passageways.
A lot of this will be personal preference, so don't let me hold you
back.

3.a) Essential Items

There are 9 items without which you CANNOT complete the game. They
are:

Morph ball
Bomb
1 Missile tank
Power grip
Ice beam
Varia suit
Unknown item 1 (Plasma beam)
Unknown item 2 (Space jump)
Unknown item 3 (Gravity suit)

The morph ball and bombs are pretty obvious - there are countless
places that would be impossible to get through. The missile tank
should also be obvious because of all the red doors about (plus you
could never kill the bosses without some missiles). Power grip is
only required because you need to get it to magically remove an enemy
blocking a path in Norfair (what the sequence breakers out there refer
to as a "sequence breaking stopper"). Ice beam is a must for killing
Metroids in Tourian. You could actually skip the Varia suit, but it's
pointless because the game unfortunately gives it to you automatically
when you get your Gravity suit. And finally, the Unknown items you
need to get rid of those annoying Chozo blocks in some places.

Some items that seem essential, like the Speed booster, Hi jump, and
Screw attack, are actually unnecessary. In a 15% game, you will be
utilizing some pretty unorthodox ways of getting around that let you
bypass these. If you want to make them part of your 6% allotment,
though, that's another story.

3.b) Leftover Item Allotment

So, you've 6 items left that you can take. What to choose? This is the
most important decision to make in a 15% run, and your play
experience will vary depending on it. If you want my advice, I'd say
to dump all 6 points into super missiles and energy tanks (on normal
mode). I'd say the best combination is 3 super missiles and 3 energy
tanks. In my opinion, the Screw attack is not worth getting, but it
can help you out in certain situations. I would definitely not spring
for any of the beam weapons other than the ice beam, as beams do
nothing to bosses except make them laugh at your pitiful attempt to
hurt them. I don't think the Speed booster and Hi jump are worth it in
normal mode, but unless you are a master wall and bomb jumper, I would
advise ONE of them in hard mode. Look at the "Hard mode notes" section
if you want to know why. The final decision is up to you - choose
wisely. 

One more thing that Andy asd on the gamefaqs message boards pointed
out: You can't get any more energy tanks after you kill Mother Brain
unless you've got the Speed booster (which you probably won't) or
power bombs (which you definitely won't). So make sure to pick up all
that you need before going down to Tourian.

--> Oggan sent me a suggestion that you should keep an extra save file
handy for your 15th item, so you can try it out with the Screw attack
or extra super missile or whatever you want, and see what you like.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
      4 - Techniques you should master
----------------------------------------------------------------------


I'm sure any veteran Metroid player is all too familiar with the
following techniques, with the possible exception of diagonal and
horizontal bomb jumping. Nevertheless, master these to make your 15%
run go more smoothly.

4.a) Bomb jumping

Ah, the infamous bomb jump. Although the name of this section is
"Techniques you should master," this one you MUST master for a 15% 
run. While this was incredibly difficult in Super Metroid (for me,
anyway), it's much simpler in Zero Mission. You'll notice that you get
popped up in the air if you are on top of your bomb when it goes off.
To bomb jump, you need to place a bomb on the ground, place another
one before the first goes off, and place a third in the air when
you're popped up. Then, if you timed it right, your second bomb should
go off as you come down, popping you back into the explosion of your
third in the air. This one should pop you even higher, and if you keep
repeating the process you can go infinitely high. Always make sure to
not move to the side or you'll get popped in an odd direction (unless
you're trying to diagonal bomb jump). It's hard to explain, so maybe
you'd have better luck understanding someone else's description.
However, in Zero Mission, it seems you can just keep mashing the B
button until the trick starts working. Granted, it'll take a while
before you start climbing upwards, but it generally works.

4.b) Diagonal bomb jumping

Now this is interesting. If you move to the side of your bomb as it
explodes, you'll notice it propels you up and to the left or right.
With diagonal bomb jumping, you need to do the normal technique, but
after you drop your FIRST bomb, move slightly over into the direction
you want to go and then drop your second. Now just keep bombing as you
normally would, but push diagonally in the OPPOSITE direction you want
to go (i.e, to go diagonally up-left, hold down + right as you bomb).
This will push you back into the bombs you left below, which will then
keep bouncing you the way you want to go, etc. It's even harder to
explain than normal bomb jumping, and I think the only way to learn it
is through trial and error.

4.c) Horizontal bomb jumping

This is the toughest kind of bomb jump to do; I actually can't do this,
me being a sub-par bomb jumper. Here's the method for it, though, from
Andy asd:

"Horizontal bomb jumping is a lot like diagonal bomb jumping except you
must let go of the D-pad after laying each bomb.

1. Place a bomb, move to the side of it
2. Place a new bomb when the previous explodes
3. Don't press any keys until you're at the height of your bomb jump
4. Shortly after the height of the jump, start holding D-pad toward the
bombs
5. Repeat 2-4

The goal is to lay a new bomb at the same height as the old one, but a
little to the side. If your bombs have too much of a height difference,
then you will be diagonal bomb jumping.

You can also start holding the D-pad right when you lay the bombs and
release right before you reach the previous bomb, but I think it's
easier to do it the first way. If you try to do it the second way, then
90% of the time you'll be holding the D-pad, as opposed to 40% of the
time with the first method."

Thanks Andy - I hope others have more luck with this tactic than I do.

4.d) Wall jumping

I'm happy to say that wall jumping is something I can do flawlessly,
unlike the bomb jump techniques. This will let you scale a shaft
upwards without any platforms to stand on. It becomes obsolete when
you get the Space jump, but it's still good to know. Jump toward a
wall, and when you touch it quickly push in the opposite direction and
you'll see Samus crouch up against it for a split second. Push A again
and Samus will jump off the other way. If there is another wall close
by, you can bounce off that one the same way and thus scale a vertical
shaft. You can also continually jump off a single wall, but that's a
bit harder. You have to keep moving back into the wall after each jump
off and repeating your motion. This situation doesn't arise often, if
at all, especially during a 15% run.

4.e) Shinesparking

This will probably not be used at all by most people in a 15% run
since you probably will not get the Speed booster. But I might as
well include it in case you do. To shinespark, run till you get a
charge, then press down while running. Samus should be still glowing
for a short while. Now, if you jump up (not somersault), Samus will
pause in midair and you can press a direction to send her flying that
way. This destroys Speed booster blocks and gets you where you want to
go in a hurry. If you fly forward and hit a slope, Samus will continue
running and you can press down again to preserve the charge. You can
do this infinite times provided you have the slopes to work on. I can
only see one use for this in a 15% run, and that's if you sequence
break in Kraid's Lair.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
      5 - 15% walkthrough (normal mode)
----------------------------------------------------------------------


Like I stated before, this is not a comprehensive guide. I'm assuming
you've finished the game at least once and can get around fairly
easily. Enemies and obstacles along the way will not be mentioned
unless they are relevant to the 15% run. If you want help killing
some enemy (except bosses or those accursed black pirates) or finding
some hard-to-reach missile expansion, look elsewhere. My own boss
strategies are lower down in the FAQ, do not look for them in this
section. This walkthrough will pertain primarily to matters that
concern a 15% run. Needless to say, you will be passing a LOT of
items. Get around them the best you can and do not pick up any that
you don't need.

Also, I will be including a couple of sequence breaks in this
walkthrough that make the run easier. In case you don't want to
sequence break, skip these sections. They will be highlighted like
this:


#########################################
             SEQUENCE BREAK
#########################################


#########################################
           END SEQUENCE BREAK
#########################################

These sequence break areas will just basically be a copy of the text
I've written for when you would do them later on, with the appropriate
changes, so there's really no need to read the information twice.

And now, without further ado...


********************
BRINSTAR
********************

Begin as you would a normal game. Go left and grab your Morph
Ball (1%). Go right and activate the Chozo beacon, although you will
not be following it. In the next vertical shaft, stop at the door you
normally would need the long beam to reach (With the morph ball
passage blocked by... ummm... blocks). You can't destroy these
without the long beam, but there's another passage. Above the door
there are breakable blocks; jump up and shoot down to get through.
From this side, you can take out those other blocks if you wish.

Go through and drop to the bottom of the next shaft as normal. Pass
through the door and grab your first (and probably only) missile
expansion (2%). Kill the mini-boss when it attacks you if possible;
if you do, DO NOT pick up the charge beam unless for some reason
you want it as part of your 6% allotment. Leave it hanging in the air.

Back up in the shaft, open the red door and proceed down the path to
the bombs. If you didn't kill the mini-boss before, the same rule
applies: leave the charge beam hanging. The next energy tank you
should take as part of your 6% allotment. It's difficult to avoid
anyway. Go get your bombs (3%), then begin the journey back to the
second vertical shaft. Take the door at the bottom again and go down
to Norfair.

NOTE: It's possible now to sequence break for the Varia
suit if you have the bomb jumping skill. Scroll down to the sequence
break below for info - the only difference will be that you won't have
the Power grip yet, so you need to do everything by bomb jumping.


********************
NORFAIR
********************

Not much to say here. Go left and take the elevator to Crateria.


********************
CRATERIA
********************

Head right through the door and into the water area. Proceed as normal
to Unknown item 1 (4%). Proceed as normal to the Power grip (5%), and
get out of there as you normally would. Gee, doesn't seem to be much
different from a normal game, does it? Don't worry, it's about to
get more interesting, I promise. Make your way back to Norfair and
proceed to the Ice beam, or...


#########################################
             SEQUENCE BREAK
#########################################

This is a sequence break to get the Varia suit early. This is best
done for the added armor in preparation for the next sequence break -
killing Ridley early. This requires some grade-A bomb jumping. If you
don't want to diagonal bomb jump, there is an alternate way to get it
that was brought to my attention, but you need the Ice beam. Look
lower down for the Varia suit section in the normal flow of the game
to see this, although you could come back and sequence break for it
at any time after you obtain the Ice beam. Although the other way is
easier, it's still good to do it this way to practice your diagonal
bomb jumping.

If you wish to do this, go through Brinstar and up the top of
the main shaft through the door on the right. Head over to the room
under the one you need to get to to reach the Varia (the one right
before the save room). Now, since you don't have the Hi jump boots,
you're going to have to pull off some fancy diagonal bomb jumping.
First, shoot up to open the path through the ceiling. Quickly bomb
jump your way through the hole you made before the block comes back,
or just shoot the right blocks to Power grip up. Make sure you don't
fall through the crumbly blocks to the left.

Here's the hard part: Starting from the middle-right part of the floor
(what used to be the ceiling), you need to diagonal bomb jump your way
to the platform above you sticking out of the left wall. No shortcuts
here; you just need practice to do it. Try not to fall through the
crumblies if you fall.

-->An alternate method of getting the Varia that doesn't involve
diagonal bomb jumping was brought to my attention by Glottis:

"In the room where you're supposed to blast through the ceiling and
diagonal jump to the left there should be a flyer going around. It can
go through the ceiling if you shoot it open for him. Then go up there
bomb-jumping as usual, and freeze him when he's in a good spot to get
to the left platform without doing a single diagonal jump."

It's a pretty simple and effective way of getting through - I almost
can't believe I didn't think of it before. While it's still good
practice to diagonal bomb jump this part, if you just can't get the
hang of it this method will work perfectly fine.

-->Yet another way to get through this part was sent to me by Jesse
Langham:

                   [S][S][S][S]XXXX
                   [S][S][S]XXXXXX
 [C][C][C][C][C][S][S][S]XXXXXXXX
                        *
"As you can see, there's one lone shootable block on the crumblie
level.  Its the 6th block over from the left, one block left of the
first 3 block line.  I've put an asterisk below the one I'm talking
about on my little crappy map.  If you shoot out that block and bomb
straight up through THAT hole, you can get high and close enough to
latch on, or if your REALLY skilled, you can actually LAND on the
platform without having to grab at all (hard as hell, but I've done it
one time).  I've already tested this and done it myself, so I KNOW
it's possible.  So as you can see, you don't need to ice that annoying
flyer or drive yourself mad trying to diagonal bomb jump.  All this
method requires is basic bomb jumping skill and a bit of dexterity in
being able to unroll yourself in midair and latch on.  I have done
both the other methods as well, and I find my method to take the least
amount of time and effort." Thanks, Jesse, for the input.

Also, Myria points out that you can just sit on the left edge of the
leftmost shootable block and bomb jump straight up from there, pushing
yourself over to the platform with a single diagonal blast when you
reach the ceiling.

Now, you're almost there. Just a little more straight bomb jumping.
Same drill: blast the hole above you and bomb up before the block
comes back. Once you're through, you're home free! Get through the 
room to the Varia as normal, except you'll have to take a little lava
dip without the Hi jump. Another note, since Glottis brought it up:
you don't actually need the Power grip to make it through this room,
just some fancy (and quick) bomb jumping. You can actually get the
Varia as soon as you get the bombs, but I'd just as soon wait,
personally, since it's obviously easier with it. Take your Varia and
get back on track with the regular flow of the game.

#########################################
           END SEQUENCE BREAK
#########################################


********************
NORFAIR
********************

Go right on to the Ice beam as usual (6%). Activate the stupid Chozo
statue on your way out. When you get back to the green, bubbly shaft
notice that you are at the very top of it. Take note of this place,
it is CRUCIAL to getting through Norfair without the Speed booster
or Wave beam. Fall through those crumbly blocks for now, or...


#########################################
             SEQUENCE BREAK
#########################################

This is a long sequence break, as you will be going down into Ridley's
Lair and killing the big bird himself. Why do this? For one, it saves
time. After you leave Norfair this time you won't have to come back.
Ever. Secondly, it allows you to get super missiles for your fight
with Kraid! He's a LOT easier in a 15% run with supers.

From the top of the bubbly shaft at the eastern end of the map,
there's a hidden path to skip almost ALL of Norfair. The crumbly
blocks on the right side of the floor will drop you down the shaft the
way you're supposed to go in a normal game. But the topmost block on
the right wall is actually a hidden missile block! Freeze the Ripper
(the turtle enemy) when he's near the right wall, blast the block, and
use him as a platform to single bomb jump your way into the hole.

Now your goal is to get to the right side of this room. In the little
mini-shaft you're in are some bomb blocks halfway up. Destroy them any
way you see fit and roll through. The next mini-shaft has a breakable
block at the top; shoot it, and either wall jump or bomb jump through
it. I think wall jumping is easier, but whatever floats your boat. Now
fall ALL the way down to the bottom of this secret passage (which is
also the bottom of Norfair) and blow open the missile block to your
left to get back to the main path. Congratulations! You just skipped
90% of Norfair, including the Speed booster and wave beam areas!

If you plan to have the Hi jump as one of your 6% allotment, get it
now since it's close by - shoot the normal and then missile block next
to the missile expansion at the bottom of the shaft and bomb jump
through, then bomb jump up the right side past another missile
expansion and toward the Hi jump room.

Also, if you want the Screw attack as part of your 6% allotment, you
can get it right now WITHOUT the Speed booster. Simply roll past the
Hi jump Chozo statue into the heat room beyond. Hope you have your
Varia. When you get to the heat room that you normally need to clear
with a running Speed-boosted jump, roll into a ball and position
yourself on the ground below and to the right of the cliff edge that
you would normally jump to. Just diagonal bomb jump up to the top of
the cliff. Now go through the save room and into the green vertical
bubbly area. Stand next to the door on the left and shoot four
missiles above you. This will blow open a secret path to the Screw
attack which you can simply wall/bomb jump through! Problem solved.
Now go back to the bottom of the shaft at the eastern end of Norfair.

When you're ready, proceed through the door at the bottom of the shaft
and you'll shortly reach the cocooned wasp mini-boss. Waste him and
follow him down to his hideaway in Ridley's Lair. You know the way
(hopefully).


********************
RIDLEY'S LAIR
********************

Wipe out the freed wasp and claim your super missiles. Get back to the
normal path. Now, you have a choice to make, although it's probably a
pretty easy one. Either go the normal way to the left through the
green door, or take the hidden path to the right. The left way is
longer and goes past an unavoidable missile expansion. Even if you
wanted another missile tank, there are countless others that are much
faster to get, so I'm heading off to the right. The left path is
strictly normal anyway.

The room to the right of the elevator room looks like a dead end, but
it's not. Shoot a missile at the second block in the ceiling; it's a
missile block. Shoot a regular beam through to clear space for your
entry. Now, lure out those bugs from the pipe and freeze one in the 
air underneath the hole you made and use him as a platform to hop
though. In here use bombs to blast a nice path through the darkness
and come out on the other side. Get through this room and you'll be at
the top of the eastern shaft in Ridley's Lair!

Make your way down and go into the first blue door you see. This is
now the normal path to Ridley. If you're collecting more super
missiles for your 6% allotment, there's a perfect one to get hidden
above one of the next rooms. Grab it if you want (I recommend it) and
proceed down to Ridley. Take Unknown item 3 and challenge Ridley - and
if you don't know how to beat him easily, check the Boss strategies
section.


********************
NORFAIR
********************

Great! Now leave Ridley's Lair the normal way. If you want the Screw
attack for your 6% allotment and haven't gotten it yet, leave Norfair
the normal way too. Otherwise, after the wall next to the elevator
crumbles and you go in the room with the ruined Chozo statue, where
you would normally go left for the screw attack, find a hidden missile
block in the right wall after you blast through the floor. This will
solve the problem and you can now leave Norfair the way you came in by
wall jumping up the secret shaft or taking the path up the regular
shaft by destroying a normal and then a missile block above the floor,
right next to a missile expansion. You can bomb jump through before
the normal block comes back and from there use the regular path back
to the Brinstar elevator.

#########################################
           END SEQUENCE BREAK
#########################################


Go back to Brinstar, and head down the path to Kraid's Lair.


********************
KRAID'S LAIR
********************

#########################################
             SEQUENCE BREAK
#########################################

This sequence break will hardly be used by anyone, since it requires
you to get the Speed booster and have extremely good reflexes. We're
talking godly stuff here. If you're going for the Speed booster and
are up to the challenge, read on. I still can't do this myself, to
give you an indication of hard it is to do.

You can get to Kraid without using the zip lines, and therefore skip
the mini-boss in here. Go to the first room underneath the save room,
where you would normally go after you've activated the zip lines. I've
gotten an accurate description of this procedure from hellcar on the
gamefaqs message boards:

"Normally you can either take the zip line and shoot the 2x2 blocks or
take the zipline in morph ball.

What you need is the power grip. Grab the first 2x2 block and roll
into the small space.

To get to the next block you can either:
A) Roll left so you'll fall off if you go left one more pixel and
  place a bomb. Just as it explodes move left and you'll get some
  extra air time and land on the next block.
B) Roll off, unmorph and use the powergrip to grab onto the next
  block. This requires expert timing but is probably quicker.

Repeat this until you get to the last block. Then lay a bomb and roll
off as it explodes as in option A. You then have to unmorph to slow
your descent and grab onto the ledge. The timing has to be precise
and it doesn't help that if you fail you fall into some acid."

Like I said, this is extremely difficult. Another way to go through is
to destroy all the blocks, and then horizontal bomb jump across the
lava, but that's only if you great bomb jumping skills. Kudos to you
if you can do this. Now you can just kill Kraid as you would normally,
but you have to grab the Speed booster to escape.

Go into the room underneath the long one with the zip line and swarm
of enemies that you use to get out. From the door, go all the way to
the edge of the floor where the two bugs come out of the pipe, turn
around, and Speed boost back through the door. As you come out, crouch
immediately. You need to quickly go up one level to the door that
leads to the long room with the zip line, shoot it open, and then
shinespark straight through to the other side. There's no time to walk
through the door before you lose your charge, so shinespark from this
side. Then, just be careful not to let the swarm of enemies knock you
down into the lava before you can shoot the block in your way and roll
through. But, since almost no one's going to do this sequence break,
you're probably more interested in the regular walkthrough here...

#########################################
           END SEQUENCE BREAK
#########################################

Start by going to activate the zip lines through the red door on the
right. In the next room you need to roll under a missile expansion to
avoid it. Activate the zip line machine. If you don't want to pick up
the energy tank in this room, you have to bomb jump into the hook so
you can clear the tank. Destroy the mini-boss and return to the main
shaft.

Take the regular path down to Kraid - the first door below the save
room. Grab Unknown item 2 (7%). Head to the save room above Kraid's
chamber as usual and drop through the floor in the following room. Go
get the big guy and enter the Speed booster chamber to unlock the door
out of Kraid's chamber, but only pick it up if you want it as part of
your 6% allotment.

Go through the long room next to Kraid's and enter the vertical shaft.
If you took the Speed booster then you can get out of here the easy
way. Otherwise, you'll need a bit of diagonal bomb jumping - blow open
the breakable blocks above you, stand on the right most block, and
diagonal bomb jump up through the hole. It's really not that bad.

I also realized that you can just open a hole in the ground for the
two Zoomers and freeze them as platforms to just barely Power grip the
ledge above. You can just do that if you don't want to diagonal bomb
jump.

Yet another way of getting through the hole was sent to me by Matt
Couture that doesn't involve diagonal bomb jumping or the Ice beam,
which could be useful because you can theoretically get to this point
without collecting the Ice beam, although it is very difficult:

"You know those blocks that crumble when you stand on them down below?
The one farthest to the left is a breakable block; it doesn't crumble
when you stand on it like the others. You can shoot the hole in the
ceiling, stand on that block, and straight bomb jump your way out of
the hole. Good for people like me who can't diagonal bomb jump their
way out of a wet paper bag."

--> Ray Zhao sent yet another way to get out - 
Just wall jump where the top of the door meets the wall. You should
be able to get out this way after a few tries.

However you get out, ascend the shaft, take the long zip line to the
left at the top, being wary that those flying enemies don't knock you
down into the lava. You'll get hit by them because you won't have
enough missiles to take them all down, so just try to manage. I
suggest saving in the room to right of the shaft before you proceed.

-->Another tip from my friend Ken Wong:

"I found that if you take the zip line in ball form, you can keep
laying bombs as the zip line takes you across the room, and it will
take out all the enemies as they follow you."
Thanks again, Ken!

Now just make your way back to Brinstar.


********************
BRINSTAR
********************

If you broke sequence and killed Ridley earlier, then you can skip
the next part of the walkthrough and head straight to Tourian, since
you've already done it.

Otherwise, go collect your Varia suit if you haven't done it yet. Go
through Brinstar and up the top of the main shaft through the door on
the right. Head over to the room under the one you need to get to to
reach the Varia (the one right before the save room). Now, since you
don't have the Hi jump boots, you're going to have to pull off some
fancy diagonal bomb jumping. First, shoot up to open the path through
the ceiling. Quickly bomb jump your way through the hole you made
before the block comes back, or shoot the right blocks to Power grip
up. Make sure you don't fall through the crumbly blocks to the left.

Here's the hard part: Starting from the middle-right part of the floor
(what used to be the ceiling), you need to diagonal bomb jump your way
to the platform above you sticking out of the left wall. No shortcuts
here; you just need practice to do it. Try not to fall through the
crumblies if you fall.

-->An alternate method of getting the Varia that doesn't involve
diagonal bomb jumping was brought to my attention by Glottis:

"In the room where you're supposed to blast through the ceiling and
diagonal jump to the left there should be a flyer going around. It can
go through the ceiling if you shoot it open for him. Then go up there
bomb-jumping as usual, and freeze him when he's in a good spot to get
to the left platform without doing a single diagonal jump."

It's a pretty simple and effective way of getting through - I almost
can't believe I didn't think of it before. While it's still good
practice to diagonal bomb jump this part, if you just can't get the
hang of it this method will work perfectly fine.

-->Yet another way to get through this part was sent to me by Jesse
Langham:

                   [S][S][S][S]XXXX
                   [S][S][S]XXXXXX
 [C][C][C][C][C][S][S][S]XXXXXXXX
                        *
"As you can see, there's one lone shootable block on the crumblie
level.  Its the 6th block over from the left, one block left of the
first 3 block line.  I've put an asterisk below the one I'm talking
about on my little crappy map.  If you shoot out that block and bomb
straight up through THAT hole, you can get high and close enough to
latch on, or if your REALLY skilled, you can actually LAND on the
platform without having to grab at all (hard as hell, but I've done it
one time)  I've already tested this and done it myself, so I KNOW its
possible.  So as you can see, you don't need to ice that annoying
flyer or drive yourself mad trying to diagonal bomb jump.  All this
method requires is basic bomb jumping skill and a bit of dexterity in
being able to unroll yourself in midair and latch on.  I have done both
the other methods as well, and I find my method to take the least
amount of time and effort." Thanks, Jesse, for the input.

Now, you're almost there. Just a little more straight bomb jumping.
Same drill: blast the hole above you and bomb up before the block
comes back. Once you're through, you're home free! Get through the 
room to the Varia as normal, except you'll have to take a little lava
dip without the Hi jump. Another note, since Glottis brought it up:
you don't actually need the Power grip to make it through this room,
just some fancy (and quick) bomb jumping. You can actually get the
Varia as soon as you get the bombs, but I'd just as soon wait,
personally, since it's obviously easier with it. Take your Varia (8%)
and get back on track with the regular flow of the game. Go to Norfair.


********************
NORFAIR
********************

Remember the top of the bubbly shaft at the eastern end of the map,
the one near the Ice beam that I told you to take note of earlier?
Well, go back there to find a hidden path to skip almost ALL of
Norfair. The crumbly blocks on the right side of the floor will drop
you down the shaft the way you're supposed to go in a normal game.
But the topmost block on the right wall is actually a hidden missile
block! Freeze the Ripper (the turtle enemy) when he's near the right
wall, blast the block, and use him as a platform to single bomb jump
your way into the hole.

Now your goal is to get to the right side of this room. In the little
mini-shaft you're in are some bomb blocks halfway up. Destroy them any
way you see fit and roll through. The next mini-shaft has a breakable
block at the top; shoot it, and either wall jump or bomb jump through
it. I think wall jumping is easier, but whatever floats your boat. Now
fall ALL the way down to the bottom of this secret passage (which is
also the bottom of Norfair) and blow open the missile block to your
left to get back to the main path. Congratulations! You just skipped
90% of Norfair, including the Speed booster and wave beam areas!

If you plan to have the Hi jump as one of your 6% allotment, get it
now since it's close by - shoot the normal and then missile block next
to the missile expansion at the bottom of the shaft and bomb jump
through, then bomb jump up the right side past another missile
expansion and toward the Hi jump room.

Also, if you want the Screw attack as part of your 6% allotment, you
can get it right now WITHOUT the Speed booster. Simply roll past the
Hi jump Chozo statue into the heat room beyond. Hope you have your
Varia. When you get to the heat room that you normally need to clear
with a running Speed-boosted jump, roll into a ball and position
yourself on the ground below and to the right of the cliff edge that
you would normally jump to. Just diagonal bomb jump up to the top of
the cliff. Now go through the save room and into the green vertical
bubbly area. Stand next to the door on the left and shoot four
missiles above you. This will blow open a secret path to the Screw
attack which you can simply wall/bomb jump through! Problem solved.
Now go back to the bottom of the shaft at the eastern end of Norfair.

When you're ready, proceed through the door at the bottom of the shaft
and you'll shortly reach the cocooned wasp mini-boss. Waste him and
follow him down to his hideaway in Ridley's Lair. You know the way
(hopefully).

********************
RIDLEY'S LAIR
********************

Wipe out the freed wasp and claim your super missiles. Get back to the
normal path.

--> Geoff McCulloch has submitted to me a way to get super missiles
without having to fight the freed wasp. Simply take the hidden path to
Ridley (see below). Shortly before the boss door you will be at the top
of a vertical chamber with a missile tank at the top of the shaft.
Freeze one of the orbs circling around the pillar it's on, and use it
as a stepping stone to grab the edge of the missile's platform. Hang on
the ledge and jump away from it, immediately pushing left back towards
the missile tank. You will barely go over it and you can grab the ledge
on the other side. This door will lead to a super missile tank.

Now, you have a choice to make, although it's probably a
pretty easy one. Either go the normal way to the left through the
green door, or take the hidden path to the right. The left way is
longer and goes past an unavoidable missile expansion. Even if you
wanted another missile tank, there are countless others that are much
faster to get, so I'm heading off to the right. The left path is
strictly normal anyway.

The room to the right of the elevator room looks like a dead end, but
it's not. Shoot a missile at the second block in the ceiling; it's a
missile block. Shoot a regular beam through to clear space for your
entry. Now, lure out those bugs from the pipe and freeze one in the 
air underneath the hole you made and use him as a platform to hop
though. In here use bombs to blast a nice path through the darkness
and come out on the other side. Get through this room and you'll be at
the top of the eastern shaft in Ridley's Lair!

Make your way down and go into the first blue door you see. This is
now the normal path to Ridley. If you're collecting more super
missiles for your 6% allotment, there's a perfect one to get hidden
above one of the next rooms. Grab it if you want (I recommend it) and
proceed down to Ridley. Take your last essential item, Unknown item 3
(9%) and challenge Ridley - and if you don't know how to beat him
easily, check the Boss strategies section.


********************
NORFAIR
********************

Great! Now leave Ridley's Lair the normal way. If you want the Screw
attack for your 6% allotment and haven't gotten it yet, leave Norfair
the normal way too. Otherwise, after the wall next to the elevator
crumbles and you go in the room with the ruined Chozo statue, where
you would normally go left for the screw attack, find a hidden missile
block in the right wall after you blast through the floor. This will
solve the problem and you can now leave Norfair the way you came in by
wall jumping up the secret shaft or taking the path up the regular
shaft by destroying a normal and then a missile block above the floor,
right next to a missile expansion. You can bomb jump through before
the normal block comes back and from there use the regular path back
to the Brinstar elevator. Go through Brinstar to the entrance of
Tourian.


********************
TOURIAN
********************

Since Tourian is mind-numbingly straight forward, I'm going to make
this section about killing Metroids efficiently in a 15% run game.
This is difficult enough on normal - on hard it'll piss you off a lot.

Some things to keep in mind: Metroids do not respawn. Therefore, the
best way to ensure your survival is to completely restock your weapons
and energy every time you clear a room of metroids. Going back to the
last save room isn't a bad idea either.

Also, remember: 1 super missile = 5 missiles = instant metroid death.
Use super missiles when you have multiple metroids bearing down on you
to quickly cut down on the threat. If only 1 is attacking you, just
keep it frozen until you have enough missiles to kill it from
destroying rinkas.

Frozen metroids make good barriers. When multiple metroids are
threatening you, you can sometimes freeze one in place so that the
other one(s) keep bouncing off of it in an attempt to reach you.
Metroids only work on line-of-sight, luckily. In this way you can deal
with them one at a time.

The last room with metroids (the big one with bombable floors where
a whole bunch are waiting in ambush) can be tricky. My advice, in
addition to heeding the above, is to make sure you stay as far to
either side of the room as possible. That way you can minimize the
number of metroids that are swarming around you at once.

When the metroid threat is finally extinguished, make sure to save and
replenish all your energy and weapons by blowing up rinkas in the room
before Mother Brain. Unlike a regular playthrough, in which you can
probably rush headlong through the chamber laying waste to Mother
Brain and all its defenses, a 15% run requires a bit more caution.

One time when I played through I noticed that those red barriers
(which wazzupgenius90 reminded me are called Zebetites!) in Mother
Brain's chamber don't grow back even if you leave the room. So to make
life easier on you, go in and blow one of the Zebetites away. Leave,
restock, then go back and work on the next one. Do this until all of
them are gone, then leave one more time, save, and get yourself fully
armed. This will be a rather tough fight.

The escape sequence will take quite a bit longer without the Hi jump 
or Speed booster. You'll be power gripping most of the blocks in the
vertical shaft. You'd be surprised at how hard it is to keep your
footing. Try to not fall too much. The final stretch (which your Speed
booster would normally take care of) will require a different
approach. After you pass through the final door that leads to the
large clearing with your ship, stop and look up. There's a hole above
you. Since the wall ahead is made of Speed booster blocks, this is
your only option. Bomb jump up there as fast as you can and follow
this hidden passageway to freedom. That is, until your ship gets shot
down and you land in...


********************
CHOZODIA
********************

Not much is different here than in a usual playthrough - the stakes
are just a lot higher as you have so much less health. Learn to love
your stun pistol, and remember, you can walk through stunned enemies
without taking damage. Make your way to the boss as best you can.

After you have your suit back, you need to go back to the Mother Ship.
If you need another super missile tank or two before the end, this is
your last chance and there are a few that are within easy reach.

Here's where you can really see how much the developers thought
through this game in anticipation of 15% runs. There are a lot of
walls and ceilings in Chozodia that can only be broken by the Screw
attack. Of course, they are all blocking your way to the last boss.
But in each and every one of these places, all you have to do is
search around carefully for hidden missile blocks that can take you
through. Bomb furiously around the walls, floors and ceilings until
you find the "secret" way. Just follow the main path to Mecha Ridley,
and employ this tactic whenever you hit a Screw attack roadblock.
Obviously, you'll want to save at the final save room.

There's one more "secret" path you have to utilize in your 15% run.
One of the rooms before Mecha Ridley has a pipe that is blocked off
with power bomb blocks. Because you don't have power bombs, do this:
stand on that big square block in front of the pipe. The ceiling
above you is actually hollow. Space jump or bomb jump up into the
opening and you can bypass the power bomb blocks. Now you're free to
take on Mecha Ridley. Prepare for either a ridiculously easy, or a
maddeningly hard battle, depending on which difficulty you're playing.

Once he's scrap metal, it's time for your very last challenge in this
run, and it's a doozy. Some things to remember during the final
escape: Memorize the pirates' positions. You can't afford to take any
hits here, so you want to be ready for them before they can shoot you.
Dodge the electric blasting balls (once again the name escapes me).
No screw attack means they are invincible, so you can't just run them
over anymore. Use any leftover missiles or super missiles you have
from the last boss fight to push the trash can robot faster. And then,
of course, there's the final chamber with 2 enemies that have become
the bane of every 15% runner's existence.

The last 2 black pirates that you must kill have turned many good
players away from any hopes of completing this challenge. They are so
difficult, especially on hard mode, that you could literally fight
them a hundred times and may not win, all because of your tiny energy
reserves. Do not fret, however; I'm proud to say that I've discovered
a way to kill these black pirates WITHOUT TAKING ANY DAMAGE. I first
introduced this cheap little tactic to the gamefaqs message board, and
it was one of the main reasons that actually motivated me to write
this FAQ. But I'm sure you don't care about that. You just want to
know how the hell to beat these guys!

The success of this tactic relies on your speed in pulling it off. I
suck at ascii art, but I'll try to make this as easy to read as I can.

--------------------------------
--------------------------------   <-Pipe


                        S
                       -------------------
                       I
                       I
                       I                       S = "The Spot"
             0         I                       B = Black Pirates
                       I                       0 = Space jump point
                      --
                      I
      B            B  I
-----------------------


Yeah, I know, it looks like crap, so bear with me. The pipe at the
top is the one you must roll through to enter the room. Make sure to
drop bombs behind you to get rid of the trailing pirate. Now do this
carefully, since you only get 1 or 2 shots. Stand at "The Spot".
Now quickly space jump down to the 0 on the drawing. Make sure you
don't dip down too far or the pirates will be all over you. You ONLY
want to get their attention. Quickly space jump back up (this is
harder without the Hi jump) to "The Spot." Turn around, crouch, and
aim downwards with L + Down. Wait for the pirates to chase you up the
wall - if you did it right, they won't jump over the wall but stay
clinging to the top of it and actually firing the other direction,
helpless while you blast them into oblivion. Kill the first and the
second will follow shortly.

ryansebiz had this to add:
"Be sure that when you jump back up to the spot that you don't get too 
close to the edge. Crouch and get as far from the edge as possible
while still allowing your shots to pass over the edge and into the air
below you. After you jump back up, make sure to wait at least 10
seconds before jumping back down (if you're too impatient you may end
up in a black pirate sandwich). If you are too close to the edge the
black pirate's claw will touch and hurt you, and then he'll notice
you, and jump up to finish you off with his friend right behind him.
If they do jump up to the spot, simply roll back into the previous
room (making sure to kill the mysterious red pirate that will follow
you out of the tunnel) and then back into the black pirate room
(again, killing the trailing red pirate). Remember, in normal mode you
have plenty of time, so don't rush things."

Lastly, Hugh Betcha also pointed out that you must start shooting the
pirates BEFORE they reach the top of the wall (in other words, don't
just wait for them to stop at the top). He came to the logical
conclusion that the trick works because the AI of the pirates makes
them shoot as a counterattack when they get hit, so you need to shoot
them before they reach the top of the wall or they won't stop.

Thanks for pointing out these observations that I originally just took
for granted. Now there shouldn't be a reason why you can't beat them
without a little practice.

Now you're home free! Just remember to blast the pirate that jumps out
of the escape pod.

If you still can't beat them, I have made a movie of this tactic in AVI
format that I can email to you if you request it. It's just under 3 MB.

Congratulations! You've completed your 15% run. Now, unless your
friends are also avid Metroid players, your final task is to go out
and show off your 15% ending screen to whomever has the patience to
put up with you.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
      6 - Hard mode notes
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Hard mode is not that much more difficult than normal for most of the
game. However, when it is, it's a LOT more difficult. I'll go over the
basics - in hard mode you get 50% less energy from energy tanks, lots
more enemies, upgraded versions of normal enemies in most places, you
take double damage...and, oh yes, you only get 2/5 the amount of
missiles and 1/2 the amount of super missiles. No big deal.

The biggest challenge difference in Hard mode is that, since your
energy is effectively cut in half and enemies dish out double damage,
you can't afford to take very many hits at all. Not much to say about
that - just be on your toes and play your best. The decreased missile
payload also makes bosses really annoying since you'll have to take
quite a bit longer to kill them (Mecha Ridley...shudder).

On hard mode, I strongly recommend sequence breaking to kill Ridley
before Kraid. Assuming you use the correct strategy against Ridley,
Kraid is a harder boss in hard mode and you'll be glad you have super
missiles to use against him. With those babies, Kraid dies in seconds
flat. You've been warned...

Another evil aspect of hard mode I should mention is the metroid count
in Tourian. There are roughly twice as many to suck on your blood this
time around - and assuming you only got the recommended 1 missile
expansion, there's no way to kill a metroid really fast without using
super missiles, and those should be used quite sparingly. Most of the
time you're going to find yourself shooting 2 missiles into a metroid,
keeping it frozen until you can get 2 more, still keeping it frozen...
you get the picture. Still, you'll only feel a fraction of the
frustration you'll feel at the end of the game.

This is very important: You should probably take the Hi jump or Speed
booster as part of your 6% allotment in hard mode, unless you are a
master bomb and wall jumper and have a real lucky streak. Since you
only have 1 minute to escape Tourian in hard mode, it's
nigh-impossible to get out in time without at least one of these two
items. Personally, I'd take the high jump since it has more
applications elsewhere in the game, like space jumping. You've been
warned once again...

After some thought and debate, I've come to realize that on hard mode,
the Screw attack is more helpful than I originally thought. My only
factor in deciding its usefulness is with bosses and metroids, since
pirates are easy enough to destroy with the plasma beam and skill.
It's useless against metroids, so in that regard an extra super
missile is still better. However, you can destroy Mecha Ridley's
rockets more easily than by shooting them. While that extra super
could still save your life in that battle, I must acknoweldge that the
Screw attack may not be a bad choice... on hard mode. For normal, 3
energy tanks and 3 super missile tanks are still all that you'll ever
need.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
      7 - Boss and mini-boss strategies
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Difficulty ratings are out of 10.

7.a) Centipede

Difficulty: Normal - 2, Hard - 2

Still as easy as ever, due to the fact that you don't have a complete
lack of artillery compared to a regular playthrough at this point in
the game. If you're on hard mode, just remember to blast the little
spikes that come out of his sides to replenish your missiles.

7.b) Acid Worm

Difficulty: Normal - 3, Hard - 3

The only difference here is that it'll take longer to kill him than it
usually does (get used to that). Every time you run out of missiles,
stand next to the door on either side of the room (I prefer the right
side). Aim at his mouth when he lunges and shoot the little globs he
spits to get power-ups. The only other alternative is to get within
range to fire beam weapons, which DO hurt him, but that will take more
than ten times longer.

7.c) Kraid

Difficulty: Normal - 3, Hard - 4, With super missiles - 1

If you broke sequence for super missiles, then rejoice! Kraid goes
down in literally 5 seconds or so on normal mode, a little bit longer
on hard. I think you only need 3 supers down the throat to kill him.
If you don't have them, then you're going to have to beat him the old-
fashioned way. There's not much advice I can give in this regard.
I'm sure you already know how to do it - shoot his face to open his
mouth, shoot in his mouth, and shoot the spinning blades he throws for
power-ups (It's easier if you hang from the ledge above you). My
friend Ken also told me to add that the Hi jump boots make it easier
to hit him during the second phase of the fight - when he only shoots
2 spikes into the wall and leaves a single platform hanging. If you
have the Hi jump you can stand on the second spike and be able to
shoot into his mouth at the top of your jump.

Ragnar has a tactic to avoid almost all of Kraid's damage:

"For the entire battle with Kraid, if you just stay in a ducking
posture, his top boomerang will go over your head, and the bottom one
will come straight at you allowing you to shoot it with ease while
still ducking.

For his second part, if you stay at the far right edge of that little
platform, his claw will miss you. Again, stay ducking and the
"boomerangs" do the same as before.


For the last part, just stay on the top spikey platform that he shoots 
and remain ducking up agaist the wall to avoid the top boomerang and
the claw swipe will miss you as long as your right agaist the wall."



7.d) Cocooned Wasp

Difficulty: Normal - 2, Hard - 2

This takes longer without the Hi jump. Follow the usual drill and use
the Ripper as a platform to shoot the strands on top. But, if you can
wall jump, then there's a thing I like to do to make this go faster.
When the Ripper's not in the way, do a single wall jump off either
wall, angle up your gun with L, and fire a missile at the top of your
jump. You should be able to score a hit on the strands each time you
do this.

7.e) Freed Wasp

Difficulty: Normal - 5, Hard - 6

This battle's all about patience and placement. The best time to
damage him is when he flies from left to right, so get behind him and
when he comes down empty your missiles at his tail. To get more
missiles you need to shoot his stingers. There are two good times to
do this: When he's flying from left to right, crouch at the beginning
of the slope leading to the door and shoot straight forward - you
should hit a stinger. When he's going from right to left, stand on the
ground at the lowest part of the room (next to that same slope) and
angle up at him. Hopefully you can hit a stinger as he fires it. There
are different ways to get in position to damage him too. When he's
blue, you can run all the way to the left side of the room and duck to
avoid him. When he's green, stop a little bit from the wall and go
into a morph ball to dodge the stingers. When he's red, you can go to
the left wall again, but it's hard to get there in time. Sometimes you
need to just try your luck and stop on the path, hoping he doesn't hit
you.

A friend of mine, Ken Wong, also informed me of a slower, but less
dangerous way of killing the Wasp. Basically, you just stay crouched
in the ditch next to the slope on the right side, where I mentioned
you can sometimes shoot a stinger as he flies from right to left. In
this ditch he never flies low enough to make contact with you, so the
strategy is just to stay there, shooting stingers for power-ups, and
shooting his tail with missiles as he flies by. You can only get 2
missiles in on each pass, though, in the beginning. When he starts
moving faster, you can only get 1. On the flip side, you take very
little damage, if any. Go with what suits you.

7.f) Ridley

Difficulty: Normal - 1, Hard - 1

You probably would think Ridley is the most insanely difficult boss on
a 15% run, but he's actually a pushover with the right strategy. Start
off by shooting forward to take out all his little fireballs. Then,
when he flies up, jump over and stay UNDER him. Yeah, it seems like
the most dangerous place to be, but it's actually the safest. As long
as you stay under him, he will only do 2 moves: try to swoop down and
grab you, or shoot giant fireballs forward. The swoop comes a lot more
often and, if you're under him, won't hit you. Even though the rest of
his body makes contact with you, you only take damage if he gets you
with his claws. Edge out a little bit in front of him to make him
shoot the fireballs, which you can use for power-ups. Just stay under
him at all times and shoot your missiles/super missiles ONE AT A TIME.
If you get trigger happy, he gets tail happy, and that's a one-way
ticket to the game over screen.

If you're interested, ajbolt89 over at Metroid2002.com has a video of
defeating Ridley WITHOUT this cheese strat. Not that I think anyone
would really jump at the prospect of trying it, but it's awesome to
watch. Here's the link, provided to me by Chris Bohan:

http://www.metroid2002.com/0/other_ajbolt89_ridley_fight.php
Cool stuff.

7.g) Mother Brain

Difficulty: Normal - 5, Hard - 6

Another long battle. The most annoying part of this one is how long it
takes to replenish yourself between attacks. You'll burn through
nearly all of your artillery on normal just trying to blow open the
case, and on hard you need to get a lot of power-ups to do just that.
First, to get power-ups, Power grip on the right side of the left
platform. From there, you can't be hit by the guns and you can shoot
the rinkas that come at you. Jump for the power-ups any time you get a
chance. Just be wary, since every few jumps Mother Brain will shoot
its eye laser. If you see this just drop down into the lava for a
second and let it pass. The lava hurts a hell of a lot less. Saber in
Blue points out that if you wait until the rinkas are right about to
hit you (about when they are superimposed over your arm cannon), you
can shoot them and immediately pick up the power-ups without jumping.
The process is relatively simple: Shoot the eye, grab the platform,
get the power-ups, rinse and repeat. The execution, however, is a
different story. Do your best and don't let up.

--> If you have the Screw attack, here's a different strategy sent to
me by ryansebiz:

"When you get to Mother Brain, continually somersault back and forth
between the platforms to kill rinkas. Do not use super missiles to
break the glass.  Fire two missiles at a time at the glass. Get two
more missiles from the rinkas.  Rinse and repeat until the glass is
broken. Now use your super missiles (one at a time!) on Mother Brain's
eye. Switch to missiles. Fire about three or four at a time at the
open eye. When she is about to shoot you with her eye laser, simply
somersault from the back platform to the front platform - you can even
jump straight up and clear it (though you might get hit by rinkas if
you do this). You will replenish your health and missiles from the
rinkas that you are continually somersaulting through. The amazing
part is, Mother Brain will go for several lengthy periods of time
without even firing the eye beam! She'll just sit there while you
collect more health and missiles! Continue pounding her eye with
missiles until she is dead." Thanks, Ryan!

--> And here's a LONG, very detailed dissection from onu:

"The top of the two, one-tile platforms in her room can be considered
to form an imaginary line. If any part of Samus' body drops below
this imaginary line, Mother Brain will prepare to fire her beam at
you. Once Samus is completely above this imaginary line, she will
fire. She doesn't time it or anything, she doesn't care if you're
wall-jumping continuously on the right wall, or in a ball above the
right-most turret, it doesn't matter. As soon as you're above that
line she'll fire with about a quarter of a second delay. The problem
is her beam will often knock you off the platforms and back below the
imaginary line. So once you get up again, she'll fire again. I have
two tips when you keep this in mind:

1 - Do not fall beneath the top line of the platforms. Even if you
don't fall in the lava it will still trigger her beam.

2 - If you find yourself below this line, assure that you're out of
the way of her beam as soon as you get back up. If you land
in-between the two platforms jump and hang onto the left platform,
jump from here to the right platform, and be prepared to jump over her
beam. If you land on the right of both platforms, simply walljump up
to the right platform and be prepared to jump onto the left when she
fires her beam.

The other way to trigger her beam is to do a significant amount of
damage. In normal mode: five missiles or one super missile. In hard
mode: three missiles or one super missile. This is the only other
way to trigger her beam (I've never seen it fired unprovoked, you're
either below the platforms or killing her). In a normal 15% run,
you've got a lot of breathing room. Most people recommend that you
unload your super missiles into her, then finish her off with
missiles. That's all well and good when you've got an average of 5
missiles and 4-6 super missiles (if you're following the available 15%
guide recommendations). Well everyone can benefit from this, normal
or hard:

3 - In normal, fire four missiles into her, then finish off with a
super missile and prepare to dodge her beam. In hard, fire two
missiles into her, then finish off with a super missile and prepare to
dodge her beam. What this does is, in normal mode you're giving her
the equivalent of 9 missiles before she fires her beam, where normally
it takes an equivalent of 5. In hard mode you get 7 missiles, when it
can take as little as three to trigger her beam. This decreases the
time it takes to kill her, and decreases the number of times she'll
fire her beam, which is always helpful when you have such a small
amount of life.

That's it, if you keep those things in mind, then you pretty much have
her shooting that accursed thing only when YOU want her shooting it at
you. This makes her attacks much easier to dodge.

With Mother Brain herself operating at your whim, you have only two 
other threats in the room, the turrets, and the rinkas. The turrets
are  easily avoided by staying on the right-most platform. And if you
have the screw attack (I took this for my 15% hard run) the munitions
they fire can be pretty much ignored while you're jumping over Mother
Brain's beam. Either way, we can't control the turrets so we just
have to operate around them.

The rinkas are also subject to your whims. Most people have tips on
how to avoid the rinkas, so I'll throw mine in just for kicks. When
Mother Brain's glass shell has not been breached I stay on the
right-most platform, crouch, and wait. I freeze the top and lower
rinka when they're right next to me (so I don't have to move to get
the power-ups they leave). Once they're frozen I start their
schedule. I first kill the lower rinka, then kill the top rinka.
They're schedule is now established. The lower rinka will come at you
first, and the upper rinka about a quarter of a second behind it.
Freeze them next to you again, fire your missiles at Mother Brain,
then kill the rinkas in the same order: bottom first, top second.

This strategy is modified slightly once Mother Brain's protective
shell has been broken. Basically you use the strategy for collecting
items just established above, UNLESS Mother Brain is scheduled to fire
at you. If your next round of hits is going to trigger her firing at
you, freeze the lower rinka as soon as you can, stand up, freeze the
upper rinka as soon as you can. This keeps them out of the way when
you need to dodge the beam. Once the beam has passed, again, kill the
lower rinka, then kill the top rinka."

Whew! If you can't beat Mother Brain now, with all of the info here
and a little bit of practice, you're helpless.

7.h) Chozo Guardian

Difficulty: Normal - 5, Hard - 6

There's no difference at all in strategy when it comes to this boss.
Aside from energy, you have exactly the same equipment as you usually
would (in other words, your tiny little toy gun). All I can say is,
don't get hit, and practice makes perfect.

Kurt Collins also informs me that, until you're within one hit of
defeating the boss, it won't actually shoot at you unless you stop
moving. Once you get within one hit of winning, then the boss will
begin to periodically shoot the bolts that hit the center of the
screen and roll along the ground. These can't be prevented. So, in
short, keep moving!

7.i) Mecha Ridley

Difficulty: Normal - 2, Hard - 10

I never thought there could be such a wide gap in difficulty between
normal and hard, but here it is. The reason for this lies purely in
your super missile count. Mecha Ridley takes 6 supers to kill, which,
if you went by my recommended item choice, should be all you have on
normal mode. After his initial claw swipe, he stays vulnerable long
enough that, if you're really good, you can pump all 6 into him right
there and end the fight. Otherwise, just wait until he swipes again
and finish the job. On hard, though, you'll only have 3 or 4, which
means you need power-ups. The power-ups in this fight come from the
rockets that he fires at you. You need to shoot the rockets while
dodging his claw, lasers and the rockets themselves, or, if you got
the Screw attack, jump into them. If he does the attacks in the right
combination they are literally impossible to avoid. Pray you get super
missiles from the rockets, since normal missiles will prolong the
fight and you probably will not last that long. A helpful note: You'll
notice that Mecha Ridley can take 2 screen positions. He starts
farther from you, and whenever he swipes it brings him close. You want
to keep him in the far position at all costs, because when he's close
all his attacks become much harder to avoid, especially the claw
swipe. Whenever Mecha Ridley is in the close position and is hit by at
least one missile or super missile, he will stagger back to the far
position. So, my advice is to always keep at least 1 missile or super
missile on hand, even if he stays vulnerable long enough to send them
all home. This way, you always have an extra one to send him back to
the far position after he swipes at you in case you don't or can't get
a power-up from the rockets right away.

If you have the Screw attack, you can use this tip from MetalRidley -

"Constantly space jump in the very top left corner of his room. Make
sure you never drop more than a block downwards. The thing about this
spot is, Mecha Ridley's nasty lasers will never hit you in this place!
With the screw attack this means no possibility for damage, as long as
he's out of his fireball stage. Three super missiles to the gut do a
pretty good job of switching him."

Nathan Nelson had this to say about Mecha Ridley's close position -

"If you roll into a ball and stay a very short distance from the door
(not right against it, though; a little less than a millimeter) Mecha
Ridley's claw swipe will always miss, and his lasers will not hit
either. Beware when he shoots the missiles, though. You must quickly
uncurl and aim diagonally up and shoot them out. The Claw will still
miss, but the lasers may hit."

Seriously, don't feel too bad when Mecha Ridley kills you over
and over. On hard mode I can probably only kill him once out of every
10 - 15 attempts.

7.j) Black Pirates

Difficulty: Normal - 9, Hard - 10, Using the cheap trick - 1

Yeah, I know these guys aren't really even mini-bosses, but any hard
15% runner will tell you that they deserve to be here more than any
boss in the game. I already detailed my cheap trick for killing them
in the walkthrough, but in case you didn't look there first, I've
copied it down to here:

The last 2 black pirates that you must kill have turned many good
players away from any hopes of completing this challenge. They are so
difficult, especially on hard mode, that you could literally fight
them a hundred times and may not win, all because of your tiny energy
reserves. Do not fret, however; I'm proud to say that I've discovered
a way to kill these black pirates WITHOUT TAKING ANY DAMAGE. I first
introduced this cheap little tactic to the gamefaqs message board, and
it was one of the main reasons that actually motivated me to write
this FAQ. But I'm sure you don't care about that. You just want to
know how the hell to beat these guys!

The success of this tactic relies on your speed in pulling it off. I
suck at ascii art, but I'll try to make this as easy to read as I can.

--------------------------------
--------------------------------   <-Pipe


                        S
                       -------------------
                       I
                       I
                       I                       S = "The Spot"
             0         I                       B = Black Pirates
                       I                       0 = Space jump point
                      --
                      I
      B            B  I
-----------------------


Yeah, I know, it looks like crap, so bear with me. The pipe at the
top is the one you must roll through to enter the room. Make sure to
drop bombs behind you to get rid of the trailing pirate. Now do this
carefully, since you only get 1 or 2 shots. Stand at "The Spot".
Now quickly space jump down to the 0 on the drawing. Make sure you
don't dip down too far or the pirates will be all over you. You ONLY
want to get their attention. Quickly space jump back up (this is
harder without the Hi jump) to "The Spot." Turn around, crouch, and
aim downwards with L + Down. Wait for the pirates to chase you up the
wall - if you did it right, they won't jump over the wall but stay
clinging to the top of it and actually firing the other direction,
helpless while you blast them into oblivion. Kill the first and the
second will follow shortly.

ryansebiz had this to add:
"Be sure that when you jump back up to the spot that you don't get too 
close to the edge. Crouch and get as far from the edge as possible
while still allowing your shots to pass over the edge and into the air
below you. After you jump back up, make sure to wait at least 10
seconds before jumping back down (if you're too impatient you may end
up in a black pirate sandwich). If you are too close to the edge the
black pirate's claw will touch and hurt you, and then he'll notice
you, and jump up to finish you off with his friend right behind him.
If they do jump up to the spot, simply roll back into the previous
room (making sure to kill the mysterious red pirate that will follow
you out of the tunnel) and then back into the black pirate room
(again, killing the trailing red pirate). Remember, in normal mode you
have plenty of time, so don't rush things."

Lastly, Hugh Betcha also pointed out that you must start shooting the
pirates BEFORE they reach the top of the wall (in other words, don't
just wait for them to stop at the top). He came to the logical
conclusion that the trick works because the AI of the pirates makes
them shoot as a counterattack when they get hit, so you need to shoot
them before they reach the top of the wall or they won't stop.

Thanks for pointing out these observations that I originally just took
for granted. Now there shouldn't be a reason why you can't beat them
without a little practice.

If you still can't beat them, I have made an AVI movie of this tactic
that I can email to you if you request it. It's just under 3 MB.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
      8 - Closing
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Questions? Suggestions? Comments?
Send them to stormeagle666@yahoo.com. Everything is welcome except
pointless hate mail. Hate mail's bad, mmmkay?

Legalese:

This document Copyright 2004 by Josh Laddin.

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by
their respective trademark and copyright holders.

This document may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for
personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site other
than:
-www.gamefaqs.com
-www.neoseeker.com
-www.gamerevolution.com
or distributed publicly without written permission from the author.
Like anyone ever reads this anyway.

I'd like to thank:

-Nintendo for making this great game.
-The late, great Gunpei Yokoi for the very existence of the Metroid
   franchise.
-Luke Giao's Metroid: Zero Mission Guide, located on gamefaqs.com,
   for helping me greatly in doing my own 15% run.
-The regulars on the gamefaqs message board, for devising the
   strategy against Ridley and for being a great overall source of
   information.
-Glottis, for telling me about the alternate way to get the Varia
   suit.
-hellcar of the gamefaqs message boards for detailing the way of
   sequence breaking in Kraid's Lair to skip the zip lines.
-Andy asd for telling me to add a note about energy tanks to section
   3, and describing horizontal bomb jumping.
-Jesse Langham for yet another way of getting to the Varia suit.
-ryansebiz, for the alternate strategy against Mother Brain and his
   additional observations to my original Black Pirate strategy.
-Saber in Blue (aka djinnisaber on gamefaqs) for pointing out that you
   don't have to jump for power-ups against Mother Brain and 
   contributing the cool ASCII art.
-Matt Couture for submitting another way of getting through a part
   of the escape from Kraid's Lair.
-Ryan Eckenroth for pointing out that I had forgotten to put in how
   to get the Screw attack (it's there now, of course).
-onu, for his extensive analysis and very detailed strategy regarding
   Mother Brain. 
-Hugh Betcha, for another note to add to my Black Pirate strategy.
-Metal Ridley, for a tip on killing Mecha Ridley with the Screw
   attack.
-Kurt Collins, for giving added info about the Chozo Guardian boss.
-Myria, for another note on getting to that confounded Varia suit.
-wazzupgenius90, for finally attaching a name to the red barriers!
-Nathan Nelson, for more Mecha Ridley advice.
-Chris Bohan, for reminding me of the Ridley killing video at
   Metroid2002.com and supplying the link.
-DarkSpyderByte, for motivating me to add a note about the Varia suit
   sequence break after the bombs.
-Geoff McCulloch, for a way of getting super missiles and skipping the
   freed wasp.
-Oggan, for suggesting that an extra save file is handy for item
   choice.
-Ray Zhao, for yet another way of getting out of the room after
   killing Kraid.
-Ragnar, for tips against Kraid.
-My friend Ken Wong for telling me an alternate way of fighting
   the Freed Wasp, a way of escaping Kraid's Lair without taking
   damage from the swarm of enemies in the long zip line room, and
   giving me a better opinion of the fight against Kraid (since I
   never acually fought him on hard mode without super missiles).
   Whew!

Wow, this list has grown by leaps and bounds since my first release. I
mean I've seen actual FAQs that are smaller than this credit list.
This is great feedback, everyone, and it has more than made the FAQ
worth writing. Thanks to everyone who has sent me comments and
submissions, thanks to everyone else for just reading this little
piece of mine in a sea of great FAQs and guides, and good luck on your
15% run!
More Metroid: Zero Mission Cheats and FAQs:

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