Metroid: Return to Zebes
Release date: Dec 24, 2018
Author: alexman25
Download: Version 2.5.4 (896 downloads)
Download: Legacy Releases (165 downloads)
(5385 downloads of previous versions)
Genre: Exploration [?]
Game: MZM
Difficulty: Veteran [?]
Average runtime: 1:33
Average collection: 70%
Rating: Star Star Star Star Star
Metroid: Return to Zebes is a full ROM hack of Metroid: Zero Mission that aims to remix and alter the map of planet Zebes into something familiar, yet new, and more open than ever before!

This retread of our favorite planet boasts new layouts, new music, new palettes, new areas, and new graphics.

The world layout is a mix between Metroid: Zero Mission, Super Metroid, NEStroid, and all-new original designs.
Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot
Ratings and Reviews
By Metroid Violinist on Jan 19, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
26% in 0:53
My updated review of Return to Zebes (2.4.6)

Game time: 0.40.04
Percentage: 56%

Found some cool sequence breaks that let me beat the game really quickly with few items, I got loads of missiles and etanks though, but my first playthough of this version was fun and could probably be optimized, I got plasma after wave then fought ridley, got gravity and went back to ship- so I barely played the whole new version- lol.

Overall a pretty fun hack, although I wish there was more. There were a couple of tiling errors and there, and some of the bosses were a bit too difficult for me, I found that this was an overall fun hack.

One last note: That music was AWESOME!...

-See you next mission-
By jumbohotdogs100 on Jan 28, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
2% in 0:00
i want to play more than what i have, but one critical thing made it unplayable for me: the speed you move through the air. i can see some scenarios where that COULD be useful, but overall it makes going where i want to go a nightmare. i only just got the powergrip, which made things a little easier, but i still found myself mostly incapable of reaching the top of the vertical drop. until this is fixed, i'm afraid i am simply incapable of enjoying this to it's intended potential
By Tipherath on Jan 31, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
30% in 0:43
So, I've played both the 2.1 and 2.2 versions. While it looks like Samus' speed in the air is uncomfortable for some people, I admit that I was surprised by it too, but learned to enjoy it, it takes me back to a boosted somersault in SM. The Morph Ball physics were amazing too, I spent most of the playthrough in the Morph Ball just for the fun of it. The only thing that dragged my experience a little bit was that after defeating Ridley I didn't know where to go, completely forgetting that that was the mission of the game, but that's just me being a dumb-dumb.

Version 2.2 gets rid of all the minor errors, making the experience better. Overall, a pretty solid game. The only reason I don't give it a 5/5 is that the battle with the Chozo Guardian is pointless.
By Spedimus on Feb 02, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
25% in 0:30
I've played every version so far. 2.2 is definitely the best. It fixes many minuscule bugs present in previous versions. The physics were also fixed from 2.1.

The hack itself is fairy short, but that's not a bad thing. Each room is packed so that no section feels useless or empty. I love the amount of sequence breaking potential. The exploration felt great. I was constantly keeping mental notes of previous places I couldn't get to.

Some Specifics:
The Spore Spawn-ish boss was neat and the build-up was great. Definitely not something I would have thought of doing. I'm also glad there was still Maridia to explore after Ridley. Also, that Gravity Suit palette. 10/10 in my books. Unfortunately, the music in certain areas (Brinstar in specific) can get a little... crunchy. Also, the Chozo Guardian fight is pointless. This is just more of a personal preference, but I found it disappointing that the only boss you actually need to fight is Ridley. I actually stumbled into the Varia Suit room by accident, oddly enough.

I thoroughly enjoyed this hack. I just wish there was more.
By Cpt.Glitch on Feb 02, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
28% in 0:54
A very pretty hack! The speedup in movement is nice (takes a bit to get used to) and level design is neat. I found it slightly disappointing when I fought some bosses only to get rewarded with the item I had just picked up before the boss. (I apparently sequence broke). All in all, it's a solid hack. I loved the "beam missile" take on charge beam.
By SuperMetroidSamus on Jul 01, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
30% in 0:39
one of your best hacks. You managed to make a Super Metroid layout. I always wanted to make those. Also heres the dropbox link you asked for on scratch:
Second Playthrough And I Roasted kraid And Ridley
By DeadSkullzJr on Aug 16, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I remember playing a very old demo version of this hack a while ago, recently played v2.2 and now the new version 2.3.1, I can honestly say this hack is progressing really well. I like how the game references some of the aspects of Super Metroid, the areas themselves also reference Zero Mission quite often, giving it the feeling like things have definitely changed since Samus's last mission. The game doesn't feel overly difficult yet in some ways it doesn't feel too easy either, though if you are a veteran to the vanilla game it may be a tad bit too easy. Love the new suit designs, feels more natural with how the theme of the game is. I can't wait for the new updates to start rolling in, definitely will replay this!
By Syphon on Dec 01, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
32% in 0:52
Great hack.

Exploration and level design was great.
SM music was nice, especially Lower Norfair. That one sounded amazing.
Maridia being in the hack was cool.

Really enjoyed it. Recommended.
By Contendo on Dec 25, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Updated Review for 2.5.4

I will give this hack 3 orbs for the fun I had and 1 orb extra for the immense effort put into it. This is honestly one of the largest and most impressive Zero Mission hacks I have seen. For that alone it is worth a playthrough.
This hack shines with its amount of innovation, unique puzzles and huge world. Unfortunately, a lot of the innovations and ideas just dont work for me. Here are some points that I really didnt enjoy.

- Overlapping world, there is a reason why we rarely see this in main titles
- Uninspired hallways, a lot. Some rooms look beautiful while the majority consist of mediocre to badly designed hallways.
- The sequence, never was I ever more confused where to go before which is partly because of the…
- sequence breaks, which are way to easy to perform most of the time.
- The physics
- Rewards. Sometimes you do a big puzzle just to get a missile tank, other times you just find an energy tank on the ground.
- 'Dead' ends. Sometimes you walk down a long path just for it to be gated off at the end with some item you dont have yet, requiring you to just walk back
- Tourian 2

In general, I think I preferred the older version over this, almost, remake.
Since I dont want to end this so negatively, here are some things I really enjoyed.

- Speed Booster
- Bosses
- Events like Wrecked Ship and Mothership
- certain rooms look amazing
- Freedom. While seemingly contradictary with what I said earlier, I did appreciate the freedom the world gave me.
- Palettes and tilesets
- Charge Missiles attracting items

By Multi-Man on Dec 25, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
% in 1:13
This hack is really really good!
I loved the changed physics, the area designs, and the bosses. I especially liked how Kraid is actually a fun and challenging boss fight.
The only thing that makes this a 4 orb hack for me really is that the tiling can sometimes be a bit off, but aside from that, this hack is one of the best ZM hacks. I definitely recommend it!!!
By Sapphron on Jan 12, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
88% in 1:10
Really good hack that falls a bit short of perfection, unfortunately.
Some areas were kinda ruined because sequence breaking doesn't allow for some doors to be unlocked. New music is good for the most part, sounds kinda off but really it's the best you can do with the GBA's processor.
Overall, a good hack. Just try not to stray from the intended path too much and you'll do great.
By Keaton on Mar 30, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
78% in 1:38
To be honest I thought this was a great hack.
It has a great soundtrack
Great level design.
There were a couple map tiling isuess here and there, but I can forgive that.
There were some things though that I didn't like, but they are kind of small things
The physics changes suprised me as moving that quick allowed for traversing areas faster,
but made platforming a nightmare, plus Samus falls like a tank. The area I had the most trouble
with this was in Norfair.
Another thing was that its really easy to get stuck in someplaces (ex: along the way to Maridia)
And sequence breaking kinda ruiend some bossfights, and areas.
Other than that great hack would definatley reccommened!
By catroid on May 28, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Good ROM hack. I did complete but lost my file. Did not find it necessary to got to Torrin and fight the metroids because I could just leave then. I think it needs a Mother brain fight. (Unless I missed it) Some annoying enemy placement in Maridia. I liked the beam missiles. The save station before Ridley should have been a recharge though. Great Job!
By RT-55J on Jun 16, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
96% in 1:27
This is a pretty nice, modestly-scoped hack. Color me impressed.

The custom music is appreciated, even if it sounds like plunky midis.

The extra aerial horizontal speed feels nice, though is a bit hard to get used to at first (especially with the gravity being unchanged).
By MrOrangePony on Jul 02, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
This hack was very interesting. It was creative and really made me feel i was in a metroid game. The atmosphere, the layout was brilliant. I pretty much liked everything, though I got stuck quite a lot, but I believe that was my fault to begin with. I didn't quite understand the unbreakable animated tile, but I still could appreciate it and I actually did like it a bit. I'm looking forward to more good hacks, and I hope more people could not only witness this hack, but rather play and enjoy the experience I had aswell...
By Azagroth on Jul 26, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
90% in 1:05
Pretty much a perfect hack. Gameplay changes were ok with me, I got used to the new jump relatively fast. New suit palletes are awesome. In terms of custom music this is perfect - pretty much being the Super Metroid OST, you can't go wrong there.

A few more bosses if possible would be an awesome addition and also a Varia suit switch to the final suit look so it is more in line with suit transformations in Super or Metroid 2 but those are not needed to enjoy this hack.
By Door Ladder on Dec 04, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
98% in 1:59
Very well-made hack. Progression was a little bit confusing at times but overall it was still quite good. Loved the changed music. The SNES/A Link To The Past style Kraid remix for Kraid's area was probably the best piece in the whole game.

I was a bit disappointed at Tourain existing when Mother Brain is not in the game, so it's just an area that exists for getting extra ammo pickups and killing some metroids if you want to.

The Maridia area felt very barren and there wasn't much to it that was particularly interesting. Was a bit disappointed in that.

The new textures for some enemies, such as Metroids and Space Pirates, are a nice change though.

Would recommend.
By Fercho on Apr 21, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
82% in 1:03
Muy interesante hack lo recomendaría a cualquiera, siento que es más difícil que el juego normal y nunca encontré el Space Jump(No sé si está presente en el juego, supongo que sí) por lo que usé el Bomb jump, es por ello que no le puse 5 orbs y porque se siente incompleto, pero en general muy bueno y con varias canciones de Super Metroid.
By shaktool7 on Jun 26, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 2:34
Very fun hack. Could use just a little bit more polish. Highly Recommended.
By LetsPlayNintendoITA on Jun 26, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 1:24
[Watch Video]  
Short and sweet hack. Pretty good short hack. I posted the map for the hack in the forum too if you're missing something for 100%. Different ending if "Bad" or "Okay" difficult too. Some nice ideas, lots of updates it seems according to the version. Will update my review if a new version comes out, lots of different routes too depending on if you find certain secrets and stuff. Loved the troll powerbomb block that turns into lava.

Only encountered one "glitch" really that could have hindered 100%: in the rooms with the chozo test, the Super expansion is not marked on map till obtained, for some reason. There was a weird minimap glitch in the Maridia room that disables the gates.
By Kremit44 on Jul 18, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
88% in 1:30
The 2nd best ZM hack in my opinion. I got stuck for awhile and it kinda killed my desire to go for 100% but it was on me. I found the transparent gate in front of the Kagos hive confusing and thought I couldn't pass through it not realizing the top wasn't solid. I think it's confusing but I blame myself more than anything. I beat Ridley first and then couldn't access the screw attack area so that sucked, i'm not sure if the way I went from the top of Norfair is supposed to be possible. Thanks to the creator for a great hack.
By SpookerK on Nov 28, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
94% in 1:19
Couple of glitchy things on the map including an item that didn't exist, got softlocked at Kraid with no high jump, other than minor issues like that I enjoyed it. Good level design, music, palettes, weird ending.
By Zincoshine on Aug 04, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
After having played through 3 MZM rom hacks that all managed to do well and get a recommendation from me I was feeling confident about the rest of my list, especially when you consider that I sorted out my list of mods to play in ascending order of alleged quality. This mod has now shattered that illusion and exposed my overconfidence. There's literally no reason for anyone to ever play this. Why? Because it turns out that this is just a very bad port of super metroid to MZM. Both ancient chozo and project base are much better remakes of super metroid. Regarding the quality, the porting of the music really didn't go well, it sounds all distorted and stuff. Furthermore, the creator decided to make it glitch gated. Well maybe it's not, maybe wall jumping is sufficient but the level design just seems really really bad compared to both zero mission and super metroid. The things SpookerK has mentioned are also very important to highlight here, I can't believe he gave 4 orbs in his review despite such an utter lack of polish for this mod. I mean patching softlocks is the bare minimum that can be expected from a creator.

Not recommended.
By RX-78-2 on Jan 07, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
98% in 1:11
this is the best ZM hack I have ever played and honestly this hack, among others, is in my top 3 and this particular hack is #1 out of all the other hacks I've played. there's so much to like about it (i. e the gravity suit palettes, room palettes, and let's not forget about how OP Space Jump is in this particular hack) this hack is amazing and is an automatic 10/10 in my book

I didn't really experience any bugs or anything hindering me from progressing so I can't say I have a problem with this hack, BUT I will say one thing.. I wish this hack was longer or maybe had a sequel, I mean I like short hacks but I'm more familiar with long hacks (full hacks) but nonetheless, this hack is an amazing one and I honestly think it deserves a playthrough if you have an hour to spare

Would Recommend
By FANXINGPRIME on Apr 15, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
The feeling of operation is odd,but I enjoy myself in playing it.
By Kriken Empire on Apr 26, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
94% in 1:22
I don't think this hack does anything particularly special, but it is good, and a savvy player could beat this in under an hour if they didn't care about collecting items.

The game gets better as it goes, and the end where you have nothing left to do but collect items is pretty fun. Each major item upgrade feels rewarding, and there's a real sense of progression, starting a little too weak but becoming unstoppable by the end. The bosses were fun too.

I think its weakest points are its early game and music. The first section is basically just SM's intro but without any of the atmosphere or story, rendering it pointless and boring. The side items also felt like they were in random locations in the early and mid game, and without the map showing an item icon I'd be none the wiser about missing so many. The music is simply too loud. As someone who loves the charm of the GBA sound hardware, the music here is grating on the ears.

I noticed some graphical improvements to ZM, but I didn't notice the changes in physics until I saw the other reviews.


I was very happy to find Baby Croco. Also my favorite moment was the secret Kiru Giru boss after Ridley. Bonus points administered.
By Cosmic on Sep 27, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
95% in 4:49
Hands down the best Zero Mission hack of all time. Alexman's attention to detail is only maybe matched by jasinchen's. The physics are insane. The level design is mostly good (though I don't like how linear the factory feels). Room states are used HEAVILY. My only regret is my stubbornness to wait until hacks have "finished" in order to play them. Every single major revision to RTZ could honestly be considered a different hack entirely. This hack made me feel like a kid playing Zero Mission for the first time again in a way that no other hack has.

I played 2.5.3 and at this point alex accidentally left a tweak in to keep the zero suit segment. The result of this was something that felt pretty disturbing. I gobbled it up faster than a burger and fries. Absolutely loved it. Everything about this hack is just so goddamn perfect. Most of what's been achieved here has been without any ASM at ALL. This hack is the result of years upon years of refining one's craft. If you want a poster child for zero mission hacks, this is it. Just remember that this isn't a remake of super. If you really want to be in that kinda sorta mindset, it's like "super metroid but in an alternate universe so it's not the same."


By Zhs2 on Dec 13, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
68% in 1:48
Played version 2.5.4. Largely open ended yet it doesn't take very long to beat. I can't agree with some of the above reviews about its quality because it's nowhere near tight enough to call great. There are a number of veteran traps littered about in its design, whether accidentally or purposefully I cannot tell but it is very easy to do something dumb like skip morph ball or power grip and be locked out of collecting them for a while. The biggest veteran trap is using the supers you can collect from an open door you can walljump to right off of the ship room to blast open the door to bombs, where you can only escape by being dumped into - and locked into - Brinstar. You can actually feel your way out of this, progress so far via hidden passages that you eventually tumble into the Maridia Abyss (where you can find Powerbombs and Plasma very easily!) and engage in near-death trials in Norfair Ruins for the right to own Gravity Suit, but from there I felt trapped in that area because I could not find a single escape route that led me back to the main path. There IS actually a way out, and I believe you can finish this hack morphless, but it took a restart to grab morph so I could actually figure out the proper passages. Yeah, that's not fun. All of this could have been easily prevented by adding a super door in the ship room so you can't just grab supers right away. Lock that behind a hidden passage that gets around the super door, you know? Don't make it easy for people to sequence break unless they have the proper knowledge to do so since getting yourself into heaps of trouble with only an ounce of walljumping skill is not something anyone finds fun, especially on a blind first run. Kind of a shame considering this hack does some neat things, like deletes a whole dungeon when you kill its boss and takes you to space (complete with a change in atmosphere!) Unfortunately, those neat things are relatively late, and if you got stuck somewhere earlier due to having too much skill you might give up before getting there.
By OmegaDragnet9 on Jan 24, 2024 (Star Star Star Star Star )
% in 4:06
Played 2.5.3.

A year or two prior to this revision I downloaded the patch (sometime around when Super Metroid GBA Edition was still generating a lot of buzz.) Unfortunately I didn't do a good job maintaining revision numbers in my hack playlists so I haven't nailed down what my original playthrough was.

Suffice it to say the hack doubled in size and quality between that playthrough and this one. (And that old one was nothing to sneeze at in the first place.)

Before I heap a ton of praise I will agree with Zhs2 (to a degree) that there were a few places a skilled player could easily get too ambitious and potentially stuck. This is really more common in GBAtroid hacks anyway and not unique to this hack. (I suspect because wall-jumps and IBJs are easier than Super's.) I never reached a true softlock as I was able to wall-jump or IBJ back to a previous place. I found minor wall jumping to places didn't cause this, but really try to respect the route unless you know it well.

Now that's out of the way, once I devoted the proper time and attention this turned into one of the most engrossing and addicting Metroid hack playthroughs I've experienced.

The enemies can be tough early on, but item acquisition is paced just right so the power scales escalate appropriately. The pacing and exploration were really fine tuned. Huge leap in quality in only two years time.

Not sure who all was involved in the music and GFX, but all of the above contributed to the world building masterfully. Even just the palettes themselves were very wonderful to look at and soak in.


I love the final area. I love how alexman25 changed the environmemt drastically in Crateria throughout the game. I loved how the usually boring ZM bosses presented an actual challenge (without going the other way and being too hard to fight fairly.)

I appreciate that the hack revisions have been preserved. I look forward to future installments (as well as exploring the old versions.)

Realized after publishing that I never devoted the proper attention to physics. (Things like the Prime style charge beam attracting pickups.) I play so many hacks I forget these QOL things are absent from the Vanilla game. Really makes the whole experience feel smoother.
By MegaManZX1.2 on Mar 24, 2024 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 1:30
For the main hack I personally like version 1.0 all the way to version 2.5.4 if you work on a version 2.5.5 then sense you have the proper talent if you have the thought you can try adding some more rooms that are similar to the ones in Super Metroid Revamp and Metroid New Zero Mission to put the rom in a good position with the other Metroid Zero Mission Rom Hacks. In my opinion if you were to revamp your Hack the 1.0 version is a good place to start from because of the Gravity Suit’s Pallet in that version. And I love the First Version for the choice of rooms in the actual Hack and I would definitely recommend every version of the rom hack. Thank you for your Continued support.

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