Collecting the Best Game Boy Advance Games

Collecting the Best Game Boy Advance Games

Hunting down some old classics for Nintendo's Game Boy Advance? Be prepared to open your wallet to get some of the best games for the portable.

Unlike most of our articles that clue you in on some of the best games for current and classic systems, it's kind of hard to get some Game Boy Advance games. The system is old enough that if you don't own a GBA or original DS, you have no way to play the games. Yes, there are some GBA titles on the 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console, but that's a trickle, not a torrent.

No, if you want these Game Boy Advance titles, you'll have to dig into your wallet for some cold, hard cash. Here are a few of the best Game Boy Advance games, and how much you'll have to pony up to hold the cartridge in your hands.

Ninja Five-O

Imagine creating an awesome game that plays like a mix of Shinobi and Bionic Commando. Imagine pouring your heart into it, handing it over to the publisher, and having them slap the name Ninja Five-O on the cover. How would you feel? Hudson Soft created this underrated gem for Game Boy Advance, placing players in the shoes of ninja cop Joe Osugi in his fight against ninja terrorists. Everyone missed Ninja Five-O, partially because it had no marketing and partially because of a cover that said "cash grab".

Current Price: $350

Since no one bought it then, Ninja Five-O is a hard game to find now. Good luck.

Metroid Fusion

Metroid Fusion was so good that we're still waiting patiently for a new 2D Metroid adventure. Fusion got its name from the fusion of Samus' Power Suit with the mysterious X Parasite, creating a whole new look for everyone's favorite bounty hunter. Metroid Fusion is one of the best-animated Game Boy Advance titles and it's as much a joy to look at as it is to play. It's a bit on the short side, taking only 12 hours to beat, but sometimes a focused experience is the best experience.

See also: Metroid Zero Mission

Current Price: $10-40

This was a popular GBA title. You can find it for only $10, but there an in-box copies for up to $40.

Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising

Advance Wars 2 was less of a sequel and more of an expansion pack grafted onto the original game. Like its predecessor, Advance Wars is an excellent strategy game if you're just getting into the genre, but there's still complexity to be found for veteran players. Take the fight to the enemy over land, air, or sea, and when you've finished all the missions developer Intelligent Systems has created, you can make your own with the map creator. When it launched, AW2 was a bit light for full price, but with the GBA long behind us this is the game to purchase if you have to choose between this and the original.

See also: Advance Wars

Current Price: $10-20

Advance Wars 2 isn't too hard to find.

Mega Man Zero

When Zero was first created for Mega Man X, he was intended to be the game's hero, but this marked the first game where he cast of the tyrannical yoke of X to become his own hero. Unlike previous Mega Man games, the world in MMZ is presented as one big world to explore, like Castlevania: Simon's Quest. Mega Man Zero brought a ton of new things to the franchise, like free exploration, a focused set of weapons, elemental augments, and the Cyber Elves. This was also the game that introduced most players to Inti Creates, the developer that would go on to help with Mega Man 9 and 10.

See also: Mega Man Zero 2, Mega Man Zero 3, Mega Man Zero 4

Current Price: $12

Mega Man Zero is one of the first titles on this list that you can find on Amazon Marketplace, meaning you don't have to hunt on Ebay for it. Alternatively, you can pick up Mega Man Zero Collection for Nintendo DS.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

This is the second Fire Emblem game we received in the US after years of nothing. This series is the other side of Intelligent Systems' strategy creations: whereas Advance Wars is about controlling your resources, Fire Emblem is all about the story, with Sacred Stones pitting six wor-torn nations against one another. Sacred Stones improves on the previous Fire Emblem for GBA with a world map, making things a bit more freeform than before. Plus, I had more fun with Ephraim, Eirika, and the rest than I did with the cast of 2003's Fire Emblem. Fire Emblem is harder that Advance Wars, especially since the game has perma-death, but it still deserves a place in your collection.

See also: Fire Emblem

Current Price $20-30

Prices for The Sacred Stone on Amazon and Ebay are roughly similar.

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

If I had to pick one of the Super Mario Advance games - and I do because they'd take up three perfectly good spots - I'm going to go with the updated to Super Mario Bros. 3. This was the last Super Mario Advance game, drawing from the Super Nintendo-era graphics found in Super Mario All-Stars and adding new voice acting by "It'sa me" himself, Charles Martinet. SMA4 also included extra GBA e-Reader support for additional stages, making it one of the few games with support for the peripheral.

See also: Super Mario Advance, Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World, Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island

Current Price: $10

Nintendo's re-released Super Mario All-Stars for Wii and many of the Mario games are on Virtual Console, so this isn't a hard one to find cheap.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

The wonderful little RPG puts you into control of Mario and Luigi at the same time, making for semi-awkward, but interesting gameplay. Is it as good as Paper Mario? No, but the adventure is full of classic Mario references and colorful, memorable characters. Plus, this is one of the few times where Mario and Bowser are working on the same team. You can't pass that up!

Current Price: $11-15

This game isn't hard to find, but the market isn't flooded with copies either.

Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

One of the best Castlevania games ever is also the last one that was released for Game Boy Advance. Sure, its Nintendo DS sequel, Dawn of Sorrow, outdid it in nearly every way, but Soma's first outing in Castle Dracula is still a winner. The Tactical Soul system can be grindy at times, but it was a ton of fun stealing abilities from the monsters in the castle. Let us say a small prayer to our Lord IGA, for the bounty he heaped upon us.

See also: Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance

Current Price: $25-40

Despite the Castlevania Double Pack re-release in 2006, Aria of Sorrow still commands a premium price. Ebay is cheaper than Amazon for this one, but you probably won't get a box.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit

Portable Mario Karts always seem to be the best entries in the franchise and that trend started here. Mario Kart: Super Circuit updates the classic Mario Kart Super Nintendo gameplay with better graphics. Despite the tiny handheld, Super Circuit is blazing fast. Forty-four tracks came along for the ride, with brand-new hits like Shy Guy Beach running alongside classic courses like Rainbow Road and Koopa Beach. And if you happen to have a few other friends who collect physical GBA games, there's four-player multiplayer action to be had!

Current Price: $7-15

The price for this is probably lower than most because it was available on 3DS through the short-lived Ambassador Program.

Pokemon Emerald

This is another game that was a tough sell when it came out, but with distance it becomes a good purchase. Pokemon Emerald is the "Director's Cut" version of Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire and came out two years after those original releases. You get all the Pokemon from Ruby/Sapphire, a few more from Gold/Silver, and the Battle Frontier. It's the last feature which makes Pokemon Emerald a great purchase; Battle Frontier was trapped at the end of the game, but it provided a new challenge for veteran players.

Current Price: $20-30

It's a bit more expensive than Ruby/Sapphire, but it's worth it for what you get.

Golden Sun

This is probably the finest RPG experience on the Game Boy Advance. If RPGs are your thing, then Golden Sun needs to be a part of your collection. The game was created by the minds behind Sega's Shining series and they pulled out all of the stops to make Golden Sun look amazing. Scaling and rotation effects, sharp graphics, and some great spell effects add up to a gorgeous package. It's not the most innovative game when it comes to story or gameplay, but overall it's a well-designed JRPG.

See also: Golden Sun: The Lost Age

Current Price: $8-15

This one's not hard to find and doesn't have a big price tag.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

Most people would put the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Four Swords here, being that it's a remake of one of the best Zelda games of all-time. I'm not most people. Minish Cap stands as the only "new" Zelda game released on the Game Boy Advance. It features a new Link on a quest to find the tiny Picori, using his weird bird-hat to shrink down to their size. Developer Flagship - the folks behind the Zelda Oracle games on Game Boy Color - do a great job of mixing the game's shrinking mechanic with its puzzles and the sense of scale on some of the bosses is amazing. Minish Cap even draws from Flagship's experience with Four Swords, making it a Zelda game uniquely suited to the strengths of its system, like the best Zelda games should be.

Current Price: $20-35

Minish Cap was not one of the better-selling Zeldas, so the hunt for copies is a bit pricier than say, the Oracles titles.

Final Fantasy VI Advance

One of the finest Final Fantasy games on Super Nintendo, re-released on Game Boy Advance. The game was already nearly perfect, but this version adds a new translation, better graphics, two new dungeons, and four new Espers to play with. If you're really serious about collecting Game Boy Advance games, don't think about it, just buy it.

See also: Final Fantasy IV Advance, Final Fantasy V Advance

Current Price: $20-60

A premium classic calls for a premium price.

WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgame$

The very first of the WarioWare microgames collections remains one of the best. The version doesn't mess with touchscreens or motion controls like later versions do, it's pure skill with a side of endurance. You'll complete over 200 5-second challenges for the only thing that matters: more money. It's really short if you add everything up, but WarioWare has a ton of replay value, which is probably why Nintendo keeps bringing the series back.

See also: WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$, WarioWare: Twisted!

Current Price: $10-15

WarioWare won't break your real wallet.

Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis

This version of Tactics Ogre isn't like the Super Nintendo title or its remake for the PlayStation Portable. The Knight of Lodis lifts most of the graphics and gameplay from the previous titles, but its plot is actually a sidestory to the happenings in Let Us Cling Together. What it does contain is the same deep political story that characterized the previous Tactics Ogre - though it does get semi-Final Fantasy towards the end - and a whole host of endings.

See also: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

Current Price: $15-35

Tactics Ogre did not enjoy the same popularity that Final Fantasy Tactics Advance did, so it ends up being more expensive.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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