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.

List by Mike Williams, .

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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Comments 41

  • Avatar for CK20XX #1 CK20XX 3 years ago
    I'd caution against Mega Man Zero, actually, because it is unfairly brutal. It's a series that does not want to be enjoyed. It gives you all sorts of cool weapons, abilities, and power-ups, then forbids you from using them, and when the later games introduced EX Skills you could gain from bosses, they placed rank restrictions on them. If you weren't a good enough player, you couldn't earn boss weapons, which basically made you weaker as you progressed against increasingly tougher levels and enemies. All its player hostility should at least have been quarantined in a New Game Plus or Elite Hunter mode.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #2 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    @CK20XX That game was hard, but not as hard as Z2. Z2 is my mountaintop.
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  • Avatar for wintrmute #3 wintrmute 3 years ago
    @CK20XX I'd say Megaman Zero is fairly crappy. The sprites are too big, the screen is too small, many enemies move very fast and almost all seem to require multiple hits to kill. There's also some kind of bizarre catch-em-all upgrade system that has no place in what should be a pure action platformer.

    To anyone on the fence about this: forget MMZ. Forget it's sequels. They're garbage. Play some real Megaman instead (1-6 or X-X3).Edited July 2014 by wintrmute
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  • Avatar for Pacario #4 Pacario 3 years ago
    This is a good primer for GBA collecting, although that system was blessed with so many great titles, it's hard to narrow them down to just a handful. Wario Land 4, Metal Slug Advance, Double Dragon Advance, Gunstar Super Heroes, Astro Boy, and Mario vs. DK are just a few others that come immediately to mind.

    Sad Story: I had a boxed copy of Ninja Five-O, but had it stolen (along with about 400 other games) a few months ago.

    Kinda Happy Story: Unable to afford another copy of Ninja Five-O, I spotted a loose copy for $80 on ebay and bought it. Upon inspection, however, I could see that it was a pirate copy. Seller refunded me $65 of the amount. So, although it's illegitimate, I still got a working, playable copy for $15. Beggars can't be choosers, I guess.
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #5 CK20XX 3 years ago
    @wintrmute I wouldn't go that far at all. In fact, the series did steadily get better as it went on, and I was sad to see it end at 4 since the developers seemed to have finally gotten everything right by then. The first three games are high quality too, but also under the delusion that they need to be as punishing as the original Xbox's Ninja Gaiden, so they're probably best enjoyed with some cheat codes, like one that gives you an S-Rank after every mission.
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  • Avatar for bVork #6 bVork 3 years ago
    Be very, very careful if you plan on hunting any of these down. GBA bootlegs are absolutely everywhere. There are several things you should look for before you buy any of them, if you're aiming to get a legitimate cartridge:
    - The cartridge label. Oftentimes the labels of bootlegs are different. And even when they are the same as the real thing, they're frequently miscoloured or low quality.
    - A smooth fadeout of the upper lip into the lower part of the cartridge. Bootlegs often have much "sharper" grips with a distinct separation between the grip and rest of the cartridge.
    - The font on the raised plastic text. "Game Boy" should be larger than "advance" and both should be noticeably raised. The raised text on bootlegs is typically much less high than on legitimate cartridges.
    - The back should have a single tri-wing screw and read "MODEL AGB-002" and "PAT. PEND. MADE IN JAPAN." Bootlegs frequently skip the "PAT. PEND." text and sometimes read "MODEL AGB-004" or "MODEL AGB-022". The only exceptions to this are cartridges with extra components, like Drill Dozer or Boktai or WarioWare Twisted.
    - If you're looking for a complete copy, avoid flattened boxes or listings that are missing components. Bootlegs frequently don't include the safety booklet or the internal cardboard that gives the box its shape.

    Of the games listed, I have legitimate copies of Ninja Five-O, WarioWare, Final Fantasy VI Advance, and Metroid Fusion. If any of you need more information about the specific look of those cartridges, feel free to ask me.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #7 Ohoni 3 years ago
    I loved Megaman Zero, and I hate punishing platformers like Megaman 2. The GBA had a ton of awesome metroidvanias. i also enjoyed the Yugioh dual monsters card games (which were some of the best digital CCG translations out there) and the Shaman King Master of Spirits games. GBA games might be expensive, but it did have a great rom cartridge.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #8 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    @bVork I'll hunt down some pictures and add this information to the article. It's pretty useful stuff that I didn't think about.

    Thanks!Edited July 2014 by MHWilliams
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  • Avatar for wintrmute #9 wintrmute 3 years ago
    @CK20XX I think you're just further re-inforcing my point :p The GBA library is full of wonderful titles (including action platformers) that do not hate you. I say forget about MMZ and play one of those instead.
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  • Avatar for SigurdVolsung #10 SigurdVolsung 3 years ago
    All good choices and I own almost all of them. But my fondest memories of my GBA were all of the Final Fantasy remakes on the system. So many hundreds of hours poured into them. I'm the type who plays the games I love many times, even if they are very long.
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  • Avatar for hal9k #11 hal9k 3 years ago
    Good list! The nice thing is that most of these are parts of a series for GBA, so if you like, say, Mega Man Zero, then you can also check out the sequels.

    Speaking of MMZ, I'm surprised Mike thought 2 was harder. I played through all of them recently, and I found 1 the hardest - I didn't care about my rank, though, so I could see that altering the difficulty. I sort of hate-played MMZ - I refused to let it beat me, and only got through by spending a few hours grinding for crystals and weapon experience. Not fun, but I thought the sequels got a lot better. There might have been one nasty section with lava in 2, but otherwise they felt a lot more fair, particularly 2 and 3. The weapons seemed more useful and easier to level, elves were cheaper, and I liked the idea of getting new "suits" through achievements.

    The Advance Wars games were fun, but sometimes felt more like puzzle games than strategy. Especially later in the game, it felt like missions only had 1 correct solution to figure out. They were still really fun, but maybe not what someone might expect.

    As for Fire Emblem, I tried Sacred Stones when it was new, got bored, and gave up. Had the same experience with a fan translation of an NES one (Gaiden, I think). I just recently went back and played FE7, the first one to come out in the US for GBA before Sacred Stones, and I loved it! Something about it just clicked for me in a way that FE hadn't up to then (maybe I just really like Lyn) so I'd definitely recommend that one. I'm looking forward to giving Sacred Stones another try.
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  • Avatar for Critical_Hit #12 Critical_Hit 3 years ago
    Sad to see some 3rd party gems go unnoticed, especially from western devs. Where's Tony Hawk 2? Vicarious Visions' Tony Hawk GBA games were excellent stuff, and the beginning of their close partnership with Nintendo.

    What about Wayforward's Sigma Star Saga? A combination RPG and sidescrolling schmup... though I personally would downplay the 'RPG' part - it reminds me more of a Zelda or Blaster Master. That is an AWESOME game.

    Also, ever heard of Rebelstar Tactical Command? From the creator of XCOM, it's an isometric, turn-based squad tactics game... but with much more attractive art than XCOM. It's got an anime aesthetic that totally outshines the real-deal in games like Fire Emblem and Advance Wars. A real gem, that one was!

    I know it's supposed to be "a few examples", but man, this ignored way too much. Gotta go outside the box a little more. It's a system with a massive catalog of games, and you stood with a lot of Nintendo staples and Castlevania games. Not to mention, stuff like Mega Man Zero - a fantastic choice, but you'd have to be crazy to opt for the individual GBA titles when you could get the collection on your DS instead. You could've mentioned dozens of more games including Scourge: Hive, Drill Dozer, the 2D GBA Rayman games (the original game, and the excellent 2D version of Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc), the amazing Sonic Advance series (especially 2), Mario Tennis Power Tour, etc. You guys really missed out on some great GBA games when it was on the market.Edited July 2014 by Critical_Hit
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  • Avatar for Murbs #13 Murbs 3 years ago
    GBA had a fantastic line-up. Unfortunately I came into handheld gaming too late to indulge and with the majority of GBA carts on ebay being fake I just don't feel I can take a chance.

    Still, the legacy of the PSP and DS along with the current great games offered by the 3DS and Vita there's no doubt that if I had to choose between home consoles and my handhelds, it would be the little ones I'd keep.
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #14 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @Critical_Hit Sigma Star Saga was a nice idea, but man, it is not worth hunting down.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #15 Stealth20k 3 years ago
    GBA is one of the best systems ever
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  • Avatar for Exhuminator #16 Exhuminator 3 years ago
    I can't believe you didn't put Drill Dozer in your list Mike.
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  • Avatar for Spooky-Toast #17 Spooky-Toast 3 years ago
    Missin mah boi Astro. $20+ for a used copy of Omega Factor on Amazon? Worth it.

    Great list of essentialsEdited 2 times. Last edited July 2014 by Spooky-Toast
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  • Avatar for Banandango #18 Banandango 3 years ago
    Boktai - It's a game I really wanted to love (and I have loved what I played of it) but never got very far because I never wanted to stand out in the sun to play it.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #19 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    I'll be adding more information and some of these suggestions to the list in a running basis. Fear not, my GBA people.
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  • Avatar for shauninman #20 shauninman 3 years ago
    If you're planning on picking up a copy of Final Fantasy IV (4) Advance I'd recommend tracking down the European version. That release fixed a bunch of bugs (most notable/annoying being those in the ATB system) and it includes the same English script as the US release. This thread on GameFAQs has the full list of fixes.Edited July 2014 by shauninman
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  • Avatar for NatronZ3R0 #21 NatronZ3R0 3 years ago
    @MHWilliams I've been plugging at MZ2 here and there. It is quite tough! That stage where you hop between the ships was almost too much. My one saving grace for this game is playing it on the game cube, using a SNES to GC adapter. The SNES controller is so much more comfortable than playing on my GBA SP.

    I like a lot of the mechanics of Z2, particularly using the different elements to affect the environments/enemies. I still have no idea how to improve me rank each level though, aside from using a cyber-elf to bring it up to A.
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  • Avatar for NatronZ3R0 #22 NatronZ3R0 3 years ago
    Also worth a mention are the two Super Robot Wars games for the system, Super Robot Taisen Original Generation and OG 2. Still the only legit releases of the proper SRW games in Western territories. Fun enough versions of the games, and you can even read them in English! Sadly missing licensed mecha, but worth it to experience one of these games and not have to muddle through the menus/story without Japanese reading comprehension.Edited July 2014 by NatronZ3R0
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  • Avatar for GospelX #23 GospelX 3 years ago
    @CK20XX The first Zero game penalized you for making the game easier for yourself, but it didn't ever forbid you from doing so. Aside from the rank, nothing changes in the game if you used Cyber Elves or not.

    The Zero games, in a way, scale to you. If you're someone who needs help getting through the game, the game becomes about exploration as you find all of the Cyber Elves and improve your character. If you're someone who doesn't mind tearing his or her hair out trying to obtain the best speed with as little damage as possible, the game does that for you as well. Sure, there are the EX abilities that come with higher ranks, but I'm sure the advantage they provide is balanced out by the Elves available at the time. You won't be able to cancel that one boss' attack, but you can take the hit like a champ instead!
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  • Avatar for nilcam #24 nilcam 3 years ago
    @bVork Another check is to hold the cart pins up. If it's legit, you can see Nintendo in white on the board right where the plastic meets it.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #25 nilcam 3 years ago
    Great list! I must admit to preferring Advance Wars over AW2. The GBA is my favorite console of all time. The only title missing from its library is Chrono Trigger. If CT was released on the GBA, it would be the most perfect console of all time. My library is about 170 games.

    Games I'd recommend, beyond the list: WarioWare: Twisted, King of Fighters EX2, Super Robot Taisen, Mario Golf, Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.Edited 2 times. Last edited July 2014 by nilcam
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  • Avatar for GaijinD #26 GaijinD 3 years ago
    @Spooky-Toast I was working video game retail when Omega Factor came out, and I tried as hard as I could to tell people how great it was, but nobody would listen to me. Listen to me now, people. Astro Boy: Omega Factor is one of the best games on GBA.
    @NatronZ3R0 It's probably useful to note that these were released as Super Robot Taisen in the US as the trademark for the Robot Wars TV series (which also had a GBA game) was still in effect. There's also a noticeable difference in animation quality between the first and second. That is, while I think it's still worth playing, the first game largely slides around static sprites. The second, on the other hand, has some of the most elaborate visuals on the system. It's night and day.
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  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #27 LBD_Nytetrayn 3 years ago
    The DS Mega Man Zero Collection has an easy mode for the games, at least.

    Personally, I found Z3 to be on par with the X games, more or less. I've never been the best MMZ player there is, but I used to be able to ace that one from start to finish (I'd probably be a bit rusty if I tried it now).

    And@GospelX speaks true; the game is made to appeal to hardcore speedgamer types who boast about ranks and high scores and such, but if you don't care about that, then you can use Cyber Elves to your heart's content. Some of the later ones can be a bit harsh, though, when it comes to getting weapon chips and forms.
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  • Avatar for secularsage #28 secularsage 3 years ago
    My list would also include:

    Car Battler Joe -- An obscure little Japanese game about a post-apocalyptic, Road Warrior-esque future.

    Astro Boy: Omega Factor -- A wonderfully crafted action platformer that is well worth tracking down. It's based on the Osamu Tezuka manga, not the US film.

    Gunstar Super Heroes -- Another great action platformer, revived from the Sega Genesis original.

    Guardian Heroes Advance -- A remake of the Sega Saturn classic. It's a little harder to get into than Gunstar Super Heroes, but worth the effort in the long run.

    Rebelstar: Tactical Command -- X-COM with kid-friendly graphics. It's missing the base aspects that made X-COM so much fun, but the turn-based strategy is intact and just as good once you get past the tutorial missions and begin to understand the character classes.

    Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town -- A top-tier Harvest Moon game that fuses JRPG elements with dating sims and working on a farm.

    Boktai: The Sun is in your Hands / Boktai 2 -- Hideo Kojima tried to make a game that required GBA gamers to go outside and get some sun (since sunlight impacts the game's unique solar sensor and thus the game itself). It's not a perfect series by any stretch, but both games are well worth playing.

    Super Dodge Ball Advance -- A great remake of the SNES classic. It's not the deepest of competitive sports-like titles, but it's a lot of fun.

    River City Ransom EX -- A wonderful remake of the NES classic. It's criminal that this street brawler series hasn't had a modern remake, but if you enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World game, just know it owes a lot to the style and gameplay of RCR.

    Klonoa: Empire of Dreams -- The Klonoa games are action-platformers with great graphics, sparkling personality and excellent ideas. If you missed this one, you're in good company, but you should track it down and play it, because it's great.

    Mario Golf: Advance Tour -- An update on the GBC Mario Golf that fuses RPG elements with golfing. It's surprisingly good, and very different in style from the Gamecube game of the same era. You'll be surprised how little you actually see Mario in a game bearing his name!

    I can think of a few others, but this is a good list to go off if Mike's list doesn't have enough for you. The GBA was a wonderful platform with some really fantastic games. Though the hardware itself wasn't perfect in any iteration (the GBA SP was an improvement on the original GBA, for instance, but lacked a true headphone jack), the fact that the games were SNES quality and above really helped them to usher in a whole new era of exciting handheld gaming.
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  • Avatar for elthesensai #29 elthesensai 3 years ago
    "Yes, there are some GBA titles on the 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console, but that's a trickle, not a torrent."
    I see what you did there...
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  • Avatar for elthesensai #30 elthesensai 3 years ago
    Deleted July 2014 by elthesensai
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  • Avatar for presidentcamacho #31 presidentcamacho 3 years ago
    Zero 3 was easily my favorite of the series. No tedious grinding before you can do basic combo and charge attacks, the satellite elf system actually let you use the (often cool) elves in a balanced way without penalizing you, and the level design was really, really good (certainly less sadistic than 1 and 2, but still challenging, particularly if you want to maintain a good rank).

    4, while still fun, managed to wreck things with the asinine and arbitrary junk part combination system. You can massively overpower yourself, but only if you know which (often random) bullshit to farm and combine.
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  • Avatar for hal9k #32 hal9k 3 years ago
    Great suggestions, everyone. President Mountain Dew speaks true - the Zero games peaked around 2 and 3, with only a slight downtick for 4. As he said, 4 reintroduced a bit of the grinding that I found so tedious in 1. The series holds its own against any of the X games, except for the original MMX - that one was special. Also, great point by GospelX - as much as the MMZs have a reputation for difficulty, they do scale with you. I played slow and used elves, so I was able to beat them without too much trouble with lousy ranks, but there's a whole lot more challenge there for the hardcore completionists and speedrunners. Sort of like Metroid. Don't be scared of the challenge, the Zero games are well worth checking out.
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  • Avatar for presidentcamacho #33 presidentcamacho 3 years ago
    Yeah, even the first two Zero games aren't too tough if you just bite the bullet and use the elves.
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  • Avatar for pertusaria #34 pertusaria 3 years ago
    I recently picked up a GBA (and link cable!) on a whim, having found out that it can play original Game Boy cartridges, so I'll be keeping an eye out for these. Thanks for the list! I'm lucky enough to have a local shop selling old games and hardware at the moment, although their selection isn't large.
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  • Avatar for Zero-Crescent #35 Zero-Crescent 3 years ago
    GBA was probably the first system that I built a sizable collection for, so I have a few recommendations that I'll seperate into categories...

    Games that I recommend that haven't been mentioned yet:
    - Monster Rancher Advance 2: This is the one that successfully translated the series' addictive monster-raising gameplay to a portable format, with keywords replacing CDs as the monster-generating medium. I put a lot of time into this back in the old days.

    - Fire Pro Wrestling: I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned already. While the timing is slightly different than the console games, this game has all of the Fire Pro trimmings: good 2D animation, a deep Create-A-Wrestler system, and tons of slightly-altered real-life wrestlers. But the real draw to this one is the career mode, "Audience Mode," where you pick a wrestling style and try to impress the audience by sticking to that style's tropes. Pick the Showman style and expect to do a lot of near-falls and well-timed taunts, or try the Lucha style and entertain that audience with a high-flying and fast-moving pace.

    - Sonic Pinball Party: A surprisingly excellent pinball game with a bunch of neat features. It features three tables (Sonic, NiGHTs, Samba de Amigo), backed by music from the games. NiGHTs probably has the best table, which translates the original's gameplay to pinball format, but Samba de Amigo's table is also worth mentioning due to its main feature, a rhythm mini-game with music from PSO, Burning Rangers, and more.

    - Dragonball: Advanced Adventure: A neat platformer/brawler that follows the original series quite well. It looks nice and plays great (once you get past the much-too-long first level). Much like the Fist of the North Star Master System game, it handles one-on-one fights via a pretty good fighting game mechanic, which can be unlocked as a versus mode.

    - Dragonball Z: SuperSonic Warriors: After a terrible start with Taiketsu, DBZ redeemed itself as a GBA fighting game with this one. It has great animation and fast-paced action. Worth checking out if you're a DBZ fan.

    - Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Return of the King: Two surprisingly great loot-driven Action-RPGs. You can choose most of the major characters, and since the Fellowship was largely separated for these movies, you end up getting around four different storylines (Aragorn/Legolas/Gimli, Frodo, Gandalf, Eowyn). There's even full multiplayer, along with bonus areas and a few hidden characters (though unlocking Samwise in RotK requires a GBA-GC link).

    - Bomberman Tournament: Great multiplayer, and an interesting single-player mode. The single-player mode puts Bomberman in a Zelda-esque adventure, but the real draw is multiplayer (supports single-cart), which brings the classic Bomberman gameplay to the GBA with a bunch of options.

    Honorable mentions: The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night, Shaman King: Master of Spirits 1 & 2, Mega Man Battle Network 2 & 3 (The best two in the BN series), Super Monkey Ball Jr., WWE Road to Wrestlemania X8, Tales of Phantasia (Much like FFIVA, the European version was improved over the US release), Grand Theft Auto Advance, Activision Anthology, Konami Arcade Advanced, Dragonball Z Legacy of Goku II & III

    Worth importing:
    - Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting!: A Punch-Out-esque game developed by Treasure, modeled after the anime. You can play as Ippo in the story mode as he goes up against his more notable opponents (and you have to even lose a certain match to get the true ending). But the real draw is the RPG-like mode, where you pick one of the boxers to build up as you go up against progressively stronger opponents.

    - Rhythm Tengoku: The original, and still the best. Follow along to the rhythm of some catchy tunes, beat your high scores, and unlock rhythm toys along the way.

    - F-Zero Climax: The final GBA F-Zero game, which never made it to the West. Too bad, because it had some interesting features, the most notable being the track creator, where you could share your custom tracks with others via extremely long passwords.

    Great imports, but with a large language barrier:
    - Mother 1+2, Mother 3
    - Final Fire Pro Wrestling: The draw of this game is once again the unique career mode, where you are tasked with running a wrestling federation, recruiting wrestlers from around the world and putting together exciting matches that fits your fed's style.
    - Boktai 3: Sabata's Counterattack: Unfortunately, the final game in the trilogy never made it over to the West. It's more Boktai goodness, though apparently, it's not as good as 2.Edited 3 times. Last edited July 2014 by Zero-Crescent
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  • Avatar for GaijinD #36 GaijinD 3 years ago
    @Zero-Crescent Interesting fact about Final Fire Pro: It was released in the US as Fire Pro Wrestling 2, but the mode you describe was stripped out in favor of a more standard career mode. Also, several wrestlers received odd color palettes to make the resemblance to real wrestlers less obvious, as WWE had gotten wind of it and weren't happy.
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  • Avatar for Zero-Crescent #37 Zero-Crescent 3 years ago
    @GaijinD Yeah, the Management of the Ring mode was Final Fire Pro's major innovation, and without it, the Fire Pro Wrestling 2 we got in the West was just FPWA with worse music (same songs, but are annoyingly higher-pitched for some reason), no Octagon for Gruesome fights, and a rather generic career mode. To their credit, the localization team also added a few more wrestlers like the expys of Batman & Robin and Rocky Balboa, but it didn't make up for what was cut out, nor did it exceed the bar set by FPWA.
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  • Avatar for GaijinD #38 GaijinD 3 years ago
    @Zero-Crescent Yeah, I actually stuck with FPWA for a while due to the cuts, but ended up picking up FPW2 when I ran across a used copy complete-in-box. I believe the lack of octagon was due to UFC claiming that they had some sort of trademark on it, hence Returns having a hexagon. As I recall, though, FPW2 does at least have new moves and wrestlers. Plus, active WWE wrestlers weren't removed altogether as they were in all versions of Returns.
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  • Avatar for DiscordInc #39 DiscordInc 3 years ago
    Geez, I forgot how many good games came out on the GBA. It did make me think about some other ones that could go on the list:

    Drill Dozer: A rare non-Pokemon game by Gamefreak. It came out really close to the end of the GBA's life so not a lot of people know about it, which is a shame since it's really good. It has the feel of a lost SNES game with it's focus on a singular mechanic (the drill) and keeps throwing new challenges at you. I really hope this game makes it to the VC so it can reach a wider audience.

    Steel Empire: This one managed to make it to Europe, but not to the Americas. It's a fun little shooter with a steampunk aesthetic before that style was really run into the ground. Technically, it's a port of a Genesis game, but it improves upon it in so many ways to make that original version obsolete.

    Wario Land 4: I'm surprised that this one isn't already on this list, since I've seen it get a lot of love on this site. It's completely deserved love, since it has some of the most interesting level designs in the series. Plus, the sound test is worth the purchase alone for just how bizarre it it.

    Kirby: I honestly can't choose between Amazing Mirror and Nightmare in Dreamland. The former is a lot more ambitious, but it is a bit of a mess. Nightmare in Dreamland is a bit more than a remake of Adventure since it has some fun extra modes (including a challenge mode where you play Meta Knight)

    I also agree with the calls for Astro Boy Omega Factor.
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  • Avatar for 3DFruitBat #40 3DFruitBat 3 years ago
    Man, I ordered a boxed copy of Drill Dozer last year, and the previous owner left a copy of Superstar Saga in the box. That was crazy!
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  • Avatar for SevenBones #41 SevenBones 3 years ago
    It's great seeing Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis on this list. I remember spending quite a while looking for a copy when it was released and calling I think almost all the Gamestops in town before tracking one down. Even to this day I still take it out to go through a playthrough every year or so.
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  • Avatar for lizashaneendanita #42 lizashaneendanita 2 years ago
    Hidden gems:
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