With the advent of the new Nintendo DSi, I thought it important to go a step back and see how far portable gaming has come over the years. It’s a shame that, with all the new functions that the DSi possesses, the function to be able to play Game Boy Advance games has been omitted. The Game Boy Advance was a fantastic piece of kit and those who played it will remember how many brilliant games there were for it. With GBA backwards functionality lost it’s hard to see how much longer the words “Game Boy” will last in the industry.
The GBA brought us a hell of a lot of great games, from pocket-sized incarnations of some of our favourite console games, to handheld exclusive adventures and ports of classic SNES and Sega Mega Drive games. It was a powerful little beast considering when it was released. It was able to play massive SNES games (that would have been on cartridges 10 times the size of GBA ones) a mere 6 years after their initial releases. Ever thought you’d be playing Donkey Kong Country on a screen smaller than a credit card? Amazing stuff.
And so, I bring to you, a pocket sized collection of reviews of some of the GBA’s best (and worst) games, no bigger than the handheld console itself. Long live the memory of the Game Boy Advance!
Advance Wars – Smart and engrossing.
Altered Beast : Guardian of the Realms – Just plain wrong
Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge – Colourful and absorbing .
Bomberman Tournament – Lazy and odd one player.
Crash 2: N-Tranced – Good fun for the little ones.
Crash Bandicoot XS – Impressive downscaled Crash but too short.
Donkey Kong Country – Great fun and well ported
Donkey Kong Country 2 – Excellent, even better than the first.
Donkey Kong Country 3 – Good but the worst of the Kongs.
Dragonball Z: Legacy of Goku 2 – Odd battling experience.
Earthworm Jim – Depressing port; nothing like the original
Earthworm Jim 2 – Sickeningly bad. Ported just as badly as EWJ.
Fire Pro Wrestling – Interesting take on pocket grappling.
F-Zero GP Legend – Fast but story is pointless.
Gunstar Future Heroes – Fantastic take on the classic shooter.
Kirby and the Amazing Mirror – Confusing mazes but good clean fun.
Konami Krazy Racers – Charming racer – with Ninja from MGS!
Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy – Cute lego based romp
Mario Vs. Donkey Kong – Clever reincarnation of the arcade classic.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit – Retro karting fun. Great in multiplayer.
Metroid Fusion – Flashy action, an incredible pocket metroid.
Monsters Inc. – Boring, clearly has had no thought put in.
Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green – Feels like a step backwards
Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire – Average; New ‘mon are all daft.
Rayman – Pretty and impressive port.
Sonic Advance – Blisteringly fast – a worthy Sonic game.
Sonic Advance 2 – All over the place but great fun
Sonic Advance 3 – Slow by Sonic’s standards but OK.
Spyro 2: Season of Flame – Huge collect-em-up.
Spyro Adventure – A lot of collecting and talking but enjoyable.
Spyro: Season of Ice – Some frustrating areas but mostly good.
Super Mario Advance – Well ported attack on nostalgia.
Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World – Wonderful adventure.
Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island – Clumsy controls.
Super Mario Advance 4: Mario Bros 3 – Frustratingly put together.
Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo Revival – Classic, frantic fighting fun.
Tekken Advance – Sluggish port of an otherwise great fighter.
The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past – Ageing well. A good caper.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 – Outstanding skater for such a small device.
Warioware Inc – Frenzied minigame action.