The Game Boy Advance (and its smaller, clam-shelled iteration, the Game Boy Advance SP), was one of the best examples of portable gaming known to mankind. And because it was such a hearty little wonder, it deserves a 25 Best Game Boy Advance Games list, since its library was full of games that had us hiding our handhelds behind books in class. The small size of the SP was perfect for sneaking in a quick game or two in the middle of a lazy study hall session, or while in a stuffy waiting room. And so here are our choices for 25 Best Game Boy Advance Games.
First up on our 25 Best Game Boy Advance Games list is Astro Boy: Omega Factor. Osamu Tezuka, the godfather of anime, created the Astro Boy character in the early '50s. In 2004, Astro Boy: Omega Factor, became the first game from the series to come to North American Game Boy systems. It had everything a fan could want: a plot with flavors from different points in the franchise's past, beat 'em up action, cool animations, and awesome super attacks. And we're sure that deep down inside, everyone wants to have kick-ass rocket boots.
Some people are fans of ninjas. Some folks are fans of cops. You know what would blow their minds? If you put the two TOGETHER! Ninja Five-O starred Joe Osugi, a bad-ass ninja cop, in a side-scrolling adventure with pretty cool graphics and even better action. He could slash, dash, and swing around, Bionic Commando-style, in order to take out the bad guys. We can definitely forgive this ninja for being both seen and heard. And by the looks of Joe, he's not the type to read you your Miranda rights.
Never underestimate the power of a good drill. In this game, players controlled Jill and her powerful machine, the Drill Dozer. Tron Bonne might be number one in our hearts when it comes to kooky girl piloting even kookier machines with drills, but Jill showed that she wasn't just second fiddle. You could use the shoulder buttons to spin the drill backwards or forward in order to exploit an enemy's weakness and come out on top. You could probably use that as a metaphor for life, too. We're just not sure how. But let us know if you figure it out!
If you were like us, you probably spent a bit of your Game Boy Advance years as a member of the Orange Star Army. This turn-based tactical war game let you control a variety of land, air, and sea units against enemies in lots of different battle maps. The character designs were unique and cartoony while the animations were fluid and detailed. It was always entertaining to see the split screen action whenever your units faced off against an enemy. This game made long, boring bus rides a thing of the past and did it with a blast!
Konami Computer/Entertainment Kobe
Hold onto your stakes, because this is just one of the many great Castlevania titles on our 25 Best Game Boy Advance Games list! Circle of the Moon was heralded as one of the most challenging Castlevania games. Perhaps a bit of this was due to the slightly dark graphics, but Nathan Graves' whip-lashing adventures against the forces of evil and Dracula were fun nonetheless. And just like Drac himself, you'll see games from the franchise pop up again in this list. Hey, we can't help it if they're excellent games!
Intelligent Systems/Nintendo SPD Group No. 1
What would we do without WarioWare and its insanely mind-bendingly quick games? Some of the microgames would illicit responses of rage from us, even if we're having a great time with the challenges. WarioWare: Twisted added a new level of challenge by using a gyro sensor inside the cartridge to get you moving the GBA around during games. This one gets our vote for giving us a reason to look weird while playing on our handhelds.
It's lauded as one of the most difficult of Mega Man games, but it's also one of the best. Mega Man Zero stars the titular character, Zero, and follows his journey after waking up from a century-long slumber. Just like other Mega Man games, you could run, jump, dash, slide down and kick off of walls, and collect an arsenal of powers to use against enemies. A Mega Man game just isn't a Mega Man game unless it packs a punch and a difficulty to match, so this one was definitely a keeper.
Did you like Advance Wars? Did you also like fantasy worlds filled with swords, spells, and intrigue? Then chances are that you loved Fire Emblem, another great turn-based strategy game on our 25 Best Game Boy Advance Games list. We figure that handhelds are one of the best platforms for these kinds of games, since you can command armies whenever you have a bit of downtime. Fire Emblem made you a tactician that was found in a field by the green-haired Lyndis. Before the both of you realize what's going on, you're thrust into a war for power over the land. It was fun, it was gorgeous, and permanent character deaths made it challenging. In other words, it was AMAZING.
Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development
We love a good Mario romp, but man -- these games on the Game Boy Advance had really long titles. Still, that didn't stop them from being great ports of some gaming classics. The original game came out in 1990, but it's definitely a testament to the fantastic gameplay that it still holds up today, no matter what version you play. Mario's first adventure with Yoshi wouldn't be the last time we'd see another sweet port, but it was definitely one of the games that kept us staring at the tiny GBA screen.
This game features one of the gaming's first leading ladies, Samus Aran. Zero Mission was a short outing, sure, but it had some pretty badass gameplay, pitting Samus against Space Pirates. And hey, who doesn't enjoy tackling the crap out of space pirates every now and then? It wouldn't be the last time we saw Samus' adventures in space either.