5 Best Game Boy Advance Games
The Game Boy Advance may not have stuck around for very long, but it still had a great lineup of games for boys. Here are the 5 best!
1. Metroid: Zero Mission
2004 | Nintendo
The GBA was a system full of ports and remakes. That’s not always a good thing (as the huge number of last-gen ports to the PS4 and Xbox One have recently illustrated), but when those remakes are done as well as Zero Mission, it’s hard to complain. The original NES Metroid was great for its time, but by the early 2000s, it felt clunky, confusing, and overly difficult to most gamers. Zero Mission solved all of those problems.
This is the original Metroid with the graphics and faster gameplay of Metroid Fusion. The combination of the classic music and layout of the original with modern gameplay is simply stunning. Nintendo also fleshed out the story a little bit better to tie it into the Prime games, and added in completely new areas, including a section near the end of the game where Samus must survive without her iconic power suit. It’s a short game, but that really just means there’s no filler, and it’s easy to play over and over again to uncover every last secret and beat your previous times. Metroid: Zero Mission was the GBA at its absolute best.
2. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
2005 | Capcom
It’s a fair criticism of the Zelda franchise that many of the games are too similar, which is a real shame because some great things have come from letting developers experiment with the land of Hyrule. For The Minish Cap, Nintendo actually handed development off to Capcom, which crafted a unique take on Link, emphasizing the ability to shrink and grow as necessary in the environment. Main franchise antagonist Ganon is given a break here, as evil sorcerer Vaati takes center stage, and the game finally explains the origin of the Four Sword that takes center stage in the multiplayer Zelda games. You know, for the four people who were actually able to get everything together to play it in A Link to the Past.
3. Metroid Fusion
2002 | Intelligent Systems
Speaking of neglected Nintendo franchises, perhaps the only one more mysteriously forgotten than Advance Wars is Metroid. While Nintendo’s home consoles spent the 2000s doing a fine a job of exploring Metroid in the third dimension, Fusion arrived in 2002 as the true sequel to the beloved Super Metroid. The game does hold your hand more than its predecessor, but there’s still no shortage of secret areas, and unlocking new abilities in the fight against X parasites is a real joy.
While Fusion may not quite top Super Metroid, its gameplay is still top-notch in the Metroidvania genre. The story also does a fine job of moving the Metroid saga forward, as this is the last game in the series chronologically. Hopefully, Nintendo will finally give us a proper sequel to Fusion soon. It’s already been 14 years since it came out.
4. Advance Wars
2001 | Intelligent Systems
Nintendo isn’t the first company to come to mind when you think “hardcore military strategy sim,” yet the company’s forays into the niche genre are among the very best out there. Sure, the graphics are cartoony and the stories are much lighter than what you might find in many PC games, but there’s real depth in Advance Wars when it comes to building armies, taking cities, and moving the best units into place to counter the enemy. It’s kind of like Fire Emblem with tanks.
5. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
2003 | Nintendo
Nintendo fans will always argue whether Super Mario Bros. 3 is superior to Super Mario World, but there’s really no denying that Super Mario Bros. 3 got the better GBA port. The graphics are completely remade from the NES original. Mario is actually blue and red instead of black and burgundy like he was always meant to be, and the fire flower power-up doesn’t give him that weird red tint. These are welcome changes, and the ability to save the game makes it a little bit easier to play through, but the real highlight here is the e-reader support.