Sunday, February 18, 2007

The GBA Titles That Deserve the 'Players' Choice' Honor

It was rather swell news for Nintendo fans last year when the big N finally rolled out a line of GBA Players’ Choice titles. Despite sufficient sales of the games that made it to the line after being re-branded, we’ve yet to see any new Players’ Choice GBA titles since last fall's re-releases of Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green.

However, whether we’ll see any new games added to the line this year or not, we all know the possible ones will be predictable, typical chart-topping Nintendo-published fare starring the usual suspects of popular Nintendo characters (Mario, Link, Pikachu, etc). Why doesn’t Nintendo take a risk and re-release some fantastic but overlooked titles through the years that found their way onto the highly-successful portable? Here are the titles that definitely deserve to bear the Player’s Choice name but unfortunately won’t any time soon…

Shining Soul II

This highly playable, addictive hack n’ slash RPG is the closest game to capture the spirit and playability of Diablo II on a portable system. Nicely designed dungeons, great anime-influenced art and fun multiplayer action make this the handheld hack n’ slash to beat. I’m just hoping for a third entry in the series…

Rayman 3

Yeah, so it doesn’t star a pudgy plumber, but Rayman 3 for the GBA is a true gem of a platformer. Cleverly designed levels and a charming main character make it worth a try, and you’ll be amazed the first time you see this one in motion… the beautiful 2D visuals are a sight to behold and this may be the best looking game to ever grace the Gameboy Advance.

Lunar Legend

I like me a good portable role-playing game, and in the field of RPG’s on the GBA, Lunar Legend is in a class of its own. Although it’s brief (for an RPG – experienced players will plow through this in less than twenty hours) and somewhat simple, the storyline is one that you’ll want to follow all the way through. It’s just too bad that the handheld follow-up on the DS, Lunar Dragon Song, turned out to such a massive disappointment.

The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood

The GBA version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 was definitely a quality port, but I’d take this one over that seeing as this is an original release. Exclusive to the GBA, KOF: EX2 Howling Blood rocked Nintendo’s portable with solid controls, nice visuals and of course, that classic game play that the KOF series if known for.

WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$

Sure, this one’s published by Nintendo, but unlike most of the Nintendo produced titles on the GBA it didn’t sell by the truckloads. That is unfortunate, however, as this is one of the most enjoyable original releases on the GBA. The second-long mini-games kept me glued to be my GBA for quite some time and they will bring out the soda-loving, sugar-addicted ADD kid in you.

Sonic Advance 2

Sonic Advance is not exactly something I’d consider “overlooked” as it was a high-seller for the system for weeks, but it’s such a great title that it deserves to be on the Players’ Choice line. When Sonic Advance 2 hit stores I, and many others, hailed it as the best Sonic title in years. Although it’s not quite as replayable and enjoyable as a good ol’ Mario adventure, Sonic Advance 2 is a damn fine game nonetheless.

Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town

Last, but certainly not least (as I consider this to be the best title listed here) comes a title you’d never knew you would love so much until you gave it a try yourself. Yup, a farming simulation. Harvesting crops and taking care of animals may seem boring on paper, but once you give this one a try you’ll be sucked in for months. Warning: Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town is highly addictive and is a must-play for someone who is willing to try something unique.

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At 6:20 PM, Blogger Danny Dare said...

Excellent article, you'll get no arguments from me over your choices. (But you might from others. :)

Sonic and Mario Fan

At 8:46 PM, Blogger The Elderly said...

no arguments here, but now i want a GBA!

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Wedge14 said...

Kof Ex2 only leaves my GBA for KOF Ex 1.

I have alot of trouble hitting the left shoulder button somehow tho...And i can pretty much beat both those games without taking a hit. The A.I. is just R-rarded i find.

At 2:50 PM, Blogger gnome said...

Brilliant stuf, but I'm sure you're forgetting a certain perfect turn-based strategy game...

Oh, and Elderly, a GBA should coust roughly 10 euros...

At 4:09 AM, Anonymous digitalspace said...

Nice article. Just FYI, Rayman 3 is part of a double pack with the the GBA port of the first Rayman - it's called Rayman 10th Anniversary. It isn't hard to track down on the cheap, either. :)

So it may not get Player's Choice honors, but it did get an honor of some sort.

At 4:13 AM, Anonymous digitalspace said...

btw, out of all the games featured, I own Sonic Advance 2, Rayman 3 (via the aforementioned double pack), Harvest Moon, and Wario Ware.

(sorry if this went through more than once, I'm not sure if it got posted the first time)


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