EZ Racer's Blog

Posted on Nov 11th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (EZ Racer)
Posted under GBA, zelda, metroid, castlevania, advance wars, top 20, nintendo, game boy, advance

In October, we looked at the top games for the Game Boy Advance

The successor to the Game Boy and Game Boy Color, the Game Boy Advance, or GBA, could reasonably be described as a portable Super NES. In fact, several games originally released for the Super NES made their way to the GBA as portable re-releases. With several hundred games to choose from, it may be a slight surprise that out of six participants, only 59 different games received a rank.

The participants for this list:

EZ Racer
Disposed Hero

But while several games were on multiple lists, there was a lot more variety on exactly where they should fall. This also caused several logjams in the ranks. As you'll see below, there were several spots in which 1 or 2 points made the difference, especially in the mid-teens, where there was only a 4 point gap between 13th and 18th place. That's equivalent to the difference between a single 11th place vote versus a 9th place vote.

It's also apparent that strategy games and metroidvania games were prevalent on the system, as they took up 9 of the 20 spots. And for how many games received multiple votes, only two were on all six lists, not coincidentally falling into the #1 and #2 spots on the final list.

There were plenty of great games that fell just short of making the top 20, and you can find more about those games on the submissions page- http://www.rfgeneration.c...19437.msg274464#msg274464

Before we get to the Top 20, a few honorable mentions that just missed the cut-

24. Drill Dozer
2 votes (#12, #10)

"I love the "special" cartridges Nintendo made available for the GBA, for Yoshi-Topsy Turvy, WarioWare Twisted and Drill Dozer. Of those titles, I think this one is my favorite. A wacky story combined with fun gameplay made this a great late GBA title."

"You know Game Freak, the Pokemon folks? They make other games sometimes, too. This is a must play action platforming game with puzzle elements. Oozes with charm!"

23. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
2 votes (#18, #6)

"This shouldn't work on a GBA. But it does. But it shouldn't."

"This was my first real experience with the Tony Hawk series, and for a kid who was absolutely nuts about skateboarding, this game was perfect. I played through each skaters campaign fully and fully maxed their stats and still love how they adapted a 3D game into a 2D world so perfectly."

22. F-Zero: GP Legend
2 votes (#17, #6)

"This game feels like the sequel the SNES deserved, but never got. All the speed and flavor of the original, with more modes, vehicles and options to give it plenty of replay value."

21. Ninja Five-O
2 votes (#10, #9)

"Highly lauded, and highly sought after, this ninja action game gives GBA fans the Ninja Gaiden game they wanted in a new wrapper."

----And Now for the Top 20----

20. Final Fantasy VI Advance (48 pts)

Released- 2007
Genre- RPG
2 lists (#14, #5)

"Good on any system, this port gets a few new additions, including some extra polish, over its original on the Super NES. But really, you can't go wrong with this game no matter what format you choose to enjoy it on."

19. Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls (50 pts)

Released- 2004
Genre- RPG
3 lists (#19, #19, #7)

"A solid, much more balanced iteration of where the series began. Never could get into FFII on this, maybe it's time to give it another try."

18. Gunstar Super Heroes (52 pts)

Released- 2005
Genre- Run n Gun
3 lists (#17, #13, #10)

"While this feels less like a sequel, and more like a retooling of the original, it's still a pretty great game in its own right."

17. Castlevania Circle of the Moon (53 pts)

Released- 2001
Genre- Action Adventure
4 lists (#20, #18, #16, #13)

"Even the least of the "Metroidvania" games still manages to be better than 90% or more of the GBA library, despite its flaws."

16. F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (53 pts)

Released- 2001
Genre- Racing
3 lists (#18, #15, #8)

"An excellent follow-up to the SNES original, and a very enjoyable racing game."

"A mixed bag. It's a solid racing game that does a decent job of following up the original on SNES, but it has frustratingly loose controls that dampen the experience. While it's worth the time to try, and one of the better racers on the GBA, it doesn't hold a candle to its successor, GP Legend."

15. Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga (54 pts)

Released- 2003
Genre- RPG
2 lists (#8, #7)

"A brilliant and hilarious storyline combined with excellent gameplay make this one of my favorite GBA titles."

13 (tie). The Legend of Zelda: the Minish Cap (56 pts)

Released- 2004
Genre- Adventure
2 lists (#8, #6)

"A gorgeous and fun Zelda game from Capcom."

13 (tie). Gradius Galaxies (56 pts)

Released- 2001
Genre- Shoot-em Up
2 lists (#8, #6)

"Quite possibly the best original shmup on the GBA. Great graphics, music, and atmosphere, even if it doesn't quite scale the heights of the later arcade iterations."

"Gorgeous game that feels right at home with some of the best home console games this series has to offer."

12. Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones (76 pts)

Released- 2005
Genre- Tactical RPG
2 lists (#3, #1)

"The quality of life improvements this title offers over the earlier GBA release help make this my favorite in the series. Although this game can be significantly easier than the earlier release, additions like the post-game replayability made grinding my characters up fully quite fun and I really enjoyed the overworld screen added to this game. I've always preferred the 2D Fire Emblem titles because the sprite work is so good, and this version has some of the best."

11. Advance Wars (80 pts)

Released- 2001
Genre- Tactics
3 lists (#11, #9, #3)

"Great tactics game that fairly easy to pick up and play. Hours of fun in a charming package."

10. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (84 pts)

Released- 2003
Genre- Platformer
3 lists (#18, #4, #2)

"Yeah, it's just Super Mario Bros 3 again, not far removed from the All-Stars version, but then...it's still Super Mario Bros 3!"

9. Final Fantasy V Advance (84 pts)

Released- 2006
Genre- RPG
3 lists (#10, #7, #4)

"NA audiences first saw this on the PS1 as part of the FF Anthology. This version, with some fun extras for diehards and grinders, fixed the bugs of the PS1 version, giving us a proper introduction to the world of Bartz and X-Death."

8. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance

Released- 2002
Genre- Action Adventure
3 lists (#8, #6, #5)

"Another excellent entry into the handheld series of "Metroidvania" titles, this was a definite step up from the 1st outing on the handheld."

7. Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (89 pts)

Released- 2003
Genre- Tactics
3 lists (#15, #4, #1)

"I first bought my GBA from a friend who was getting rid of the systems he didn't play anymore. He pointed out AW2 at the time and told me it would be worth my attention. Boy was he right. Ever since, this is my go-to game when I'm traveling. Its fun, challenging, thought provoking gameplay manages to straddle the line between mindful tactics and not taking itself too seriously. A must have game for fans of the system, especially those who enjoy turn based strategy games."

6. Wario Land 4 (107 pts)

Released- 2001
Genre- Platformer
4 lists (#13, #8, #7, #3)

"Excellent game, and arguably the pinnacle of this Mario universe side series."

5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past/Four Swords (111 pts)

Released- 2002
Genre- Adventure
4 lists (#17, #9, #4, #1)

"A portable release of one of the greatest games ever, with a multiplayer add-on game as a cherry on top. Enough said"

4. Fire Emblem (130 pts)

Released- 2003
Genre- Tactics RPG
4 lists (#12, #3, #3, #1)

"If you're looking for tactical RPG goodness on the go, look no further."

"One of my first tactical-rpg experiences, I've replayed this game countless times. I credit this game with fueling my love of the genre and the series in general."

3. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (147 pts)

Released- 2003
Genre- Action Adventure
5 lists (#15, #10, #5, #2, #1)

"The closest thing we got to a true, worthy follow-up to Symphony of the Night, this continues to refine the "Metroidvania" formula with excellent results."

2. Metroid Fusion (154 pts)

Released- 2002
Genre- Action Adventure
6 lists (#20, #14, #11, #5, #2, #2)

"This entry into the Metroid series is a bit divisive, due to its more linear approach, and hand-holding, but it's also very atmospheric, and more story driven than its predecessors. Good stuff."

"Although I love both GBA Metroid titles, I give the edge to Fusion for being the more unique title. Yes, it does hold your hand too much and yes, the unskippable text walls are annoying and yes, the lack of sequence breaking is a negative for a series that prides itself on sequence breaks, but man did this game hold my attention as a kid. I really love the music, the unique bosses, the sense of dread throughout and how unique (and pretty gross) Samus' suit can be."

"In making my list, it became apparent right away that there was an elite 2 games for me, then a giant gap to number 3. In college, I borrowed (for $10) my friend's GBA and Fusion for a small road trip. Worth every cent. Eventually, the urge to play it again hit, so I bought my friend's GBA outright. By far the darkest of the 2D Metroids, while Super Metroid plays on your emotions of solitude in a vast world, this plays on your emotions of fear of what might lurk through the next doorway. While it is more linear, this lends itself to having many more memorable moments. The SA-X sequences are brilliant and packed with suspense, and the story's climax is (spoiler-free) absolutely gripping, not to mention the interesting ways a few other area bosses are introduced. Another of the must-own games for GBA."

1. Metroid Zero Mission (206 pts)

Released- 2004
Genre- Action Adventure
6 lists (#10, #4, #4, #2, #2, #1)

"A re-envisioning of the original Metroid for the NES. Takes everything done well in the first game, adds some sub-bosses and a great epilogue, all with a updated Super NES style coat of paint.

"Remaking the 1st Metroid with an updated engine and adding quality of life features from the sequel seems like an obvious win. Glad Nintendo thought so, too."

"Another great Metroid title that I play through a few times a year. I find this game easier to replay currently, simply due to the lack of ADAM chewing your ear off when compared to Fusion, but both titles hold a significant place in my heart."

-Final Thoughts-

This was an extremely fun list to put together, as it's obvious that there's plenty of agreement on which games are the best for the system, but quite a bit of devisiveness as to where those titles should fall within the list.

Thanks again to everyone who participated, and look forward to seeing everyone's thoughts as we near the finale of 2020.

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This list is a bit more RPG-heavy than I expected, but I think it turned out to be a pretty good representation of the handheld. Great work compiling these!
I'm not much of a handheld gamer so I had no idea there were so many highly regarded Castlevania games on the Gameboy Advance.  I'll have to check them out sometime.  Also there is a brand new video to go along with the Gameboy Advance Top 20!


And life got a bit crazy last month but there's also finally finished the companion video to the Atari 2600 Top 20.


Love all the RPG love on this list! I'm not a big fan of the Super Mario rereleases on this system and was worried it would be full of them in the top 20. Glad to see you guys have great taste as well!!
Circle of the Moon is definitely an amazing game once you fix the grinding for cards necessary. Having key items as rare enemy drops and no direction as to which enemy has the card you're looking for meant that, at the time of release, you had to find that info on the Internet or in a strategy guide. If you want to replay it, I'd suggest using the "Card Mode" rom hack at https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/4725/ that puts the cards in specific map spots as item pickups instead, turning it into a standard 2D Metroidvania.
These images had such a strong impact on my, so many memories and flash backs in my mind. Ohh, good times boy, good times.
After finishing my lessons at school, I was rushing home to play these games, how much time it's been from that moment. So many good memories with my friends, competing between us, playing on the same device at a time, and then switching. To recreate those memories, I am playing sjove spil der er gratis https://boom.dk/, in the evenings when I finish my work, or during the weekends when I have more free time.

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