There has been a ton of systems that have passed by over the years. Large consoles now showing us the sheer power behind them, giving us games in full 4k and bringing us stories more akin to feature length movies. One little system that I carried around well past its normal shelf life is the classic Game Boy Advanced. Some of the titles on the system bringing challenges like no others or showing true in-depth gameplay. Along with these titles remember there are so many more to go out and give a shot, but here is five of my must plays.
These titles have no particular order, but here we go.
Number One – Golden Sun
An amazing little RPG title that is a must for anyone who is a fan of the old classic turn-based battle system. The four characters led by Isaac are on a journey spanning the continent that lets you find “Djinn” to enhance your abilities. They are based around the basic elements and also are used for exploration around the game map. When I first played through it reminded me of Sword of Mana and I got hooked into the second title as well, that picks up right where the first leaves off. Although I haven’t made it all the way into the DS title, many times will you see my Game Boy Advance with this title still in it.
Number Two – Advanced Wars
Another strategy type game and not the last on the list. Many titles began to port over on the GBA, from the early Final Fantasy to the Lunar series we saw plenty, so fresh titles really nailed it when they brought hours of playability. This title lets you be a commander in an army and you take turns each day moving and organizing your troops. Each having different ranges and prices, plus a sort of Rock-Paper-Scissors element to what works best against what. Each commander had a special ability that you can use after a few days to really boost your gameplay. This was one of the few titles that I found myself playing with others as you passed the GBA back and forth between each day to see if you could outsmart your friend. I believe the Advanced Wars Dual Strike DS that came out later was the best in the series, but this title is one I’ve beaten time and time again.
Number Three – Fire Emblem The Sacred Stones
Out of all five on this list, I don’t think a single title ate away more time than this one here. Not the first Fire Emblem title to come out on the GBA, but easily the best. It gave you more branching options for each character and had two campaigns you could play through to see different sides to the story. The real beauty that this game added compared to the first was the end game content. There was a tower that you could play through with increasing difficulty to unlock the older bosses of the game as playable characters.
If you have never played an Emblems title the permadeath of each character can be brutal at first. Losing one of your favorite units meaning restarting the whole level or going the rest of the game without never using them again. This game taught me a lot about patience and many times I would look over to see it was four A.M. and I had school in a few hours because I never wanted to put this down. If you are a strategy game fan give this a play on hard mode and you will be hooked.
Number Four – Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga
It wasn’t long after Super Mario Sunshine on the GameCube that this title came out. Promising gameplay a lot like the earlier Super Mario RPG I was curious to see how it would hold up. After all, I had been playing bigger titles on the Cube at this time like Sunshine, Metroid Prime, and Tales of Symphonia so how would a GBA title compete?
Well if you haven’t been able to tell from the onslaught of newer versions and sequels the game was fun. It was a turn-based RPG at times but had fun exploration and a great cast of characters that taught the brothers new moves and abilities. There were cute Easter eggs hidden throughout about other Nintendo titles and even in the turn-based moves you could interact. It had a way of making you even more excited when you hit the critical hit or dodged just in time, the game was a smooth hit and I would love to visit some of the later iterations sometime soon.
Number Five – Metroid Fusion
Just as easily could this have been a Castlevania game like Aria of Sorrow, but I had to stick with my girl Samus. The Metroidvania genre of games always brings you back for the fun quick gameplay you find in each section of the map and the mental notes you take to return to a spot when you find a new item. Not too long ago I played through Ori and the Blind Forest and it reminded me how much I loved titles like these. I was soon walking around with fusion in my SP again and relearning all the different ways you could go through the map. This title not only has held value but remains solid on gameplay even now. It is one of the most downloaded ROMs only behind the myriad of Poke’mon titles. I can’t say too much without doing a whole review here, but if you haven’t tried it out, go play it tonight! You won’t regret it.
There are so many more titles in the system family that I could have focused on and there will be more times for me to do just that. When you have almost twenty-five years of gaming under the belt you wrack up a catalog of games you’ve beaten and love. Sure the GBA is a bit older, but I will jump around on these articles. I may do Switch titles next week or even Xbox, the fact is I play games and I like them.
So tell me what titles you remember playing through and what kept you excited over all the years. As always I love to hear from you all and the support goes a long way. Update on my personal health, I’m doing a lot better. I finally managed to get through another full day of work and not immediately fall asleep after. Dental pain is something new and painful for me, but they have improved my general health immensely and got that smile looking great, so everything should be back onto the track for the blog here.
I’ll see you all tomorrow, so go play some games and be happy!