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Looking for GBA recommendations

Started by granz, January 08, 2013, 05:50:22 PM

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granz

Well, I'm not exactly new to the scene. I have a GBA SP with a Flash cart loaded to the brim with some 50 games. I'm mostly trying to find anything I may have overlooked, such as hidden gems that weren't very popular back in the day. Let me cover some of the bases of what I already have, though.

- Probably all of the good platformers. Super Mario Advance, Sonic Advance, Kirby, etc.

- Essentially every SNES-to-GBA or NES-to-GBA port / remake. Contra, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, Final Fantasy, etc. I even keep some of the "Classic NES Series" titles around.

- Possibly every arcade collection. Love my classics.

- Lots of RPGs. Golden Sun, Final Fantasy of course... I never could get into the Mario RPGs though.

- Any good shmups I could find. Gradius, Invader, Iridion...

- Some of the more well-known gems, like Ninja Five-O and Fortress. (I did plenty of research on RacketBoy's site)

At this point, I'm hoping there might be some undiscovered RPGs, especially anything with an open-ended world or sandbox feel. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance may be the closest thing I can think of. I loved it, but the difficulty was never challenging. Even though enemy levels scale with your own, they're always substantially weaker and have much fewer abilities. I think I recall there being a recent FFTA re-balancing hack, so I may check into it.

I've browsed GameFAQs' database and narrowed my searches to various genres, so it's possible I've already looked over every title there is. Still, if anyone can think of anything that might be new to me, I'd appreciate any suggestions.

--------

On a similar note, there are a few overlooked titles I could recommend to others in return:

- James Pond: Codename RoboCod. An early Amiga platformer that has seen as many ports (and re-ports) as Mario Bros. or Final Fantasy. It's a pretty fun game, but the atmosphere is a bit surreal. The environments consist of oversized mundane objects, like giant teddy bears and bathtubs. Possibly the only reason I like it is for nostalgia. I used to play the SNES port when I was a kid.

- Mech Platoon. An RTS game that feels similar to StarCraft, with the exception that you're battling mechs instead of aliens. My only complaint is that the difficulty level is too low. Even VS. CPU matches are a push over.

- Star X. A 3D shmup similar to StarFox, and one of the few titles that really tries to demonstrate the GBA's relatively unknown 3D capabilities. Most other 3D titles are racing games. Unfortunately, the textures aren't that great. It looks even less detailed than Sega's Virtua Racing on Genesis. The GBA is capable of pulling off so much more.

- Payback. A 3D GTA clone. The view is top-down like early GTA games, but everything is indeed rendered in 3D. Consequently, the framerate is pretty low, and lots of action drops the framerate even more. It has pretty much everything that a GTA clone could offer. You can even hijack a tank and rampage through the city. It's worth noting that there is an official GTA title for GBA, but the framerate is even worse, and the game freezes pretty often.

- Konami Krazy Racers. Might not be as unpopular as I'm thinking. It's definitely better than Mario Kart. (and far less difficult to finish 100%) One of the things I like about Konami's kart racer is that you can play battle mode vs. CPU anytime, whereas Mario Kart keeps you locked out of this mode entirely. (it's reserved only for human players with multiple GBAs and a link cable :( )
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Garoth Moulinoski

Do you have Mother 3?

Also: Hamtaro Ham-Ham Heartbreak. I kid you not, man. If it's anything like the GBC one, it has to be good and a challenge.

F-Zero Maximum Velocity, F-Zero GP Legend, and the Japanese only F-Zero.

Love Hina was pretty cool to me (but might not be your cup of tea; it's a [tame] dating sim).

Gah, I can't think of anything else right now...
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granz

Quote from: Garoth Moulinoski on January 08, 2013, 05:55:15 PM
Do you have Mother 3?

Also: Hamtaro Ham-Ham Heartbreak. I kid you not, man. If it's anything like the GBC one, it has to be good and a challenge.

F-Zero Maximum Velocity, F-Zero GP Legend, and the Japanese only F-Zero.

I haven't played anything from the Mother series yet. Maybe I need to get around to it. I like RPGs, but not indiscriminately. Mother doesn't really look like it would be down my alley, but I may not be giving it a fair chance.

I tried F-Zero for GBA but couldn't get into it unfortunately. The one for GC looks fun though.

As for Hamtaro... I'm not sure what the series is about. Isn't it some kind of collection of mini-games?
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SargeSmash

#3
I'll second Mother 3.  It's got some interesting humor, but this one is much more melancholy than the SNES game.

Also, you've dug through RacketBoy's site, so you may have already caught most of the ones I would recommend...  but still, I shall proceed.

Drill Dozer.  Seriously, it's awesome.  They also list Astro Boy, and it is indeed Treasure goodness.  I also enjoyed both Gunstar Super Heroes (although not as much as the original), and Advance Guardian Heroes, despite the prolific slowdown.

Some people here had to throw the game down in disgust (I think it was Dank), but I loved Scurge: Hive.  Basically isometric Metroid, although it gets pretty unfair at the end.

I'd recommend Gekido, as well.  It's a very smooth brawler with (very) light exploration elements.  To go with that, Double Dragon Advance may be the best rendition of the original arcade game's style.

More looking at list...  Boktai is interesting, but the only way I'd recommend playing that is with the sunlight sensor hack.  I loved Riviera, for whatever reason, and Sigma Star Saga is a weird shooter/RPG hybrid.  It's not as good as the best hybrid, The Guardian Legend, but it's fun.  And I remember buying Rebelstar: Tactical Command around the same time, which is a bit like the original X-Com games.  I never finished it, but fans of the genre should enjoy it.

Hrm...  I liked Mario vs. Donkey Kong, but the original GB version was better.  And I never liked the transition to Lemmings-esque gameplay in the sequels.

Okay, I should probably stop now.  :P  I'd probably need to actually dig through my collection to remember anything I may have missed.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  -- Mark 8:36

DSwizzy145

There's some neat Japanese GBA games like Full Metal Alcemist & a few visual novel & exclusive adventure games :D

FlamePurge

Have you played CIMA: The Enemy yet, granz? It's a cute little JRPG made by Neverland, and the structure of gameplay is more about protecting everyone than defeating all the enemies. It sounds strange, I know, but it's actually really fun.

However, it was localized by Natsume, and if you're not a fan of Atlus' localizations, you'd hate Natsume's considering their numerous typos.

If you can read Japanese, that language's version is called Frontier Stories.

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granz

#6
Thanks, guys. I'm looking into these as we speak.

By any chance, can anyone think of GBA games with sandbox elements or really open environments? e.g. Anything similar to Scribblenauts, Elder Scrolls, Little Big Planet... Those are kind of awkward examples, considering GBA probably couldn't pull off anything quite as robust. Still, it's a general idea of gameplay elements I'm hoping to find.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that there's a size limit on ROMs. My cart flashes ROM data to its on-board RAM, which is limited to somewhere around 24 MB. Games like Riviera, Yggdra Union and Spyro: Eternal Night are 32 MB and too big to fit into my cart's RAM. I haven't found any way to circumvent this yet. :(
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MisterJones

Mother 3 is definitely one of the best GBA games. One of my favorite JRPGs, a genre I have grown to despise, but this game still remains great.



_-|-_

Garoth Moulinoski

Quote from: granz on January 08, 2013, 06:01:17 PM
I tried F-Zero for GBA but couldn't get into it unfortunately. The one for GC looks fun though.

As for Hamtaro... I'm not sure what the series is about. Isn't it some kind of collection of mini-games?

Well, TBH, the worst one is Maximum Velocity and most say the best one is the Japanese-only one. I like GP Legend.

As for Hamtaro: It's more like an adventure game. You learn words and using certain words at key locations unlock one thing or another, usually furthering your progress through the game. And when I say learning words, I mean, learning hamster words. Like Go-P means "to pee". And yes, you can use that just about anywhere.
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Disclaimer: If it sounds wrong, I may have been posting while asleep.

thr

hamha! you got some great recommendations so far. but I would skip Mother 3, until you're familiar with the earlier installments. it won't make much sense otherwise, as it's designed basically as a fan fodder.

no mention of Metroid: Zero Mission, but I'm sure it's simply so obvious that nobody bothered writing about it. same with Advance Wars. even though I don't normally enjoy tactical RPGs too much, I had lots of fun with it. and with LotR: The Third Age, oddly.

about RPGs. the 'Harry Potter' games are (sometimes) ok (action) RPGs. it's a gamble, the quality is very uneven between different titles, but I I've found a few quite relaxing, if simple.
and, umm, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime was fun for a while.

granz

I do have both of the Metroid games, and I've played some of Rocket Slime. I enjoyed it somewhat, but it doesn't feel very well polished. It couldn't really hold my interest as long as Zelda does, even though it plays the same in some respects.

I'd really like to look into Riviera, because the WonderSwan version was pretty interesting; unfortunately, my EZ Flash cart won't support the humongous ROM size.
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thr

#11
GBA version of Riviera is just an upgraded port of the one on Wonderswan, but yes, I was meaning to recommend it too. it's cute, but tough. one of my favourite games on GBA. just cough up 14 bucks and get it on ebay or wherever.

Jorpho

Shantae?  Everyone seems to like Shantae.  Does that count?

And the TMNT game for GBA is also quite fondly regarded; it is a classic brawler along the lines of the original TMNT arcade game, quite unlike the TMNT games released on other platforms (which are generally dismissed).  It's still a fairly limited game, though.
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SargeSmash

I actually enjoyed the side-scrolling TMNT game, for some reason.  There are three, but I only played through the first.

Another game you wouldn't think would be fun is Star Wars: Episode 3.  Surprisingly good brawler.
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Bregalad

I recommend the Mega Man Battle Network 6-logy. They are really great.

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shadowmanwkp

Summon night swordcraft story 1-3. An action rpg series à la the tales series. You have five different weapon types (six in the third) you can craft. The crafting method differs greatly between the two games. Stories of the games are unrelated ('cept for cameos and common elements like summon beasts). I had a blast with the first game and the second ranks among the top five of my favorite games. Note: third game is only in Japanese.

DankPanties

#18
I would say the most under-appreciated GBA game ever has to be Drill Dozer as Sarge mentioned.  It's the only GBA game I ever bought brand new off a retail shelf full price and didn't regret a single penny.  Easily one of the coolest and most inventive (and challenging at times) platformers I've ever beaten.  It was pure gaming bliss for the most part.

Quote from: granz on January 08, 2013, 05:50:22 PMAt this point, I'm hoping there might be some undiscovered RPGs, especially anything with an open-ended world or sandbox feel.

Well I know you enjoy dungeon crawlers so I'd recommend Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance for GBA for starters.  It's actually different than the console versions in a lot of ways.  But you've got your dungeons and your loot drops all the same.  And on that note, Mazes of Fate is worth a look as well for the same fix.  Far as undiscovered goes... Car Battler Joe is a pretty unique JRPG that I've heard a lot of good things about, despite never playing it myself (I've always meant to), take a look at it.  And lastly both Shining Soul games are good for hack'n'slash action-RPG-ing, look at those if you haven't already.

Good open world RPG for GBA?  Minish Cap definitely and both Metroid games, but those are only pseudo-RPGs.

Since you enjoy FFTA, don't miss these:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tactics_Ogre:_The_Knight_of_Lodis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onimusha_Tactics

The only GBA games I can think of presently with any sandbox feel at all are:

GTA type stuff:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/919434-grand-theft-auto/images
http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/929322-driv3r/images?page=2
http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/554414-driver-2-advance/images

Harvest Moon type stuff:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/589702-harvest-moon-friends-of-mineral-town/images
http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/919367-harvest-moon-more-friends-of-mineral-town/images

Quote from: shadowmanwkp on January 09, 2013, 07:50:18 AMSummon night swordcraft story 1-3. An action rpg series à la the tales series.

Just in case you don't know about it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summon_Night:_Twin_Age

Edit:

Oh and Granz, since I know you like roguelikes, check these out:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/929408-pokemon-mystery-dungeon-red-rescue-team/images

http://www.zincland.com/powder/index.php?pagename=screenshots
-You should be able to play it on your flashcart in a real GBA, I think.

Lilinda

#19
Have you tried any of the GBA Castlevanias? Each one is very different feel wise from the other two. The most SOTNesce one is by far Aria of Sorrow. It's also the best one, but IMO not because of that. I love it so much because it's simply the best built one. Some of the best music, great little easter eggs, etc... Best looking one too.

My second favorite is Circle of the Moon, which is sort of an kind of odd entry in the Metroidvania style. It's not part of the canon, but IMO it's a pretty good game. Also very challenging if you're into that. Harmony of Dissonance, IMO, is the worst of the three, but still pretty decent. The main issue gameplay wise is your fucking whip is too short ranged and you move too slow. The music is also incredibly fucked, sounding like a bad GBC game. If you can't overlook the poor quality of the sound engine(I get the feeling the actual compositions are fine...), then avoid at all costs.

Also, I recommend Zoids Legacy aka Zoids Saga 2. It's a pretty decent game. The graphics are kind of bad in battle(Less animation than a goddamned Pokemon game), but it's just fun as hell, and the way you can upgrade your bots and choose your team is just wonderful. More games need this kind of customization.

The main issue with the game is, well, the fucking translation is amateur hour. It's frankly embarrassing for the era it came out in(like 2005 or 6). The story itself isn't very good, but the translation just wrecked it. If you can play an RPG for just the gameplay, pick this one, its gameplay is utterly stellar.

I give a further recommendation to Sigma Star Saga and Astro Boy(It's flat fucking out my favorite GBA game, period), and I recently tried a game called The Invincible Iron Man. It's a surprisingly good licensed game. Also, try Justice League Heroes: The Flash. Made by the Sigma Star Saga folks, but very different. It's a bit sparse and moves too fast(WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IN A GAME BASED OFF OF THE FLASH), but damn it's a good beat 'em up.
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