Reptile Play

GBA Advice

I need a GBA game to act as a time sink on the way to and from India (I won't be getting a DS until March or so - I'm seldom an early adopter!). Apparently, it's now impossible to get Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance in Europe or the US (the only GBA Castlevania I haven't played), so I guess it'll have to be a cRPG. I'm swaying towards a Pokemon game - I haven't played one since Silver.

Furret_2My question is, should I get Leaf Green or Emerald? I haven't played any of the GBA Pokemon, so Emerald will be a whole new experience, but on the other hand Leaf Green is a remake of the original games which might, therefore, be easier to put down (since I've already played both Red and Yellow). I display terribly addictive behaviour with cRPGs, so my concern with Emerald is that I will have to commit the full 40+ hours to see it through once I get started. Also, I believe there's no Furret in Emerald, and it's just so cute!

Alternatively, any other GBA suggestions that I can still easily find on sale in the shops, and that will absorb a minimum of 20 hours of flight time? I could go for a good turn-based strategy game in the Front Mission mould if anyone knows of one for the GBA.


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Get Fire Emblem. Not the sequel ("Sacred Stones"), the first one. It's a fantastic tactical RPG, if you like that sort of thing. Or if you're looking for a simpler strategy game, Advance Wars is pretty fun.

Fire Emblem is also painfully unfair in places and is one of the games I curse for not saving my individual achievments like accessing secret characters and the like. It is great fun, but only until you hit the brick wall (I hit mine on one of the 20 something levels).

I would say for useful opinion, gamerankings is a great place to look. It averages all the review scores around and gives an often (in my opinion anyway) reliable review score.

Best GBA games I've played personally would include:

Zelda Minish Cap
Advance Wars
Metroid Fusion
Metroid (the other one)

I think that's it. I got bored of my GBA a while back.

On another note, why do you not have a DS!!!!???? That's almost like Gordon Ramsay not having a Wok!

Already played Minish Cap (played that for my GDC flights last year), didn't like Advance Wars much, finished Fusion, not sure I want another Metroid (while I'm playing the NES version). I'll check out Fire Emblem, since this seems a commonly recommended title - although if Dan says he hit a brick wall, I am afraid. :)

Why should I buy a DS? There's plenty of games still to play on the GBA! :) I believe the correct time to buy a console is when the pre-owned games are less than a third of the price of the new games. Before then, you're being taxed on your enthusiasm. :)

Thanks for the suggestions!

Hmmm... interesting factoid on third-of-the-price gaming. :)

The 'other' Metroid is a remix of the first. I think you'll find it very interesting if you play it alongside the original. Very different, yet same games.

To be fair, I hit the brick wall in Fire Emblem because when you lose a character in the game, you lose him or her forever and I wanted to be the game with all the characters present and alive. If you don't care about this sort of thing, you may enjoy it, though it's basically Advance Wars set in medieval times, with harsher punishments and thus a stronger sene of reward.

As for 'Why a DS?', you can blow boats across the screen using the mic in that weird Sega game! And you can blow away the clouds you've drawn in Yoshi Touch and Go (though this doesn't work well in loud environments).

It's little touches like these that make it
my favourite toy right now :)

I am very much looking forward to getting a DS, and I know I'll have fun with it. Give me time. :)

As for Fire Emblem, I did some digging, and I have to say this permanent loss of character unnerves me. I play strat-RPGs largely for the experience, not for fiero; permanent death enhances the risk-reward pattern, as you say - but it takes away the safety of play. I need that these days; I have plenty of stress at work - I don't need it in my games as well. :)

Ah, then don't bother- Fire Emblem is a very stressful game. Metroid: Zero Mission is very fun, but also very short, so I don't think that's what you're looking for. If you're interested in strategy RPGs, you might want to get Final Fantasy Tactics Advance- it's much easier than Fire Emblem, and still very fun.

I've heard many rate 'Tactics' consistently. Though they also did that with Fire Emblem.

You might as well see if Gamrankings' top rated list gives you inspiration. I hear the GB Metal Gear Solid was supposed to be great (old GB).

And of course, the Mario Advance games are always fun. And the Megaman EXEs (unique RPG strategy shooter hybrid). It's all coming back to me!

I just asked a mate for more GBA game recommendations. He suggested Golden Sun 1 + 2 (with 1 being the prefered choice in his opinion), River City Ransom, Klonoa, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (regarded as the best GBA Castlevania by many) and Kururin Paradise.

More suggestions! :) FFTA was what I played for my GDC flights a few years back... Deeply flawed, but I still enjoyed it.

I've played Aria of Sorrow... I didn't enjoy it half as much as Circle of the Moon, although it's clearly the more polished product.

I could go for a Klonoa game (playing Klonoa 2 on the PS2) but I'm betting it'll be impossible to find! I don't generally like beat-em-ups, so River City Ransom is probably out. Kururin Paradise sounds like it'll be impossible to find! :)

Golden Sun looks like it could be worth looking for... I'll see what my local game shops have in.

Thanks again for the ideas!

Yeah, Klonoa for the GBA (The first one at least) is great. It's not really like the Playstation games, though- it's actually a puzzle platformer. There are some really mind-bending puzzles in there.

Sorry if it's already been mentioned, but Konami is rereleasing Harmony of Dissonance and Aria of Sorrow as a two-pack next week. Should be a good deal.

You neglect to mention which country, J.V., but I'm guessing this is in the US. Still, thanks to the absence of localisation on the GBA (bless you Nintendo for resisting the urge to screw us on handheld localisation!) that should be no real problem as I can just pick it up at GDC. Thanks for the heads up!

Warioware Twisted is excellent (go go gyro sensors!) The Yoshi game involving a gyroscope sounds neat too, though I haven't played it.

Fire Emblem can be fun but also very frustrating at times. To beat the game "perfectly" (not losing any characters, no impact on the ending however) requires much patience and caution. However, you seemed to like the permanent loss concept in Juiced! so I would think you might find the perma-death here interesting as well.

The Super Mario RPG game for the GBA is lots of fun too - it has a lot of personality and it is one of those ever-so-rare RPGs with - gasp! - interesting combat!

The main impetus behind buying a DS would be all the interesting one-off games that use the unique DS functionality in some special way. You won't find unique titles like Phoenix Wright or Trauma Center, etc on other handheld platforms.

Hi James! I had wondered where you had got to... It seems like only yesterday that the comments here were basically a conversation between you and me. :) Hope life is treating you well!

Regarding Juiced, I'm afraid I think the game is rather monstrously ill conceived for many reasons. But I'm not against mandatory saves, because I believe they can open up new gameplay opportunities, as in Animal Crossing. Of course, not all those opportunities will be good for all people, and I'm now pretty certain Fire Emblem is not for me.

Thanks for the Mario RPG tip - I'll keep an eye out for that when I do my game shopping later today.

And I'm completely onboard with you about the DS - one of the reasons I want to wait is that I'm most interested in seeing all the unusual titles kicking around, and that'll get easier the longer I wait (because of cheaper pre-owned cartridges, and the natural growth of my friends' DS collections).

Best wishes!

As soon as I read your post I thought of recomending Advance Wars (1 or 2, are both great titles) What I really like about them is that you could play them in short burst, I remember saying that the trip from my house to my work lasted 1-Advance-War-Map-Cleared (~40 min) And they have excelent replay value, too! You should try them at least one more time.

Super Mario RPG Super Star Saga may be not be the kind of title you may want because it's much addictive! It last a good 30+ hours and it's hard to put ot down (the kind of game that makes you say "i will only play 10 more minutes, swear!)

Golden Sun would maybe not be a good choice because it is divided in long sub-quests, the second one being the worst about that.

Fire Emblem is just Advance Wars with a fantasy theme but everything that ruined the game for the others make it worth it for me: I like the challenge of trying every mission without losing a character. The second one is much more easy, so it may be a good pick.

And definitely both Wario Ware games are excellent for short pick-up sessions of mini-gaming godness.

Hey there, i love fire emblem, but i feel that it's graphics can be much improved..there were a couple of battles that were quite stressful for me..sigh..but i managed to get all the characters without letting a single one of them die. You can unlock another series of chapters after completing the game..and that is Hector's tale. My only regret in playing this game is that i didn't manage to get the support converstations between Lyndis and Kent to the A fav. couple in the game. Anyways, if you like FE, you should try out Langrisser 2 a.k.a Warsong 2. If you want the english version (difficult to find), drop me an email and i'll send it over. The graphics are much better, and it's not as me..:)

Thanks for the comment, Shahz! This post was over a year ago now... I'd love to know how you came to unearth it. :) I never did get around to trying Fire Emblem, and I left my GBA behind in the UK (although I could of course play them on my DS). I daren't play a cRPG or anything like it as part of my regularly daily life as it would consume all my free time - and my wife would kill me. :)

Take care!

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