Thursday, April 7, 2016

My favorite GameBoy Advance games

 Here's the gist of it, in this world there's only one constant I'm entirely subjected to: Change. I am a person, and right now I'm not the same man that I was when I first began writing, heck, that guy wasn't even the same guy that wanted to write this in the first place! What I want to get to, once I stop digressing, is that this list is how I feel right now, at this very moment, so when and if I feel like making this list again, and knowing myself I probably will, it might change.

 So, what is that list? These are the games I liked the most on each particular system, this time around the Gameboy Advance. These are not necessarily the games I consider best, but the ones I liked the most and the ones I have the fondest memories of. For these lists I tried to stay away from multiplataform games, or from ports. I tried to, but in a few cases it was impossible to.

10) Guilty Gear X Advance
 Ever since I got this game a couple of Christmases(It actually is a word!) ago, I played this game over and over again. When the GBA was my platform of choice for getaways, this is the game I took. And y'know what, it looks pretty bad for a GBA game, it even sounds like a Gameboy color game, and even then, even then, I had a blast with this game. I could play on of my then-favorite fighting games on the go. It even had a phenomenal color-edit mode, a mode in which I spent more than I would like to admit.

9) Double Dragon Advance
 This is a game that became a bit of an acquired taste for me. I thought it was alright when I first played it, but nothing special. Fast forward a few months, maybe even years later, during highschool, I tended to get a very upset stomach, my alimentary habits probably weren't the best. Regardless, I spent quite a few days at home, while suffering from an upset stomach and nausea and... playing Double Dragon Advance. While at the outset it feels clunky, slow and maybe even limited, you'll soon discover that the moveset is deceptively large, and there's a ton of ways to dispatch enemies. Also, major bonus points for the art direction, emulating Hokuto no Ken very well. It might not be the best beat'em on the system, but hey, I learned to love it.

8) Dragonball Z Supersonic Warriors
 People usually hark on and on about how sequels are usually worse than the first installments, but my experience has told me otherwise, at least as far as gaming goes. Videogame Sequels are usually better than their first parts. Usually, Supersonic Warriors 1 is way better than its sequel, featuring faster combat and a combo system that actually works. This is another game I spent a lot of time playing while in highschool, except that I played it after coming home, next to the window and trying to get the most out of the setting sun's last rays of light. Hey, when you had a vanilla GBA you had to learn how to make the most out of different light sources!

7) Golden Sun/Golden Sun - The Lost Age
 This franchise I actually discovered through Emulation. I tried out the first game, loved it, but never finished it, since I wanted to buy it, except that I never came around it. Years later I bought The Lost Age and loved it, and a few years later I got my hands on the first entry! While the fanbase overrates these game a whole lot, an opinion backed by how much hate the sequel got due to, basically, complaining about things that these games never got right, and yet downright ignoring them when it came to these two), I still find them to be very entertaining. They are very original JRPGs, with the equippable Djinni serving as power ups, skills and providing class changes according to your setup. Not that it really matters when you can just wreck anything and everything that comes your way with the very impressive summoning spells.

6) The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King
 Who thought that making a Diablo-like dungeon crawling RPG based on LOTR was a good idea? No, seriously. Probably the same guy that thought about doing the same thing with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Well, that guy deserves a medal. It's no even funny how many hours I spent building my characters, redoing the bonus dungeons over and over again in order to get better and better equipment. And I created a ton of different characters, it's a shame that there's not enough slots to have one of each!

5) Pokemon Ruby
 While this is far from my favorite Pokemon game, as a matter of fact it's my least, this is the one I played the most. First I played it on an emulator. Then I played it on the GBA. Then I sent all my monsters to Pokemon Platinum. And then I played it again to send them to Heart Gold. And then I played it again because I couldn't leave my boxes without Pokemon. And while it is the Pokemon game I like the least at this time, at the time I considered it the best Pokemon game ever. It looked better than anything that had come before it, it had new mechanics, like the hideout which I adored, and while even at the time I could see how terrible some of the new Pokemon were, it had Blaziken, which is one of the best Pokemon ever made, both due to its type and looks!

4) WarioWare Inc. Mega Microgame$
 While I love this game, I hate what it did to Wario's character, making things like farting part of his persona. But even then, just as Guilty Gear X and Lord of the Rings Return of the King, this was one of my mainstay games when going away from home on holidays or long trips. One thing I like are arcadey games, score based, easy to pick and play, and this delivers. And I also like randomness, which is why my music playlists are always on Shuffle, and this game offers random microsized games and a breakneck speed. I love it.

3) Tales of Phantasia
 Ever since my younger self came upon the fantranslated SNES rom of Tales of Phantasia, I became enamored with the franchise. Yes, the official translation is a bit of a trainwreck(KANGAROO!) but the fantranslation wasn't all that accurate either, people just remember it fondly due to how... 'edgy' it was. The fact is, I clocked over 60 hours on this little beast, and even long after finishing the game, I returned to it to do some random battles while playing as other characters, like newcomer Suzu. I loved the amount of detail and optional scenes you could trigger in this game, little things like seeing Chester training at night to catch up to his friends. This might not be the optimal way to experience the game, but until Namco decides to translate the PS1 remake, or remake it on newer platforms, this'll have to do.

2) Super Mario Advance 3 - Yoshi's Island
 Alright, so I said that I'd try not to include ports, and I tried, I really did, but there's two reasons this game made it in: firstly, I never had an SNES, so the first time I played this game was right here, with this port. And secondly, it's an amazing game. A game I fondly remember playing early in the morning before going to highschool, while waiting for the rest of my family to get ready to go. It's a game that could get hard as nails as you got into the secret, bonus levels, but felt oh so rewarding when you finally cleared them. I usually hate having to replay levels, but amassing high scores became rewarding when I could unlock punishing secret levels. And then clearing those was a whole 'nother story...

1) Castlevania - Double Pack
 What's better than one Castleroid/Metroidvania game? Two of them, for the price of one. I think it's no secret that I absolutely love the genre, and you get two of them, TWO, on a single cart. Harmony of Dissonance is pretty alright, heck, if you play it first you might actually think that it's really good, specially considering that it's on a handheld console! And then you play Aria of Sorrow and HOLY SMOKES, THIS IS SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT LEVEL OF GREATNESS. Sure, the graphics are not as good, some would argue that even HoD has better graphics, and maybe the castle is smaller.... and while on the outset there's less weapons, there's actually more unique weapons, which is complemented with the fantastic Soul System, which has enemies dropping souls that you can equip. And you can have different soul set ups. There's so much customization and different ways to deal with enemies! Aria of Sorrow is so good I actually 100%ed it multiple times, down to the enemy drops. Something which I also did on Harmony of Dissonance, what can I say, I love the genre, and Aria of Sorrow is a particularly outstanding example of a Metroidvania.

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