Here you will find my brief reviews of Game Boy Advance (GBA) games, along with a rating from 1 to 10. A rating of 9-10 indicates a great game; 7-8 is a good game; 5-6 is a mediocre game; 3-4 is a poor game; and 1-2 is a horrible game.
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon | F-Zero: GP Legend | Galidor: Defenders of the Outer Dimension | Mario Kart: Super Circuit | Operation: Armored Liberty | Sonic Advance | Superman: Countdown to Apokolips | Sword of Mana | Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega MicrogamesLatest additions:
This first GBA Castlevania game is a platform adventure game modeled after Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on PlayStation. It features Metroid style exploration in addition to the usual whip-slinging action. A new DSS (Dual Set-up System) feature lets you collect cards from enemies and combine them to enhance your abilities in a variety of ways. They'll come in handy too, because Circle of the Moon is a challenging game. Fortunately, it's also a lot of fun to play. It's also worth mentioning that the music is top-notch, although much of it is recycled from previous Castlevania games.
Nintendo's futuristic racing series goes portable with F-Zero: GP Legend. It plays much like the SNES original, in that levels are flat and use SNES style "Mode 7" graphics rotation. There are no hills, half-pipes, or cylindrical tracks as in F-Zero GX. The Grand Prix and Story modes are the main events, but there are also several other modes that let you practice, challenge track records, or complete skill tests. Some of the tracks from the original F-Zero are also included, which is a nice addition. The gameplay in F-Zero: GP Legend is solid and enjoyable, but there's really nothing extraordinary or exciting about the game. It falls into the "good, but not great" category.
This is a 2D platformer in which you play as a character named Nick Bluetooth. Various power-ups called "glinches" are available in each level. They may give you frog legs to jump high, a jetpack to fly, fins to swim, a gun to shoot, a grappling hook to swing across gaps, or a robotic arm to punch enemies. There are 21 levels in the game, a few of which are 3D vehicle levels. Unfortunately, the game has some control issues. For one, you can't walk (or jump) up inclines. You either have to slide back and forth to build up enough momentum to slide up (if possible), or find a completely different way to go. And the controls are unresponsive at times, particularly when using the grappling hook. And while the frog legs let you jump high, they also force you to hop around (unless you repeatedly deactivate and re-activate the glinch, which is a pain). The graphics and sound aren't bad, but the gameplay is subpar. This is a game that should have stayed in the Outer Dimension.
This third game in the Mario Kart racing series combines features from both Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64. The gameplay closely resembles that of Super Mario Kart, with similar Mode 7 style graphics and a comparable coin system for increasing your speed. Making returns from Mario Kart 64 are the 3D-rendered characters (including Wario in place of Koopa Troopa), 3D power-up icons, and triple shell power-ups. The game controls well and is fun to play. All of the original Super Mario Kart tracks are included as an unlockable bonus. Unfortunately, they are not perfect conversions; many obstacles and objects (including zippers, Thwomps, and Monty Moles) are missing.
This action game puts you in the cockpit of an M1A1 Abrams tank, on a mission to liberate Iraq. You'll battle enemy tanks and helicopters, avoid land mines, and destroy S.C.U.D. launchers as you make your way through the desert. A map screen shows the location of each enemy. After defeating all targets, most missions have a final objective in which you must destroy hidden enemies by determining where their gunfire is coming from. The game is very short; the ten levels can be completed in just a few hours. There also isn't much in the way of depth, variety, or challenge. Yet still, Operation: Armored Liberty is an enjoyable game that's worth playing--if only for a short time.
Sega's famous blue hedgehog mascot makes his first Nintendo appearance with Sonic Advance. The game plays much like the Genesis Sonic games, with players speeding around, running through loops, avoiding spikes, bopping enemies, and collecting coins. Four characters are playable this time around: Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, and Amy. Each one plays differently, with his/her own abilities and special moves. For example, Sonic can grind rails, Knuckles can glide, Tails has limited flight abilities, and Amy attacks with a hammer. Sonic Advance may not be Sonic's best game, but it is a solid and enjoyable platformer.
Superman stars in this dreadful isometric 3D action game. As "The Man of Steel," you must save Metropolis and the world. Most of the gameplay involves defeating thugs who are threatening innocent people throughout the city. You have unlimited use of ice breath and heat vision attacks, which makes the game fairly easy to get through. You are encouraged to use them sparingly however, and you can unlock an extra level if you stick to close-range attacks. But the controls for hand-to-hand combat are cumbersome and tedious, and the flying controls are horrendous. Also, the position of the camera often prevents you from getting a good look at what you need to see. The irritating cinema scenes have slow-moving text and can't be skipped. And if all that's not bad enough, the game froze up on me multiple times during the last battle. This game is a steaming pile of crap that should be avoided.
This action/RPG is a remake of the Game Boy title Final Fantasy Adventure, which was the predecessor to the SNES hit Secret of Mana. The hero in the game can equip a variety of weapons and use different types of magic to defeat enemies. A cumbersome ring command menu is used for most functions, which can make it a chore to find the option or sub-menu you're looking for. During most of the game, you have an ally who will fight alongside you. Unfortunately, that ally is completely stupid and virtually useless. He or she will walk right into enemies and stand in hazardous terrain such as fire. As a result, they usually die before they can be of any help. Thankfully, Sword of Mana is still fun to play. It can't compare to the excellence of Secret of Mana, but it is an enjoyable adventure.
This unique game is actually a collection of very short mini-games called microgames. Most of them last only about three seconds each, and you are bombarded with them one after another in rapid succession. The microgames are quite varied; a few are recreations of earlier Nintendo games, while others may test your quickness, timing, memory, observation skills, or button-mashing abilities. Some of the more bizarre microgames will have you brushing your teeth, cutting steak, shaking a dog's paw, picking your nose, threading a needle, bending spoons, and pinching pea pods. Some of the concepts are so off-the-wall that you can't help but to laugh. Wario Ware, Inc. isn't hard to beat, but there are many unlockable items (including a full version of Dr. Mario) that give it additional replay value. Wario Ware is original, funny, and highly enjoyable.