By Jeff Neuenschwander / March 28th, 2014
Back in the January 2013 Nintendo Direct, Satoru Iwata announced that Game Boy Advance games would be coming to the Virtual Console. While it has taken them a while to release them — maybe because they don’t want to do simple ROM drops on later Virtual Consoles — they are just about here. So, with the next major console to come to the Virtual Console almost ready for prime time, we, the staff of oprainfall, have compiled a list of Game Boy Advance games we would like to see on the service.
We also have a Readers poll for you guys that will remain open until Monday night, March 31st, at Midnight PDT. This is the poll that we restarted after getting some complaints from readers early on. If you voted in the first one but not the restarted poll, or even if you haven’t voted yet, click here to go to the article to vote.
As for us, here are the rules that we followed:
- No games that have already been released through the Ambassador’s Club.
- No games that have been announced for release.
- No games that could result in a conflict of interest.
So,unfortunately, these lovely titles won’t be seen in this list:
- Advance Wars (Announced for release)
- Golden Sun (Announced for release)
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (Announced for release)
- F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (Ambassador’s Club/Announced for release)
- Kirby & the Amazing Mirror (AC/Announced for release)
- Metroid Fusion (AC/Announced for release)
- Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3 (AC/Announced for release)
- WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ (AC/Announced for release)
- Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (AC)
- The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (AC)
- Mario Kart: Super Circuit (AC)
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong (AC)
- Wario Land 4 (AC)
- Astro Boy: Omega Factor (Conflict of Interest)
Also, the one-game-per-franchise rule is in effect for this poll. We’ll mention any games that would’ve made the Top 10 if not for this rule as we go along.
Normally at this point, we would do an honorable mentions list of titles that came close but didn’t make it. But, as you can see above, we already have quite the list of games that are honorable in mentioning. However, we do have quite the list of games that came up literally one vote short of possibly breaking into the Top 10. So, here is our list of final cuts:
- Drill Dozer
- Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald
- Shining Soul
- Sword of Mana
- Tales of Phantasia
- WarioWare: Twisted!
Oh yeah, and with every staff poll we do comes this: SPOILER WARNING!
And with that all out of the way, I proudly present to all of you…
oprainfall’s TOP 10 MOST WANTED GAME BOY ADVANCE GAMES FOR THE VIRTUAL CONSOLE
10. Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s go back to 2004 (2005 for Europe). It was a simpler time, before Tetsuya Nomura went crazy and made his plot convoluted, before everything and everyone lead back to Sora, and before Square Enix decided to make multiple iterations of the first Kingdom Hearts. Back in 2004, there was just one: Chain of Memories.
If you’re not familiar with Chain of Memories, here’s a quick recap. Sora is directed to the mysterious Castle Oblivion, where, upon entry, he begins to lose the memories of his adventures in the original Kingdom Hearts. Moving through the castle, Sora uses a deck of cards to combat members of what is later known as Organization XIII, as well as go through his adventures once again to make his way to the top of the castle. He eventually meets with Namine, who explains that she’s been manipulating his memories and offers to fix them. Sora and company goes to sleep, eventually waking up in the next game.
Sounds boring? Well, that’s only half the game.
After beating Sora’s side of the story, you unlock Riku’s tale through Castle Oblivion. Starting in the basement and working his way up, Riku contends with the darkness inside of him as he deals with the Organization, Ansem, and a duplicate Riku. In the end, Riku is helped by Namine and DiZ within the castle and sets off on a journey with King Mickey in order to find a balance between his light and dark sides.
In the long run, it’s another way of telling the story of the first game. But Chain of Memories does it in a way that no other game that came afterward could match. The card deck system, while infuriating to some people, was a unique spin on battling enemies. The story may have been hokey at times, but the new characters brought some great flavor to it all. And the payoff found in Kingdom Hearts II that answered nearly all the questions from this game made Chain of Memories arguably the best side-story in the series.
9. Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen
Full discretion, while this is listed at 9th, FireRed and LeafGreen were actually the last titles to qualify for the list, eventually beating Chain of Memories in a tiebreaker. And, as you can see above, we also showed quite the support for Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald as well.
So how is it that, between games in the 3rd Generation, that we chose the remakes of the original games over the games that featured the new Pokemon? Well, with no disrespect to the Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, there’s just something about the original game that just drives people to that generation. Maybe it’s about your rival being more than just a stepping stone and being an actual obstacle you need to get past to beat the game. Maybe it’s about the more simple roster of 151 Pokemon to choose from. Maybe we just like the music better. Maybe it’s… everything.
While we do like the originals, the remakes do bring in more modern elements to the game, like not having to go into the menu to swim or ride your bicycle. It also brought in an additional area known as the Sevii Islands, an archipelago of seven islands that feature Pokemon that were introduced in Gen 2. While it was cool, I would’ve like to have seen the Orange Islands from the anime appear in the remakes. Seriously, how cool would it have been to go to the Orange Islands after beating the Elite Four and becoming Pokemon Champion? That would’ve been so cool. You have the 4 Orange Island Gym Leaders with their own special competitive styles followed by a 6-on-6 showdown with the League leader Drake. So much awesomeness could’ve been had in this game.
Oh well, this game was still great.
8. Mega Man Zero series
A bit of a cheat since these are four separate games. However, Capcom has been good in the past about re-releasing Mega Man games on the Virtual Console, even if there aren’t any new games in the works. Besides, the stories of the four games are connected, going from one to the next.
The story begins about 100 years after the tales of Mega Man X (which I guess would put it around 22XX?). Zero awakens from a sealed chamber to find that X, now in charge of a “utopian” land called Neo Arcadia, is ordering the deaths (or “retirements”) of reploids, claiming that they are Mavericks. As he goes along, he finds that it is actually a copy of X and that the real X had left his body long ago. In Zero 2, you learn what happened to X through learning the history of the Elf Wars, which leads to the new character of the Dark Elf. In Zero 3, Zero has his body taken over by Omega. He eventually defeats Omega and Dr. Weil, causing a curse on the Dark Elf to be broken. The series eventually ends with Zero defeating Dr. Weil after he tries to destroy all life outside of Neo Arcadia.
The series carries over the trademark platforming style of Mega Man games as well as brings other gameplay elements, like the Cyber Elf system, the customization chips, and recipes for combining spare parts for enhancements. A great series to play through for any Mega Man fan.
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole RisingFinal Fantasy Tactics AdvanceFire Emblem: Sword of SealsGame Boy AdvanceGolden Sun: The Lost AgeKingdom Hearts: Chain of MemoriesMega Man ZeroMetroid: Zero MissionMother 3NintendoPokemon FireRed/LeafGreenTactics Ogre: The Knight of LodisVirtual Console