READERS’ PICK: Most Wanted Game Boy Advance Games for Virtual Console

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Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Box Art | Most Wanted Game Boy Advance Games for Virtual Console
9. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (29%)

One of six new games we’ll be talking about today, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is one of the highest-rated games in the franchise, with many considering it one of the definitive Castlevania games, along with Super Castlevania IV and Symphony of the Night (the latter being the game Aria of Sorrow gets compared to often).

In case you haven’t played this game, Aria of Sorrow stars Soma Cruz, one of the few non-Belmont-family leading protagonists in the series, as he and his friend Mina Hakuba get drawn into Dracula’s castle during a solar eclipse. Soma must use his “power of dominance” to seek “the master’s chambers,” leading to a great spoiler that I’ll keep from mentioning here.

Aria of Sorrow keeps with the Metroidvania style of gameplay that first appeared in Symphony of the Night. In addition, there is also the Tactical Soul system, which allows you to gain additional abilities by absorbing the souls of nearly all non-human enemies. You can also unlock a number of game modes, including a mode that has you take control of Julius Belmont, a member of the Belmont clan who fought Dracula many years before the plot of the game. If you’re a fan of Castlevania, this is one game you’ll want to play.

Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald | Most Wanted Game Boy Advance Games for Virtual Console
8. Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald (31%)

Well, it may have just missed our list, but it found a place on yours, although just like our list, it was on the outside looking in as the last cut from the first poll.

Anyways, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald are the original third-generation Pokémon games. In addition to introducing us to the Hoenn region, the games also introduced a number of new gameplay mechanics. One of the first additions is the double battle, which involves you and another trainer fighting two-on-two. There is also the addition of abilities, which affect Pokémon during battle, and natures, which affect Pokémon growth.

The games also introduced Pokémon Contests. These are events that test talent and skill instead of battling other Pokémon. The Contests in Gen 3 revolved around visual appearance and moves. It was expanded upon in Gen 4 to include a Dance in the second round as well as dressing up your Pokémon around a theme, but this was where it started. This would also serve as the first of several side competitions that have appeared since, including the Pokéathlon, Musicals, and Studios.

Overall, this is a welcome addition to the series, one that we hope to see again soon.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones | Most Wanted Game Boy Advance Games for Virtual Console
7. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (35%)

And now we get into the games that were also Ambassador Club titles. We opted not to include them in our picks but allowed you guys to decide for yourselves and see what you thought. Overall, there are two that were released that made the list. This was the first.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has the distinction of being the final Game Boy Advance game in the series and the second game to be released in the West. This is also the second game in the series to feature a navigable world map, which appeared first in Gaiden and would later appear in Awakening. The map opened up the possibility of fighting enemies reappearing in completed areas in order to gain extra experience going into the next chapter.

The game also features twins Eirika and Ephraim, children of King Fado of Renais. They have to separate midway through the game, forcing the player to decide which character to go with, but eventually reunite after learning a number of things about the continent of Magvel. This leads to the final chapters that have them battling against former friends and allies to stop the Demon King.

In addition to the main game, The Sacred Stones also features a mutliplayer Link Arena as well as an unlockable Creature Campaign. In the Creature Campaign, you progress through either the Tower of Valni or the Lagdou Ruins. And after reaching certain floors, you’ll unlock secret characters.

Overall, it’s an excellent game in the series. It’s no wonder Nintendo selected it for Ambassador Club release. Now, we just have to wait for the release to the general public.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap | Most Wanted Game Boy Advance Games for Virtual Console
6. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (37%)

The second of the Ambassador Club titles to make the list, The Minish Cap is the twelfth entry in the Zelda series, the third game to revolve around the Four Sword, and the only new individual title released on the system. (Four Swords was released with a GBA port of A Link to the Past; Four Swords Adventures used the GBA to control the Links but was ultimately a GameCube game.)

The story of the game revolved around the backstory of the nemesis Vaati and the creation of the Four Sword. Link comes across a strange being that resembles his traditional green cap but has a birdlike head. This being, Ezlo, is a sage who was once a Picori, also known as a Minish. Throughout the game, Link will shrink down to the size of a Picori to solve puzzles and defeat his enemies en route to rescuing a petrified Princess Zelda.

The game also features a couple of interesting gameplay aspects. First is a figurine-based side quest. After collecting “Mysterious Shells,” Link takes them to a special machine in Hyrule Town to have them transformed into figurines of characters, enemies, or locations. Completion will unlock a house that contains a Piece of Heart and the Sound Test.

The second interesting feature is the use of Kinstones. These are medallions that Link finds pieces of around the world in order to unlock “something” within the world. Most are superfluous, just adding to the world with no consequence for skipping, but some are required to advance the story.

The Minish Cap is an excellent game, receiving a number of best GBA game awards in 2005, along with placing 24th in Nintendo Power‘s Best Games on Nintendo Consoles list. Now, we wait for its release to the general public.

The Top 5 is next.

About Jeff Neuenschwander

Jeff has been a supporter of the website and campaign since the beginning. Joining in for E3 2012, he worked his way up the ranks quickly, making it to the Editing Manager post at the beginning of 2013. Jeff has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to gaming and pretty much likes anything that is quirky, although his favorite genres are Action, Platforming, and RPG. Outside of gaming, Jeff is a musician, being trained as a trombonist for Jazz and Classical music, and holds a degree in Sound Recording.

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