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Thread: GBA Hidden Gems

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    Late to the party DigitalSpace's Avatar
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    Default GBA Hidden Gems

    (Inspired by the PS2 hidden gems thread.)

    The GBA had one hell of a good lifespan, and of course, there are some fun games that fell under the radar. Let's give them some recognition!

    Here's the list - feel free to discuss your favorites, tell us about any games you think should be on it, or why certain games shouldn't be on it.

    Baseball Advance
    Bookworm
    Boulder Dash EX
    Car Battler Joe
    CIMA: The Enemy
    CT Special Forces
    CT Special Forces 2
    Demon Driver
    Denki Blocks
    Double Dragon Advance
    Drill Dozer
    Hardcore Pinball
    Hot Potato
    Iridion II
    Karnaaj Rally
    Konami Krazy Racers
    Lady Sia
    The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night
    Lilo & Stitch
    Max Payne
    Mazes of Fate
    Medal of Honor: Infiltrator
    Mr. Driller 2
    Monster House
    Monster Truck Madness
    Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition
    Muppet Pinball Mayhem
    Need For Speed Underground 2
    Need For Speed Most Wanted
    Ninja Five-O
    Polarium Advance
    Pocky & Rocky with Becky
    Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
    Puyo Pop Advance
    Rampage Puzzle Attack
    Rayman 3
    Rebelstar: Tactical Command
    Road Trip: Shifting Gears
    Sabre Wulf
    Scrabble Blast
    Strike Force Hydra
    Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 1
    Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2
    Super Army War
    Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
    Tiny Toon Adventures: Wacky Stackers
    TMNT
    Top Gear GT Championship
    Tron 2.0: Killer App
    Turbo Turtle Adventure
    Urban Yeti!
    Wade Hixton's Counter Punch
    Yggdra Union
    Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars
    Zoocube
    Last edited by DigitalSpace; 06-24-2008 at 05:16 PM. Reason: Updated list

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    Ninja 5-0
    Astroboy omega something or other

    Not only more obscure, the best games on the platform imo.

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    Late to the party DigitalSpace's Avatar
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    Among what I own, here's my picks:

    Car Battler Joe
    - Matt Paprocki's DP review calls this scarce game "a strange hybrid of Pokemon, Twisted Metal, a dash of Final Fantasy like RPG elements, and open ended gameplay much like the Grand Theft Auto series." It was a pretty unique concept that worked well in execution.

    Demon Driver - I'd describe this as a cross between Super Cars (NES) and Rock N' Roll Racing. It does get a little too easy after time and could have used a battery save, though (but it does have a password save).

    Drill Dozer - Excellent platformer with a built-in rumble feature in the cart. One of the must-own games on the system. It goes for about $10 new, too.

    Hardcore Pinball - If you like pinball sims, don't let the cheap box art fool you - this is the best pinball sim on the GBA that doesn't have "dead" in the title. The game features four tables.

    Iridion II - You've probably seen the sequel to this shmup, Iridion III, collecting dust at almost any store that carries used GBA carts. Yeah, it wasn't very good. However, Iridion II is quite the opposite.

    Karnaaj Rally - Absolutely stupid name and box art. Gameplay-wise, it's pretty similar to Demon Driver, only with a prehistoric setting (and a battery save), and it's the better of the two.

    Konami Krazy Racers - Konami's answer to Mario Kart. The fact that you can play Dracula and race against Goemon and a Moai makes this an instant win.

    Lady Sia - Another platformer that can be found on the cheap.

    The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night - Who thought a Spyro game would be one of the last good releases on the GBA? This has drawn comparisons to Astro Boy, and not just because it's another licensed game that was surprisingly better than its subpar home console version.

    Monster Truck Madness - The announcer and horn button are pretty corny, but beyond that, there's a pretty good 3D off-road racer here. Not to be confused with the craptastic Monster Trucks.

    Muppet Pinball Mayhem - Don't let the reputation of previous Muppet games (they all sucked) or the publisher's name (NewKidCo) scare you off. This scarce game features three tables.

    Need For Speed Underground 2 - 3D racers don't get much respect on the GBA. This is my favorite one on the system.

    Need For Speed Most Wanted - Another good 3D racer. The car chases aren't as dramatic as they are on the console version, but if you want to run from the cops while driving a fast car on your GBA, this is your best option.

    Ninja Five-O - Like Drill Dozer, this game has received quite a bit of praise on DP in the past, so think of this as a reminder to get this hard to find game as soon as you see it. It's from Konami and you play a Ninja. What else do I need to tell you?

    Rayman 3 - Deserves any platformer fan's attention. Also available on the Rayman 10th Anniversary double pack (which also includes Rayman advance, which is an excellent port of the first Rayman game).

    Strike Force Hydra - This vertical shmup is a port of a PAL PSX game. It's also pretty uncommon.

    Top Gear GT Championship - Another excellent 3D racer, and my second favorite on the system. One of the last excellent Top Gear releases, as the franchise started getting whored out with Dare Devil on the PS2 (which was pretty much a weak open-ended coin collecting spree) and later on, RPM Tuning on the Xbox (one of the worst street racing games ever).

    Urban Yeti! - Another hard to find game (if not a top 10 rarity), and it's just as quirky and bizarre as the name suggests. You play a Yeti in the city that's looking for its mate. It's a shame that it had a password save instead of a battery save.
    Last edited by DigitalSpace; 02-01-2008 at 07:52 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalSpace View Post
    Strike Force Hydra - This vertical shmup is a port of a PAL PSX game. It's also pretty uncommon.
    Outside the copies on eBay, which may or may not be pirates, I've NEVER seen this game in a store. Other than the time I saw it in a CD/Game Exchange, which is when I bought mine.

    My addition to the list:

    BOOKWORM: Legit copies are valuable, but oh so very worth it. Even if you're buying a pirated copy off eBay, get this game. It's incredibly fun.
    RIP bargora, you will be greatly missed.That is how we do things on Giedion Prime.

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    Late to the party DigitalSpace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oobgarm View Post
    Outside the copies on eBay, which may or may not be pirates, I've NEVER seen this game in a store. Other than the time I saw it in a CD/Game Exchange, which is when I bought mine.
    I remember seeing it in the wild three times. The first time was when I got my copy at an EB in 2005. It was a brand new copy they had to mark as a used game for whatever reason, but everything was minty. Set me back $3.99.

    Since then, I've seen a loose cart at a CD/Game Exchange at some point in 2006, and another loose copy at a GameCrazy last summer, and that's been it.

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    Super Army War! C'mon it's a Choplifter update. What's not to love about that?

    Strike Force Hydra huh? Looks like I need to add that to my GBA want list.

    Y'all got my other favorites covered with Drill Dozer and Ninja Five-0.


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    SD Gundam Force
    Juka and the Monophonic Menace
    Double Dragon Advance
    Advance Guardian Heroes
    CIMA: The Enemy
    Rebelstar Tactical Command
    Scurge: Hive

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    Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 1 and 2 too bad 3 never got a proper english release.

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    Lilo & Stitch (first one based off the movie) it's a clone of Metal Slug and surprisly good.
    These cartridges are dirty as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!

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    Seconded on Car Battler Joe and Rebelstar: Tactical Command

    Another couple of favorites:
    Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars - hokey dialogue plus tactics!
    Monster House - different from the console versions (in a good way )
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalSpace View Post
    Rayman 3 - Deserves any platformer fan's attention. Also available on the Rayman 10th Anniversary double pack (which also includes Rayman advance, which is an excellent port of the first Rayman game).
    There's more than one game called Rayman 3, isn't there?

    I heard the Nightmare Before Christmas GBA game was pretty good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oobgarm View Post
    Outside the copies on eBay, which may or may not be pirates, I've NEVER seen this game in a store. Other than the time I saw it in a CD/Game Exchange, which is when I bought mine.
    "Strike Force Hydra", Like "It's Mr.Pants" were both very plentiful in Canada

    I'd like to add Saber Wulf to my list, just because it was a neat combination of a puzzler/platformer with good graphics.

    Also, Dragonball (not 'Z') was a very fun side-scrolling beat em up, until it got painfully cheap in level design and difficulty part way through. But then again, I might be biased because I like the series..

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    for all Amiga fans out there, conversion of ~

    Soccer Kid!

    not as good as Amiga version, yet still very fun platformer.

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    While it's not really a "hidden" one, the GBA version of River City Ransom is so freaking awesome that it deserves a shout-out here for the sake of anybody who never picked it up/knew it existed.

    It's a damned shame it doesn't have a system link 2 player mode...but other than that it's damn near perfect on every level, and not at all deserving of some of the middling review scores it got back when it was released.
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    Yggdra Union- a great SRPG with the best colors and details (in battles) that I have seen on the GBA, it is said to be rare/uncommon (it is Atlus) but there are people who report to see it in every Gamestop by them.

    Riviera- recently ported to the PSP, this is a port of a wondswan game, and though the GBA version is the only one I have played it is really a love or hate game due to its non direct controlof your character outside of battles. However the characters and dialog are top notch and once again the battles are fun and unique in their use of items.

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    I've been to many a Gamestop locally and I've never seen a Yggdra Union. In fact I've never seen a copy in any store new or used. I thought it was one of the GBA tougher ones myself...

    Super Dodgeball was a good GBA version of a NES classic. Though I wasn't completely happy with the graphical presentation (should have kept the over-sized head Nekketsu characters) the gameplay was 100% intact.


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    There might be some confusion on m part about these games' relative popularity, but here's a list of some of my favorite games for the system that may or may not be "hidden":

    Astro Boy: Omega Factor
    Baseball Advance
    Book Worm
    Double Dragon Advance
    Muppet Pinball Mayhem
    Ninja Five-0
    The Pinball of the Dead
    Rebelstar: Tactical Command
    Rhythm Tengoku (Japan import)
    River City Ransom EX
    Riviera: The Promised Land
    Scrabble (UK import)
    Sigma Star Saga
    TMNT
    Yggdra Union
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    Karnaaj Rally - Absolutely stupid name and box art. Gameplay-wise, it's pretty similar to Demon Driver, only with a prehistoric setting (and a battery save), and it's the better of the two.
    Oh, heck yeah - that game is a blast. I also have to mention MK: Tournament Edition. They didn't sell that many copies, but there's a TON of stuff to do in the game (especially if you happen to have people to play with).
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalSpace View Post
    Urban Yeti! - Another hard to find game (if not a top 10 rarity), and it's just as quirky and bizarre as the name suggests. You play a Yeti in the city that's looking for its mate. It's a shame that it had a password save instead of a battery save.
    This one was by Telegames, right? They sell that on their web site for $20, so it can apparently be found easily online at least. Assuming Telegames.com still has it in stock and it looks like they do.

    Honestly, my GBA library is mostly NES/SNES ports. However, I thought The Incredibles was fairly decent, though, for a movie license. If you like the side scrolling beat-em up genre anyway.

    I will object if anyone mentions Sonic Battle as a GBA hidden gem. That game reeked.

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