Poll

Which of these GBA games do you recommend?

Metroid Fusion
Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World
Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
Onimusha Tactics
PAC-MAN Collection
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team
Rayman Advance
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (GBA)
Super Mario Advance
Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival
All These Games Suck!
Gotta Play Them All!
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
NAMCO Museum
Mr. Driller 2
Pocky & Rocky with Becky
Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire
Polarium Advance
Rayman 3
Wario Land 4
WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$
Metroid: Zero Mission

Author Topic: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round D: GBA VC - Part 3)  (Read 460 times)

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Offline Mr. Bungle

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Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round D: GBA VC - Part 3)
« on: February 28, 2021, 12:47:29 PM »
Background
The Wii U eShop will only be open for a limited time so it is worth looking at the games there while there is still time to buy them. In the past few months we looked at all the available eShop games, but we omitted the Virtual Console releases, until now! Nintendo introduced the Virtual Console (VC) with Wii as a way to sell games from previous systems a la carte. That same service continued with Wii U and 3DS before being replaced with a Netflix style service bundled with the Nintendo Switch's Online membership.

The Game Boy Advance Virtual Console
The Game Boy Advance (GBA) sold about 81.5 million units and had quite a few exclusive games from well known franchises. However there have not been many attempts to re-release those games. There was no GBA virtual console for Wii; With the 3DS it was limited to the ten titles included with the Ambassador Program (Link to NWR article). There are a few games that managed to get re-released on other systems, but by and large most seem locked on either the original hardware or the Wii U eShop. The Wii U eShop has 74 titles ranging in cost from $6.99 to $7.99 (USD) and we will deal with them in three parts, sorted alphabetically.

The Games
In the final third we see the following 21 titles with information in the following order
Game Title (Release year, developer/publisher, current cartridge cost*, @ indicates part of the 3DS Ambassador Program)
* Loose cartridge only, USD, source: https://www.pricecharting.com/
  • Metroid Fusion  (2002, Nintendo, $30, @)
  • Metroid: Zero Mission  (2004, Nintendo, $38)
  • Mr. Driller 2 (2005, Bandai Namco, $29)
  • NAMCO Museum (2001, Bandai Namco, $5)
  • Onimusha Tactics (2003, Capcom, $22)
  • PAC-MAN Collection (2001, Mass Media Games/Bandai Namco, $5)
  • Pocky & Rocky with Becky (2002, Altron/Natsume, $121)
  • Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team (2006, Chunsoft/Nintendo, $15)
  • Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire (2003, Jupiter/Nintendo, $18)
  • Polarium Advance (2006, Nintendo, $5)
  • Rayman 3 (2003, Ubisoft, $8)
  • Rayman Advance (2001, Ubisoft, $8)
  • Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (GBA) (2002, Capcom, $37)
  • Super Mario Advance  (2001, Nintendo, $10)
  • Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World  (2002, Nintendo, $12)
  • Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island  (2002, Nintendo, $14, @)
  • Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3  (2003, Nintendo, $14)
  • Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival  (2001, Capcom, $18)
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap  (2005, Capcom/Nintendo, $18, @)
  • Wario Land 4  (2004, Nintendo, $20, @)
  • WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$  (2003, Nintendo, $30, @)

The Highlights
Half of the infamous 3DS ambassador games appear in this final third and include Mario, Zelda, and Metroid as well as two Wario Games.

Original cartridges are back to being expensive in this final set with eight titles costing $20 or more. But the most valuable game is also the one with the funniest name. If you were hoping to pick up Pocky & Rocky with Becky then you will be shelling out over $100. A new copy will even fetch $2000! That Becky is not a cheap date.

Checking in with publishers, we finally see some games from outside Japan with the pair of Rayman releases. Rayman 3 is a 2D game to accompany the 3D versions released on Gamecube and other homeconsoles. Rayman Advance appears to be a port of the original game in the series.

Speaking of games available elsewhere, the list includes Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, which was updated and released (Rescue Team DX) on Switch about one year ago.

Comments
I welcome any corrections to the information I found when compiling the list. The price information here is for the US so let me know about differences in other regions. Not sure what to comment, consider questions like:
  • Have you played Polarium?
  • What is your favorite Zelda game developed for a handheld?
  • What else has Jupiter developed besides Picross and Pokemon Pinball?
  • Are there any GBA games not on Wii U VC that you want to mention?

Next Round
Join me next week in taking a look at some Ultra games from the big N.

Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round D: GBA VC - Part 3)
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2021, 08:23:46 PM »
I played a lot of the DS Polarium, but just a little of the GBA one. I liked them, though, a nice simple but challenging puzzle game.

The Wii U VC  was the first time I ever played Metroid Zero Mission, which is now one of my favorite games. I love both of the GBA Metroid games, but Zero Mission is just perfectly paced.
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Offline UncleBob

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round D: GBA VC - Part 3)
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2021, 08:39:17 PM »
SMA4SMB3 is a must buy.  It includes all the e-Reader levels, including ones that were unreleased outside of Japan prior to this.  Granted, it's only a handful of levels, but they're crazy good fun official Nintendo levels that most have never played.  No matter how many copies of SMB3 you already own (come on, you own more than one.  admit it), this one is worth picking up if you are a Mario fan.
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Offline Mr. Bungle

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round D: GBA VC - Part 3)
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2021, 11:53:15 AM »
Here are the Metacritic ratings and select NWR Reviews for the games in this set.
Game Title (Metacritic Rating, NWR review)
  • Metroid Fusion  (92, 9 from NWR)
  • Metroid: Zero Mission  (89, 9.5 from NWR)
  • Mr. Driller 2 (62, 6 from NWR)
  • NAMCO Museum (79, 5.5 from NWR)
  • Onimusha Tactics (64, 5.5 from NWR)
  • PAC-MAN Collection (79)
  • Pocky & Rocky with Becky (57)
  • Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team (67)
  • Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire (81, 8 from NWR)
  • Polarium Advance (N/A)
  • Rayman 3 (83)
  • Rayman Advance (84)
  • Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (GBA) (78, 8 from NWR)
  • Super Mario Advance  (84, 8.5 from NWR)
  • Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World  (92, 7.5 from NWR)
  • Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island  (91, 8.5 from NWR)
  • Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3  (94, 9.5 from NWR)
  • Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival  (84, 9 from NWR)
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap  (89, 9 from NWR)
  • Wario Land 4  (88, 8 from NWR)
  • WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$ (89, 8 from NWR)

The Highlights
With heavy hitters like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid it is not surprising to see so many glowing reviews. Meta-critic confirms Uncle Bob's recommendation that Super Mario Advance 4 is a must play and rates it #3 of all GBA games. The top two on Metacritic are Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 and A Link to the Past (GBA), which are not on the Wii U VC. The other game to get a 9.5 from NWR is Metroid: Zero Mission, which Insanolord has already called attention to. You both get gold stars for this one.

The lowest reviewed game on Metacritic is Pock & Rocky with Becky. I guess the high price tag on carts is based on rarity. From NWR, there is a tie for last with NAMCO museum and Onimusha tactics getting 5.5 each.

It is interesting to see the gaps in review scores here as well with several titles not getting reviewed by NWR and Polarium Advance not even having a Metacritic score  :-X.

Offline Mr. Bungle

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round D: GBA VC - Part 3)
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2021, 03:05:21 PM »
Breaking News: The Pocky & Rocky series is back! Will Becky be there? You will have to check back in Fall when Pocky & Rocky: Reshrined comes to Switch.

Offline Order.RSS

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round D: GBA VC - Part 3)
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2021, 07:40:41 PM »
The lowest reviewed game on Metacritic is Pock & Rocky with Becky. I guess the high price tag on carts is based on rarity. From NWR, there is a tie for last with NAMCO museum and Onimusha tactics getting 5.5 each.

Has anyone here played Onimusha Tactics? Reading the NWR it sounds pretty boring, easy, and short. But honestly I wish more RPGs could be completed in under 10 hours. Also don't really mind linearity. Visually it looks quite similar to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, but with a different license attached.

It is interesting to see the gaps in review scores here as well with several titles not getting reviewed by NWR and Polarium Advance not even having a Metacritic score  :-X.

Polarium Advance was released way later than its DS sequel. Atlus published it in November 2006 (just days before Wii launched), which was two full years after the DS had already released. Meanwhile Polarium DS was already available since that system's launch window. I wonder if Nintendo passed on publishing the GBA version because they were trying to move everyone onto the DS asap?
Either way, not surprising it was absolutely buried.

Offline MASB

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round D: GBA VC - Part 3)
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2021, 11:04:20 PM »
Wario Land 4 immediately caught my attention back then due to the graphics/animation and the title screen music. If you can't kick it with Wario, can you really kick it anywhere?

I had alot of fun with both Metroid games. I'd rank Fusion higher since it had a "better" sense of atmosphere, more foreboding for Samus. The remake was great and I'd recommend playing it over the original Metroid all day any day. NES Metroid's controls are just too unwieldly to me. I can't criticize it too much since it was the first game in the series doing the best it could at the time, but it doesn't hold up nearly as good as Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda IMO.

I believe I only played the Polarium DS game rather than the GBA version. It was fine, but I'd need to revisit it as I didn't give it alot of time. I'm sure Steef's speculation about the GBA version coming out after the DS version due to Nintendo wanting everyone to buy a DS should be considered as fact. I think Nintendo was so fearful of the PSP gaining a strong foothold, they were willing to killshot the GBA (which could have, perhaps easily, hit the GB/GBC's lifetime sales if it had been allowed a normal lifecycle). What few games Nintendo did release for the GBA afterwards, they tried not to give too much attention.

It was very amusing when the GBA contnued to outsell the PS3 in the US in the spring and summer of 2007.

For GBA games not on the Wii U VC in the M to Z category:

Mother 3 :P
Rhythm Tengoku (Japan-only until the DS version, but it started it all! Even had an aracde version of the GBA game by Capcom in Japan)
Sheep (Capcom-published game about you and your dog herding sheep)
Sonic Advance
Tactics Ogre: Knights of Lodis
Tomato Adventure
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (impressive that the game could turn out and play so well on the GBA)
« Last Edit: March 08, 2021, 12:09:49 AM by MASB »