I figured that I’d get the rest of my System Favorites selections done while I’m in school, as it’s nothing too intensive to write a paragraph or so on a game I like! I’ve decided to trim back to ten for these features, mainly because I’ve gotten rid of some games that were on the list, which sort of looks bad. XD To relaunch this series, let’s focus on the Game Boy and GBA games I dig.
Fire Emblem (Nintendo/Intelligent Systems)
I really, REALLY like this game. It remains my favorite Fire Emblem (and I recently decided it is my favorite GBA game, too!), thanks to its strong cast. It can be brutal (and at times just downright cruel), but I appreciate its hardness. It makes each map a reward to conquer, and strategically deciphering each one correctly feels damn good. Recommended for strategy fans!
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (Konami)
For quite a long time this was my favorite ‘Vania game, and despite Symphonia edging it out, it’s easily the second best. Aria does nearly everything right. Responsive controls, solid visuals, good music, a nice bestiary, and the best plot in the series thus far. Symphony may have better graphics, music and style, but these two are nearly even in their excellence.
Metroid Zero Mission (Nintendo)
Samus’ original adventure on the NES got the remake treatment here, and it does wonders to the gameplay. The experience is definitely worth some playtime, even though it overdoes the “hardcore expert!” angle of item collection and has a rather lackluster final boss. Personally, I like the Zero Suit stealth section, too.
Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX (Nintendo)
This is my second favorite 2D outing for Link. It’s whimsical, more distinctive with its look and feel, and takes some very creative liberties with its puzzles and plot. The DX version colorizes the world and adds in a few bonuses, so I’d recommend that one over the original.
River City Ransom EX (Atlus/Million)
I haven’t tried the NES RCR, but the GBA remake is worth its weight in quality, that’s for sure. Fun, fun, fun beat-em-up gameplay mixes up with a mild RPG development component to make for some good times. The localization keeps the goofy atmosphere intact from the NES game, even taking it a step further into a delightfully ludicrous direction. Really like this one.
Astro Boy: Omega Factor (Sega/Treasure)
Treasure’s Astro Boy action game channels their unique style beautifully. Oodles of sprites, epic battles and an amazingly engaging plot combine for some gameplay bliss. A surprising gem of a licensed title.
Donkey Kong (Nintendo)
Puzzle platforming at its finest, Donkey Kong pushes so many correct buttons for me it’s insane. It’s pretty tough in the upper levels, which I welcome! The controls are tight and do what you want when you want them to, a requirement for a game of this nature! In short, a rewarding little game.
Breath of Fire II (Capcom)
If only Capcom gave a rat’s ass about the localization of this game. If they did, it really could have been a truly legendary RPG. Despite the obtuse and confusing dialogue and menu trees, there is a very well-designed battle engine and some cool characters and monsters to interact with, not to mention the Fusion and Town Building components. I really wish it would be re-released with a competent translation…
Street Fighter Alpha 3 (Capcom/Crawfish)
I’ve spent so much time on this game it’s ridiculous. It’s not a perfect port, but it does the job amazingly well for a handheld with two face buttons and two shoulder buttons! It looks decent, plays fairly close to the original, and has bonus characters and the World Tour bonuses from the DC game to pad its shortcomings, which all unite to make a pretty great little port of a classic fighter. The arcade and DC revs are definitely better, but this is serviceable if you can get over its limitations.
Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones (Nintendo/Intelligent Systems)
Sacred Stones is a great game, but I have to compare it to its older cousin. This one is easier (which I personally didn’t care for so much). There’s ample opportunities to level up thanks to monster lairs and the “random” encounters on the map (I don’t like the map addition, either), but it sort of saps the challenge out of the game because they can be easily abused (or ignored, but then the game gets a little too hard). The cast isn’t as likable, either. It’s a well-made game that just happens to pale in comparison to its prequel in my book.
Metroid Fusion (Nintendo)
Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap (Nintendo/Capcom)
Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters (Nintendo)
Kirby’s Dream Land (Nintendo/HAL Labs)
…I’ll be honest, that is all I’ve got.