Nintendo has finally rolled out the Virtual Console service for the Wii U and they’ve mentioned that we will see GBA and N64 titles hit the service in the near future. For this Top 10, I’ve decided to look back at some GBA classics that I feel would make a perfect fit for the Wii U VC service.
10. Advance Wars
Intelligent Systems is one of Nintendo’s top-tier developers. Known for their Fire Emblem series, as well as Paper Mario, they’ve always developed games that are worthy of their praise. With the GBA, they created a new IP called “Advance Wars”. Incorporating strategy-tactics gameplay, with an excellent visual presentation, Advance Wars was a game that really took off on the GBA. It had some great depth and immensely gratifying gameplay that would do well for tactics enthusiasts on the Wii U.
9. Bomberman Tournament
Since Bomberman’s debut back on the NES, we’ve seen the character receive countless titles in the series on a ton of different platforms. Whether it be the NES, Game Boy, SNES, GBC, or N64, chances are that you’ve played at least a single Bomberman title. They’ve always been known for their simple, yet incredibly addictive multiplayer. So with a title like “Bomberman Tournament”, you would think the game focuses on a more multiplayer-central component, right? Well, here’s the interesting part. While the game has the excellent multiplayer intact, the single-player played like a Legend of Zelda title. This story mode shift for Bomberman was actually one of my personal favorites, as the Zelda-style gameplay worked brilliantly for the game. This may have been a title that many missed out on for the GBA, which is one of the many reasons it would do very well to release on the Wii U VC.
8. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
The Tony Hawk Pro Skater series was a tremendously successful franchise, selling millions and millions of copies…and for good reason. The concept of completing goals within a two minute time limit, the complexity of the trick system, great soundtracks and nearly impossible to put-down gameplay made the series relevant for the gaming community. When Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 launched alongside the GBA, developer Vicarious Visions showed the power of the system by providing an absolutely superb rendition of a much beloved console game. This was the very first GBA game I ever played prior to owning my own GBA, and remains one of my most remembered. I earned 100% game completion with every single character…and I would easily do that again should the game release for the Wii U VC.
7. Golden Sun
Camelot Software, known for their excellent Mario Golf and Mario Tennis titles, graced the GBA with a knockout RPG, Golden Sun. Camelot Software had experience in the RPG field, as they were behind the Shining Force series for Sega. The fantastic visuals, gripping story and top-notch gameplay really made the game stand out among the top GBA titles ever released. Golden Sun is a game that I feel would be a prime fit for the Wii U VC. Maybe we could see a Golden Sun hit the Wii U in the near future? One can hope…
6. Sonic Advance
Sonic has seen a ton of titles in its lifecycle. The blue hedgehog has been around for over 20 years and when Sega decided to leave the hardware business, Sonic has seen a good amount of his titles come to Nintendo’s platforms. In particular, the very first Sonic game to grace Nintendo’s portable format was Sonic Advance for the GBA. Visually, the game was vibrant, detailed and ran incredibly smooth. The gameplay was rock-solid and was one of the better Sonic games in the series’ history. While Sonic Advance had three installments, the first one was the one I was most fond of on the GBA…and would love to see hit the Wii U VC.
5. Metroid Fusion
Metroid is another golden franchise that Nintendo has established. From the days of the original that shocked everyone that Samus was a girl, to the SNES classic that’s soon coming to the Wii U VC, to the spectacular Prime series that Retro Studios handled, it’s a series that deserves the limelight. Metroid Fusion was a title I never got around to fully playing until the 3DS Ambassador Program. At the time of the game’s release alongside Metroid Prime for the GameCube, I only had enough money to get one game, so I went with Metroid Prime. I had always been eager to play Fusion and once I did at the end of 2011, it stands as one of my favorite Metroid titles. The dark setting and storyline, challenging difficulty and well-paced gameplay gave me a hard time putting this game down until it was beaten. I really loved that Samus was being hunted down throughout the game, at times giving it a survival horror feel. Nintendo would do very well to release this to the general public of Wii U owners.
4. F-Zero GP Legend
F-Zero has always been a racing franchise I’ve held near and dear to me. Ever since I first came across it on the SNES, to the heavy metal sequel on the N64, F-Zero X, to the GBA launch of Maximum Velocity, and then my personal favorite installment (and racing game of all-time), F-Zero GX, I couldn’t get enough of it. Nintendo had decided to release an animated cartoon in 2004 based on their franchise titled “F-Zero GP Legend”. Naturally, a game was made for the GBA based on the cartoon universe. Now this was a title that I picked up back in the day for $4.99 in a bargain bin at Toys R Us…and damn was this an awesome game. It played very close to the SNES classic and GBA launch predecessor, Maximum Velocity. The main difference from the previous GBA iteration was the amount of content and story mode. F-Zero GP Legend was another excellent installment that got overlooked on the GBA but really had the same level of quality that should be expected from an F-Zero game. Nintendo, bring this classic to the Wii U VC while we wait for the proper F-Zero game to hit the Wii U!
3. The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap
The Legend of Zelda…an immensely popular franchise for Nintendo that still excites gamers today. Thanks to its ingenious level designs, interesting characters and plots, fine tuned gameplay and superb soundtrack, there are plenty of reasons it’s successful. I’ll admit, I never got around to playing Minish Cap on the GBA when it released. It wasn’t until the 3DS Ambassador Program when I got the opportunity to play it and was appalled at myself for never getting it back in the day for my GBA. The game was excellent to say in the least and had a terrific soundtrack to accompany it (the Minish Woods track is incredibly catchy). While we wait for the Wind Waker HD, Link to the Past 2 and the new Zelda for Wii U, The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap would be a no-brainer for Nintendo to release for the GBA VC on Wii U.
2. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
Over the GBA’s life-cycle, we’ve seen Super Mario games get some nice remasters. From the launch day title, Super Mario Advance, that completely remastered Super Mario Bros. 2, to the last entry that remastered Super Mario Bros. 3, they were “advanced” for on-the-go entertainment. So why did I choose SMA4 over SMA2 which brought us Super Mario World? Simple. Since Super Mario World is now available on the Wii U VC for the SNES, and the fact that very little was tweaked to SMW, it seems like the most logical choice would be to have the “advanced” Super Mario Bros. 3 available. SMB3 is, and always will be, a fine gaming masterpiece that should not have been missed.
1. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
My very first game for the GBA was not only my favorite Castlevania title ever made, it stands as one of the greatest games of all-time in my book. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon introduced us to Nathan Graves, the new protagonist that wielded the “Hunter Whip”. The story is about Dracula’s resurrection (as are most Castlevania games) but the characters had a good amount of depth to them. However, Circle of the Moon’s gameplay was as flawless to game design as it could get. Taking the gameplay style of Symphony of the Night and expanding upon it dramatically, it was unbelievable to see the game running on a GBA and of such high quality. The interesting mechanic was the DSS Card system, which allowed you mix and match between 10 Action cards and 10 Attribute cards. This gave the player a hundred different combinations to create and utilize, giving Nathan new weapons and abilities. Finding new cards was addictive and seeing what the combination of cards created was always exciting. I could spend days talking about Circle of the Moon’s perfection. Simply put, this MUST come out to the Wii U VC service immediately.
These are my personal “Top 10″ picks on the topic and here’s hoping that Nintendo follows suit on releasing some (if not all) of these titles on the platform. Which GBA titles do you guys want to see release on the Wii U VC? Have any memories of the titles mentioned above? Sound off in the comments below!