Yesterday we covered 65 DS games as something of a jesting response to a PSP Fanboy article. Some readers decided to ignore the point of our piece, which was that games are, at least by our standards, the real reason to buy or not buy a system. For those people, we now present a second reason (in their view) to buy a DS — backwards compatibility.
The entire GameBoy Advance lineup is available to a proud DS owner. While a majority of games on that handheld were licensed kiddy garbage, it was still home to some excellent titles you should make sure to play.
After some GBA games, we will then take a look at 10 upcoming DS games that look promising. Like the GBA games, it didn’t seem appropriate to include these yet to be released games on yesterday’s list. But how can we ignore some of the powerhouses coming soon? So here we go, once again in no particular order at all…
Mario & Luigi Super Star Saga
If this game weren’t hugely entertaining, it’d still be a mandatory buy simply for Fawful’s dialog.
Advance Wars 2
More Advance War goodness. This one adds the Neo Tank to the series and improves the enemy AI, as well as kicks ass.
Wario Ware Twisted
This is probably the best Wario Ware game. The gyro sensor Nintendo stuck in the kart allows for some pretty original gameplay you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. And of course, like all Wario Ware titles, Twisted is hilarious and beyond strange.
Why on earth were we kept in the dark about this series for so long, Nintendo? Take your favorite SRPG, now make every turn actually matter, add permanent death for characters, and you’re approaching the awesomeness that is Fire Emblem.
Fire Emblem Sacred Stones
Intelligent Systems likes to give us more of the same, which would really suck if what we were getting more of sucked the first time around. Luckily, more Fire Emblem is never a bad thing, and this entry adds some cool class options and a traversable world map to the mix.
Treasure really knows how to make a good game. Don’t be discouraged by how cute, cartoony, or just Japanese this one looks, it’s badass. Plus, the cockier you are now, the stupider you’ll feel when you see the Game Over screen the 50th time.
Gunstar Super Heroes
Another Treasure game, and another keeper. This title may not beat out its inspiration, Gunstar Heroes for the Genesis, but it’s still an excellent action game in its own right.
Super Mario Advance 1: Super Mario Bros. 2
Bizarre choice to go with Mario 2 (aka Doki Doki Panic!) as the first remake, but despite its departure from classic Mario gameplay, the unique character mechanics (dress-floating Peach was *way* ahead of her time) combined with some new extras (red coins, Yoshi eggs) make this game a welcome addition to the GBA library.
Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World
Super Mario World on the GBA. Long tongues, special world, secret exits galore. If you need more explanation, you have no right to call yourself a gamer.
Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island
-5 points for the inability to shoot baby Mario as he bitches and moans for you to pick him back up. Still, an oddly beautiful game that was much more puzzle oriented than its predecessors. Now with more levels (but, of course, because it’s Nintendo, little payoff for completing them!).
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
Tanooki suit. P-wing. Nintendo really tried to milk nostalgia with the e-reader cards but that aside this game is classic sidescrolling action.
Final Fantasy Origins
A must have for any devoted Final Fantasy fan. While the game mechanics are absurdly simple, the gameplay is still solid and the plots intriguing and convoluted as ever. Square did an amazing job with the extra dungeons added to these games.
Final Fantasy Advance IV
This game invented the active time bar and has one of the most badass casts of any game (you SPOONY bard!!). Again, Square added a slew of new bosses, equipment, and dungeons to the game that were fun and challenging.
Final Fantasy Advance V
The plot goes something like “hmmm this evil man is trying to take over our world… why don’t we go drop him off at another planet and hope nothing bad happens.” Amazing. Again, Square rewards its fans wisely with bonus dungeons (the least they could do since we’re buying the same game over and over again perhaps).
Final Fantasy Advance VI
Final Fantasy VII may have made RPG’s mainstream, but this game did a hell-of-a-lot more to revolutionize gameplay. Great story and ensemble cast, incredibly nonlinear play with a plethora of side plots and quests. And now with 100% more bonus dungeon (noticing a theme here) that includes some of the most creative boss battles I’ve seen in an RPG.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
While the plot can’t come close to rivaling the original Tactics’ thinly veiled story about how Jesus may have been an evil demon political spy (er not Jesus and his 12 apostles, Altima and his 12… zodiac… students….), this game compensates with its great battle/job system mechanics as well as the sheer number of optional jobs you can take on.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
More dungeons, more items, great graphics. A bit formulaic? Sure. Does anyone care? Not really. A solid addition to the Zelda line and a must-have for the GBA.
The original microgame game, and in many ways still the best. Just enjoy those first few plays when everything is new and completely unintelligible.
River City Ransom EX
A fun remake of the NES classic, RCR EX added more fast-paced brawling and more special moves. Its lack of a save-game feature makes it hard to set down and pick back up, but it is still as much fun as the original.
While this occasionally suffered from the typical Metroid problem of expecting the gamer to have god-like intuition (oh, I can and *have to* bomb this specific floor, which looks… just like any other floor…. to progress…fascinating…) this is another game that takes a winning formula and sticks to it.