Sunday, April 5, 2015

Top 10 Game Boy Advance Racing Games


Nintendos Game Boy Advance is and will always be one of our favorite consoles here at SuperRetroBros. Known mainly for its library of  outstanding platformers and RPGs, it would be tough to consider this console anything but a huge success in its time. It is hard to think of a game genre that there was not superb examples of in its library. There is one genre of games on this console that is often overlooked though.  Racing games hardly ever seemed to be on the top of anyone's list of favorites when speaking about this console. It seems like the only one people really remember to mention is Mario Kart Super Circuit. While this was a great installment of a beloved classic, I would have to argue that it was definitely NOT the best example of a racing game on this platform. Below I have compiled a list of my favorite racing games to be released for the Game Boy Advance. (Sorry in advance F-Zero fans, I just cant get into those games).

#10: Rock N Roll Racing

 A solid port of what can easily be considered a must own for all SNES and Genesis fans. Luckily not much has changed with it being brought to the GBA. Upgradable vehicles, great weapons, good selection of tracks, and an amazing soundtrack. Only real issue here can be due to the GBA's screen size. The isometric view combined with the small screen can cause some visual chaos and confusion when all the racers group up. That aside this is still a great gem to get your hands on. To make the  experience even better I would recommend playing it on a GB Player for Gamecube if possible.

#9: Gadget Racers

This was the first Choro Q game released on the GBA and offers a grip of replay value. Boasting over 50 vehicles, 40 tracks, and well over 100 custom parts this cartoon-ish racer will take quite a few hours to fully dominate. If you have played a Choro Q/ Penny Racers game before then you know what to expect here. Multiplayer is solid and you can even "bottle" one of your cars and put it on a friends GBA so you can beat them without even being there. Adding further irritation to their attempts at victory. Graphics are good but not great. Worst part about this game is the funky collision detection between you and other racers. Pass them as you get the chance! Don't try to cut it too close.

Now we really start getting into the good stuff...

#8: Drome Racers

I know what you are thinking...A Lego racing game in your top 10? Surely you are mistaken. Not a chance I say! This little known, and often overlooked gem blew me away. No joke, I honestly had a hard time putting it at #8. Part of me really wanted to rank this game even closer to #1.  The graphics in this game are incredible for a GBA title, the controls took a little getting used to but after a race or two I fell right into the groove. In between circuit style races you are forced to qualify by competing in a drag race against one other competitor as well as all the others drag times. Unlockable/ upgradable vehicles, solid weapon selection, well designed courses, and beautiful graphics make this a total sleeper classic. Don't feel bad if you missed this one, many people did. If you are a fan of racing games and own a GBA, pick it up, you wont regret it.

#7: V-Rally 3

This is probably the most visually impressive game on this list. V-Rally 3 is the must have rally racing game on the GBA. Top Gear Rally and Colin Mcrae do not even come close in my opinion. Real cars, good damage system, and good course selection.The car models and draw distance on the courses are great and very surprising for a gba game. It honestly looks more like an early DS title. The tuning of your car will also greatly impact your speed through the course unlike many pocket racers. Controls in this game are pretty much perfect, not too twitchy like many handheld racers. If you like rally racing games then be sure not to miss this one.

#6: Micro Machines

If you have played any of the Micro Machines titles released in the last couple decades then you know what to expect here. This title is pure madness. It offers a good variety of gameplay modes that include: Race, MicroMachines, Time Trial, and Bomb Tag. 5 classes of Vehicles: Car, Bike, 4x4, Boat, Sports Car. And endless punishment in the form of brutal AI. Controls are exactly in line with the rest of the Micro Machines series. Perfect title to receive a portable version, It suits the GBA tremendously. Only gripe here is the password save system. If you forget that password you have to start all over. By that I mean re-doing those battles that you tried 50 times to beat. It's that hard.

#5: Karnaaj Rally

Karnaaj Rally was honestly not a game that I had expected too much from, and I couldn't have been more surprised when I actually took the time to sit down and give this one a try. Its another over the top view racer but with many twists. The vehicle selection is bonkers and upgradable, the graphics are good, the controls are tight, the customizing is simple but great, and you can bet on your races. With its nutty themes (as well as cover art) this is a title that so many people have never even looked twice at. Racers like this can be so easily messed up by crappy controls, poor collision detection, and a variety of other parameters. So I  cant speak highly enough about how well this game was executed. It can be found dirt cheap, and your GBA racing collection would be missing something really special without it. This is another must own sleeper classic!

#4: Mario Kart: Super Circuit

Okay so we all knew it was coming, hard to do a best of racing games without including Mario Kart. That amazing Nintendo polish that they put on their original games makes this one of the best racers on the platform no doubt. It is also closest to the original Super Mario Kart in my opinion. Where the newer titles seem to focus more on multiplayer aspects and overall chaos this game really sucks the player into the single player modes and offers up a good challenge. This is probably second favorite Mario Kart title behind Mario Kart 64. Graphics are beautiful, characters are smooth and well designed and it truly takes the formula from the original to the next level with only minor changes.  A must own if you don't already.

#3: Konami Krazy Racers/ Wai Wai Racing Advance

Whattt? A Mario Kart clone ranked higher than the real deal? Yeah that just happened.  This Konami cross over game was released as a launch title for the original GBA. Far before Mario Kart Super Circuit was even released. Boasting a solid selection of some of Konami's best characters from retro gaming history, and tracks based on those same games it offers something truly unique that is not found in any Mario Kart game. Coins picked up during racing can be used to upgrade and purchase weapons at the item shop between races, Battle games can be played single player, and the music is unmatched. Drifting for boosts is not an option here and you will really have to slow down and use your brake for those tight turns. Jumps can be used to turn a bit faster also so often you will rely on a variety of techniques to get you through the races on top. It may share many aspects with the Mario Kart series but what it does different is what really makes this title shine. From the menu system and interface all the way to the license tests they put a new spin on an old idea, and execute it flawlessly. If you like kart racers and have yet to give Krazy Racers a try you are truly missing out.

#2: GT Advance Series (Mainly 1 & 3)

So really I'm cheating a bit by mentioning a series of games here as one but they are essentially all the same. Hell all 3 even all came on a single cart so I guess that counts. I am a huge fan of simulation style racers such as Gran Turismo and its arch nemesis Forza. But handhelds rarely offer us a nice Simulation style racer where you can upgrade real cars and take them out for a spin. GT Advance by THQ changed all that. Sure the controls are not exactly simulation style but it has just enough of that idea to make it an amazing handheld racer. The car models look great and even make somewhat real car sounds (the sound will even change with upgrades) . Many times winning comes down to finding a great line around the track. The instant replays are a beautiful addition also, letting you take in some of those crazy drifts and take overs well you threw down during the race. Course design often leaves a bit to be desired, but its really awesome to see sprite based cars that are true renderings of their real counterparts. Even with the sometimes lacking visuals you cannot help but love the gameplay in these games. If you are a fan of GT/Forza and the Game Boy Advance then you must give these games a go.

#1: Racing Gears Advance

This is by far my favorite racing game on the GBA, if not my favorite over head racer of all time. It has everything you want in a racing game and then some. The graphics and course design are amazing, a good selection of real incensed vehicles, a grip of tracks, hidden shortcuts, tons of upgrades you can do to customize your vehicle to prepare it for all out battle, and it provides a good challenge. In my opinion this is the epitome of what an over head racer should be. This was also Orbital Medias first game which is equally amazing. If you own a GBA your collection requires this classic.

Well there you have it, those are my favorite racers for the Game Boy Advance. Now we would like to know your thoughts. Was there any games that you felt should be on this list?  Let us know by dropping a comment in the section below. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of our favorite lists coming soon. Next up the Sega Dreamcast!

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