Review by The Pink Kirby
"And then God made GameBoy Advance..."
Amazing is the defining word for the nearly impeccable Game Boy Advance. Being the fourth GB portable, it holds much more power than any of it’s predecessors. It can easily contend with the Super Nintendo, and packs enough energy to go one-on-one with some early Playstation 2D games. It can even handle slight 3D, as seen in Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2. But a few things hold this little gem back from being perfect.
Graphics and Audio
This thing is really incredible. The visuals on this portable flawless, from head to toe. Almost every game so far has abused the consoles power, from Castlevania: CotM to THPS2. The detail is stunning, such as the paintings on the wall at some parts of Circle of the Moon, or the bright, cheery areas in Rayman Advance. While I gave Playstation 2 a 10 in this section as well, you have to understand this is a portable system that sports these graphics, and I give props to Nintendo for their great effort.
The audio is just great for a handheld. Much improvements of the annoying bleeps and blips on the other GB systems. It sounds nearly digital. For a musical-teaser, listen to the Castlevania title screen music. Amazing. Simply Amazing.
My heart wants to give this a 10, but my brain says “Bad Heart, Bad!” (reason further down) This handheld has such a great style and design that it makes you feel good just holding it. Not only did “the big N” make the screen much larger, they made the handheld smaller! And it runs on the same two batteries for nearly the same amount of time. Now that’s a great improvement. The L and R buttons make the GBA feel like a perfectly well-made controller, which it soon will be for some game on the Gamecube. The backwards-compatibility makes the GBA easier to buy, since most GBC owners can sell there old GBC’s for 40+ dollars at most stores towards a GBA. Yet, Genius goes not without idiocy, pertaining to the pointlessly tinted screen cover. Not only does it make buying a game light an overall must, it pretty much makes you use it even in the daytime. That’s right. If you don’t have an above average amount of sunlight directly on your GBA screen (and still no glare) you need the light. Especially if you plan buying Castlevania, which can hardly be seen on a bright, sunny day. If you want to buy a GBA plan on having to fork out 10 bucks more for a light, and make sure it has a through connector for link cables.
For 100 bucks it’s a darn good buy.
Ah, the individual most important part of any console or portable: the games. Game Boy Advance has a great game selection, but it falls a couple short of a total launch. The thing is, unlike most home console launches, nearly all the launch games were exceptional and appealed to gamers in every genre except RPG. But the major problem is that no more than 5 games are coming out for the GBA until fall, nearly 5 months after its initial release. A few games are scattered between July and August, but no big wave of games is coming until late fall. Still, the library we have is nice, and will last a while. Also, count all the old games you can play and you have a selection that’s easily over 800. So you can have a nice amount of fun at the moment. ^_~
The other reason for the absence of the all-important 10 is, of course, the incredibly expensive games. Some of the games can even set you back 45 dollars. But with such advancement over the GBC, the extra dollars are going towards a good thing.
What doesn’t it have? It’s the first 32-Bit handheld. It’s the first handheld with L/R buttons. It’s one of the smallest handhelds, but packs more punch then any other portable. What more could you want? A backlight, that’s the only advancement left, other than graphical advancement. Hey, if the series has lasted for nearly 15 years, it must be innovative.
If you have to buy only one system this year, don’t buy this. But a PS2, or a Gamecube, or an XBox; you’re choice. But if you have the chance to nab it without losing your rights to a next-gen console, it’s the best buy at the moment.
BTW, buy Castlevania: Circle of the Moon!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/25/01, Updated 07/25/01
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