Top 100 GameBoy games #90-81

In 1989, Nintendo released the GameBoy Compact Portable Videogame system – a monochrome, non backlit interchangeable cartridge-based handheld with a low resolution screen and a less powerful processor than even their aging NES.

Thanks to brilliant marketing and the importance of the pack-in game Tetris, GameBoy would prove to be a massive success almost overnight. In the early 1990’s, everyone and their mother or father (often literally) needed to own a GameBoy.

As grand as the initial success of the platform was though, the real legacy of the GameBoy is it’s longevity. As Nintendo would prove to the world, flashy visuals and powerful hardware were not required to turn the so-called “inferior” GameBoy hardware into a roaring success when developers solely focused on simplicity and raw fun rather than expensive hardware.

The Lynx, GameGear, Game.com, Wonderswan, Neo-Geo Pocket – the GameBoy would endure and outlast all of them for over a decade until 1998 when the original design was replaced by a slightly upgraded model called the GameBoy Color, with a full color LCD and a slightly faster CPU.

Like the original monochrome model, the GameBoy Color would face competition from superior hardware such as the WonderSwan Crystal and Neo-Geo Pocket Color and outsell and outlast them both before it was finally retired in 2002 with the release of the 32-Bit GameBoy Advance – ending well over a decade of 8-bit portable titles from Nintendo.

This list is dedicated to the top 100 GameBoy and GameBoy Color games released between 1989 to 2002. It contains both original black-and-white and color titles. Placement was deemed after several hundred candidates had been evaluated in a number of ways including how well each holds up today in terms of playability and enjoyment.

Since many classic 8-bit games can be a real test of player’s patience and skill, I am ranking every game on its overall difficulty using a simple scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is brain dead easy and 10 is…well, Battletoads. A 5 on this scale means the game is average difficulty with perhaps some challenging elements, but nothing the average gamer should get stuck on for too long.

I’m also including many links to videos and other online information sources. Links are indicated by orange words. Please open these links in a new tab or window so you don’t have to navigate away from this article.

So without further ado, enjoy my picks for the top 100 GameBoy and GameBoy Color games that still matter!

Check out part 1, #100-91 if you missed it.

#90
Dr. Mario (ドクターマリオ)
System support: All
Year of release: 1990
Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Puzzle
Price range: $6-8
Difficulty: 6
Region: All

Between battling Donkey Kong, saving the Mushroom Kingdom, and playing a variety of sports, Mario somehow still found time to become a doctor, legitimately or otherwise. As a doctor, Mario’s goal is to kill viruses Tetris style by dropping differently colored pills into a virus filled bottle until they line up four or more of the same color and dissolve.

Why you should play it

Based on the success of Tetris, Dr. Mario is one of the only Nintendo developed puzzle games out there. Offering all the challenge of Tetris with multiple difficulties and speeds as well as as a time trial mode and two player competitive play over a link cable, Dr. Mario is an undeniable GameBoy classic every retro gamer should have in their collection. Composed by Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka, Dr. Mario’s music is as iconic, classic, and forever memorable as his Super Mario Bros. compositions.

Even grayscale, it is very easy to tell which pills are which color by their shade. Overall, Dr. Mario perfectly suits the GameBoy’s portable nature and is a great compliment to any road trip or train ride, as well as lunch breaks. A perfect pick-up-and play puzzler that’ll appeal to just about anyone.

Fun Fact

On Feburary 25, 2008, the incredibly talented Japanese indie musician Hyadain posted a lyrical remix of the Fever theme from Dr. Mario. His remix, sung in the style of a female voice through digital pitch manipulation, is about a young boy and his first best friend, his loyal dog. If you’ve ever owned any pet – and even if you haven’t – Hyadain’s remix of Hip Tanaka’s Fever will leave you crying manly tears, even if you’re a woman, guaranteed. Watch the English subtitled version by clicking here. Oh, and check out Brentlefloss’s remix too.

Original Commercial

#89
Parodius Da! (パロディウスだ!)
System support: All
Year of release: 1992
Developer: Konami
Publisher: PALCOM
Genre: Shoot ’em Up
Price range: $15-20
Difficulty: 6
Region: Europe & Japan Only

The peaceful people of the beautiful planet Wai Wai World are in dire state. The evil evil Space Penguin Empire has invaded Konami space and has their sights on disorienting the Konami universe itself. Assume command of the Vic-Viper, Pentarou, Twinbee or an Octopus attack at the heart of the Space Penguin menace. All hope rests with you! Good luck!

Why you should play it

Konami has always been the king of self-parody, and nowhere is that more evident than in their Parodious series. Based on Gradius, Parodius is a light hearted shooter filled with non-sense characters, environments, bosses, and power ups. Absolutely everything, including the music itself, is charmingly wacky.

Like Gradius, you progress through various horizontal scrolling stages with enemies that when destroyed, yield weapon capsules which can be cashed in at any time for upgrades such as lasers, missiles or the famous indestructible drones called Options.

Parodius also borrows the bell power-up system from Konami’s lesser known Twinbee series. When destroyed, some enemies turn into bells, which if shot repeatedly, turn into various single-use power ups, allowing you to destroy every enemy on screen, fire massive beams of energy, become huge and indestructible for a brief period, or simply shout nonsense at your enemies. Paroidus is that kind of game.

What makes Parodius so damn fun to play is the sheer variety in the wacky things you encounter. Everything from space cat pirate ships or fifty foot scantily clad women to upsidedown volcanoes with faces impede your journey. Each of the four playable characters, have different attack patterns and play differently from each other, encouraging further replay.

Just like Nemesis before it, you can choose from the options menu to start at any stage, allowing you to quickly replay your favorite parts any time you wish. Unfortunately, Parodius never made it to North America, so you will have it import from either japan or Europe. If you are a Konami fan, you can’t go wrong with Parodius.

Fun Fact

Parodius is heavily based on the Famicom version of Parodius Da!, which itself was an 8-bit port of the original arcade game. Even on GameBoy, very little is lost in translation from the full arcade cabinet build despite the massive hardware differences.

Although Parodius Da! is often mistaken fro the first Parodius game, it is infact the sequel to the little known original Parodius first released on the MSX in 1988.

A limited colorized version of Parodius was re-released in Europe in 1999 as part of Konami’s obscure GB Collection. These carts are exceedingly rare and fetch vastly inflated prices on the secondary market.

Gameplay Video

#88
Pac-Man Special Color Edition (パックマン+パックパニック)
System support: All, with GBC support
Year of release: 1999
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco
Genre: Action/Puzzle
Price range: $8-15
Difficulty: 5
Region: All

Meet Pac-Man – a little yellow dot-muncher who works his way around to clear a maze of the various dots and fruit which inhabit the board. But watch out! Pac-Man’s goal is continually challenged by four ghosts: The shy blue ghost Bashful Inky, the trailing red ghost Shadow Blinky, the fast pink ghost Speedy Pinky, and the forgetful orange ghost Pokey Clyde. One touch from any of these ghosts means a loss of life for Pac-Man.

Survive a few rounds of gameplay, and be treated to humorous intermissions between Pac-Man and the ghosts.

Why you should play it

This is Pac-Man, – one of the early pioneers responsible for popularizing gaming – for the GameBoy Color. You should need no more explanation than that as to why you should play it. Nevertheless, I’ll bite. Pac-Man is an incredibly replayable experience that is best enjoyed in short bursts, something the GameBoy obviously excels at.

You control the iconic yellow circle around a maze to gobble up small pellets, avoid the ghosts, collect the large power pills and then eat the ghosts too.

As you play, the ghosts become faster, the time the ghosts turn blue and Pac-Man can eat them for bonus points grows shorter, and the amount of time the ghost’s eyes float back to their center box and regenerate shortens as well. It’s an excellent portable challenge.

In addition, this special twentieth anniversary release also contains Pac-Attack, a Pac-Man themed puzzle game in the vein of Tetris that has you managing falling rows of solid bricks and ghosts, which following Pac-Man blocks consume upon contact.

Pac-Attack has two modes – Normal Mode and Puzzle Mode. Normal Mode has you eat up ghosts while avoiding assembling to the top of the screen. In Puzzle Mode challenges you to eat all of the ghosts in a limited time with as few moves as possible. The game isn’t as good as other puzzle games, but it  is still worth a look, and as a bonus to the incredible and timeless Pac-Man, it’s hard to find fault with Pac-Man Special Color Edition.

Fun Fact

Pac-Man is one of the most popular arcade games ever, spawning sequel games, toys, a cartoon, and even a hit song. Over the years there have been many attempts to pit the yellow dot muncher in other genres with mixed results. For example, some retro gamers absolutely love Pac-Man 2 The New Adventures, while others strongly hate it. Only the classic formula Pac-Man games, such as Pac-Man Championship Edition receive universal praise.

Gameplay Video [both games]

#87
SolarStriker (ソーラーストライカー)
System support: All
Year of release: 1989
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Shoot ’em Up
Price range: $4-6
Difficulty: 6
Region: All

In 2159, Earth was attacked and conquered by forces from the planet Reticulon. The Earth-Federation Army constructed a secret base on the Moon, and from there, plans to retake Earth.

To do so, the world’s scientists and technicians have developed an ultra-performance fighter ship – the SolarStriker. As the pilot, it is your mission to attack and destroy each of the Reticulon guardians and storm their underground base before humanity is wiped from existence.

Why you should play it

SolarStriker is one of the simplest shooters you’ll find out there. The stages are fairly short, there is only a single weapon power-up, and the game uses only the A button.

Nevertheless, the game’s simplicity is also it’s greatest asset. It isn’t bogged down by anything – Enemies have clear and distinct attack patterns, the high contrast visuals allow projectiles to be easily seen, and your craft moves with enough speed to offer a decent challenge that never becomes unforgiving nor too easy.

The game also employs an impressive soundtrack with memorable stereo tunes that gave early adopters of the GameBoy a reason to use headphones. Most of the tracks are extremely well produced. My personal favorite is the stage 1 and 2 theme, which has an excellent rock remix. No mater how many times I replay SolarStriker, that initial tune gets me pumped to play through the whole game.

Fun Fact

Careful observation of the game’s stages reveals something pretty cool – Since the story involves you seeking and destroying an underground base, the first stage has you approach the planet from space, then you fight in the upper atmosphere, then on the surface and then in caves before you finally reach the underground base.

Gameplay Video

#86
Star Wars (スター・ウォーズ)
System support; All
Year of release: 1992
Developer: NMS Software
Publisher: UbiSoft
Genre: Action Platformer
Price range: $4-8
Difficulty: 7
Region: All

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic
Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her
people and restore freedom to the galaxy…

Why you should play it

Based on Star Wars: A New Hope, control young Luke Skywalker as he searches caves, aimlessly wanders his desert planet Tatooine aboard his landspeeder, then assemble his crew including R2-D2, ObiWan, Han Solo and Princess Leia.

To see the game’s proper ending, you must explore and find everything before reaching, exploring, and ultimately destroying the Death Star.

Star Wars is a simplistic platformer that affords a lot of enjoyment from it’s nonlinear design. It’s possible to play through half of the game without ever getting Luke’s Lightsaber or even switching to another character. Therefore, many of the game’s finer points are only discovered through experimentation.

For example, Luke wields the lightsaber as well as a drunken sailor, but it’s an extremely powerful weapon that is well worth tracking down as soon as possible. Han Solo has a powerful blaster, but takes more damage than Luke does. In this respect, how much you get from the game depends on how much you put into it.

The game can be utterly unforgiving as jumps from heights causes damage, spikes are common, and some enemies can kill you in seconds. On the other hand, Star Wars has decent visuals and excellent music, mostly taken from the original film’s score and rearranged in stereo 8-bit chiptunes.

Overall, Star Wars is a great game to try out and more importantly is an example of a movie game that actually works on 8-bit hardware.

Fun Fact

In Europe, Star Wars was published by of all companies, Capcom.

There were other ports of this game to the GameGear and NES. Of the three, the Gameboy version looks the worst, but plays the best. Go figure.

Gameplay Video

#85
Aladdin (アラジン)
System support: GameBoy Color Only
Year of release: 2000
Developer: Virgin Interactive
Publisher: UbiSoft
Genre: Platformer
Price range: $8-15
Difficulty: 5
Region: All

As Aladdin, you’ve got yourself a scimitar and a pocketful of apples to hock at the thieves and guards that inhabit the streets and deserts of Agrabah. Using Aladdin’s acrobatics, you’ll have to get from the streets and rooftops of Agrabah to the Cave of Wonders and Sultan’s dungeon to the final confrontation in Grand Vizier Jafar’s palace.

Along your way, you’ll need to defend yourself by slicing enemies and avoiding obstacles like pots and fire pits. Some of the levels have classic but clever old-school designs like disappearing/reappearing platforms and rope networks to leap and hang from. As a platform game, Aladdin’s got plenty of variety and challenge to keep you going to the end.

Why you should play it

While most retro games based on movies are terrible, there are a few notable exceptions, and Aladdin is definitely one of them. Originally developed by Virgin Interactive for the Sega Genesis, Aladdin is widely considered to be one of the best Genesis games ever made. In 2000, the same development team decided to try to port the entire 16-bit game to the less powerful GameBoy Color while preserving everything in the translation.

It’s safe to say they largely succeeded. This is one pretty looking game with lush colors, fluid animated sprites and plenty variety. The attention to detail is almost unmatched on the GameBoy Color. It’s filled with cartoony visual gags that makes the game feel more alive than many other games you’d find, and the fourth wall breaks are equally amusing.

While the GameBoy Color isn’t usually known for amazing music, the score here is an excellent translation of the movie’s soundtrack. These are some of my favorite classic tunes, and to hear them pumped out with stereo squarewaves is a treat to the ears.

Aladdin is an extremely fluid game that makes it’s transition to the GameBoy Color remarkably well. Based on a console game, levels are massive and often take several minutes to traverse. There is a newly added difficulty setting plus a simple password feature. If you like the movie or the Genesis game, make sure you don’t pass this one up if you come across it.

Fun Fact

There was an original GameBoy version of Aladdin released with Super GameBoy support before the GBC port. The GBC version looks, plays and generally is superior to it’s previous version, but is it worth mentioning should you come across it rather than the GBC build.

Gameplay Video

#84
The King of Fighters ’96 (ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズ’96)
System support: All with SGB support
Year of release: 1997
Developer: Takara
Publisher: SNK
Genre: Fighting
Price range: $8-15
Difficulty: 5
Region: Japan and Europe Only

Announcing the 3rd Annual King of Fighters Tournament! After a full year since the total destruction of Regal, invitations began to come in. Who can be hosting this year’s tournament? A mysterious person by the name of Chizuru appears at the bottom of the letter. Who can this person be? Will she go nuts like Regal did? Speaking of Regal, will the psychotic dead guy show up this year again? Welcome to the King of Fighters ‘96!

Why you should play it

With low processing power, sprite size restrictions and and limited buttons, fighting games aren’t often attempted on 8-bit hardware. Most attempts to bring arcade style fighters to beloved 8-bit machines turn out second rate at best.

As a result, it is with a certain defiance that SNK and their close partner Takara ported King of Fighters ’96 – one of their flagship Neo-Geo titles – to the lowly GameBoy and promised the handheld port would deliver almost everything fans loved about the big-boy version.

True to their word, King of Fighters ’96 doesn’t disappoint – this is a masterfully crafted game on the GameBoy. Having first honed their skill with a portable version of King of Fighters ’95, the second attempt improves character sprites and animations, enhances the already fantastic gameplay, and delivers more excellent tunes while you duke it out.

What is really surprising about the game is the speed – unlike even Capcom’s Street Fighter II port for the GameBoy, KoF ’96 is almost completely without the slowdown common to 8-bit fighting games. On the downside, the AI here is no where near as challenging as it is on the Neo-Geo version, allowing players to beat on the computer controlled opponents with ease.

Likely due to memory constraints, The GameBoy build of KoF ’96 includes only 17 of the 29 original fighters. However, to make up for this, there are several exclusive fighters including Orochi Iori and Orochi Leona from The King of Fighters ’97, and stronger versions of Chizuru, Goenitz, and Mr. Karate. The sheer variety on offer here isn’t something to complain about.

Lacking a North American release, the game was released in Japan as Nettō: The King of Fighters ’96, and later in Europe as The King of Fighters: The Heat of Battle. Either way, this is a game worth importing for long time SNK fans or anyone who enjoys solid fighting games.

Fun Fact

Exclusive to the GameBoy version, a secret mode called “Carnage” mode allows the player’s (including CPU) Power Gauge to be filled automatically without charging. This feature also enables the player to use powerful versions of their Super Special Moves and normal versions of Super Special Moves without having the player’s health at a low rate. It’s great for quick-play.

Gameplay Video

#83Castlevania Legends (悪魔城ドラキュラ 漆黒たる前奏曲)
System support: All with Super GameBoy support
Year of release: 1997
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Action Platformer
Price range: $40-60
Difficulty: 6
Region: All

In the year 1450, a mysterious man named Vlad Tapes Dracula made a pact with a demon for immortality in exchange for his soul. Consumed with darkness, Dracula used his new dark power to control the undead and other demonic forces, intent to take over Europe.

After quickly assembling an army of the undead, Dracula constructed his dark home he named Castlevania in the Transylvanian countryside.

When Dracula’s forces attacked and mortally wounded the elder of noble house of the Belmont family, he intrusted his granddaughter Sonia with his holy whip Vampire Killer and told Sonia to avenge him by defeating the evil vampire and freeing the land. Now, her fate lies in your hands.

Why you should play it

Released shortly after Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Castlevania Legends is often overlooked and forgotten by gamers, which is a real shame as this is one of the best Castlevania games in the pre-Metroidvania style.

Consisting of six huge stages, Legends adds some unique twists to the classic Castlevania forumla. There are branching paths and multiple endings.

When powered up, the Vampire Killer fires a flaming projectile that can strike distant enemies, and the effect is amplified if it fireball also strikes a target already hit by the whip itself. In addition, Sonia can crawl – something no other Belmont was able to do before her (or should that be after her?)

Iinstead of sub-weapons, Sonia can unlock powerful Soul Weapon abilities from defeated boss creatures. Soul Weapons consume hearts and are chosen from a menu by pressing the Select button during gameplay. The effects of these abilities include freezing enemies for a short time (Wind), refilling Sonia’s health bar (Ice), killing or damaging all enemies onscreen (Fire), fire out a wave of energy that shoots through anyone in its path (Saint), or destroying an enemy and nullifying its projectile attack (Magic).

A new ability called “Burning Mode” can be initiated by pressing the A and B buttons at the same time; this makes Sonia invincible for a limited amount of time, increases her walking speed and makes her whip attacks stronger. Because of this feature Legends is considered easier than any other original style Castlevania game.

The visuals are very suited for portable play. The locales, while not dripping in detail, offer enough variety to keep things interesting, and the signature fantastic music the series is known for makes a return in force. Some tracks are remixed versions of old favorites like Bloody Tears, while others are unique to this game and are well worth listening to. Among the more noteworthy tracks is of course, Sonia’s theme itself.

If you can track down a copy of Castlevania Legends, don’t pass it up. This late Super GameBoy title is an excellent forgotten entry in the Castlevania saga.

Fun Fact

In Legends, it is heavily implied Sonia and Alucard are lovers, and that Alucard is the secret father of Sonia’s unborn child, who also is heavily implied to be Trevor Belmont of Castlevania 3. As this plot point went nowhere in connection to other Castlevania titles, Legends was removed from Konami’s 2007 official canon timeline. As a result of Konami ignoring the game’s existence and it’s relative rarity, Legends typically sells for a lot of money on the secondary market. The cancelled Sega Dreamcast Castlevania Resurrection was to star Sonia Belmont as one of the two lead characters. Ressurection’s demise may have contibuted to the decision to denounce Legends from the canon.

Gameplay Video

#82
Megaman II (ロックマンワールド2)
System support: All
Year of release: 1992
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom USA
Genre: Platformer
Price range: $6-12
Difficulty: 5
Region: All

The evil Dr. Wily has stolen the world’s first prototype Time Machine. After realizing it cannot travel into the past but only the future, Wily travels to a future time when the world is peaceful and Megaman has returned from being a fighting robot to an ordinary helper robot at Dr. Light’s lab.

From this future, Wily abducts Megaman and returns him to the present, where he modifies and reprograms Megaman into the fighting machine he calls “Quint”.

With Quint as his secret weapon, Wily rebuilds eight of his previous robot masters to lure Megaman into a trap where he can finally destroy him.

Why you should play it

It seems that Dr. Wily is (literally) up to his old tricks again. After traveling through time, Wily has rebuilt eight of his older designs – Metalman, Airman, Crashman, Woodman, Needleman, Magnetman, Hardman and Topman. Each are back and need destroyin’.

Gear up, and explore newly remixed stages of two classic Megaman games. Use the Megaman 2 Robot Master Weapons on Megaman 3 enemies and bosses! Use Rush or slide about in Megaman 2-inspired stages, and engage in combat with the mysterious Quint.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Megaman fan, but even I have to be somewhat critical of this one.

In theory, a combination of Megaman 2 and Megaman 3 – two of the best Megaman games ever made – would be incredible on GameBoy, but there are many small flaws that add up to this being the worst Megaman game on the handheld.

The game looks and plays like the classic NES games, but it lacks one of the key aspects – the incredible soundtracks. The music here is downright awful for Megaman standards. For whatever reason, Megaman II features brand new compositions that don’t make very good use of the GameBoy sound hardware, commonly using harsh and high pitched sounds that leave even the most generous chiptune fan turning down the volume.

While not completely unlistenable, the songs used are nowhere near the quality of the source material. That being said, a few tunes manage to stand out and are quite enjoyable, such as the newly composed Airman’s theme. There’s even a phenomenal remix of this tune.

Nothing is really wrong with the stages, the but they mostly lack the overall polish that the NES versions are absolutely drenched with. This is also the easiest Megaman game on GameBoy. You don’t even get knocked back very much. E-Tanks are more plentiful than you’ll ever need them to be, and the game is very short without any Wily stage guardians.

The bulk of what I’ve had to say is mostly negative, but I am still placing Megaman II on the overall best 100 list. Megaman II for GameBoy may be the weakest of the blue bomber’s portable outings, but even a bad Megaman game is still better most other action platformers, and the series only gets better from here. Despite the issues I’ve mentioned, Megaman II is still an enjoyable portable experience overall. Pick it up if you come across it cheap.

Fun Fact

To differentiate the handheld games from the Famicom versions, Each of the GameBoy Rockman titles were given the subtitle World in Japan. Overseas, they were simply called the same as their NES counterparts, which is confusing, as Megaman II for GameBoy isn’t the same game as Megaman 2 for NES.

To reinforce the plot of time-travel, in the final Wily’s stage, there are melting clocks in the background that resemble the famous Salvadore Dali’s painting The Persistence of Memory. This small element adds greatly to the otherwise bland final stage of the game.

Megaman II translates the drill-bomb robot Crashman as Clashman – yet another example of the common confusion with L’s and R’s in Japanese.

As with the other Megaman titles on GameBoy, Megaman II was slated to be re-released on the GameBoy Advance in a special colorized format in the cancelled Megaman Mania. Unfortunately, Capcom had “lost the source code” for the games, and the project was ultimately cancelled – a real shame as color versions of these classic games would have kicked ass.

Gameplay Video

#81Resident Evil [prototype] (バイオハザード)
System support; GBC only
Year of release: n/a, but would have been 2000
Developer: HotGen Studios & Capcom
Publisher: N/A
Genre: Survival Horror
Price range: N/A
Difficulty: 6
Region: North America only

1998. A team of S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics And Rescue Squad) members are called to investigate a series of bizarre and gruesome murders in the forest outskirts of Raccoon City, USA. While searching the area, the team is attacked by what appear to be undead dogs and retreat to a nearby mansion to escape the dogs.

It is there the S.T.A.R.S team uncovers the dark secrets of Umbrella, and the true horror that lies in wait for them.

Why you should play it

Although this list chronicles the top 100 GameBoy games ever released, I’m going to cheat a little and mention a game I feel is worth playing, but wasn’t ever actually released. Hey, it’s my list. I can do what I want. Don’t like it? Deal with it.

A few months back, the nearly finished GameBoy Color prototype build of Resident Evil was finally released on the internet. GameBoy Color fans can at last experience the game they were robbed of twelve years ago.

Resident Evil pits Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield on a mission to explore the mysterious mansion filled with untold horrors. By solving puzzles, collecting keys, assembling items and and shooting monsters, the player has to unravel the mystery behind this mansion and, if possible, get out alive.

As you can tell from the screenshots, Resident Evil is without a doubt one of the prettiest GameBoy game that never was. The digitized backgrounds and sprites are extremely eye-catching and immediately stand out from other GameBoy Color games.

For such a low-resolution handheld, the game is amazingly vivid with some awesome setpieces. To simulate the polygonal character models from the 32-bit original, sprites of various scales are used and are remarkably effective, just like #100 on this list, Alone in the Dark.

Part of the wide spread appeal of the original Resident Evil is the voice acting. While obviously missing from this 8-bit port, all of the dialogue is represented in text, and it’s just as hilariously cheesy as ever. You can hear most of the best clips from the original game over at Audio Atrocities.

Resident Evil has always been criticized for it’s “tank” controls, and the GameBoy Color version is no exception. The controls are just something you have to get used to, but once you do, they are no longer an issue. Due to the GameBoy Color’s limited buttons, to run you must already be walking in a direction and then press B. To draw your weapon, stand still and hold B. A fires and confirms menu options or opens doors.

The prototype build isn’t entirely finished. there is only a single audio track that endlessly loops. The song is pretty spooky, but like all the other elements, one can only wonder what could have been accomplished had the game been actually completed.

Overall, Resident Evil GBC contains about 75-85% of the total game without any programmed end sequence. Zombies are the only working enemies in the game, you never run out of ammo, and the hexadecimal data at the bottom of the screen was yet to be replaced by a more attractive HUD.

I can only wonder how the game would have turned out if completely bug fixed and more importantly, completed. The team that dumped the prototype claims it sits around 90% finished, so I have a sliver of hope that someday, a team of homebrew developers will finish the remaining 10% of this abandoned project. Here’s hoping.

Even as an unfinished game, Resident Evil for GameBoy Color is still worth playing through for fans of the original game. It might not be scary, but the GBC version sure is beautiful. Grab your emulator of choice or better yet, a GameBoy Flashcart and go to town hunting zombies and solving puzzles.

Fun Fact

In 1999, a UK based development team called HotGen Studios was tasked by Capcom to bring the Playstation and Saturn megahit Resident Evil to the GameBoy Color. HotGen planned several new additions for the portable release including a greater variety in enemies, the ability to disarm traps, and a new quick-save feature which would replace Ink Ribbons and finding save points.

However, after sending the finished product to Capcom for evaluation, Capcom turned it down, evidently citing they were unhappy with the [lack of] quality and felt the game didn’t measure up to their standards, and not confident the release would have pleased consumers. To this I strongly disagree – even in it’s unfinished state, this is one of the most technically impressive 8-bit ports ever and is a blast to play. History can be so cruel.

Luckily, in early 2012, not one but two prototype cartridges of Resident Evil were discovered and a $2000 goal fundraiser was established to get the two prototypes dumped and released online. You can read about it and download the ROMs over at Assembler Games.

Gameplay Video

This concludes part 2 of my look back at the overall top 100 games for the original GameBoy and GameBoy Color. Stay tuned for further installments as I count down the best-of-the-best 8-bit portable Nintendo games out there. Feel free to drop a comment below regarding your thoughts and memories regarding these ten picks.

Check out part 1, #100-91 if you missed it.

Want more lists? Check out my Top 100 NES & Famicom Games list, or my Top 25 NES Powerpak Killer Apps list. See you next time!

Advertisements

22 Responses to “Top 100 GameBoy games #90-81”

  1. Thanks for your time putting this together, and an overdue thanks for the NES top 100. For Game Boy, hope you’ve played these titles and given them a chance for your list: Adventures of Lolo (Europe version with many extra levels), Chalvo 55 – Super Puzzle Action, Game & Watch Gallery series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Picross 2, Mole Mania, The Mummy, Project S-11, Solomon’s Club, and Ultima III – Exodus (yes unlicensed, but you put Resident Evil in there : )

  2. 1) Love your blog.

    2) Sorry if this is the wrong place for this but I didn’t know where else to put it.

    I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! Check out http://chaosmechanica.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/one-lovely-blog-nomination-one-for-me-15-for-you/

    • satoshimatrix Says:

      No problem. Thanks for your support! please tell others about my work! The more people know, the more discussion gets generated, which is why I write these kind of articles to begin with.

  3. This is a great list, but I have a question.How does Megaman II have color? It doesn’t have super gameboy support, so how is it in color?

    • satoshimatrix Says:

      Did you read everything I wrote about it? The final screenshot is a mock-up I made based on screenshots of the beta cancelled Megaman Mania. The other screenshots are the limited colorization you get when you play DMG games on a GameBoy Color or GameBoy Advance.

  4. Roberto Hernandez Says:

    when is the rest of he list comming out?? thanks

  5. Hey you gotta keep this list updated! How else am I supposed to find good games for my phone’s emulator?

    • satoshimatrix Says:

      Sorry, its just difficult to keep momentum. I don’t want to burn myself out working on this series. As before, expect new entries every 2-4 weeks.

      Also, I write these guides for people to pick up the physical copies, not just emulate! Support classic gaming the way it was meant to be enjoyed!

  6. Wonderful blog! Thanks a lot for it. It’s been a pleasure to read such a nice list. Looking forward to part 3.

  7. Can I assume that since you included MegaMan II, but also admitted that it’s the worst in the GB series, that ALL of the GB MegaMan games will make it on the list? WILD.

    (At the very least, you’ve GOT to include MegaMan V, the only GB MegaMan game to feature original robot masters!)

    • satoshimatrix Says:

      You’ve got some pretty decent detective skills! Yes, all five original GameBoy Megaman titles will be on this list. Form 2, they only get better from there.

  8. NEXT PLEASE!!! I’m eager!!!

  9. Why you didn’t put some rpg games, like pokemon series, metal walker for gbc, or great greed and knight quest for gb, I think all of them are awesome 🙂

    • satoshimatrix Says:

      This is a countdown. This editorial series chronicles the 100 GameBoy and GameBoy Color games I deem to be the best available for the system. As I publish more entries, you’ll see better games until you see what I deem to be the very best game. I encourage you to be patient and look forward to future entries – you might just see me cover some of your favorites as well.

  10. Enjoying the list. Been playing gbc roms on the phone woth an emulator waiting for my real one to be shipped. Your list has been informative to say the least, keep it up.

  11. This is great! I am just getting back into using a GBC. I lost my old one in a house fire 5 years ago, finally decided to get a “new” one. I’m a lot more serious about getting a hold of games now (as an adult), and this list is perfect. I hope you haven’t given up on it!

    • Well, I searched for the link to the next part at the end of this one (like the 1st part), and didn’t see the next post until after I commented.

  12. LocksmithArmy Says:

    WOW! great write up man. I understand not wanting to burn out on all the typing… could you release the list by itself? im sure you have the entire 100 picked out already (otherwise you couldnt label any of the with numbers) so we can do our own research in the meantime…

    • satoshimatrix Says:

      I don’t want to do that because it will kinda leave spoilers. Just be patient I’ll have this all done within the next few months.

  13. nice article, except dr. mario on GB doesn’t include a time attack mode.

  14. Solar Striker also featured side-to-side scrolling like old-school vertical shoot’em ups and was created by acclaimed designers Gunpei Yokoi (Metroid) and Keisuke Terasaki (Fire Emblem).

    -=PakoPako=-

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: