• Tag Archives Game Boy Advance
  • Shrek Swamp Kart Speedway (Game Boy Advance)


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    Source: Nintendo Power Advance – Issue Number 4

    Mario Kart has just about perfected the kart racing genre of video games. So much so that you rarely see competitors these days. Which is a shame really because as good as the Mario Kart series is, it would seem to me that there is plenty of room for some unique variations and even improvements. There have been a number of competitors in the past and while some are better than others, few come close to Mario Kart.

    Shrek Swamp Kart Speedway is one of those games that doesn’t come close. This game was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2002. It’s based on a movie license (Shrek) so that’s a clue right away that it probably won’t be all that great. It tries to stick very close to the Mario Kart formula being a virtual rip-off of Mario Kart: Super Circuit which was also released for the Game Boy Advance and was the first handheld Mario Kart. However, it just doesn’t execute very well. The graphics are not as good, the controls are not as good, the music is not as good and the sound effects are not as good. The tracks aren’t as well designed either for that matter and there are fewer of them. I suppose that if you are looking for a bad rip-off of Mario Kart with a Shrek license slapped on then this is the game for you.

    This game has never been re-released and given the Shrek license and being a mediocre game at best I’m sure it never will be. You’ll have to track down an original on eBay or elsewhere (which is pretty easy to do) or resort to emulation. Those looking for a good alternative to Mario Kart should probably look elsewhere though. Mario Kart: Super Circuit is a much better choice for the Game Boy Advance, even if you really, really love Shrek.

    The ad above is from issue number four of Nintendo Power Advance.




  • Breath of Fire (Super Nintendo, GBA)


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    Source: Nintendo Power Advance, Issue Number 3

    Breath of Fire is a role playing game that was developed by Capcom. The English translation and localization was handled by Square Soft and the game was released in North America in 1994. Breath of Fire is a typical example of a Japanese RPG from the 16-bit era.

    Like most RPGs, Breath of Fire is fantasy based. You play the role of a boy named Ryu who is one of the last of an ancient race of beings that can transform into dragons. He has misplaced his sister and is searching the world for her. Along the way you will fight many battles (thankfully turn based) and meet up with others with similar quests.

    While originally developed for the SNES, Breath of Fire was also released for the Game Boy Advance in 2001. This version was almost identical to the SNES original. It had some minor graphical improvements but the biggest practical change was that you could save anywhere instead of only at certain places.

    Breath of Fire received generally positive reviews and ultimately spawned numerous sequels on various systems. In addition to the Game Boy Advance port, Breath of Fire was also re-released via the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in 2016. If you want an original copy, you’ll probably have to pay a fairly high price…something close to original retail for a used copy anyway. Emulation, as always, is an option too.

    The image at the top is the intro to the strategy guide in issue number 3 of Nintendo Power Advance for the Game Boy Advance version of the game. Other images are screen shots from the Super Nintendo version.




  • SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom

    Licensed games usually get a bad rap for a reason, they’re rushed to market, are full of generic ideas and gameplay elements and rarely ever end up being worth the $8 value ticket to whatever movie they’re promoting.  But back on PS2, Xbox and Gamecube came an unlikely entry into the pantheon of great 6th gen platforms: Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Bottom.  Unlike many of the other examples of licensed games, especially from that era, BfBB had a masterful grasp on what Spongebob was and how to translate that to a fun game that could be enjoyed by all ages, much like the cartoon at the time, which you’ll remember, was explosively popular.

    http://darth-azrael.tumblr.com/post/177179027638/battle-for-bikini-bottom-captured-the-world-of

    There are three distinct versions of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, all of which were released in 2003. The first and most well known is a 3D platformer that was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. The second is a 2D platformer released for the Game Boy Advance. The third is a point and click adventure game released for Windows.

    All versions are of course based on the cartoon of the same name. The best version is probably the 3D platformer for the PS2 and other platforms. While licensed games such as these are often mediocre at best and downright awful more often than not, I’ve found that games based on cartoons are often an exception. There a a number of great games based on Disney properties and Looney Tunes among others. This SpongeBob game is also, surprisingly, a decent game.

    While it isn’t anything spectacular and the gameplay is pretty generic for a 3D platformer, the SpongeBob theme adds humor and a uniqueness that makes this one worth playing…at least if you are a SpongeBob fan. The player gets to play three characters including SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy. The goal is simply to collect various items that are necessary to progress to the next level. Along the way, you will of course face various obstacles and enemies. Each characters has their own special moves and some levels require the use of a certain character and their moves to progress.

    While this game is not particularly innovative or otherwise special, the gameplay is solid and it will certainly appeal to fans of SpongeBob. Those looking for a 2D game with the same theme should also enjoy the GameBoy Advance version. As far as I know, neither has found its way to any kind of virtual console or other modern release so you will have to track down an original or use emulation. As far as the 3D version, all of the ports are about the same so pick your favorite system (Gamecube, PS2 or Xbox).