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What Game Boy Color games are worth playing?

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I pretty much skipped the Game Boy Color. I had a Lynx and I had a Game Gear and the GBC just looked sad by comparison. I remember telling my little brother that the only thing the system was good for was Pokemon.

 

Of course, that’s not really fair. The poor frankensystem did of course have the Zelda Oracle games, as well as an exclusive (?) JP only Magical Chase game. And colorized classics like Link’s Awakening and Tetris DX, and crop jobs like Super Mario Bros Deluxe.

 

But mostly when I think of Game Boy Color games I think of licensed shovelware or hilariously demaked Playstation ports like seemingly everything in the 3DO library and my personal favorite, Vigilante 8.

 

Are there great games to be found among the licensed drek? Or was my adolescent assessment correct?

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When I think of Color, despite Nintendo not including them on their ID (DMG- vs CGB-), I think of both the black hybrid carts AND then see through ones that only work on Color.

I'll give you to start an alphabetized list of what I currently have and they most definitely are worth owning, a few though I warn, get expensive.

 

Some of these are obvious, like the first party, and some I lack from those (like wario land 3 but have 2) but 1st party are generally good bets.  Others are conversions of arcade/NES stuff too like GnG and 1942, Crystalis too, but tend to get a bit updated in some way.  And the 4 Vol set down there you'll find, EU releases because they're in english, some games only had Japanese only copies before then, but these are GBC colorized while Japan had them in SGB or old GB mode only so they're best of releases.  Others have notable names due to franchise, they're typically excellent sequels, or in the case of Bomberman Quest strange but good spinoffs(it's a zelda-ish like actionrpg.)

 

I will point a few out being that they're entirely in a way unique to the format, or in one case an insane how the hell moment stand out.  The what the moment... Dragon's Lair, not the crap 8bit releases of the past, but a copy of the laserdisc original wedged into a 2bit color layout only missing 8 moves from the Smithy but otherwise insanely intact.  Another is Warlocked, simply it is both sides of the original DOS Warcraft campaign in scope/size but adds in strange talent wizards to find and use and yes it actually is an RTS with full speech on every unit, flows and controls well, and plays both sides in single and multiplayer.  Another worthy oddity, commonly known in PAL areas there's Cannon Fodder, an overhead 360 motion capable run and gun strategic games and it opens with this crazy FMV too.  Project S-11 defies what you think the reality of the sprite limits of GBC are, and using some weird tricks does, it throws so much at you or out of you depending on the gun you wonder how it looks, sounds and flows so smoothly.  Duke Nukem, think of it as the official 2D sequel to Duke Nukem 2 as that's how that one is.  And then Wendy Every Witch Way using a really obscure old cartoon from decades ago, a really fun game that uses Metal Storm NES mechanics of gravity play, sprinkles in a bonus lite shooter game too for points, very well done and beautiful.

 

1942
3D Ultra Pinball Thrillride
Blaster Master Enemy Below
Bomberman Quest
Cannon Fodder
Crystalis
Dragon Warrior I & II
Dragon Warrior III
Dragon's Lair
Duke Nukem
Game & Watch Gallery 2
Game & Watch Gallery 3
Ghosts 'N Goblins
Konami GB Collection Vol. 1 (EU) = -Gradius, Castlevania Adventure, Konami Racing, Probotector
Konami GB Collection Vol. 2 (EU) = -Parodius, Quarth, Track & Field, Frogger
Konami GB Collection Vol. 3 (EU) = -Pop'n TwinBee, Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, Motocross Maniacs, Guttang Gottong
Konami GB Collection Vol. 4 (EU) = -Gradius II, Castlevania II Belmont's Revenge, Yie Ar Kung Fu, Antarctic Adventure
Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX
Mario Golf
Mega Man Xtreme
Metal Gear Solid
Mr. Driller
Pokemon Crystal Version
Pokemon Pinball
Project S-11
Rampage World Tour
Revelations: The Demon Slayer
R-Type DX
Shadowgate Classic
Street Fighter Alpha
Super Mario Bros Deluxe
Tetris DX (CI)
Top Gear Pocket 2
Wario Land II
Warlocked
Wendy Every Witch Way

 

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The GBC games I have and can recommend:

 

Metal Gear Solid (Ghost Babel)

Bionic Commando Rearmed

Towers: Lord Banff’s Revenge (prequel to the Jaguar game!)

Lucky Luke (French cartoon tie in that looks and plays great)

Deja Vu I and II (surprisingly gritty!)

Pokemon Pinball

Missile Command (one of my favorites among the arcade ports and the rumble is a nice touch)

Driver (very successful demake; I enjoy this more than the 3D one)

Shadowgate Classic

 

I have a sentimental fondness for the other Telegames releases Yars Revenge and Shamus (more like Shameless Ripoff of Berzerk) although I don’t think they’re much loved by most people. And I really do enjoy Vigilante 8 despite the numerous control and mechanical rough spots.

 

I will pick up a copy of Duke Nukem. I loved the 2D games. I was always sad that the GBC Commander Keen game was so far away from the originals.

 

I really regret not picking up a copy of Survival Kids and Blaster Master back when they were cheap and plentiful 😕

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The games listed above are really good suggestions, and I can recommend a few more:

 

- Donald Duck - Goin' [email protected]

- Elevator Action (European release based on the arcade game, but adds a lot of fun little features)

- Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword

- Lufia - The Legend Returns

- Montezuma's Return (if you can stomach the annoying music)

- Shantae

 

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IMO, multi carts are a decent option. Tons of games,  keeps things portable with no extra cartridges to lug around.

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I'd agree with that.

 

I guess it was in the last 6mo if that I came across a stash of them then added a few more so I've got around a dozen multicarts both period and newer for the GB/GBC format and they're really fantastic on most.  I have a couple duds unless you're a native fluent reader, but most have some insane choices with very wide variety.  A couple carts have both between them the 2 beatmania titles, various other solid japanese titles, the usual world release stuff, a few pirate/homebrew level hack or stolen IP/fresh game blend stuff so they're good to pull out.  The nice thing is the limited variety means less distractions.

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My guess is exclusivity agreements. Though MGS is its own game (Ghost Babel), not any kind of port. Actually Tomb Raider is too.

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Hey @jgkspsx,   I also totally skipped GBC, but I recently went through a Gameboy phase, and I finished Oracle of Seasons.  I also spent quite a bit of time with Warlocked (on @Tanooki's list).  It is like Age of Empires and quite good, but of course is a bit limited in the control options.  I also saw Bionic Commando (Elite Forces?) on your list which I spent a few hours on too.  Also good, but there is a bug in most cartridges where the game freezes after a re-load.  There is a work-around that I found on GameFAQs where you just start a new game and get a Game Over - then your save works.  I have also played DW III, but you know what you are getting there.

 

Some other GBC games that surprised me:

  • The Game and Watch games <- all have updated modes that are quite fun
  • Little Mermaid 2: Pinball Frenzy <- kind of a Pokemon Pinball clone which isn't a bad thing

I think everything else I would mention has been covered or is so ubiquitous that you'd already have considered it (ex. Wario)

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Tetris DX is my favorite of the old rules-style Tetris games. No hold, no infinite spin, etc. It was a bangin' soundtrack and some fun reward animations when the game ends playing marathon depending on your score.

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Good stuff everyone!  Haven't really explored the GBC.  Will have to go through a few of these for sure if/when I get a chance to.

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I've never been able to appreciate the GBC's library much.  Too much licensed shovelware.

No where as appealing to me as the original Gameboy with all it's weird throwback titles.

Though there are a number of black cart backwards compatible games that I love.

Game&watch gallery series and wario land 2&3 are great.

For some reason I kind of like the beauty and the beast board game adventure. It's sort of like mario party.

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I didn't mention it before, but I recall owning quite a few other GBC games back when it was ticking, some I'd love to own again as I remember a lot of fun.  Azure Dreams that Konami/PSX RPG had a GBC version, to some it was better since some of the more lame town aspects were scaled down or sucked and got removed, yet ran faster not having to render all the same visuals and CD load times.  IT seems fairly favored on the market now given the price is over original retail for the cart alone.

 

Also I had listed it already 'Revelations' but if you're not aware, it was called Last Bible in Japan, and it's part of the SMT Shin Megami Tensei line of games which I know a lot of people are pretty solid fans of, so it's quite worth the effort.

 

Some other games that I think could be worth a peek, many of these I owned, and either are relic sequels (like the first I'll mention) that are fun if you care for the time, and others are just good.

Montezuma's Return

Pocket Bomberman

Bust-A-Move 4 (or Millennium)

Classic Bubble Bobble

Tarzan

GTA and GTA2 (if you liked the old original overhead games)

Pac-Man (and Ms Pac Man) Special Color Edition (they come with a 2nd game included)

Prince of Persia

Rampart

Chase HQ Secret Police

Daikatana(seriously, it doesn't blow like the 3D one)

Lemmings&Oh No More Lemmings!

Magical Drop (port of Neo Geo game)

Pokemon Puzzle Challenge (it's panel del pon aka tetris attack)

Tomb Raider (and its sequel, it's prince of persia like)

Wacky Races

Dragon Warrior Monsters 1 and then the sequel (they went pokemon on it 2 versions)

Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine

Lufia the Legend Returns

Toki Tori

Hamtaro(I keep reading it's great, never tried it to be honest)

 

Expensive but... Resident Evil Gaiden, and if you care to donate a kidney, Shantae

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Posted (edited)

GB and GBA both have far better libraries, but were also out for a whole lot longer so the comparison's not at all fair.

 

Remembering back, there were:

all the dragon warrior games were at least pretty good, monsters1 is probably my favorite

top gear pocket/top gear pocket 2 are fairly graphically impressive

micro machines 1 and 2 'twin turbo'

harvest moon

azure dreams (I liked it for what it was, but am in the minority)

If you're into goofy things that shouldn't work as well as they do, try the dance dance revolution games, weirdly.

 

also some good game&watch galleries, but for me, those were mostly rendered obsolete by the gba one.

Edited by Reaperman
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I ordered the Shantae reprint from Limited Run last year. I have that one on 3DS, and beat it too.

 

I wanted to call out a few totally unknown, interesting, dirt cheap puzzle games. I don’t know if I can call them good, but they are strangely compelling.

 

Trouballs is a ball-rotating Capcom puzzler. It is very simple but pretty unique, but it gets frustrating fast. Still, it’s fun, it’s visually interesting (more on the “odd” side than the “good” side, but still) and has more content than you will probably get through. The passwords are mercifully short. It has great music, to the point that most videos on YouTube are just soundtrack uploads! It’s interesting that it was released in 2001 and feels like such a throwback. If you like puzzle games of this nature and awesome block rocking beats, this one you should pick up.

 

 

Hexcite is a little less obscure, maybe, but it is super addictive in part because it is a total jerk. I have yet to win a series against the computer even on easy. You MUST go through the help (or read the manual) as the rules are not immediately obvious. Even once you grasp the rules, you will keep blundering, and the computer will always take full advantage. This turns a lot of people off, like Jeremy Parish:

 

 

But I keep playing it, even if it makes me want to throw my GBA SP through a window. I have to confess that I hated this game until I read the notes from the game’s creators. They were so sweet and wholesome that I had to at least do it the favor of learning it. I do wish it had a puzzle mode beyond just the training mode.

 

Finally, and most weirdly, there is Klustar. It’s a game where you move a block around the screen grabbing Tetris-like blocks and adding them to the bulk of your... thing (I guess it’s a klustar?) by making them collide with it. It is kind of mindbending.

 

 

It is... not polished. Difficulty varies wildly based on the settings you choose - it’s like they didn’t have time to tune it to make it fun so they just make you do it. Games can go on and on and on forever, and then suddenly end because you had one bad piece placement.
 

I have found what seems to be a bug, where I get random blocks added half a screen from any part of my “klustar”. Since you can only rotate if you have room to turn without going past the edge of the screen, this kills you in a hurry. Maybe it’s not a bug, but if it isn’t I don’t know what the heck the rules for it are. (It only seems to happen when I’m near the lower left corner of the screen.)

 

The graphics are plain as can be, and the music (past the intro jingle, which sounds promising) is so bad it’s a joke - one-note-at-a-time renditions of Americana classics like “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, “Home on the Range”, and “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. They had to have been demo music for some development kit they had, and they just kept it. Definitely one to play with the sound off.

 

Bizarrely, the game was developed by Chris and Jason Kingsley. Yes, the folks from Rebellion Games, creators of Jaguar Alien vs Predator and Checkered Flag and Skyhammer. After what looks like four years of not releasing anything, they returned with this black cartridge GBC release.

 

Even more bizarre, Nintendo liked this so much they swiped it for the Metroid mode of Tetris DS, my favorite mode of the game. They made an important change to make it play better: in their version, you don’t have to make the piece run into you, you can also run into it, from any direction:

 


It also changes the way collapses happen - you get to trigger it when the cluster is big enough, and it shoots an all-destroying beam in all four directions. Of course, the music and the graphics are a lot better too.

 

I can’t say the original is worth picking up, but it sure is interesting. You’re much better off with Tetris DS. Then again, I have spent hours with Klustar and its infernal music...

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I was the target audience for the GBC when it was current and it never held any appeal to me.  Even as a 8 year old, it came across as riding on the coattails of pokemon.  I didn't understand why the other kids all liked it, to me all you did was walk around and navigate menus.  You didn't do anything in it.  I didn't know what an RPG was at the time.

 

Today, I look at the library on my everdrive and nothing I try really grabs me.  With both the OG Gameboy and the GBA it felt like devs were firing on all cylinders but they phoned it in with the GBC.

 

I can't put my finger on it, but GBC games never looked very good to me, even the clear cart games.  I think it's the way color palettes are allocated across the sprites and backgrounds, but the games don't look like they're truly in color, but just monochrome games that were inked up.

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There's a good number of truly garbage GBC games, dialed in as you said up there just above, but there are some truly fantastic titles that got buried under the tainted mystique of garbage fire quality stuff.  That's why I wrote out what I have, then another list of other goodies too I had before or am aware of that are worthy.  Keep in mind and I suppose may be a bit sad, good number of them are black carts, which means they're actually Gameboy games, not Gameboy Color, officially speaking, as far as Nintendo is concerned.  Black Carts have the DMG- product code, translucent GBC games have a CGB- code.  I always found it strange, but it makes sense as those black games work identically without shades of color on original hardware.  A good number of the games I called out, they're black carts.

 

Of those I own if you look back up 16/31 games listed are black carts.  The color only ones, they're kind of obvious and of pretty high quality too.  I can say for a 3 1/2 year active system really though with those 16 and others I had, there was plenty of quality hiding around the crap to buy a couple games a month or more and be satisfied.

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So many games have been listed already, so I'll just say that Dragon's Lair blew me away when it appeared on the GBC. A game that so many companies fell over themselves to port back in the day was suddenly on a little handheld. It looked mighty good considering.

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On 4/23/2021 at 10:56 PM, zetastrike said:

I can't put my finger on it, but GBC games never looked very good to me, even the clear cart games.  I think it's the way color palettes are allocated across the sprites and backgrounds, but the games don't look like they're truly in color, but just monochrome games that were inked up.

Or maybe it's the reduced screen size that makes that little voice at the back of your head say "I should be playing this on a bigger screen, on my NES"? I know that's the general feeling I get from playing most GBC games. You can let the reduced screen size slide with the original GB because of the black-&-white graphics and motion blur, which makes the unit very distinct from the NES, but the GBC feels like an NES with a screen that's way too small for its own good.

 

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I’ve never felt that way about the Zelda games, but Super Mario Bros DX really feels claustrophobic to me. And I grew up with Sonic 2 Game Gear!

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Hexcite does not get much love, but I have really gotten addicted to it. Realizing that the “level game” was supposed to be the main mode - play through a succession of computer opponents slowly getting better over time, complete with a rating and a battery backed save! - made it a lot less intimidating. Suffice it to say I have gotten a lot better.

 

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I promise this is the last time I bump this thread for Hexcite advertising, but... I did it. I played the perfect Hexcite game.

 

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The real goal of Hexcite is to screw over your opponent as mercilessly as possible whenever possible and stick them with as many unplayable pieces with as many sides as possible. Unless you get a bad hand, in which case you try to play nice as long as possible and lose by as narrow a margin as possible. I can imagine the real life board game version of this leading to violence.

 

In this game, I stuck my opponent with something like nine dead pieces. Yes, I too ended up deep in the red, but I was just laughing and laughing as I watched its score go lower and lower and lower. This is what the board looked like:

 

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If you filled up less than half the board, you played an ideal game.

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If we are allowed to recommend colourized Gameboy games, here are a few I plan on playing myself some time:

Castlevania: The Adventure

Castlevania 2: Belmont´s Revenge

Super Mario Land

Super Mario Land 2: Golden Coins

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