Behold! Your 3DS AmBADASSador Program GBA Games Are Now Upon Us.
YES. The second round of 10 free games have finally been unveiled and whoa boy, this is seriously one incredible selection. Top to bottom I’m shocked at the triple A quality of the games Nintendo is tossing out free and exclusively (for who knows how long) to those of us that threw down the bread for the initial asking price of the system. So let’s get to it: Johnny, tell them what they’ve won!
Ray: I’ve never played this game because it sort of came and went without much fanfare but I’ve always been mildly interested in it. Mostly because I love the original SNES F-Zero so much and this is all “Mode-7″-y. It’s just too bad that it’s set even further into the future than the other games meaning Captain Falcon’s golden nipples are nowhere to be found.
Matt: This really is a sick-ass line up of games, and it almost makes me wish I dropped the extra cash to get a 3DS early. Almost. Got bills to pay, man. But here’s my thoughts on the announced games!
F-Zero Maximum Velocity looks so much cooler to me now than it did when it came out. I still kind of hate the fact that it exclusively stars characters that have nothing to do with the core franchise, but I don’t know if that’s more or less annoying to me than F-Zero GP Legend, which prominently stars the character made up for the anime.
Either way, I’m with you: there’s something really slick, awesome, and charming in a low-fi way about F-Zero games that focus on Mode 7-style graphics. Even though it’s “flat” it still feels fast and dangerous.
Ray: Strategy driven tactical combat game. Yeeeeah, I’ll get to this at some point I’m sure.
Matt: Never got into Fire Emblem or Advance Wars. I’m sure they’re great, but the furthest into the strategy genre I’ve ever cared to wander is Pikmin. And let’s face it, Starcraft it ain’t.
Ray: I am really excited about Kirby and the Amazing Mirror because I never had the chance to play it despite hearing nothing but good things. Also, I watched this commercial today…
…and it looks like a clever twist on some vintage pink puffball gameplay. I can’t wait.
Matt: I’ve always been curious about Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, because it’s basically the Kirby equivalent to “Metroidvania.” Seriously, the fastest speed runs clock in at about 45 minutes. Matching Kirby’s huge variety of powers and abilities with Metroidvania style gameplay sounds awesome.
Ray: I played through Minish Cap once after it was first released and loved the shit out of it. It’s got the classic top down perspective, fantastic graphics and controls plus a very cool hook what with the turning small and the world around you growing 9 times your size and stuff. Probably still my favorite portable Zelda ever made (Heresy!).
Matt: Never really got into 2D Zeldas. I need to fix that eventually, because they’re kind of a big deal. Some day, world. Some day.
Ray: This was the first time I reeeeally got hooked on a portable title (not counting Tetris, obviously). Back in the day I used to feel like anything that wasn’t made for a home console was sort of a “minor league” game in comparison. But Super Circuit was the first to significantly alter that perception. The damn thing had me up at all hours of the night with my back to the desk lamp throwing the best I had at it in order to 100% my file. I look forward to seeing how it’s held up.
Matt: Mario Kart Super Circuit was a blast back in the day, but I wonder how well it holds up today. I think the Mode 7 racing works better for F-Zero than Mario Kart, but Super Circuit is pretty sweet, especially since you can unlock the original Super Mario Kart. As in, the whole game.
Gameplay-wise it’s kind of an interesting halfway point between the more strategic, racing focused Super Mario Kart, and the more chaotic, item-heavy races of the later games.
I also like that Super Circuit has some really weird settings for courses. It’s got the usual stuff: Bowser Castle, ice worlds, standard fare, but it also has crazy shit, like a world made of cheese populated by the little mice-bandits from Yoshi’s Island. Sky Garden rules too. And as far as I know, Super Circuit is the ONLY Mario Kart to reference a Mario RPG: Super Circuit’s Rainbow Road has Bowser’s flying castle from Paper Mario!
Ray: I’ve never played this one and wasn’t interested until John told me that it was a sequel to Donkey Kong ‘94 and not so much part of the “March of the Mini’s” series that has never appealed to me in any way. I’ll give it a whirl.
Matt: Mario vs Donkey Kong is a pretty sweet puzzle-platformer that, thankfully doesn’t go overboard with the Mini-Mario crap like later games. Definitely a nice follow-up to Donkey Kong ‘94, which is fantastic.
Ray: Ooooh, yes. Metroid: Fusion gets a lot of shit for being too linear and whatever but fuck that. It’s a fantastic game that more than deserves it’s own seat alongside the rest of the franchise. Sure, Zero Mission is the superior portable entry if you really want to get down to it but Fusion aint no slouch in the quality department. Also, timeline-wise it’s the last game in the entire series so if that doesn’t make you curious enough to check it out then I don’t know what will.
Matt: I used to harsh on Metroid Fusion for being pretty linear, but in hindsight it’s really a fantastic game, and is may be the most frightening entry in the series. Yes, the colorful Gameboy game creeped me out more than Metroid Prime 2, which had dead people hanging from ceilings. What can I say, SA-X is a WAY more intimidating and compelling evil clone than Dark Samus. The note this game ends on is crazy too… I’m really hoping we get a sequel to this someday, if only to see what happens next for Samus.
Ray: This is what I had to say about the original SNES version of this game:
“On most days if you were to ask me what my favorite video game of all time is, this would be it. Polished like nobody’s business, I could write an entire post about it and still have plenty to praise. Super Mario World 2 marks the first time Yoshi stepped into the spotlight as the main playable character with Mario taking the backseat in the adventure. The results are simply a flawless platforming game which for me solidified Yoshi’s place in the Mario universe. Featuring still to this day outstanding graphics, music (Good GOD, the music) and level design, I’ll be nostalgic for the Christmas that I found this under the tree for the rest of my life.”
And I mean it. Unfortunately, the GBA adaptation was forced to make some graphical and (even more unfortunate) control accommodations. The incredible effect from the “Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy” stage is completely absent and since the GBA only has two face buttons (as opposed to an SNES pad’s four), some of the moves now feel sort of cramped, which is too bad. Still, it’s a fantastic gameplay experience all around and at the price of free, I’ll take it.
Matt: I steered clear of the GBA version of Yoshi’s Island. After having spent so many hours with the fantastic Super Nintendo version, I want that game SNES perfect or not at all.
Ray: THIS. Thiiis is what I am really looking forward to getting my hands on. The Virtual Boy Wario Land and Shake It!! for Wii are my only experiences with the Wario platforming series and they’re both fantastic so I can’t wait to download it.
Matt: Wario Land 4 is great and has a really fun cameo from one of Nintendo’s oldest characters, a month or two before we’d see him in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Ray, I think you’ll have a blast with this, but if you dig the other Wario games (I’m so jealous you got to play the Virtual Boy one!), I absolutely have to recommend Wario Land II. Easily my favorite entry in the series, and one of my all-time favorite games, period.
Ray It’s a Wario Ware game. It’s going to be great and weird. Really, incredibly weird.
Matt: I think Wario Ware is one of the coolest things to happen to gaming, so I’m hella psyched to see it as part of the Ambassador Program. For my money, the original (and therefore the multiplayer-centric GameCube remake) and Twisted! are the best the series has to offer.
On your blurb for Mario Kart Super Circuit you mentioned having the misconception that handheld games were second-string, small potatoes type stuff, and I definitely had the same mindset at one time. It was actually Wario Land II that smashed that notion for me, but the Gameboy Advance just kept pounding nails into that idea’s coffin. It’s pretty amazing that even now, years after the fact, there are a ton of fantastic games on that system that I never even got around to, because I was too busy with OTHER awesome games.
Ray: So, HOLY SHIT! Is that a fantastic set of games or what? On top of Super Mario 3D Land, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Mario Kart 7, Pushmo and breathing, I don’t know if I’ll have time for anything else ever again.
Thaaaank Youuuu, Ninteeeeeendo.