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Best GBA Roms 2023
The sheer inventiveness and creativity of the modding community never ceases to astound me, but what’s even more impressive is that the coders behind these hacks aren’t always looking to improve a game’s mechanics on a creative level; sometimes, they’re just trying to do so technically.
Therefore, ROM hacks of certain games may just be improved copies of the original game.
The GBA is a treasure trove for ROM hacks, especially if you’re a lover of Pokémon; there are some of the finest Pokémon ROM hacks available. If you don’t have access to hardware, having an emulator makes using hacks much easier.
However, there are many other games that get their chance to shine in ROM hack form, and the GBA is home to many true classics in its official software library, so there is a fairly wide selection of top-notch ROM hacks to choose from.
Even over two decades after their initial release, the GBA Advance Wars games are still virtually incomparable among handheld strategy games.
With carefully crafted units that each side has access to, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that push players to quickly adjust to deal with the enemy’s tactics, they have a gameplay balance that is almost flawless.
Advance Wars and its GBA sequel, Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising, have a genuinely timeless feel thanks to their vibrant, bold aesthetics, compelling narrative, superb cartoony battle sequences, and tone of campaign activities.
Nevertheless, given their prolonged availability, it is inevitable that you may have already used up all of the gameplay options in both titles.
What should you do, then, if that’s the case yet you still yearn for more turn-based, capture-the-base, tank-smashing action? Consider this new Advance Wars 2 ROM hack, which adds a whopping 42 new campaign missions, 30 additional War Room missions, revised Commanding Officers (COs), and even a multiplayer AWBW portion (that’s the browser-based, online Advance Wars by Web game).
- Turn Based
This ROM hack has Ash Ketchum as the primary character in the original Pokémon adventure, as you might have guessed from the name of the game.
That’s right; it adheres to the storyline of the original anime series, detailing all of Ash, Brock, Misty, and, of course, Pikachu and the gang’s adventures and misadventures.
For good measure, there are also a few aspects of the original Pokémon movies. So, I guess what I’m saying is that if you’ve been a Pokémon fan since the 1990s and value the show more than your own family members, then this ROM hack is for you.
Nintendo is generally regarded as a family-friendly video game corporation, which has resulted in significant game censorship on its platforms. However, they have recently grown much more lenient, having partially changed with the times.
Even as recently as the 2001 release of GBA Doom, red blood was substituted—in this case, with green blood instead of red. The most infamous of these adjustments is undoubtedly the blood in SNES Mortal Combat being replaced with grey “sweat”.
It’s a little strange considering how violent the game still is; unlike in Mortal Combat, changing the color of the blood doesn’t truly alter the violent behaviors that players engage in.
In our ranking of the top Pokémon GBA ROM hacks, Pokémon Unbound comes in at number four. This is one of the most customizable experiences we’ve ever had in a GBA Pokémon ROM hack. And yes, you are also travelling to a new area.
Discover the realm of Borrius in a game inspired by Pokémon Fire Red, the iconic GBA ROM hack that served as the inspiration for so many of the best Pokémon games. Get ready for loads of quests, tones of opportunity to create characters, a brand new method for gathering HMs as you progress through the game, and 180 whole new songs to listen to!
You see, of all the Fire Emblem games hacked, Vision Quest continues to be one of the most comprehensive and engaging. This should have been a stand-alone game with 34 difficult and thrilling stages to complete as well as a unique plot.
Come on, Nintendo, if you’re reading this, call the developer and convince them to work on more Fire Emblem portable games!
The battlefields are incredible as well (keep in mind that this is a domestic hack and not the real thing), and with a staggering 62 player units to enlist, there are endless options once combat begins.
- Turn Based
One of the early video game heroines is Samus Aran, even if the fact that Samus is a woman was a “surprise” in the first Metroid’s conclusion. However, Samus is not only somewhat of a pioneer in that regard; the games she appears in, along with others like Castle Vania: Symphony of the Night, even helped to create an entire genre, Metroid Vania.
The Metroid games for the GBA, including Metroid: Fusion, an original series game that is only available for the GBA, and Metroid: Zero Mission, a remake and expansion of the original Metroid game, continue to rank among the greatest in both the series and the Metroid Vania subgenre.
The influential, recognizable scrolling beat-up Final Fight was introduced in arcades in the final weeks of 1989. It became an instant hit and an undisputed classic.
Although home ports of the game were unavoidable due to its enormous sprites and nonstop action, the consoles and computers of the time weren’t really up to the task.
The 1990 SNES version was single-player only and didn’t even include all three characters. It also didn’t include every arcade stage.
Although the original game in 2001 was easily playable on the more capable GBA (and did have all of the arcade original’s stages as well as a two-player version, although via link cable).
- Beat them up
The three Castle Vania games for the GBA are among the best in the wildly popular, long-running series, which first debuted in 1986 in Japan on the Famicom Disc System before coming to North America in 1987 on the NES.
The Castle Vania series gained popularity for its intricate level design and more open structure after the PlayStation game Castle Vania: Symphony of the Night in 1997.
This ROM hack uses the Castle Vania: Harmony of Dissonance game as a starting point, but it adds a tone of additional features, including Mario, Mega Man, and Simon Belmont, the main character from the original series, as playable characters.
- Action: RPG