Top 10 Action Games for the Game Boy Advance

Enjoy pure and total action with these GBA all-stars

Whether you're looking for a bit of action or have a need to destroy everything in your path, these 10 all-star action games for the Game Boy Advance deliver. They pump out over-the-top, heart pounding delight for the thrill seeker in you.

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'Gunstar Super Heroes'

Gunstar Super Heroes


What We Like
  • Beautifully animated and engaging combat.

  • Creative level designs and boss battles.

What We Don't Like
  • Game over sends you back to the title screen.

  • On the short side, just six levels.

With perfect graphics, stunning gameplay and non-stop action, "Gunstar Super Heroes" is so well put together that you’re punishing yourself if you don't play it. The action is all around you, not just to your sides or above. With 3D backgrounds, it’s also in front of and behind you. The game added more dimensions by adding sections that make you feel like you’re playing a 2D character in a 3D environment. This is the perfect frantically fast-paced GBA game.

of 10

'Astro Boy: Omega Factor'

Astro Boy: Omega Factor


What We Like
  • Novel story with a cast of adorable characters.

  • Perfect difficultly curve keeps things from getting too frustrating.

What We Don't Like
  • The enemies and level designs get a little repetitive.

  • RPG elements are woefully underutilized.

"Astro Boy: Omega Factor" is a GBA title that outshined its console counterpart. While the dull console game bored and frustrated players, the GBA version is one of the best action titles released. With incredible weapons, radical enemies, stunning environment, detailed character design and nonstop action packed into 41 levels, this game is a must-have in any action gamers collection.

of 10

'Klonoa: Empire of Dreams'

Klonoa: Empire of Dreams


What We Like
  • Impressive animated cutscenes.

  • Upbeat soundtrack fits the cutesy aesthetic.

What We Don't Like
  • Graphics aren't as bright as other GBA titles.

  • Feels like a scaled-down version of "Klonoa 2" for PS2.

"Klonoa: Empire of Dreams" is one of the finest side-scrollers on the GBA. You do more than just blow things up — you have to use your brain. Each stage is designed with challenges that range from simple to complex. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll get all the entertainment you can handle. For example, you don’t shoot your enemies; instead, you grab and throw them. Throw the baddie in mid-leap, and you get a super jump. It's the least violent game on this list, but it has more extreme action than most shoot-em-up titles.

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'Wario Land 4'

Wario Land 4


What We Like
  • Secrets and collectibles add tremendous replay value.

  • Requires a fair amount of strategy in addition to platforming.

What We Don't Like
  • Considerably harder than the average "Super Mario" title.

  • Wario doesn't look any better than he did on the Game Boy Color.

Thank goodness Mario's arch nemesis Wario doesn't sit on the sidelines. "Wario Land 4" gives you more platforming action than you can shake a cartridge at. Even better, Nintendo added special features never before used in a Mario/Wario style game that make this one tops in GBA action.

of 10

'Mega Man Zero 2'

Mega Man Zero 2


What We Like
  • Local multiplayer support is a blast.

  • Special weapons are fun to experiment with.

What We Don't Like
  • Follows the predictable "Mega Man" formula.

  • One of the hardest titles on the GBA.

Don’t go looking for original gameplay in "Mega Man Zero 2." Look instead for the best of the old school, high-octane, nonstop action came to know and love in the Mega Man franchise — only this time, it's on steroids. It’s impossible to get bored with the extensive mission levels and explosive weaponry. You can connect with a friend with a multi-link cable and compete in race-style challenges. Sometimes it’s nice to go to a familiar set up with all-out thrills.

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'Metroid: Zero Mission'

Metroid Zero Mission


What We Like
  • Reimagines the original NES classic for a new generation.

  • Collectibles are randomly distributed, every playthrough is different.

What We Don't Like
  • More linear than other Metroid titles.

  • Difficulty ramps up drastically near the end.

Since the very first Metroid game was released, the series has consistently brought home the bacon with its wall-to-wall action and thrilling gameplay. "Metroid: Zero Mission" has all the best elements of the original series but much more of it. As you progress through the game, you gain bigger and better abilities. Each one helps make this game the best way to spend a leisurely afternoon blowing the heck out of stuff.

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'Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc'

Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc


What We Like
  • Mellow soundtrack complements the surrealist art style.

  • Varied level designs constantly shake up gameplay.

What We Don't Like
  • Not much different than the first two GBA "Rayman" titles.

  • Some enemy animations look like cardboard cutouts.

"Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc" is another example of a GBA game transcending a highly publicized console as an all-around better gaming experience. This bizarre character with disembodied hands and feet is ideal for the 2D handheld format. "Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc" pushes the limits of the GBA, with its fluid movement, amazing colors and more than 50 elaborate and outrageous levels, each full of hidden treasures. It also boasts multi-link connectivity, where you can play with your friends in some great multiplayer challenges.

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'Drill Dozer'

Drill Dozer


What We Like
  • Fast-paced blend of platforming and fighting game mechanics.

  • Clever boss designs.

What We Don't Like
  • Disappointing upgrade system.

  • Can be beaten in a short amount of time.

Original and entertaining gameplay put "Drill Dozer," with its innovative new approaches to platforming action, on this list. As Jill, you ride around in a machine called a Drill Dozer—a cross between a robot, armor, and a giant drill. Although Jill is on a noble quest, that’s not what makes this game so great; it’s the drill. You use it to plow your way through level after level of some of the most exciting gameplay found in a GBA original. 

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'Sonic Advance'

Sonic Advance


What We Like
  • Surprisingly smooth graphics.

  • Creative use of GBA's GameCube compatibility.

What We Don't Like
  • Sometimes the lighting-fast animation lags.

  • Physics don't quite match up with classic "Sonic" games.

The best Sonic title for the GBA is "Sonic Advance." It combines the turbo speed gameplay that made the original Sonic series such a success, with original features and levels. It also has some great multi-link challenges. In single-player mode, you have the option of four different characters, each with diverse capabilities. Rarely does a game have this kind of replay value, in which you can complete each level dozens of times and still not catch it all.

of 10

'Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace'

Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace


What We Like
  • Cool comic book style story presentation.

  • Music and visual presentation are top notch.

What We Don't Like
  • Combat controls feel a little awkward.

  • Password backup system is annoying.

"Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace" is the first and best Spider-Man game for the GBA with all the features that make Spidey great. There are webs, webs and more webs for shooting bad guys, along with makeshift shields and, of course, web swinging, super strength and a talent for climbing buildings. He’s not referred to as a “wall-crawler” for nothing. What makes this game so terrific, in addition to the challenging, yet fun, gameplay, is the natural feel of the controls, as you web spin your way through the action.

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