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The Absolute Best Game Boy Action Games of All Time

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The Absolute Best Game Boy Action Games of All Time

The Nintendo Game Boy was first released in 1989 and quickly became one of the most popular handheld gaming devices of all time. The original Game Boy was followed by the release of the Game Boy Color in 1998 and the Game Boy Advance in 2001.

Not many people still own a Nintendo Game Boy, but the nostalgia for the portable system is alive and well with retro gaming fans. The Game Boy was one of Nintendo’s first handheld gaming consoles that allowed players to enjoy their favorite games at home or on the go. 

With its compact design, interchangeable color cartridges, and built-in rechargeable battery, the Game Boy was perfect for kids and adults alike. And with over 150 games available back in its day, there are plenty of great action game options for you should you have fond memories associated with your old handheld. 

While the Nintendo Switch may be the hottest handheld gaming console on the market today, there’s something special about the Game Boy that keeps players coming back for more. Whether you’re a retro gaming fan or simply looking for a great action game, we have put together a list of the absolute best Game Boy action games of all time. So dust off your old handheld and get ready to relive some childhood memories!

What are Action Games?

An action game is a video game genre that emphasizes physical challenges, including hand-eye coordination and reaction time. The genre includes various sub-genres, such as platform games, shoot ’em ups, and beat ’em ups. 

Action games often revolve around characters who must fight through waves of enemies to reach a final boss or achieve some other objective. The term “action game” generally describes games that require quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination.

Games in this genre often involve fighting against large numbers of enemies and platforming and puzzle-solving elements. Many action games also feature a high degree of violence, sometimes graphic. 

Action games have been around since the early days of video gaming, with classics such as Space Invaders (1978) and Donkey Kong (1981). The genre has evolved considerably, with newer titles incorporating more complex gameplay mechanics and storylines.

Today, action games are some of the most popular in the world, with hit franchises such as Super Mario Bros., Mortal Kombat, and Halo enjoying huge success both critically and commercially.

The Game Boy was home to many great action games, including some classics. Let’s look at seven of the best Game Boy action games of all time.

#7: Gargoyle’s Quest (NintendoLife Score: 9/10)

screenshot of Gargoyle's Quest

Gargoyle’s Quest is an impressive game with a 16-bit visually captivating aesthetic.

One of the best Game Boy action games ever, was developed and published by Capcom for the Game Boy. The game was released in Japan and North America in 1990.

The game is set in a medieval world where you play as a gargoyle named Firebrand who must save the kingdom of Gransys from an evil sorcerer. 

The gameplay in Gargoyle’s Quest is similar to platforming games of its time. The player must guide Firebrand through a series of levels, avoiding enemies and traps, and collecting items. However, unlike most platformers, Firebrand has a hovering ability, which allows him to stay in the air for a limited time.

The game’s graphics are far more detailed than many of the other Game Boy titles. They feature many different colors, shades, and beautifully detailed backgrounds that make the world seem like a living, breathing place.

#6: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3

screenshot of Wario Land Super Mario land 3 game
Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 also features boss battles in which the player must defeat a larger enemy to progress.

If you’re looking for a platformer to play on your Game Boy, is one of the absolute best. The game was released in 1994 and is the third installment in the Wario Land series.

The story of Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 follows Wario as he sets out to find Captain Syrup’s treasure. Along the way, he’ll face off against various enemies, including Captain Syrup’s henchmen, The Brown Sugar Pirates.

In the game, the player controls Wario and must navigate each level, avoiding enemies and obstacles. In addition, the player can collect coins and other items to score points. Upon completing a level, the player receives a score based on their performance.

The game’s graphics are significantly different from previous games in the series due to the limited palette of the Game Boy. However, the developers were able to use this to their advantage, creating a unique visual style that has become one of the defining aspects of the Wario Land series.

While Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 may not be as technically impressive as some games on the Game Boy, its distinctive visuals and tight gameplay make it a timeless classic.

#5: Drill Dozer

screenshot of Drill Dozer
The gameplay is based on its titular mechanic: drilling through walls and enemies.

Drill Dozer is one of the best Game Boy action games of all time. This platformer from Nintendo puts you in control of a heavy-duty drill dozer and tasks you with using it to drill through enemy defenses, blasting your way to victory. The game’s tight and responsive controls, make it easy to zip around levels and take out enemies. 

The player must use the drill to destroy obstacles and enemies in their path while avoiding taking too much damage, which will cause them to lose hearts. Hearts can be replenished by picking up heart containers or by defeating enemies. The game also features boss battles, in which the player must use their drill to attack the enemy’s weak point.

The graphics of Drill Dozer are quite good, though not perfect. The overall art style is pleasing, and the character designs are great. The backgrounds are well-rendered and detailed, but they can sometimes be a bit too busy. The game uses a lot of bright colors, which can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. The frame rate is generally smooth, but you can expect an occasional slowdown when a lot is going on on-screen. Overall, the graphics are quite good and should please most gamers.

The level design is also top-notch, providing plenty of challenge and variety. Overall, Drill Dozer is an excellent example of how to do a Game Boy action game right.

#4: Gunstar Super Heroes

screenshot of Gunstar Super Heroes
Gunstar Super Heroes are colorful and detailed, with a wide variety of environments and characters to explore.

Gunstar Super Heroes is one of the best Game Boy action games of all time. It’s a side-scrolling shooter with great graphics and intense action. You play as one of four heroes, each with unique abilities, and must battle through seven stages to save the world from the evil Colonel Red.

The gameplay is similar to that of its predecessors. Players control one of four characters, each with unique abilities, and must defeat enemies through shooting and melee attacks. The game features different weapons which can be collected and upgraded throughout the play. In addition to the standard single-player mode, the game also features a cooperative multiplayer mode for up to two players.

The game’s visual style is heavily influenced by anime, resulting in a unique and stylish game world. Gunstar Super Heroes is a fast-paced action game, and the graphics reflect this, with fluid animations and plenty of special effects. Overall, the graphics of Gunstar Super Heroes are impressive and add to the game’s already considerable charm.

The game is tough but fair, and features some amazing boss battles. The soundtrack is also excellent. Gunstar Super Heroes is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a great action game for your Game Boy.

#3: Metroid: Zero Mission

The game includes elements of platforming and exploration, as well as combat against enemies. 

Metroid: Zero Mission is one of the best Game Boy action games of all time. It’s a remake of the original Metroid and features updated graphics and gameplay. The story follows Samus Aran, a bounty hunter sent to investigate a space station that space pirates have attacked. Samus must battle through the station, defeat the pirates, and find out what happened to the missing crew. The game is challenging, but it’s also rewarding. 

The gameplay of Metroid: Zero Mission is similar to that of its predecessor, Metroid Fusion. The game is a sidescrolling action-adventure game that has you controlling Samus Aran as she explores an alien planet and fights her way through hordes of enemies. New features and additions, include an improved control scheme, an updated map system, and a new save feature.

Metroid: Zero Mission’s graphics are some of the best on the Game Boy Advance. The backgrounds and character sprites are all well-detailed and look great. The colors are also very vibrant, making the game look even more impressive. The gameplay in Metroid: Zero Mission is just as good as the graphics.

screenshot of The Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening game
Link’s Awakening features gameplay similar to that of previous Zelda games.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is one of the most beloved entries in the Zelda franchise. It was originally released on the Game Boy in 1993 and has been re-released multiple times since then. The game follows Link as he wakes up on a mysterious island and embarks on a quest to save the island’s residents from a curse.

The player controls Link from a top-down perspective, exploring dungeons and fighting enemies in real-time combat. However, the game also introduces some new elements, such as an item shop where players can buy items using rupees, and a trading sequence in which Link must trade weapons and items with other characters to progress. 

The graphics of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening are quite impressive, considering the game was released in 1993. The game uses a top-down perspective, which was fairly common then. However, the developers did an excellent job creating a detailed and visually appealing world.

Colors are bright and vibrant, and the characters and enemies are well-designed. One of the most impressive aspects of the graphics is the way the developers created a 3D world on a 2D system. This gives the game a unique look and helps it stand out from other titles from that era.

Overall, the graphics of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening are very good for a game released over 25 years ago. The developers put a lot of effort into making the game look as good as possible, and it has aged remarkably well.

#1: Astro Boy: Omega Factor (Nintendo Life Score: 8.4)

screenshot of astro boy omega factor game
Astro Boy can fly and has super strength, and he uses his powers to fight crime and help people. 

Astro Boy: Omega Factor is a game developed by Treasure, published by Sega, and released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance. The game is based on the 1963 anime series Astro Boy, which features several show characters. The storyline revolves around Astro Boy, a robotic boy created by Dr. Tenma. 

This a typical side-scrolling action game. Players must guide Astro Boy through each stage, defeating enemies and avoiding obstacles. In addition to his regular attacks, Astro Boy can also use his special abilities, such as flight and super strength, to defeat tougher enemies and reach previously inaccessible areas.

While Astro Boy: Omega Factor’s gameplay is straightforward, it also features some unique elements that set it apart from other games in the genre. For example, players can collect “Omega Cards” which grant Astro Boy new abilities or power-ups. In addition, the game features multiple endings depending on the player’s actions throughout the game.

The game’s graphics are colorful and detailed, and the game’s environments are faithful to the look of the original anime. The character designs are also true to the source material, and the game features voice acting from some of the original Japanese voice actors. The game also has a great soundtrack featuring some original music from the anime series.  

If you’re looking for a great action game for your Game Boy, Astro Boy: Omega Factor is worth checking out!

Last update on 2024-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes an action game great?

What makes an action game great is its ability to test the player’s reflexes and coordination. Good action games are fast-paced and challenging, providing an adrenaline rush that can be addictive. They are also usually easy to pick up and play, making them ideal for casual gamers. Many action games also have an element of strategy or puzzle-solving, which can add to their replay value.

What are some tips for playing action games?

If you’re new to action games, start with something simple like “Pac-Man.” As you become more familiar with the genre, you can move on to more complex games. When playing, always be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the enemies’ movements. Try to predict their next move and be ready to react quickly. Patience is also important; don’t get frustrated if you die a few times before mastering a level. Finally, take advantage of any power-ups or special abilities that will help you clear the stage.

How do I play a Gameboy game? 

To play a Gameboy game, you will need to insert a cartridge into the device. Once the cartridge is inserted, you can then turn on the power button and start playing.

What is the difference between the original Game Boy and the Game Boy Color?

The original Game Boy had a monochrome screen, while the Game Boy Color had a color screen. The games were also made in different cartridges; you cannot play a GB game on a GBC console.

What are some of the most popular games for the Game Boy?

Some of the most popular games for the Game Boy include Tetris, Super Mario Land, and Pokémon Red and Blue.

What was the best-selling game for the Game Boy?

Tetris is the best-selling game for the Game Boy, with over 35 million copies sold worldwide.

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