Handheld Games

Game played on some of our favorite handheld systems from the Gameboy to the Gamegear and everything in-between.

Game Boy

The Mummy

The main thing that works about The Mummy is that it never feels that strongly tied to the movie. Instead it feels more linked to a game like Solomon’s Key – in spirit at least. This is a good thing. It has you tackling self-contained stages, with the main task to collect a set amount of relics as you venture deeper into the tomb. The most interesting element of the game is that there are three characters to play as, and you’ll have to utilise each of their unique abilities to reach the end. Evelyn has the largest jump, Rick is good in combat, and Jonathan handles the explosives.

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Game Boy

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant

B allows you to swap your player, and A lets you swipe to attempt to regain the ball. Doing this at the correct time is crucial, and thanks to the game’s clear graphics it’s easier to do than you’d expect. So the game’s well designed and fun to play, but it’s elevated even further by its excellent presentation. An example are the sound effects that you hear during games, such as when you dispossess someone of the ball, manage to score, or lose the ball yourself. They all sound like SFX from an Atari 2600 shoot-em-up, and are therefore brilliant. It helps stops the game from feeling too serious too.

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PlayStation Vita

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus

Upgrades are another thing you’ll find in Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, you can upgrade your accessories for upgrades (like extra health or defence) and every weapon can be upgraded to do more damage ala God of War. Upgrades, health potions and accessories are all available for purchase from in game shops and strangely enough statues of blacksmiths. You buy upgrades with the yellow orbs you collect from killing enemies. It has a familar economic feel just like other action games, and it works well, and there’s just that much more incentive to go out and kill some more baddies.

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Game Boy

Austin Powers: Oh, Behave

One offers incredible basic version of computer programs. A word processor is dubbed ‘Austin’s Pad’, there’s an ‘internet’ program which allows you to look through descriptions of the film’s characters, and finally a calculator (or, as it is deemed here, a shagulator). Alas, these will only maintain your interest for mere minutes (even with Gameboy printer support for the word processor), and you’ll probably end up looking into the games folder for some proper fun. Sadly, the games on offer are incredibly basic.

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PlayStation Vita

Escape Plan

This is a puzzle game so story is pretty bare bones… You play as two different characters, Lil and Laarg, two strange ink people who are for some reason imprisoned by a guy named Bakugan. Considering that no one ever speaks in this game (although you do hear Bakugan getting upset once and a while), there’s no personification to speak of, and it’s sort of not the point, like in any puzzle game that isn’t Portal, the Story isn’t the focal point.

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PlayStation Portable

The 3rd Birthday

The RPG elements are limited to upgrading your weapons and your DNA, you get new DNA pieces by diving into enemies through the overdrive mechanic. Upgrading your weapons are a must, starting out with only 180 bullets in your assault rifle puts your in a tough place, and eventually I ended up with being able to hold 900 at a time. The DNA upgrades were always a bit of a mystery for me though, the game doesn’t do a good job at teaching you what you need to do to take proper advantage.

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Atari Lynx

Robo-Squash

About half-way between the two in the middle of the screen is an assortment of bricks and a few other bits and pieces. The winner of the round is the first to score three ‘goals’ past his or her opponent or, less often, a quicker victory can be achieved if you manage to hit the elusive ‘mechanical spider’. There are several things that can make the process of winning a round a bit more complicated though.

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PlayStation Vita

TxK

For starters, this is no ordinary update on Dave Theurer’s original arcade smash hit Tempest, or Jeff’s own Tempest 2000 on the Atari Jaguar. TxK brings Tempest well and truly into the 21st century. This tube shooter captures your attention and gobbles up a lot of your free time, not just the PS Vitabattery. Words like mesmerising, sublime, frantic, nail-biting and intense come to mind when describing TxK.

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Game Boy

Super Monkey Ball Jr.

After all, Monkey Ball has never been a series that’s relied upon its looks – sure, everything apart from the mazes are flat 2D cutouts, but that doesn’t detract much from your enjoyment. But that’s the one sad thing about the game – when it was released it was held up as a mini technical marvel, much like other 3D titles on the GBA (Star X anyone?), and therefore may have been treated better by reviewers as a result.

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Game Boy

Lucky Luke

Based on a Franco-Belgium comic character, Lucky Luke is set in the Wild West, and therefore has towns to fight through, gunfights to survive and horses to ride off into the sunset. The game mainly works because of its setting. Not many titles, especially not back in 1999 when Lucky Luke was released, centered around the Wild West, so to have a cowboy as a star was
interesting in itself.

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Game BoyHandheld Games

Mega Man V (Gameboy)

Mega Man V is so stuffed full of awesome, that even the standard Mega Buster is pretty much the coolest it’s ever been, before or since. In every other Mega Man game (from 4 on NES onward) you could charge the Mega Buster to build up and release one big, powerful blast. Well in Mega Man V for Game Boy, Dr. Light, Mega Man’s creator, upgrades the Mega Buster weapon to create the Mega Arm, which instead of charging and firing a huge shot, you fire a huge Mega Man fist at enemies.

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Game BoyHandheld Games

FIFA Soccer 96 (Game Boy)

Back in the era of the classic Gameboy we had our fair share of horrible sport titles. It was a very difficult task to make a sport game playable on such a small screen. With the usual yearly titles though, someone had to eventually get it right. FIFA 96 came out to be a game of greatness that no other title was able to live up to in the portable world. The game is quite fascinating as it contains one of the best responsive controls ever for a portable game of its time.

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PlayStation Portable

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Sometimes deaths feel cheap. The actual action-oriented combat works well; certainly better than I expected. My biggest complaint from this department though was the camera. Sometimes I just could not get it into a good position, especially in narrow spaces. Also, the combat was a bit predictable in terms of how it was triggered. In earlier games, most combat occurred at random while walking. In later Final Fantasy games you are on an active field with enemies you can engage or try to avoid. Here? It’s things like intersecting hallways that trigger the usually-random group of monsters you fight. You find yourself hugging the walls awkwardly, battling the camera angles if you’re in an area where you don’t want to fight. It’s not all bad though.

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Game Boy

Tweety’s High-Flying Adventure

To do this you can’t just walk up to them and get the prints though, oh no – you have to take them down with weapons you pick up throughout the stages. There’s nothing too violent in terms of you arsenal though – just plunger torpedos, slippery jam (?) and the like. Levels are therefore structured a little more expansively than in most platformers, and you have to check out both the higher and lower reaches of every level to find all the pesky felines.

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Game BoyHandheld Games

Castlevania II: Dracula Densetsu II

My only complaint is I wish Christopher would move a little faster, he seems to be going pretty slow at times especially when you are trying to make a bigger jump or avoid an enemy. Other than that it’s a really fun game! It looks really good for a game boy game and the music has been done very well. I haven’t completed the game yet, but if I discover anything else I will let you know.

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