When someone asks what everyone's favorite game systems are, sometimes Handheld systems are left out and people are more interested in knowing what everyone's favorite consoles are. The original Game Boy is my favorite Handheld and my second favorite game system, largely because of its library. So, being one of my favorite systems, I figured I might as well list my ten favorite games for the Handheld along with some honorable mentions.
Some of the games in the top 5 might surprise some people who think Mega Man games are always my favorite.
MegaMan52's favorite Original Game Boy Games
10.Adventures of Lolo
Released only in Japan and Europe, the original Game Boy got an Adventures of Lolo game. As expected, the gameplay is much like the Lolo games on the NES with puzzles that become more and more difficult as you progress. In addition to the two main characters from other Lolo games (Lolo and Lala), this game introduces another character: Lulu.
The Japanese and European releases have several differences. The European release has far more levels (over one hundred), and also has Super Game Boy support (the Japanese version came out in early 1994, before the Super Game Boy was released). Also, some of the levels have been rearranged and play in a different order in the two versions.
This is one of the games included in my "A Look at Imports" series on YouTube.
9.Kirby's Dream Land
Kirby's debut, and one of the big Game Boy classics. Being the first game in the series, it doesn't have some of the features that most Kirby games have (like Kirby's ability to copy certain enemies' abilities, which was introduced in Kirby's Adventure). But the basic features, like Kirby inhaling enemies, spitting them out, and flying, are included and have remained staple features throughout the series. There are only five levels, but the terrain varies (grass, water, clouds, etc.) and each one has memorable music that has been reused and remixed throughout the Kirby and Super Smash Bros. games.
One of my favorite things in the game is this: you can beat one of the "Blatzy" enemies. Blatzy's are the cannon enemies that appear in many of the Kirby games, and most of them are invincible. However, in this game, one of them is a boss on the third level (Float Islands) and can be beaten.
The game has some extra features. The normal mode is fairly relaxed and is neither too easy or too hard. However, there is also an "Extra Game" mode that increases the game's difficulty quite a bit. The levels in the "Extra Game" mode are the same as the normal mode, but Kirby takes more damage, bosses are faster, and some of their attacks are different. The "Extra Game" mode also has a different ending. There is also a "Configuration Mode" that allows you to change Kirby's vitality (the amount of energy he starts with), and access a Sound Test that includes all of the game's music.
I beat the "Extra Game" mode last year.
The American and Japanese versions are almost identical, but have some minor differences.
8.Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge
The first Mega Man game for the Game Boy.
The game contains four bosses/robot masters from Mega Man 1: Cutman. Iceman, Fireman, and Elecman, and four bosses/robot masters from Mega Man 2: Bubbleman, Flashman, Quickman, and Heatman. It might seem like a stripped down version of the first two Mega Man games for the NES, but unlike the Mega Man Xtreme games for Game Boy Color every level in this game has different layouts than their console counterparts. The fortress stages are also completely new, and have original music. And unlike the first Mega Man game on NES, this game has Passwords like most of the other Mega Man games.
A new item appears in this game. There's the Carry item, which you can place in front of you or underneath while you're in the air. It's useful for reaching items that are otherwise out of reach, and is also useful in Dr. Wily's Fortress because it can save you from landing on spikes.
The game also introduces a new character: Enker. He's part of the "Mega Man Killer" series of bosses, the others of whom appear in the other Game Boy Mega Man games. He has a weapon called the Mirror Buster. He raises a Spear, which absorbs Mega Man's shots then fires them back at him. The more shots Mega Man fires, the more powerful Enker's attacks become. This is also the only way to defeat him, as Enker loses energy while his Spear absorbs Mega Man's shots. When Mega Man gets Enker's weapon, it acts like a shield, deflecting shots and sending them back at enemies (very useful during the battle against Dr. Wily). Enker returns in Mega Man V for Game Boy, is playable in Mega Man's Soccer, and appears in the Database mode in Mega Man & Bass.
A solid handheld debut for Mega Man.
There's an early version of Fireman's stage hidden inside the game's memory, which can be accessed with a Game Shark. There's also some unused music that plays in the level, which sounds like it was originally meant for the game's ending.
7.Wario Land II
One of the last games for the original Game Boy, released in 1998. As the follow-up to Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, it is naturally a much bigger game and has more secrets to find.
The big difference between this game and the first Wario Land is that in this game, there are lots of different paths to take. The first Wario Land also has some levels with multiple goals that either lead to the next level, or secret levels. This game expands on that idea. If you "beat" the game by just simply getting through the levels and defeating the final boss, a map screen appears and you may notice that there are a lot of other levels in the game that you didn't go to. And even though the map screen is basically a level select, it only allows you to go to levels you've already been to. Also, accessing other levels and paths requires you to do other things besides looking for a different goal. For example, in the first level, you see Wario on his bed sleeping (and while his Castle is being flooded and a loud alarm is playing). Normally, you'd just press a button to wake him up. But if you just let him sleep, you'll automatically "beat" the level and enter a different level than the one you'd normally go to if you went all the way through the first level. This puts you on a different path on the map, allowing you to access other levels.
The other big difference in this game is that Wario is basically indestructible. If he gets hit, hit just loses coins. No matter how much damage he takes in this game, he's able to keep going. He can also get flattened, turn into a spring, and turn into a Zombie, all useful in accessing secret areas.
Like the first Wario Land, there are two minigames. One is a guessing game, which can be played by finding secret doors in many of the levels. The game randomly picks a picture of an enemy, and briefly shows other pictures. You have to remember which of the other pictures is the same as the one the game picked. If you pick the correct picture, you'll get some Treasure. There are three difficulty settings, all of them requiring a different amount of coins. The difficulty determines how long the game will show you the pictures. The easy difficulty costs the most, while the hard difficulty costs the least. There's also a normal difficulty, in case you want the minigame to be somewhat difficult but not too easy either. At the end of every level, you can play another minigame if you have enough coins. The game randomly picks a number, which is covered. For 50 coins, you can draw and remove a panel from the picture making it a little easier to figure out which number the game picked. Sometimes when you play this minigame, you'll automatically lose coins and the game will keep removing panels from the picture until you decide to guess or until you run out of coins (in which the game makes you guess, whether you're ready to or not). If you guess correctly, you'll receive a picture panel. These minigames are actually kind of fun. If you collect all of the Treasure and the Picture Panels you'll unlock the final level and chapter, called "The Really Final Chapter."
Wario Land II was also released for Game Boy Color, as a dual mode cartridge that works on monochrome Game Boy's as well as Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. The Game Boy Color version has a different save feature, one for monochrome Game Boy systems and one for color Game Boy systems. If you play the game on Game Boy Color/Advance then play it on an original Game Boy or Game Boy Pocket, it won't work unless you erase your save file. Same thing happens if you save your progress on an original Game Boy or Game Boy Pocket, then play the game on a Game Boy Color or Game Boy Advance.
The Game Boy Color version also makes some minor changes to the game itself. Like the windows in some of the levels, which have arches in the original version but not in the color version. This change is also present when the color version is played on a monochrome Game Boy, or when a Game Boy Color, Advance, or Player is forced to play the color version in monochrome (as seen in the right picture above). Yes it is possible to force a Game Boy Player (or Game Boy Color or Advance) to play a dual mode Game Boy game in monochrome. This can be done by inserting an original Game Boy game inside a Code Breaker, slowly removing the original Game Boy game on the Code Breaker's menu, and then slowly inserting a dual mode cartridge into the Code Breaker.
There's also a unique Fish enemy in one of the levels ("Escape from the Tea Cup!") in the original version that was removed and replaced with the more common Sawfish enemy in the color version for some reason.
I rank Wario Land II just a little lower than the first one, partly because of the map. It looks generic compared to the map in the first Wario Land, which looks more detailed and has animations like Super Mario Land 2. The music in the first game is also a little better, IMO.
In 2021, I beat every level and got every Treasure and Picture Panel in the original Game Boy version of the game.
While the Game Boy did get a port of Battletoads for NES called "Battletoads in Ragnarok's World", this Battletoads game is completely different even though it has the same box art as the one for NES. All of the levels and music (except for the title screen music) are different, and you can only play as Zitz while Rash and Pimple need to be rescued (really an excuse for not giving the game a 2-Player option).
However, even though the game is different, it is still very similar to the NES game. It has basically the same gameplay, and it is also extremely difficult. In fact, this game seems to be even harder than Battletoads for NES (though that might just be because I haven't played this one as much). Another similarity with this game and the NES game is that it has lots of variety, with flying levels, rope levels, racing levels, etc.
The game has a different soundtrack, except for the title screen music which is the same as the NES game. I don't like the music quite as much as the NES music, but some of it is cool. The music in the first and fourth levels are probably my favorite. And since this is a Game Boy game, the music is in stereo.
5.Donkey Kong Land
I like Donkey Kong Land 2 and 3 as well, but I like the first Donkey Kong Land more for one reason: it is an original game. Donkey Kong Land 2 is pretty much a Game Boy version of Donkey Kong Country 2. Donkey Kong Land 3 has completely different levels than Donkey Kong Country 3, but reuses DKC3's music and has basically the same story as DKC3. Donkey Kong Land, however, has different levels, a somewhat different story (at least according to the manual), and both reused and original music. It was the first Donkey Kong game to be released on a banana yellow cartridge, which would also be used in the sequels as well as Donkey Kong 64. It uses the same ACM (Advanced Computer Modelling) pre-rendered visual style as Donkey Kong Country, and was considered the best-looking Game Boy game of 1995. Even now, it doesn't look that bad and most of the animations are smooth.
While a pretty good game and one of my favorites for the original Game Boy, it has some issues. The first issue (and I remember this well from when I was a kid) is that it can be hard to see in certain levels. DK and Diddy sometimes blend in with the backgrounds, and it can sometimes be difficult to see enemies, barrels, platforms, or other things. This is mostly an issue with the original Game Boy, though it can still occasionally be an issue with the Game Boy Pocket even though it has a better screen. It's fine on the Super Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and Game Boy Player though. And if this game is eventually released for the Game Boy App for Switch, I assume it would look fine on the Switch too considering Super Mario Land 2 does. The other issue this game has is the ending. I'm not going to say what it's like, because there are probably still DK fans out there who haven't beaten the game before. But I will say that the ending is really nothing special, and it is the same even if you find all of the secrets and beat the game 100%.
The game has some unused music tracks. These can be heard with some Game Genie codes. One of them was apparently supposed to be used during the battle against King K. Rool (the game just plays the regular boss music instead).
4.Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
The first game to feature Wario as the protagonist. Like Super Mario Land 2, Wario Land has map screens and alternate goals in some levels that lead to secret levels.
The game takes place on "Kitchen Island", and you gotta love the names given to the various areas of the Island. There's Rice Beach, Mt. Teapot, Stove Canyon, Syrup Castle, etc.
Wario has different moves and power-ups than Mario. He can body slam into blocks and some enemies (body slamming into the latter gives you coins). If he gets the Bull Pot, which gives him horns, he can cling to ceilings or blocks for a few seconds as well as pound the ground (which causes enemies to flip over). He can get a Jet Pot which allows him to fly for a few seconds and also makes him run faster and jump higher. The Dragon Pot allows him to shoot fire on land and arrows while underwater.
There are several Treasures hidden in the game. There are some levels in the game that have hidden doors that lead to Treasure rooms. The ultimate goal is to find these Treasures so Wario can get enough coins at the end of the game to get a Castle of his own.
At the end of each level, you can play one of two minigames. One of the minigames has two buckets with ropes. One of them has a bag of coins, while the other has a 10 ton weight. The other minigame has you throwing bombs across a river at some enemies. There is a meter on the bottom of the screen that shows the strength of your throw. This minigame also has three difficulty settings. Winning the minigame gives you 1 ups.
The game is a lot of fun, easily one of my favorites. I like it a little more than Wario Land II.
One of the areas in the game has a typo. When you first enter Parsley Woods, the name is spelled correctly. But when you drain the water in the second level of the area, it becomes "Parsely" Woods.
I've beaten every boss in the game as Tiny Wario.
3.Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
Improved graphics, more levels, the rabbit ears, and Wario's first appearance.
Like the first Super Mario Land, Super Mario Land 2 is different than other Mario games in that it doesn't have Princess Peach or Bowser. In fact, you don't even rescue a princess in this game. The game is about getting six golden coins so Mario can enter Wario's Castle (which is really Mario's Castle) and defeat him. Despite that, the game is closer to being like Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 than the first Mario Land.
The visuals in Super Mario Land 2 resemble Super Mario World, similar to how Link's Awakening's visuals resemble A Link to the Past. Mario also has the spin jump move from Super Mario World, which destroys blocks.
The rabbit ears are the game's new power-up, which make Mario jump higher and allow him to stay in the air longer which allows him to glide long distances. The Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Star from other Mario games are also in this game.
Each area in the game, except for one, has levels with multiple goals (one hidden), with the hidden goals leading to secret levels filled with coins. I like that, after these secret levels have been completed, the map screen changes somewhat. For example, beating all of the levels in Tree Zone makes flowers appear on the map while beating all of the levels in Pumpkin Zone causes ghosts (Boos) to appear on the map for that area (the Pumpkin's eyes also light up).
A hacked version, called Super Mario Land 2 DX, was released for Game Boy Color. Not only is it in color, but it also adds Luigi as a playable character. Luigi controls a little differently than Mario. It was put on a cartridge, and works with Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, and the GameCube's Game Boy Player.
A comic loosely based on Super Mario Land 2, called "Mario Vs. Wario", is included in the January 1993 issue of Nintendo Power. It is also included in the Super Mario Adventures comic collection released in 2016.
In the first Tree Zone level, there's a hidden section that can only be accessed with glitches. It is also in Super Mario Land 2 DX.
Super Mario Land 2 was re-released on the Game Boy App for Switch. The game retains its portability on the Switch, since it is both a console and a handheld. Not only have I beaten this game on the Game Boy before, but I've beaten it on the Switch too (every level, including secret levels).
The Game Boy game that pretty much everyone has played. I really don't need to say much about it or why it's my favorite. Tetris is just plain fun and one of the best games for the original Game Boy.
The Game Boy version of Tetris is considered better than the NES version, due to its portability and inclusion of a 2-Player mode. The NES version actually does have a 2-Player mode that can be accessed with a Game Genie, but it wasn't finished and went unused. I played that unused 2-Player mode with a friend a few years ago.
While most copies of Tetris are identical regardless if it's bought in the U.S., Canada, Japan, or Europe, it's worth noting that the earliest Japanese copies of the game, known as Version 1.0, are somewhat different. The earliest Japanese copies have a different A-Type music, called "Minuet" (heard in the video above). In most copies of the game, known as Version 1.1, this music was replaced with the much more well-known "Korobeiniki" theme, also known as the Tetris theme. The early Japanese copies that have the "Minuet" music were bundled with a Link Cable, say "DMG-TRAT" on the box, and have a slightly different label than other Japanese copies (you have to see them side by side to notice the differences). The early Japanese copies also have a different level up sound effect (a simple beep that you may not even hear while playing).
An updated version, Tetris DX, was released for Game Boy Color and is also compatible with the original Game Boy. It has more modes, saves your scores, different cutscenes, and, of course, color graphics.
Unfortunately, most of the iconic themes from the original Game Boy version were replaced. However, Tetris DX has several unused music tracks (including the full Korobeiniki theme). These unused music tracks can be heard in my video above.
While Tetris DX is technically "better", there's nothing wrong with going back to playing the original Game Boy game. I play the original more often than DX, though both versions are great.
Like Super Mario Land 2, Tetris was recently re-released on the Game Boy App for Switch.
1.Kirby's Dream Land 2
Here it is, my favorite game for the original Game Boy. It is also one of my favorite Kirby games. I bought the game in 1998, and remember it was the last copy available at the store I went to (The Real Canadian Superstore).
Since the game was released after Kirby's Adventure, Dream Land 2 retains the feature of Kirby copying certain enemies abilities. Also like Kirby's Adventure, the game has different areas each with a hub containing doors where you can select a level.
This game introduced Kirby's animal friends: Rick the Hamster, Coo the Owl, and Kine the Fish. If you are riding on one of these characters, the abilities that Kirby copies changes. For example, if you have the Parasol ability while riding on Rick the Hamster, he'll spin the Umbrella on his nose while Kirby becomes a ball and sits on top of the Umbrella, which makes it easy to hit flying enemies or enemies on floating blocks. If you have the Electric ability while riding Kine, a light bulb appears that both allows you to see better in dark areas and can also be used as a weapon. Each of these characters has unique theme music. Their energy is also separate from Kirby's, so even if they lose all of their energy Kirby can still keep going.
There are "Rainbow Drops" hidden in certain levels. Some of them are easy to find, while others are well-hidden. Even if you find them, you need to figure out what the correct ability to use is so that you can destroy the blocks that prevent you from getting them. Collecting all seven Rainbow Drops allows you to battle the final boss, Dark Matter. Like the first Kirby's Dream Land, there are two endings. If you get all of the Rainbow Drops and defeat Dark Matter, you'll get the good ending.
Getting all of the Rainbow Drops and beating the game unlocks a Sound Test. One of the music tracks (FGM 94) is unused, but was later redone and used in the Cave levels in Kirby Triple Deluxe for Nintendo 3DS.
Kirby's Dream Land 2 was one of the 52 games I beat in 2018. I've beaten the game several times before, but that was the first time I got all of the Rainbow Drops and got the good ending.
Mega Man V
Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Metroid II: Return of Samus
Super Mario Land
Another blog completed. As the original Game Boy is my second favorite game system, I still play original Game Boy games fairly often. I usually play them on the Game Boy Player and have also played them on the Game Boy App for Switch, but still have both the original Game Boy and Game Boy Pocket and use them on occasion. There are several other games for the system that I like as well, such as the other Mega Man games, F1 Race, and Super R.C. Pro Am.
Edited by MegaMan52
Fixed typos and added pictures and videos