BLOG – GBA Single-Pak Multiplayer Game List

Way back in 2004, I spent a ton of time compiling a list of GBA games that utilized multiplayer gaming via only one game cartridge.  Why did I do this?  Well, I am always willing to try unknown games and a multi-boot function was a cheap and rare way I could get friends to play multiplayer GBA with me.  Anyway, I am sure not a whole lot of people will care about this article, but I figure it is worthy to be reposted just because I spent so much of my damn time with it. Please leave your comments below and let me know if I missed anything. Enjoy:

(Originally posted Aug. 18, 2004)

Multiplayer with One Game Pak

A list of GBA games that support the single pak multiboot function.

What would handheld gaming be without a multiplayer option? Ever since the original Gameboy, players could participate in multiplayer games through the use of a connecting link cable. Because each player has his own screen, multiplayer games have the option to be quite creative. Tetris probably started the handheld multiplayer revolution simply due to the fact that it was packaged with the original Gameboy. Unlike console games, the biggest downfall of multiplayer gaming within a handheld was that each player needed a copy of the game. Thanks to the sophisticated design of the GBA, multiplayer games can now be played with the use of one game pak.

The GBA can store up to 256k of Random Access Memory (RAM). In case you are not familiar with computer terms, RAM is used to store a file or program without permanently saving it. This means that once you shut the power off, the memory is wiped clean. Any PC nerd would quickly tell you that 256k is not a lot of RAM by today’s standards. However, it works well within the handheld GBA. In specifically designed games, developers have created smaller versions of the main game allowing for multiplayer modes. Because 256k of RAM is limiting, animations, music, and options are not always available with a single pak link. Instead, most developers use this multiboot option to give gamers a taste of what they could get if they linked up two or more copies of the same game.

All Gameboy Advance cartridges range in size. The minimum cartridge size for a GBA game is four megabytes while the biggest game will have to fit on a sixteen-megabyte cart. Obviously, 256k of RAM is quite smaller than the smallest GBA game. This means that each single pak link mode will usually be played with only the necessities. Plus, the GBA link cable has a transfer rate of about 2k per second. This means that bigger games can take a while to load. Every game does not have a multiboot option because it takes time to develop. Many developers are not willing to put the extra time and money into creating a single pak link option or 256k of memory just is not enough space to fit the program as some GBA multiplayer games are quite complex.

This 256k of RAM is also used in support of the Nintendo GameCube. Some GC games have GC-to-GBA linkability. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, The Legend of Zelda Four Swords Adventure, Splinter Cell, Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, Animal Crossing, and The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker all use this 256k of RAM to display extras like maps, radars, subscreens, stats, or even mini games.

Booting up a multiboot game is easy. The player with the copy of the game is designated as Player 1 and he must connect the PURPLE end of the official Nintendo GBA link cable to his GBA while Player 2 (and/or Player 3 and Player 4) connects the GRAY headed end. Player 2 just has to turn on his GBA without a game pak inserted to start up the system’s idle mode. Player 1 then selects the multiboot option from his game pak and the program is sent automatically. Depending on the size of the game, it many take a minute or two to load.

A solid single pak link option can extend the life of any GBA game because only link cables and extra systems are needed. Developers hope that a fun single pak link mode with bribe players into buying their own copy of the game. In many cases, the multipak link option is best, but there are a few games out there that have a just as good multiboot option. The info about each game is displayed below along with a description of what the single pak link option offers. The rating is based on fun factor, variety, graphics, music, and load times. This list will be updated accordingly and is in alphabetical order.

Comments welcomed!

Link It Up

A Sound of Thunder
Developer: Bam Entertainment
Publisher: Bam Entertainment
# of Players: 2-4

A-Sound-of-Thunder-GBA-_A Sound of Thunder has managed to do something very few games have done, create a third person isometric death match shooter with the use of only one game pak. Isometric shooters like Boktai or Terminator 3 supported a multi-pak versus mode, but could not compress the game engine down to a small enough size to work off one game pak. A Sound of Thunder has managed to do this and do it well. The single pak link mode supports many levels and many different weapons and pick-ups. Graphically, the game looks and moves just like the single player game. But in order to make the game engine playable on four simultaneous systems, the music has been cut out completely due to file size restrictions. However, a few sound effects such as death grunts and weapon fire are enough to provide a little extra detail to let the player know what is happening on screen. The levels may be on the smaller side, but it makes up for itself in the quantity department.
This single pak link mode is well made but there is one flaw with its design. If Start is pressed by the host of the session, the game will return to the level select screen. Unfortunately, the standard pause mode, which is a likely intentional, was not included and may wind up cutting a few games shorts on accident. But this is just a minor fault when considering the extra development time Bam Entertainment took to create is fun and fast paced action shooter with only game pak. For a GBA game, this single pak link mode works very well and is quite impressive. Nice job Bam Entertainment!
Rating: 8/10

 

Activision Anthology
Developer: Aspyr
Publisher: Aspyr
# of Players: 2

Activsion Anth GBAWithout the multiboot option, Activision Anthology would not be the same and many complaints would arise. Since many Atari 2600 supported two players, it is only fitting that the GBA recreation does the same with only one copy of the game. Games like Boxing, Fishing Derby, and Ice Hockey all support two players with one game pak. Luckily, the developers implemented a single pak link function, but it is somewhat awkward. Because this game is running off an emulator, only a small program is sent to the idle GBA. This small program only records the button presses on the second GBA and transfers them over to the first. This means that player 2’s GBA will not have anything on his GBA screen. The two players must use the first GBA as the screen for the game. Sharing a GBA screen might feel a little cramped but this multiplayer is better than no multiplayer at all. Sending over the entire emulator and a game would have made gameplay slow to a crawl. However, this option works great when it is used with the Gameboy Player.
Rating: 7/10

 

Advance Wars
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

Adv WarsOne of the best games on the GBA supports up to four players on one game pak. The multiboot option lets players play a number of Pre-Deployed cases. This means that each player starts the game with a set number of units. You cannot make any new units. Plus, the animations have been cut down to save on space. However, the single pak option is only a small sample of what you get when you link up multiple copies of the game. This game won 2001 Handheld Game of the Year, so finding someone else that owns this game might not be that difficult. Advance Wars has one of the best single pak link options for the GBA.
Rating: 9/10

 

Advance Wars 2 Black Hole Rising
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

Adv Wars 2Just like Advance Wars 1, Advance Wars 2 also supports four players on many Pre-Deployed cases. These levels cut down on graphics (the animations have been reduced and many levels are on a non-scrolling screen) but the gameplay is solid. Once you learn the rules of the game, it can easily be said that the Advance Wars series is one of the best in all of handheld gaming. The single pak link mode is great, but this game is so good, everyone should own his or her own copy.
Rating: 9/10

 

Blender Bros
Developer: Hudson
Publisher: Infogrames
# of Players: 4

Blender-Bros-GBA-_ Blender Bros. actually has three single pak link games all compatible with up to four players. Ear Glide Race is a simple game in which players fall down a pit. The first to get to the bottom without getting hit by spikes is the winner. Flag Race is similar to the NES classic ExciteBike. Players must race to the finish by traveling up and down four tracks while jumping over obstacles. Cosmoride Race uses Mode 7 technology to produce a Mario Kart style racing game. Players can only play as one character and race on one track. Plus, there are no weapons or power ups. Cosmoride Race only lets players accelerate and brake. Also, a major inconvenience is that you have to restart your GBA system if you want to play a different multiboot game. Each game could have used just a little bit more spice, but you cannot really complain since only game pak is needed. Plus, it is nice to see the developers create three separate multiboot games. While these games have limited playability, each one is worth at least one play through.
Rating: 6/10

 

Bomberman Max 2
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Majesco
# of Players: 4

Bomberman-Max-2-Blue-Advance-GBA-_Hudson’s version of Bomberman’s single pak battle mode is not your typical Bomberman. Instead of playing from an overhead viewpoint, the game is side scrolling. Four humans can compete in this head to head battle, but if four players are not present, computer controlled A.I. will fill the empty shoes. Players will lay bombs in a single multi tier level with jump pads placed in the middle and edges. Step on these jump pads to reach the higher levels. The object of the game is to lay bombs and kill your opponents. However, this side scrolling type of Bomberman just isn’t that fun. You are much better off playing Activison’s Bomberman Tournament.
Rating: 4/10

 

Bomberman Tournament
Developer: Hudson
Publisher: Activision
# of Players: 4

Bomberman-Tournament-GBA-_One of the first games released for the system also has one of the best multiboot options available. Only one game pak is needed for classic four-player death match. The game boasts eight different types of level each with its own theme such as conveyor belts or pipes. There are tons of other options available. Computer difficulty, the number of rounds to win, and time can all be changed to personal preference. Many other options can be shut on or off. The Tiebreaker option allows players to fight in a rematch when there is a tie. Shuffle changes the location of your character at the beginning of each match and the poisonous Skulls can be set to Burn or not to Burn. After a victor has been decided, he can choose to take part in Fishing mode if the option is selected. Fishing allows the winner a chance to start the next round with a power-up item. One of the best things about this battle mode is that everyone is always playing even after they die thanks to Revenge mode. Once blown up, players will scan the perimeter of the playing field and throw bombs on the remaining living players.

The only thing bad to say about this multiboot game is the load time. After each battle, the system will have to load a small file, taking about five seconds. While this isn’t a long time, it is just annoying when it happens after every match. However, it is well worth the wait as Activision’s Bomberman Tournament is one of the best single pak links for the GBA. If the entertaining multiplayer mode isn’t enough for you, it also has the best single player Bomberman to date with a Zelda quest-like style. Buy this game right now if you have not done so already.
Rating: 10/10

 

Boulder Dash EX
Developer: Vision Works
Publisher: Boulder Dash EX
# of Players: 4

Boulder-Dash-EX-GBA-_If you like Bomberman, then you will probably like Boulder Dash EX. Up to four players are thrown into a battle where the object is to squash your opponent by having rocks fall on top of them. Numerous weapons, items, and options are available in this single pak link game. The length of the time, the number of wins, and even your character can all be changed in the options menu. Four players are always on the screen at once, so if there aren’t enough human players, computer controlled characters will take their place. The game even has pretty detailed sprites for a single pak link game along with environment interaction. The screen will even flip upside down from time to time. However, because there are a lot of options, the load times are a little long but it is definitely worth the wait.
Rating: 8/10

 

Bubble Bobble Old and New (Europe Version)
Developer: Empire
Publisher: Tatio
# of Players: 2

Bubble Bobble Old and NewWhile Bubble Bobble Old & New has never reached U.S. shores, it has been pleasing fans in Europe for some time now. A limited single pak link option is available for this game. The classic two-player co-op mode is available but the players are only able to play the first twelve levels. A multi pak link is needed to enjoy the game in its entirety. However, the single pak option looks and sounds just like it did NES. Simple sprites and that classic tune all return in the single pak option without any lag or lack of detail. Because of the GBA’s wide screen format, not all of the picture is posted on the screen at one time. If one of the shoulder buttons are pressed, the screen pulls and stretches itself to format on the GBA screen. This is a handy feature and is still available in the single pak link option. The only thing dropping the score for this game is the lack of more levels. This link mode was implemented as a taste test.
Rating: 6/10

 

Chessmaster
Developer: Ubi Soft
Publisher: Ubi Soft
# of Players: 2

Chessmaster-8000-GBA-_What would a chess game be without two players? Chessmaster’s single pak link option completely trumps Virtual Kasparov’s (see below towards the end of this list) as the game offers tons more options. Different chess piece themes can be chosen and the game can be saved at any time. To fully max out the player’s comfort, a tap of the shoulder button will instantly rotate all the board’s piece so the corresponding player can choose to move his pieces from the top or bottom of the screen. The graphics are not exactly the most beautiful thing in the world, but they do not have to be. If you and a friend are a fan of chess, buy Chessmaster over Virtual Kasparov.
Rating: 7/10

 

ChuChu Rocket
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
# of Players: 4

Chu Chu RocketA puzzle game without a single pak link feature is like a circus without clowns and farm animals. You just need it to be complete. Luckily, Sega has managed to squeeze a sweet multiplayer mode for four players with only game pak in this handheld version of ChuChu Rocket, a port of sorts from the original Dreamcast release. If you’ve played this game on Dreamcast, then players will be pleased to know that it plays out the same with some new features. Different types of cats and new random things will occur when the proper mouse is pocketed. The game gives players many different levels to choose from. If players tire of the default stages, then you can make your own with the Level Editor. The replay value is infinite and the game play is more fun than a game of baseball played by monkeys. Like Bomberman Tournament, Chu Chu Rocket should be bought for the multiplayer alone.
Rating: 10/10

 

Colin McRae Rally 2.0
Developer: Spellbound
Publisher: Ubi Soft
# of Players: 4

Colin-McRae-Rally-2-0-GBA-_Colin McRae Rally 2.0 is the Gran Turismo of GBA racing games. This game contains realistic physics with polygon 3D cars. Seeing this game run solo on GBA is a site to see let along a single pak racing feature. It amazes me to see the developers squeeze this game that looks and feels so advanced into a small 256k of memory. Four players will all play as the same car that is chosen by Player 1 and can race from a selection of six different tracks. If you want to take your realistic racing wherever you go, play Colin McRae Rally 2.0.
Rating: 7/10

 

Columns Crown
Developer: WOW Entertainment
Publisher: THQ
# of Players: 2

Columns CrownsWhile being a puzzle game, Columns Crown stands on unique ground. Instead of making horizontal lines like in Tetris, you have to line up same colored jewels in columns. The single pak link option is nice to have, but the more you unlock in the one player game, the more jewel options you have in the multiplayer. Hence, if you don’t play the single player, the multiplayer won’t be as fun. If both players own there own copies of the game, they can pick from the jewels they have unlocked separately. However, for a single pak link game, the game has detailed sprites and a nice musical score.
Rating: 6/10

 

Disney’s Magical Quest
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2

Disney Magical QuestDisney’s Magical Quest Starring Mickey & Minnie game has four different types of single pak link options. Normal Battle pits Mickey (player one) vs Minnie (player 2) in a race to reach the goal in a sky world. Players must jump from platform to platform without falling. This game supports check points so you do not have to start all the way back from the beginning as this game will take a couple of minutes to complete.

Wizard Battle takes place in a small room where the object is the grab the most coins. If “B” is held down, the player can shoot a magical blast to kill NPCs and damage your human opponent.

Unlike Wizard Battle, Firefighter Battle is played within a groundless arena. If you fall off the screen, you will be penalized precious time. Instead of collecting coins, the player will seek out different types of fruit. Each piece of fruit is worth points and the player with the most points at the end of the time limit wins. A fire hose is used as a weapon to defeat small NPCs and to push your opponent off the edge.

Climber Battle is like Normal Battle in the sense you have to reach the end first to win. This game takes a note from Bionic Commando because the player has a grappling hook in which he can swing himself from ledge to ledge. The first person to reach the top wins. Climber Battle is probably the best game out of the four because it is the most challenging and using the grapple hook is quite fun.

On the down side, you have to restart your GBA if you want to play a different mini game to clear out the RAM and load times are a little longer than average but your high scores and fastest time are saved permanently. The game would have greatly benefited if four players could have gotten in on the fun instead of the basic two.
Rating: 6/10

 

Donkey Kong: King of Swing
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2-4

DOnkey Kong King of swingFour different colored Kongs will compete in a race to the finish in DK King of Swing’s single pak link mode. Computer A.I. characters will take the place of missing human players.
Using only the D-pad and the “L” and “R” buttons, each player must swing and jump their way to the top in the shortest amount of time. Unfortunately, there are only a few different playable levels and some of the features in the single player game have been eliminated in the single pak link mode. Attacking other players (which is done by holding down both shoulder buttons at the same time for a few seconds) is not an option when only using one game pak. This is a slight disappointment because the multi-pak link mode supports many levels and even different playable characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. However, the King of Swing’s single pak mode was created with a try before you buy attitude. But the animations, as well as the rest of the graphics, retain the same smoothness of the single player adventure. It may be limiting, but fun nonetheless.
Rating: 7/10

 

Driven
Developer: Crawfish
Publisher: BAM Entertainment
# of Players: 4

Driven-GBA-_Fans of Super Sprint or Micro Machines will feel right at home with Driven’s single pak option. Players will race through a three-lapped track from an overhead view with only the accelerator and brake. The shoulder buttons do nothing. This game is very limited as the players can only play one track with one car. There is no music and the only sound effect is the annoying hum of the engine. Just like the single player mode, the multiplayer just isn’t that fun as it is basic in everyway.
Rating: 2/10

 

Dr. Mario (Classic NES Series)
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2 (Wireless Link Compatible)

Dr MarioIf anyone has played this game on NES, then they know how it will play on GBA. Unlike Tetris, Dr. Mario is a puzzle game that requires players to line up four of the same colored pieces, with one of those pieces being a virus. Without the multiplayer option, this Classic NES Series game would suffer tremendously. Luckily, only one copy of the game is needed to play two player Vs mode. Standard link cables can be used, or players can make use of Nintendo’s Wireless Links that came packaged with Pokemon. Even after the multiplayer competition is over, the gamer without the Dr. Mario game pak can save the single player game into the systems RAM. But once the power is turned off, it will be erased. Dr. Wario is an unlockable GBA download in Wario World for GC, but it does not offer the multiplayer functions that this Classic NES game has. But always remember kids, drugs are bad.
Rating: 7/10

 

Egg Mania
Developer: HotGen
Publisher: Kemco
# of Players: 2

Egg ManiaWhile it isn’t your typical puzzle game, Egg Mania is worth a look. Players take control of an egg with human-like appendages. The screen is split into two sides, one for the player, and one for his opponent. Each side is filled to a specific height with destroyable blocks. The objective is to throw bombs over to your opponent’s side and destroy his blocks. The first one to hit the water at the bottom of the screen loses, giving the game a Humpty-Dumpty effect. This may sound a little confusing, but you play a round, you will understand the gameplay. Fortunately, the game offers a solid multiboot option. Two players can go head-to-head in this action/puzzle game. Lively sprites, catchy music, with unique game play idea make this game worthy of time spent in your GBA’s cartridge slot. The initial load time is longer than average, but it is worth the wait.
Rating: 8/10

 

F-Zero: GP Legend
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Player:2-4

F-Zero-GP-Legends_GBA_US_ESRBboxart_160wLike the first F-Zero for GBA, F-Zero GP Legend only gives gamers a taste of the full game by offering a single track. Big Blue Calm Sea is the only track that can be played with one game pak and each player takes control of a different colored Bird vehicle. Unlike F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (see below), computer players will fill the empty spots of human players meaning that one or two computer racers will take part in the race depending corresponding to the number of human players. One thing to note about this single race is that you cannot die. If you lose all your energy, the game starts you back to the point of impact and you only lose a few seconds thanks to a respawn.
Rating: 4/10

 

F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
Developer: NDcube
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

F-Zero-Maximum-Velocity-GBA-_Much like the limitations of Driven, F-Zero: Maximum Velocity supports four players on one track with only one vehicle. If you link multiple paks together, then players can play any track with any vehicle of choice. This single pak mode was designed to give a small sample of the fun that could be had with multiple copies of the game. The game play is quite entertaining, but the severe lack of variety drops the score for this single pak link mode. This game does score a few more points due to the fact that it was the first game released for the GBA and it contains a multiboot function.
Rating: 4/10

 

Frogger Adventures 2: The Lost Wand
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
# of Players: 4

Froggers-Adventures-2-The-Lost-Wand-GBA-_Frogger Adventures 2: The Lost Wand offers a few modes of single pak play. Balloon is a game for two-four players. A balloon generator is placed at the middle of wide arena. Each frog must collect four different colored balloons and bring them back to his base. The key is opponents can steal balloons from you in real time. Reverse Tag means that the player who holds the balloon for 30 seconds first, wins. What is cool about this game is that the screen displays everyone’s time with the balloon. This is great to know who to attack and devise other strategies. The first player to find his way through a maze in Race mode is the winner. This game makes heavy use of the “L” and “R” button rotation maneuver. Screwing over your opponents will be common in this game, as the only walkable pathway will often crumble under your own feet. Frogger 2 has some pretty fun multiplayer game with only one game pak.
Rating: 7/10

 

Game & Watch Gallery 4
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2

Game-Watch-Gallery-4-GBA-_A few classic Game & Watch games can be played with the use of a single game pak in Game & Watch Gallery 4. Donkey Kong 3, Boxing, and couple other unlockable games all support a multiboot. The best thing about playing these games are the unlockable stars you obtain. The more stars you have, the more Game & Watch games will be unlocked in the main game. These multiplayer games are not exactly filled with the most fun, but they help die-hard fans unlock all the extras. If you want to get everything in this game, you must link your systems.
Rating: 4/10

 

Godzilla: Domination
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Publisher: Infogrames
# of Players: 4

Godzilla-Domination-GBA-_Godzilla: Domination does not exactly have the best game play mechanics, but it is great to see the developers squeeze the experience into a single pak link option. Up to four players can compete in death match style while controlling a different Godzilla. The play control is unresponsive, but the environment is still interactive with a solid amount of detail. The game definitely lacks in the game play department, but at least it tried really hard with this multiboot option.
Rating: 5/10

 

Ice Climber (Classic NES Series)
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2 (Link cable and Wireless Link Support)

Ice_Climber_Box_Art_NA_GBAIt is kind of strange that Nintendo would release this game on a stand along GBA cartridge considering Animal Crossing players could play it for free once unlocked. Also, if played through GC’s Animal Crossing, Ice Climber could be played through the television or downloaded to the GBA’s RAM. Ice Climber was even released as e-Reader cards which could be bought for under five dollars. However, the Animal Crossing and e-Reader version does not support two-player link mode. Nintendo went one step ahead and made this GBA version’s two player mode single pak link with Wireless Link support. Fans of this game should know that the screen is once again cropped slightly due to the screen resolution of the GBA but new comers will not notice any difference. Laying down $20 bucks for this classic game feels like a rip off considering Nintendo was offering it for free in Animal Crossing.
Rating: 5/10

 

Jazz Jackrabbit
Developer: Game Titan
Publisher: Jaleco
# of Players: 4

Jazz JackrabbitThe popular PC bunny has bounced his way over to the GBA and added a rather fun multiboot option. Up to four players can join in and compete in death match mode. The game does not have any music, but it makes up for it in the number of levels available. Plus, if you play through the single player mode, you can unlock a number of other single pak link levels. Thanks to a healthly number of powerups and different weapons, Jazz Jackrabbit for GBA has some one of the better single pak linking games. This game has some pretty fast gameplay and the control are a bit touchy, but it is fun nonetheless.
Rating: 8/10

 

Jimmy Neutron vs. Jimmy Negatron
Developer: HumanSoft
Publisher: THQ
# of Players: 4

Jimmy-Neutron-vs-Jimmy-Negatron-GBA-_Kind of like Rayman‘s battle mode, Jimmy Neutron vs Jimmy Negatron multiboot mode stems from the classic game Asteroids. Players must fly around and collect jewels. This game is not so bad considering it is coming from a children’s cartoon.
Rating: 6/10

 

Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland
Developer: Hal Laboratories
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

Kirby-Nightmare-in-Dream-Land-GBA-_Kirby’s first GBA game has three different single pak link modes all compatible for up to four players here in Kirby Nightmare in Dream Land. Quickdraw is a simple game that stems itself from an old west theme. Patience and a fast eye are the best qualities to have for this game. An “!” will appear between two characters and whoever presses “A” first will win. However, if you jump the gun and press “A” before the “!” appears, you will lose. It is very simple, and very plain.

The faster paced Bomb Toss is a little bit more entertaining than Quickdraw because four players are on the same screen at the same time. Players must hit a flying bomb out of the air with a frying pan Hot Potato style. If you swing too early or too late, you blow up. The speed of the bomb increases with every successful hit.

Kirby’s Air Grind is probably the best game out of the three. Four different colored Kirbys will race to the finish. Each Kirby will be traveling on a Warp Star like how a skateboarder grinds on a railing. If the “A” button is held down, then Kirby goes faster, but if “A” is held while traversing over a black portion of the rail, then Kirby will sustain a time consuming penalty.

Each game is very simple as only the “A” button is used in every game. You won’t even have to use the D-pad. Because these games are ridiculously basic in design, they lack in entertainment. These games are not the best single pak link games by any means, but it is better than having nothing at all. Play this game for the single player and not the multiplayer.
Rating: 5/10

 

Kirby and the Amazing Mirror
Developer: Hal Laboratories
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

Kirby_&_the_Amazing_MirrorMuch like Kirby Nightmare in Dreamland, the Kirby and the Amazing Mirror offers the same type of super simplistic mini single pak games for four players. Speed Eaters acts the same way as Quickdraw did in the previous Kirby game. All four different colored Kirbys sit around a table and wait for a “!!” to appear. The first person to hit the “A” button will suck up the most food. The person who fills up first, wins. Speed Eaters is better than Quickdraw because all four players play at once.

Crackity Hack is something a little new. All four Kirby’s build up power, similar to the swing meter in any golf game, and line up a cursor to crack the earth. The Kirby who makes the biggest crack wins. Simple.

Kirby Wave Ride is similar to Kirby’s Air Grind. Once again, players race on warp stars but ride waves instead of railings. Small ramps are scattered throughout the level and a boost jump can be performed if the “A” button is hit at the appropriate time.

While Amazing Mirror’s single pak games are slightly more entertaining that Nightmare in Dreamland, they still contain the same theme of being very simplistic where any younger child could enjoy.
Rating: 6/10

 

Konami Collector’s Series: Arcade Advance
Developer: Konami Hawaii
Publisher: Konami
# of Players: 2

Konami Collects Arcade AdveKonami Collector’s Series: Arcade Advance features six classic Konami games. Four of these six games feature single pak link support. Frogger, Time Pilot, Yie Ar Kung Fu, and Rush’n Attack all support two players. These games, especially Rush’n Attack, probably have the longest load times of any GBA multiboot option. Because of only using one game pak, each game loses a little something in the transition. Graphics, options, or lack of levels have been abolished to save on space. You can however, link up two game paks to eliminate these load times. If everyone owns a game pak, then more levels and options will also become available.
Rating: 7/10

 

Mario and Luigi SuperStar Saga
Developer: Alpha Dream
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSagaGBACoverArtUS(*Note: See Super Mario Advance: Super Mario 2, Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World, Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island, and Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3 for more info about the single pak link.)

Like all the other ported Mario Bros games for the GBA, Mario and Luigi SuperStar Saga has the same multiboot option. Up to four players go head to head in a battle for survival and coins in the very first Mario Bros. arcade game. The goal is simple, grab five coins or be the last one standing. Players must kill different types of enemies by knocking the ground underneath their feet or by hitting the limited POW box. Once temporarily knocked out, the player must then run over the dizzy enemy carcasses before they reawaken. Then a coin will appear from one of the pipes on the top of the screen.

While this game does nothing new, it is still entertaining especially with four players. However, SuperStar Saga had a few mini games throughout the main single player adventure. Why couldn’t these games also have a multiboot option?
Rating: 8/10

 

Mario Kart Super Circuit
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2-4

Mario-Kart-Super-Circuit-GBA-_Any Mario Kart fan knows that the multiplayer option is just as important as the single player. Mario Kart Super Circuit has one of the best single pak link options for GBA. Up to four players can compete on four classic SNES tracks with each player playing as a different colored Yoshi. There is a slight drop in frame rate and character animations because the game is keeping track of some hefty Mode 7 graphics, but it can be excused due to the fact that the game is a blast to play thanks to the arcadey touch and unforgettable weapons. Of course the multi-pak option is best but you get a fair amount of content by just having one copy of the game.
Rating: 9/10

 

Mario Party Advance
Developer:
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2-4
More info later.

Mario_Party_Advance_Box(If anyone has any exact details on the single-pak link option, please share in the comments below).

 

 

Motocross Maniacs Advance
Developer: Konami Hawaii
Publisher: Konami
# of Players: 4

Motocross Maniacs AdvMotocross Maniacs Advance is the perfect example of a good game that is utterly destroyed by terrible play control. Jumping and wheelieing is a totally pain and most players will throw this game away before they give it a chance. There are a few single pak link modes, but the bad play control will make them nearly unplayable.

Bomb Tag is a game where you have to pass other players to give them the bomb. If the bomb goes off when you are holding it, you lose. Zombie Attack’s goal is to be the first to kill 25 zombies. It is helpful to use Nitros. Hidden Lab is pretty weak as you just have to collect coins. This game has some great potential if the play control wasn’t made of garbage.
Rating: 3/10

 

NASCAR Heat 2002
Developer: Crawfish
Publisher: Infogrames
# of Players: 4

NASCAR HeatUsing the same engine as Driven, NASCAR Heat 2002 lets players race through one track in one type of stock car. There is no music, only the same annoying hum of the engine. The car model itself looks well detailed even though every car on the track is the same color. The car model rotates nicely as turns are made to provide a fluid motion. However, the game just is not fun. In fact, it is really boring as there are no options or any type of variety. Just like Driven, stay away from this game.
Rating: 2/10

 

Pac-Mac (Classic NES Series)
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2 (Link cable and Wireless Link support)

PacManThere is not much to say about this one. This GBA game is a full screen version of Pac-Man but unlike other versions, it saves high scores. And there are no mini games, like the GBC Pac-Man Special Color Edition. This Classic NES Series game supports both the standard link cables or Nintendo’s Wireless links that were orginally packaged with some Pokemon games. On the plus side, this game can also be played by passing the GBA back and forth when one player’s turn is over.
Rating: 5/10

 

Puyo Pop
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: THQ
# of Players: 4

Puyo-Pop-GBA-_Puyo Pop offers a great multiplayer option. Unlike Tetris or Egg Mania, Puyo Pop lets four players into the fray. The object of the game is to line up different colored blobs into sets of four. Once four of the same color blobs are touching, they disappear. Players send blank colored blobs to their opponent’s screen by creating chains, or combos. The more combos you create, the more pieces fall. Players of SNES’s Kirby’s Avalanche will understand the game play elements. The single pak option does not offer all the fancy sprites and power-ups that a multi-cart link would, but many options are still available. The speed can be set before each match, the screen is colorful, the music is catchy, and the game play is fun. Puyo Pop is one of the best single pak links available on GBA. Plus, it is four player compatible.
Rating: 9/10

 

Rampage Puzzle Attack
Developer: Ninai Games
Publisher: Midway
# of Players: 2

Rampage-Puzzle-Attack-GBA-_Rampage Puzzle Attack is a game that came out of nowhere and surprised everyone who played it. It is not typical to see the Rampage monsters in a puzzle game, but in this game, it works. The closest type of puzzle that this game can be compared to is Capcom’s Puzzle Fighter with a mix of Puyo Pop. A row of blocks at the top of the screen can be dropped in pairs in any order the player chooses. If any amount of colored blocks touch the same colored gem, they will disappear. The two player multiboot option does not have all the graphical flair as the single player, but it is a fun game to play with a friend.
Rating: 7/10

 

Rayman 3
Developer: Ubi Soft
Publisher: Ubi Soft
# of Players: 2

Rayman-3-GBA-_Ubi Soft managed to put a lot of extras into this GBA cart. Not only can you link Rayman 3 to the GC version for extras, but there is also a multicart and singlecart link option. The single pak link mode is a little bit creative. The closest thing to describe this game is to compare it with the classic game Asteroids. Each player takes control of a Rayman who is piloting a spacecraft. This spacecraft can boost around the stage like the ship in Asteroids. The goal of the game is to kill your opponent five times with your ship’s cannon. There are a few power-ups laying around the level to aid the player who collects them. The biggest downfall about this game is that it is only for two players and there is no music. Simple and repetitive sound effects really stand out when there is no music and this type of death match mode would have worked really well with four players. Not a bad multiboot game, but the lack of variation and number of players loses replayability.
Rating: 6/10

 

Shrek: Hassle at the Castle
Developer: Tose
Publisher: TDK Mediactive
# of Players: 4

Shrek-Hassle-at-the-Castle-GBA-_Surprisingly, the makers of this very bad platformer decided to add a four player multiboot mode here in Shrek: Hassle at the Castle. Each player will take control of one character from the Shrek movie while trying to collect the most tokens. There is only one level in single pak link mode, limiting variation but the bottom line is, the game is not fun. It is strange because the single player is so bad, I’m not sure why anyone would want to play the multiplayer.
Rating: 3/10

 

Silent Scope
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
# of Players: 4

Silent ScopeInstead of shooting each other in this GBA version of Silent Scope, players compete in a balloon shoot. Once the time limit has been set, each player will try to shoot as many balloons as they can before time runs out. Bonus points are awarded for stringing colored combos together as well as shooting smaller balloons. The game sounds simple, but it is actually quite fun.
Rating: 8/10

 

Sonic Advance
Developer: Dimps
Publisher: SEGA
# of Players: 4

Sonic AdvIf you like to collect rings, Sonic Advance is for you. Each player takes control of a famous Sonic character and tries to gather as many rings as possible in three minutes. This game is rather tricky because all of your rings can be lost in a second’s notice. There are other modes of multiplayer when multiple carts are used, but the single pak link is decent.
Rating: 5/10

 

Sonic Advance 2
Developer: Dimps
Publisher: THQ
# of Players: 4

Sonic-Advance-2-GBA-_Just like Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2 has the same ring collecting game only with a few new touch ups. A few more characters have been added to the roster and more hazards and power-ups make an appearance. This version is slighty better than the first Sonic Advance.
Rating: 6/10

 

Sonic Advance 3
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
# of Players: 4

Sonic-Advance-3-GBA-_Find Chao mode found in Sonic Advance 3 is a little different than previous Sonic Advance games. The goal is simple, find the Chaos hidden throughout the level before your opponent does. It is possible to steal back a Chao by jumping on your opponent’s head. This mode is fun but limited because each game is played on the same level. On the other hand, the graphics are very fluid and the music will hold the match together.
Rating: 6/10

 

Sonic Battle
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: THQ
# of Players: 4

Sonic BattleThe creators of Sonic Battle are sneaky. They have tucked away unlockable single pak link games in the main single player mode. One game is available at the start however.
Sonic Clash’s objective is to knock your opponent off the edge of the platform. If you have played Gamecube’s Super Monkey Ball’s Monky Fight, then you will know how this game is played. You get a point for knocking someone off, but you lost one if you fall off. This is not a bad game.
Rating: 7/10

 

Sonic Pinball Party
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
# of Players: 2

Sonic-Pinball-Party-GBA-_There are three single pak games within Sonic Pinball Party.
Hot Potato pits two players against each other in classic pinball fashion. The goal is simple; send balls that are on your side to your opponent’s side via warp holes at the top of the screen. Once a ball goes throw one of these holes, it turns “Hot” and looks just like a bomb. Not a bad game.

Hockey is almost like that popular 80’s action board game Crossfire. The object of this game is score points by sending pinballs to the other side of the screen. If your opponent misses and falls down the hole between the flippers, then the first player scores a point. The first person to lose 99 balls is the loser. Also not a bad game.

Ladder Climb is the only Co-op link game. Player one controls the flippers on the left while Player 2 controls the flippers on the right. Both players must work together by passing the ball back and forth. The top must be reached before time runs out. While it is nice to see a co-op pinball game, the game suffers from lack of memory space. The ball moves in such jerky and chopping motions it appears to be teleporting from one place to another. Because of the jerky game play, this game is the worst out of the three.
Rating: 7/10

 

Super Mario Advance: Super Mario Bros. 2
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

Super Mario Adv(See Mario and Luigi SuperStar Saga. This game has the same single pak link mode.)
This was the first Mario game to feature this single pak link mode.

 

 

Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

Super Mario Adv 2 Mario World(See Mario and Luigi SuperStar Saga. This game has the same single pak link mode.)
Since this game featured the Yoshi, perhaps the multiplayer mode could have benefited from a few new characters.

 

Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

Super-Mario-Advance-3-Yoshis-Island-GBA-_(See Mario and Luigi SuperStar Saga. This game has the same single pak link mode.)
It is a shame to see that the mini games available in the single player mode did not make it into a single pak link mode.

 

 

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

Super Mario Adv 4 Mario3(See Mario and Luigi SuperStar Saga. This game has the same single pak link mode.)
Since the main mode of play supports the e-Reader, why not the multiplayer?

 

 

Ultimate Brain Games
Developer: Cosmigo
Publisher: Telegames
# of Players: 2

Ultimate-Brain-Games-GBA-_Chess, Checkers, Shanghai, Reversi, Backgammon, Dominoes, Battleship, and Connect Four all in one game pack in Ultimate Brain Games. Plus, two players can compete against each other in every game with only one game pak. Nothing else to say except for the word “Wonderful!”
Rating: 9/10

 

Ultimate Card Games
Developer: Cosmigo
Publisher: Telegames
# of Players: 4

Ultimate-Card-Games-GBA-_The makers of Ultimate Brain Games give gamers the same high quality in Ultimate Card Games. Hearts, Spades, Euchre, Canasta, Bridge, Cribbage, Go Fish, Gin Rummy, Crazy Eights are all multiplayer compatible with one game cart. If that wasn’t enough, one player could boot up any game and pass over the file through a link cable. This means that a second GBA user could simply download any game and play it for as long as the power does not turn off. You can even put it in sleep mode when not in use to save on battery juice. The Casino games Poker, Video Poker, BlackJack can also be played with multiple players or downloaded to another empty GBA. This game is truly any card fan’s dream.
Rating: 10/10

 

Virtual Kasparov
Developer: Titus
Publisher: Titus
# of Players: 2

Virtual KasparovLike Chessmaster, this game would have completely suffered if a single pak link mode was not available. Two players can compete against each other in this game of strategy. Unfortunately, the game does not offer nearly as many options as Chessmaster. The game doesn not ever recognize when a king has been placed in Check. Virtual Kasparov is the bare minimum for a chess game and it is hard to give it a decent score when Chessmaster beats it in every way.
Rating: 5/10

 

Xevious (Classic NES Series)
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2 (Link cable and Wireless Link)

Xevious_GBA_US_ESRBboxart_160wXevious supports two players through standard link cable, wireless link, or even pass the GBA. The game is emulated well and the game saves high scores.
Rating: 5/10

 

Zapper
Developer: Atomic Planet
Publisher: Infogrames
# of Players: 4

Zapper-GBA-_Like the single player mode, the multiplayer mode needs some work here in Zapper on GBA. The multiboot option lets up to four players compete in four different types of matches. Players must throw an ant through a goal in Soccer mode. Stranglehold’s objective is to hold the ant for the longest amount of time while Last Man Standing and Death Match explain themselves. This game has series game play issues with unresponsive control and stupid button commands. The jump button must be held down to jump over pits and the attack button can be used to cherry pick players just as they are spawning because they restart in the same place every time. Because the game is tile based, players will have a hard time rotating in place without jumping in a complete circle just to face in the opposite direction. The “L” and “R” buttons can rotate your player, but just like the rest of the game play, it is unresponsive. It is nice to see this game support four players from one game pak, but each game just is not fun.
Rating: 4/10

Games That Should Have Incorporated a Single Pak Link Function:

Super Puzzle Fighter 2 – A puzzle game without single pak link? Instead, the developers offer a two-player mode than uses the same GBA. Player 1 uses Left and Right on the D-pad to move the pieces in the corresponding direction. If “L” is tapped, the falling piece will rotate. If “L” is held down, then the piece will fall to the bottom quickly. Player 2 uses the same control scheme except his Left and Right movement are assigned to the “B” and “A” buttons. It is awkward to play with two players on one GBA but at least the devs got creative and tried something unique.

Super Dodge Ball Advance – Where is the Bean Ball?

Karnaaj Rally – This game would be perfect for a multiboot mode. A solid MircoMachines type racer with a nice balance of weapons and level design.

Driver 2 Advance – Lots of other racing games have a multiboot mode. Why not this one?

e-Reader – Nintendo’s neglected device should have a option to send multiplayer games to a friend’s GBA. If you scan a game like Ice Climber into your e-Reader, you expect the two-player mode to be available. For shame.

Tetris Worlds – Woah, Tetris without a 2-4 player option? What were you thinking?!

 

Am I missing anything? Do you have a story to tell about playing a single-pak linking GBA game? Let me know what you think of this list in the comments below. Thanks for checking this out.

Comments 13

  • you just saved me 30 bucks from not having to buy 4 Mario karts.

  • Thank, this post was wonderful now that we can play this games on android WITH the multiplayer options 😀

    • Glad to hear. Thanks for the comment. I love me some GBA but always felt like the multiplayer component didn’t get the respect it deserved.

    • How did u manage to play the Single pak multiplayer on android?. I tried it with “my boy” but it doesnt seem to work.

      • I personally do not know. I wrote this article years ago, tracking down all the single player carts, and played them on GBAs using game link cables the old school way. I would assume there would be emus and apps that could pull this off nowadays. But if you can gather some friends to play some Bomberman or Advance Wars, you are in for a good time. Thanks for the comment.

  • Ultimate Brain Games and Ultimate Card Games are on a collection cart with Ultimate Puzzle Collection, does it have the same single cart multiplayer functions?

    • Hmmm, I’m not sure. I will research this when I find some time. Thanks for letting me know. If you notice anything that I missed, let me know.

  • Jazz jack rabbit also has single pack multiboot.! Great list, thanks!!

  • Hi, I try Dr Mario and puzzle league is a 2 game in one and the puzzle league have a single-pak mode, I try it but is not a versus game is like the game transfer to the other gameboy and you can play the game in the different modes, my surprise was that I trumpet off the gameboy with the cartridge and the other gameboy still playing the game, very cool

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *