https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

GBA Single-Pak Link Multiplayer Game List – Complete (aka multi-boot mode)

(Originally posted Aug. 18, 2004 – Updated November 22, 2022 – check out the embedded YouTube coverage for each entry to learn about each title’s dedicated Single-Pak link mode.)

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.  I spent a ton of time researching, writing, recording, and editing all the content you see below so your kind comments are appreciated. Also, let me know if I missed any games here in the comments at the bottom.

Multiplayer with One Game Pak

A list of GBA games that support the Single-Pak multi-boot 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 a 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 but both players needed their own copy of the game to play head-to-head multiplayer. 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 multi-boot 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 multi-boot option from his game pak and the program is sent automatically. Depending on the size of the game, it many take a few second or a minute 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 could hope that a fun single-pak link mode could bribe players into buying their own copy of the game. In many cases, the multi-pak link option is better (or the only option), but there are a few games out there that have a just as good multiboot option. There are some titles that only have a Single-Pak link mode (no Multi-Pak link mode) like most of the Super Mario re-releases. 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.

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.

Rating: 7/10


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

Activsion Anth GBA

Without the multi-boot 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.

The Single-Pak multiplayer games are: Baseball, Boxing, Checkers, Chopper Command, Crackpots, Dolphin, Dragster, Fishing Derby, Freeway, Frostbite, Ice Hockey, Kaboom, Megamania, Oink!, Plaque Attack, River Raid, River Raid 2, Seaquest, Tennis, Title Match Pro Wrestling.

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. However, this option works great when it is used with the Gameboy Player.

The other upside to sharing the one screen is there is virtually no loading. Loading the multiboot function to Player 2 only takes about 1 second. Just remember to have Player 1 hit the L+Up button to selection the 2-player option just before each classic Atari 2600 2-player compatible game starts.
Rating: 7/10


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

Adv Wars

One of the best games on the GBA supports up to four players on one game pak. The multi-boot option lets players play a number of Pre-Deployed cases. This means that each player starts the game with a set number of units (all ground-based, no air or sea). You cannot make any new units. Plus, the battle animations have been eliminated 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 or play the VS (pass the console back and forth) mode.

Advance Wars, along with its sequels, take time to learn. In fact, the tutorial takes a few hours. So this is not a pick-up-and-play type of game. So it is recommended to play against opponents that match your skill level.

Rating: 5/10


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

Adv Wars 2

Just 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 a quality tacticle RPG experience.

Like Advance Wars 1, just be sure you know the rules of gameplay before you start playing. The quality of life features are much better here in this sequel as players can select the desired map from a menu as opposed to playing each map in sequential order in the original.

Rating: 5/10


Adventures of Jimmy Neutron vs. Jimmy Negatron (The)
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. The first to collect 20 red gems is the winner. Along the way are other colored gems that increase your fire power. Unfortunately, the 3D starry visuals in the background is disorienting, the 5-second music loop will drive you insane, and each game takes way too long. Player 1 has the ability to adjust the size of each stage and the amount of asteroids but it doesn’t seem to make a difference no matter which option you choose – it is never fun and not even worth a curious attempt. Left and right changes the trajectory of your ship while up applies acceleration.

Finding this Single-Pak link option is actually a little confusing. When you first launch the game, the player is thrown into this top-down 3D hub world. This is how you access the single-player stages. The player needs to press Start, then exit to the main menu, the scroll to the right to find the multiplayer modes. Why doesn’t the game start the player in the main menu?
Rating: 3/10


American Bass Challenge
Developer: Starfish SD
Publisher: Ubisoft
# of Players: 4


American Bass Challenge supports up to 4 fishermen from a single game pak and is easily one of the most boring multi-boot modes on the system.

Up to four players compete to catch the one fish that is hidden in each player’s lake. The problem is, finding this one fish is always a challenge but is usually hiding at the top of the screen – the furthest point which requires a long cast. Then, getting the fish to bite let alone snag the line is near impossible. In the matches I played, I was only able to actually catch the fish one time. The worst part, after you catch the fish, you have to wait until the remaining time expires while your opponents try and catch their fish. In other words, the player that catches the fish actually gets punished by having to sit there and do nothing. The control scheme is awkward at best and the lack of music makes for a very uneventful game.

Rating: 2/10


Army Men: Turf War
Developer: 3DO
Publisher: Rockstar Leeds
# of Players: 4


Army Men Turf Wars was released before A Sound of Thunder and uses the exact same game engine, interface, and gameplay. It is an isometric shooter and features a rather impressive Single-Pak link mutliplayer mode.

By the time Turf Wars was released, I think the Army Men popularity was gone so this GBA title probably flew under the radar which is why it was reskinned for A Sound Of Thunder. The level design is different and the playable characters are more of a solid color due to the plastic Army Men theme.

Rating: 7/10


Beast Shooter: Mezase Beast King (Japan exclusive)
Developer: Hudson
Publisher: Konami
# of Players: 2

It is really difficult to tell what is happening without speaking Japanese but this game seems to be some type of cross between billiards and curling.  The gameboard is a grid but players are not locked to each tile and the player must shoot their mechs into the opponent’s mech to either push them off the board to deplete their health. From my experimental play through, there seems to be two modes (more about this in the video).

Gameplay is basically like Olympic Curling only with mechs. Using a directional meter, you need to bump your opponents off the stage or deplete their health. There are cards to play and some tiles on the stage are colored but couldn’t figure out what these do exactly since I do not speak Japanese.

Rating: 4/10


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.

Blender Bros. fell under the radar when it first released but I have seen it on some hidden gem type lists over the years. The Single-Pak modes are not must-play material but they can worthy enough for those players wanting to experience a casual play-through. The Mario Kart-like racing mode is very unexpected.

Rating: 4/10


Bomberman Jetters: Densetsu no Bomberman (aka Legendary Bomberman) Japan Exclusive
Developer: AI
Publisher: Hudson
# of Players: 2-4

Bomberman Jetters Legendary Bomberman is one of a couple Japanese exclusive Bomberman titles for GBA. It also has a single-pak link mode.

More information about this will game will be posted at a later date after I had time to do some research.

Rating: NA


Bomberman Jetters: Game Collection (Japan exclusive)
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson
# of Players: 2-4

Bomberman Jetters: Game Collection is the other Japan exclusive Bomberman game for GBA.

It also has a Single Pak link mode but have not had time to test this feature myself.

More info will be added later.

Rating: NA


Bomberman Max 2: BLUE/RED Advance
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. This game also features a Donkey Kong rip-off character called “ToughGuy” which is pretty awesome.

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 multi-boot options available. Only one game pak is needed for classic four-player death match. The game boasts eight different types of levels 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 move up and down on the right and left side of the perimeter of the playing field and throw bombs on the remaining living players.

Bomberman Tournament is one of the best Single-Pak link modes on the system. It is the full Bomberman experience all from a single cart, load times are short, and you don’t need to restart your GBA after each match. This is good stuff.

Rating: 10/10


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

Boulder-Dash-EX-GBA-_

If you like Bomberman, then you might enjoy the craziness that is Boulder Dash EX. Up to four players are thrown into a battle where the object is to collect the most gem while squashing your opponent by having rocks fall on top of them. If you get killed, you lose your gems. 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 available 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: 7/10


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

Bubble Bobble Old and New

While Bubble Bobble Old & New never reached U.S. shores, it has been pleasing fans in Europe. 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.

Although a limited experience, it is still classic Bubble Bobble and classic Bubble Bobble is always a good time. That looping tune will also get stuck in your head and never leave.

Rating: 5/10


Card Party (Japan exclusive)
Developer: ND Cube
Publisher: Media Kite
# of Players: 2-4

Card Party is a Japanese exclusive game that has several Single-Pak linkable games for up to four players.

I need to do more research on this game, which is difficult as everything is in Japanese, but I did manage to find a Memory card game. You know, that game where you flip over a couple cards and try to match them.

More inform will come at a later date.

Rating: NA


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 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 Rocket

A 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. There are also many stages available and the AI can be adjusted several different ways. If players tire of the default stages, then you can make your own with the Level Editor. Like Bomberman Tournament, Chu Chu Rocket should be bought for the multiplayer alone and is one of the best Single Pak linkable games on the system.
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 in the single-player mode on GBA is a sight to see let alone host single-pak racing feature for up to 4 players, one that is actually packed with replay value.

I honestly do not understand how this game can perform as well as it does from one game pak. There are 5 different cars and 6 different tracks. Each track is vastly different from the last – they look and perform different. For example, the Sweden track is extra slippery and the Kenya track is very wide. The parallax scrolling and 3D cars are just so smooth and react with precision with every bump, turn, and crash! This is easily the most technically impressive Single-Pak linkable game on GBA. Super, super impressive.

The downside is, each track is a little long (takes about 2 minutes to complete one lap and each race is 3 laps) and the control is touchy. Instead of holding the accelerator button, you need to feather it. Turning also takes time to get used to as well as you don’t want to push hard in one direction or you’ll spin out. If the play control was just a bit tighter, this game could easy go head-to-head with the other racing greats on the system without question. But again, the multi-boot mode is truly amazing. Definitely a sight to see and highly encouraged to experience this for yourself (and 3 friends).
Rating: 7/10


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

Columns Crowns

While 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


Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto’s Rampage + Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Publisher: Vivendi Games
# of Players: 2-4

The Single-Pak link multiplayer modes found here in Crash Purple are also the same games found in Spyro Orange (see below).

There are two Single-Pak multiplayer mini-games available.

The first is call Ballistix which is a fast-paced Pong/Warlords clone. Instead of gaining 1 point with each score, players lose 1 point when a ball gets passed you. Uniquely, there are 5 game variants of Ballistix which are all slightly different but still Pong. Check out my video to learn more.

The other multi-boot game is called Ship Shuffle which is a top-down little action game. Like Ballistix, there are also 5 variants of this game type. For example, don’t be the one holding the potato when the timer goes off in Hot Potato mode and don’t be “it” in the Tag mode. Ship Shuffle isn’t terrible but the Pong Ballistix mode is more entertaining.

It is cool to see 5 different mode for each game – that is very unique for a Single-Pak offering. Also, these Single-Pak mini-game are also available to play in Multi-cart mode if you wanted to cut down on load times. The cool part is, you don’t need to restart the GBAs if you wanted to try a different variant. It sucks there is no music though so it feels like it is missing something. Overall, not bad and there was quite a bit of attention brought to these games Single-Pak modes.

Rating: 7/10


Disney’s Magical Quest: Starring Mickey & Minnie
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2

Disney Magical Quest

Disney’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


Disney’s Party
Developer: Jupiter
Publisher: EA
# of Players: 2-4

Disney’s Party on GBA has a few mini games that support up to four players from one game pak. By default, the game’s only available Single-Pak linkable mini game is Bumper Cars. To unlock the other games, you need to play the awful single player mode. This Mario Party-clone is simply awful but I suffered through it to unlock the rest of these mini games. Also, if wanting to play a new mini game, you need to restart the GBAs which is annoying.

Bumper Cars – the goal is to bump your opponent’s car from the top-down view into one of the four holes in the corners of the screen. There is only one stage and there are tank controls, meaning, up on the D-pad makes you move forward. “A” is a boost move but this mode isn’t that fun.

Cannonball – this is basically a shooting gallery where you shoot cannon blasts at moving ships. You need to lead your shot a bit to hit the targets. Occasionally, the ships will shoot back at you and you need to duck to avoid being hit. If hit, you don’t die or lose health – you just cannot shoot for several seconds. I like this mode more than Bumper Cars.

Balloon Burst – this is a Balloon Fight clone on a single screen. The goal is to stay alive longer than your opponent, avoid floating sparks along the way. More and more sparks appear over time. Floating is a little strange as the weight of each flap seems a little off. It is playable but not super great.

Rocket Ship – it is exactly the same as the Bumper Cars mode only there is one hole in the center of the screen instead of four holes in each corner. It might be the worst out of the four games.

It is unfortunate that players are forced to play through the single player mode a few times to unlock these so-so mini-games but at least each multi-boot game has different music that is somewhat pleasant. For a Mario Party-clone though, there should be more quality content here.

Rating: 4/10


DK: King of Swing
Developer: Nintendo/Paon
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2-4

DOnkey Kong King of swing

Four 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.

Unfortunately, the AI of the computer Kongs will absolutely smoke you everytime with perfect play. There are only a few stages available too so gameplay is rather limited and uneventful.

Rating: 4/10


Donkey Kong (CLASSIC NES SERIES)
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2

Like the other score-based Classic NES Series of GBA games, two players can take turns aiming to best your opponent’s score through the use of a single game pak.

Playing the Classic NES Series of Donkey Kong through a link cable doesn’t make much sense since two players can just take turns playing pass-the-console multiplayer instead. Keep in mind, this is the NES version of Donkey Kong. Meaning, not all the levels are here and the screen is slightly scrunched.

Rating: 3/10


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.

Driven is not worth your time since there are no options and a very limited and not fun experience.

Rating: 1/10


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

Dr Mario

If 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.

Unlike the Classic NES Series of Pac-Man or Donkey Kong in comparison, Dr. Mario has supports real time head-to-head multiplayer. So there is reason to connect those link cables (or play through the wireless links) to compete with a friend instead of playing hotseat pass-the-console and compete for a high score.

Rating: 5/10


Dr. Mario & Planet Puzzle League
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 1 (sends demo of either game to one connected GBA)

Dr. Mario & Planet Puzzle League on GBA is a compilation cart that features multi-cart only multiplayer.

There is no Single-Pak multiplayer option. However, a sample version of Dr. Mario or Planet Puzzle League can be sent to a connected GBA via link cable just like a Single-Pak game. After the game has been transferred to the empty GBA, the link cable can be removed and that GBA will hold that program until the power is shut off.

When Puzzle League is transferred, empty GBA players are given a treat as this is a full fledged version of the game complete with both Marathon and Garbage modes, full musical soundtrack, and bright colorful visuals. Unfortunately, there are not as many options available in this downloadable version of Dr. Mario. Here, the player can only adjust the Level and Speed of play; the player cannot swap between the Fever and Chill musical tracks like in the NES or Gameboy original. Both of these downloadable demo versions are single player only, unlike the rest of the games on this list.

Rating: can’t really rate this in comparison to the other games as it just transfers a single player only demo.


Droopy’s Tennis Open
Developer: Bit Managers
Publisher: LSP
# of Player: 2

Droop’s Tennis Open is the only GBA tennis title to offer a Single-Pak link mode. Although you can play 2v2 doubles in multi-pak link mode, only 1v1 singles mode is available in the multi-boot option.

The B-tier cast of characters isn’t great but the gameplay is serviceable despite the limited amount of features. It is worth mentioning that Mario Power Tennis on GBA does NOT have a Single-Pak link mode so if you want your tennis fix with one cart, this is it.

Rating: 6/10


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

Egg Mania

While 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


ESPN International Winter Sports 2002
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
# of Player: 2

ESPN International Winter Sports 2002 deserves credit for including a Single-Pak multiplayer feature for each of their included winter sports games. Unfortunately, none of the them are really that great but the worst part comes from the load times. Not only are the Single-Pak loads long, the game must be restarted each time a new game wants to be played. It is a hassle because the loading can actually take longer than some of the gameplay.

Ski Jumping K90 – hold L+R to jump off the line, build speed, then release the buttons as you take off. Use the d-pad to control the landing.

Ski Jumping K120 – is the same as K90 so not really sure why this was included as I couldn’t tell any differences.

Apline Skiing Downhill – a super choppy, bad Mode7 racer with delayed controls. Miss one target and get disqualified.

Free Style Skiing Moguls – tap L/R to build power then hit the proper button combo to do the trick.

Short Track 500 – just button mash the buttons to move as fast as possible. This race only last about 30 seconds.

Figure Skating – a straight up DDR clone. There are three musical tracks, aka routines, but they must be re-loaded if you want to play a new song.

Snowboarding G Slalom – Like Skiing Downhill but with a snowboard. It is easy to get disqualified so use the B button to break often.

Snowboarding Halfpipe – like a golf game, you need to stop the meter at certain times then hit the right button combo to perform the trick. Each run is composed of 6 tricks and is over before you know it.

Biathlon – This is probably the trickiest and most tedious game. Alternating between the d-pad and A button, you need to see stop a hard-to-see meter exactly on the red mark to gain speed, then the game cuts to a shooting section where you have to press the button when the cursor is over the target.

Luge – a top-down racer where you need to turn into each curve according to the arrow indicators. Miss and you’ll hilariously spin out and get yourself killed.

There are a lot of games available, which you think would offer great variety and replay value, but the horrible quality of life features hold back the experience. Turning off/on the GBA when each mini game wants to be loaded is just too tedious and time consuming in this instance. If you have the patience, each game is worth a shot but this is basically just a GBA version of classic Track & Field on NES, another Konami PowerPad title.

Rating: 5/10


F-Zero: Climax (Japan exclusive)
Developer: Suzack
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Player: 2-4

F-Zero Climax is the 3rd and final title in the series to be released on GBA and it is a Japanese exclusive. Thanks to the dedicated work to passionate fans, this game has an English fan translation.

Like the other F-Zero GBA games, there is only one track and one vehicle available so the experience is very limited and ultimately acts as a demo to the full game.

Rating: 4/10


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

F-Zero-GP-Legends_GBA_US_ESRBboxart_160w

Like 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.

Like 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’s 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 deserves some credit for offering 3 different multi-boot games but none of them are particularly great.
Rating: 5/10


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 gameplay department, but at least it tried really hard with this multiboot option.
Rating: 5/10


Guru Logi Champ (Japan exclusive)
Developer: Compile
Publisher: Compile
# of Players: 4

This is a puzzle game in which the player needs to shoot blocks on certain positions from a grid. You know those block pushing puzzles in Zelda games? Where you have to push each one in a certain order to reach a ledge or chest? It is basically that from a top-down Excel-like spreadsheet.

The Single-Pak link mode is a race to see who can complete each puzzle the fastest. The game just gives you a stage, you complete it, and move onto the next so you don’t really know what you are going to get. However, it is a fun little puzzle game that you don’t need to know Japanese to play and enjoy.

Rating: 8/10


Hardcore Pool
Developer: Frontline Studios
Publisher: Neko Entertainment
# of Players: 4

Up to four players can compete in 8-ball or 9-ball gameplay modes. Although there are 8 characters to select, they all play the same and act as simple avatars. There are also 6 tables available each sporting their own visual theme. For a pool game, it is pretty straight forward – line up your shot and use up/down to adjust power. Thoughtfully, a tap of the R button displays the target balls you’ll want to hit.

The ball physics are also rather bouncy. The cast of characters are also pretty ridiculous too.

Rating: 6/10


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

Ice_Climber_Box_Art_NA_GBA

It 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 is a steep price to pay considering it was free with Animal Crossing but at least this version supports 2 players, the best way to play Ice Climber.
Rating: 5/10


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

Jazz Jackrabbit

The popular PC bunny has bounced his way over to the GBA and added a decent multiboot option. Up to four players can join in and compete in death match mode. The game does not have any music and single-pak stages become unlocked when you advance in the single player campaign.

Playing 1-v-1 can be pretty lame so it is recommended with play with 3-4 players to get the most enjoyment. Jazz Jackrabbit on GBA also has an intuitive aiming system. Instead of holding down a button to aim in place, the player needs to hold Up on the d-pad, then quarter circle downward like through a Ryu fireball to aim in place in 45 degree angles. It is one of those things that is so simple and works so well. Shame more games have not stolen this idea. But Jazz’s multiboot mode is pretty straightforward and simple. Not bad but not great. Just a bit plain. At least the load times are fast and you don’t need to restart when switching stages.
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_Mirror

Much 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 Advanced
Developer: Konami Hawaii
Publisher: Konami
# of Players: 2

Konami Collects Arcade Adve

Konami 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.

Frogger has two players doing the whole frenemy thing as you work together to get 5 frogs into the slots at the top of the screen but the player with the higher score at the end wins. Time Pilot is also unique because both players player their own individual game. Player 1, for example, cannot shoot down Player 2 since the other player doesn’t enter each player’s game. The higher score wins. The character roster in Yie Ar Kung Fu is large and the winner is decided in a single round so gameplay is faster paced even though this is a primitive fighting game. The single-pak link mode in Rush’n Attack is also unique because the one playable stage was created just for the multiboot mode. Like Frogger, players work together to reach the end but the higher scoring player is declared the winner. Even with limited replay value, these two-player games from one cartridge are pretty fun. Just keep in mind, Player 2 will need to restart the GBA when switching games (Player 1 just boots back to the main menu so it is easy to use).
Rating: 7/10


Kuru Kuru Kururin (Japan & European exclusive)
Developer: Eighting
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

From the main menu, the Vs mode multiplayer option in Kuru Kuru Kururin is grayed out until a second GBA is connected via a link cable and powered on. But when connected, up to 4 players can compete in a race to the finish with a wealth of available options. First, players can determine if they want to play a 3, 5, or 7 game set, or even participate in a marathon. There is a total of 50 available stages, each with varying difficulty and length. Then, acting as a handicap system, each player can adjust the size of their propeller vehicle, smaller sizes making it easier to navigate each track, as well as select the number of hearts, which act as hit points, available up to three. If your vehicle touches any part of the environment, one heart is lost. Lose all hearts and the player is sent back to the beginning. The game keeps track of time until a winner crosses the finish line. Some tracks last only a few seconds but others could take a couple minutes depending on the skill of the player.

Kuru Kuru Kururin also stands out because of the colorful and fluid animation. The game also loads instantly, there is no lag, and even supports a full soundtrack – features many single pak link titles forego or neglect. The game also keeps a tally of wins and players can quit back to the main menu at any time without having to fully power off the console. There is a lot of game here and is one of the better single cart multiplayer options.
Rating: 9/10


Kururin Paradise (Japan exclusive)
Developer: Eighting
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 4

Kururin Paradise, the sequel to Kuru Kuru Kururin, is another stellar GBA game. The simplistic fun is amplified in this release as it not only includes 30 race-to-the-finish stages, it also includes 4 different mini-games for up to four players. This is a Japan exclusive title but you don’t need to know Japanese to play it. Just click the second option when GBAs are connected via link cable to play the Single-Pak link mode.

The race mode is just like the original where each player can adjust the length of the ship and 1-3 lives and plays just as smoothly – there are no load times! However, three of the four included mini games are actually really fun.

The first mini game has each player using their propeller ship to collect these bug things scattered throughout the stage. Die and your counts decreases.

The next mini game is a really fun spin on classic Warlords/Pong. Each player has to defende their quarter of the board from incoming balls. Tapping a button flicks the ship to knock the ball, like a baseball bat. This is probably my personal fave out of the four.

The third mini game, while not terrible, is just odd for this game. The game shows a picture of one of the penguins and you have to scan the gameboard find it. Move your ship over it and press the button to earn a point. It has nothing to do with Kuru Kuru so it is rather odd. Not bad. Just really strange and out of place.

Finally, the last mode is basically Capture The Flag. Somewhere on the gameboard is a item. Grab it and bring it back to base. Die along the way and you’ll lose it.

These mini games are super creative and well designed. The best part? No load times! The soundtrack and colorful visuals are also well done.

Rating: 10/10


Mario and Luigi SuperStar Saga (also see the other main Mario games below)
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.

Mario Kart Super Circuit offers a quality single-pak mode because players do not need to restart their GBAs, load times are fast, and there is music and weapons. Granted, it is the same musical track for each stage but there is still detail here in this multi-boot mode.

Rating: 8/10


Mario Party Advance
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Nintendo
# of Players: 2-4

Mario_Party_Advance_Box

The Mario Party series is based entirely around multi-player so it would be weird if link cables were not involved in this handheld edition.

There are several Single-Pak linkable mini games called “Duel Games.” Here is a list.

Tank Down –

Hammergeddon –

Star Scare –

Chicken! –

Chainsaw –

VolleyBomb –

Koopa Kurl –

Slammer –

It is also possible to “giveaway” a game or Gaddget – that is Gaddget with two “d’s”for Professor E.Gadd, to other linked players.

I have not yet had a chance to play through all the multiboot functionality but will update this accordingly.

Rating: NA


MicroMachines
Developer:
Publisher:
# of Players: 4

There are two main problems with the 4-player Single-Pak link mode found in Micro Machines on GBA. First, the game only loads one track so if you want to switch courses or vehicles, all players need to restart their GBAs (including Player 1). The load time is also long so players will need a ton of patience if this multiplayer mode is played.

The second issue comes from the opponent AI. In short, the AI will smoke any human player every time. Thanks to the floaty controls, do not be surprised if AI racers lap you. The Mario Kart-like weapons sound fun on paper but will not make a difference if you cannot complete basic turns and the AI plays perfectly. This is easily the most tedious Single-Pak link mode I have played.

Rating: 2/10


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

Motocross Maniacs Adv

Motocross 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 Heat

Using 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)

PacMan

There 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 originally 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.

Not sure why an Asteroids clone was chosen for a multi-boot mode here. You would think there would be some type of platforming segment instead. This out-of-place mini game isn’t that fun either.

Rating: 4/10


Revenge of the Smurfs (PAL exclusive)
Developer: Bit Managers
Publisher: Infograms
# of Players: 4

Revenge of the Smurfs was only released in PAL regions most likely because this IP was more popular in that terrirory in 2002. Plus, just look at that sly, devious expression on that box art!

There are a few Single-Pak multiplayer mini games available but only one is available when the game first loads. You’ll need to complete the single player campaign to unlock the rest or input the correct password at the main menu.

More about this game’s multi-boot mode will be posted later after I had some time to research.

Rating: NA


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.

This is basically the same gameplay as classic Mario Bros. with the goal of attacking your opponents while grabbing coins from fallen enemies. The only difference is Shrek isn’t fun. Go fire up any of the Mario GBA games instead.

Rating: 3/10


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

Silent Scope

Instead 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 decently fun to play a couple rounds although it is a bummer there is no music in the multi-boot mode.
Rating: 6/10


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

Sonic Adv


The first Sonic Advance game for Gameboy Advance features a Single-Pak link mode for up to 4 players. The gameplay here is simple – collect the more rings than your opponents within a 3 minute time period. Be careful though as spikes can make you drop rings and it is possible to directly attack your opponent.

This is a limted experience without much happening. Three minutes is also much too long and gets boring an uneventful within the first minute.

Rating: 4/10


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 is basically a repeat of Sonic Advance 1 right down the flaws and shortcomings.

Rating: 4/10


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

Sonic-Advance-3-GBA-_


The Find Chao mode found in Sonic Advance 3 is a little different than previous Sonic Advance games. The goal is simple, find the Chao and hold on to it when time expires. If you are holding the Chao at the buzzer, you win. To be clear, you only need to hold it when the time reaches zero; it does not matter how long you hold it throughout the match. It is possible to steal back a Chao by attacking your opponent. It is also worth mentioning there are no rings to collects, to pits to fall down, and no way to die.

This mode is limited because each game is played on the same level and the unchangeable 3-minute time limit can be too long especially in a two-player match. At least the graphics are fluid and the music isn’t bad. It isn’t necessarily better than the Single-Pak mode found in Sonic Advance 1 or 2, just a little different.
Rating: 4/10


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

Sonic Battle


The 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 lose 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


Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy + Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto’s Rampage
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Publisher: Vivendi Universal Games
# of Players: 4

See the Crash Purple entry listed above as it contains the same Single-Pak link games.

There are just a couple games that change the game in comparison to the Crash version but it is the same thing.

These Single-Pak multi-boot games are also playable in mutli-cart mode too which cuts down on load times. You can even link two Spyro Purple carts together or two Crash Orange carts.

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 above. This game has the same single pak link mode.)
This was the first Mario game to feature this single pak link mode.

Funny because the first single-pak linkable game is also one of the best.

Also, there is no multi-cart option in this game. Playing Classic Mario Bros. is single-pak mode only. So don’t think that linking multi-carts will reduce load times or anything like that.

Rating: 8/10


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 above. 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.

Rating: 8/10


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 above. 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. Playing as that watermelon seed-spitting monkey could have been pretty awesome in a multi-boot mode.

Rating: 8/10


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 above. This game has the same single pak link mode.)
Since the main mode of play supports the e-Reader, why not the multiplayer?

Just think, scanning a card could have unlocked a new stage in the multiplayer mode! How cool would that have been? Also, this GBA port of Super Mario Bros. 3 has Rumble Pak support when played on a GameCube Gameboy Player. Learn about this forgotten and secretive (and rather cool) feature here.

Rating: 8/10


Tetris Worlds (EU version only – US version is Multi-pak link only, see below)
Developer: Bulletproof Software
Publisher: THQ
# of Players: 4

Why was the Single-Pak mode omitted from the American release of Tetris Worlds? It could have been a budget thing, maybe the devs didn’t have the time, or perhaps the publisher just didn’t want to include a feature that made the game more fun?

Rating: NA


Tringo
Developer: David A. Palmer Productions
Publisher: Crave Entertainment
# of Players: 4

Okay, I know what you are thinking. Here is a weird puzzle game that I never heard of so I am going to immediately dismiss it. Hear me out – Tringo has a really fun single pak link mode for 4 players.

It will take a match or two understand the gameplay, and the UI looks super complex, but it is actually rather easy and way more fun than you think. It mixes Tetris pieces with the gameboard of Bingo.

In short, you place Tetris-like pieces on a grid to make different sized boxes. The person with the fastest finger gets to place the piece on their game board but haste can ruin your score. In Tetris, pieces fall from the top of the screen and you organize them at the bottom. Here in Tringo, you place pieces anywhere on an Excel-like grid to make squares. Make a square and score points.

This probably sounds really dumb reading this description but I promise it is a lot of fun. In fact, this is probably the best sleeper-hit Single-Pak link mode I have played on GBA.

Rating: 8/10


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

Ultimate-Brain-Games-GBA-_

Sink Ships (aka Battleship), Mahjong, Backgammon, Chess, Checkers, Reversi, Dominoes, Four-In-A-Row are 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. In a way, playing in the Single-Pak link mode is a little pointless because these games can be played in Hotseat Multiplayer mode but there is a nice spread of content here. Nice to have the Single-Pak link option if you have a link cable handy.

Each game is easily played on the GBA screen with the exception of Mahjong. There are too many tiles crammed onto the small screen so it is difficult to match pieces when they are so tiny and blurry.

To be clear, the DEMO option found in the menu does not send a demo version of a game when a GBA is linked in stand-by mode. Instead, DEMO means the computer will play a game and you can just watch. So you cannot upload a game to an empty GBA and take it with you like Ultimate Card Games, for example. Still, this is a decent digital board game compilation.
Rating: 8/10


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. Cooler yet, the demo player can continue to send this demo game to another GBA! You don’t need the host cartridge to send the program. I don’t think there is any other GBA game that offers this feature.

You can even put it in sleep mode when not in use to save on battery juice. The Casino games Poker and BlackJack can also be played with multiple players or downloaded to another empty GBA. This game is truly any card fan’s dream.

When linked, each player also has access to several options including the color/image of the background, the design on the back of the cards can be swapped, and Player 1 can also change the soundtrack from many different songs. This card game is heavily loaded with features and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Rating: 10/10


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

Ultimate Puzzle Games doesn’t support a true Single-Pak link multiplayer mode. Instead, it is like the Dr. Mario + Puzzle League compilation cart in which the host player can send a copy of the game to a GBA in stand-by mode when connected with a link cable using the “Game Copy” feature on the menu for single-player only play.

When playing single player, there are about a dozen word/puzzle-based game categories, each supporting tons of puzzles; some have more than 100 available! When linked, the first three puzzles in each category gets sent to the empty GBA and can be played until that second GBA shuts down. So it is pretty cool that you don’t need to decide which puzzles you want to take – you just take all of them in one quick download.

This demo version comes with some additional compromises though. Besides the obviously lower puzzle count, there is no music, no sound effects, the menu is just plain text, and there are no options. Also, the demo player cannot continue to send the demo version to another empty GBA – only the host cartridge can send demo copies. Still, if you wanted to take some simple word puzzles with you, this is a cool feature even though there is no real time multiplayer.

The list of games include Crossword, Kriss Kross, Word Search, Code Breakers, Backwords, Cryptic, Diamonds, Easy Crossword, Number Jig, Micro Wordsearch, Mini Kross, and Mini Wordsearch. Each game is basically a word search or crossword puzzle of some kind. Also, this game is one of the few to support the “Link It Up. 1 Game Pak. 2 Players.” logo.

Rating: wouldn’t really be fair to give this a rating since it isn’t a true Single-Pak link multiplayer mode but this is still fun and thoughtful feature that any crossword fan will highly enjoy.


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

Ultimate Winter Games might have the most pointless Single-Pak link feature on Gameboy Advance. Out of the four games available in the single player mode, only one of them is compatible with the Single-Pak link multiplayer feature – curling. Curling is also the worst game available since you don’t even have to aim; you just need to stop one meter and hit the center of the target every time. However, Curling is available via the pass-the-console option and it plays better this way as it is faster and has audio. The multiboot mode as no music or sound effects which makes the whole Single-Pak experience feeling empty and a tad spooky.

The skiing, bobsled, and snowboarding games found in the single player mode are not anything really special gameplay-wise but they look really good on the small GBA. In fact, they look really, really good. So it is shame that the multiplayer mode was limited to the weak curling mode, a mini game that plays better without the hassle of connecting link cables as opposing to just passing the console back and forth when it is your turn.

Also it seems this is the only Single-Pak linkable game to feature the LINK IT UP! 1 Game Pak, 2 PLAYERS logo on the box. Every other game features the “4 PLAYERS” mention on the box.

Rating: 1/10


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

Virtual Kasparov

Like 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 does not even 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


Woody Woodpecker in Crazy Castle 5
Developer: Tantalus
Publisher: Kemco
# of Players: 4

From one side-scrolling stage, four players can compete in a game of virtual tag. At the start, one player is randomly assigned a weird purple ghost that spawns from a treasure chest which designates that player as “it.” If this ghost touches another player, or if the “it” player touches another player, the ghost then follows that new player. If you have the ghost when the 100 second round expires, you lose. There are also collectable fairies that randomly appear through the small stage. Although these fairies appear in a simple 2-player match, they don’t mean much unless playing with 3 or 4 players as they can determine the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place players. Whoever has the most fairies and isn’t holding the ghost will be declared the winner.

This mode is very limited as there is only one stage available and there is no instructions on how to play. What is up with that purple ghost? Are you supposed to collect it or not? What do those fairies do? None of this is explained to the player. Unless you have the instruction manual, you’ll be left figuring it out as your go like I did. There are four playable characters but they all play the same too. Also, this game only uses the d-pad as players cannot even jump or attack. If you want to get to a higher tier, you need to climb a ladder or use the jump pad mushrooms. This limited experience isn’t very fun and will leave you scratching your head.

Rating: 3/10


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

Xevious_GBA_US_ESRBboxart_160w

Xevious supports two players through standard link cable, wireless link, or even pass the GBA.

Like the other Classic NES Series of games, there really is no point connecting link cables when pass-the-console multiplayer can be played. High scores also do not save when playing in linked mode either.

Rating: 3/10


World Championship Poker
Developer: Core Soft
Publisher: Crave Entertainment
# of Players: 4

Up to 4 players can compete in a few different card games: Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hold’em, 7 Card Stud, 5 Card Draw, and Blackjack. Options can adjusted, such as the starting dollar amount and where the game should end after a set number of hands, last man standing, or time.

The interface is a little strange as the shoulder button are used to increase and decrease amounts and selecting one of the four generic avatars is redundant. There is no music and no sound effects which makes for a plain experience.
Rating: 4/10


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. Mega Soccer mode is just like normal Soccer mode only with more ants available on the play field.

Stranglehold’s objective is to hold the ant for the longest amount of time, earning 1 point every 5 seconds, while Last Man Standing and Death Match explain themselves. This game has serious gameplay issues with unresponsive controls 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?

Super Monkey Ball Jr. – With so much 3D stuff happening, it isn’t a surprise why a Single-Pak multiplayer mode wasn’t possible. Still, would have been cool to at least play a round of Monkey Fight with a few friends.

Karnaaj Rally – This game would be perfect for a multiboot mode. A solid Mirco Machines 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 is multipak link only.
Tetris Worlds (THQ) on GBA is multi-pak link only within the US release. The EU version has Single-Pak.

Tetris Worlds – Here is a strange one. The US release of Tetris Worlds is multi-pak link only, as you can see from the screenshot above. However, the European release of Tetris Worlds has an included Single-Pak link option. Why was this feature cut from the American release is a mystery. Maybe the US version was released before the EU version and the multi-boot mode wasn’t finished at that point. Either way, not having a Single-Pak link option for such an iconic game is blaspheme.

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.

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
Twitter: @ZackGaz
Please consider supporting me on Patreon.

#GBA #GameboyAdvance #Single-Pak #SinglePak #Multiplayer #Multiboot #Multi-boot #LinkCable #Gameboy #Link #Wireless #Mario #List #ListOfMultiplayer #MultiplayerGameList #CompleteList #Nintendo #Handheld #Multicart #Multi-Pak #Multipak #Videos #1GamePak #4Players #LinkItUp #LinkLogo #compatible #MarioBros #Kirby #DonkeyKong #Bomberman #GamePak

Liked it? Take a second to support squallsnake on Patreon!

26 thoughts on “GBA Single-Pak Link Multiplayer Game List – Complete (aka multi-boot mode)

    1. The Single-Pak link in Mario Kart Super Circuit is limited but you get a taste of what linking with multi-pak would be – you get all tracks and all racers with multi-pak.

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

      1. 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.

  1. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. I can see the cards one and the brain one on wowroms individually. Can’t find any mention of a collection of all of them anywhere. The cards one specifically mentions single pak play on the box art. Don’t think they are for me.

    1. Hi Matt, thanks for reading my list and the comment. Yes, Jazz Jackrabbit has a single-pak option. It has been many years since I played it but remember it being one of the better single-pak options available.

  2. 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

  3. Wow, I was just looking for a simple list of GBA single-pak games, but I love how thorough this list is with the reviews! Very cool. Single-pak multiplayer is kind of the best thing. It’s nice that it was carried on with DS single-card play, and even a couple 3DS games.

  4. I am trying to make ice climber work but it seems that it is not compatible with the wireless adapter, any special trick to make it work?

  5. Hi I know this is a very old post so I’m not sure anyone will see this but I wanted to say thank you for this list. I have 2 GBAs with nice modified screens so your list has been helpful. Only thing I’ve noticed is that Tetris Worlds does have a single pack option your comments seem to suggest it doesn’t.

    1. Hi again Alan! I have been updating my Single-Pak link list here, bit by bit, since the mid-2002s but really started to take it more seriously recently as I have been documenting each game’s Single-Pak multiplayer mode with a dedicated YouTube video (all embedded here in this article). At this moment, this list is not 100% complete but aiming to get to them all and have more plans/ideas going forward. Finding the time and resources is the challenge.
      Feel free to bookmark this page, or follow me on Twitter, so you don’t miss my updates.
      Also, Tetris Worlds on GBA is multi-cart link only. I included a screenshot as proof (above). However, there is an unconfirmed rumor that early press/beta builds of Tetris Worlds had a Single-Pak mode originally planned but was ultimately removed before the final release. If you, or anyone reading this, happens to have a version of Tetris Worlds with a multiboot mode, please share.
      Much thanks for the comment! Putting all this together has taken a ton of time so it makes me feel good when my work can benefit someone and is appreciated.

      1. Maybe shouldn’t admit but I downloaded Tetris worlds with single pak option just yesterday from wowroms. I’ve tested it and it works just fine. Ps I watched your video on the new Gameboy helicopter shooting game, it looks great, I hope to give it a go someday. Thanks for going to the effort of all your videos.

        1. Oh man! That might be that earlier version of the Tetris World with the cut Single-Pak mode!
          If there is anyway you can send me that exact link for that version of the game, I need to check it out. (Or send me the file some how – google drive/email or something.)

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: