Game Boy Color
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Top 10 Best Gameboy Color Games, Ranked

The GBC had pure nineties vibes, but which games are still worth playing?

Ah, the Game Boy Color. The awkward middle child between the original Game Boy and the Game Boy Advance. It might be tempting to write the Game Boy Color off entirely with its much more capable successor arriving only less than 3 years later, but the console still had a wide library of great titles.

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Not all of them hold up so well today, but a few are stone cold classics that are still worth playing if you can get your hands on them. There are some notable omissions on this list — games which have been remade or which were available in superior versions on other consoles. These are the 10 best handheld experiences that you can’t find anywhere else but on the Game Boy Color.

10. Tetris DX

Tetris DX Title Screen Game Boy Color
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This isn’t a must play game by a lot of measures. It’s Tetris, you know how it works. It doesn’t have the historical significance of the original Game Boy release, and it isn’t as polished, vibrant, and varied as the myriad Tetris games which have released in the years since. Well, actually it might be as vibrant.

Tetris DX’s aesthetics may be a little garish, but they perfectly fit the luminescent, oh-so-’90s vibe that the console itself was going for. There were plenty of other great puzzle titles on the GBC, including Pokemon Puzzle Challenge, but Tetrix DX’s time honored gameplay is still impossible to resist.

9. Pokemon Pinball

Pokemon Pinball Title Screen Game Boy Color
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Arriving at the height of Pokemania, this pinball spin-off did a lot more than simply stick some Pokemon graphics around a virtual pinball table and call it a day. Arriving just months before Gold and Silver, Pinball gave trainers one more opportunity to catch all 151 original Pokemon. This time however you’re flicking Pokeballs at them rather than throwing them.

A sequel would arrive a few years later for the Game Boy Advance, but that game was missing one of the original’s biggest selling points — a rumble feature built into the cartridge. Another game on the system — Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble — even featured built-in tilt controls.

8. Rayman

Rayman Title Screen Game Boy Color
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While the original game would skip Nintendo home consoles, Ubisoft’s iconic limbless hero made his way to handhelds five years later. This stripped back version of the original is a highlight on a console filled with great handheld platformers. It’s also one of the best looking games on the GBC. There’s perhaps no other game which better embodies the console’s unique graphical style and color pallete.

A sequel, which translated the plot of Rayman 2: The Great Escape to 2D, arrived a year later, and while it has more character and story compared to the first game it isn’t quite as much of a graphical showcase.

7. Dragon Ball Z: Legendary Super Warriors

Dragon Ball Z Legendary Super Warriors Title Screen Game Boy Color
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At a time when Dragon Ball Z games were all middling fighters, Legendary Super Warriors came out of nowhere to deliver a surprisingly expansive turn-based game that ran through the series’ entire storyline.

A card battler with a collectable character element, Legendary Super Warriors had some pretty fierce difficulty spikes, but what’s Dragon Ball without a hard-fought fight or two? There have been several Dragon Ball RPGs since, but this one holds up as a tactical alternative to the usual button mashers.

6. Resident Evil Gaiden

Resident Evil Gaiden Title Screen Game Boy Color
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Even if you’re a massive Resident Evil fan you’d be forgiven for having skipped over Resident Evil Gaiden. Make no mistake about it, this isn’t a hidden gem, but it is a very unique take on how you could possibly bring the Resident Evil experience over to an early handheld console.

While you’ll spend most of your time playing from a top-down perspective, enemy encounters take place in first-person. The execution of this system may not be perfect, but Resident Evil Gaiden is overall a neat package and a worthwhile detour for series fans. Just ignore the notoriously bizarre ending.

5. Metal Gear Solid

Metal Gear Solid Title Screen Game Boy Color
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Also known as Metal Gear: Ghost Babel, this game successfully brought the series back to Nintendo consoles for the first time since Snake’s Revenge, a game made without the involvement of series creator Hideo Kojima. While not a mainline title, Kojima served a a producer on Ghost Babel, and it’s got all the bizarre hallmarks you would expect from a Metal Gear game.

Like Resident Evil Gaiden, Metal Gear’s handheld foray is a non-canon affair, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty here for fans of the series to enjoy. Combining gameplay elements from the original Metal Gear on the MSX and Metal Gear Solid on PS1, it’s hard to think of how you’d pull of a Metal Gear game on the Game Boy Color any better than this.

4. Shantae

Shantae Title Screen Game Boy Color
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But what about original games I hear you ask. Game Boy Color had a lot of great games that relied on franchise recognition, but Shantae is probably the breakout original game on the console. One of the GBC’s last, and subsequently rarest titles, Shantae is a top tier platformer with heaps of personality.

This first game would go on to spawn several sequels across other consoles, and was eventually rereleased itself on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation consoles. Unless you’re willing to shell out a considerable amount for an original cartridge, these may be your best bets to try out this cult classic.

3. Pokemon Trading Card Game

Pokemon Trading Card Game Title Screen Game Boy Color
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A dream come true for young Pokemon fans who couldn’t afford to keep up with the high price of the physical card game. This digital version was an effective translation of the game that brought all the thrill of opening packs and building decks without having to convince your parents that it wasn’t ‘just cardboard’.

The highlight of the game however proved to be the incredible soundtrack, full of catchy melodies that seemed to transcend the console’s limited hardware. A sequel followed which added cards from the Team Rocket expansion set, but it was never released outside of Japan.

2. The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages/Seasons

The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages Title Screen Game Boy Color
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The Game Boy Color already had one terrific Zelda title in Link’s Awakening DX, but that was just an enhanced version of the original game from the original Game Boy. Arriving late in the console’s lifecycle, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons were all new fully fledged titles released alongside each other and offering similar but distinct experiences.

Arriving after both Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, these two games were a triumphant return to 2D for the franchise, proving that there would always be fans of both gameplay styles. Opinions are split on which game is the best, but you’ll have to complete both to get the full story.

1. Pokemon Crystal

Pokemon Crystal Version Title Screen Game Boy Color
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The ultimate Game Boy Color game. Pokemon Gold and Silver were already massive, beautiful games that seemed to push the console to its absolute limit, yet somehow Crystal eked out just that bit more. As with its predecessors, players could traverse not only the new region of Johto, but also Kanto. For the first time however they could now do so as a female trainer.

This was very much an iterative third entry in the second generation of Pokemon games (the only other major change being animated sprites), but if you’re going to pick up just one of the three, the updates in Crystal definitely make it the best choice.

Yes, that does mean that 3 out of the 10 best games on the Game Boy Color were Pokemon games but there’s no getting around how much the franchise dominated Nintendo’s handheld output at this time. Pokemania was at its zenith and Nintendo absolutely delivered the goods to capitalize on it.

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James Crosby
James was a freelance writer for Twinfinite, typically covering new releases.