Need for Speed Most Wanted – Nintendo GBANeed for Speed Most Wanted – Nintendo GBA
Now you might have read the review of the DS version of Need For Speed: Most Wanted and be wondering why we’ve written a separate article for the GBA version. The reason is that we felt there was enough difference between the two to warrant two reviews and in playing the game this has shown to be absolutely the right thing to do as the GBA version, though you wouldn’t expect it, is actually a better game!
What the GBA version of Need For Speed: Most Wanted lacks is the 3D processing power of the DS version and the touch screen, but that has actually worked in the GBA’s favour as overall this is a much more playable game. Sure, it doesn’t look nearly as good as the DS game and by comparison the graphics look grainy and the animation seems jerky but as a racing game from the Need For Speed stable, this is more like it.
The DS version had the race map on the bottom screen, which of course the GBA doesn’t have so straight off we get a portion of the map displayed in the lower left corner, right where it should be. This is far more effective and useful than the DS’s lower screen map and it means you can concentrate on keeping your car on the road and not looking off screen to see what’s coming up making you a more effective racer. You lose the options provided by the touch screen for extra bits, but to be honest, those always felt a bit forced, as if they were put in to make you feel like your purchase of a console with a touch screen was actually worth it.
Of course, with no touch screen you can’t add your own decals to the cars, but unless you’re a budding Leonardo Da Vinci, that’s no huge loss. Likewise, the graphics make Need For Speed: Most Wanted look and feel like a late 80’s arcade racer… along the lines of Chase HQ. Now although this might seem like a downer, it’s actually fine to play with and though they sure won’t win any awards, the visuals do the job well enough and even manage to avoid the DS’s problems with the views.
When you actually come to racing, the GBA version, whilst not winning by a clear lap, certainly plays a better game than the DS. Control of the car is a lot more responsive and less sluggish meaning you don’t spend nearly as much time bouncing off the walls in an effort to go straight so there’s much more chance of winning and progressing. This is important as there’s no multiplayer to stretch out the longevity of the game… it all hangs on the single player experience.
Another difference between this and the DS version is that there’s none of the mini-games to avoid getting busted, it all comes down to driving skill. If the cops are on your bumper than you need to outrun them or take a shortcut where they can’t follow or see you, which makes for a much more exciting game.
So there you have it, a comparison between the two versions that highlights how graphics certainly don’t make a game better and also how poorly the DS’s extra power and features have been utilised. If you’re looking to buy your kids the latest racer I would thoroughly recommend going for the GBA version over the DS anyday. Of course, the bonus is that you can play the GBA game on the DS anyway, so even if you’ve forked out for a DS, buy them the better GBA game… trust me, they’ll love you for it.
Easy (ish) learning curve
AI beatable, though still a challenge
Truer to the NFS series
Graphics very grainy
Sound soon becomes monotonous
Need for Speed: Most Wanted on the Nintendo GBA is a Golf GTI to the DS version’s VW Beetle... Just because the DS is newer doesn’t make the game better.