Best tactical combat game for GBA?

Just wondering…i know of Fire Emblem, FF Tactics Advance, Tactics Ogre…what differentiates them?

I want to pick up a tactical game…what likes/dislikes would or should make me prefer one over another? And are there any others I should know of besides these?

Um, Advance Wars? Unless you’re talking strictly in terms of tactical RPGs. I liked Fire Emblem best of those, but I haven’t played Tactics Ogre, sadly.

i found tactics ogre to be extremely dense and hard to get into (and i’m an old school boardgamer), ffta a little too one dimensional, and fire emblem just about right, after i really spent some time with it and “got” it.

For pure tactical challenge, Fire Emblem can’t be beat.

As a newcomer to the GBA, I’ve been playing Fire Emblem. It’s fun at the start, but I’m towards the end (Chapter 27) and it’s too frustrating for words. The scenarios are designed such that you really have to play through them once or twice just to figure out what surprises are in store (which I hate), and when reloading you have to click through all the stupid cut-scenes to start the battle again, which I also hate.

I haven’t quite stopped playing, which is a recommendation of sorts. But the game is starting to remind me of Everquest; good initial experience, but ultimately enough frustration that I will never go back.

FWIW. I dolike the stripped-down tactical essence of Fire Emblem, although I wish they didn’t decorate it with all the juvenile cut-scenes.

You can hit the Start button to skip cutscenes, fyi.

Advance Wars is really something special - it takes a simple war game template of rocks-paper-scissor numerical superiority and slathers it with a golden layer of earnest Japanese goofiness, then pops in the TBS equivalent of Street Fighter 2 Turbo’s charge-up “fuck you” move for good measure. I love this game to death: I don’t know what sort of heartless bastard could dislike it, but he must scrape the burnt carbon off of his lugubrious scales every night with Dove bars made out of the fetuses he has obtained punching pregnant women in the stomach at the ObGyn ward. I don’t own a Gameboy, but I loved the Advance Wars game so much I just couldn’t feel right about not supporting the developers, so I’m sitting on top of a completely unopened copy of it.

Come to think of it, I think I’m going to finally buy a GBA. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the only games I really want to be playing these days are GBA games. I don’t really understand the absurd over-reach of the modern video game design paradigm. The design philosophy of most GBA developers - elegant, multi-faceted simplicity - really makes Koontz-certified crap like Deus Ex 2, with its embarassing gaggle of pseudodeep cliches and laughable internal consistencies, seem like a total boner. I’m sick to death of having to sit Indian style and with Yogic self-hypnotism levitate across the barbed wire of some designer’s pretensions just so I can get into their game. This is what I want from my games nowadays: Make it bright! Make it goofy! If it’s dark, make it goofy, and spell dark without an umlaut!

You can hit the Start button to skip cutscenes, fyi.[/quote]

Thanks! I’d been using the B button, which skips the individual scenes (but there are a lot of them). Didn’t know the start button would skip all of them. (Doesn’t quite, in fact, but seems to skip to the “pick units” screen, which is good enough.)

I’ve played Tactics Ogre, FFTA, Advance Wars 1 & 2, and Fire Emblem on the GBA. Fire Emblem is my favorite, by far, and aside from the first Advance Wars, the only one I’ve played through multiple times.

I’m sick to death of having to sit Indian style and with Yogic self-hypnotism levitate across the barbed wire of some designer’s pretensions just so I can get into their game. This is what I want from my games nowadays: Make it bright! Make it goofy! If it’s dark, make it goofy, and spell dark without an umlaut!

WTF? This is too good to waste on a GBA thread.


I’m playing through Fire Emblem at the moment. IMO there are a bunch of things about Fire Emblem that make it a much lesser game than Advance Wars:

  1. Instantly losing the game when a special unit is killed.
  2. Hidden stats, i.e. you can’t tell how powerful a unit is just by looking at it on the map. Compare to Advance Wars where tanks are tanks, bombers are bombers, etc.
  3. Long, tedious story.
  4. Rock, paper, scissors system with no real world analogy, e.g why does lance beat sword but sword beat axe? I understand why AA guns beat planes.
  5. Buying items in the map forcing me to spend dull time walking around the map to visit stores.
  6. Permanent death of characters that can’t be replaced. Thus, either forcing you to replay missions to save them or letting you go on in the campaign with a weakened party.

So, I say Advance Wars is by far the best, followed by Advance Wars 2.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is the best tactical game on the system, followed by Advance Wars, then Tactics Ogre.

Fire Emblem was a huge disappointment, imo.

FFT:A is a gigantic, steaming, pile of shit.

It’d be almost playable, if it weren’t for the stupid ‘rules’. I guess after the pace of Disgaea, going back to the FFT style of moves and play just grates me something awful.

Nobody listen to this guy.

I’m not at all fond of FFT:A either. Onimusha Tactics seems to be in the same vein without the annoyance of laws, with the close up FFT style views and more personal combat system.

Nobody listen to this guy.[/quote]


I’m thinking in a few days we hear about how his “brother” came on his account and posted a bunch of stupid shit.

Onimusha Tactics is now $14.99 at Best Buy or something like that. Anyone played it?


I understand favoring one more than another, but I don’t agree with “much lesser”.

That’s a trapping of having RPG elements in a strategy game - every single unit isn’t exactly alike, but the general way to approach them is clear. The different class types are easily distinguishable (axe wielder, dark magic user, archer) and allow you approach them as close to an abstract type as you can in a game with RPG elements.

. . . which can be easily skipped without comprimising the gameplay. AW has a silly and inappropriate story for a war game, but the game’s too good for anyone to care.

The perma-death is a major component of makes the game brilliant. You have to play much more carefully and when a character dies it is a big deal. The game provides you with many ways to cope with the situation - the rescue ability is brilliant.

Lost units are replaced. You get some uber-units later in the game to replace units you’ve lost along the way.

Just sayin’


I spent three weeks playing 26x. Anyone who is not a sicko completist should probably skip that side quest.


Three weeks? Let me guess…you went after those chests in the upper right? I avoided those and finished it with only one casualty and I’m missing most of the fliers except for Heath.