And so the Midnight Sons Month comes to a close…
Ghost Rider for the Game Boy Advance was developed by Magic Pockets, a France studio with a long list of titles developed for Nintendo handhelds and is currently making games for the iOS platform. Like it’s siblings on the PlayStation systems, it was also published by 2K games and is the only game starring Ghost Rider to appear on an Nintendo System. It’s also a fairly late game to appear on the then 6 + year old hardware, especially when the Nintendo DS had been out since 2004.
There’s really not that much to say about Ghost Rider on the GBA, most of the game is your standard side-scrolling action fare and almost feels like the 2-D cousin of the PS2/P version: Move forward, fight some random enemies until the game lets you progress, then keep going until you read the end. It follows the same plot as the other two versions, but eliminates the voices and cut-scenes down to still shots with text due to the hardware limitations.
Before picking up this title I had read that the side-scrolling bits tried to emulate Castlevania, but I didn’t see it myself. The only thing I can think of is that you fight monsters and you have a whip as a weapon, but it’s pretty useless compared to your punches. I find it a missed opportunity in fact, as the other versions made Ghost Rider’s chain whip the primary tool in combat but in this game it’s fairly weak and only good for hitting some of the bigger enemies in the head. Had it just been the whip the games controls would’ve felt a little less awkward as well. You cannot remap the buttons and the game puts your punch and whip on A and B respectively leaving the R trigger as the jump button. Granted you don’t do a lot of platforming in the game, but R does not feel right as the jump button.
Just like the other two games, the GBA version breaks up the 2-D portions with motorcycle levels which I actually kinda liked. They looked nice for a GBA game, and the roads would dip and rise similar to actual terrain as opposed to staying flat like Super Mario Kart which the developer easily could’ve done.
I liked the GBA version of Ghost Rider more so than the PSP game as it at the very least does something different and is more than arena challenges. It also helps that it does away with the bits where you have to get your rating up to beat enemies shields like in the other two versions. As far as Ghost Rider games go, the PS2 version is still the one to get that’s worth your time.