The adventure genre has often been misclassified throughout the history of video games. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is frequently considered an adventure game on the original Game Boy. However, the game primarily falls under the action genre despite Link's thrilling adventure. Merely having a protagonist on an adventure does not necessarily indicate that a game is an adventure game. Otherwise, it implies almost every game qualifies as such.
A quintessential example of an adventure game that embodies the classic definition is The Secret of Monkey Island, and for a much more modern take of the genre, The Walking Dead games by Telltales Games. Below are seven of the best adventure games available on the original Game Boy.
Best game boy adventure games
It is rare to find a horror game on the original Game Boy, much less a game released on the system past the year 1999. Surprisingly, Deadeus was released for the dot-matrix-screened dedicated gaming handheld in the year 2022. It is an adventure game imbued with horror elements about a boy who has a nightmare where everyone dies. He then embarks on an investigation to save his village. It may look and play like Pokémon Red, Blue, or Yellow, but Deadeus really has nothing in common with the former titles other than superficial similarities.
There is a lot of gore in this game. Even on the original Game Boy screen, you can experience the gruesome scenes. That is a testament to how good the art direction is. The writing in Deadeus is also top-notch, as it is able to convey the dread of impending doom. This game can still be bought as a physical card with an option for a pay-what-you-want ROM download.
6. Chibi Maruko-Chan 2: Deluxe Maruko World
Chibi Maruko-Chan 2: Deluxe Maruko World is a unique game because of its setting and the various mini-games peppered as players progress on the story. It is a game based on the manga series Chibi Maruko-chan.
The narrative is extremely linear as there are no branching storylines. Anyway, the game just gives you a single option if you manage to land on the “wrong” one But as mentioned earlier, some mini-games make this game entertaining if immersing in the world of Momoko Sakura in Japan the year 1974 is rather drab.
Mini-games include dodgeball, a quiz session, finding a watermelon on a square plot, rock-paper-scissors, and a variant of “cups and balls” where instead of finding a ball inside a cup, players look for Momoko’s grandfather from a trio of curtains.
As for the story, it is rather light and homely. Obviously, the target audience would have far stronger feelings toward the narrative of Chibi Maruko-chan. Unless you are Japanese and had his coming-of-age in the 70s, this adventure game is more of a welcome brand new experience.
This game is Japan-only so those who are not fluent in the language may have to skip this game. There may be a translation of the game’s script somewhere. Better yet, language translation tools are available nowadays to enjoy games that were never localized. The next two games in this list are also Japan-only, so take note of this advice.
5. Purikura Pocket: Fukanzen Joshikousei Manual
Purikura Pocket: Fukanzen Joshikousei Manual, which the subtitle translates to Incomplete High School Girl Manual, is another bizarre Japan-only original Game Boy release that caters to Japanese girls. Still, any gaijin will have a good time with this adventure game due to the interesting plot.
The story of the game is grounded in reality. For example, when the protagonist asks her father for lunch money, the latter points to the direction of her mother. When the protagonist asks her mother for the allowance, she tells her to get it from her father.
4. Ranma 1/2 : Netsuretsu Kakutouhen
Ranma ½ is a gender-bending manga/anime series where the titular character turns from male to female when he gets wet with cold water. She turns back into her default gender when she is splashed with hot water. Other characters in this franchise turn into something else if exposed to different water temperatures. However, unlike Ranma, they turn into animals and not the opposite gender.
There are three Ranma ½ games in the original Game Boy, but Netsuretsu Kakutouhen is the only adventure game. There is a Ranma ½ puzzle game like Boxxle in Kakuren Bodesu Match. There is also a Ranma ½ quiz game in Kakugeki Mondou.
In Netsuretsu Kakutouhen, players control Ranma in a combination of RPG-fighting game-adventure game. Ranma must walk, or hop, around town and talk to other characters to get the story going. There are also a lot of fighting segments to look forward to with all its hefty dialogue scenes.
3. Star Trek: 25th Anniversary
In 1992, Star Trek marked its 25th anniversary, and to commemorate this milestone, three games with the same title were released on different platforms: PC, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and the original Game Boy.
Despite sharing the same title, these games offer distinct and diverse gameplay experiences but all of them are adventure games. The original Game Boy version of Star Trek: 25th Anniversary combines ship-steering and walking around alien planets looking for specific things. This might not be the most adventurous journey the Enterprise crew could offer, but for the Game Boy, it is the only one.
DragonHeart is a licensed game based on the fantasy film of the same title. It is a shame that the original Game Boy could not possibly accommodate voice acting due to its limited hardware. Sean Connery's voice acting as Draco the Dragon would have been amazing. Even without voice acting, the game is still worth playing.
DragonHeart plays like a first-person dungeon crawler with scarce combat. It also has point-and-click adventure segments, truly making the game an authentic adventure game. Players will often have to converse with peasants, tavern patrons, and other NPCs to find clues on where to go or what to do.
Although the game is pretty linear, there are lots of dialogue options, and the characters are pretty interesting. DragonHeart also employs the likeness of the actors from the film, such as Dennis Quaid as the protagonist and player-controlled character, Sir Bowen, and the late Pete Postlethwaite as Brother Gilbert of Glockenspur.
1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a highly popular film during the 80s and continued to captivate audiences well into the 90s, especially with the introduction of home media. The original Game Boy adaptation aimed to replicate the source, although condensing the entire story into a comprehensive adventure game was a challenging task given the technological limitations of the time.
Despite these constraints, Who Framed Roger Rabbit on the original Game Boy stands out as one of the finest film-to-game adaptations. Players have the opportunity to wield the iconic toon weapons from the movie, such as the punch glove and cartoony gun while joining the titular character on his quest to solve a murder mystery in that he finds himself entangled.
Out of all the games on this list, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? boasts the highest production values. As a multi-leveled adventure game, it compensates for its lack of replayability by providing an exceptional experience for first-time adventurers.