The best handheld conversions of all time

Brilliant games that shouldn't have even been possible

Converted from:
PC (1993)
Converted to: Game Boy Advance (2001)

There is one major plus-point when it comes to converting games to handheld.The screen is smaller, sothere's less image for the processor to draw in each frame. But what if you reduced the resolution again? Low-res on a low-res screen? That's exactly how id got Doom to run on GBA. Look:

The backgrounds are clearly grainier than the health/ammo overlay. But in fairness, we're zoomed in up there. Look what happens when you see it at its normal GBA screensize...

It doesn't look so bad, does it? And so what if the backgrounds look like they're running through Photoshop's mosaic filter - this is proper first-person action on handheld and every key element is present and correct. The fact that it's smoother than the Saturn version and more detailed than the 32X port is just icing on the cake.

Of course, it may have been a few years before we could actually see the damn thing.God bless the DS Lite.And GBA Micro, for that matter - we still carry Doom around in a GB Micro when we're on long press trips. What better recommendation could there be?

Tekken: Dark Resurrection

Converted from:
Arcade (2005)
Converted to: PSP (2006)

On its release, we bemoaned the fact that it was Tekken that got the handheld conversion and not its slicker, prettier stablemate Soul Calibur. But two years on, with Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny finally sitting on store shelves, it's Tekken that still rules the handheld roost.

Above: On the fourth day, Namco looked at PSP and saw that it was good

Not only does it fit PSP's controls better than any other fighting game on the system (thanks to its input strings for combos as opposed to d-pad dexterity), it's smooth, slick and packed with characters. The customisation options have made it across too, so you can spend hours dressing up Lily without the hassle of having to change the TV channel every time someone walks in.

On the rare occasions where a special effect was too adventurous for the PSP to pull off convincingly, alternative effects make the game look even better. A fine case in point is the last boss, Jinpachi, whose purple flames from PS2's Tekken 5 have been replaced with orange flames in a stage of biblical hellfire.

Above:The Jinpachi fightlooks better on PSP (left) than on PS2 (right)

Sure, PSP isn't technically that much weaker than PS2, so the quality of the conversion may not seem quite as impressive as others on our list. But the fact is the game is superior in content to PS2's Tekken 5. Even visually, we'd argue the PSP's smaller screen makes the action look better.

Above: Tekken's treasure trove level is one of PSP's finest hours


The longest-serving GR+ staffer, I was here when all this was just fields. I'm currently Reviews Editor but still find time to speedrun Sonic levels and make daft Photoshop articles.
We recommend