The best handheld conversions of all time


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, so there'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 screen size...

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 fight looks 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 

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  • Imgema - January 13, 2011 8:27 p.m.

    i really enjoyed Doom on GBA. It was kinda slow at times (faster than SNES but slower than 32X), but it was the first time i ever saw a proper FPS engine on a handheld. You could also make the game smoother and less dark by setting the lighting to "static". You couldn't see lights flicker this way, but the game looked overall better on the tiny screen, especially on the original, purple GBA. I also played road rush on a game-gear emulator. I can say i'm really impressed by it. I can only imagine how awesome this could look back then on the GG screen.
  • Xplosive59 - October 6, 2009 5:35 p.m.

    the final fantasy remakes should be on here for the GBA
  • Tomsta666 - September 30, 2009 2:15 p.m.

    I never played the GBA version of Street Fighter Alpha 3, but I do have Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo Revival for GBA. That's pretty tight!!
  • TheWebSwinger - September 30, 2009 5:07 a.m.

    Huzzah! The PSP finally gets some love. Also, one up for the shout out to Road Rash on the Game Gear. Between that and Dynamite Headdy, those were literally the only good Game Gear games I had. And I had quite a few.
  • Spybreak8 - September 29, 2009 11:06 p.m.

    You gotta love that Game Gear, weighed a ton with that bulky battery pack haha.
  • DirkSteele1 - September 29, 2009 9:22 p.m.

    Gunstar Heroes...The single greatest game ever to grace the Megadrive. Did things the console was never meant to be able to do. To see at such a high quality on the Game Gear leaves me speechless.
  • coolbeans - September 29, 2009 2:45 a.m.

    tony hawk pro skater... good times...
  • Weasel - September 29, 2009 1:48 a.m.

    Aw come on, no SNK vs. Capcom for the Neo-Geo pocket color? That was awesome! Though that and Metal Slug were pretty much the only games worth playing on it...
  • doomdoomdoom - September 28, 2009 11:55 p.m.

    @Cyberninja4 Is a shit of a retard "I like pressing buttons" that is the smartest thing he has said He should rename his profile to "Special" or "Fucktard"
  • SgtPoppenfresh - September 28, 2009 11:50 p.m.

    GTA Chinatown Wars should be in there... but then again thats modern. Although they did make a GTA on gba sooo that back-ups my point.
  • Dalibor - September 28, 2009 11:50 p.m.

    "Sometimes it pays to check - it was Gamedalf all along." I don't know why but that made me crack up, the culprit has been found lol.
  • phoenix_wings - September 28, 2009 11:41 p.m.

    lol @ destroyerofall. For sure, man. I personally thought that Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past was pretty awesome. Same with Super Mario 64 DS edition. Awesome list though.
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - September 28, 2009 11:23 p.m.

    Great list! I would also like to add Metroid Prime Hunters, which manages to convert he robust ideas of Prime into a DS FPS... in early 2006. It's a true technical marvel.
  • Cyberninja - September 28, 2009 11:22 p.m.

    can someone tell me why there is a cyberninja4 that doesnt like games does it exist only to mock me and make me look bad?
  • destroyerofall - September 28, 2009 8:48 p.m.

    @ xboxrulez Are u retarded or what? Every single comment u post is a bastardization of the english language.
  • iKOemos - September 28, 2009 8:33 p.m.

    Why am I only finding out about GBA Doom now!? It looks superb.
  • cubeenigma - September 28, 2009 8:28 p.m.

    does mario 64 DS count? lttp for gba ? :[
  • WonsAuto - September 28, 2009 7:44 p.m.

    Great article. I loved THPS2 on GBA, it was great when I couldn't get my fix on my PSX. I still have it lying around somewhere...
  • Cyberninja4 - September 28, 2009 7:23 p.m.

    the only game here i like is tekken its easy to mash the buttons and win
  • AA95mp - September 28, 2009 6:47 p.m.

    people are going to disagree with me but..... i think the lord of the rings the two towers is much better than the ps2 version as in it's more of an rpg.

Showing 1-20 of 29 comments

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