As one of the best-selling handheld consoles, it's no surprise that the Game Boy Advance has a huge catalog of impressive titles, including Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. In this sea of games, however, female protagonists would remain extremely rare until the release of the Nintendo DS.
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Still, there are some memorable female characters in the console's massive library. Even if they are not the focus of the narrative, these women still shine and deserve to be remembered.
Ivy - ABOVE: The Enemy
Developed by Neverland, best known for creating the Rune Factory and Lufia franchises, CIMA: The Enemy, or Frontier Stories in Japan, is a 2003 isometric action JRPG that protects an alien race called the CIMA, which feeds on human hope.
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At the start of the game, Ivy is arrogant and immature, making her the perfect antagonist for Ark. In the first few levels, the two protagonists constantly fight over little things, like who is older, braver or more capable. But over time, Ivy matures and realizes the important responsibility she must take on to protect others.
May - Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, released in 2002, launched the third generation of Pokémon games and is the best-selling game on the GBA, and 2004's updated Pokémon Emerald is the third best-selling GBA title. These games broke with the story continuity established by previous generations and introduced a separate region, Hoenn,and a lot of new lovesPokémon.
In this part, May is the main female character, and she is the silent protagonist when the player chooses her or the main competitor. As a rival and daughter of Professor Birch, her ultimate goal is to care for and befriend all Pokémon, which shows her kind and caring nature. Although she can be a little clumsy, she is cheerful, friendly, and a great trainer.
Pratty - Night of Summoning: History of Swordcraft
Although the JRPG Summon Night series has existed in Japan since 2000, the main games weren't released internationally until 2015. Prior to that, the only officially translated titles were spin-offs, including the 2003 action JRPG Summon Night: Swordcraft Story. Three years after the legendary Craftlord of Iron, Shintetsu, sacrificed his life to save Wystern, his son decides to enter the Craftlord tournament and become a Craftlord.
At the start, players can choose to play the male lead, Cleru, or the female lead, Pratty. Though a bit clumsy, Pratty is friendly, energetic, cheerful, and strong. Also, unlike Cleru, who can only date female characters, Pratty can have both a male and female love interest, making her one of the few LGBTQ+ characters on the GBA.
Ritz - Final Fantasy Tactics Avanço
Considered one of the best Final Fantasy spin-offs, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a 2003 tactical JRPG set in the universe of Ivalice. After discovering an ancient magical book, Marche Radiuju, his brother and their two friends wish they could live in the Final Fantasy universe to escape their problems. The book grants her wish and takes her to the fantasy world of Ivalice.
Though Marche thinks they must find their way home, the other three try to stay in the fantasy, which includes the bold and outspoken Ritz Malheur. Despite their conflicting goals and Ritz's seemingly cold demeanor, she is the only one of the three who still helps Marche when she needs it (and shows her kindness). Because she was bullied for her white hair, she dyes her hair red and tries to hide her insecurities. But eventually she learns to accept herself.
Mia - Golden Sun / Golden Sun: The Lost Age
Developed by Camelot, known for the Shining and Mario Sports franchises, Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age are two GBA JRPGs that together form a complete story. When main character Isaac learns that several characters are trying to bring back alchemy by using the elemental stars to light up the elemental houses, he assembles a group to stop him from unleashing the chaotic power.
One of Isaac's group members is a young woman named Mia, who is one of the last surviving descendants of the ancient Mercury clan. Always trying to help others with his extraordinary healing abilities, he is the most logical member of Isaac's group. When Mia is faced with a difficult decision at the end of the second game, she has the emotional and moral strength to make the right choice.
Kumatora - Nonne 3
Although 2006's JRPGMother 3 was never released outside of Japan, it is often seen as a revolutionary title, has a cult following, and has an English translation. The third and final installment in the Mother series, the game follows a young man named Lucas as he assembles a group of misfits to stop the Pigmask Army from wiping out the Seven Needles.
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One of the members of the group that accompanies Lucas on his journey is Princess Kumatora, who describes the game as "strong and wise". She is smart, not afraid to speak her mind and is impulsive. Despite his rough edges, he cares about the other characters and has great characterization.
Arche Klein - fantasy stories
Although the action JRPGTale of Phantasia was the first entry in the ongoing Tales of Phantasia franchise and was originally released for the Super Famicom in 1995, this sequel wasn't released internationally on the GBA port until 2006. The game follows a young swordsman named Cress Albane , who must use time travel to gather the group and spirits strong enough to stop the powerful alien mage Dhaos.
One of the members of Cress's group is a half-elf named Ark Klein. She is an exceptionally strong and intelligent mage, but she is also discriminated against because of her mixed heritage. Despite her struggles, she has a bubbly and playful personality.
Eirika - Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Created as the eighth entry in the Fire Emblem series and the last in the GBA trilogy, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stone is a 2004 tactical JRPG and the second installment to be released internationally. As the Grado Empire begins to invade other nations and destroy the stones that hold an ancient demon captive, the twins, Princess Eirika and Prince Ephraim, must gather allies, stop the Grado Empire, and uncover the truth behind the war.
Considered one of the best female RPG protagonists, Eirika is a strong, smart, kind and resourceful woman. Unlike her hot-headed brother, who loves a good fight, Eirika prefers to keep a cool head and take things lightly.
Maya - Ace Attorney Original-Trilogie
From 2001 to 2004,the popular legal drama visual novel seriesis a lawyerstarted with the original trilogy on GBA. In these games, the player controls a young defense attorney named Phoenix Wright who defends his clients in court and solves cases.
Though Phoenix had several people help him during the franchise's investigations, psychic intern Maya Fey was the main assistant throughout the original trilogy. She is outgoing, outgoing, impulsive, curious, resilient, and loves food. As Mia Fey experiences the trauma and pain of losing her sister, she continues to advance through the first game, eventually becoming a mature and powerful spirit medium.
Samus Aran - Metroid-Fusion
Metroid Fusion is an action-adventure game released in 2002 and was the last side-scrolling game in the Metroid series until the 2021 sequel Metroid Dread. to prevent its parasitic clone "SA-X" and other infected beings from taking over the station.
Though Samus is usually a silent protagonist, Metroid Fusion has shown more of her personality. Upon witnessing her mother's murder at the hands of the space pirate Ridley, the trauma made Samus quieter, thoughtful, and distant. Despite this, she is determined, resilient, resourceful, and compassionate, and refuses to take orders from most people.
NEXT:The 10 best and most famous Metroidvania characters, ranked