A Gameboy / Gameboy Advance emulator for Windows reviewed on 10/20/2001 by Vincent T. Vantine.
"From the author of the excellent GameBoy emulator, VisualBoy, comes a new and ground-breaking Gameboy Advance Emulator, VisualBoy Advance. Also included in this emulator is the classic GameBoy Emulator, VisualBoy which development on the standalone version has ceased. This emulator was the hands-down editor's choice award winner for both the GameBoy and GameBoy Advance categories, continue reading to find out why."
VisualBoy Advance is an excellent GameBoy / Game Boy Advance emulator which has taken the editor’s choice award in both categories respectively. The roots of this project extend back to VisualBoy, the standalone Game Boy emulator. Later developed was VisualBoy Advance, the Game Boy Advance emulator, and after a short while, VisualBoy was integrated into it’s core and development on that project ceased. Since this emulator has taken two editor’s choice awards, we’ll be covering both the GameBoy and GameBoy Advance aspects of this emulator within a single review.
The most important factor in any emulator is compatibility; both with the targeted platform(s) and the platform(s) it’s intended to function on. VisualBoy Advance has by far the highest compatibility rate on both of it’s respective target platforms; the GameBoy and all of it’s incarnations (a la Super GameBoy and GameBoy Color) and the Game Boy Advance. So far, I’ve yet to find a title this emulator is actually incompatible with (excluding titles which require proprietary on-cartridge hardware such as “Kirby’s Tilt n’ Tumble” with it’s motion sensor). On the OS side, compatibility is also excellent. All versions of Windows meeting it’s minimum requirement of DirectX 7.0 or above have run this emulator flawlessly.
The graphics engine in this emulator has received some extreme upgrades within the past few versions. It has evolved from simply supporting DirectDraw acceleration to having a full set of graphical filters and support for Direct3D and OpenGL. Vsync is also available to ensure liquid-smooth motion on systems powerful enough to support it. It should be noted however that at the moment the Direct3D and OpenGL support is preliminary and quite buggy, it’s recommended that you stick with DirectDraw acceleration until the bugs are worked out. All of these features apply to both GameBoy and GameBoy Advance emulation.
Sound emulation is about the only downside to this emulator at the moment. When running VisualBoy Advance on a lower end system, the first sign of slowness will be the audio breaking up. The only way to prevent this is ensure the performance stays at a steady 99% to 100% by increasing the frame skip and other performance-saving options. The GameBoy audio is the only point where VisualBoy Advance is behind the standalone VisualBoy. Audio breakups regularly occurred on our test system (Athlon XP 1800+, Radeon 9000 Pro, Windows XP Professional and 512MBs of DDR-2100 RAM) even when performance was at a full 100%.
In the extras department, VisualBoy Advance sports everything you would expect in a typical higher end portable emulator. Skin support has recently been added to the emulator which allows you to put a graphical border around the image to do things such as simulate the look of a real GameBoy Advance or a classic GameBoy. There is also full gamepad support, save state support, built-in cheat support, sound recording and most notably, AVI recording which allows you to encode video of your game play in any encoding format that your system has an encoder installed for.
The most notable feature missing is Game Link support, and I commend Forgotten for his reasoning for leaving this one out. For now, he has chosen not to develop Game Link support to reduce the use of this emulator for piracy. Many of today’s GameBoy Advance titles sport very advanced multi-player modes and for that, gamers will be encouraged to purchase and own legitimate copies of their games. It is efforts such as this that will make the world of legitimate emulation a reality, and Forgotten, I’d just like to let you know we noticed and we care.
In closing, there is really almost nothing to dislike about this emulator and it is by far the most accurate, full-featured, and advanced GameBoy Advance emulator in existence, no pun intended.