|Reference added: 121|
"Paragon 5 did both Hardcore Pinball and Karnaaj Rally on GBA."
Fun top-down rally racer by Paragon 5 (see also Hardcore Pinball, entry 121) with their typical cutting-edge graphics and sound. You'd hardly expect to get a racer over beautifully detailed, bitmapped courses with real-time 3D elements such as trees and statues protruding upward toward the camera, running right along with a rocking soundtrack, all on the GBA, but you've got it here. Heck, they put 3D in the menus even, just to show off. Happily, it's also a darn fun racing game.
In single-player Career Mode you go through various "grand prix" style chunks of races, trying to be the overall leader by the end. Use your winnings to upgrade your car in a few simple ways (engine and tires) and to buy more weapons (mines and rockets).
The AI puts up a fair struggle even on Normal difficulty, especially at the beginning when you have no upgrades. I recommend leaning on the Turbo button until you're out of the pack--this also gets you out of harm's way as far as most of the rocket and bomb action is concerned.
The courses get gradually more challenging as you advance through the circuits (that snow track in circuit two... eeeg) and they all look top notch. You even get to race some of them backwards, or at night. Fun and darn addictive.