On the Cutting Room Floor – Car Battler Joe For Game Boy Advance (Episode 9)

02 Jul

Car Battler Joe Box Artwork (Game Boy Advance)

The anime RPG style of the box art for Car Battler Joe for GBA, released in 2002.

Episode 9 of On the Cutting Room Floor (Games I’m Longing to Play) is Car Battler Joe, a little-known, extremely unique GBA RPG that combines Twisted Metal-style Car Combat with RPG elements!

If you know me, you know that there are TONS AND TONS of videogames I’ve never played. Sadly, although I consider myself to be a “hardcore” gamer, I really am not compared to most “gamers”. The reason for that is because, unlike other more productive people, I can never seem to find the time to play games. Period.

So I thought it would be fun to go through some of the games I’d LOVE to play and still plan on playing someday, but never have up to this point and why I want to play them. Hopefully I’ll play through them in the near future. :)

EPISODE #9 – Car Battler Joe
Released: 2002
System: Game Boy Advance
Re-Released: No
Genre: Car Combat RPG
Developed By: Ancient Corp
Publisher: Natsume
Is There A Digital Version?: No. I highly doubt there ever will be.

Here is a video of Car Battler Joe in action!

In the early 2000s, the Game Boy Advance was stuffed to the gills with very cool, interesting, and unique games that have been seemingly lost to the sands of time… Most people do not know of some of the best little gems that GBA has to offer; games like Drill Dozer, Car Battler Joe, Demi Kids, Sigma Star Saga and Klonoa: Empire of Dreams. Among many others.

Which is a crying shame, because some of the above titles are truly lost gems… Such as this game, released in 2002 by RPG house Natsume, and known as Car Battler Joe!

Pokemon Cars in Car Battler Joe Combat Gameplay Screenshot

….. Car Battler Joe is often thought of as Pokemon Cars, which isn’t quite accurate. More like Twisted Metal RPG.

Car Battler Joe is a unique mashup of Twisted Metal-style car combat with RPG elements! It is truly a mix of genres and styles that you have never seen before. The brunt of the game sees players stepping into the shoes of the titular mechanic Joe, who must run around an RPG world, talking to people, purchasing new items and equipment, and battling car owners in Mode-7 arenas with car-on-car-combat in order to gain more cash which is used to upgrade your car. Eventually players will proceed in the storyline of the game and find out about Joe’s father.

While it is tempting to think of Car Battler Joe as “Pokemon Cars”, it’s actually not, as the game is more about upgrading your car with new abilities, and less about collecting new cars in the way you collect “Pocket Monsters” in Pokemon. Instead you are typically collecting new parts to improve your car in an number of areas and add a variety of weapons and abilities to it. Which make defeating new Car Owners easier.

Car Battler Joe Car On Car Combat Artwork

Don’t be deceived by the very cool looking artwork. The game doesn’t look this!

Overall, Car Battler Joe is a very unique game that very few people know about. The game garnered good reviews (mostly in the 7 range) upon release and was praised for offering a unique hook. One that has still yet to be seen in the same way. In particular because Car Battler Joe makes heavy use of the 32bit Game Boy Advance to offer 16bit style graphics and effects, which are much different than how the game would’ve been done had it come out on a more powerful system. Yet these oldschool graphics are what instill Car Battler Joe with such a unique charm. If the game was to be done today, it likely would lack that charm.

Car Battler Joe is quite rare and hard to come by, although you can get it off ebay for around $20 if you can even find it being sold. Hopefully the game will get a digital re-release at some point, as very few people even know it exists. Of course, there’s always piracy. Which is definitely the easiest way to play this lost gem. :)

Car Battler Joe RPG Exploration Gameplay Screenshot

Explore the world in RPG mode and talk to new car mechanics to battle!

Car Battler Joe New Parts Screenshot

Use the cash you win in battle to buy new parts and weapons to upgrade your vehicle!

Car Battler Joe Talking to People RPG Style Screenshot

In typical RPG style, run around the world and talk to everyone.

Car Battler Joe Battlebots Cutscene Screenshot Art

Hey is this Battle Bots or Car Battler Joe?!

Car Battler Joe RPG Mode

Exploring building interiors in the RPG mode of Car Battler Joe.

Twisted Metal RPG Car Battler Joe Battle Screenshot

Battling other cars is kinda like Twisted Metal RPG eh.

Previous Episodes of “On the Cutting Room Floor”:
* On the Cutting Room Floor Episode 8 – Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Posted On June 16 2012)
* On the Cutting Room Floor Episode 7 – Halo 2 (Posted on June 11, 2012)
* On the Cutting Room Floor Episode 6 – The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (Posted: June 3, 2012)
* On the Cutting Room Floor Episode 5 – Otogi: Myth of Demons (Posted: May 27, 2012)
* On the Cutting Room Floor Episode 4 – Drill Dozer (Posted: May 21, 2012)
* On the Cutting Room Floor Episode 3 – Psychonauts (Posted: May 11, 2012)
* On the Cutting Room Floor Episode 2 – Silent Hill 3 (Posted: May 3, 2012)
* On the Cutting Room Floor Episode 1 – EarthBound (Posted: April 26, 2012)


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4 responses to “On the Cutting Room Floor – Car Battler Joe For Game Boy Advance (Episode 9)

  1. Robin Harbron

    July 6, 2012 at 1:21 am

    I’ve got a Google Alert for “Car Battler Joe” :) I watch for discussion about my top few favourite games – they’re very niche so it isn’t too much traffic.

    Funny timing too; you might be interested in this game my group is developing:

    • astro64th

      July 6, 2012 at 3:29 am

      Wow that’s awesome! On both accounts, I’ll check the group out and get back to ya! :)

  2. Robin Harbron

    July 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    This is one of my all-time favourite games.

    There have actually been two other single-player Car Battling RPGs – Autoduel from the ’80s, and the two Hard Truck: Apocalypse games from the mid/late ’00s. And there was also the Auto Assault MMO.

    Car Battler Joe is nearly a remake of Autoduel, with the main difference (besides 17 years of video game progress) being typical Western RPG vs. Japanese RPG trappings. So CBJ isn’t completely unique, but it is part of a very niche genre.

    • astro64th

      July 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      Wow man I never heard of most of those. I almost mentioned Auto Assault in my article, but then I figured how different an MMO is that I didn’t really think there was much of a comparison.

      I’m still sad I never got to play Car Battler Joe. I could pirate it, but I think I’ll wait until I can get my hands on a copy sometime in the future. Thanks for the comment I really appreciate it! Btw how’d you find this article? Just curious. :)


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