Review by Zorken
"Taking control of the units who will serve you till the end..."
While there is a large family of Advance Wars games, I think that Advance Wars: Dual Strike is among the best. Why? Mainly because I haven't tried the others as they're on older systems, and I own this game. It's a fun challenge which is also a tough challenge at times. You basically represent the Orange Stars, teaming up with three other nations: Green Earth, Yellow Comet and Blue Moon. Your mission is to defend the land of Omega from the evil organization that is Black Hole. Jake, a newly trained but inexperienced tank master, is your main character in the game. You must protect the land from the sinister Black Hole operatives and save the land from certain destruction before it's too late. Taking your Nintendo DS/Lite in hand, jump into the fad that is Advance Wars: Dual Strike!
The story is pretty catchy, considering it's based around patriotic means and the defending against an evil force. Following the missions in their set order, you go along with the story, hoping to end the evil that is Black Hole before they end the good, that is the Allied Nations. I think the story is rather amusing at times, and at other times, I find it very serious. As with most games, the first few tasks/missions are rather simple, but become more complex as time passes on. There are training methods to help you get situated with the game, as well as tutorials to help you better adapt to the environment of defending the Allied Nations.
Controls are very easy, especially since there's no direct-action movement; it's all chosen by taking turns (hence: RPG). You basically get to move depending on the unit you choose to move. Some units, like foot soldiers, can only move a few spaces, while larger (mechanical, at that) units can move a vastly larger number of steps. The attack commands are simple to understand and get used to and the other control methods are easy, too. It just takes time to get the hang of them, and they're not that difficult to remember and master anyway.
As with many RPGs, graphics aren't important. The game appears as a simple platform battle field, with you as the commander. The details of the lands are defined and distinguished, such as mountains being drawings of small hills, water being blue and regular land being green grass or sandy dunes. It's rather easy to identify where you are without having to rely on super-duper graphics.
Has some catchy tunes, at times. Such as Black Hole music (I don't condone the evil that is Black Hole, I just like their music). The battle sounds are also quite recognizable, such as when you attack an enemy unit, there are sounds that match the weapon(s) used. For example if your foot soldier attacks another foot soldier with an M16, it makes machine gun sounds and so on; but if you attack a tank with your foot soldier with an M16, it makes rattling metal sounds - again, quite factual.
Replay Value 6-
You can buy/unlock many different maps to battle on, including multiplayer maps as well. Although you can't replay all of the story missions whenever you want after they are cleared, there are many, many other maps to play on as many times as you wish.
Buy or Rent?-
Buy. This game is worth keeping. Especially with the multiplayer aspects. I bought this game at Walmart and have treasured it ever since. Actually, nowadays I don't rent games, I just buy them. It's better that way, especially with the Nintendo DS as there are no memory cards to save your stuff, so just anyone who is in line to rent them next can take it over or delete your file, etc. Which sucks. I highly recommend buying most DS games you want to try. Speaking of trying, I suppose it would be ok to just rent this game if you were wanting to just sample its awesomeness, but if you do like it, skip the rented copy and buy one brand new from the shelves. That way, you start clean with minimal knowledge of how the game works.
Multiplayer Value 10-
Given that you have a friend who owns a Nintendo DS system and a copy of Advance Wars: Dual Strike, you can enjoy this game's multiplayer modes to no end. Of course, more than just one friend can join, but for the best fun, you all need copies of this game. There is a single-card function, but as far as I know, it's only for the Combat mode, which is strongly limited. Still, Combat in Multiplayer can be exciting too.
The actual game play sequences is quite fun. You get sucked into the story and become curious as to how the ending looks, so you're urged to play more, more until you finally beat all the story missions. And then there opens a new portal of things to do! It's almost endless, and again, the multiplayer content = awesomeness.
I think that Advance Wars: Dual Strike is a must-have for those of you who like battle games. War, etc. This would make a great addition to your gaming collection. Think about it. And of course, if you do have this game and are stuck, there's always the message board here on GameFAQs full of people who can help you. I might be one of them, even! Happy blasting!
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/08/07
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