Review by LorDougness587

Reviewed: 08/03/06

Staring Down The Barrels Of A Megatank Is Always An Enriching Experience

When Advance Wars originally arrived for the Game Boy Advance, it was the single greatest turn-based strategy game that had ever been released for any hand-held console at that time. Well, Nintendo went one step further in releasing Advance Wars: Dual Strike. With new COs to take command of, as well as new units to deploy, Dual Strike has become the best game of the Advance Wars series, and one of the top ten games ever made for the Nintendo DS.

Gameplay: (10 out of 10)
The story picks up right were the second Advance Wars left off, as you discover that Black Hole's forces have somehow expanded to the Omega Land territories, leaving the newly formed Allied Nations virtually outnumbered. It then becomes your job to hold off the Black Hole forces until reinforcements arrive. As you discover from the first few missions, Black Hole has hired some new COs with even more devastating abilities, and new advanced strategies to boot. As a very evil result, the new campaign missions are more difficult and require a more strategic mindset than ever before. You must first learn how to properly use the new "Dual Strike" CO abilities, as some COs are not as compatible to others, then you must figure out how to use the new vehicles and weapons to your advantage. The biggest and best addition to the Advance Wars arsenal is the highly powerful stealth fighter unit, which, while in stealth mode, cannot be targeted by anything except standard fighters, and other stealth units as well. You are also formally introduced to two new tank units: the Neotank and the Megatank, the latter of the two being the most powerful. The only downside to this ultimate weapon is that it runs out of fuel and ammo at a blaringly-fast pace. In addition, you are introduced to a new dual screen battle mode, which allows you to fight twice as hard on two different fronts. Whether you're new to the Advance Wars saga, or you're a veteran of the Advance Wars, you'll be sure to enjoy the campaign mode, in addition to other new and returning modes and features, which allow you to improve your overall strategic ability.

Sound Quality: (8.75 out of 10)
While the sound effects haven't changed much, aside from clarity, you are given a brand new soundtrack to better enjoy the pains that will inevitably follow you as you progress through the campaign. The newest themes are even further compiled in the Sound Room, where you can take a listen to the individual tracks. Of course, you have to clear the campaign before this feature is available to you.

Graphics: (8 out of 10)
Again, not much has changed from the original Advance Wars graphics, however the new vehicle designs are a big improvement to the game.

Multiplayer: (9 out of 10)
Once you've cleared both of the campaign modes, challenge a friend to a battle, and watch him, or her, plead for mercy as you deploy your powerful units to victory. Nothing beats watching your opponent writhe in agony at the mere sight of your megatank, or your awesome stealth fighter. Neither does watching your opponent's face turn blood red in anger at the sight of the newest feature incorporated into the multiplayer: Taunts. Yes, you are given the newfound ability to send customized taunts (or, as the game prefers to call them, "messages") flying across your opponent's screen at the mere push of a button. This new addition gives Dual Strike a more enjoyable multiplayer experience that'll last you for hours on end.

Replay Value: (9.25 out of 10)
After you've cleared the normal campaign, you have several things that you can do afterwards. You can try your luck on the Hard Campaign (and trust me, luck is what you need to clear it), battle the computer in Versus Mode to get a better feel for the new COs, or try your skills on the new Survival mode, which uses three different limitations (limited turns, limited funds or limited time) to make the challenge more difficult. Or try the new Combat Mode, which is a real-time battle against the computer in which you navigate your way through a flurry of enemy fire in a total fog of war. As always, of course, you can also access the Design Room, which allows you to create maps as before, but also allows you to now create a look for the COs, and includes a plethura of background images to select from, allowing you to personalize the way your game looks. The [very challenging and evil, but nevertheless] fun never ends in this great game. It'll be difficult for anyone to put this game down and ignore it, even if you happen to despise turn-based strategy games.

Overall: (9 out of 10)
The newest of the new features, including a variety of new COs and awesome new weapons, in addition to new and challenging missions in the Campaign Mode, make this the greatest game of the Advance Wars saga. Nintendo has proven once again that there's no doubt that the Nintendo DS is paving the way for some amazing games that will never fade into obscurity. No gamer should be without it, period.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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