Review by SearchBomber
""Owned!" or "The Real Super Power of TEAMWORK!""
Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising are two of the most addictive, replayable games on the Gameboy Advance. When I saw a short clip of gameplay for the next Advance Wars around the time of the DS's unveiling, I was ecstatic. Now, a year later, the game is finally in my hands. Was it worth the anticipation? To put it simply...yes.
The graphics are, to some players' dismay, still in 2-D (this should be expected, though; the DS can only handle so much 3-D stuff). To get around this, the developer of the game (Intelligent Systems) spruced up the graphics, giving the map an isometric view and adding several other effects, like zooming in on the map to a unit that's about to get attack and panning the screen before the units begin the split-screen combat animation. The only problem with the new perspective is that the sprites of units sometimes act weird (since they're ever-moving), but it's not bad enough to make you unable to recognize your units.
The themes for the AW2 COs have returned, now performed with higher-end instruments to accomodate the DS's better sound capability. The new CO themes and tunes absolutely rock. You might have the player next to you yelling "hurry up!" while you listen to newcomer Jake's theme without making a move.
The gameplay rules, as always. IS added extra modes, COs, units, maps, and types of gameplay, making it feel like a true sequel instead of a rehash (which many claim AW2 is).
The Campaign Mode is back, and seems a bit more linear and easier than AW2. Newcomers to the series are gently pushed through the basics of the game. A lot of the missions, however, are unneccesarily easy for veterans of the series. The story follows Jake and Rachel, as they gather the Allied Nations COs to take out Black Hole and there new commander-in-chief. While easy, the Campaign mode is still pretty fun...unless you absolutely hate Jake and his psuedo-rapper/netspeak vocabulary (I think it's funny, myself).
The War Room has been massively expanded (you're sure to get lost in the options the first time to enter). It's still used to get points and now experience points, which let your COs use certain "skills". The skills system is new to AW, but if you use some of the later abilities you earn, your friends will want to kill you.
There are two new modes: Survival and Combat. Survival modes sends you through a gauntlet of maps with limited turns, money, or time (As in real time). Combat mode has absolutely nothing to do with the other, strategy-based modes; it's a fun little minigame where you run around, shooting stuff with the Touch Screen.
The Touch Screen can be used to command units, but it gets a bit odd at times, so the D-Pad is still reccomended. Where the Touch Screen does become useful, however, is the Design Maps. Now you can draw your custom map, making it much faster than before.
All in all, this game is probably the best you'll get on the DS for a while. If you see it, by all means, pick it up. I'm giving Advance Wars: Dual Strike a 5 out of 5 (10/10).
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 08/25/05
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