Advance Wars: Dual Strike @ 13 November 2005 08:32 PM


Title: Advance Wars

Format: Nintendo DS

Developer: Intellegent Systems

Publisher: Nintendo

Region: PAL

Players: 1-4

Rating: 7+

I seem to remember back in the day when I was just a kid and had both a SNES and a Mega Drive . The games were great, they were addictive and graphics weren't that important; this game has made me feel the same way.

Advance Wars: Dual Strike is not only the best game in the series, but the current best game on the DS and one of the best handheld games ever.

Never before has a game been so addictive since the likes of Pokemon, or Tetris. Unfortunately the game will never see the popularity it deserves due to the sequel loving, brand name hugging industry we work in today.

Advance Wars DS is the sequel to the previous two games on the GBA, there has been significant amount of change to make it a proper sequel unlike the effort seen with Advance Wars: Black Hole Rising. The problem is Advance Wars is so perfect at what it does it is very difficult to drastically improve it.

To combat this Advance Wars DS has used the touch screen and dual screen impressively. Not as innovatively as Nintendogs for instance, but it has given the player a choice of commanding his troops using the stylus or the classic D-pad control method. This makes the game feel more like a PC turn based strategy game. Also the dual screen support gives way for a new type of mode called DS mode, which uses both screens for battle unlike the bottom battle screen used for combat and top used for stats and info. This new mode gives way for 2 against 2 battles which gives the player new forms of strategy.

Of course the game isn't complete without the campaign mode, which as always is challenging. The story is always melodramatic but that's not the point. Essentially it teaches first time players how to get to grips with all the modes and units that are available. The campaign mode will take around 15 hours to complete depending on your skill level. But once you have finished the campaign mode there are literally hundreds of maps to beat, on many different settings. 300 medals to unlock, wallpapers, music, characters and lots more. This game thrives on replay value and its addictive gameplay will enable players to be hooked on this for hundreds of hours. This is the main reason why this game is so brilliant; because it's a handheld it has the pick up and play nature about it, and has replay value that beats most home console games. Speaking of the music, which is brilliantly catchy, they have brought back the music from the previous versions of the game which is a welcome addition. Also owning the previous versions does give you unlockables by having the games inserted in the GBA port of the DS.

The graphics keep true to the series, but give a welcome touch of 3D effects by displaying a perspective view of the battle field. But as with the last two games, kept simple.

The multiplayer supports single and multi card modes. However the single card mode offers an unusual play varient unseen in the series before, having players involved in a fast paced real time shoot 'em up very similar to Tank wars. Single card mode offers some pretty decent experiences but multi card mode is where it's at; with all maps and all characters playable it will be like an extravagant game of chess.

Advance Wars DS is undoubtedly a contender for game of the year, this is unless of course, Mario Kart DS doesn't beat it. But for now, all DS owners should treat this game as a must have.


Gameplay: 10
Graphics: 8.5
Audio: 9.0
Lifespan: 10
Total: 9.4

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