Reviewed by Jimmy | 08.21.06
After two successful runs on the Game Boy Advanced, Intelligent Systems popular strategy series Advance Wars advances onto Nintendo's DS hardware. We are happily walking the mine field to see if Dual Strike on the Dual Screen has any explosions.
Advance Wars: Dual Strike is the third game the Advanced Wars series. The first two Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising made a big impact on Nintendo's Game Boy Advanced systems. The appeal to Advance Wars is half its cartoon inspired art style and its fun and challenging strategy aspects. Advance Wars: Dual Strike now carries on with the same impressive gameplay and loveable graphics which has been expanded on the new Nintendo handheld, the DS.
Advance Wars: Dual Strike is easy to grasp and within minutes you'll understand the strategy system, the controls, and how to play the game. This is another appealing side to Advance Wars, although it's challenging at times, the gameplay is always understandable and you never get over run with micro management, or overly complex details.
Capture the HQ
The objective of Advance Wars is destroying the enemy or capturing their Headquarters. Each level is broken apart into mini-maps where you play out the battle. The top down perspective really helps you get a clear view of everything that is going on which makes it easy to strategize your next move. Advance Wars is also based on a turn-based system which is makes the game run at a slower pace, but also allows for the player to think out its moves rather then just react. There are many ways to accomplish goals in Advance Wars which is also half the fun. This just extends the replay value of the game because you can always attempt new strategies, be more effective, or try out new officers. It's real easy to get hooked by Advance Wars, and this is one of the few games you'll most likely be replaying until the next edition is released.
Two is Better Than One
On the field you play under the persona of a commanding officer (CO) which has a distinct personality and powers that can be called upon in battle. You enemy also has a CO with their own individual traits. Think of the CO's as Generals on the battlefield, Advance Wars really gets into the confrontations and this is when the dialog happens. Words between warriors, and advice from your camp. Conversations are all in text and advance the plot in the game, if you can get into the story it might be somewhat interesting, but it's mainly sounds like a bunch of teenagers squabbling over who gets the window seat in the bus. The storyline, characters and cartoonish graphics helps keep the reality of war light hearted, which is great for younger players on the Nintendo.
For the veterans who already have experienced the other Advance War games you will feel right at home in Dual Strike. All training blurbs can be skipped, but also offer a refresher if it's been a while. Its still grid based combat with a host of land, sea, and air units, some that are familiar and others that are new. Although I have to mention, the Black Hole army got the best side of new units, but I guess that's the way evil rolls.
Dual Strike on Dual Screens
Intelligent Systems used the two DS screens wisely in Dual Strike. The bottom is your normal playing screen like on the other versions, and the top is used to show the statistics of each unit. Besides the occasional special mission the two screens help you keep focused on the gameplay without having to switch between the game field and the unit stats. Besides showing the action the touch screen can be used to tap out an order which works, but it's something you have to get used to. If you're not down with the tap, tap, tap, to move around your armies, the traditional controls work as well.
If you're getting a little tired of always playing with yourself, then you're in luck because Advance Wars: Dual Strike has wireless multiplayer support. For multiplayer there is an exciting new combat mode which requires you to act fast with the stylus to triumph over your opponent. It's pretty much just a variant on the normal gameplay which is also supported in multiplayer. Like you can suspect besides the combat mode, turned-based VS can be a little slower then normal games. It takes a certain amount of time allotted to go through a multiplayer game of Advance Wars, and because they don't have a save feature; it's something most will skip.
Advance Wars: Dual Strike is a one of kind strategy war game that brings the cute into the battlefield. Dual Strike is more of the same, but that's what the fans wanted. Besides the questionable multiplayer, this updated and reformatted Advance Wars rocks!
Gameplay: 9, Graphics/Sound: 9, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 9.5. Final: 9 / 10