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Advance Wars: Dual Strike
Review posted October 2005 by Sean Kasheri
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Release Date: August, 2005
ESRB Rating: "E" for Everyone
The hit GBA (GameBoy Advance) game Advance Wars returns yet
again to the handhelds. Advance Wars Dual Strike, on the Nintendo
DS, brings back all the great aspects of the past Advance Wars
and takes it up a notch by add new COs (Commanding Officers),
new units, and even more stuff to do. Advance Wars Dual Strike
brings the strategy genre to the DS and doesn't disappoint.
You start off as Jake, a new Orange Star CO. But as soon as
you start, Black Hole launches an invasion and your training
time is cut down. You move out and fight back the Black Hole
Army and do your best to save your homeland. Good luck soldier,
we're counting on you.
Advance Wars brings RTS to a new level. Dual Strike improves
all the great things that were in the previous Wars and brings
in even more. All your favorite characters like Andy, Max,
Nell, and others return to help fight back the Black Hole Army,
which has speedily come back to power and invaded Omega Land,
the new Dual Strike battlefront. Of course all new characters
join the fight, like Jake, Rachel, and others, as well as new
Black Hole COs.
The newest thing about Dual Strike is of course, the dual front,
or DS battle. Here, you battle with 2 COs on 2 different screens,
with you controlling the main front and your other CO controlling
the secondary front. You can also control the second front
should you wish to do so. This set up makes for twice the fun
and replay ability.
With all new elements in the game, there is even more game
time and things to do. For instance survival mode is where
you have certain hindrances, like a certain amount of money,
or certain number of days, to complete your objective. The
all-new combat mode brings a breath of fresh air to gamers
who are fans of playing non-stop campaign, versus, war room,
or survival. You choose a CO, pick units, and then play. But
where it's different is that you fight in 3rd person, controlling
separate units and shooting using the stylus to attack the
other units and win. It's a totally new formula being added
to the already excellent Wars gameplay and it makes the game
even more interesting.
And what's a new Wars game without
new units? All the new units in this installment of Advance
Wars are great. The new Mega Tank is a monstrous tank capable
of one-hit KOs… but
just send in your stealth bomber to kill it… and then
take down that bomber with you aircraft carrier… and
then take out that carrier with your new pipe runner…and
then repair your carrier with your black boat. All of these
new units add tons of new strategy to the game and that makes
the combat in this Advance Wars more intensive than the previous
The new Comm. Tower adds a boost to all units, making them
invaluable on the field. And those pesky missile silos are
back, allowing you to fire anywhere on the map and doing tons
The new and returning COs and their powers add lots of fun
and strategy as well. COs are the officers you use to fight.
Each CO comes with his/her own specialty. For instance the
new CO Jake is a hip young officer who specializes on fighting
on plains. So put a unit on a plain and attack with it and
all of a sudden, you get a firepower bonus. COs have powers,
which give them a boost in battle, and Super CO Powers, which
are like huge kidney punches to your enemy if you use them
right. The new almighty tag power adds even more strategy,
capable of turning the tide of battle with just that one power.
2 COs use their Super CO Power in 1, that's right 1 turn, to
do some mega damage, sometimes even completely destroying your
foe. This incredible move forces you to rethink your strategy
and make a counter attack. Of course, once you beat the game,
there's still plenty more to do. Go over to Battle Maps and
buy more COs to use, new maps to play on, and editing options
for COs and maps.
You can even design your own maps and play on them with friends
or the computer.
Another big thing is Wi-Fi. You can play with up to 4 friends
if each has their own copy of Advance Wars DS or you can play
8 player combat mode with just one game, and of course, 8 Nintendo
DS (http://www.mobiletechreview.com/nintendo_DS.htm) machines.
Talk about helping you make new friends.
And if you're a hardcore, Advance Wars vet, you'll spend all
your time trying to earn all 300 medals. So get to work soldier.
Basic controls are the same as the old Wars. Build a unit,
move it next to a bad guy, kill the bad guy, repeat. But with
different types of terrains, lots of different units, and all
sorts of strategies, Dual Strike ups the ante for strategy
games on the handheld. Even though controls are the same, you
can now use the stylus to speed up game play and be more accurate.
But if you're a returning Advance Wars veteran, you'll most
likely stick to thee button controls because you're used to
it. Using the stylus to control the game play is a great way
to integrate the new touch screen interface and it works very
well. But both control interfaces work very well and are very
Graphics are pretty much the same as previous Advance Wars
games. It's a shame the game didn't sport a 3D environment,
but the 2D graphics works well for the game. The map has been
tilted a bit to add more depth and the graphics are just a
bit sharper and more detailed, such as when a unit is destroyed,
they are blown up differently (seriously). But of course, they're
not drab. Watching the units devastate each other, bring a
sort of suspense as you hope your precious unit survives. And
the buildings and terrain still look good. The detailed and
different sprites look absolutely fantastic. But if you were
looking for 3D graphics, you'll be disappointed.
All the great little tunes from the previous Wars
titles are back and as you suspected, there are plenty of new tunes
to listen to as you blast away at your enemy. And with 2 speakers
now, the music is twice as strong on the DS compared to the GBA versions,
which can really get you in the game and get you in the mood of fighting.
With all the old tunes also redone a little, as well as the addition
of 2 speakers, and cool new tunes, you can kick back and enjoy both
the sounds and sights of Dual Strike with style.
In the end, Dual Strike doesn't disappoint. All new units, new COs
and the Comm. Towers add more depth to the Advance Wars series. New
units, music, modes, and the tag powers, take Dual Strike to a whole
new level. The crisp, detailed graphics still look good and watching
infantry units get blown off the screen is better than ever. Fans
of the Advance Wars series and of this game genre should look at
this installment as a must-have title.
- Be sure to capture cities and bases, since they give you additional
funds to buy units. Comm. Towers also add boosts to your units. Those
help a lot.
- Use your CO and Super CO Powers. They really
do help in battle.
- Be sure to use all the different COs. Each
CO has his/her specialty which may help on a certain map or level.
- Just because the Mega Tank is super strong,
doesn't mean it's weak. It's slow and has only 3 rounds of fire.
Check your enemy's CO meter, so they don't surprise you with a
- Check for chemistry between COs. This will
cause your tag power to get a little boost. For instance Jake and
Rachel get a 20% boost together.
- Use your Regular CO Power. Just because
it's a regular Power doesn't mean it's not good.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
The graphics are pretty much the same,
but that doesn't mean they don't look good. They have become
a little crisper, even though no 3D was added.
Sound definitely gets a makeover in Dual
Strike. Redone tunes, new tunes, and 2 speakers make the music
that much better. Definitely a nice touch.
This is where Dual Strike rocks. You
can play levels or maps over and over again and there are new
ways to win as well as tons of replay ability.
This game can keep you playing for hours
if you're a hardcore fan. Play against a friend or the computer
in multiplayer mode adds even more depth to the gameplay.