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Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising


Ok, let's face it. There aren't that many good turn-based strategy games out on the market today. Sure there is Front Mission 4, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics, and those 100 hour long Japanese strategy RPGs, but not all that try at the genre are good. This game is easily one of the best. Let's get this review started, shall we?

Score: 9/10

As we all know, the GBA isn't capable of handling all types of neat graphics. This being said, the graphics for this game are surprisingly good. It is in 2-d and it is more of a cartoony style...which is ironic, this being a war game and all. All of the unit animations are well done and the Commanding Officers (or C.O.s) you take control of are drawn nicely. All of the different factions have different looking units. Graphics overall are pretty good for a GBA game, but I've seen better.


This is a turn-based strategy game that does everything right in the gameplay department. The C.O.s you take control of have different strenths and weaknesses that you have to take into account before each battle. You really have to learn about your enemy and know his strenths and weaknesses as well. Example, Max, a C.O. for the Orange Star Army, is a very strong direct combat unit fighter, but lacks in indirect combat unit range of attack and firepower. There are different types of units to deploy. You have: tanks, MD (medium) tanks, Neo Tanks (biggest and most powerful), Artillery (indirect combat cannon), Anti-Air (direct combat unit that is most effective on air and infantry units), Infantry (basic infantry units), Mechs (heavy attack infantry), various copters, transport vehicles, and ships. There are too many units to name all of the strenths and weaknesses of each, which would take a long time. Thinking hard about consequences of your moves is key to getting through this game. The ways to defeat your opponent are by either destroying all opposing units, or capturing the opposing headquarters. The campaign starts out pretty easy, but as you move along and start to play as other factions, it will get increasingly difficult. If you get stuck on a mission, the game will give you hints to help you out. If you don't want to play that particular mission, you can move on to a different one. There are usually at least 3 different missions to play at one time. There is a little steep learning curve to the game, but once you get the hang of it, it will be one of the most enjoyable experiences on your GBA. It is so addicting and fun, i can play it for hours at a time and not get bored with it. Gameplay overall is superb.


The music in this game is pretty good. All of the different C.O.s have a different theme, so there is plenty to listen to. The actual songs themselves are nicely done and sound well on the GBA. It's no live orchestra, but it fits this game well. Sadly, there are no voice-overs in the game. There isn't too much reading so this shouldn't really affect you much...unless you can't read. Sound overall is pretty good.


This game isn't really a story driven game. The story is there, and it is portrayed pretty clearly, but it isn't anything new or special. The Black Hole Army has come back to try to take over the land. So the various factions (Orange Star, Blue Moon, Yellow Comet, and Green Earth) have to stand united against the Black Hole Army. The C.O.s from the factions have unique personalities that come out between missions and during the short breifing segments. The story is fair, not exactly anything new.


I'm going to dedicate this section to the different modes in the game. I have already talked about Campaign mode, I will now talk about War Room, Versus, Link Battle, and Battlemaps. Battlemaps is where you take all of your points you have earned in Campain and War Room modes to buy new maps for War Room and Versus. Link Battle is where you and a friend link together and battle...I haven't played this mode. Versus is where you can choose your opponent and conditions of battle. You can make the opponent CPU controlled or played by a friend via handing GBA back and forth. I have played this mode and it is fun. There is also a 3 player and 4 player versus mode. War Room is another way to earn points for new maps. You play against computer controlled C.O.s. The different modes overall are great.


So overall, this is one of the most value packed, fun, impressive, and addicting games i have ever played. It is my favorite GBA game to date and my favorite handheld game as well.

OVERALL SCORE: 9.5/10 (not an average)
-Bradley (blacksabbath007)