Advance Wars: Dual Strike

AW - Advance Wars

First it's Advance Wars (GBA), then the second sequel Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (GBA). And now, the moment for all Advance Wars fans are waiting for is finally come true. Let's give an applause for Advance Wars: Dual Strike! The first AW debut game for the Nintendo DS. I must admit that it's one of the game that drive me into buying a Nintendo DS for myself.

Do not concern yourself too much for thinking that you won't even know the storyline well, especially if you had not played the 2 AW game for the GBA before. Although AWDS doesn't provide any major flashback of the previous game storyline, you wouldn't mind to bother as some characters will provide little information about their background throughout your game play.

In the beginning, your military instructor, Nell's sister (Nell is the main millitary instructor/guide for the 2 previous AW title), Rachel is going to brief you through the game. Do not worry if you hadn't played AW before as she will guide you throughout the game. Quite frankly though, experienced user such as myself didn't find that tutorial to be any help as the control is simple.

As you can see, AWDS is designed exclusively for NDS. So it must somehow implement the use of Dual Screen right? Dual Screen - Dual Strike, any ideas what it's all about? In certain campaign, you'll be force to take control in both screen. That's right, you can use up to 2 CO's at a same time in a battle. Likewise your opponent will also do the same. In normal campaign, certain campaign will automatically setup a CO for you. However in the hard campaign, you can choose your CO's for battle. No more restriction.

So control both screen at the same time, how is it possible? Well, the mechanic behind it is pretty simple. Since your main goal is to defeat the lower screen (touch screen) by either capturing the HQ or demolish all enemy units, you wouldn't bother to defeat the enemy on the top screen eh? I'm afraid you're wrong. In certain campaign, you'll need to destroy the enemy units on the top screen in order to destroy the barrier for the enemy structure in the lower screen. Simply put, unless you managed to destroy the enemy units in the top screen, you won't be able to give a single scratch to a single enemy structure in the lower screen. Hope it doesn't sound confusing for you.

Throughout your game play in normal campaign, you may think you can't use the previous AW CO's such as Jack, Nell, Drake, Kanbei and more just as I did. Apparently unless you managed to beat through all 26 missions in normal campaign, you won't be able to use them. In other words, you can use them in hard campaign which you can buy from Hachi via access to the [Battle Map] in the main menu. Every CO's has their own pros and cons. For example:
  • Jess has higher offensive value for ground type mobile while the offensive and defensive value for naval and air units has been slightly lower, ever than Colin perhaps?
  • Colin can built units at a cheaper cost. The only downside is the unit firepower had been slightly downgraded.
Single and Full CO's power still applies in this game. There's even a mode called Tag Force which you can only access if two CO's (in a same screen) has the full CO's power with them. With this, you can move 2 turn in 1 day. Whether using or not using it is your call as building full CO power for both CO's is definitely going to be longer and tough. For mission which you can use 2 CO's, you can change the current CO's. However, keep in mind that it will end your turn. So change CO's only after you had assigned your units for attack/move/capture. There's no undo button for every AW game. So use your CO wisely.

For your information, the normal campaign missions in the previous game, especially for AW: Black Hole Rising is far more harder than you thought it could be compared to AW:DS. However, if you're willing to challenge your command & conquer skill in AW:DS, you can try and beat the Hard Campaign. As the name 'Hard' implies, the mission is really hard and you'll mostly need a more strategic ways to win it. Getting a S rank in all the missions in Hard Campaign seems a little bit impossible for me, unless you are good at it.

Whenever you managed to clear a mission, you will be graded based on 3 main aspect - Power, Technique and Speed. For those who doesn't know how they're being judged of, I'll simply brief you:
  • Power - Amount of enemy units that you're managed to demolish/destroy
  • Technique - Amount of your own units that are destroyed by enemy units. The lower the number of your destroyed units, the better. Luckily it's judged by percentage. So if you think you are able to clear a mission in that turn, try and build some cheap units such as infrantry unit, recon in order to increase the percentage.
  • Speed - The amount of days that you need to clear a mission. It's obvious that the sooner the better.
For you to acquire a [S] Ranking for a mission, you'll need to have at least or equal to 280 points. Extra points for damaging enemy units such as Oziom doesn't count in.

Another addition to boost the game excitement would be the increment for the units. Additional units such as Oziom, Stealth, Carrier, Megatank, and even flying missile had been added to this game. For further information about those units, just play the game and eventually you'll find out the specifications about them.

Since there are many unlockables features in the game, the replay value for this game is definitely high. Nothing much to say about the unlockables, just figure it out yourself as I would not like to spoil the fun for you.

I think the great deal about this game would be nothing more than the Wi-Fi features. Although I hadn't get a chance to test it since I hadn't got myself a Wi-Fi router or Nintendo Wi-Fi USB connector, I got a hunch that it's the major attraction for the popularity for this game. With such features, you can battle any AW user worldwide without knowing that this world is indeed, what do we call again? Oh, LARGE!

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