Welcome to Revive or Die, this is where we delve deep into gaming’s past and decide whether game series that aren’t with us anymore should be revived or kept dead.
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Developer(s): Intelligent Systems
Platforms: Game Boy Advance
Release Date: September 10th, 2001
Advanced Wars was a military turn-based strategy game on the Game Boy Advance, in Japan it’s known better as Famicom Wars. Often developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo, the series has been around since 1988 and their last game was Advance Wars: Days of Ruin.
There have been 15 games in total since 1988 but not all of them fell under the Advance Wars name, on the Wii and GameCube they were called Battalion Wars. Other adaptations also include Game Boy Wars, a lot of these titles over lap or have a few different names depending on the country of release but in this Revive or Die we will be looking at Advance Wars as a whole.
If you were lucky enough to pick up a copy of the first Advance Wars for the Game Boy Advance then you might remember just how great this game was. It received praise all over the world, receiving a 92 on Metacritic, a 10/10 on Eurogamer and a 9.9 on IGN. Whilst the later games still scored very well, things certainly started to crumble slightly in their last game, the main reason for this was because it was more of the same.
Your main goal was to take out the other team(s), you could achieve this by taking out all their units, capturing their headquarters and some game types had specific missions that must be achieved to earn victory. As this was a turn based game you could strategically moves your units around the map in order to get the best attack position on your enemy. When you attacked the enemy the showed a small cut scene of your units firing upon the enemy and showing you the amount of damage you did, which was a really cool little feature.
One thing I remember really well about Advance Wars was the terrains and maps. There was tons of different bits of terrain, ranging from Roads, Woods, Cities, Ports, HQ’s, Rivers, I mean you name it they probably had it. What was really interesting was how certain pieces of terrain would aid specific units more than others meaning you could get the upper edge. Weather conditions could also effect visibility and movement of your ground units, there was a mode called Fog of War, which meant that your line of site was dependent on a specific unit, which varies from unit to unit.
There were 18 different unit types in total, ranging from infantry to ships, planes and vehicles. Each unit would have a certain amount of attack power, range, vision, fuel supply and some units would have two different attack types. Along with the different terrain you could win wars from simply out-playing your opponent on the field, even if they have a bigger army.
The original Advance Wars also had a multiplayer option which meant you could play against some AI or use the system link to battle other players which was always really cool. The rules still applied, one person would take their turn and once they are done it would move on to the next players.
Along with all of this you had your Commanding Officer which could really change the outcome of a match with their abilities. They could provide units with certain advantages or disadvantages, such as a shorter unit range or extra fire power. It wasn’t always related to your units though, certain Commanding Officers like Olaf makes it snow, which puts a huge damper on the enemies vision.
Advance Wars was such a good game because it remained simple but at the same time could involve deep strategy and it always was extremely amusing to play. However that being said, what I don’t want to see is just another Advance Wars game on the 3DS or something like that. They need to move this game to the Wii U because there couldn’t be a better console for it, you could use the Gamepad as the map where you move you units around, whilst also seeing it on the screen. When you went into a battle sequence it would appear in full HD on the TV whilst providing you with stats and other such things on the Gamepad. It would also would perfectly without the TV, just playing on the Gamepad would work perfectly.
This is a game that I would love to see more of, but only if they took it in a new direction, added some more interesting twists and curves and presented it on a console that has more power than any of the ones they have previously used.