Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising is the sequel to one of Nintendo’s sleeper hits. The first Advance Wars featured intense turn-based strategy, innovative gameplay and anime-style graphics. There was no other strategy game on the Game Boy until now.
Advance Wars 2 is an expansion of the original Advance Wars with many new features and added abilities. The storyline of Advance Wars 2 is that the Black Hole Army is trying to dominate the globe again. The original cast of characters return to Advance Wars 2, (Sami, Andy, Max, Grit, Sonja, Eagle) with a couple new ones (Hawke, Lash, Flak). The characters in Advance Wars 2 have many different personality types: cranky, arrogant, intelligent, fun, and so on.
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising adds more units and has different buildings than the first one. The best way to describe Advance Wars is chess on a battlefield. You have units (tanks, helicopters, military troops, etc.) at your command individually. Each unit has its own movements for each turn. For instance, infantry units might be able to move three spaces but a helicopter can move double or more. The land also plays a factor. Tanks won’t be able to cross mountains and rivers but infantry has no problem at all. All units have advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses fighting other units. The primary goal of the mission is: wipe out the enemy, or capture their base. The same task will be accomplished by completing either of the objectives, so the choice is up to the player. Generally though, the player doesn’t have a choice; you must do what is best for the mission and concentrate on completing the objective that has the highest success rate.
One of the additional units added is the missile silo. Missile silos are spread around the maps; some maps may have them some may not. Bringing up any infantry unit to the silo will allow you to launch one missile anywhere on the map. When the missile hits, it will damage up to 9 spaces. Each silo only has one rocket. Missile silos have no affiliation with anyone so whoever gets to them first gets to use them.
One of the game’s best aspects is the ability to make your army grow. After the first mission or two you’ll really get into this. You’ll have to produce many tanks and military troops if you plan on surviving. That is why money is very important and earned every turn. You earn money on the amount of property you have. You earn money for every building captured, and you will earn 1000 points every turn you control them. So commanding and conquering is very important in the game.
In single-player campaign you choose one of the available maps. There are 5 continents where missions take place. Each continent has 5 to 7 missions. You try to earn enough points to buy some multiplayer maps. As you play you will unlock new War Room maps which are stand-alone missions that can be replayed for better rankings. You can play to earn points in the War Room, or you can battle friends, and possibly face COs in Vs. Mode. There are endless options, and many things for you to do after beating single-player campaign.
The overall appearance of Advance Wars 2 is very well done. By the looks of the game they put more time into developing better graphics. Although this isn’t a very graphic-intensive game, the graphics are great for being processed by a handheld system. The graphics on end screen, start screen, and design screen are well done, and the side-by-side attack animations look great. The map isn’t cluttered with special effects that aren’t needed.
The sound in Advance Wars 2 includes great music and voice clips at the end game screen. It seems like the music inspires you just to play better. There are also many more actions that offer a music change or a different type of music to be played while in the game. All in all, it’s a great and outstanding soundtrack in Advance Wars 2. The same 16-bit quality music beats from start to finish.
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising is a fantastic strategy game and well worth the addition to anyone’s Game Boy Advance collection. The Split-screen and replay value are great, but if you are looking for a mindless game, this is not the right choice for you. I also think this would be a great game to come to GameCube for a multiplayer online game.
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