Advanced Wars 2: Black Hole Rising

by Haren

My initial reasoning for buying a Game Boy Advance was for two reasons. First, that my OLD Game Boy (which now rests peacefully within my bedroom closet) was finally revealing to me the formerly hidden “wrinkles of age” (literally) etched across its ancient screen. Second, I was most interested in the original ‘Advance Wars’.

Now, I bought this game’s predecessor about a week before I was scheduled to have my wisdom teeth removed, so it worked out rather nicely that while I “brooded” in my room after the operation, I had something to occupy my mind with other then that of my own self-pity. :o)

So, after having such a simply ducky time with the first one during my time of woe, I was quite happy (but not entirely surprised) upon discovery that a sequel was to be made. So, as soon as I was able, I procured a copy of this (for at least myself) muchly anticipated game.

Now for the review:

Gameplay: Well, this is where the game can potentially take off or nose dive, depending on whether or not you appreciate grid-movement turn-based strategy.

Chess with tanks, battleships, and bombers might be a good way to describe this game. To further mix things up however, they’ve thrown in various Commanding Officers (C.O.s) with specialized troop abilities and multiple limit-break-like C.O. powers, the capture of cities and bases for unit production, various weather conditions, fog of war, and the need for fuel and ammo supplies. Some of you might look at chess as just a little easier after playing this game.

Even if one were never to end up completing this game on the “Advanced/Hard Campaign Mode”, the replay value is, in the hands of someone with a bit of creativity (a map-design mode is available), immense, especially when multiple players are involved (playing against a human as opposed to a computer will really change your strategies when it comes to this game).

Graphics: Not much has changed in this regard since the last game. They’ve put in a few new graphics for various terrain tiles such as trees and cities. New character designs look pretty nice (character’s colours are now customizable), the battle animations have been given a face lift, generally the same simply understood manga style graphics from the first game.

Music: While, for the most part, the music is fairly good at gettin’ ya into the mood ta pummel your opponent into a blubbering puddle of goo, it can get a little repetitious after your eightieth game day of battling through an endless horde of Sturm’s Black Hole minions. Thankfully, for those of you who aren’t to excited about that prospect, there is an option to turn the music off. Personally, my favorite character theme shall still remain “Grit’s Theme”.

Sound: All your usual beeps, clicks, explosions, and machine-gun sound effects are put to good use here. But again, for those of you with delicate ears, there is an option to turn sounds off.

Story: The game’s story is set in the war-ravaged world of “Cosmo Land”, which has, since the previous game, rebuilt from the ashes of the latest “great” war initiated by the enigmatic alien invader, Sturm.

Now, as it turns out and as promised, the previously here to for mentioned villinyus cur has returned to exact his retribution upon the four nations of Cosmo Land. Unfortunately to this effect, there isn’t much I can really say about this without giving to much away, besides the fact that there should be enough story to keep most people interested.

Overall: I found this to be, and still is, a very time consuming, but very entertaining game. I myself am still working at completing the “Advanced Campaign” while at the same time, trying to find and beat all the hidden “Neo-Tank” laboratory missions (the one new unit introduced into the game since the last one).

The only real down point that I can find to really gripe about is that when the “Fog of War” option is turned on, the computer can still see ALL your units (unless you have them hidden in a forest or reef)! This was actually one of the first things I checked for when I bought the game, seeing as it was the same with the first one as well.

Gameplay: 9/10 (Boy, do I luv strategy)

Graphics: 6/10 (Nice and easily understood visuals)
Music: 8/10 (Most of the tunes were nice n’ catchy)
Sound: 6/10 (I didn’t actually find em’ so bad)
Story: 7/10 (Methinks I shmell a sequel comin’ up)
Overall: 9/10 (Hey, the math doesn’t add up, great game!)

  • Advanced Wars 2: Black Hole Rising
  • by Haren
  • Published on September 1st, 2003
Advanced Wars 2: Black Hole Rising
Intelligent Systems

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