After the first war between the Allied Nations and Black Hole Army, the Black Hole Army has recovered and decided to launch an attack on Macro Land. The evil commander Sturm has ordered each of his Commanding Officers to capture a continent, now the four continent's allied armies must fight to repel the Black Hole Army for global peace.
(Not from the manual)
--From the GBA Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising instruction manual.
"Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising" is the second game in the beloved "Advance Wars" series. As with all of the games in the "Advance Wars" franchise, "Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising" is an exceptionally well executed turn based strategy game. I had the good fortune to be introduced to the first "Advance Wars" on the Console Classix site, and had high expectations for this sequel, it did not disappoint. Full disclosure, I am a huge fan of turn based strategy games, the Civilizations series are some of my favorite games ever, but you don't need to be a fan of the genre to appreciate "Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising", evidenced by the fact that this game is ubiquitously considered THE hidden gem of the Game Boy Advance.
Propelled by its slick gameplay, cutesy graphics, and fun soundtrack, "Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising" has a plot line that picks up where the first game left off, providing a sense of cohesion to fans of the original. "Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising" manages to layer in even more depth than the original, and players must learn the strengths and weaknesses of their armies and commanding officers if they hope to progress. Deciding when, and where to use your Commanding Officers ability was a bit tricky for me at first, and some stages had to be replayed multiple times before I could clear them. "Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising" is an extremely satisfying, near flawless, challenging turn based strategy game, and possibly the best one of the best games offered on the Game Boy Advance.
As in the original, there are several different modes that players can access. In Campaign mode, the player will control a Commanding Officer on one of five continents. The player must complete missions to unlock advance missions. Missions are typically completed by wiping out all of the opposing enemy, or by capturing a certain unit or place. As missions progress the player will be confronted with more challenging campaigns with larger maps, requiring more strategy to complete. Completion of missions will reward the player with unlockable content in the game's shop. Upon completion of the regular campaign, a more difficult version is unlocked.
In the War Room mode, players must complete maps despite being placed at a disadvantaged start point. The Versus mode allows players to fight on either user generated or pre-existing map. Players can either battle the computer AI, or other players. Design mode allows players to create their own maps (which can be used in versus mode), as well as edit the appearance of Commanding Officers. The Battle maps enable players to use earned points to unlock new content.
|Up||Menu navigation / Troop placement|
|Down||Menu navigation / Troop placement|
|Left||Menu navigation / Troop placement|
|Right||Menu navigation / Troop placement|
|A Button||Activate menu / Select Unit|
|B Button||Cancel Selection / Hold over enemy for attack range|
|R Button||Look at unit and terrain info|
|L Button||Unit toggle|
|Start Button||Skip dialogue / Enter campaign mission|
|Select Button||Menu activation|