Advance Wars: Under Fire (GameCube) Preview

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 26.06.2004 2

Advance Wars: Under Fire was shown at E3 and was received quite well by those that played it, including our very own representative Alexi Messeramo. We now have a more detailed analysis of the game for your reading pleasures!

One thing is for sure, this is no ordinary Advance Wars title. The developers haven't just taken the formula from the GBA versions and added some 3D graphics. They have changed nearly everything you can think of; it really is an entirely different game... For starters developers have taken a massive step, by removing the turn based gameplay from the previous two titles. It's a very interesting decision to take the series in this bold new RTS flavoured direction that's for sure. Anyone who picked up the title in its current form could easily be forgiven for thinking it was a completely different game! 3D graphics, real time engine, is there anything left from the originals at all? The simple answer is of course yes, otherwise UK-Based developers, Kuju-London, really could be accused of milking the Advance Wars name. Which they no doubt will be in future, look at it from any point of view, and there really aren't all that many reasons for it to be an Advance Wars title at all. First off it's not even on the GameBoy Advance anymore, thus making the title rather irrelevant as it is, and then there the reasons mentioned previously. Had it been called Cube Wars, then it would have been a different story, but as it stands your best bet is to just think of 'Under Fire' as entirely new game.

Screenshot for Advance Wars: Under Fire on GameCube

Of course all this is irrelevant as to how the game actually plays. The demo we were allowed to play was based entirely around a beach location. You start off with a certain amount of vehicles (one tank) and men (one squad of units). When you first take control, it is of one individually unit, using him you will more than likely wish to jump in that Tank of yours and lead your men to what will hopefully be great glory! Of course things aren't quite this simple, as you progress through the levels, enemies of all varieties attack you in all number of ways. Help is at hand though, as you gradually loose more and more units and begin to worry for your army's welfare, reinforcements are delivered by helicopter. Choosing which to attack with and which not, is a matter of personal preference. Whereas in Advance Wars one and two, where you had as long as you liked to decide where to move your units, in 'Under Fire' it is a much quicker paced state of affairs. Sit around thinking for too long, and the enemy will 'advance' (Ed - See what we did there!) and crush you, rush into things without any though will only lead to your destruction as well. This of course adds an element of strategy that must be carefully judged for best results.

Screenshot for Advance Wars: Under Fire on GameCube

For an idea of how the game feels consider these two examples. Calling your units is achieved using a system VERY similar to Pikmin, hold down the correct button on the controller, and ring of light (that happens to look very similar to the one in Pikmin as it happens) will appear where your cursor lies. Anything that belongs to your army, and that resides in this circle instantly becomes under your control, and will begin to follow you wherever you move too. Once you have done this, it is simply the case of telling your units what to do, whether it be to follow you, attack specific enemies or maybe stay where they are, it's up to you. For a better example of this, think of the Command and Conquer games, take away the construction of units and buildings (for the moment) and you have a very similar system, basically the one that appears on mostly every RTS out there. So combining these two elements, will give you a pretty good idea of how the game (in its current form) is playing like.

Screenshot for Advance Wars: Under Fire on GameCube

The game is still in its early stages, so there is bound to plenty more features in the final version. Already there is quite a wide variety of units at your control, the various vehicles like tanks and aircraft, as well as flamethrower, bazooka and machine gun wielding infantry units. It is this element from the original two titles that is likely to be making the biggest return. We have yet to discover the exact rotor and whether or not it will include such things as the Neo Tank from Advance Wars 2 or not. The CO's also appear to be making a welcome return, although in the demo we played none of there special powers or the like were demonstrated. This is something else that will likely be announced as the game furthers in development.

Screenshot for Advance Wars: Under Fire on GameCube

Final Thoughts

All in all the game is looking to be shaping up nicely. Although the changes from previous titles are rather dramatic, they are not bad changes by any stretch of the imagination. As mentioned, the game is in very early stages, with a lot more development needed, but from what we have seen this could well do the GBA version justice, if not surpass that. Only time will tell folks. Keep it with C3, for any new information and media as and when we get it...

Developer

Kuju

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Strategy

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (7 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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