Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 06.09.2003

Review for Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising on Game Boy Advance

So here it is the game many thousands have been waiting for since last year. As highly as anticipated as the likes of Half-Life 2 by some people! There is one problem with games like this; reviewers like us are terribly stuck for words, so similar to the original there really isn't much to say, but what there is we will talk about right now.

Okay let's begin with those graphics. Yes those graphics, the cutesy - kiddie graphics you fell in love with once before and are about to do so again. In fact there so similar that if you put two maps together that are designed to look similar will probably look exactly the same. The landscape remains ultimately unchanged, with roads, mountains and sea etc looking the same as before. The units too have survived the process of 'sequalisation' unscathed. With just a few exceptions, there is a new unit! The Neo Tank is a Black - Hole army creation and is VERY powerful. It is a step up from the MD tank, and is the highly expensive. They have a movement range of 6, but have poor vision. They can attack ALL other units, even sea and air ones! All the old effects like snow and rain are back and as helpful/annoying as ever. The bulk of the gameplay is still all here, which is no bad thing of course. Funds are collected the same way as before, defence varies depending on your location, etc etc. However for Advance Wars veterans there is still plenty of new features to sink your teeth into...

Screenshot for Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising on Game Boy Advance

So the graphics are VERY similar, and you've read a whole paragraph and found just one new feature! Well that is about to change. Let's start with the main difference in the campaign mode. There is a bit of story, but not much. The campaign starts with the prologue: Marco Land where the Black Hole's army iron fist first crushed all opposition. Elsewhere their grip is tightening... Then you witness a conversation between Strum (the enemy from the first game) and a new CO in his army, Hawke. Then after that you see the familiar faces of Andy, Sami and Max. They are all getting a bit worried because the Black Hole Army has captured Marco Land and has been spotted in Orange Star, Blue Moon, Yellow Comet and Green Earth. Unlike the first game where Sturm turned all the armies in War World against each other, hoping to conquer the world in the confusion. This time he couldn't do that, (He isn't that stupid). So this time it's just a flat out, all VS the Black Hole Army. It's clear from the beginning who you are fighting, no disguising, and no trickery. You get to take control of all the armies and Co's from the original at one pint or another. As well as them each army has received a new CO, which spices things up a bit as you have to learn there strengths and weaknesses. You start on Orange Star, which basically acts as one big training mission. If you have forgotten the basics, then with the instruction of Nell you'll soon be crushing those Black Hole minions again. Once you've done that you start playing as the other armies, you can choose between Blue Moon and Yellow Comet at first. Each of them is trying to repel Black Hole from the home territory.

Screenshot for Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising on Game Boy Advance

These add YET another tactical option to the game, whether to use the normal power twice, or just one Super Power. Chances are this will depend on how well you're doing in the mission, if the enemy aren't doing very much at all, it's pretty stupid to waste a CO power, and you may as well wait until they are doing something than smash them to pulp with your Super Power. Now there's just one other BIG difference to the game. The new buildings, unfortunately they mostly belong to the Black Hole Army. The only exception being the new Missile Solo's! They have a huge fire radius and unlimited range, but can only be fired once. They are scattered throughout the map, and are ALL neutral, any unit can activate them just as you would capture, but with these you can do it on the same turn. Once used, they become just like any other scenery piece, but have a defence rating of three like Bases and Cities etc. Now what about these new Black Hole properties you ask? Well there is loads of em. The first one is the Factory, these are connected to a giant pipe-line that leads somewhere off map. They can build any unit type, and are invulnerable except for one weakness. Which you'll have to discover for yourself. Others take the form of GIAGANTIC structures protected by multiple, powerful cannons. Laboratories are hidden research facilities that will appear on the world map only when certain conditions have been met. If you capture one of these you'll be able to build the new Neo Tank units from then on. Lasers can strike friend and foe alike, they also have unlimited ammo. Now the big guys... BLACK CANNONS are the bigger versions of the normal defensive cannons, they lay down a withering cone-shaped barrage, they too have unlimited ammo, and can only be destroyed by blowing up the front entrance. Possibly the most dangerous thing on any map are the volcano's. They are constantly erupting, flinging bits of magma here, there and everywhere.

Screenshot for Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising on Game Boy Advance

All the old modes are accounted for. War Room, VS mode, Design Room and Link Mode. But this time there all bigger and better than ever. All the old War Room missions from the original game are here and unlocked, (so if you couldn't get them the first time, you can here). As well as them there are a stack of new inventive missions that use the new Advance Wars 2 features very well. Good old Hachi also makes a comeback; he's selling all sorts of cool stuff now. You can buy items that change the colours of CO', sounds weird but very funny. Then of course there's the entire map buying frenzy goodness to make your brain explode. The other modes remain relatively the same; VS mode is still as fun as ever. Design Room has changed quite a bit though. This is where you can change the colour of your CO, VERY FUNNY. Can you picture a purple Andy with blonde hair? No? Didn't think so, well you'll be able to soon! Another lovely little feature is you can now build Silos, and lay Pipe Lines. As well as that you can deploy the ALMIGHTY Neo Tanks. Well that's about everything. So very similar to the original, but this is by far no bad thing, Advance Wars was the best GBA game of all time, and this is better - you do the math.

Screenshot for Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising on Game Boy Advance

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Now officially the best game on GBA, won't have the same impact as Advance Wars; but just as enjoyable.


Intelligent Systems







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (32 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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