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Battalion Wars

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Erasers out, then - all references to Advance Wars Under Fire are out in favour of Battalion Wars. And quite rightly so, because this isn't much like our turn-based GBA friend at all.

Forget just shunting icons around; you're right in the thick of a war that would get George W salivating.

You kick off each mission with a handful of troops, and recruit others you find. Bump into a tank and it's yours, rescue POWs who've inexplicably got flamethrowers on them (as we did) and you can have yourself a nice little barbecue.

You're in direct control of one unit at a time, but you'll also need to command and conquer. The rest of your boys will buy the farm if you don't bark out orders for them to guard this, attack that or follow you once more unto the breach.

Like Advance Wars, it looks quite cute (sort of Metal Slug-ish) and it's possible to zoom right out for a GBA-style overhead view.

Unlike Advance Wars, it's mayhem. We saw bombs rain down as gunships blew up like small planets from concentrated missile fire and tanks gobbed up shells while bazookas sent fountains of fire arcing across the battlefield and ammo dumps went up like fireworks... not bad.

Battalion Wars is not easy, either. Military intelligence is needed; charge in without a plan and you're done for - even with the big kit, like the soaring Strata Fortresses and hulking five-man battle tanks.

Keep it up and it looks like you'll be rewarded later in the game with a battle against gas-breathing chemical shock troops. Good luck with that, soldier.

Battalion Wars is out for Gamecube in November

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