[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/dynastywarriorsadvance/cover.jpg[/floatleft]I have never been shy in professing my love for the [i]Dynasty Warriors[/i] series. The immense combat and action is enough to keep me playing for hours on end. I was thrilled to learn Koei was putting out a GBA version of [i]Dynasty Warriors[/i], with a DS version to follow later. Given the graphical intensity present in the home console versions of the game, the obvious hesitation has to creep into your mind of just how well this game will translate to the small screen of a portable unit like the GBA. The short answer is that it depends on whom you ask.
The storyline in [i]Dynasty Warriors Advance[/i] is just like its console counterparts with you filling the role of a bevy of different Ancient Chinese Generals, each with the intention of ultimately gaining control of China. You can select a number of your favorite characters from Wei, Wu, or Shu to embark on Musou mode.
You can’t go into [i]Dynasty Warriors Advance[/i] expecting an experience anything like what you have been spoiled with from the console versions or you will be sadly disappointed. The graphics are standard-fare GBA, and you are limited to six characters on the screen at any given time. This is a huge problem for a game like [i]Dynasty Warriors[/i] that typically has an immense battle with hundreds of enemies at any given time. Koei created a ‘solution,’ if you will, to enable a game of that caliber to appear on the GBA. [i]Dynasty Warriors Advance[/i] is a somewhat hybrid turn-based/real-time hack-and-slash. As you begin a battle, you are presented with a map that shows the locations of your allies as well as your enemies-this is called the Movement Phase. There are a number of different spaces on the map that you can move to when it is your time. You select the space you would like to move to and then end your turn. If there is an enemy present, you will engage in battle. This is where the real-time action happens but only five enemies at a time. In this Battle Phase, your action is timed. Defeating the required number of enemies within the time required for a Triumph, when the timer is white, you will gain an extra turn in the Movement Phase. Defeating the enemies while the timer is red earns you a Victory but no bonus move. If you fail to complete the battle within that amount of time, you lose your next move in the Movement Phase.
[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/dynastywarriorsadvance/ss03_thumb.jpg[/floatright]Your B and A buttons deliver blows from your weapon of choice. B delivers a Regular Attack while A delivers a powerful Charge Attack. Holding L and pressing A will begin the powerful Musou Attack, assuming your Musou meter is full. Musou comes in very handy against powerful enemy generals. L button alone will block.
During a battle, you have the ability to power up your abilities. As you fight, different abilities will begin to fill up in the Ability Console. When one of these begins to flash, you can press R to enable that power-up. You can power up the same ability two times, but it only lasts until you clear the stage. Be careful as continuous hits from an enemy will remove these abilities.
Like the console versions of [i]Dynasty Warriors[/i], you can collect and find new weapons and items to beef up your character. Different weapons have different strengths, so choose your weapon carefully.
[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/dynastywarriorsadvance/ss02_thumb.jpg[/floatleft][i]Dynasty Warriors Advance[/i] does allow you to save your game in the middle of a battle since they often take close to an hour to complete. A quick save is reached from the pause menu; however, only one quick save is allowed at a time. A quick save in Musou mode will erase your quick save for Free mode. Upon completion of the battle, you can do a full save.
Many of the reviews I read about [i]Dynasty Warriors Advance[/i] cited negativity about its translation to the portable world, but I found it highly appealing. My newfound interest in turn-based games may be partly to blame for this, but I really like [i]Dynasty Warriors Advance[/i]. I would advise anyone with a DS to play it on there over the SP. After long amounts of time with my SP, my hands would cramp from being in such close quarters. Button mashing is a staple of DW games, so it’s wise to be comfy while doing it. With that said, this is a definite rental since the change in gameplay can be devastating to purists of the [i]Dynasty Warriors[/i] line, but can be equally appealing to gamers that had not otherwise considered the [i]Dynasty Warriors[/i] franchise.