The Famicom Wars series (as it is known in Japan), made its debut on the Famicom in 1988. The series would follow a similar path that Fire Emblem went on: the earlier installments were not released outside of Japan.
That would change with the release of Advance Wars in September 2001, but the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 caused a release delay elsewhere. Europe would see this game released in early 2002, but Japan would get this game as part of a compilation with this game's sequel, Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising in 2004.
 Game Play
Advance Wars is a Turn-Based Military Strategy Game, which is what the series is based upon. A peace between the nations of Orange Star and Blue Moon has been shattered. Olaf, the Commander of the Blue Moon Army, has launched an invasion of Orange Star, and it's up to you to drive him off!
With Ground Units you have Infantry, who require transports to get around fast but they capture properties and can traverse rivers and mountains; and Vehicles that make up the bulk of your fighting force, including Tanks. Watch the skies for Copters and Planes--they'll cause a lot of damage if left unchecked, especially Bombers! At sea include ships and Submarines, the latter of which great for sinking opposing vessels but watch out for Cruisers!
But not every unit has to be adjacent to fight. Indirect Combat Units can strike opposing targets for damage, but they can't strike back if they're attacked, nor can they attack after moving.
Introduced to the series, which wasn't in the Famicom Wars titles released prior: CO Powers. These special moves allow that particular army to gain a variety of bonuses, including increased attack, HP Recovery, striking opposing units for damage, even allowing Non-Infantry Units to move a second time in a turn!
The tutorial is a bit lengthy but includes a lot of information that will be helpful on the strategy side of things. But by completing the tutorials you'll be able to jump into any of the game's many modes. The tutorials also tie into the main story, which is a story-driven series of missions that get increasingly harder. Don't fall for the AI's tricks, especially in the extremely challenging Advanced Campaign, which is unlocked after beating the main Campaign but many times harder!
The graphics may be relatively simplistic, but it's designed as such to convey a variety of complex information in a concise manner. It's up to the player to sort it all out and decide on how to proceed to victory!
Multi-Player adds hours of fun to the game, but the bad news for those that got this on Wii U Virtual Console: the Link Mode feature doesn't work on the Wii U version. So all the multiplayer is going to be done on the one console!
For those that have the GBA version: Link Mode allows you to link up to 4 systems together for a Multiplayer battle, further adding to the fun and depth of the game! Plus you can create your own maps regardless of version for your own customized battles!
The strategy genre hadn't really made the move from Japan to the States prior to this, but after its arrival Advance Wars--and the Turn-Based Strategy Genre in general--arrived for good!
 Hardware Info
- Game Boy Advance: 1 Game Cartridge
- Wii U: Virtual Console