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Advance Wars

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Title Screen

Advance Wars

Also known as: Game Boy Wars Advance (JP)
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Released in JP: November 25, 2004
Released in US: September 10, 2001
Released in EU: January 11, 2002

Sgf2-unusedicon1.png This game has unused abilities.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.

To do:
Document the ique prototype version of this game

Advance Wars is a light-hearted turn-based strategy game for Game Boy Advance. It's actually part of a much larger series that has existed since the days of the Famicom, but this is the first entry to see an international release, much like the Fire Emblem series.

Hidden Features

Hidden "Nintendo" Design Map

A slightly more mature use of the editor instead of four letter words.

While not technically cut, this is a relatively obscure feature. Holding the L and R buttons while opening the "Design Maps" function will automatically load a map which spells Nintendo in Japanese. It is identical to the version in Advance Wars 2.

Unused Sprites

Conglomerate Cities

Vertical Conglomerate City Horizontal Conglomerate City There are unused sprite of clustered cities, one for a vertical (1x2) conglomerate city & another for a horizontal (2x1) one.

Regional Differences

Combination Cartridge

Two wars for the price of one! Pick me! Pick me!

As the game's original release in Japan was delayed due to the September 11th terrorist attacks (which, by a very unfortunate coincidence, happened the day after the game's original US release), the Japanese version of Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2 were distributed together as Game Boy Wars Advance 1+2 in a single cartridge. The game has a unique game selector screen not seen in the US or EU versions.

Name Changes

Almost all of the COs names were changed between the Japanese and international versions. The only COs not to have their names changed were Max, Eagle, and Hachi.

Japanese Romanization English Release
リョウ Ryo Andy
ドミノ Domino Sami
キャサリン Catherine Nell
モップ Mop Drake
ホイップ Whip Olaf
ビリー Billy Grit
キクチヨ Kikuchiyo Kanbei
アスカ Asuka Sonja
ヘルボウズ Herr Böse Sturm


During the localization process, minor to significant changes were made to many of the CO's sprites from the Japanese to the US release of the game. Many of the changes appear to make the characters' appearances more formal in terms of military dress as well as to remove references.


Japanese International
Military CICs are always super sexy But short sleeves are too much for westerners

Nell's buttoned tank top and short skirt was converted to a full shirt and a skirt that reaches the knees.


Japanese International
Santa Claus is coming to town! Instead, he's a grumpy old Blue Moonian

Olaf's hair and beard were changed from white to brown as well, and the traditional 'Santa Claus' hat was replaced with one reminiscent of stereotypical Russian Officers.


Japanese International Chinese (Proto)
One of the legendary seven Samurai! Elite general, skilled in loss of socks No mustache and a bolder laugh

Kanbei's change is probably the most striking - he was changed from what looks like a traditional Samurai to more of a World War 2 era Japanese general, losing the ponytail and samurai armor. The sword is kept, though.

In the unreleased Chinese prototype, Kanbei was redesigned because of complaints from the game approval officials in China over his Japanese military uniform[1]


Japanese International
A pirate! Yarr! Captain on deck!

Drake was changed from what looks like a traditional pirate to a more modern naval captain; sporting a captain's hat instead of a do-rag, as well as a proper naval uniform instead of a jacket.


Japanese International
Fastest gun in the west! Yarr! Sniper!

Grit's uniform was changed from a blue-trimmed cowboy hat to what appears to be a Russian-styled military cap. In addition, his coat now has a pocket on the front and some small details were added to the collar.


Japanese International
Those glasses...just those glasses. Can't you see she's a soldier?

Sonja's glasses were removed - changing her look from a stereotypical booksmart Japanese schoolgirl to an image slightly more suited for an intelligence and recon officer. Her uniform was also changed from red to green.

Other Changes

  • The Red Star army became the Orange Star army, likely to avoid the communist connotations of the original name.
  • Officers were originally called Shoguns.