Generally, you can expect innovation on the DS to come from the touch screen controls. For Glory Days 2, the touch screen optional controls are awful to the point in making the game unplayable. Its unique style is purely in the game play department, and with a typical d-pad and button set-up, this is a DS must have.
Upon booting up the game, you’ll select a language and asked to use headphones for “maximum playing pleasure.” Raphael Gesqua has crafted an incredible soundtrack here all the way through the menus and into the game. The tiny DS speakers cannot handle it properly, though the theme music immediately gives the sense of a high budget effort.
Glory Days 2 is a sequel to Super Army War on the Game Boy Advance. Its premise is based on the retro classic Choplifter, and mixes up the formula to include more than helicopters in its action. Levels are laid out on a horizontal map players fly over. Some of the map is owned by the enemy, some by the player’s squad. Bases are spread liberally around each stage, and these are the key to victory.
One side loses when all bases have been captured, and it’s not a matter of simply using your dexterity with weapons. Glory requires some strategy, as each base generates a cash flow. As the game progresses, money can be spent to push the enemy back in various ways, from tanks to troops, paratroopers, and more. The only way to capture any base is have your soldiers head inside and secure it.
Players only control one flying mode of transportation. Everything else is handled by the A.I. You’ll still purchase additional help like tanks, but once they’re paid for, they take to their task by themselves. Purchasing immediately sends the friendly fighters out on their way to take down the enemies. Their leisurely pacing can be aided by landing to load up troops fighting the war on foot, and dropping them near a base to complete their task.
This is a hectic concept, crafted incredibly well on a 2-D plane with stunning backdrops. US users are unfortunately shafted on 3-D glasses that further increased the depth of the levels, though it would have no effect on the actual game play. The colorful sprites and menu graphics are enough to sell the premise, and will be familiar to fans of Advance Wars. The style is eerily similar.
Glory Days 2 can be frustrating at times. Certain levels are packed with an overwhelming number of enemies, and all of the planning in the world isn’t enough. This is where a little luck can go further than an intricate strategy. This is not a game for newcomers, but experienced fans of both shooters and sims. The difficulty curve is somewhat sporadic, so a few of levels come earlier than they should before a full grasp of the mechanics are in hand.
Deeper multiplayer would have been a huge boost. Simple versus play is fine, though sadly limited to local challengers only. Nintendo Wi-Fi would have sparked this to a necessary purchase.
The player controlled vehicles work fine for the most part. Between saving troops from the ground, rescuing trapped civilians, performing bombing runs, and dropping paratroopers, fast paced runs back to the home base to reload weapons is in order. All of these tasks are simple enough with the d-pad and buttons. The touch screen is wasted on inaccurate flying that feels a second behind at all times. It’s not needed in a strictly 2-D game world.
Beyond the minor mission structure problems, Glory Days 2 will find itself with a cult following. While it may not use the hardware’s best features, its easily recommendable game play mechanics make this a fine DS effort. There’s nothing else like it for the hardware.
Glory Days II is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Mild Violence.