Advance Wars Normal Campaign Walkthrough

Many thanks go to Matthew Emirzian at GameFAQs for letting us use this guide!

Walkthrough Notes:
1. General Guidance
1. When I instruct you to move a unit in a certain direction, I expect you to move it as far as it can go in that direction. For example, if I say to move the unit north, you should move it straight north as far as possible.
2. When I instruct you to move a unit ‘west of’ or ‘northwest of’ an object, I mean to move the unit right next to the object I’m describing.
3. When I instruct you ‘move east along the road’, I mean you should move in east as a general direction, but keep on the road doing it, including over bridges and buildings.
4. Often times I will give directions like ‘three south two east’. When I say this, I mean to move your cursor that number of spaces away from the unit I’m instructing you to move. Even if your cursor moves over an obstacle or if the arrow moves in a different direction, you should end up in the spot that is ‘three south two east’ of the unit I’m instructing you to move.

2. Difficulty ratings
In this guide I have given each campaign level a difficulty ranking, based on how difficult it is to achieve a perfect S-rank score.
The level of difficulty ranges from one to six stars, with one star being 'training mode' and six stars being 'extremely challenging'. To judge your ability in Advance Wars you must also consider how quickly in game time it took you to finish a level.
One Star: * (Novice)
A one star map is easy to complete and easy to get an S-rank on with basic tactical skills. You can consider it a training room map.

Two Stars: ** (Beginner)
This map requires some intelligent battle planning and general unit movement along with basic tactical skills. It's still not much more difficult than a training room map, though. If you have trouble with this type of map, go back to training mode. Two star maps make up the majority of normal campaign maps.

Three Stars: *** (Intermediate)
This type of map varies in its challenges, but common elements are fog of war, CO specific strategies, intelligent battle planning, and battle on two types of terrain. You will need to know common campaign tactics moderately well in order to succeed. There are several three star maps throughout normal and advance campaign.

Four Stars: **** (Advanced)
This type of map is a fair challenge for an advanced player to S-rank. You'll need to have honed your battle skills considerably from an average three star map. You should know the technical attributes of each CO, how to manipulate the computer AI reasonably well, advanced fog of war tactics, and everything a lesser map would contain in terms of challenge. There are a few maps scattered around the game of this difficulty.

Five Stars: ***** (Veteran)
Five star maps are brutal. You will not be able to achieve an S-rank on a five star map by stumbling around blindly for a tactical solution; you must actively devise a level-specific solution and apply it with near perfect execution. This is where the real life time factor comes into play. If you can S-rank a map like this in less than 5 hours play time (using an emulator), consider yourself a great player. You will need intelligence, power, dedication, a mastery of AI manipulation, and sometimes even luck. Levels of this skill include the 'suicide speed' levels.

Six Stars: ****** (Master)
There are a few levels that I consider difficult enough to earn a six star difficulty rank. Six star maps are special in that they present a huge amount of difficulty, and then add a cruel twist that takes the challenge over the top. Only masters will be able to S-rank them without help and in a relatively short amount of time. These are some of the best levels in the game, don't pass them up!

3. General Intel
In this section, I'll supply various game play tips that you may find useful.
1. Mechs and infantry fight each other with machine guns. Machines like tanks, and mid tanks will use their machine guns instead of their cannons to attack infantry and mechs, making them less effective. The best ground unit to use against infantry is the anti-air, since it can only use its powerful Vulcan cannon to attack with. The best ground unit against mechs is the mid tank, although anti-airs are also moderately effective.
2. You can get funds back from combining your units if their combined HP is over 10. For every HP over 10, you will get 1/10 of the original unit cost back in funds.
3. A CO's special defenses and strengths may occasionally fail. For example, Drake's sea units will sometimes take an extra hit point of damage.
4. Each star of terrain equals roughly 10% (or one hit point) of defense against attacks. The amount of damage dealt on high defensive terrain can be random at times.
5. You can check the enemy CO's power meter while it's your turn by going into the menu, selecting Intel, then CO. Very useful in some situations.
6. Try combining units if they are both about to die, to save your technique score.
7. Insulate and protect your transport with units while it passes through a dangerous area.
8. In some advance campaign levels it's impossible to get a perfect speed score due to the five or six day speed requirements. Therefore, it's impossible to get a perfect 999 average score in advance campaign.
9. Try completing the field training level "Dogfights" in two days!
10. Consider the campaign maps like puzzles, where each unit has a specific purpose that you need to figure out. Once you start putting the pieces in place, you can bring the rest of the level together.

4. Campaign Briefing
Campaign levels are a balance between speed, technique, and power.
You are given enough time to move through the levels at a leisurely pace, and the number of enemies range from medium to small forces. Finding the balance between speed, technique and power can be tricky in a few levels, but often if you play the level well, you will get a good score. Moderately skilled players should be able to complete campaign without any problems. It is slightly more difficult to get 'perfect' (999) S-rank scores as opposed to flawed (950-998) scores.
Campaign levels come in several general types. The most common type is the base capture map, where you move a soldier in a transport and drop it off to capture the enemy base. The second type is the elimination map, where you'll have to destroy all of the enemy units to succeed. There are also some survival maps where you must last a certain number of days.
If you're having problems with a level, listen to what the characters say before and during the battle. They will often reveal the key strategy you need to win right there in front of you. If you are stuck, yield and listen to what Nell has to say. Use your game save wisely, it will come in handy often.
Much of the basic strategy you'll need to know is taught in the field training levels. If you find yourself struggling with the easier levels, try replaying the field training levels while taking notes and concentrating on what each level is trying to teach you. Each level is unique and has a different tactic you need to use to win.
You can complete many of the campaign levels even faster than the highest speed requirements, and still get perfect power and technique. If you are bored with campaign, give it a try, or go for advance campaign. Some decent challenges are Level 4M 3 days, Level 6A 6 day elimination, level 9 4 days, level 13 5 days, level 14 6 days, level 16A 8 day elimination, level 18S 5 day base capture, level 20 9 day elimination, and level 21 6 day elimination.

NOTE: In the following Campaign Mission List, you will notice letters after some mission names. Here is what they stand for:
a = Mission for Andy
m = Mission for Max
s = Mission for Sami

Campaign:
Mission 1: It's War!
Mission 2: Gunfighter!
Mission 3: Air Ace!
Mission 4A: Max Strikes!
Mission 4M: Max Strikes!
Mission 5A: Max's Folly?
Mission 5M: Sniper!
Mission 6A: Olaf's Navy
Mission 6M: Blizzard Battle!
Mission 7A: Olaf's Sea Strike
Mission 7M: History Lesson!
Mission 8: Sami's Debut!
Mission 9: Kanbei Arrives!
Mission 10: Mighty Kanbei!
Level 11: Kanbei's Error?
Level 12: Divide and Capture!
Level 13: Sami Marches On!
Level 14: Sonja's Goal!
Level 15A: Captain Drake!
Level 15M: Captain Drake!
Level 15S: Captain Drake!
Level 16A: Naval Clash!
Level 16M: Naval Clash!
Level 16S: Naval Clash!
Level 17A: Wings of Victory!
Level 17M: Wings of Victory!
Level 17S: Wings of Victory!
Level 18A: Battle Mystery!
Level 18M: Battle Mystery!
Level 18S: Battle Mystery!
Level 19: Andy Times Two!
Level 20: Enigma!
Level 21: The Final Battle!
Level 22: Rivals!