It's often tough to say goodbye. But when only eight games come out for a system in a whole year, it's probably time to bid our farewells. The last GameCube release - the last one ever, I think it's safe to say - was Ratatouille, and God knows where the shops put that. Hidden amongst the three pre-owned copies of Luigi's Mansion at the back of the shelf, probably.
Turning one of the most beloved turn-based strategy games into a real-time, third-person action title was always asking for trouble, so Nintendo changed one word of its name and hoped fans wouldn't notice, or at least complain less bitterly. Good move.
But the belated re-branding of Advance Wars: Under Fire to Battalion Wars can't disguise the endless close similarities between the two games: the mission structure, the units, the cutesy cartoony style, the silly-yet-endearing briefings, the daft characters and even dafter rivalries, the changing allegiances, the grading system, you name it. In fact, just about the only that's nothing like Intelligent System's classic series is the actual gameplay itself; and it's evidently this point that forced Nintendo to see sense and divorce the association lest it get beaten about the face and neck by rabid fanboys and girls.
It's not even as if the gameplay's even remotely similar. Far from being a more exciting looking turn-based chess-like affair that takes place on a top-down map, Battalion Wars is a curious hybrid of third person shooter and real-time strategy, and - surprisingly - a pretty well-realised attempt at it, too; if a little undemanding, short and overtly 'young' for the most serious gamers' tastes.
Nintendo has confirmed that new GameCube titles Mario Baseball and Battalion Wars will be in the shops by Christmas.
Nintendo got the message, then. When the Japanese giant first rolled Advance Wars: Under Fire into public view last year there were more than a few murmurs of discontent among the faithful when they saw Kuju's action-heavy interpretation of the classic turn-based strategy series. It's not that it was a bad game as such, but the bottom line was that it simply wasn't Advance Wars. If you can imagine turning Chess into a cutesy third person strategy-laced action adventure and then asking Gary Kasparov to express his righteous indignation, you've probably got some idea of the extent of the backlash against what Kuju was planning.