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Video Game: Battalion Wars

A Spin-Off game of the Nintendo Wars series released on the Nintendo Gamecube. Unlike the other games in the series, this one eschews Turn-Based Strategy for a Real-Time Strategy/Third-Person Shooter mix somewhat similar to Hogs Of War. You direct your units around the battlefield, but do it from the point of view of any individual unit on the field, which you also control in battle.

The series involves a world with surprisingly trigger-happy nations. The two largest, the Western Frontier and the Tundran Territories, are in a state of cease-fire after a long war, and things seem to be heating up between them yet again. As the bullets and bombs fly, all countries involved get embroiled with the Iron Legion, the former army of Xylvania that nearly conquered the world centuries ago, is more than willing to give it another shot, and isn't about to let a little thing like being dead stop them.

A sequel, Battalion Wars II, was released on the Nintendo Wii. In BWii, the Anglo Isles, who managed to stay out of the previous conflict, invade the Sol Empire on rumors that they were building a superweapon to use against them (Given that they built the superweapon that stopped the Iron Legion, this wasn't too hard to believe). Eventually, the Frontier and Tundra get involved in the action as well.

The series provide examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Pierce
    • The occasionally mentioned "Violet Baron" of the Iron Legion.
  • Advertised Extra: Despite being prominently featured on the cover of the sequel, the Tundran Dreadnought appears exactly once in the main campaign.
  • A.K.A.-47: Most of the weapons and vehicles in this game.
    • Western Frontier
      • H-16 = M-16
      • H1-A1 = M9 Super Bazooka
      • Herman Mk5 = M4 Sherman
      • Herman M1A5 = M1A1 Abrams
      • Prometheus AIM-9RR = M113 APC + Crotale Missile + AIM-9 Sidewinder
    • Tundran Territories
      • KA-57 = AK-47
      • RPG-1 = Obvious
      • Kasparov KA-600 = RPK + Garry Kasparov
    • Anglo Isles
      • Rifle Grunts wield an FN FAL+Lee-Enfield hybrid.
      • M25 Launcher = PIAT
      • Sputterflare = Supermarine Spitfire
      • .44 Grump Gun = BREN Light Machine Gun
      • Swish Rolls T-1 "Tommy" = Rolls-Royce Armored Car
    • Xylvania
      • Rifle Grunts use the MP 40.
      • Spanzow Minigun = MG 08 and MG 42.
      • Schreckenfaust = Panzerfaust+Panzerschreck
      • Vokker Vr.1 = Fokker Dr.1
      • Zornier Z-1 = Dornier Do. 217
      • Ubelmeister III "Drakul" = Backwards Mark I with a Turret.
      • Ubelmeister II = Vezdekhod
  • All Up To You: In a manner of speaking...
  • The Alliance: ...of Nations, formed in response to the Xylvanian threat.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: When you realize the Western Frontier CO's consider war to be just another sport and it's implied they have detailed records where kill counts are equal to touchdowns. These are also the commanders that casually suggest field exercises with live ammunition for their own soldiers. This is invoked invoked during the first bonus mission (where you play as Tundra instead of Frontier), where Herman is even more of a General Ripper and Ivan Dra... Marshall Nova is far more noble.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Played for laughs with Xylvania.
  • Ambition Is Eviler: Countess Ingrid's revival of the Iron Legion is apparently due to "ambition", though outside of one line, it seems it was done more because it looked like a good way to prevent Xylvania from getting its ass kicked.
    • Kaiser Vlad explicitly warned that the revival of the Iron Legion would bring "no victory, only suffering." A close study of Ingrid's reaction suggests this was not a deterrent, but a perk.
  • And This Is for...: In the ending of the first Battalion Wars, Nova punches Ubel for Tundra, then throws a knockout punch for his father.
  • Anti-Air: AA Vets, natch; not to mention the AA Vehicle and the submarine-killing Frigate. Flak towers also serve the same function.
  • Artificial Stupidity: It may very well have been intended, but there's also the Battlestation's method of attacking the destruction objective in the last mission of Battalion Wars 2.
  • A-Team Firing: The Intro Video of the Iron Legion Campaign in BWii has Xylvanian and Tundran troops shooting each other at point-blank range. Save for one Tundran that falls over, the amount of bullets that are flying proves to be rather ineffectual.
  • Badass Army
  • Badass Grandpa: General Herman looks to be pushing 70 by the events of Battalion Wars 2. Tsar Gorgi is similarly long in the tooth. Before Ubel tossed him over a bridge, that is.
  • Batman Gambit: Kaiser Vlad in the second game, launching two wars over non-existent superweapons in an effort to track down a real one.
  • Big Damn Heroes Pierce in Battalion Wars 2three times in the last mission. In the first game's mission Black Gold, Tsar Gorgi comes back from an exile that was never mentioned to send out 6 Fighters.......which aren't even around in the final mission, the only one where Tundran forces appear again in the game.
  • Blood Knights: General Herman, Tsar Gorgi, and Governator Kommadant Ubel.
  • Bottomless Magazines: A player-controlled Assault Veteran can fire indefinitely with only the danger of overheating his weapon to stop him from shooting momentarily.
  • Boring, but Practical: Manually controlling one unit and taking out threats with it then swarming with your other units sometimes works with ridiculous effectiveness.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: In the second game, getting higher ranks gives you access to unit dossiers and concept art.
  • Brawn Hilda: Major Nelly.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Bonus Mission 3 in the first Battalion Wars, right to the point of being That One Level.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Most of the COs.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Coal is called "Nerocite".
  • Captain Ersatz: Marshall Nova is a fairly beefy guy who always has his hands taped up, and in his ascension to Leadership over the Tundran Territories, is shown holding what looks suspiciously like a Championship Belt. Given what country Tundra is the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of, fans often compare him with Ivan Drago.
  • A Commander Is You
  • Commissar Cap: Tundran Mortar Vets are required to "glue" their hats to their heads to avoid losing them. Not just because they're loose-fitting but because their grenade launcher kicks up a lot of exhaust upon firing.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: There's a case that helps the player in Beachhead in Battalion Wars 1; the CPU-controlled Artillery can snipe off the infantry climbing up the hilly terrain that makes seeing them difficult, from inside the fort on top of the hills. However, in Battalion Wars 2, while there is another case that involves a playable unit in the last mission, it does not help the player whatsoever: the Battlestation attacks the guns that fire the weak green lasers coming from the Mining Spider before attacking the blasted digging machine itself, but you don't get to aim at these guns whatsoever. This makes no sense because the Fighters you get are harder, albeit generally more rewarding, to control than the no-brainer Battlestation, but at least the Heavy Tanks fire at the guns too if commanded to attack the Spider.
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: Kaiser Vlad.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: With the exception of tanks having different machine gun mountings for some factions (Frontier tanks have a top mounted gun, while Tundra tanks have 2 side mounted guns), played straight.
    • Xylvania has Acid Gas troopers; the Solar Empire uses a Plasma Cannon. Everyone else has Flamethrower troopers. Certain sides have no navy or Battle Fortress.
  • Cool Old Guy: Windsor in Battalion Wars 2.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Somewhat averted.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: You could theoretically have your Recon and your Vets in Black Gold wait on the bridge where Tsar Gorgi gets thrown off from by Ubel.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: You know how Iron Legion has that Battlestation in the intro of the second game? Well, in the next two missions where you play as them, they don't use it. Surprisingly, the game made your Battlestation mission critical in the first mission where you play as them, but in the following missions, you don't get to use it anyway? Maybe because the programmers wouldn't want to give you an easy time massacring the poor Solars. This is possibly Fridge Brilliance as while the Battlestation is an impressive machine, it as also large and cumbersome and almost impossible to transport (not helped by that fact the Iron Legion lacks any kind of transport vehicles). It's entirely possible that the Legion couldn't get the Battlestation where it was needed in time and are forced to make do with nearer forces.
  • Deadly Gas: Xylvanian Acid Gassers use spray-guns filled with "ghosgene". Also, Kaiser Vlad rescues Kommander Ubel by deploying a poisonous cloud that only Xylvanians are immune to.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Possible, but not too likely to happen. A bunch of Assault Vets can conceivably take out a Light Tank and even a Heavy Tank, but you're better off using Bazooka Vets.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Kaiser Vlad makes it a point to avoid expecting general success from Ubel, despite having him as a personal favorite to the point of freeing him from Tundran prison in the sequel.
  • The Dragon: Ubel.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: One in each game, and quite literally. Tsar Gorgi gets thrown off a bridge in the first game, and Admiral A-Qira is poisoned on his ship in the second.
  • Dumb Muscle: Ubel, who has both the build and intelligence of a gorilla. He's a somewhat capable military commander, but his strategies typically boil down to "overwhelm with power."
  • Enemy Chatter
  • Escort Mission: Quite a few in Battalion Wars 2.
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future The entire Solar arsenal is smooth, white, wireless-online enabled, solar-powered, and environmentally friendly — and has been since at least the Lightning Wars
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Kaiser Vlad himself objects to reviving the Legion, on the grounds that "there would be no victory, only suffering."
    • Completely subverted, by contrast, by Countess Ingrid, who only cottons to the idea more.
  • Evil Old Folks: Apparently, Kaiser Vlad is over 100.
  • Evil Overlord: Kaiser Vlad and Lord Ferrok.
  • The Faceless: All Rifle Grunts' faces (except for their eyes) are covered with masks of some sort. The rest of the Iron Legion's infantry units (and Lord Ferrok himself), Tundran, Frontier, and Xylvanian Flame/Acid Gas Vets, and Xylvanian Bazooka and Assault Vets follow suit.
    • Averted with poor Private Hazard.
  • Fantastic Racism: Herman repatedly calls the Xylvanians "X-ers", much like American troops called the Germans "krauts". A-Qira also refers to his foes as "barbarians" and "insolent dogs", again, much like the Japanese did during their many wars.
    • An uncomfortable Truth in Television version appears in the Unit Dossiers. The noise the engines of an Xylvanian bomber make is called the "Hun Hum". "Hun" was a popular racist slur for German people in England during both World Wars.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture
    • Western Frontier = Cold War America
    • Tundran Territories = Cold War Russia
    • Solar Empire = Super-futuristic Japan
    • Anglo Isles = Britain
    • Xylvania = Imperial and Nazi Germany
    • Iron Legion = Medieval/Steampunk/Necromantic Barbarians
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Friendly Enemy: The Frontier and Tundran COs seem pretty chummy with one another, other than Gorgi and Herman. Once the Xylvanians attack, they drop the "enemy" part
  • Friendly Fireproof: Not even explosive weapons such as artillery shells and bombs can hurt friendly soldiers.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Xylvanian Rifle Grunts wear gas masks and are the rank and file of Vlad's fighting forces.
  • General Failure: Ubel isn't a bright man, and this translates to little success on the battlefield when he's in charge; fluff even suggests he sank the Ferrok, a prized Dreadnought, during an exercise. Kaiser Vlad seems to put up with Ubel's failures out of respect for his loyalty.
  • Genki Girl: Brigadier Betty.
  • Glass Cannon: Bazooka and Flame/Acid Gas Vets, the former against vehicles and the latter against infantry. Anti-Air Vets were this in the first game, but went from Game Breaker to seriously underpowered.
  • Gonk: General Herman
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Windsor's "Dash it all" in Battalion Wars 2.
    • The Frontier Gunship is armed with "Heckfire" missiles.
  • Guide Dang It: In Battalion Wars, how to have your other units attack more actively.
  • Guy in Back: Every vehicle has at least 1 or more AI-controlled gunners that will fire on the nearest enemy regardless of whether or not their weapon is effective. Even the Fighters have a tail-gunner which is a rather useless and excessive feature.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Tsar Gorgi.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: This results in the hilarious impression that your character is some sort of bodyjacking ghost whom the Western Frontier have tricked into helping them and kept from leaving the battlefield using some kind of magical Invisible Wall.
  • Hero Unit: an interesting twist here
  • Honor Before Reason: Admiral A-Qira takes this to Idiot Ball levels, repeatedly ignoring Lei-Qo's warnings that something's strange about the Anglo attack and ultimately playing right into Kaiser Vlad's hands.
  • I Am Legion: Countess Ingrid in the first game.
  • Improvised Weapon: Tundran "tanks" are farm tractors with gun turrets slapped on. They still have the harvesting equipment attached.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Missions in general involve this.
  • Kill Sat: The super weapon everybody's seeking in the second game.
  • Luck-Based Mission: 100% Power in any mission in the second game where the final objective is to capture a facility capable of making units respawn fast.
    • In "Call Sign Eagle" of the first game, your best bet to to get all the transport ships is to slam on your thrusters at the start of the mission. The problem is your allies' spawn positions are ever so slightly random, so there is a decent chance they will spawn right in front of you.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Kaiser Vlad in both Battalion Wars games.
  • Man in a Kilt: In Battalion Wars 2, the Anglo Empire veteran soldiers all wear kilts and have fancy handlebar mustaches.
  • Mascot Mook: The Frontier Rifle Grunt gets featured in a lot of promotional material.
  • Medieval Stasis / Modern Stasis: Fluff from the second game reveals that a majority of the Solar Empire's military technology hasn't changed in two hundred years. On the other hand, they had futuristic laser rifles, hovering drop-ships, and a Kill Sat, all solar-powered, back when the Iron Legion's coal-fired battle-wagons were considered cutting-edge. And then you have Lei-Qo's Staff, which is revealed to be a hand-held upgrade of the aforementioned Kill Sat. Laser death in the palm of your hand!
  • Mildly Military: Standard for Nintendo Wars. Even the otherwise Only Sane Man Colonel Austin will freely admit the idea that his superior is a war hungry maniac had "crossed his mind" to the man's face (Herman clearly is, but still not professional).
  • Mission Control: The COs.
  • Mordor: The Iron Legion's homeland was like this.
  • Names To Run Away From Very Fast: The name of the Xylvanian "Schreckenfaust" rocket launcher means "Terror Fist".
  • Night of the Living Mooks/Army of the Dead: The Iron Legion in the original.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted. In the first Battalion Wars, you could play as other countries, including Xylvania and Iron Legion, in certain bonus missions. In addition, "Flashback 2" in the sequel has you play as the Iron Legion against the Solar Empire, though there is no Xylvanian campaign.
  • Non Entity General - Though rumors suggest that initial concept art was drawn for what would've been the Frontier player character. Featured a spiky-haired, goateed young buck named 'Sam.' Appropriate, as he looked like a young Uncle Sam.
  • Obviously Evil: Xylvania and its predecessor, the Iron Legion.
    • Old Xylvanians look like Orcs. Modern Xylvanians look like vampires.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Iron Legion in the first game are Magic Zombies, and still have the brains to use guns and drive tanks. Despite appearances, their weapons are not haunted, however; when we get to play as living ones in the sequel, their tanks still have a Sickly Green Glow and the flamethrower still screams like a banshee.
  • Overlord Jr.: Ubel, the adopted son of Vlad.
  • Pet the Dog: Vlad has been shown to genuinely care about Ubel and pre-possession Ingrid, claiming to have raised both.
  • Player Mooks: You can assume direct control and switch to any unit that you have in your squad. The incentive and advantage of this feature is that the player-controlled unit has more health and attack power.
  • Polluted Wasteland: Xylvania is revealed to be like this, due to Vlad's abuse of the environment for military resources. In fact, one of his primary reasons for expansion is to gain more resources.
    • Although, oddly enough, Old Xylvania looks just about the same in Battalion Wars 2, except everything's on fire instead of poisonous and green.
      • If you think about it, the appearance of Old Xylvania could be as it is to mirror the effects of Kaiser Vlad's actions. That is, to draw a parallel between Lord Ferrok and Vlad.
      • On the other hand, maybe Xylvania is just a perennial hellhole. Look at their people. That didn't happen to them in a generation.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The endgame could have been avoided if Vlad just told Ingrid why reviving the Iron Legion is a Bad Idea, instead of just saying "no".
  • Power Trio: in the first game:
    • Western Frontier - General Herman (Id), Colonel Austin (Ego?), Brigadier Betty (Superego)
    • Tundran Territories - Major Nelly (Ego), Tsar Gorgi until his death, at least, and Marshal Nova (Id/Superego interchangeably).
    • Xylvania - Kaiser Vlad (Ego), Countess Ingrid (Superego), Kommander Ubel (Id)
  • Punny Name: The Tundran TOZT-23 flamethrower. Try saying "toast" in a Lzherusskie accent...
  • Putting on the Reich: Xylvanian Infantry.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Kaiser Vlad is willing to start two world wars in an effort to take over the world (Of Course!), but even though there's a way to resurrect his ancestors long-dead private army of Super Soldiers, he won't touch it.
    "The Iron Legion would bring no victory. Only suffering."
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Herman's view of his posting to the Solar Empire in the sequel.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Smashing random barricades, encampments and props around the stage often reveals medkits and fuel tanks to heal/repair your units.
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: Tundra gets devastated by an Xylvanian sneak attack. Twice.
    Marshall Nova: *shocked an appalled* "Never has such devastation been wreaked upon Tundran soil!"
  • Rock Beats Laser: Despite their monstrously advanced technology compared to every other nation, the Solar Empire almost gets stomped flat by both the Steam Punk Iron Legion and the early-World War 2-esque Anglo Isles.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: A few of the Commanding Officers are royalty, Kaiser Vlad and Empress Lei-Quo being examples.
    • Strangely, the Royalty of the Anglo Isles never appear, despite their flag being a crown.
  • Kuju Has No Sense of Scale: According to background material, the Western Frontier and the Tundran Territories each have populations around 2.3 billion. For comparison, these two nations combined have nearly 66% of Earths entire population.
  • Sequel Hook: Despite the sequel ending on a happy note (unlike the first game), Vlad already got the Staff of Qa-Len and is still alive, albeit buried.
  • Serious Business: The Anglo Isles has the cleanup squad, devoted entirely to maintaining the nation's monuments. Apparently it's the most prestigious posting possible for them.
  • Shades of Conflict: Several overlapping types.
    • Gray and Grey Morality: The Frontier and Tundra. Neither are purely honorable, though the Frontier is clearly better, and part of the story is that Tundra needs to reform. Indeed, the Tundran leadership are clear Anti-Villains at their absolute worst, while the Frontier are more or less lead by the warmongering General Herman.
    • Black and White Morality: By contrast, the Solar Empire and Xylvania. The Solar Empire is basically an idyllic Utopia, with its gorgeous tropical terrain, clean energy, futuristic technology, free consumerist culture, superior tactics, and diplomatic leadership. Heck, their leadership can literally see into the future! Xylvania, by contrast, is hellish, polluted, war-mongering, treacherous, and their leader is obsessed with their past.
    • Blue and Orange Morality: Colonel Windsor and Admiral A-Qira. Sure, they were both originally manipulated, but after awhile, it's just honor and tradition keeping them going. After A-Qira launches a campaign simply to deface Windsor's statue, even Marshal Nova points out that the whole thing makes no sense.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: You can actually hit and damage enemy units that are very far with the standard rifle or machine gun. AI controlled units, however, cannot use these weapons until they get to an optimum distance.
  • Shout-Out
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: subverted in the sequel, as Vlad shuts himself up only a second later:
    Vlad: Why do you care about this trifling town? Everything of value is destroyed. No matter. Launch Acid Gas vets!
  • The Smurfette Principle: Lampshaded, as Nova's promotion of Major Nelly to commanding officer is a Really Big Deal to the traditionalist Tundrans.
  • Spiteful A.I.: Watch your Fighters, already Too Dumb to Live, crash into the enemy Fighters and die in the second game.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: The sequel is abbreviated as BWii.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: The game is BLATANTLY INCORRECT when using terminology to designate a Military Unit based on its size.
    • 8 Tanks = A Division
    • 2 Tanks + 2 Anti-Air + 17 Infantry = A Battalion
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Hoo boy. To use Naval units as an example - Submarines giving you grief? Send in frigates. Frigates taking out your subs? Get Battleships on them. Battleships being a pain? Deploy subs.
    • This is true in Advance Wars as well, with Subs, Cruisers, and Battleships having pretty much the same relationship.
  • Tank Goodness: The Battlestation, it's the biggest and slowest ground unit, but can generally hold against whatever is thrown at it, its machine guns can rip open infantry and its big guns and turn heavy tanks into scrap with ease.
  • Tempting Fate: Vlad has a few cases of doing so, with one particularly notable instance at the end of the second game, where he announces that he will call the Kill Sat to destroy the alliance and then escape by air transport — but Pierce responds by shooting down the air transport.
    • And at the very end of the second game, where he's stuck in a cave caused by his use of the Staff of Qa-Len. Using light from a match to see, he proudly proclaims that "the torch of destiny still burns brightly for Xylvania." The match goes out immediately after he says that.
  • That Man Is Dead: "There is no Countess Ingrid, there is only Legion!"
  • The Theme Park Version: Every nation is this, with the Western Frontier as the United States, the Tundran Territories as Soviet Russia, the Solar Empire as a combination of China and Japan, the Anglo Isles as Britain, and Xylvania as WWI and WWII-era Germany... but kinda sorta vampires!
    • The Alliance of Nations is the TPV of NATO, as a multinational mutual defense pact arrayed against a monolithic enemy.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: While not technically Nazis, the Xylvanian commanders cover most of the character types.
  • Timed Mission: Operation POW, Striking Distance, Guns of Tiki Bay, Bridges on the River Styx, and Bonus Mission 2 in the first game; Showdown at Big Honshu, Line in the Sand, the first part of Purge, and the last part of several missions in the sequel.
  • Token Minority: Prerelease images showed Colonel Austin as a plaid-wearing Caucasian. He was changed to an African in the final game.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Your air and sea units will not try to pick up Jerry Cans at all.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The citizens of the Tundran Territories love turnips. The vegetable is describes as permeating every stratum of Tundran society.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: You already hate to let any of your little fellers down, and THEN they give you Private Hazard: an otherwise normal Grunt who has a name, a cute little bandage headwrap, and needs rescuing from a deadly minefield. Oh, and if you blunder his rescue, the COs ask what they should tell his mother. Sheez.
  • Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: Flame/Acid Gas/Plasma Vets are useless against vehicles.
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: Justified. The commanders use radio to communicate and can therefore run away long before they're actually in any danger. However, at the end of the first game, the COs get into the Vladstag themselves and they had already taken down Xylvania, but Vlad manages to invoke this trope anyway. In the sequel, Vlad tries to invoke this trope again after getting the staff and calling the Kill Sat with it, but Pierce demolishes his means of escape, leaving Vlad and Ubel stuck having to escape in a manner that gets them stuck in a cave-in caused by the Kill Sat.
  • Voice of the Legion: Countess Ingrid gets this when she resurrects the Iron Legion.
  • Wake Up Call Level: "Plan of Attack" and especially "Titans of Tundra" in the first, "Line in the Sand" in the sequel.
  • War Has Never Been So Much Fun: So, so much fun.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: In the sequel, Vlad finds the Staff of Qa-Len, and even gets it at the end, setting up a Sequel Hook, though he finds himself buried.
  • You Killed My Father: Marshal Nova throws Kommandant Ubel into the gulag for personally murdering Tsar Gorgi. Not that this had any effect on the murdered man's social life, apparently...
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Due to Countess Ingrid pinching Vlad's sword and rezzing the Iron Legion. The second-to-last mission in the original revolves around putting it down.

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alternative title(s): Battalion Wars
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