I downloaded this for the Virtual Console last weekend, but then didn’t actually play it. Well, I loaded it, got confused, and turned it off again.
Today, however, I found it has an in-game tutorial! I had a quick scan of that, and then started playing. And it’s lovely.
Comparing it to Advance Wars is unfair (Military Madness is years older – if anything, it’s a clone of Famicom Wars, Advance Wars‘ great-grandad) but unavoidable. The premise is the same – move your units to destroy the enemy or take over its base. Use terrain factors to improve your chances. That sort of thing.
Where it differs (besides the lack of COs and CO powers, and the hex-vs-grid map) is with some additional “features” that aid or hinder your units. For example, if you have a unit next to an enemy unit, and then move a second unit in for attack, you have a greater offence bonus due to “assistance”. Also, bases don’t need to actually be captured (in AW this typically took two turns) – you just need to move an infantry unit onto it to win, meaning protecting your base (and/or wiping out foot soldiers) is more important than it was in the Nintendo title.
Anyway. I played the first three missions, walking the first two but failed to protect my base on the third and so had to play again. Managed it that time though!