For those that don't know, Yu-Gi-Oh! is a popular
Japanese comic, anime series and trading card game.
For comparison's sake, it's something a little like
Pokemon, but geared towards older kids. Just like Pokemon,
however, Yu-Gi-Oh! has become a phenomenon since it
was brought in to the U.S. by 4Kids Entertainment and
shown on network television. Consequently, the popularity
of the trading card game has also boomed, and has spawned
versions for both the PC and major game consoles. After
an earlier appearance on the GBC this year, Yu-Gi-Oh!
now makes its debut on the GameBoy Advance.
I'm sitting here with the weighty manual in front
of me trying to play my first game. Although I'm clearly
not as accomplished as the average 10 year old Yu-Gi-Oh!
fan, I will do my best to explain how it's played.
Basically, players are dealt three hands containing
Monster, Magic and Trap cards. Traveling across an expansive
game map, the player is then challenged to defeat their
opponent (CPU or 'real') by creatively utilizing their
cards' strengths and weaknesses. A victory results in
an additional five cards and more Duel Points, which
are added to the player's score. Got all that? Good.
Obviously, there's a lot more to the game, and winning
will depend a lot on your knowledge of the cards and
their values, which will undoubtedly take a considerable
amount of time to master.
If you have a link cable, then you'll be able to
not only play head-to-head matches but also swap cards
with your friends. This is great fun and extends game
play even further. One of my favorite features was being
able to play with other players from different countries
without any knowledge of their language. This is based
on a similar system employed by SEGA for the Phantasy
Star Online, where the cart automatically translates
text via the link cable. This allows players from England,
Germany, France, Spain and even Japan to challenge each
other with relative ease. According to the press release
that accompanied the game, this feature was included
as part of Konami's plan for a Global Tournament that
is due to take place some time this year.
Saving in Yu-Gi-Oh! is done automatically via battery
back-up which will no doubt please those of you (and
me) who hate tedious password saves.
The control system was a little confusing at first
and the lack of a training mode or a tutorial of any
description didn't help matters. A little time and a
fair bit of trial and error should manage to sort things
out though and if not, there's always the weighty manual
to help you out.
Visually, the game is functional at best although
to be fair, this is all that's really required of it.
A good number of cards have been scanned in for dueling
purposes and some of the cut screens are really quite
pleasing but it in no way pushes the GBA's hardware.
Sound & Music
The music appears to be a straight port of ‘Eternal
Duelist Soul' and while it's not bad, it's by no means
the best you're likely to hear on the GBA. On the other
hand, audio is hardly an essential component for a game
like this, so even if there was no music at all, it's
unlikely you'd notice.
If you're one of the many that have been waiting
for the next Yu-Gi-Oh! game for the GameBoy, then the
over 100 duelists and 900 cards on this GBA version
should keep you happy and occupied for some time. It
isn't exactly a monster sequel, but if you enjoyed the
GBC version, then you'll get more of the same here but
with slightly improved visuals and a slightly faster
and somewhat slicker engine, and not to mention, the
cool international translator feature. All in all, Yu-Gi-Oh!
for the GBA will definitely please current fans as well
as those new to the phenomena. As an added bonus, you'll
also get three exclusive trading cards when you buy
the game. Now, is that good or what?