Yu-Gi-Oh!: 7 Trials to Glory
Ah,! The new Pokemon of combat-based card games, it seems to fill the niche between younger card players and the more serious, Magic: The Gallery gamers. Like most of its turn-based predecessors, the game is quite simple to learn, but due to the sheer number of monsters, spells, effects and other cards, truly difficult to master. So how well does a complex dueling card game transfer to a platform like the GameBoy?
For those of you not familiar with how to play Yu-Gi-Oh!, be prepared for a very frustrating experience right off the bat. Getting started isn't exactly intuitive; you have to purchase cards from the card shop, then figure out how to get them into your deck, decide which ones to use, and so on. This wouldn't be so bad except for the instruction manual is of minimal help, the interface is less than intuitive, and, if you're like me, you'll give up a few times before you actually figure out how to get to the point where you actually have the ability to start a duel, much less win one. So Yu-Gi-Oh! starts off with a pretty steep learning curve. However, once you get over that hurdle, the game's actually pretty smooth playing. Graphics are limited, but with the focus being playing cards rather than eye candy, it's not too bad. Moving around in the cities, from tournaments to card shops to everything else, is a snap. The audio does tend to get a little annoying, due to the repetitive sound effects and cheesy theme music.
The one thing I didn't expect, since everything seemed sub par at first glance, was that the game would be so intriguing and enjoyable. I actually looked forward to buying new cards so that I could improve and tweak my deck, and the sheer number and variety of attacks, defense, spells, and other items available to players is amazing. Though the NPCs you encounter are strictly cliché or ripped directly from the animated show on TV, they all have their own styles of playing, and a strategy that worked on one opponent won't necessarily work on the next one.
For a game I wrote off initially, Yu-Gi-Oh! actually appears to have put together a somewhat solid, if flawed, GameBoy title. For those of you willing to struggle through learning the basics, you'll be well rewarded with an interesting and ever-changing card strategy game. However, a kludgy gaming interface and minor flaws keep this title from being top tier.