Review by UsagiWagi

"It's time for a new twist on Yu-Gi-Oh! gameplay, are you ready?"

It's time to duel! Or is it? This cash cow from Japan comes back again with a vengeance. But no, not another card battle game, this time it's a strategy game. A lot like Dungeon Dice Monsters, this game changes the rules of Yu-Gi-Oh! and adds a new flavor to the American audience.

Once again Yugi and the gang are dueling. However, the story that wraps the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime and manga is not present. No background info on this new style of dueling, why everyone is magically a master at it and why they're not just using their cards. Just Yami Yugi walking around this very odd place and being challenged.

This game is a lot like chess, if you can play that then you've got this in the bag. Each piece can only move a certain way, a cross shape, an x shape or jump over other spaces. Also, each piece has an attack range in this same pattern as well. So your token can move an x shape but only be able to attack in a cross shape. Gives the element of strategy and frustration when you find out sometimes you just can't attack. Because of the unique attack range and movement range, you can end up moving to a space but not being able to attack anything. And yet, even if your enemy moves, you still can't reach them with that one piece. Fear not, you have a whole hoard of monsters to use...and the can evolve! Yes, a very interesting idea is that your monsters now gain levels, special abilities and can evolve. However, this is also uneventful since not all monsters can evolve, but you can always fuse them. As a standard for certain Yu-Gi-Oh! games, cards have elemental properties and there is a chart of which elements are weaker or stronger than the other. Also, the boards have elemental properties as well which either boast or lower your monster's stats. Finally, you yourself must pick an element to align with. This can either hurt or help certain monsters.

Might I say, the graphics are somewhat nice. I've never really seen a Yu-Gi-Oh! game with extraordinary graphics so this one just follows the patterned. Most detailed was put into the boards, each one is different and unique. The characters are drawn in a manga fashion but have no animation but moving their lips out of sync with the horrid English voice acting. A minor problem compared to the monsters. Card pictures haven't been updated but that's not a big deal, the problem is the not so amazing 3D battle animation. It's short, dull and repetitive. Attacking monster breaks out of their token form, charges attack then fires at enemy monster. It's uneventful and doesn't look good. One good thing is the monster's battle tokens actually crack more and more as they get attacked.

My biggest problem was the English voice acting. I would have been just as happy to speed through text then have to listen to such "gems" as Weevil Underwood's voice. If you're not a fan of the Yu-Gi-Oh! dubs, which I am not, then this will upset you. However, you can speed through it and only listen to them stutter to try and start the sentence. Music, it's ok, not bad and not good. You can play this game very well on mute and not miss anything.

Replay Factor
If you want to play a chess like game every now and then there is a replay value. It's a fun game to sit and play a few rounds to kill the time. If you want to collect all the monsters, well good luck. There are very few monsters in this game compared to the huge number of real cards out there. In short, it's a good game to play every now and then out of boredom.

Story – 3
Gameplay – 8
Graphics – 6
Sound – 5
Replay Factor – 7
Overall – 6

Closing Thoughts
If you're a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan and looking for a different type of dueling goodness then this is the game for you. It may not be amazing but it's unique and fun enough to serve it's purpose. If you're not a fan of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series, this game is good enough to play with friends or just for a quick fix of strategy goodness.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 01/06/05

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