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Yu-Gi-Oh!: Forbidden Memoires (PlayStation) artwork

Yu-Gi-Oh!: Forbidden Memoires (PlayStation) review


"Yu-Gi-Oh is a franchise which I feel done something Digimon couldn’t. It rivalled Pokemon. Not a view shared by the masses, but I personally jumped aboard of Pokemon slightly when I bought my first ever deck. A friend told me had a Yu-Gi-Oh game at church one day, which I didn’t believe. That whole Sunday was spent, legs crossed on his floor, eyes peeled at the sight of our favourite characters in their battle to save the world. Since then, any other game has been but an anti-climax. "



Yu-Gi-Oh is a franchise which I feel done something Digimon couldn’t. It rivalled Pokemon. Not a view shared by the masses, but I personally jumped aboard of Pokemon slightly when I bought my first ever deck. A friend told me had a Yu-Gi-Oh game at church one day, which I didn’t believe. That whole Sunday was spent, legs crossed on his floor, eyes peeled at the sight of our favourite characters in their battle to save the world. Since then, any other game has been but an anti-climax.

The game starts with the player taking on the role of Atem, the Prince of Egypt. You wish to escape the palace to watch duel monsters, your servant Simon Muran wishes to stop you, but you go anyway. After a few duels, the player visits the Town Square to watch Jono (Joey) be beaten by Seto (Kaiba). After this defeat, Simon tells Atem that a lord called Heishin has invaded the castle too steal your millennium puzzle. This leads to Simon breaking it in desperation, Atem and Simon being trapped within the puzzle before being solved by Yugi Moto (Protagonist of the series) millennia into the future. You (as Atem the duelling spirit) and Yugi, win a competition (hosted by future Kaiba), retrieving the millennium items from the combatants, then travelling back to the past in order to stop Heishin resurrecting a dark sorcerer. Got it? Looks complicated, but the story did interest Yu-Gi-Oh fans at the time, as the first, second and later third season based their stories around the items and the gang travelling back to Egyptian times in aid of the items. So the game became a hit with serious Yugi fans from the beginning.

The characters in the game were really well designed, rendered and presented, appealing to the hardcore fanbase, as well as those new to the franchise. Fan favourites are seen within 10 minutes of gameplay, along with more as the game progressed. Cutscenes were created using character icons and speech boxes. Although the processor of the PS1 wasn’t the best, I feel a little effort could have been made via voice actors to iterate the speech, opposed to having the player read scrolls of texts with no real meaning. I had to play the game twice before I could follow the story because I continued to flick through the text. One other minor issue is the lack of originality with the characters. When I duel characters like Rex Raptor and Weavil, I want to see their decks from the anime. Even a simplified version of their decks, it would have added to the authenticity of having these characters in the game. Although not much had been known from the anime about their decks, it could even have been an idea to even make a random selection of Dinosaur and Insect monsters in their decks. Just to give the fans that extra little bit of excitement. Alas, the same issue occurred with each player. Out of the many duels I had with Kaiba, I never once saw the famed Blue Eyes Ultimate. A signature card, which I prolonged duels just to see, which was a little disappointing.

The dueling system was well programmed. The functions of the game were easily mapped on the controller and made for quick gameplay, whilst sticking to the basic rules of the Trading Card Game. Each player starting with a deck of 40 cards, composed of Magic, Monster and Trap type cards. The Player selects one card per turn to play and monster cards may be placed facedown in defence or attack mode, or faceup in defence or attack mode. Furthermore, up to three monster cards can be polymerized together in order to form a new and improved monster. This was the key to the early stages of the game. With a weak deck to begin with, the player could create excessively powerful monsters and by remembering their combinations, have the upper hand over later, harder opponents. Furthermore, pressing circle when entering battle mode, initiated a 3D battle system, where the monsters came to life, adding a bit more variety to the game. However, this system did take a while to load up the battle and did become tedious after a while. It was an extra, giving the player that feeling that they were in the TV show. One thing I did have an issue with is the sound affects during the duel. The music becomes repetitive and there isn’t much other sound. The developers might even have thought of adding some dialogue from the duellists to give it an extra edge. I often found myself cut off from the rest of the world, trapped in this one duel with the cards.

The deck building system and method are things which offered pros and cons to the game. Cards were gained from players after defeating them in duels throughout the story. The player could also challenge past foes in the Free Duel option, allowing more cards to be earned. Along with won cards, are starchips. An exciting system which KCEJ integrated into the game was the ability to enter the codes on real trading cards into a search system and trade these starchips for the cards. However, fans are bitterly disappointed, when favourites such as Dark Magician, Blue Eyes White Dragon and the Red Eyes Black Dragon could cost unreachable numbers of starchips and were very rare prizes in free duels. This made defeating the remainder of the game something which could take months, trying to acquire the starchips or using the cheat code to have unlimited star chips.

The game would appear to have made more effort in some cards than others. The use of trap cards in the TCG is the basis of all strategies, however the use of trap cards in the game is almost absent (accept for a few). The player, could go throughout the whole game with 1 magic, 39 monster cards and have no problems. Most magic cards, also seem to just be equip cards to power up monster, or the Ragheki and Black Hole (only used to destroy monsters on the field). There is no strategy really, apart from obtaining the most powerful monsters, which comes at great difficulty as it is. The first series did reflect this soul use of equip and monster cards, however by the time series two had been aired, most players had begun building strategic decks, filled with trap and magic cards. The game had really just been realised too late into the series, opening in up for criticism.

An issue with the game I found was the starsigns. KCEJ integrated a system were monsters are played and are assigned one of two starsigns. Depending on the attacking or defending monster’s starsign, it could gain a 500 attack point boost. This meant referring to the manual, every time I played a card, just to make sure I wouldn’t be beaten. I feel this was actually to cover up the lack of magic, when the developers realised that 99.9% of the cards programmed, were in actual fact monsters. It brought no sense to the game and is the only point I would seriously change.

In summary, the game stayed true to the anime and delivered a well programmed and easily controlled gameplay. Packed full of famous monsters and characters, fans were satisfied by their involvement in the story and new players were given an idea of these character’s attitudes and affiliations with the protagonist. As well as offering beautifully detailed cards, players could easily pick up the controller and learn the basics of the game within one duel. However, the lack of attention to cutscenes and the farce that is the starsign system, the game should have been given more attention and testing with the demographic.

Rating: 8/10

Teddypicka's avatar
Community review by Teddypicka (June 19, 2012)

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