"No matter where you go, you've probably heard the name Yu-Gi-Oh before. You might have seen it on numerous commercials while flipping channels, scanned its name on random ads scattered on the train on the way to work, or your little brother might be begging you to give him some money to buy some cards at the local hobby store. Yu-Gi-Oh has left its mark on the world and everyone knows it. It's everywhere, even on your Nintendo DS with the release of Yu-Gi-Oh: Nightmare Troubadour. Althoug..."
No matter where you go, you've probably heard the name Yu-Gi-Oh before. You might have seen it on numerous commercials while flipping channels, scanned its name on random ads scattered on the train on the way to work, or your little brother might be begging you to give him some money to buy some cards at the local hobby store. Yu-Gi-Oh has left its mark on the world and everyone knows it. It's everywhere, even on your Nintendo DS with the release of Yu-Gi-Oh: Nightmare Troubadour. Although Yu-Gi-Oh has been successful in many areas, video games have never been one of the franchise's strengths. You can't really blame anyone for being skeptical about buying one of its games, but you might be pleasantly surprised even if you're not a big fan.
For those who live under a rock, Yu-Gi-Oh is an anime, a TCG, a toy, and more based on a card game. It usually features a short, blond, spiky haired guy (no, not Cloud) that lives in a world that seems to be dominated by this card game that everyone plays. The game is actually pretty simple compared to most other ones. First, you decide who goes first by doing rock, paper, scissors. After deciding who goes first(let's assume it's you), draw a card. You've got monsters, magic, and trap cards in all sorts of assorted colors that you can play. You summon strong monster cards to attack your opponent and deal damage to their lifepoints. The winner is declared when the loser reaches zero lifepoints.
The magic and trap cards add extra elements to Yu-Gi-Oh's simplistic card game that will make you think twice about attacking. You can raise your monster's attack points, draw extra cards that you can use, revive monsters in the graveyard, and more. There's a massive amount of cards that you can collect in the game, which, believe it or not, are just a portion of the cards that are actually released in the real life TCG. It's pretty crazy what you can do. You can build a deck around a certain type of monster, equipment magic cards, traps that destroy high attacking monsters, and so on. The possibilities are endless, giving you a reason to experiment with cards and lengthen the game's lifespan.
Yu-Gi-Oh: Nightmare Troubadour is a well made hash of the Battle City saga like on TV. A lot of the events that happen in the game are similar to the ones that happen in the TV show. You enter a few tournaments, an evil-looking dude named Marik shows up and tries to steal everyone's cards, and the Rare Hunters make bad things happen to poor you and Yugi. This might not sound like a good thing to the lot of Yu-Gi-Oh anime haters, but it's still a step up from the previous games where there were no events at all and were just dueling end-on-end. The storyline and events makes it actually feel like a game, something with a plot that goes along with its gameplay to make it feel like more than just random duels. The events give you a reason to engage in a bunch of duels, an element which I think is necessary in a game like this.
Although there are plot sequences and cutscenes here and there, the heart of this game is still dueling and deck-building, so don't think that less effort was put into the flow of duels and such. It is still just as good as the previous games(if not better). A new feature in this game requires to "search" for duelists in the town by tapping your stylus on the map. There is a "clock" that tells you around what time of the day it is. Different duelists will appear at different times. You won't be able to kick Joey's ass 24/7 anymore, but you will still find someone to duel at every single hour of the day. I don't really like this feature to be honest. I mean, they could have accomplished the same thing in a menu or just show where the locations of the characters are. I mean, it's not fun to waste time looking for someone to duel so you can continue your game, even if it doesn't take that long. I might be being a bit nit-picky since searching for a duelist takes less than a minute, but it's still something that slightly bothers me.
Each duelist has a friendship level with you. The more you duel them, the higher it gets. Close friends will give you deck recipes so you can copy their mediocre deck and call it your own. You'll also no longer have to search for them as they'll appear in a menu. There are a large assortment of duelists from the TV show that you will find as the game progresses through the storyline. The previous duelists that you met will also get stronger, which is a nice change.
Yu-Gi-Oh: Nightmare Troubadour adds new aspects to the game outside of dueling, but the main part of the game still remains unchanged for the most part. The game follows all of the official TCG game rules, including sacrifices for higher level monsters and an *outdated* list of banned cards. It's still as smooth as its predecessors and to be honest, can't really get much better. The turns go by smoothly and the computer is quick. The only thing I could ask for is a bit more of a challenge. Anyone with half a brain(well, maybe 3/4s) could beat most of the duelists in the game with a well-prepared deck. After beating an opponent, you earn points that you spend at the card store to get more cards to build your deck.
The DS's features aren't really used much. As you would probably expect, all drawing of cards, selecting, and so on is on the touch screen which makes it much simpler to use. The bottom screen shows the cards in your hand and blocky sprites standing on top of the active ones. The top screen doesn't really serve much of a purpose while dueling; it only shows a smoother picture of what's already on the bottom screen. While the graphics do have a higher quality on the top screen, it's still nothing that will wow you over. Some of the movements still look strange. Occasionally, you'll see the summoning of a popular monster on the top screen accompanied by some corny music which really isn't so much better than the game's own normal mediocre pieces. The 2D graphics of the game such as the card pictures and character in cutscenes do appear in pretty good shape, however.
People laugh when I tell them that I bought this game, but it really isn't all that bad. The franchise has taken many small steps forward with the introduction of a plot, more deckbuilding options, and the night/day option while still keep the heart of the game - dueling - in tact and smooth. This is what a real Yu-Gi-Oh game looks like. Although there are still some flaws such as mediocre music and some crapped up translations, you will be able to enjoy this game whether you're a fan or not.
Community review by strawhat (August 29, 2006)
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