"Yu-Gi-Oh; a Japanese card game that became popular across the globe, had a hit anime TV series and has had various games based on it now makes its way onto the GBA. Stairway to the Destined Duel keeps faithful to the card game and requires you to duke it out against various opponents with cards that have pictures of monsters on them. While the game will keep the hardcore Yu-Gi-Oh fan happy, it will do little to entertain those who have never played the card game before. "
Yu-Gi-Oh; a Japanese card game that became popular across the globe, had a hit anime TV series and has had various games based on it now makes its way onto the GBA. Stairway to the Destined Duel keeps faithful to the card game and requires you to duke it out against various opponents with cards that have pictures of monsters on them. While the game will keep the hardcore Yu-Gi-Oh fan happy, it will do little to entertain those who have never played the card game before.
So what's the game all about? Well basically, you are no-named aspiring duelist about to enter the ultimate dueling arena, Battle City. The game starts of with you being introduced to the game by a representative of Battle City who will give you your first set of cards. There are three sets of cards to choose from, and while each of them is different, they won't really make a difference on how the game plays out in terms of difficulty. Once you're given your cards you are on your own. You have to search around Battle City in search of opponents, all of which will be recognizable from the Anime series. You will duel characters such as Rex Raptor, Seto Kaiba and even Yugi himself. The game is basically you battling it out with opponents, winning and earning more cards, which goes alongside a little story about people who are having there cards taken from them by unknown masked men. The story element is where the game is weak and you'll take notice of the story and really just play to battle characters from the TV series.
Battle City is the grand arena which you are expected to duel in, which is interesting because the arena is a whole city. It is split up into various segments each with a thing called a passenger in them. A passenger is the equivalent of a cutscene and is the only way you'll get the story progressing and learn how to play the game. They are in every segment of the city and make battling the other duelists pointless since you can complete the story by just going on the Passengers and watching the "cutscene." Along with the passenger, in certain areas you may see a fuzzy TV screen which means that there is a duelist ready to face you in that segment. Once you have fought the opponent in that segment, the TV screen shows a picture of the duelist you just faced so you can recognize who you are going to duel next.
The game runs of a weekly clock which progresses by one day for every area of the city that you visit. This is a rather pointless addition and the only benefit that you will gain from this is that you will gain more cards for your deck every Tuesday. The reason. Every Tuesday a magazine comes out in the game called, "Duelist Weekly" and gives you five new cards to add to your deck. While this is a neat feature, the cards the game gives you are pointless and will not help you progress in the game.
Challenged! When you have been challenged by opponent the game will go into a new screen where there will be a layout that Yu-Gi-Oh fans will be familiar with. There are five slots for your monster cards (the cards that dish out the damage) and 5 slots for your magic and trap cards (cards that help your monster cards out), as well as places for your fusion and field cards. The layouts to the duels are bare and look very dull and uninteresting mainly because the background will show a constant shade a brown.
You and your opponent start out with eight thousand life points each and whoever's life points are drained down to zero loses. When you want to attack your opponent's monsters or life points you will use things called Monster cards. These are your primary attacking cards and are usually represented by Monsters in the display picture, hence the name. These can be backed up by magic or trap cards. Magic cards helping your monster by increasing strength or defense and Trap cards damaging your opponent in one way or another. When you beat your opponent you get the chance to pick a pack of cards that contains five new cards to add to your deck. The card game itself is complicated and since the game doesn't provide you with any tutorial whatsoever, the game is hard to pick by none Yu-Gi-Oh fans.
A neat feature has been included in Stairway to the Destined Duel, and that is the ability to transfer cards from real life into the game. On the game menu there will be a section called "password" and when you're on that simply type in the code that can be found on all Yu-Gi-Oh cards, on the bottom left hand corner. However, since Stairway to the Destined Duel is now five years old, newer cards will not work. Multiplayer is also available. You can trade cards and battle your friends or a stranger who has the game through the use of the GBA Trade Link Cable.
From a visual aspect, Stairway to the Destined Duel looks good for what it does. The game design is basic and so are most of the areas that you visit. The passengers show a few different backgrounds but nothing spectacular and the battle screen is extremely dull. What the game is good at though, is recreating the cards that are picture perfect. All of the cards inside the game look great and show a lot of resemblance to the cards outside the game.
Speaking of Sound, this is where the game fails. The Battle City theme is extremely repetitive and is only a few chimes here and there. The same goes for the battle theme, there is only one tune yet again and it isn't really catchy. There are no other sounds in the game except bangs and thuds which sound distorted through the GBA speakers.
In terms of keeping fans of the card game and TV series happy, Stairway to the Destined Duel is great. However, for newcomers to the world of Yu-Gi-Oh this game may seem like a chore and it won't help them learn how to play well. It's sound problems and dull visuals are balanced off by it's faithfulness to the series and card designs. Overall, Yu-Gi-Oh Worldwide Edition: Stairway to the Destined Duel is good card game simulator and will please fans of the series but no-one else.
Community review by Robot_Vampire (March 13, 2008)
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