NINTENDO DS REVIEW: YU-GI-OH: NIGHTMARE TROUBADOUR

I admit that I adore Yu-Gi-Oh! It's a great card game that translates perfectly to the videogame medium. The gameplay has stood the test of time because it engages the brain. Sure, luck plays a big role in the gameplay but luck also plays a big role in seemingly sophisticated games such as Backgammon, Poker and Monopoly.

The one thing that I don't like about Yu-Gi-Oh! is that it's been repackaged and resold so many times that there's really nothing new about it except for the modest addition of new cards and some new gameplay rules. Don't expect any big changes now that the game is presented on the DS. It does however have some advantages over the GBA such as the dual screen and the touch control that makes the physical aspect of playing the game easier, but it's not enough to make me want to run out and buy a DS. At the same time, once you've played Yu-Gi-Oh! on the DS, you'll never want to go back to the GBA.

A major sore spot for potential fans of the series is that none of the videogames come with a tutorial. It's assumed that you already know the rules of the game. It's not incredibly complex but it does require some explaining. It's not something you could easily figure out on your own. Nightmare Troubadour has finally addressed this issue and features a puzzle mode which illustrates different situations with different monsters and their corresponding cards. You'll be able to see the effects that various attack, defend, magic and special ability cards have on your opponent.

Arranging your deck is one of the most important aspects of this game. It's part strategy and part guesswork. The object of the game is to attack your opponent, causing him or her to lose points all the while defending yourself from attack. The first player to lose all their points is the loser. There are many variables to the game depending on the cards played. Some cards can actually turn the tide of the battle if played at the right time. This ensures that there is a randomness to the game that keeps all of the players on relatively equal footing. No matter how much of a genius you are it won't guarantee your success in this game, and that's one of the reasons that's it's so popular.

In the physical card game, player can purchase special abilities and rare cards that give them virtually unbeatable hands. In this game you are limited to what you find in-game. You can't buy your victory. There is an adventure mode where you explore a map while the cursor turns hot or cold depending on the proximity of an opponent. Points earned in battles can be used to acquire better cards. This means that a player that has spent more time in the adventure mode will have upgraded his deck significantly. Fortunately the wireless system will display his or her skill level so you can refuse to do battle with someone that's stacked and will obviously kick your arse.

Utilizing the dual screen and the touch controls, all of your cards are kept visible on the bottom of the screen for easy reference. The top of the screen displays your board. It's a great system in that you don't have to keep accessing the menu and interface to peek at your deck. Arranging the deck is also easier since all you have to do is touch the deck and the cards to change the order. Add a wireless system that allows your opponent to keep his or her B.O. at a safe distance and you've got a lot of great benefits if you're a DS owner - although it's still not enough to make me run out and buy one and I'm certainly not suggesting that you do either.

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System: DS
Dev: Konami
Pub: Konami
Released: Sept 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review By Kelly
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
2.0
VALUE
4.0