Yu-Gi-Oh! video games have existed for almost as long as the franchise itself, and many of them remain rather underappreciated. The series has seen many games come and go, and plenty of these games have been fascinating experiments. With so many games in the series, it’s only normal that a few are not as remembered as they should be.
Yu-Gi-Oh! video games run a wide spectrum. The most common types would be fairly faithful recreations of the card game, with the competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel being the biggest evolution of that genre. However, the games have also featured variations on the card game, as well as a couple of titles that are not card games at all. Despite being based on a franchise best known for its card game, Yu-Gi-Oh! video games have proven to be diverse in range.
Even though the series has had some very popular games such as Forbidden Memories and Master Duel, the lesser-known Yu-Gi-Oh! games deserve recognition as well. Many of these games bring something to the series that hasn’t been seen before or since, and they should be respected for it. Even though some of them never even got a worldwide release, they still had something unique to offer.
Monster Capsule: Breed & Battle Was The First Yu-Gi-Oh Video Game
A fact that may surprise many is that the first Yu-Gi-Oh video game ever made had absolutely nothing to do with the card game. Instead, Monster Capsule: Breed & Battle is based on the Capumon game that showed up in a couple of early manga chapters. As a result, the gameplay is completely different from what a modern fan may expect a Yu-Gi-Oh! game to entail. However, since Yu-Gi-Oh!‘s first chapters weren’t about the card game, this isn’t as shocking as it sounds.
In Monster Capsule: Breed & Battle, each player places six monsters on a board, each with their own method of movement, attack range, and special ability. The first player to either destroy all of their opponent’s monsters or break their opponent’s golden capsule wins. In addition to the game’s starting monsters, players can raise new monsters through the breeding system, feeding and training their monsters to improve their stats and evolve them into better monsters. Players can also form new monsters by fusing two existing monsters during a match. With just over a hundred monsters total in the game, players can experiment with plenty of monsters and strategies.
The game’s main weaknesses lie in a lackluster single-player story mode, where players essentially just play duels and battles against Yu-Gi-Oh! anime characters in a row. While the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime had some great battles, without a real plot the game can feel a bit lackluster. However, the game also featured the ability to play matches against friends, mitigating that somewhat. Although it may be primitive compared to modern Yu-Gi-Oh! games, Monster Capsule: Breed & Battle, captured the series’ competitive spirit.
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Falsebound Kingdom Blends RPG and RTS Gameplay
The only Yu-Gi-Oh! game for the Nintendo GameCube, Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Falsebound Kingdom is from an era when Konami was experimenting with finding new ways to use Yu-Gi-Oh! in video games. Falsebound Kingdom is a combination of two modes of gameplay, with movement controlled on a map as a real-time strategy game, but with battles taking place using RPG elements.
The plotline features either Yugi or Kaiba adventuring through a virtual world and recruiting other characters from the series as they fight to escape, similar in set-up almost to Yu-Gi-Oh!-themed D&D campaign. Each character can control three monsters, and the player can gain more monsters either through overworld encounters or as rewards for completing stages. Monsters can also be equipped with items that can either raise their stats, let them use spells in battle, or allow them to heal themselves and their allies. As the player’s army grows, they get more options to mix-and-match monsters and marshals, giving plenty of replay value.
Falsebound Kingdom is a difficult game, but succeeding is very rewarding. The campaign takes some unexpected turns in both routes, and the final villain is suitably despicable as well as satisfying to defeat. Falsebound Kingdom is definitely a very different sort of game from what Yu-Gi-Oh fans would normally expect, but it is well worth the time invested for those who play it through. Falsebound Kingdom will take a lot of time to complete and master similar to Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, as to unlock all monsters, repeat playthroughs are required.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 4 Was The End Of An Era
For the first few years of Yu-Gi-Oh!‘s existence, the video games used different rules from the real card game. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 5 Expert 1, which came to America as Yu-Gi-Oh! The Eternal Duelist Soul, was the first game in the series to use rules relatively close to the real-life card game. As a result, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 4: Battle of Great Duelist for the Game Boy Color is an interesting look back at the way the card game was originally translated to video games.
In Duel Monsters 4, few monsters have effects, and those effects can only be used immediately after the monster is played. In addition, players can only have one trap card on the field, and can only summon one monster per turn with no exceptions. Even Yu-Gi-Oh!‘s powerful Fusion Summons can’t get around this rule. Monsters can also be directly fused without the use of Polymerization. However, the biggest change to the game is the alignment system. Every monster in the game has an alignment, such as Forest or Water. If one monster’s alignment is dominant over the other, such as Water over Fire, then the monster with the non-dominant alignment is immediately destroyed, regardless of stats. This means that the Blue-Eyes White Dragon will fall in battle to the lowly Kuriboh, because Kuriboh’s Shadow alignment defeats BEWD’s Light. This adds an extra bit of strategy when it comes to planning duels in order to more easily deal with the opponents’ ace monsters.
The alignment system would make a return in The Sacred Cards and Reshef of Destruction. However, the game’s rules make for a memorable experience that would not be exactly replicated again. While things such as Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel‘s card crafting would surface in later titles, Duel Monsters 4 was largely the end of the original interpretation of the card game. For that reason, Duel Monsters 4 deserves to be remembered.
Yu-Gi-Oh! video games have a long history spanning several console generations. Although modern games mostly focus on recreating the card game, one cannot forget the innovations of previous games in the series as well. Even though they may have never received a large audience, the creativity of these old Yu-Gi-Oh! games deserves to be respected.
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