reviews\ Mar 26, 2006 at 7:00 pm

Yu-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Masters - World Championship Tournament 2006 - GBA - Review

Since it’s arrival in the United States, Yu-Gi-Oh! has become a mainstay on the Gameboy Advance. You can’t walk into a store without tripping over at least one or two variations of the series. The latest edition, Yu-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Masters - World Championship Tournament 2006, marks the ninth Yu-Gu-Oh!-themed cartridge to grace retail shelves. Japan has even more! How can one series sustain this sort of market saturation? The same way every collectible card game does. By adding new cards and improving game play with various rules revisions.   

For those of you out of the loop, Yu-Gi-Oh! is a collectible card game based on a Japanese manga and anime series about a spikey haired boy named Yu-Gi-Oh that plays a collectible card game. The goal of a Yu-Gi-Oh! duel is to deplete your opponents life points. This is done by playing cards that represent monsters, traps and magical spells. Each card has it’s own unique characteristics that effect game play. To achieve best results players customize their deck of cards so that the combined effects of the various cards will assist the player in achieving victory.


Ultimate Masters is a straightforward simulation of the Yu-Gi-Oh! collectible card game. There is no storyline, no menacing evil, and no damsel in distress. It’s a recreation of the experience one would have when playing in a real life Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament. In campaign mode, players start at the bottom of multi-tier tournament ladder with a handful of spending money and a starter deck. By participating in duels you’ll earn more cash to purchase new cards and you’ll progress up the ranks on your way to becoming World Champion.


No Yu-Gi-Oh! game would be complete without the opportunity to amass a giant collection of virtual cards. Cards can be purchased by booster pack or by password. Purchasing a booster pack will award a player with a random group of six cards. There are multiple styles of boosters that contain a majority of the currently available Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. The password feature allows players to input a multi-digit password found in the lower left hand corner of each and every Yu-Gi-Oh! in print. If that card is present in Ultimate Masters, you’ll be given an option to purchase the card you specified for a fairly high price. 

As your collection grows finding cards for your deck quickly becomes a key concern. The deck editing tools in Ultimate Master go the extra mile. Cards can be filtered by type (monster, trap, etc), by element, and even by a player definable favorite status (1 to 5 hearts). After tracking down the cards you want to use to create a new deck you’ll be able to save the deck configuration as one of 60 deck recipes. The ability to efficiently track a wide variety of decks allows the player to prepare for anything their opponent can throw at them.


In addition to the tournament campaign, veteran players will enjoy the addition of the challenge mode. Puzzle challenges are preset game situations that require the player to defeat their opponent in one turn. Oddly, the puzzle challenges record the player’s best time as the high score. While fun the first time, lowering your time after you’ve solved the puzzle becomes simply a pointless exercise of quickly navigating menus. Other challenges include theme challenges, challenges that require achieving a certain amount of damage in one turn and challenges that allow only certain types of cards. If the challenge mode isn’t enough additional value, players can also link up with a friend and duel against a flesh and blood opponent.

Review Scoring Details for Yu-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Masters - World Championship Tournament 2006


Gameplay: 8.7

Lousy deck editors, poor rules implementations, and paltry card selection tend to plague most video game conversions of collectible card games. Yu-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Masters is one of the shining exceptions to this rule. The actual gameplay itself sports a very intuitive interface that allows the player to view crucial card data in a variety of ways. The deck editor is incredibly versatile with a vast array of filtering and sorting ability. On top of the silky smooth game play and deck creation the game includes more than 2,000 cards. This kind of card selection creates an endless variety of possible decks and encourages the player to experiment with varied strategies.


Graphics: 7.6

Yi-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Masters is presented in a very plain graphical manner. The cards take center stage in Ultimate Master with each card featuring a fairly high resolution scan of the card’s illustration when viewed via the card detail screen. The menus, playing field and deck creation tools are all quite spartan by comparison. Yu-Gi-Oh! is a text-heavy game by nature and thankfully the text is clearly legible on all versions of the GameBoy Advance including the Micro.


Sound: 6.1

There’s not a whole lot going on in the sound department in Ultimate Masters. Players will hear a few adequate sound effects here and there during play and the same looping music track over and over. You can leave your headphones in your book bag and play it silently under your desk without missing anything.


Difficulty: Medium-Hard

The difficulty of any Yu-Gi-Oh! duel depends on the cards you’ve chosen to place in your deck and the cards your opponent has chosen. Unlike some CCGs, most decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! have a decent chance against just about anything your opponent can throw at you. That being said, even at the lowest levels the AI in Ultimate Masters will mop the floor with you if you neglect to keep your deck tuned and continually make careless mistakes.


Concept: 7.0

It’s Yu-Gi-Oh! on the Gameboy Advance. Again. This latest version is a no frills conversion of the collectible card game that features all the latest cards and rules revisions. Players will build a deck of cards, duel a character, purchase more virtual cards with there duel winnings, retune their deck and then repeat this process ad nauseam.


Multiplayer: 6.7
Multiplayer in Ultimate Masters is as basic as the rest of the game. You and a friend who also owns the game can link up and duel against each other. That’s about it. It’s a nice feature to have but it shouldn’t be your only reason for purchasing the game.


Overall: 7.4

The latest iteration of Yu-Gi-Oh! is a very solid package. The tried-and-true game mechanics of the card game translate well into the video-game version. Deck editing is a breeze and there is a large variety of cards to experiment with. Veteran players will no doubt be thrilled to have access to the latest cards and the various challenges. Additionally, Ultimate Masters is also a great entry point to the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game for new players because the focus is squarely on deck creation and dueling. If you have any interest at all in the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game you can’t go wrong adding Ultimate Masters to your GameBoy Advance collection.


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