Sunday, April 6, 2014

Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour: First Impressions.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour for the Nintendo DS was released in 2005 in the US and Japan. Despite what the cover suggests, you do not play as Yugi Moto, but rather as a silhouetted version of yourself. The inherent problem with that is that you are nobody, quite literally. Just another Duelist in the Battle City arc of Yu-Gi-Oh! who in the anime and manga was likely defeated by a minor villain and sent to the Shadow Realm for teh larfs, outright killed by Marik in an attempt to weed out the competition towards the end, or just had his deck stolen by somebody like Weevil Underwood or Rex Raptor. Or even worse, "Bandit" freakin' (In America!) Keith Howard. I take issue with the character creation options, because the longest hairstyle for the male protagonist is barely shoulder-length. Mine goes below my shoulder blades, and I like to represent that whenever possible in games, but that's nitpicking. Nobody really cares about that. I have previously played the Bakugan: Battle Brawlers game for PS2 and that also shoved you into the body of a nobody character having to compete with the cool ones from the show. The difference between these two games, is that Yu-Gi-Oh! is an interesting game with loads of substance, whereas Bakugan really doesn't have much to it. The ideal Bakugan game would be a Final Fantasy/Chrono Cross styled RPG or an MvC/KoF styled fighting game. The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG on the other hand can hold its own without any tweaks. Now, considering the epic and in-depth plot that the anime and manga had, there's no real reason to add anything to it. But they did. There's something at the beginning involving Seto Kaiba having problems with the computer that's enforcing the rules of the tournament.
That in itself seems familiar to me due to the fact that the exact same thing happened at the beginning of SNK Vs. Capcom: Cardfighters Clash! DS, but considering that A) the computer in that game acted like a combination of the HAL 9000 and The Borg, I'd say it's more of a coincidence then SCV: Cardfighters DS copying a game that came out a year before it did. Despite there being more than enough villains from the Battle City Arc to incorporate, such as The Rare Hunters, and.... Yeah, The Rare Hunters! There's an entire scene in the anime, nay, several episodes dedicated to showing us the Rare Hunters and yet when the warning comes that duelists are being robbed of their cards at night, it's The Brothers Paradox (So far I've only met Dox so far) who are doing it! Okay, I can live with that I guess. But hang on! They treat Yugi and Yami Yugi as sides of the same person who come out at different times of day. For instance, Yami is only met at night, and Yugi in the day. That completely disregards the fact that in the manga and the anime Yami was routinely seen before nightime.
And considering Yugi is one of the easiest duelists to beat in the game, that completely ignores Yugi's dueling prowess even without the help of his older self. And Yami isn't an exceptionally hard duelist to beat either, considering I managed to knock him down to less than 1900 life points from a starting point of 8000.
Here is where I should probably go into the rules of the game for those of you who don't watch the show or play the game. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters is loosely based on a manga by Kazuki Takahashi, and the titular Duel Monsters game in real life is loosely based on the game from the show, which is loosely based on the game from the manga, which was loosely based on Magic: The Gathering, but evolved into something drastically different over the course of the last eighteen years. Each player (Herein referred to as duelist) starts off with 8000 life points, and a deck of spell, trap, and monster cards with a minimum of 40 cards and a maximum that's varied over the years.
In my research into Nightmare Troubadour, I found that Tristan Taylor and Duke Devlin don't appear in the game, despite Tristan being part of the ensemble cast since episode one and Duke having a fairly prominent role in both the Battle City arc and the Virtual World arc, having joined the cast at the end of Season 1.
Back to the game. Without going through the whole rulebook I can't do the game justice, so suffice to say that it's recreated almost perfectly. Although there are several glitches. Such as you can't reverse your decision to activate a spell or trap card if you, say.... Accidentally pushed the wrong button.
On top of that, several cards don't work as they say they should, probably due to not being programmed correctly. For instance, the card "Blue Medicine" says to increase both yours and your opponents life points by 400, but it only increases the life points of the activator. Then there's the translation. Towards the end of the day, your character will say "Let's already return" rather than: "I'm sleepy, time for bed" or something to that effect.
There are other cases of bad dialogue translation, but it's mostly just bad writing. At one point, Joey attempts to explain who Yami Yugi and Yugi are, about how different they are and why. This is presumably for the players who haven't seen the show or read the manga, but it's not exactly done well, and it's not in a way that I'd expect Joey to explain it. Moving on.
One of the most memorable things about the anime for me was the awesome music, about how each cue was timed for perfect dramatic effect, and how the music always fit the mood. Even though Konami owns the franchise, they apparently didn't bother using the music from the show. Now, while the title screen music has a few notes of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Theme song, it's far from evoking the kind of mysticism that the actual music from the show did. I'd recommend finding the Yu-Gi-Oh! Music to Duel By and Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light soundtracks and muting the volume on your DS rather than listen to the MIDI loops that they put together for the game. Then there's the sound effects, which might as well be from a different series for all they represent the iconic ones from the show. Now on to the cards. Due to space limitations (Despite DS cartridges being able to hold 256MBs and more) the resolution on the cards is fairly low. So low in fact, that one wonders why they didn't just use the style from the show and enlarge the portrait and card type symbol instead of scanning off the real cards and lowering the resolution down to positively acidic levels of blurriness. Another glitch I ran into while dueling Joey (Again, he should not be one of the easiest duelists in the game to beat) is that Dangerous Machine Type-6 doesn't activate when the die lands on a 5. Not that I'm complaining, I never use that card anyways, and that means that four out of the six faces the die can land on benefit me in some way. On the other hand, that renders the card practically useless for someone who wishes to use it in their deck. Another thing is that the AI for several of the characters is artificially stupid. When dueling Tea Gardner (who is not a champion Duelist like Yugi, Kaiba or Joey, but still competent as was shown in the Virtual World arc) I've purposefully handicapped myself so that I either have to draw all five Exodia pieces to win, or run her cards out. I have done this without suffering a SINGLE. POINT. OF DAMAGE. Let me repeat that: I have beaten Tea Gardner without suffering, or inflicting a single. Point. Of damage. I'm no professional duelist, I'm probably average at best even with all the cards I know how to use, but in no single real life duel have I ever had a situation like that occur. Even when dueling against inexperienced opponents who barely knew the game, the rules or the cards I have never once had such thing happen in real life. The sad thing is I've managed to do the same with Serenity Wheeler and on a couple of occasions with Yugi and Joey.
Oh, speaking of Serenity Wheeler, she never picked up a duel-disk or deck before the Virtual World arc. In fact, she wasn't even able to see for most of the first part of Battle City. Something else I need to add is that I was just browsing through my collection within the game and I found a strange thing on the card Aqua Chorus. In the menu description it's title is given as Aqua Chorus, but the card itself says the name is Blue-Eyes White Dragon. So apparently they put a bright PURPLE trap card into the game with the title of a BRIGHT YELLOW monster card on it. I'm sorry, but I'm primarily a dragon duelist in real life. I know the Blue-Eyes White dragon, it's one of my favorite cards in the game. It looks NOTHING like Aqua Chorus. That's a mistake anyone who has even LOOKED at the cards in question can tell. ANYONE WITH EYES THAT WORK. Or maybe in return for getting her eyesight back quicker in the game they had Serenity Wheeler working quality control. Anyways, aside from a list of glitches longer than my entire left arm, the music and sound effects not being anything like the ones from the show, and some issues with the AI, the game is really entertaining, and it's actually a good game to play. It's not as bad as Quantum of Solace on the DS, and the translation is certainly better than SNK vs Capcom: Cardfighters DS was (But that's not saying much) and it's much harder to get a no loss record than the former did, and so far there aren't any retarded quests that require you to grind through booster-packs for guys who just drop the cards on the floor for you to pick up afterwards. (Granted I got a good deal of decent cards from that, but to be honest I didn't really need them) All in all, I liked Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour despite its flaws, and I hope that I continue to like it throughout my whole playthrough of the game. I'll see you next week with another review. Hopefully a little more concise than this one was.