Yu-Gi-Oh! is obviously the king of the Collectible card games of today. A highly successful WB Kids show that I watch religiously (yes, I am in my late 20s, but that show is like crack, I just can’t stop watching it), games that have come out for the Playstation 2, Xbox, GameCube and GameBoy Advance, etc.
I was recently sent Yu-Gi-Oh! Power of Chaos: Joey the Passion on the PC. This is the third game in the Power of Chaos series, but my first experience with Yu-Gi-Oh on the PC. I installed the game figuring it might be a lot like the cavalcade of GameBoy Advance games that I have enjoyed: an adventure game mixed in with the required dueling. Once I booted it up and read the manual I knew this was something totally different. Let’s check it out.
The graphics are actually pretty good in this game. Joey the Passion is basically just a game that allows you to duel the computer or a friend on the same computer. The cards look nice, although there is no 3D graphics of the monsters coming from the card like there is in the WB Kids TV show. Instead you just see the cards on the field, much like you did with Magic: The Gathering on PC from a long time ago. From time to time Joey will pop up when you flip a trap or magic card or when he is about ready to unleash a major summon (like his Panther Warrior and Red Eyes Black Dragon). It’s pretty cool to watch the first few times, but after a while it gets annoying because it continually repeats.
At least in this game you can read the cards by simply putting your hand cursor over them. In the GBA games it is pretty difficult to see a card except for its Attack and Defense numbers and I haven’t played the console versions of these games as of yet. I am a bit disappointed that there isn’t more animation in this game such as seeing the monsters appear in 3D and attack or something, but this is a bargain basement game so I’m not surprised.
My recommendation is to put a CD or something in while this game is playing. There are basically three songs in the game: the title theme, the duel theme and the “you’re close to losing” theme. Interspersed here and there you hear the American VA for Joey say some lines and the destruction of cards as you eliminate them is pretty cool. Outside of that though, the sound and music are on the down low in this game.
The game is relatively easy to control and you can do it all with your mouse and the left and right mouse button. The left button is basically your action button. You move the cursor over a card in your hand and you will see a balloon come up saying things like “Activate” (for a spell or trap) or “Summon” (to summon a monster). If you right click on the cards you will get the option to set them on the game board face down. The beauty of this is if you put a monster face down it is automatically in defense mode if the computer player chooses to attack and they won’t know how much defense the card has until they hit it or you flip it over on the next turn.
Once you understand how to play the game, control seems second nature. Just be sure to read the card text to know if there are any special abilities such as if the monster has a flip ability where you set the card down on the table and then flip it the next turn the special ability is fired up.
Unlike the GameBoy Advance games, there is no story or adventure to go through with this game. Basically I take this game as being a great primer for a person that plays in Yu-Gi-Oh Tournaments with the Collectible card game. There has been a Yu-Gi-Oh and Kaiba version of the Power of Chaos series separately and you can evidently import the cards you have acquired from those games. Starting off with the last game here is not so good and I got my ass handed to me handily by Joey since I was playing with a basic deck.
You can choose to do a standard duel, a match duel (best 2 out of 3) or a 2-player duel. If you consistently beat Joey your duel rating goes up and you get to choose from more cards to go in your deck. This is basically why I say this is a good primer for those people that play in Yu-Gi-Oh Tournaments and they don’t have to play a real human and set up strategies and all that. The key problem with this is that the game is not playable online and I think the game would benefit greatly from that just to keep away from the monotony this game contains.
This is well worth it to people that play in Yu-Gi-Oh Tournaments, although their game mastery may be far beyond this game. Much like the television show, your ability to win a duel relies as much on strategy as it does on the luck of the draw, so be prepared to lose often in this game.