The Yu-Gi-Oh! craze seems to continue to gain steam. With a cartoon that emphasizes the card game airing on TheWB and Cartoon Network, it gets plenty of exposure. However, if the card game didn’t have any gameplay behind it, it would be difficult to keep the excitement going.
World Championship Tournament 2004 is the next iteration of the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game for the GBA. Will this game prove to be more of the same? Is it too similar to The Eternal Duelist Soul and Worldwide Edition, or does it have some new features to make it worthy of another Yu-Gi-Oh! purchase?
The duel screen for WCT is very similar to TEDS and WE, but there are differences. The card borders are brighter, more like fluorescent colors. The dueling background is much brighter, giving the entire duel screen a more vibrant look.
All of the cards are reproduced with incredible accuracy, showing the picture for each card on the info screen and when summoned. The information screen can be seen during a duel or while modifying your deck. The screen for modifying your decks will show the mian card graphic in the background behind the general information for each card. However, it is so dark that it really isn’t useful.
The characters are represented by pictures on a duelist selection screen during the campaign. They don’t make any movements or make any comments before or after the duels. Little things like that would have added more personality to the game.Those who have played the first two Yu-Gi-Oh! GBA games will notice a large improvement in the sound. While the first two games sounded more like something from the 8-bit era, WCT got a major sound overhaul. The word “depth” comes to mind while listening to this game. The music has a fuller sound with more bass that is impressive for the GBA and is not as annoying as the first two games. Sound effects while summoning a monster, casting a spell, or exposing a trap are enhanced as well. While the developers could have taken the same engine and left it alone, it’s nice to see that improvements have been made to the game. Control hasn’t changed much from TEDS and WE, so anyone who has played these games will feel right at home. The D-pad will move the pointer around for selecting cards and menu options. A will select while B will bring up the menu or cancel from the menu. It works well, and hasn’t been changed. However, it wasn’t necessary to change what wasn’t broken in the first place.
The first change that players will notice is that there are three decks to customize for playing. The player will use those three decks for their duels, so some strategy is involved as far as which deck to use. However, I was not able to change which deck to use for a duel during the campaign at one time. I don’t know if this was a bug or if it was intended, as I couldn’t find anything in the manual about this.
Once the player has a deck prepared, it’s off to the duelist selection screen. Five characters are available at the beginning, with more that can be unlocked. If the player is a fan of the cartoon, some of the character’s personality will be shown in their decks. However, those that aren’t familiar with the characters will only be able to tell with the stats what kind of deck they will be up against.
From there, it’s off to the duel screen. This is where the card game is played. Players summon monsters onto the field with attack and defense points. These monsters will be used for battle. Certain monsters will need another monster or two to be sacrificed in order to be placed on the field. Trap and spell cards also available to be played on the playing field. Trap and spell cards will have different effects on the battles, the players, or the monsters individually. When cards battle with each other, the attack and defense points and position of the monster will determine the outcome. During battle, and through spell and trap cards, Life Points can be lost. The main object of the game is to deplete the opponent’s Life Points before your Life Points are gone.
WCT is an accurate portrayal of the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game. However, the pacing feels slow. The speed of the game is more akin to TEDS than WE. Those who are used to the pacing of WE will feel like the brakes have been slammed hard. However, those that are new to the game will appreciate the pacing.
WCT does not have any tutorial. This is probably the largest shortcoming of the game. Anyone who hasn’t played the game before, and who doesn’t have a basic understanding of collectible card games, will be completely lost at first. However, the first few characters are easy enough that players will not have much difficulty beating them.
Again, Konami has made another accurate adaptation of the game. WCT is a great way for players of the game to play while not spending a boatload of money for the regular cards and finding someone to play with them. Those who like Yu-Gi-Oh! or collectible card games will enjoy this game. Those who don’t care for collectible card games won’t be swayed by this game.A large number of cards are available, even more than the previous games. With three decks to customize for the game at one time, a player can create literally thousands of different decks. Since players will be able to always challenge one of the characters for a duel, the game has almost infinite replay value. However, boredom with the game can eventually settle in. The game does one thing, but it does it very well. Although WCT has a lot of replay value, since it is not much different from the first two Yu-Gi-Oh! GBA games, I have a difficult time giving this game a higher Value score.