Reviewed: November 25, 2004
Reviewed by: Daniel Sayre
Yu-Gi-Oh! Comes to us courtesy of Konami, the Japanese developer of such classic franchises as Castlevania and Contra. Much like Nintendo with Pokemon, Konami branched into the collectible card market, with the ensuring tie-ins, lunchboxes, backpacks, and video games.
Yu-Gi-Oh is the story of Yugi Moto who is given a puzzle by his grandfather. When he solves the puzzle, Yugi unleashes the soul of a long dead Egyptian Pharaoh (Atem), who promptly possesses him. The two then go around winning duels trying to uncover Atem’s lost memories.
This is what brings us Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum. It is the second Yu-Gi-Oh! Game for PS2 and doesn’t have all that much to do with cards. It is instead a TURN BASED BATTLE GAME that features:
When you create your character, you are given some choices on what you want to do with them. You select a symbol and an inherent attribute for your army. You can then select the ratio of AP/MP/PP you wish to have. Next you can take a pre-packaged starter deck of monsters or buy your own.
AP or “Action Points” are what you use to move/defend/attack with your monsters. They recharge at the end of every turn. MP or “Monster Points” are the currency with which you are allowed to purchase other items, most notably monster cards. PP or “Power Points” are the hit points for your symbol in the game world.
Each Monster is part of a single set. There are eight of them in all; each is stronger against a certain set but weaker against another. Each stage also has a certain base attribute and have areas of increased power within the stage itself.
During the battle, the stage will often have some sort of calamity befall it, improving the inherent attribute, and changing the landscape. This can either help or hinder you depending on the situation.
The battles themselves are waged with figurines (which come from cards.) Stages have a maximum monster limit imposed and you can only have that many. While you would imagine battles would be quite varied with the amount of customization possible, they largely denigrate into simply surrounding the other person’s pieces.
Much as in chess, each “style” of piece has a certain move set. This does add some difference from just a straight tactical game but it is often frustrating when trying to maneuver. Some monsters also have their own special attribute, but they either cost a set amount of AP or can only be used a certain number of times.
As you win more battles with the same monsters, they can level up to more powerful forms. They are even able to merge with other monsters into even more powerful forms. However this is only between certain monsters and after certain conditions are met.
There are two ways to defeat your enemy, you can destroy all of his monsters, or you can destroy his symbol. Once you have defeated an enemy in battle, you can take two of his monster cards. The enemies you battle against are characters from the show.
There is a two-player mode included. It is played the same way as the one player version but you can set a number of conditions, the amount of monsters, max AP, even a card the other play can have if they win.
The menu itself is 2-D, but the actual game board is a three 3D island (where the game takes place.) The textures are far from shape and often appear slightly washed out. This is alleviated when you actually play, textures are improved but far from crystal clear.
During the non-attack phases, your characters are shown as 3D statues. When attacked they crack with energy being shown in the cracks and completely shatter when destroyed. When you have two pieces fight one another, they switch to full 3D characters.
The 3D monsters themselves look pretty great, as do their attacks. However it quickly becomes tedious watching the fight being enacted and I found myself skipping them once I saw the monster the first time.
The 2D overlays of the characters that pop up for story exposition are quite clear and crisp. They have crudely animated mouths when they speak but they are adequate, not as nice as full 3D figures, but they do their job.
The music in the game sounds quite nice, is varied, clear, and rarely annoys. It picks up for battles and is fairly dynamic on the situation in whole. The voices are done either by great sound likes or the actual actors from the show and greatly integrate you into the game.
The monsters each have their own sounds and attacks, which is nice, even though after awhile the battles themselves are skipped. There is also some dialogue during the stage fights between your character and the enemy; those are delivered with “show like accuracy” (not Shakespeare, often stilted, but still understandable.)
The campaign, while not overly long, will probably take a couple play sessions at least. There is also the multiplayer mode, some stages are locked but you can earn them by going through the single player portion.
Three exclusives cards are also only found packed with the game so there are those if you play the card game. Fifty dollars SOLELY for three cards is a little steep, but you’re more apt to appreciate the game being a fan.
As a Yu-Gi-Oh game, Capsule Monster Coliseum is fairly decent. It has a bunch of show characters, cards, and the actual voice actors from the program. As a turn based battle game however, it’s not very good. You are given a small amount of creatures, a single strategy that will win almost every time, and lackadaisical enemy AI.
If you really like Yu-Gi-Oh the game is good enough to play but if you like turn based strategy games I’d still well clear of this coliseum. If you are an avid player of the Yu-Gi-Oh collectible card game, don’t forget the game does come with three exclusive cards.