Classic game review: ‘Yugioh: Forbidden Memories’

Shane Foley 
Connector Editor

Some gamers have described certain titles as being comparable to “work.” Anybody who has done the artifact hunt in “Metroid Prime” can relate. Some games, as fun as they are, have certain aspects that require the gamer to engage in long, tedious tasks to complete the game. Think of diffusing all the bombs in “Metal Gear Solid 2” or anytime anything is done in the “Dark Souls” series. This is something fans refer to as “farming” or “grinding.”

Well, if “Yugioh: Forbidden Memories” were to be summed up in one phrase, lots of grinding would be pretty accurate.

A Konami title released stateside in 2002 for the Play Station 1, “Yugioh: Forbidden Memories” in part borrows much from the anime and popular trading card game, and in part completely alters it. At its core, it is a card game where cards represent monsters and are assigned attack and defense points, and the goal is to attack the opponent’s life points from 8000 to zero. The majority of the game is spent in duels, but there is a storyline that is revealed through cut scenes in between duels.

While the mechanics are pretty adherent to the actual trading card game, there is one giant new mechanic in “Yugioh: Forbidden Memories.” In the card game, the card “Polymerization” is required to fuse monsters together at times to create a stronger monster. In this game, fusing is done whenever like it. The player has the ability at any time to fuse to cards together and, if they are compatible, will spawn a superior card. There are a litany of different card combinations that will yield a variety of rare monsters.

The good news is that the process of building a deck with monsters that can fuse to optimal cards is an incredibly fun aspect of the game. The bad news is that, in order to beat the game, one must only engage in that process to fuse into one card: Twin Headed Thunder Dragon. Most decks that are viable to beat the game are literally built around this card. Twin Headed Thunder Dragon has a base attack of 2800, making it extremely viable, and can be spawned by fusing a dragon card with a thunder card.

So, why is this the only viable card in the game? It is really due to the difficulty progression in the game. Most decks will get a player halfway through the game, which is fairly easy. After the halfway point, however, enemies become impossible to defeat. They pull out cards like Gate Guardian (base attack of 3750), Black Skull Dragon (base attack of 3200) and the popular Blue Eyes White Dragon (base attack of 3000).

In general, there have been two schools of thought developed to defeat these large enemies. The first is to battle opponents in free mode, where they give the player a card every time they beat them. However, the cards that are given are based on a probability factor, and there is no way to guarantee getting a card from someone. The big card to get is Meteor Black Dragon (base attack 3500), which has a very low probability of being given. A player would most likely have to duel an opponent up to 200 times to earn this card. The other, quicker,school of thought is to get Twin Headed Thunder Dragon all the time and use enough equips (cards that increase attack power) to win.

It is due to these reasons that this game is considered a lot of grinding, because players need the right cards to win. There are two major saving graces of this game, however, and one is the backstory. The player assumes the role of Yami Yugi, a duelist from ancient times in a setting that they try not to specify but is basically ancient Egypt. Yami Yugi is given a Millenium Puzzle which, after experiencing some turmoil, he must break. This puts him in a coma Ocarina of Time style. Waking up in the future, the player then takes on the role of modern day Yugi, whose appearance greatly resembles that in the popular anime “Yugioh” show which aired around that time. Here, Yugi duels alongside friends Tea and Joey to defeat Seto Kaiba, just like in the show.

The story in this game deserves much credit for working with very little capability. The story is incorporated exclusively through the use of cut scenes, which have texts boxes the player scrolls through. Most of the cut scenes include a static backdrop with the profile of the character talking on screen. That being said, the graphics team for this game did a great job of recreating Ancient Egypt, as much of the backdrops are visually captivating.

The other saving grace is that the game is addicting. Though players spend a lot of time grinding to get certain cards, creating a personal deck that is based on fusion is quite fun. This game does require a guide,. It is not necessarily a walkthrough, but is at least an FAQ on which fusions work, because trying them out yourself is just way too tedious. Using a guide to create your deck is a very fulfilling activity.

So, in a nutshell, this game is painful. This game requires dueling the same person multiple times. It requires intricate knowledge of the game to build a proper deck. It requires multiple attempts at duels because the enemy’s cards are just too powerful. However, “Yugioh: Forbidden Memories” is so addicting that the pain is worth it.

Final Grade: C

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