Release Date: April 7, 2004
Buy 'YU-GI-OH POWER OF CHAOS: Kaiba the Revenge': PC
I've heard of games based on movies, and I've heard of movies based on games. This is, without question, the first time I have heard of a game based on a game that was based on a television show that was based on a game. When you play Yu-Gi-Oh: Kaiba the Revenge, you are just playing the Yu-Gi-Oh card game on a PC; it just recreates the rules and play of the card game. The controls are exceptionally basic and lend themselves quite well to the platform. If you are an avid player of the card game, you may want to skip to the graphics or audio portion of this review as the rest of this section is going to be dedicated to explaining the utmost basics of the card game to those who have not played it before.
Think poker with strategy and pretty pictures. Now forget about betting and picture it based on singular cards as opposed to sets, outside of the occasional combo. Okay, actually just forget about poker because the only similarity is that both games require cards. There are essentially three different types of cards in Kaiba the Revenge: spell cards, which generally cause some sort of instantaneous effect; trap cards, which activate under certain specific circumstances; and creature cards, which are the stable of your offensive force.
Creature cards are most likely the first cards most players will really understand, as they provide the simplest offensive and defensive options. Each creature card has two numbers on it, one representing its power when in attack mode, and one representing its power in defense mode. Some creatures also have special abilities that activate under specific circumstances (for instance, when they die, they allow you to draw creature type x from your deck). Another note to keep in mind is that creatures are the only thing that can keep the opponent from directly attacking your health points. When an opponent kills one of your creatures with one of theirs, the difference in health points between the two will be deducted from your pool. (i.e., if Kaiba kills your 1,000 point rat with his 4,000 point rat-slaying monkey of doom, you would lose 3,000 points from your health pool.)
Spell cards essentially manipulate either your or your opponent's creature cards (and occasionally trap cards too) by enhancing or reducing their stats, stopping them from attacking or defending, or just about anything you can imagine, assuming your imagination is somewhat normal and doesn't involve gigantic monster chickens. These cards will become more and more important as you get involved in the game, as they're an integral part of complex strategies that involve card combinations to achieve a spectacular net effect. A really basic example would be using a card that causes your opponent's strongest creature to be on your side for one turn. Then you use a card that allows you to sacrifice one of your creatures in order to kill one of your opponent's. Well now, your opponent's toughest creature counts as one of yours so you can sacrifice him! You just took out two of his/hers creatures without even performing your attack yet. Combinations like this can change you from a loser to a winner in no time at all.
Trap cards are perhaps the single best defensive options you have, as they are the only cards that can be activated during your opponent's turn. Trap cards will impact things when your opponent performs actions dictated by the cards. For instance, some cards will end the opponent's turn the moment that they perform an attack, while others will increase the stats of your monsters when they summon a monster themselves. Trap cards can help to buy you time while waiting for the creature or spell card combination you need, and they can also cause some devastating results in and of themselves.
There is one last type of card that I have not mentioned because it is essentially just another form of creature card, the fusion creature. These tend to be the strongest creatures at your disposal and require two other creatures and a fusion card to be played in order to summon them. These creatures tend to have higher stats and also some fairly potent special abilities so they are definitely worth the trouble of summoning.
I hope from what you have just read you can see that there is some strategy involved in how to play your cards, but that is only the beginning of the strategy that exists in this game. Building your card deck is an exceptionally simple task, yet at the same time, perhaps the hardest element to master. The amount of each card you place in your deck will determine how likely you are to draw it at any given time. In order to build an effective deck, you need to manipulate it so that most of the time, you are drawing a card that can assist your general strategic plan. This is done by assuring that a majority of the cards in your deck are cross-compatible and can help your plan when paired with most of the other cards in your deck. It is fairly hard to give exacting details on how to achieve that, but as you play the game, I am sure you will see it for yourself.
One final point on gameplay: you only start out with 41 cards, some of which are duplicates. You have to fight against Kaiba and win in order to get new cards, and since there are 311 cards included in the game, it might take quite a while to win them all. Thankfully, that will provide you with ample opportunity to learn the game and play around with card combinations, and it will also help you grow intimately familiar with just about every card there is, as you will learn how they work by using them.
Visually, the game is fairly unexciting. It is a card game, and a vast majority of the time, you are just looking at cards with absolutely no animation. On occasion, there will be a cut scene with Kaiba, and it is terribly animated (think South Park, only not funny). I think there was a big missed opportunity here, as it could have been really cool to see special animations for the fights/cards. I know in the television show, you actually see the creatures summoned and see their magic and fighting happen (Don't ask how I know this… I just do). Either way, graphically, the game does what it needs to do, and very little more.
The best thing about the audio in the game was the music, at least until I realized that they only had two songs and each one just looped on forever. The tracks were some fairly upbeat high energy techno tracks that looped on, ad nauseam. Had they incorporated a couple more tracks of a similar vein, it would have alleviated much of the problem. The other problem with the audio was the hearing Kaiba constantly repeat the same things over and over whenever he or I played a card, “Prepare to feel sting of cold steel! I am summoning VORSE RAIDER!”
This game is definitely not for everyone. There are really only three distinct groups that I could see deriving much pleasure out of this game. Hardcore Yu-Gi-Oh fans may very well enjoy this due to the fact that it is Yu-Gi-Oh. People who have never played a collectable card game due to the prohibitive costs of acquiring the cards may also find enjoyment out of this, as it provides the chance to play the games without having to spend ludicrous amounts of cash on cards. Huge fans of the Yu-Gi-Oh card game may very well be able to use this to help them construct theoretical decks in order to test them out and see how they handle. While I do not fit into any of those categories, I did enjoy the way the card game played and had fun. Kaiba the Revenge does what it is intended to do, and it even entertains you at the same time.