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Duel Masters: Sempai Legends (GBA)

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      08.05.2009 00:34
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      "Duel Masters: Sempai Legends" is a video game released for the Gameboy Advance console in 2003 by Atari. It is based on the collectible card game "Duel Masters" and is the first video game in a series of two. In the United States, the game received a rating of "E" by the ESRB panel which deemed it suitable for all ages.

      The story focuses on a young unnamed hero on his birthday. He receives a special dueling item which bears incredible distinctions in his favourite card game but, after a short period outside, returns to find it stolen. It is the player's objective to guide this hero through numerous towns and villages in search of the illusive item while competing against local residents in the "Duel Masters" card game. Players start immediately with a large deck of battle cards and receive additional cards for successfully defeating opponents. There is also a "reputation" statistic which must be increased as some battles will require a certain reputation score before beginning.

      The game is mostly spent within card confrontations and the duels themselves are a mix between the popular Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering card games. Players have mana cards, spell cards and summon (creature) cards. One must stragetically "build" a deck which features powerful creatures and spells with the appropriate amount of mana cards to activate their powers. An assortment of cards is necessary as certain creatures have an advantage over certain enemies, for example water based enemies have an advantage over fire based enemies. Choosing creatures for battle will switch the view to a short cinematic with a simulated scene between the player and opponent. The scenes often become repetitive but fortunately can be disabled by the player for faster card battles. Duel Masters also features a multiplayer mode for trading the game cards and doing battle with another player by use of a game link cable.

      The graphics are presented from a top down perspective which either focus on the player traveling from setting to setting or on to the card battle in progress. Graphics are simple but effective. Character sprites are well detailed and are accented well by facial features, and the urban scenes which they travel in are often large and easy to differentiate between. The soundtrack is also simple with quieter and more gentle musical scores following the player throughout travel and battle, though the sound effects are not particularly memorable and are only a series of "beeps" when making a specific action.

      Overall, Duel Masters is a good attempt at a card game on a console and is an acceptable play. I would recommend it to prospective buyers for its multiplayer feature as it, like physical trading cards, is where the entertainment value is to be seen.


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