Yu-Gi-Oh!! Eternal Duelist Soul is the first Yu-Gi-Oh!! game released on the Gameboy Advance platform (in the United States at least). Eternal Duelist Soul is a huge and competent step-up from Dark Duel Stories for the Gameboy Color as it not only follows the TCG’s rules the game contains all the cards that existed in the actual TCG back in 2002 (About 819 different cards). Since the game was made during the early stages of the card games development there is no forbidden or limited list meaning you can use any cards you want sans god cards because the legal versions of them hadn’t been made yet.
Eternal Duelist Soul was one of the first games I bought for my Gameboy Advance way back in the early 2000’s and I remember pouring in around a hundred hours unlocking all the cards and all the other duelists. Even after I had purchased Pokemon Ruby and Legend of Zelda I still poured countless hours into this game as because getting everything in the game wasn’t as clear cut as just beating duelists to unlock all the cards. Eternal Duelist Soul could essentially be an completionists nightmare as there is a strong luck element to getting the cards and you can’t even get some until you’ve beaten all the duelists about five times but to unlock the a couple of the duelists several duelists like Simon or the Dueling Robot you have a set random chance that they will become unlocked while you are playing so the game can take quite a while to “beat”.
Card games are generally very complex and Yu-Gi-Oh!! is no exception to this (the lack of tutorial doesn’t help) as there are plethora of rules and card types that need to be learned in order to play the game. Even after learning all the facets of the game you still have to find a play style that suits you best, be it a super aggressive style where you use equip cards to augment the strength of your monster cards, or you could try to deplete your opponents deck by making them discard all their cards. For the sake of keeping this review somewhat concise I’ll avoid trying to explain how you play the actual game as that alone couple be a stand alone article due to its length. So here's a link to a website that can teach you the basics.
I’m serious this stuff can get insane!
Eternal Duelist Soul is a pretty straight forward game. It has several main features that can broken into two sections, Campaign mode, and Deck Building Mode.
The Campaign Mode consists of the Campaign feature which is a single player mode where you duel computer opponents to unlock cards and other stronger duelists to battle, tying into that is the calendar and record modes the calendar mode shows you what day of the week it is (game time) and on certain days you will receive some free cards or be challenged by a random duelist. The way time works in the game is that after the conclusion of any given duel the game will advance one day instead of running on an in-game clock or some sort of real time clock it follows an archaic “Perform and action, time passes” setup. Record mode record your total win loss ration and the individual win loss ratios against any duelists you have faced or unlocked. Lastly is link battles which is the mode you and a friend enter in order to duel each other with whatever decks you have thrown together, in order to do this a link cable is required and two copies of Yu-Gi-Oh!! Eternal Duelist Soul.
When you start the game you enter your birthday and the game will even wish you a happy birthday.
The Deck Building mode is split up between the Deck Editor and the Password and Trading features. The Deck Editor is where you can swap cards into and out of your deck and side deck for use in link battles and the Campaign mode. The Password mode is where you can enter the codes from the bottom of the cards you already own in order to add them to the game. Unfortunately you can only receive one copy of any card whose code you enter (i.e. If you enter the code for the Blue Eyes White Dragon you will only ever receive one copy of the card no matter how many times you enter the code.) If you have a hard time unlocking or finding certain cards you can use the trading mode to help you get them by trading for them with your friends, so long as you don’t try shorting them in the trade its a fairly reliable way of getting rarer cards.
Sometimes its the only legit way of getting the alt versions of some cards.
Eternal Duelist Soul has few flaws so long as you buy the game knowing that it’s nothing but an emulator for a card game. It has many features all of which work as they are intended and a campaign mode that has a perfect difficulty scale so that you are made to always try improving your ability and your deck. Of all the Yu-Gi-Oh!! games on the Gameboy Advance this is the one I most highly recommend because it doesn’t try to force itself to be something that it should never be. Eternal Duelist Soul is a fairly common game that you should be able to nab for anywhere from $5 to $20 and for any fan of the series this should be a priority if you are looking into experiencing either some semblance of nostalgia or want to see how much the card game has evolved since it first started well over a decade ago.
Normal Monsters, Normal Monsters as far as the eye can see!