Part 3: Sacred Cards Part 3/4Sacred Cards Part 3/4
The next plot event occurs at the game shop, but hold everything! It's been pointed out to me that I've missed out on a number of optional events! Because in this game, advancing the plot too far causes you to permanently miss sidequests, great idea right? So let's rewind for a bit.
I mean you don't exactly get much that's worthwhile out of them. For example, if you have just one locator card, you can enter the game shop to find Joey there. Challenge and defeat him, and you win this:
2000 attack points? For no tributes? And it's a shadow monster? Sign me up!...oh wait, look at the Cost. 319. Boy am I sick of seeing that text box telling me I can't use it.
In fact, let's talk deck capacity a moment. All monsters get their card cost from a formula. I have yet to figure out the precise formula, but I've got a good idea of how it works: The formula assigns a cost based on how big the monster's highest stat is, and the number of tributes needed. Monster effect doesn't factor in, attribute and type don't factor in. Some monsters and every spell/trap card get their cost from the formula of "however much Konami thinks it's worth".
That means every other no-tribute monster with 2000 attack or defense is gonna cost 319 deck capacity. Now, see, monsters that big usually came with some kind of drawback in the TCG. Panter Warrior required a tribute to attack, Dark Elf required a 1000 Life point payment to attack, Jurai Gumo had a 50% chance to halve your life points with every attack, you get the point.
But in this game, the drawback of "stupidly high cost" outright cripples their usability entirely. The Duelist Level rule stops me from using them for a LONG time, and even if I did grind out the levels needed, 319 is still a good chunk of my deck's capacity taken up by one card that I need luck to draw. Unless the purpose of this was to give the CPU an edge over the player (they don't get to deal with deck capacity, yeah) something tells me we need a new formula.
But enough of my whining about things that don't affect me. (Yet.) See that NPC with the afro? That one NPC out of everyone else starts a sidequest. I guess him standing still is supposed to be a dead giveaway. Beat him in a duel and he'll ask you to point out some easy prey for him, do that and he'll do the same for you. Naturally, we tell him where to find...
...an impossibly strong opponent like Yugi! Actually you can duel him around this point, too, but the prize is just the not-that-great Beaver Warrior. Okay fine, I was kidding about the "easy prey" thing, but it's still neat to find this guy here after you just told him where to find Yugi. Attention to detail!
In return, he tells us where to find Mai Valentine. (The pun is an English dub invention.) She'll duel, but she doesn't want to bet locator cards, as she's dead set on taking card number six from Joey. For some reason.
She is, as far as I know, the only opponent where the duel begins on a Mountain field, which raises the power of Dragons, Thunder monsters, and Winged Beasts. Mai is notable for using one of the earliest decks in Yu-Gi-Oh to use an "Archetype", a series of monsters that share a part of their name and a consistent theme. She uses Harpy monsters, and you can win one from her if you're good.
Come to think of it, if I remember right, the only field spell the game doesn't have a duel start on is the Meadow field. Odd.
Anyhow, back on the main path, a guy in purple threatens us and says they've taken Joey Wheeler and Tea Gardner (Yugi's romantic interest) prisoner.
Alerting the police force or whatever never crosses our mind, apparently.
Looks like a mysterious group of dangerous card players is on the loose! They're committing the heinous crime of winning at card games!
Right, so, the next objective is to beat up all the "Ghouls", because beating them at a card game will make them stop. I could understand if, say, the monster holograms the characters' Duel Discs project had a physical presence, thereby making their attacks actually hurt, but that's not happening for a good four anime spin-offs or so.
The Ghouls all share two qualities: One, they all start on the Yami field. Two, they use heavy amounts of Fiend monsters. Since running them over with stronger monsters doesn't always cut it, including a few Light monsters in your deck is a good idea for these duels.
Typos aside, this section of the game is annoying because you need to beat the Ghouls in every area they appear in. However, they respawn, and you don't know which Ghouls need to be beaten in order to set the event flag (You'll hear a bell sound when you beat the correct ones.) So this part gets a little annoying.
Oh, and check out this card I picked up. This is Trap Master. His effect is to place a free Acid Trap Hole on my side of the field. Where does the card physically come from, you ask? The Acid Trap Hole on my rear end.
oh...oh god I'm so sorry
Uh, okay, so, Trap cards. They activate the instant their conditions are fulfilled, which means you can't save them for when they're absolutely needed. The most common traps respond to monsters attacking. Acid Trap Hole will destroy any attacker with 3000 or less attack points. Other traps including reversing the effect of a powerup, reflecting direct damage, and turning LP recovery into LP damage. Mako Tsunami actually has the best trap in the game: Torrential Tribute. If that one activates, the attacker loses all his monsters and it's seriously infuriating because you can't even bait it out with a weaker monster. Good thing he never draws it.
Here's where the remaining Ghouls are located.
I finally got the chance to use Dark Magician, and would you look at how much power the field gives him! Yugi must be demolishing them left and right. They really ought to switch to another monster type at this rate.
Beat all the Ghouls in the other areas, then return here to see Weevil getting beaten by a guy with a flag on his head. "Bandit" Keith Howard here is an American jerk and he always wants you to remember it.
Okay, Keith, whatcha got for me?
Wow, he actually used different attributes! Good job, Keith, it took more than one turn to beat you!
B-but I'm the one who keeps winning...
Anyhow, head back to the game shop after beating Keith to find Mai Valentine, and she's willing to give us a lead.
Always nice to know Big Brother has our backs and wasn't spying on us in order to knock us out at his own leisure!
At this point, Yugi actually follows you around on the map! I can pretend to be popular now!
We head to Kaiba Corporation, where his security dude won't call him for us unless we beat him in a card game. Of course. Why would it be anything other than a card game. It's not like lives are at stake.
New objective: Find Kaiba's little brother and bug him about it instead.
Of course he gets kidnapped, there's nothing else you can expect from Mokuba.
Oh, and since we're in front of the game center, I should point out a cool easter egg I just now found out: The DDR cabinet in the game center isn't actually DDR, it's Beatmania. How do I know this? One of the songs from Beatmania appears in The Sacred Cards as the theme of the game center.
Another pair of Marik Ishtar's minions. These two are called Lumis (the white one) and Umbra (the red one). In the anime, they dueled Yugi and Kaiba as a team.
Guess what that means!
They insist on dueling on the roof of the building, because the losers are going to have the skylight's glass shatter under their feet. (Uh, in the anime, anyhow.) We get a choice of which one to duel. Make sure you actually know which one is Lumis, because he's the easier of the two. Umbra's deck has a lot more tough monsters with attribute variety. (No Dream monsters, but that goes without saying.)
Side note: They goofed and gave Lumis four copies of one of his (not so good) monsters. You're normally restricted to three of any card, unless the banlist of whatever game you're playing further restricts the number of copies you can have. In this game, the only restricted cards are the Exodia pieces, Raigeki, Dark Hole, Pot of Greed, Harpie's Feather Duster, Change of Heart, Monster Reborn, and you can only have two copies of Heavy Storm.
But you stink at card games.
Marik starts talking through his minion again, and we get a little more info about him. He and Yugi each possess a Millenium Item, which is ancient Egyptian artifact with crazy magical powers. There are, of course, seven in all.
Marik's item is the Millenium Rod, which lets him mind control people. That's how he talks through other people.
Marik then makes the masked pair collapse.
...WHAT! We just saved your life, buddy! Let's throw him off the building!
Well, at least he gave us what we came for. To the Art museum!
Kaiba then tells us where Joey is. If this seems unusually helpful of him, he really just wants us to get rid of Marik and the Ghouls for him.
The Pier opens up on the map, and...gah! Yugi, your sprite is morphing with mine, hurry and get away!
Keith and a bunch of Ghouls block our way. Yugi decides to take all five of the others. No I don't know how that works.
Check this out, I won so much money even the game doesn't know the actual amount!...But wouldn't it be trivial to just...like...print that number on the screen? Sigh...some decisions I'll never understand.
Joey's just ahead, but something isn't right with him.
This has got to be the most elaborate trap ever. Marik forces Yugi into a duel with Joey in which the loser gets drowned. Hey Marik, I've got this great invention you should try out - a PISTOL BULLET TO THE FOREHEAD!
Yugi can't bring himself to drown Joey, so he loses and gets drowned instead.
You then get a Dragon Quest-style "But thou must" prompt. Refusing to save Yugi doesn't actually do anything but make you select again.
Okay, Joey, now it's my turn!...Wait will beating him just drown him like before or is that different now?
Yugi gives Joey a heart-to-heart talk about friendship and promises, and that breaks Marik's hold on him. Wow, friendship really is the strongest thing in the world.
Everyone heads back the game shop, and Joey realizes he's still short on locator card, so we have to wait for him.
At abolutely NO POINT is this ever hinted, but the next plot point is at the Art museum and you're kinda expected to just go there.
A mysteriously lady is there to greet us.
She introduces herself as Ishizu (known as Isis in Forbidden Memories in case anyone played that first) and invites us inside. Plot dump incoming!
She lays out the story behind Duel Monsters. Way long ago in Egypt, wizards and priests battled each other by summoning dark creatures that prey on the weaknesses in the hearts of man. Records of these battles survived to the present day, where a guy named Pegasus J. Crawford decided these horrific beasts and bloody wars would be a great basis for a children's card game!
Okay it goes a little deeper than that, but Yu-Gi-Oh does a horrible job at not looking completely silly on the surface.
Ishizu challenges us. I'd like to take a moment to comment on the actually pretty nice soundtrack the game has. Ishizu's theme is upbeat and mysterious at the same time, and best of all, there's an excuse to listen to it more than once per playthrough.
This is one of the rare moments where the game forces you to play two duels consecutively without saving. If you beat Ishizu but lose to the second opponent, you'll be kicked back to your house (which is also the only save point, forgot to mention) and you have to re-do the entire event from the start.
Thing is, Ishizu gives you TONS of money and deck capacity, so grinding money off of her is very possible if you want to make the game even easier. Oh, and Ishizu uses nothing but Light monsters.
Well, except for that. That is the ONE Dream monster I've ever seen in Sacred Cards and it just rammed headfirst into one of my traps.
After defeating her, she explains that Marik Ishtar is her brother and he organized the Ghouls in order to hunt down rare cards. Specifically, he is looking for the legendary Egyptian God Cards - three monsters based on Osiris, Ra, and Seth. You might have seen them already, in fact, if Ishizu and Strings had pulled out the ones they had in their decks, but then you'd have probably lost. Ishizu wants to stop Marik, because if he gets all three, he can...uh...he, he can...
What the hell CAN he do with them?! They're TRADING CARDS!
I don't want to get into a rant about the plot in a Let's Play, but the "God Cards" are one of the reasons I didn't like the Battle City arc as much as what preceded and followed it.
Ishizu's willing to let a complete stranger handle what's apparently a very important piece of cardboard, but there's one more test first.
We get to duel Seto Kaiba.
It's the moment you've all been waiting for.
Kuriboh vs. Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Three hundred attack points versus three THOUSAND. A chestnut versus the most powerful (normal) monster alive.
And in case that wasn't a big enough kick in the balls, I use a spell card to revive Blue-Eyes White Dragon on MY side! That's gotta sting!
But see, there's an AI quirk that can make this even MORE humiliating. He has Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon in his deck, which is a Ritual monster. Now, the player needs a Ritual spell to summon it, but the computer doesn't, the computer just needs to tribute three monsters. Thing is, if the AI decides to discard it to make room in its hand, it goes to the graveyard. And you can revive it. Fascinating.
We even win it as a prize in this duel! This is actually an alternate artwork of Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon - I assume the Ritual spell summons the other version. Alternate artworks exist for the Ultimate Dragon, White Dragon, Dark Magician, Red-Eyes Black Dragon, and Black Metal Dragon.
Oh, and I should mention the game limits you to three copies of any given card unless that card is further restricted by an in-game list of cards limited to two or one copy. However, I tried adding three copies of each version of Blue-Eyes White dragon into my deck - IT WORKED. They were too lazy to stop you from having six of one monster with alternate art in your deck.
It's the most impractical thing ever, but hey, there it is. Now I'm curious if certain card effects interact with all versions of what they're supposed to interact with.
Kaiba says he doesn't need a God card to win duels. And you know what? He's entirely correct. But hey, that means we get to use the God card ourselves!
Sacred Cards was the first game (in the West, that is) to give us players control of the God cards. They WERE printed, but they were just prize cards, they weren't tournament legal until they were reprinted very recently. And...they're highly impractical to use basically anywhere they appear, but let's talk about them anyhow.
The Egyptian God cards in Sacred Cards have a number of common properties. They're Level 12, so they need three tributes. If you have that many monsters, you were probably going to win anyways. However, it should be noted that the God cards have the Divine attribute and are completely immune to destruction by card effect - literally the only way to destroy one is by having higher attack points, and all three of them have 4000 attack and defense.
Now, they aren't immune to ALL effects, just destruction. If you have spells or effects that lower their attack points or stun them, by all means use them.
As for Obelisk the Tormentor (how it got that name is a mystery) he is probably the best one out of all three in this game. His special effect lets him destroy EVERY enemy monster AND deal FOUR THOUSAND damage to the opponent. This should secure victory no matter what, but if it doesn't, you can play Darkness Approaches. Like I mentioned previously, this flips him face down and allows him to use his effect again. Unlike with regular attacks, NOTHING can stop a monster effect.
Anyhow! That update had lots of text in it, but there's still one more update to go for Sacred Cards! The finals of the tournament await!