Part 6: Reshef of Destruction part 1Reshef of Destruction part 1
Take a deep breath. It begins.
As I stated at the start of this, Reshef of Destruction is a horrific mess. I feel that there is some very real evidence here of Konami having some serious ill will against the players. And that's a real shame, too, because everything aside from the game design - the music, the graphics, even the dialogue - it's all done rather well, it's just you have to suffer so much to get to it.
For that reason, I made a balance patch for the game a while back. However, I feel that that patch broke the balance in the player's favor. For this LP, we're playing by the game's rules. Mostly. Reshef is unfair, that's for sure, but I'd like to preserve that experience to an extent for the purposes of the LP.
Speaking of ROM hacking, I'm also considering overhauling the game completely with new cards and other modifications, as I do have that capability. I'll be mentioning some of the modifications I've made as we go, just to rub in how easy it would be to fix this mess.
Name entry screen is still the same. I'm not really sure if you're supposed to be the same character from Sacred Cards. On one hand, you have the same house in the same location. On the other hand, all your cards, money and duelist levels from the previous game are gone. Really. Every single thing. I know you can't really transfer data from another game in the GBA era, but come on!
We get an intro movie with a mysterious machine in flames.
The God cards lose their colors.
A sword crashes through the clouds and scatters seven stars across the--
Oh wait, that's from an enjoyable game.
Then this thing shows up, and...
...are we REALLY doing that?
Veni veni venias, ne me mori facias...veni veni venias, ne me mori facias...
Cut to me and Joey working on decks together. We see the translator has decided to show Joey's brooklyn accent in the text. Either Nob Ogasawara was held at knifepoint and forced to marathon the English dub, or he was trying to save space this way.
Completely horrible! Only two spell cards, one trap card, and the strongest two no-tribute monsters only have 800 attack points. Where the hell are all of my good cards?!
The plot kicks off with a duel tournament on a Rank 10 Train!
...Oh, that's a deck in modern Yu-Gi-Oh. Level 10 Train monsters.
You're right Yugi, this game is terrible!
It seems the Millenium Puzzle has up and vanished overnight.
So we head outside and tell Tea Gardner about it. Oh, but who's that in the bush?
Ishizu. Didn't you say we would never see you ever again? Or did I forget to screenshot that?
The eponymous Reshef, so horrifically evil they made him into a real monster card in the TCG and made him the villain of the Capsule Monsters anime.
Can someone tell these people to stop reminding us of when Yu-Gi-Oh sucked?
Someone has conducted a ritual to revive Reshef, which also causes the God cards to turn to stone and the Millenium Items to vanish. Ishizu asks if we can help her with this. We accept.
Of course you did. If I'd said "no" you would have asked again and again until I gave the answer you wanted to hear. Forget Duel Monsters, Yugi should go into politics.
What a coincidence! The first Millenium Item is in the last stop on the Duel Express, which we were going to go to anyways! Anyhow, we gain control after that rather lengthy cutscene.
Yugi and Joey follow me around the map in this game. Their pathfinding is a little strange though, you can get them stuck on objects, heheh.
Ah, but the fun is over as soon as you look at your deck. Crap cards, your deck capacity starts at 1600...just like the last game, really. Better get to work building it back up.
There are a number of random NPC duelists throughout town - about ten of them. They all have crap decks, but you can beat them only one time, so you might as well. Pictured here is a character from the manga you had no idea about until I mentioned it just now. It's a nice little shout-out, though, and it's references like that that make me sad this game is so bad.
If you head to the game shop, you'll find Tristan Taylor and Duke Devlin, and you can duel them both as much as you want. Tristan is not worth playing against in the slightest. Duke has some cards we want, so here we go.
Even though the Battle City tournament is over, you still have to ante a card if you want to win a card, and they did something extremely annoying: You can't ante or sell a card you have only one copy of in your trunk, and that's not counting if a card is in your deck, either. If you lose too many duels - and you WILL lose - you run the risk of running out of cards to ante.
That's nothing compared to the duels, however. See that gold cursor? That's the "Permanent Effect" cursor. It sweeps the board, searching for cards with any of the new "Permanent Effects" - which is a misleading term; they're more like "active as long as the card stays on the field". For better or worse, many effects from the previous game are now Permanent Effects.
It takes two whole goddamn seconds for that stupid cursor to sweep the board. And it will sweep the board every fucking time you make a move. After an attack, after you discard, you name it! Two seconds may not sound like much, but this drags out the length of the duels to a fucking absurd degree. Why does the game need to do that? It's not like they already had two fucking games doing the same thing without artificial extra lag.
Oh, and if the cursor actually FINDS a monster with a Permanent Effect?
I don't understand it. How, I say, HOW does this get past testing? Oh! Oh! But here's the fun part. I'm sad I didn't discover it until now, but there's a way to disable the cursor sweep with no effects on gameplay. All you have to do is set RAM address 0x02021C08 to anything other than 0 with a cheat code. If you know how Gameshark or Codebreaker works, you can make that into a code yourself.
This disables both the cursor sweep and any text boxes during your own turn, but aside from a few graphical problems, there's no effect on gameplay. Your card effects still work regardless, and the game is still playable - heck, it's even MORE playable than before. Not sure how to implement it in a ROM hack yet, but hey, this works for anyone with an emulator anyhow!
Oh right, the duel. Duke has monsters with 700 attack points or less for the most part. That's a little difficult for us at the moment, so it's time for plan B.
Set up a monster with 700 or more defense, pray he doesn't do anything to kill it, and eventually...
He runs through his entire deck. I think I neglected to mention you could win that way. Probably because you never needed it until this game. So, for beating a tough opponent we should be getting lots of money and capacity!
Wh...what. ONE deck capacity?!
You can't even buy a can of cat food with that kind of money!
This is about as much as you can expect from EVERY duel from here on out. Opponents you can only face one time give you THREE Deck Capacity, repeatable opponents give you ONE. The money almost never hits four figures, either. In order to improve your deck at all, you've got some big grinding to do!
I mean, I get it. Sacred Cards gave you massive amounts of money and Deck Capacity, so it makes sense to nerf it, but THIS? Do you have ANY idea what the implications of this are?
Remember the Duelist Level mechanic? I neglected to mention that Duelist Level goes up by 1 for every 3 Capacity earned. In Sacred Cards, this meant every duel ever would make you go up at least one level. Bosses made you go up ten levels! Now consider how that plays out in Reshef of Destruction. Stronger cards now take even longer than before to make available!
But it gets worse. I want to do a little experiment. Before you look at the next screenshot, open up notepad or something. Write down the first thought that pops into your head when you view the picture, and I'll see if I can't guess what it will be.
Was it something to the effect of "Hey, what's that Life Point counter doing th-- OH GOD NO THEY DIDN'T"?
Well yes they DID. You now start every duel with the amount of Life Points you ended the previous duel with. You can restore your LP back to 8000 at your house, which is still the only save point. So be sure to go there after every stinking duel! It's just another level of tedium added to the mix, and it isn't contextualized in the slightest, either.
There ARE situations where you'll have to face multiple duelists in a row without your LP refilling, and come to think of it, that WAS a game mechanic in one of the other video games. As in, an optional game mode.
I can fix that very easily just by writing in another line of code to set your LP to 8000 before every duel. Oh, and you can't give yourself over 8000 LP with a card effect and carry that over into the next duel, they set you back to 8000. Actually, there's unused functionality in the game for forcing the player to start with even LESS than 8000 LP, so thank goodness that never happened!
Shut up, Duke. It's certainly deeper than your crappy dice game, anyways.
So let's go shopping. You actually buy cards from Yugi's grandpa this time around. Inside, Yugi and Joey wander around and can be challenged to duels if you like.
The shop functions as usual: Every duel you play adds a random set of cards to the shop stock. But what the HELL are these prices? Four thousand for an Equip card? I earned only 67 Domino from Duke, and you wanna charge 4000. That Panther Warrior there is even worse, I'm pretty sure it's five figures!
Well, I can tell you what happened here. What Konami did was the most effortless thing ever: They multiplied all card prices from the previous game by 10. Either Domino City is suffering pretty bad inflation, or Yugi's grandpa is a big jerk. Oh, and instead of getting 50% of a card's value when you sell it, now you only get FIVE PERCENT. So in my ROM hack I re-wrote the code to change it back to 50%.
Yugi himself is a pretty easy opponent so long as he doesn't bring out any big tribute monsters. Joey is a little harder. I should mention that these two now have voice acting during duels. In the Japanese versions of this and Sacred Cards, they always did, but this is the first time we hear the English voices.
It's limited to them just saying "It's my turn!" and another quote when they attack with their best monsters, though. Gets annoying.
So! After beating Duke, Tristan, Yugi, and Joey one time to prove that I could, I fired up a cheat code to set their LP to zero, meaning I just have to damage them once to win. I do this because you have to grind off these guys a LOT and if I've already proven I can win once, it doesn't matter if I cheat to save time grinding.
Duke drops Hourglass of Life, which keeps its usual effect. You'd think it would be bad considering any LP you pay doesn't come back after the duel, but no, you need this thing more than ever.
Yugi drops Spellbinding Circle and the Exodia pieces, both of which aren't that good as cards, but they sell for the most, so grinding those in order to purchase something you really want is a good plan.
Here's my purchases: Hoshiningen, and the greatest dragon monster ever. Boy do I wish he was actually good.
Hoshiningen's effect from Sacred Cards, which powers up Light monsters and weakens Shadow monsters, was converted into a Permanent Effect in this game. It comboes great with Hourglass of Life, and Konami had also caught onto how overpowered Shadow monsters were, so they made sure to make Dream monsters more common.
You can also win the famous Time Wizard and Baby Dragon from Joey, but they're a little too impractical for me to use that strategy.
Heading on over to Kaiba Corporation, we find our first optional side event!
This is Rebecca, a character from anime-only filler episodes. That doesn't make her a bad character, though. This game actually makes good use of characters from filler episodes through optional events.
Do you love Mr. Bear? He hates you.
Oh, of course he isn't a stuffed animal. THIS is a stuffed animal.
Rebecca's grandpa was the one that gave Yugi's grandpa the Blue-Eyes White Dragon card, but Seto Kaiba tore it up and Rebecca's not happy about it. Huh. Did that also happen in the manga? I'm confused. Which continuity is this?!
MOTHERFUCK I hate you. Get used to this too, everyone makes the player do everything for them.
They even have the nerve to give you the fucking option to turn her down, but then they force you into it anyhow. Hope you didn't walk into the cutscene with a lousy deck! I guess you could just not wager anything, but still.
Hourglass of Life will save your hide here. Rebecca is way the hell harder than a duelist available at the start of the game should be, but a good number of her cards are Fiend attribute. That means Light monsters knock them down fast.
She even set this in defense mode instead of using its effect to destroy both it and one of my monsters. Whoops!
After the duel, she tells us what she really wanted was to put America back on the map, considering they don't have many good ones with Keith and Pegasus gone. Even though they aren't gone, and...nevermind.
Yeah yeah yeah, go grind some more Deck Capacity then try again. We never see her again in this game, unfortunately.
You can also duel the security guard, who acts like he's never played despite me beating him in the last game.
Boy do I wish I had Monster Reborn now.
I actually won this card from him! I mean I can't use it yet, of course, but they're kind enough to tell me what it does. Pot of Greed is excellent and you should get one for your deck as soon as possible - it's limited to one copy per deck, though!
Finally, the Duel Computer is operational as well, and comes with three difficulty levels. From hardest to easiest, they can best be described as "Cheating Bitch", "You Wish You Were This Overpowered," and "What A Digital Dummy".
Anyhow, that's enough exploring around town! Next time we hop a train and hopefully get this scavenger hunt underway!
(Egads, are these getting too wordy, I wonder?)