Video Game: Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelists Of The Roses

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist of the Roses is a Yu-Gi-Oh! video game for the PlayStation 2.

The game centers on the player character being pulled through time to arrive at Stonehenge circa the mid 1400s, during the War of the Roses. Henry Tudor, who prefers his nickname "Yugi", has sent his priest Simon McMooran to Stonehenge to summon the "Rose Duelist", who is prophecized to be The Chosen One to turn the tide of war against the enemy Yorkists. However, Rose Crusader Seto Rosenkreuz has also arrived and offers the player to join the Yorkists and fight Yugi and the Lancastrians on their side. Both sides task the player to infiltrate the enemy's territory and duel their elite commanders to recover the "Rose Cards" from the other side. Each side has 8, and together the cards are said to unlock great power.

Gameplay is quite different from other Yu-Gi-Oh! games. Players control a Deck Leader on a large tiled board, and can only play one card a turn on a square adjacent to their Deck Leader. Once in play their cards, be they Monster, Magic or Trap, can move around the board freely until an opponent's card moves against them, revealing the Monster or activating the Magic or Trap effect. The tiled board can be terraformed with Field Cards, with appropriate power boosts given for monsters battling on them. Players move their cards around the board, attacking opposing monsters or attacking the opposing Deck Leader directly, to deplete the opponent's Life Points. Otherwise the usual Early Installment Weirdness of the early Yu-Gi-Oh! video games, particularly freely fusing cards into new ones and using power-up cards on monsters they shouldn't effect, are in play.

This game provides examples of:

  • Alternate History: As the summary above should hint.
  • Anachronism Stew: Ya think?
  • And You Were There: Everyone. There's even hints that the game is canon to the series and the characters are past incarnations of their modern day selves.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Both sides of the story reveal details about the over-arcing plot, particularly concerning Seto and the Rose Cards.
    • Particularly, because of the Perspective Flip, Seto is actually a pretty noble guy (though something of an Anti-Hero) if you side with the Yorkists, as opposed to a straight-up villain seeking the power of Manawyddan fab Llyr. He even apologizes for accidentally unsealing the entity using the Great Summoning of the Roses.
  • Big Bad: Richard Slysheen of York.
  • Bigger Bad: Manawyddan fab Llyr.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Completing both sides of the game's storyline lets you duel all opponents on one save file... but you've beaten the game so why bother?
  • Color-Coded Characters: Red Rose for Yugi and the Lancastrians, White Rose for Seto and the Yorkists.
  • Composite Character: Labyrinth Ruler is a stand-in for both Paradox Brothers.
  • Continuity Nod: When Manawyddan fab Llyr is unsealed in the Yorkists' campaign, he heavily implies that he's the brother of DarkNite/Nitemare. And he's plenty unhappy about what happened to that guy.
    Manawyddan fab Llyr: "First you humans awakened my brother from the sands of Egypt and sealed him away again!"
  • Crack Pairing: invoked The developers may or may not have realized that by association with historical names, Pegasus is implied to marry Mai in the near future after the game's events.
  • Deal with the Devil: According to the Lancastrian side of the story, Seto's ancestors made a pact with a Card Guardian for wealth and power. Seto's hope is that the Guardian sealed by the Rose Cards is the same being so he can cash in on that pact.
  • Deus ex Machina: The Destiny Draw mechanic allows a player, once per duel, to topdeck exactly the card they need to get out of what might be an otherwise Unwinnable situation. Taken Up to Eleven in that the card in question need not even be one in the player's deck, and in fact several cards can only be found this way. Both human players and computer opponents can benefit from this, although the odds of it happening depend on the rank of the deck leader.
  • The Dragon: Seto to Slysheen.
    • Dragon Their Feet: Justified as he's also a...
    • Dragon with an Agenda: His only interest in gathering the Rose Cards to perform the Great Summoning. If you're fighting for the Lancastrians, this additionally means unsealing Manawydan fab Llyr—intentionally.
  • Enemy Mine: Yami Bakura is on the side of the Lancastrians as Jack Cade.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Ishizu (known here as Ishtar) is on the side of the Yorkists.
  • Graceful Loser: Rosenkreuz looks to be one when defeated in the Lancastrian story, but see Nice Job Breaking It, Hero and Xanatos Gambit below.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Pegasus.
  • Infinity+1 Element: The Immortal cards can only be found by going to certain squares on the map and searching. Though they don't get field bonuses, they're all immune to Crush terrain and create it upon death, which makes them dangerous to attack. Also, uniquely, their counterparts in the actual game usually have a claustrophobic close-up for their picture (for instance, the picture of Souleater is of a tiny fishlike creature, with the card not showing that it's contained in a fishbowl as part of a horrifying spider-mech), so if you wanted to see what they looked like, you had to play the game.
  • Magikarp Power: Leveling up a monster card's rank unlocks special abilities when that card is made your deck leader. Low level monsters are harder to rank up, but often get additional abilities to compensate for it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the Lancastrian story, your duel with Seto is what unseals Manawydan fab Llyr, as all it took was having all 16 Rose Cards present during a great duel — nothing said Seto had to have the cards with him for it to work.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Aside from Pegasus, Seto and Slysheen, none of the Yorkists have real world names associated with them, going by their usual names or titles evocative of their real names/deck types (ex. Bonz is Necromancer, PaniK is Darkness Ruler).
  • Physical God: Implied with the name of Manawyddan fab Llyr.
  • Reality Warper: Downplayed with the final boss. The center of the Stonehenge arena during the duel with Seto has the standard terrain type, but during the final battle the terrain changes to either pure darkness or the viral Crush terrain.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Manawyddan fab Llyr.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The usage of real historical names, mostly in proper context (Tea taking the place of Henry Tudor's wife Elizabeth of York), show that someone on the development team had a history textbook handy. For instance, Pegasus betrays Richard to aid Yugi when he attacks England, and Thomas Stanley was a secret supporter of Henry Tudor and his treachery to Richard was discovered during the Battle of Bosworth Field.
    • Christian Rosenkreuz has nothing to do with the War of the Roses or Richard III, in fact according to legends he was born in the late 1300s while the war of the Roses took place in the mid-to-late 1400s. So why is is Seto portraying him as Richard's Dragon? Rosenkreuz founded a secret society called the Order of the Rose Cross, which studied ancient knowledge he purportedly learned in the Middle East. This fits perfectly with Seto trying to revive an ancient Card God seemingly from Egypt, and the symbol of the Order of the Rose Cross is a cross with a white rose in the center, so the symbolism also works because the symbol of the Yorkists Seto fights for is a white rose. Though this does imply that Christian Rosenkreuz is over 100 years old by the War of the Roses, it fits with the legends saying he lived to be 106. Given that magic is known to exist in the Yu-Gi-Oh! universe, this may be meant to imply Rosenkreuz is immortal thanks to the knowledge he gained from Egypt.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: A number of opponents in the storyline have cards in their decks that are either inaccessible to the player or can only be obtained during a Destiny Draw. The final boss in both storylines has such a card as its deck leader.
  • The Computer Is A Lying Bastard: The Raise Body Heat card. The description says it powers up Dragons and Reptiles. It does not. It actually powers up Dinosaurs and Reptiles. Similarly, Malevolent Nuzzler says it powers up female Fiends. It actually powers up females OR Fiends. These may simply be translation problems. Each monster has a list of cards they get powered up by, so it's best to reference these lists just to be sure.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Keith, as always, but in the absence of America, he wears a Union Jack on his head. Which didn't exist then either, but then again, neither did slot machines or dragons with revolvers for heads.
  • Where It All Began: The player returns to Stonehenge for the final battle in both storylines.
  • Worthy Opponent: Seto sees you as one if you join the Lancastrians, even respecting your decision to join the other side despite his disappointment. In the Yorkist campaign, this is dropped (since you're allied with him), but Seto rewards the player with a pendant as thanks for their efforts, telling them to show it his descendants in their time and pledging his family's loyalty to the powerful Rose Duelist.
  • Xanatos Gambit: In the Lancaster storyline, when you beat the Rose Crusaders and Richard to gather the seven White Rose Cards, Seto waits for you at Stonehenge. He needs all sixteen cards there to unleash Manawyddan fab Llyr, but nothing says he has to be in physical possession of them all, so it didn't matter to him which side gathered all the cards. For that matter, it doesn't matter who wins the duel, as long as it happens.