Video Game / Yu-Gi-Oh! The Sacred Cards

Yu-Gi-Oh: The Sacred Cards is a GBA video game made by Konami based on the Battle City arc of the Yu-Gi-Oh manga and anime. The plot itself is more or less a Self-Insert Fic of the Battle City arc, with the player character replacing Yugi as the main protagonist. (Yugi himself does appear in the game, albeit with a much smaller role.) The game uses unique rules only vaguely similar to the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG; the most major difference is the addition of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, in which a monster whose type is strong against another's can kill it regardless of Atk/Def points. (For example, a Dark monster of 300 ATK can kill a Light monster of 3,000 ATK, but does no damage to the opponent's Life Points.)

The game itself is pretty fun, although it has the nasty tendency to introduce difficulty spikes at points in the game. The game also has a 'deck capacity' limit in order to keep players from adding a bunch of game breaker monsters to their deck and breezing through the entire game, so grinding will be required at certain points through out the game. Overall, it's a pretty fun experience if you can forgive the above.

The game got a direct sequel in Yu-Gi-Oh!: Reshef of Destruction, which is much, much more difficult.

This game provides examples of

  • Ascended Extra: Bandit Keith. While in the anime he was fought and ran off before Battle City even started (and in the original manga, he was killed by Pegasus), here he's a recurring late game boss, and has actual reasons to work for Marik.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In the manga/anime, Yugi gets Slifer by defeating Strings. In this game, the player is the one who duels Strings. You don't get Slifer from your victory over Strings, and Strings is never heard from again. During the finals, Yugi's deck has Slifer. How on Earth did he get that card if he never dueled Strings?
  • Alternate Continuity: To Season 2 of the anime. Its sequel, Reshef, is an alternate Season 4.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Egyptian God Cards of course. Once they're on the field, you (Or Pantomimer/Strings, Ishizu, Rishid/Odion, Dark Yugi/Yami Yugi, or Marik) have essentially won. But once you're doing well enough to have enough tributes to summon them, you could probably have won without them.
    • Same goes for Ritual Monsters in this game. You need a certain monster (For example: Mask of Darkness for Mask of Shine And Dark which comes in your starting deck), two other monsters, and the appropriate spell card. That's four cards, two of which have to be played together. Although, if you get them out, the balance quickly shifts into your favor since Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors can't kill a Ritual monster as they are all Divine-class and most of them have a LOT of attack points.
  • Big Bad: Marik, of course.
  • Boring Yet Practical: The weaker Tribute monsters for much of the game, since they may only have 1800 ATK for one Tribute, but your normal monsters at best have 900.
    • Doron. You start off with one, and it has a low deck capacity cost, and an ATK of 900. More importantly, it has the ability to duplicate it's self when played, which is really useful for tribute summons. Later, you can win a Revival Jem, which has the exact same attributes as Doron, but has 600 more ATK at the cost of a bit higher deck capacity limit.
    • The real point of the Egyptian God Cards is their 0 cost, which allows you to use stronger cards to compensate. Many other 0 cost cards exists, but Infinite Dismissal and the God Cards are the only ones with solid all around usage.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • Interestingly averted in the first release of the game - the game didn't replace some of the cards with censored artworks, so the original artwork for cards like Monster Reborn, Exodia and his limbs, and Spellbinding Circle could be seen. The two-in-one game cartridge which bundled this game with its sequel fixed it.
    • The casino's name was changed to "Building."
  • But Thou Must!: In the ending, you have to turn all three Egyptian God Cards over to Ishizu, never getting the chance to use Ra even once.
  • Death by Adaptation: With you in the finals in place of Ishizu, you're the one who duels Rishid/Odion, and in the semi-finals Yami Yugi. This leaves Joey and Kaiba to duel Dark Marik, and it goes as well as you'd expect.
  • Demoted to Extra: Yugi. A painful example since the story still revolves around Marik seeking the God Cards and destroying Dark Yugi, yet you're the one who faces all the Ghouls/Rare Hunters and Yugi is basically not in the game until the finals begin.
    • Jonouchi/Joey, too, since you defeat all of the players that he dueled in the manga/anime.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Strings is a shining example. Numerous monsters summon other monsters into play, two — Doron and Revival Jam — directly summoning another copy of themselves, and Strings specializes in such monsters.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: As stated, this game uses it with monster types. Certain types can kill other types regardless of ATK. There are two type "triangles" that goes as follows:
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: You get Obelisk the Tormentor shortly before the finals and Saint Dragon of Osiris immediately before the Final Boss.
  • Filler Villain: Bandit Keith, who wasn't in the Battle City storyline and merely stalls the player in the game. He gets a larger role in the sequel.
  • For Want of a Nail: With the player character taking over a bulk of the main plot, certain events end up playing out differently than they did in the Manga / Anime. Most notably...
    • Joey ends up in Mai's shoes during the tournament finales. Kaiba also ends up joining him shortly after when he duels Yami Marik in the finals, since the player duels the Pharaoh in the finals instead.
    • Kaiba doesn't get Obelisk, and instead the player character gets it for beating him in a duel. This further leads to the player character willingly giving the God cards to Ishizu in the end, since Kaiba can't pull a Screw Destiny to duel her for them.
  • Full-Name Basis: Whenever Marik Ishtar is referred to or addressed by name in this game it's always as "Marik Ishtar".
  • Infinity+1 Element: Divine. Isn't weak to any other element, and is usually only found on ritual cards or the Egyptian Gods.
  • Infinity–1 Sword: Most monsters that only require one tribute to summon. They usually don't have any game breaking ATK or all that flashy, but are much, ''much'' easier to get on the field.
    • Elemental wise, there's Shadow / Dark. It's weak to Dream, but Dream elemental monsters are so incredibly rare that it's possible to go the entire game without seeing one, which means you usually don't have to worry about the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors with Shadow / Dark monsters.
  • Level Scaling: Inverted. If your duelist level is lower than your opponent's, you'll have a much harder time getting your better cards, with them usually being near the end of your deck. Meanwhile, if it's higher, you'll get your best cards as soon as the duel starts. It's actually a popular self imposed challenge to do a Low Level Run of the game, as this mechanic requires you to be far more strategic and rely on trap and magic cards more.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: There appears to be a mechanic like this in the game, where the higher your dueling level is in comparison to your opponent, the better the cards are you generally tend to draw. The lower your level is in comparison, the harder it is for you to draw what you need to win.
  • NPC Roadblock: Many areas will be blocked off by KC guards or Ghouls until you have passed a certain point in the story. Most notable is the Art Museum, the outside of which is accessible at the start of the game, but which is blocked off until shortly before the finals.
  • Level Grinding: The easiest way to get your level up quickly in the final levels is to stack your deck with Shadow and Fiend monsters when it comes time to duel Ishizu, curbstomp her Light and Dream monsters for 30 deck points and a rare card, then lose to Kaiba on purpose. When you return to the museum you have to start over with Ishizu again, giving you 30 deck points each time. This method was notably Nerfed to the point it's unusable in Reshef of Destruction.
  • Self-Insert Fic: The easiest way to sum up the plot is that basically the player character combines the roles Yugi and Jonouchi played in the manga/anime during the Battle City Tournament arc, with Yugi and Jonouchi themselves basically reduced to supporting characters.
  • The Unchosen One: The main character has nothing to do with Marik's plans. The Ghouls aren't targeting you at first, they're targeting everyone in the tournament. Marik is just annoyed that you keep winning. Subverted when Ishizu makes Kaiba and you compete for Obelisk before the finals instead of giving it to him before the tournament begins - and you win it.
  • The Unfought: You don't get to duel Yami Bakura or regular Marik, as Yami Yugi handles Bakura and Marik is replaced by Yami Marik.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Telling Bandit Keith that it's not hopeless rejuvenates his fighting spirit, and he'll happily face you for tons of money and 10 deck capacity points should you win.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: After you beat Bandit Keith for the last time, you can find him sulking at the pier. When you beat him again, he loses all hope and gives up on life, asking you if it's hopeless or not. You can actually tell him that it is hopeless, causing him to leave the warehouse and never return.