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

"A card! A card! My kingdom for a card!"

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelist of the Roses is a Yu-Gi-Oh! video game for the PlayStation 2. It is a sequel to Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories and a prequel to Yu-Gi-Oh! The Falsebound Kingdom.

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 prophesied 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 different from most 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 affect, is in play.

This game provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: On the Yorkist side Seto is much less of a villain in this game than he was in Forbidden Memories, or even in the regular canon. Subverted if you're on Yugi's team, where he's a manipulative villain again.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Due to limited screen time, Henry Tudor (Yugi) comes off as much more of a jerk, especially in the Lancastrian ending where he takes the credit for the player character's accomplishments once they head back to their own era. Subverted if you're on Seto's team, as he's a Graceful Loser who nonetheless vows to win the war.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: While most Yu-Gi-Oh! games in the pre-DS era were rife with this anyway, Pegasus—a frequent offender where this trope is concerned—was likely intentional given the powers of his Millennium Eye. As such, Pegasus is one of the few CPU opponents who doesn't regularly fall for the player's traps and bluffs, carefully calculating terrain and card effects before making his move.
  • Alternate History: As the summary above should hint.
  • Anachronism Stew: Aside from some of the European historical figures taking on Japanese names, things like machines and cartoons didn't exist during the Wars of the Roses.
  • And You Were There: Everyone in the game is a pre-incarnation of someone from the main Yu-Gi-Oh! series, with the exception of DarkNite's brother.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Both sides of the story reveal differing details about the plot, particularly concerning Seto and the Rose Cards. 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 if you side with the Lancastrians. He even apologizes for accidentally unsealing the entity using the Great Summoning of the Roses.
  • Big Bad: Richard Slysheen of York.
  • Bowdlerise: In the Japanese version, Slysheen's corpse is seen instead of just his crown, and more corpses are shown as Yugi is being crowned king. They're cropped out in other versions.
  • 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 roses for Yugi and the Lancastrians, white roses for Seto and the Yorkists.
  • Composite Character: Labyrinth Ruler is a stand-in for both Paradox Brothers.
  • 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.
  • 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!"
    • The end of the Lancastrian campaign has a message from Forbidden Memories' Priest Seto, who tells his descendants to keep seeking the Card Guardian, implying that Manawyddan fab Llyr is the wrong one.
  • Crack Fic: What if the Wars of the Roses were fought using the Yu-Gi-Oh! game with characters from the anime portraying the historical figures involved? You'd have this game.
  • 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.
  • Dirty Coward: Bonz and Bakura use very low deck costs to force you to use weaker monsters. If you lose to Bakura, he lampshades it and asks if you think him a coward.
  • 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.
  • Early Bird Boss: Rex Raptor is fought on the Wasteland terrain, which increases his monsters' strength by 500 points. At this point in the game, the only other opponent you'd be able to defeat would be Weevil, whose forest creatures are weakened by Wasteland terrain. If you start with Fairy King Truesdale, whose deck is almost all insects and plants, your only hope is judicious use of the Forest Magic Card and Acid Trap Hole. On later tries Rex isn't nearly as bad when you have more variety in monsters.
  • Enemy Mine: Yami Bakura is on the side of the Lancastrians as Jack Cade, the same man responsible for leading a revolt against Henry VI, Yugi's father.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Ishizu (known here as "Ishtar") is on the side of the Yorkists.
  • Graceful Loser:
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Manawyddan fab Llyr is the final boss, and Seto's goals in both campaigns revolve around unsealing him.
  • Have a Nice Death: Losing to an opponent in Story Mode will have them comment on your defeat.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Pegasus does this in the Yorkist storyline.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Seto pretends to bow out gracefully after you defeat him.
    Seto: "Well done, Duelist... I may have lost, but my heart sings with the joy of having faced you in battle. T'was a duel to be remembered. I take great pride in the fact that I fall by your hand... And if you believe that, I'll sell you some swampland in the outer reaches of the realm!"
  • 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.
  • Old Save Bonus: With a Forbidden Memories memory card file, several Duel Masters are unlocked as opponents, and inputting passwords given at the end of Forbidden Memories in Duelists of the Roses gives you rare cards.
  • 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.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Invoked in gameplay. By joining Kaiba's side, you can change history and defeat Yugi's army. It helps that his argument is very convincing.
  • 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 Wars of the Roses or Richard III, and according to legends lived 50+ years before the Wars of the Roses. However, as the Fridge page for the game goes into detail on, the symbolism behind the Order of the Rose Cross Rosenkreuz founded, Seto's motives in this game, and the acknowledgment that this is Alternate History, actually make Rosenkreuz's presence surprisingly appropriate.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The classy Lancastrian battle music sounds out of place when dueling Joey and Tristan.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The game's title has a habit of being marginally misspelled elsewhere, usually by omitting the "The" (i.e "Duelists of the Roses"), using a singular noun (i.e. "The Duelist of the Roses"), or a combination of the two.
  • Villain Has a Point: Seto's argument for why you should join the Yorkists is a pretty good one. The Lancastrians were losing the war badly enough that they needed to summon you, so they really aren't in much of a position to gather the Rose Cards and send you back to your time. What's more, he offers to let you decide your own fate, while Simon is convinced you'll join his side without much coercion.
  • 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 to 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.