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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Seto helping the player against DarkNite has room for a lot of interpretation, given how villainous he is before that and how he escapes afterward without a word. Does he realize his mistakes and help out of altruism, is it a case of Pragmatic Villainy, as he doesn't want to die with the prince, or is it simply a way to get around the prince being a Heroic Mime?
    • Whether or not the ritual to control DarkNite would have worked if Seto had performed it is another ambiguous factor, as Seto's ancestors did make the pact with DarkNite while Heishin did not, and Seto's deck is stronger than both of theirs.
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  • Awesome Music: Has its own page.
  • Breather Boss: There are a few examples of easier-than-normal bosses.
    • While the previous tourney opponents scaled up in difficulty, Shadi is a drastic step down, having monsters with stats in the hundreds, and not having significant fusions nor magic/trap cards in his deck. He's the only opponent past the early game you're guaranteed to not need to grind for besides the Mage Soldier.
    • When you return to the past, the first mandatory opponent is the Mage Soldier, whose monsters only have stats in the mid thousands, as well as no significant fusions or magic cards. He's much weaker than the past few opponents you dueled in Kaiba's tournament, as well as the opponents to come.
    • High Mage Secmeton of the sea shrine and High Mage Martis of the desert shrine. Secmeton uses a whole deck of water monsters, which can be easily beaten with a Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon. Martis uses powerful fiends and spellcasters for his main attacking force that don't get powered up by the Wasteland field. This leaves him reliably beaten by a Twin-Head.
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    • In the endgame gauntlet, Sebek is easier than the other opponents. He uses machine and beast type monsters, with the strongest being Metalzoa. Most of his remaining monsters only have slightly more than 2000 attack, and he has no significant magic/trap cards beyond Shadow Spell.
  • Complete Monster: Heishin is an Evil Chancellor and Evil Sorcerer of Ancient Egypt. As soon as he gets the ancient power of the Millennium Items, he attacks the palace with his soldiers, killing various people, including the Pharaoh and his wife, and mortally wounding Simon Muran, the Prince's tutor. When the Prince tries to escape, he threatens to kill him if he doesn't give him the Millennium Puzzle. The Prince shatters it, and is transported inside of the puzzle to the present day. When he returns, he finds that Heishin has destroyed much of Egypt and Simon Muran has died from his injuries. After defeating Heishin's top mages, he finds Teana has been kidnapped and is having her life threatened in an attempt to lure the Prince into a trap to kill him, but this is stopped by Seto, Heishin's own henchman, who sets her free and ends up being The Starscream. Heishin obtains the Millennium Puzzle and summons the Dark God, Darknite, and commands him to destroy the world and make him a god, to which Darknite responds by killing Heishin. Petty, selfish, and so obsessed with power that he'd attempt to murder underage teenagers in his pursuit of it, Heishin was a monstrous individual.
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  • Critical Dissonance: This game often gets criticized for its brutal difficulty and the amount of forced grinding needed to get pass certain areas. Despite this, it's treated rather warmly by fans who played it back in the day, and is listed as the fifth game of the top ten PS1 games on GameFAQs, despite barely having over a 50% review rating.
  • Cult Classic: Despite being infamous for its brutal difficulty (or perhaps because), this game still has quite a bit of fans to this day.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon is by far the most powerful monster in the game with 4500 attack, 1000 more than the Meteor Black Dragon. It requires three equips at minimum to defeat through battle, and only three obtainable monsters can do it with three equips (the Meteor Black Dragon, Skull Knight, and Zoa, the latter two also needing to be Mercury-aligned). Due to the 1 card-per-turn limit, using Raigeki or another magic card to destroy it can leave you open to a direct attack.
    • Gate Guardian has 3750 attack, is highly equip-versatile, and is used by a disgustingly large amount of opponents in the game, and is even worse on the Meadow field, where it gets a power boost.
  • Ear Worm: The main battle music for the Kaiba tournament arc of the game. Part of the reason that part of the game is treated as one of the games high points, despite introducing a rather nasty Difficulty Spike, is because of that song.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The Meadow Mage. He's just a mook you only see on one screen in the game, yet he's the character that's remembered and talked about the most. With his amazing card drops, including giving most people their first Meteor Black Dragon, people have fond memories of extensively dueling him and gaining the cards that allowed them to finally beat the game.
    • Jono and Teana only appeared in this game, and have no equivalent in the manga or anime versions of the Ancient Egypt arc, but are popular for being counterparts to Joey and Tea and friends with the prince, making them easy to insert in fanfiction.
    • The servant girl Fizdis gets only 2 lines in the game and is only seen once, but is popular for her design. She also has a slightly bigger role in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Falsebound Kingdom, which gave her a name and made her playable.
    • Because of just how useful it is throughout the game, even people who play the real life card game have a fondness for Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon. Similarly, the Meteor Black Dragon never appeared in the anime or manga except for a single appearance in Toei's Yu-Gi-Oh movie that was never released outside Japan and a single appearance in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. An official card wasn't released for the TCG until 2012, over 12 years after its OCG release, and long after the TCG's Power Creep and arrival of better Red-Eyes fusions rendered it obsolete. However, with its status as the Infinity +1 Sword and being the key to beating the game for almost every player, it has a deity-like reputation among those who played Forbidden Memories.
  • Franchise Original Sin: If it's true that this game uses beta rules for the actual game, then it shows that special summoning was always supposed to be a big part of the game. Thanks to being able to get the cards out quickly and being able to chain fusions, Fusion Monsters in this game are even easier and quicker to get out than Synchro, Pendulum, and Xyz monsters, one of the most criticized aspects of the game from the old-school purists.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The magic card Raigeki, which destroys all of your opponent's monster cards with no cost to you. A single Raigeki can break a stalemate and win you the duel in just that turn, and just like any other card, you can have three of them in your deck. Crush Card can serve the same purpose against monsters with over 1500 ATK.
    • The equip card Megamorph is compatible with every monster and boosts their stats by 1000. It'll turn any midtier monster into a powerhouse, and the most powerful monsters will become untouchable except by magic. You can get it as early as Pegasus as long as you're good at S-Tecing.
  • Genius Bonus: Sebek and Neku are named for the Egyptian gods Sobek and Nekhbet, respectively. Their appearances are also based on said gods, with Sebek having an alligator headdress and Neku having a vulture's.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • A significant portion of the game's cult fanbase are Brazilians and from other Central/South American countries. They were also the driving force behind the extensive data mining of the game and its modding scene, and if you look up FM mods you're going to come across predominantly Spanish pages.
    • The game is infamous for being an RNG grindfest, but it's oddly popular with speedrunners and racers despite luck elements and grinding normally being antithesis to speedrunning. Racers and spectators alike enjoy seeing how the RNG can be benevolent and screw them over in equal measure.
  • Goddamn Bats: Labyrinth Wall and Millennium Shield have no attack at all and will never pose a direct threat to you, but they have a massive 3000 defense that will require magic cards to overcome unless you have the Meteor Black Dragon out. They're additionally Uranus-aligned, and the Saturn alignment is rather uncommon among stronger monsters. Wall Shadow has a similar 300 DEF but is easier to deal with due to its alignment.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Priest Seto, the Egyptian version of Seto Kaiba, started out as a minion of Big Bad Heishin and subdues Prince Atem for his boss to murder both the Pharaoh and his wife. Giving the Millennium Items to Heishin's guards, Seto intends on manipulating the vengeful prince to defeat and claim them, only for Seto himself planning to defeat the prince and take them for himself. Planning on betraying Heishin to conquer Egypt for himself with the use of DarkNite, Seto gives the prince hints to stop DarkNite when it turns them both into cards, never losing his charm or ability to adapt through all the challenges he faces.
  • Narm: DarkNite's informal way of speaking, combined with his huge Big "NO!" after you beat him, makes him pretty hard to take seriously at times.
  • Older Than They Think: Seto's encounter and battle themes are remixes of a tune from Monster Capsule Breed and Battle, a Japan-only game.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The starchip system. You can win up to five per duel, but most strong and useful cards cost in the hundreds and thousands, and Pocket Station cards and many others are given a 999,999 cost to make them effectively unbuyable. Their only real practical use is buying cheap fusion fodder early on (namely Dragons and Thunder monsters), and monsters with lopsided stats that make them cheap for their effectiveness like Jirai Gumo and Millennium Shield.
    • Getting a S/A-TEC rank requires you to use a lot of magic and trap cards while stalling the duel, or making the opponent deck out by forcing them to fuse. With how slow the game plays, beign forced to draw until your hand is full, and the player always going first, a single S-TEC duel can take up to about an hour to complete even on an emulator. And even if you do everything right, the random drops mean you still might not get the card you're looking for.
    • The PocketStation features being only available in Japan, leaving it impossible to obtain the cards only available through them, including many strong AI-only cards and the cards on the cover of the game.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The Prince's sealing in the Puzzle is sad, especially with what Simon says.
    Simon: One day, when the Puzzle is solved, you will be free to walk among men. Until that day comes... Sleep, my prince.
    • When you return to the past, you find Egypt has been completely overrun, the Prince's parents are dead, Heishin wouldn't give them a proper burial in a tomb, and everything you knew of your old life is in ruins. The music is also really sad.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: A lot of types are very weak as a whole compared to others and making themed endgame decks with them is almost impossible.
    • Dinosaurs have very limited fusion prospects and have limited equip versatility, making them worthless once their power is outclassed.
    • Fishes really got the short end of the stick, having no obtainable Fish with more than 2100 attack while additionally being very limited in fusion capabilities, with none of the fish fusions being any useful.
    • Bugs as a whole are of very little use to the player outside of Jirai Gumo, as they have little fusion or equip potential and are often Pocket Station exclusive, making them extremely hard to get and worthless if you do.
    • Pyro types are limited in number and quite weak, with the strongest being Flame Cerberus at 2100 attack, with no field power bonus except being weak to water. Fire-aligned monsters do make good fusion fodder, but because these fusions rely on the fire alignment and don't require Pyro monsters, players will instead opt to use the abundant fire-aligned monsters of other types, leaving Pyro monsters with no niche of their own.
    • Fairies are weak and weakened by Tami, and have little fusion capabilities. Their only good points are having multiple type-specific equips and a lot of them being female monsters that can be used for the various female-centric fusions.
    • Reptiles have no home field, no stats higher than 1800, very few Reptiles existing at all, and have almost no fusion capabilities.
  • That One Attack:
    • Raigeki and Crush Card work just as effectively at nuking your playing field as they do an opponent's.
    • Shadow Spell, which reduces the attack of all your in-play monsters by 1000, crippling them unless significantly equipped. The card Curse Breaker can be used to reverse its effects, but having no effect beyond this and being the epitome of Useless Useful Spell, you won't be having it in your deck, much less having in your hand/on the field when you actually need it.
    • Reverse Trap reverses the effect of equips, leaving you with a crippled monster, and killing your chance at a comeback if powering up that monster was your only hope to overcoming your opponent's overwhelming forces.
    • Swords of Revealing Light, which prevents you from being able to attack for three turns. It can lead to your opponent building up a force or drawing the magic/equips needed to take your monsters out without retaliation.
    • Megamorph, which powers up any monster by 1000 points. If it gets used on an especially powerful monster, the duel is likely over unless the player draws a monster-destroying card.
    • Dragon Capture Jar. While Pegasus is the only one who uses it consistently enough to be a threat, it can destroy every dragon on your side of the field, including Meteor B. Dragon. This becomes even worse if you're trying to S-Tec him with a strong monster, as the most powerful monsters in the game are dragons.
  • That One Boss:
    • Seto 2 has plenty of 3000 ATK cards like Metalzoa and Black Luster Soldier, and his strongest monster is the Gate Guardian. The weakest monsters in his arsenal have over 2000 attack, and if you do get something strong he'll Crush Card or Raigeki you. He's also at the end of a difficult labyrinth without the ability to save, meaning if you lose you'll have to fight the Labyrinth Mage again.
    • High Mage Kepura is the most difficult of the high mages you'll face, and is as difficult as what you'll face in the endgame, using Gate Guardian powered up by the meadow you duel him on. With an attack over 4000, it'll take just two direct attacks from it to be defeated. If given the opportunity, he'll often equip his Gate Guardian to make it even more powerful. Even the Meteor Black Dragon alone won't gain you victory here.
    • Seto 3 is also this, being the most difficult opponent in the game, having Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon at an even higher frequency than the final boss and nearly every other extremely powerful monster, as well as a very high frequency of using Raigeki, Shadow Spell, Widespread Ruin, and Harpie's Feather Duster. Plus he has the ability to see your facedown cards and thus can't be bluffed. Also, unlike every other opponent in the game, Priest Seto is smart enough to place Raigeki on the field before placing a monster so he can defeat you on his turn.
    • Pegasus has a chance of having a Meteor B. Dragon as well as three (and sometimes four) Raigeki. He also has Dragon Capture Jars in a game where dragons are your main fighting force. True to the anime, he's also programmed to be able to see what cards are in your hand, as well as what cards you have face down, making him impossible to bluff. On top of that, he gives some of the best magic and traps in the game, meaning you're going to be fighting him a lot in free duel. S-Tecing him can be even more of a pain.
  • Unwinnable by Insanity: When trading with another player, you're not required to put up the same amount of cards the other player is trading, or any card at all. If you were to trade without 40 cards in your deck, and traded enough cards in your chest away you wouldn't have enough cards to make a deck. Since you can't have 40 cards in your deck, the game will not allow you to duel anyone, thus preventing you from being able to get more cards.

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