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Duel Masters: Sempai Legends Package Art
††Collectable Card Game

Duel Masters: Sempai Legends

In the latest take on the collectible card game genre, Atari has released Duel Masters: Sempai Legends for the Game Boy Advance. The GBA has provided a respectable nitch for games like Duel Masters and Yu-Gi-Oh! When the market is saturated with Yu-Gi-Oh game after Yu-Gi-Oh game, itís nice to see a breath of fresh air with Wizards of the Coastís own Duel Masters card game. It opens up the genre quite a bit and also provides a bit of fun, even if it doesnít play as some would like.


Duel Masters is certainly not a looker, although it doesnít pretend to be. The visuals take a note from the Yu-Gi-Oh series with anime-styled sprites and exaggeratedly large environments. The areas in the game look good with plenty of color, but it can become a bit boring walking around. Duels take a form all its own, though, as youíll see animated 2D sprites battling it out on a battlefield rather than just cards on the ground. The sprites arenít anything pretty or complex. In fact, each creatureís attack holds around two to four frames of animation. Itís not entirely thrilling, but it gets the job done. Of course, a game like this doesnít depend on its visual stylings, but rather how the game plays. It really wouldnít hurt, though.


When it comes to the gameís audible offerings, things get a little disappointing, but still worthwhile. The music doesnít distract the player with high-tempo technic beats or anything like that. Instead, youíre treated to theme music thatís sort of like what card games would sound like if it were a perpetual round of Final Jeopardy. Itís unobtrusive and well produced, but something a bit more memorable would have been nice.

The sound effects are drab and unimpressive, but thatís to be expected. Look elsewhere if youíre looking for the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance of card games.


Duel Masters uses some RPG elements to incorporate within the collectable card game combat. While you wonít necessarily level up or gain experience, you will gain new cards and progress through a slight attempt at a storyline. It helps make the game feel a bit deeper than it really is.

At its heart, this game is basically 15 hours of battling with your upgradeable deck. While the rules of combat are slightly complex, and we wonít delve too deep into the details, it isnít much different than a watered down version of Magic the Gathering, another card game produced by Wizards of the Coast. At the beginning of each battle, youíll flip a coin to see who goes first. Each round (other than the first) progresses as the player draws a new card from their deck and choosing a card to add to the mana pool. In order to summon a monster or cast a spell, the player must have a certain amount of cards in their mana pool. Once enough mana cards are tapped and the monster is summoned, they can then choose to attack if they have any available monsters to do so. Rinse, repeat and repeat again and again, then youíve got the basics of Duel Masters: Sempai Legends. It may seem easy, but the game is actually very strategic. You must play your cards intelligently or youíll never make it to your first plot twist. Even if youíve never played a CCG, the game is fun but you should definitely do some research before jumping into it.


If you have a link cable and friend with another gamepak, you can link up and either trade cards with each other or do battle with your own respective decks. This is an essential for this kind of game, so itís respectable that Atari has included this in Duel Masters. Thumbs up!


Duel Masters: Sempai Legends is an entertaining venture in the collectable card game genre, but itís still missing some things that will make it universally enjoyable. The learning curve is a little steep and not everyone may enjoy losing dozens of battles before they finally get the hang of it. However, it should be noted that with 120 cards from the original card game as well as 60 cards from the expansion pack, Atari is extremely faithful to the source material.

Fans should be ecstatic to pick this game up and begin playing right away. If you arenít a fan, maybe you should check out the television show on Cartoon Network. Itís a campy parody on other shows of its own variety and may get you interested in this title. Whatís more? Prettiest, shiniest box art on the Game Boy Advance. Winner.

final score 7.0/10

Staff Avatar Austin Starr
Staff Profile | Email
"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"

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