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Yu-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Masters: World Championship Tournament 2006

Score: 85%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Card Games

Graphics & Sound:

Yu-Gi-Oh releases are becoming as common as Madden releases. Yu-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Masters: World Championship Tournament 2006 is the latest release in the long-running (and long-titled) series. Although it doesn’t bring too many changes to gameplay, it does introduce a slew of new cards to help satisfy fans.

Ultimate Masters is pretty plain when it comes to presentation. There isn’t a whole lot going on in either department and you’re really only given what you need. While you’ll run into a few familiar faces from the show, cards are the real star here. When on the field, cards are fairly small, though there’s enough details present that you can tell what you’re looking at.

As far as the audio goes, there isn’t much to talk about. There are a handful of sounds played while using a card or destroying another, but that’s the extent of it. The same looping music track plays throughout every match. Music doesn’t get too annoying and manages to stay out of the way most of the time, though I usually found myself turning it off completely and just listening to either the radio or my MP3 player.


For those not “In the Know” when it comes to Yu-Gi-Oh!, it is a collectible card game in the vein of Magic: The Gathering or the Poke’mon card game. The goal of each match is to deplete your opponent’s life points to 0 before he does the same to you, which is done by playing cards from your deck that represent monsters and spells. Winning matches nets you new cards which can be inserted into your deck, making it stronger.

Ultimate Masters is a no-frills simulation of a card game. There’s no real storyline and the only interaction you’ll have with other characters is through matches in the Campaign Mode’s tournament brackets. As you win matches in the tournament, you’ll unlock new cards, allowing you to build stronger decks, and progress to harder opponents as you make your way to World Champion.

When the tournament gets old, you can always try your hand at Puzzle mode. This mode, which is meant more for veterans than newcomers, presents players with situations. These include anything from using certain cards, winning in a certain number of turns or causing X damage with a specific card. Puzzles are fun for a few hours, though they do tend to wear out their welcome rather quickly, especially if you’re a long-time player who knows the game inside and out. However, the challenges are pretty good training exercises for learning the subtle strategies of combos and how to make the most out of your deck.

As always, players can also challenge friends in link matches.


As with most card games, how you perform in a match comes down to two things: skill and how well your deck is put together. Ultimate Masters is no different. Going into matches with a “broken” deck is a sure-fire way to get out of the tournament quickly. As any player will tell you, Deck Building is a craft that builds through practice and learning the game. Lumping all of your strongest cards into a deck isn’t a good strategy; instead it is all about striking the right balance of low and high-powered cards, as well as sneaking in a combo or two.

Opponents become harder, the further you get into the Tournament. One of the problems I’ve always had with card games is that the A.I. opponents always seemed to get just the right card within 2–3 turns of needing it. There were a few instances where an opponent got just the right card, but this happened about as frequently as I drew just what I needed. The only real “advantage” opponents had over me was a better deck.

Game Mechanics:

Deck building is one of the more difficult aspects of any card game, digital or otherwise. While the digital version really doesn’t compare to the freedom of spreading your cards all over the table and crafting that perfect deck, it does a fairly good job of making the task manageable, especially when you consider that there are over 2,000 from which to choose. A variety of filters are available, allowing you to separate cards based on Type, Element or other attributes. Once a deck is created, you can save it for later use.

The interface is handy and one of the better ones I’ve seen in game versions of card games. A few of the functions are a little cumbersome (mainly when it comes to reading what a card does), thought it is hard to fault Konami since problems like these are more of a result of hardware limitations.

Cards can be obtained in two ways. The more common way is to purchase booster packs that contain six random cards. Booster packs are a bit of a gamble though since there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the cards you like, but at the same time you could get a powerful card that gives you a great deck idea. The second method, Password, is one that the more hardcore Yu-Gi-Oh! players will likely want to use. Found at the bottom of every printed Yu-Gi-Oh! card is a code that can be entered into the game. Doing so unlocks specific cards, which is good for players who want to build their real-life killer deck into the game. Of course, once the card is unlocked, you’ll have to purchase it, so there is a bit of a drawback.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Masters: World Championship Tournament 2006 is a solid representation of the card game and a good entry point for players who want to see what the game is all about. If you’re a Veteran of the series, Ultimate Masters is a good purchase if you’re looking for some new cards, otherwise you can skip this one and not miss much.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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