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Alright, let’s get this started! Slam that game into the system, smash that power button, actually don’t do either of those things because we’re on an emulator, and also small electronics are delicate you really shoudn’t slam or smash them.
Hey, there! It’s Konami! Your corporate pal who’s fun to be with!
In the beginning, there was nothing. But then there was…
And that card was Speed World. And God said that it was good. He was wrong about that – the Riding Duels in 5D’s aren’t well-designed in general – but God does have a history of making significant errors in judgment so we’ll just leave him to it.
Doesn’t that limp, grody synth get you TOTALLY PUMPED? It’s like the composer wanted to wrest as little of the energy and power in the DS’s sound card as he possibly could. There must be something a little less…it’s-a-fifteen-second-loop-ish I could play instead…
5D’s OST1: Speed World
Anyway, Stardust Accelerator is a DS game, so it of course takes place on two screens. In the emulator, I have the two screens arranged horizontally, with the bottom screen on the left and the top on the right.
It’s going to take me a little time to figure out if a horizontal or vertical orientation is better for the LP. But most of the time, you only need to look at one screen anyway.
We’ll be starting a new game, naturally. Stardust Accelerator only lets you keep one save file.
Music: Pause Menu
Look at that. The US is on the bottom. 5D’s is the future liberals want.
I won’t tell you what state I live in, but I’ll give you a hint: it’s not Alabama.
Now that we’ve been welcomed to the world of Duel Monsters, the question must be asked…
Are we a boy or a girl?
As I said in the OP, I watch anime so I have to play as a girl. Actually I don’t really watch anime anymore. Am I still allowed to pick the girl? Talk about an existential question. Well, I’ll talk to a licensed professional at some point, but for now I’ll hit the pink square.
Now a name. Thread participation is hip, but I’m a square so that’s out. I’ll have to think of a name myself. Well, every Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonist has ‘Yu’ in their name, so how about…
I name her Yuna, after the protagonist of a bad anime.
Last is appearance. Your options are better in WC2010, and way better in WC2011, but if you flip through the options there are one or two faces that don’t look terrible.
There, that’s pretty good.
That white flag button the right of the bottom screen is for changing your country, not for surrendering, if you were unsure.
You could jump right into story mode, but a seasoned veteran like me knows you want to visit World Championship mode first.
BGM: World Championship Menu
The options are: Free Duel, Communications Menu, Friends Menu, Duelist Menu, Shop, Tutorial, and Options.
Free Duel is for dueling against AI opponents. You unlock new ones by fulfilling various conditions in Story Mode. Some of them are just dueling certain people or reaching certain story points, I think, but others are more specific. For example, to unlock Exodius the Ultimate Forbidden Lord as an opponent, you have to win a duel with the effect of Exodius.
The Duelist Menu is for editing and saving decks and deck recipes, looking over your cards, viewing the list of banned and limited cards, and so forth. The Shop is for buying booster packs (and eventually Structure Decks). Your initial selection of packs is very limited, but I’ll go over them in more detail in a later update. You unlock new packs by reaching particular story points.
The Duelist Menu and Shop are notable in that your cards are shared across Story Mode and WC Mode. If you’re having trouble in Story Mode, you don’t need to find a card shop, you can buy new cards from here. And (if I remember correctly) you can earn Duel Points by winning Free Duels.
Last is Options, and that’s why we’re here today.
You can change your outfit, Duel Disk, and hairstyle. We don’t have any other outfits or Duel Disks, but…
Along with the style, you can also change your hair color. Which for some reason you couldn’t do when creating your character.
Purple is pretty girly, but I’ve been told people have trouble telling the guys and the gals apart in anime, so I thought we could do with a nice hot pink so everyone knows we’re a girl.
More important is the second choice, ‘Edit Fixed Text’. What could that mean?
The ‘fixed text’ is the dialogue popups that appear when certain things happen during a duel. Starting the duel, drawing, summoning a monster, activating a spell, activating a trap, winning, losing, etc. You have dozens of choices for each instance, and each one is more poorly translated than the last. It’s a delight.
Did I spend like eight minutes picking my fixed text? Yes, I did.
Now we can do story mode.
Music: Story Duel 14
Here we are in…place.
This is the duel stadium in New Domino City. I can’t remember if it has a name other than ‘Duel Stadium’, but the 4Kids dub chose to call it the Kaiba Dome to increase continuity with the original series.
Two guys on motorcycles. Well, the guy on the right is on a motorcycle; I’m not sure what the guy on the left is riding.
Is this that ‘card games on motorcycles’ thing I’ve heard so much about? It is.
This guy spins around and starts riding backwards. He likes doing that.
This static shot of a Red Dragon Archfiend card is I guess supposed to represent him summoning it. The game has a special animation for summoning RDA but they don’t use it here for some reason.
I would post a YouTube video of Jack summoning Red Dragon Archfiend but there…aren’t any good ones?
Here’s some high resolution-ish art of it. That’s all I can do for you.
I guess that represented him winning.
The MC, despite appearing repeatedly throughout 5D’s, doesn’t have a name. He does however have a pompadour and a bow tie.
“He’s just too good! Nobody can take his throne!! How long is his undefeated streak going to go on? A living legend, he’s our one and only King…”
Hey, there’s a treasure chest!
Hey, there’s someone with pink hair! I wonder who that could be…
Oh, it’s us.
???: “Hey! You OK!? Pull yourself together!”
“You all right? You’re not hurt, are you? It doesn’t seem like you’re injured. And it looks like you weren’t attacked by any thugs… But it’s dangerous here, you know!”
“So what were you doing just lying there in a place like this? Uh… you don’t want to answer me? Well, have it your way… But, come to think of it, I’ve never seen you around here before. Where did you come from?”
“Oh… you really don’t want to tell me, huh? Um… this is Satellite. I guess they used to call this place Domino City a long time ago. Oh, right! I still haven’t introduced myself! The name’s Rally! So what’s your name?”
“So what should we do? If only we had some kind of clue to go on…”
“Hmm… Hey there! What’s that you’re carrying?”
“Isn’t that a Duel Disk? So you’re a duelist, are you? Then maybe you’ll remember something if you have a Duel with somebody! Why not Duel with me then!?”
“Ah! I don’t have my deck with me. So lemme go get it. Just wait around here for a few minutes. I’ll be right back!”
Rally runs off, and we’re left by ourselves briefly. I somehow managed to take this screencap right before the minimap appeared on the top screen.
You can control this game with the buttons or with the touch screen. Even if I wasn’t on an emulator, the buttons are much more convenient.
There’s the minimap. These grin spinny things are save points. The game doesn’t checkpoint you or save at convenient points or anything like that. It does, however, save every time you buy a booster pack, to prevent savescumming your pulls.
As the icon in the lower left indicates, you pause with the X button. If you were wondering if a Yu-Gi-Oh game counts as JRPG, this conclusively proves it. The definition of a JRPG is “a game that you don’t pause with the Start button”. Trust me, I went to college for game design, I know what I’m talking about.
If you like, you can open the menu and modify your deck, because even with the limited cards you have at the start, your deck makeup is (I think intentionally) sub-optimal. But I decided to keep our deck as-is for the first duel.
Walking to the bottom of the area causes Rally to reappear.
The game is generally polite enough to ask before starting a duel, so you can swap around cards or switch decks.
Music: Duel Start
Just drink in those models. This was high-tech stuff in, uh…1995.
You play rock-paper-scissors to decide who goes first.
The information on the profile displays the character’s name, the name of their deck, and their rating. Our rating is going to be zero for the entire game, because you can only raise it in PvP. An NPC’s rating is supposed to be an approximation of how good their deck is, but the number is frequently…spurious. Minor NPCs tend to get low ratings, despite often having better decks than story characters.
For example, right after Rally I’m going to duel one of the first random NPCs you can meet. Rally’s deck is a bunch of weak Machines with no synergy or ability to raise their ATK. The random NPC uses a reasonably well-built Counter Fairy which completely crushed me the first time I tried dueling him. Rally’s rating is 515; his rating is 510.
I lose, and Rally chooses to go first.
In 2014, the rules of the game were changed such that the first turn player doesn’t draw, putting them a card behind and balancing out the advantage of going first. Stardust Accelerator precedes that rule change, so it’s pretty much always better to go first.
Music: Story Duel 1
Okay, let’s start our first duel. In Yu-Gi-Oh, each player has 8000 Life Points, and the objective is to reduce your opponent’s Life Points to zero. This is mainly done by battling monsters.
Rally opens by setting one monster and one face-down Spell/Trap, which is a pretty typical opening move. The first turn player doesn’t have a Battle Phase, so they can’t attack.
Running along the top of the screen are icons indicating the current turn phase: Draw Phase, Standby Phase, Main Phase 1, Battle Phase, Main Phase 2, and End Phase.
Let’s see what we’ve got.
The orange cards are monsters, while the purple ones are traps. Spells are blue-green, but I don’t have any in this hand.
From left to right, my monsters are: Worm Apocalypse, Gigantic Cephalotus, and Mecha Bunny.
From left to right, my traps are: Overworked, Counter Counter, and Destruction Jammer.
Worm Apocalypse is a very weak monster (300 ATK / 200 DEF), but it has a useful effect: when it’s flipped, it destroys a Spell/Trap on the field.
Gigantic Cephalotus is a solid beatstick (1850 ATK) with an effect we’ll probably never see: when a Plant is sent to the graveyard from the field, Cephalotus gains 200 ATK.
Mecha Bunny is a little more complicated, because it has two effects: 1) When it’s flipped, it inflicts 500 damage to your opponent*, and 2) When it’s destroyed in battle, you can summon another Mecha Bunny from your deck. It’s also weak (800 ATK / 100 DEF)
*The actual effect is “When this card is flipped face-up, select 1 card on the field and inflict 500 damage to its controller”, which is functionally the same.
I like opening with Mecha Bunny, so that’s what I’m going to do.
I’m about to explain something, and I want to preface my explanation by acknowledging that Yu-Gi-Oh is probably the most pointlessly byzantine TCG there is.
There are three kinds of summon in Yu-Gi-Oh: Normal Summon, Special Summon, and Flip Summon.
You are allowed one Normal Summon/Set per turn. That means taking a monster from your hand and playing it face-up in Attack Position (Normal Summon) or playing it face-down in Defense Position (Normal Set). You cannot Normal Summon a monster in face-up Defense Position, even though they did it for over a decade in the anime.
A Special Summon is a summon by a card’s effect. For example, Monster Reborn Special Summons a monster from the graveyard. Fusion Summons, Ritual Summons, and Synchro Summons are also Special Summons.
A Flip Summon is just the act of taking a monster that’s face-down and flipping it into Attack Position.
Since Mecha Bunny is weak, I’ll set it in Defense Position.
I’ll also set some of my traps. Traps must be set on the field before they can be played, and they can’t be activated the same turn they were set.
What I have selected is Destruction Jammer: When a Spell/Trap Card, or a monster effect, that would destroy a monster is activated, I can negate the activation and destroy the card, by discarding a card from my hand. I don’t think Rally even has any cards with effects to destroy monsters, but I set it anyway.
I also set Overworked.
Overworked is an interesting card: It destroys all monsters on the field with ATK (Attack Power) higher than their original ATK.
I knew from a previous playthrough that Rally has Banner of Courage in his deck, but he didn’t draw it this time so Overworked also goes unused.
The last trap is Counter Counter, which is a Counter Trap that negates the activation of a Counter Trap (Destruction Jammer is a Counter Trap). I don’t set it, so of course Rally uses a Counter Trap in this duel.
Rally starts his turn by activating De-Spell. This destroys a spell on the field, even a face-down one. He targets Destruction Jammer, which is of course a trap, so De-Spell does nothing.
He summons Rocket Warrior – a card Joey played in the anime, incidentally. It has 1500 ATK, which is average (in the sense that a C is average), and a not-entirely-useless effect.
I haven’t played Magic, but I know in that game you attack, and then your opponent either chooses a creature to block with or chooses not to block. In Yu-Gi-Oh, you choose the target of your attack, and you can’t wage a direct attack unless there are no monsters in the way.
Since Mecha Bunny is being attacked, it gets flipped face-up. That means its effect to inflict damage is going to activate. However, because of intricate Yu-Gi-Oh rules about effect activation timings, this doesn’t happen until the battle is done being conducted.
“You see, 1500 is clearly larger than 100” said tiny-handed Rocket Warrior.
“Oh, now I get it” said Coach Mecha Bunny.
Now Mecha Bunny’s effect activates. This fact about timing is actually very important for certain cards, and there’s a later duel where I can illustrate how.
I get FIRST BLOOD.
Mecha Bunny has 300 ATK here because of Rocket Warrior’s effect. After Rocket Warrior attacks a monster, that monster loses 500 ATK for the rest of the turn. This is only meaningful if you have something to attack the weakened monster. Since Mecha Bunny is destroyed, it doesn’t matter anyway.
Since Mecha Bunny just got destroyed in battle, I can summon a replacement from my deck.
Basically, Mecha Bunny has three uses: 1) It does some chip damage, 2) It replaces itself, maintaining my advantage on the field, and 3) It thins the deck a little. The fewer cards in your deck, the more likely you are to draw the ones you want. This is an important principle in Yu-Gi-Oh, because your ability to draw cards is limited.
On my turn, I draw Raigeki Break. This is a fairly good card: by discarding a card, it destroys 1 card on the field.
Note my qualification of ‘fairly’ good. Raigeki Break can destroy any monster, spell, or trap, whether face-up or face-down. Destroying opposing cards is good, and I have total flexibility in what to destroy. However, I have to discard a card to use it. So I lose two cards (the card I discarded, plus Raigeki Break) while my opponent only loses 1 card. In terms of card advantage, Raigeki Break is a -1.
Deck thinning is an important principle, but card advantage is probably the most important principle in Yu-Gi-Oh. Life Points are one way of measuring how well one player is doing versus the other, but the theory is that the difference in the number of cards each player has is a better meta-analysis of the game state. Or something like that.
However, in low-level play (which is what we’re doing now) both deck thinning and card advantage don’t play a major role. And since you draw a new card every turn, a -1 isn’t a big sacrifice.
Now that Rally has something in attack position, I can feed it to Gigantic Cephalotus.
I also set Raigeki Break here, which is a minor mistake. Broadly speaking, you should wait until Main Phase 2 to set your facedowns.
To explain why, imagine neither of us had any face-down Spells/Traps, and Rally’s face-down monster was Worm Apocalypse. Worm Apocalypse destroys a Spell/Trap when it’s flipped, but since there aren’t any, nothing would happen. Then in MP2, I could set Raigeki Break. But if I set Raigeki Break in Main Phase 1, it would be destroyed by Worm Apocalypse.
Why did I make this mistake? I’ve played a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, which uses a different game format called Speed Dueling which doesn’t have a Main Phase 2.
Anyway, I enter the Battle Phase.
A monster can be in either Attack Position or Defense Position. When a monster is in Attack Position, its ATK is used for calculating damage. When it’s in Defense Position, its DEF (Defense Power) is used for calculating damage. A monster could have 3000 DEF, but if it’s in Attack Position that doesn’t mean a thing, and vice-versa.
Only an Attack Position monster can attack. The benefit to being in Defense Position is that you don’t lose Life Points when your monster is defeated in battle. Thus, having high ATK is more important than having high DEF.
Since Gigantic Cephalotus has 1850 ATK and Rocket Warrior has 1500 ATK, the damage dealt is 1850 - 1500 = 350.
Rally summons Victory Viper XX03, one of many Yu-Gi-Oh cards based on Konami arcade games. Victory Viper is one of the Gradius cards; it has 1200 ATK but can trigger one of three different effects when it destroys a monster in battle.
Rally decides he wants to eat more damage and attacks my Mecha Bunny.
Stardust Accelerator has a fairly smart system for responding to game actions. If you have a card with a specific timing for activation (like my Destruction Jammer, or Mirror Force), it will ask if you want to activate something when that timing is met. If you have something that can be activated at most times (like my Raigeki Break), it will ask if you want to respond when major game actions occur (summoning a monster, attacking, and ending a turn are the main ones I think).
You may have noticed two icons in the upper left, not of this screenshot but of most of the others. One has a circle of chain and an (A), the other has the chain with an X over it and a (B).
If you hold down the A button, the game will stop every time the game state changes, even if you can’t activate anything then. This is useful for stopping the game so you can read the text of a card you don’t recognize. It can also be useful for activating a card at an unusual time, like at some peculiar substep of attack declaration the game might otherwise gloss over.
If you hold down the B button, the game will do the opposite: as long as the button is held, the game won’t ask if you have a response to anything. This is for speeding up the duel.
Anyway, I have no need to waste my Raigeki Break on protecting Mecha Bunny, so the attack goes through.
Since Victory Viper destroyed a monster, it gets to activate one of three effects: 1) Gain 400 ATK, 2) Destroy a face-up Spell/Trap, or 3) Summon an Option Token. If effect #2 had been to destroy a face-down Spell/Trap, I probably would have used Raigeki Break to stop the attack and protect my facedowns. As it is, 1600 ATK still isn’t enough to threaten my Cephalotus.
On my turn, I draw Twin-Barrel Dragon (1700 ATK).
This is a somewhat interesting card, though not a good one. When summoned, it targets an opponent’s card and then tosses 2 coins. If both are heads, the card is destroyed. In other words, it has a 25% success rate.
To be safe, I target his face-down Spell/Trap. The closest thing he has to a legitimately dangerous trap is Spellbinding Circle.
Improbably, I actually succeed with Twin-Barrel Dragon’s effect.
It’s hard to tell with such low resolution, but the ‘heads’ for the coins used in this game is the card Sonic Chick. The tails is the 5D’s logo.
The card I destroyed is Malfunction, which he’s actually going to play again later in the duel.
I flip Mecha Bunny and go all in with my attacks.
This is an example of one of the kinds of decisions you have to make in Yu-Gi-Oh. Right now, Rally has Victory Viper (1600 ATK) and a face-down monster (??? DEF). I have Twin-Barrel Dragon (1700 ATK), Gigantic Cephalotus (1850 ATK), and Mecha Bunny (800 ATK). Who attacks what?
If I attack Vic Viper with Cephalotus, I’ll do more damage. But if his face-down monster has 1700 or more DEF, then Twin-Barrel won’t be able to destroy it. In this case, I had a vague memory that Rally had Jade Knight (1800 DEF) in his deck, so I saved Cephalotus for it. I turned out to be wrong; I think he uses it World Championship 2010. Or someone uses it in WC2010 anyway.
His face-down turned out to be Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive. When flipped, he gets to draw a card. It has 1400 ATK / 1000 DEF, which makes it unusually beefy for a Flip monster.
NO MERCY, TINY MECHANICAL RABBIT!
Robots are incapable of mercy.
Rally plays Dark Eruption, which lets him retrieve Dekoichi.
He sets it (presumably) along with a face-down card.
I proceed to draw Shield Crush, which destroys a monster in Defense Position.
This has predictable results.
Note that since Dekoichi was destroyed by an effect instead of in battle, it was never flipped up, so Rally doesn’t get to draw.
Since Rally only has one card left, I decide to wipe his field clean with Raigeki Break.
Worm Apocalypse is useful. Counter Counter is not.
He responds by activating the card I’m targeting: Malfunction.
Malfunction is a Counter Trap. By paying 500 Life Points, it negates the activation of a Trap and sets it back on the field (unlike most Counter Traps, it doesn’t destroy the card).
Malfunction is a garbage card, and he chose pretty much the worst possible time to use it. This just means I get to use Raigeki Break again.
I attack directly with everything.
On his turn, he throws down yet another T-formation.
Since he saved Raigeki Break for me, I might as well use it.
Unlike last time, this is a good hit. Waboku prevents you from taking battle damage, and your monsters from being destroyed in battle, for one turn.
It’s also a ‘chainable’ trap; that is, it has no specific timing for activation. I destroyed Waboku the same turn he set it, so he couldn’t activate it, but if I had waited until my turn, he could have activated Waboku in response to Raigeki Break, so Raigeki Break would have been wasted.
On my turn I draw Magic Jammer, but it doesn’t matter. His face-down monster is another Dekoichi.
One of the lines you can set is what your character says when they make an attack that will clinch the game.
Characters have three different lines when they take damage, depending on the amount of damage. But when they lose, they always use their heavy damage line.
When you win a duel, you get DP (Duel Points), which are used to buy booster packs and some other items. It’s a little like getting rated for battle performance in Metal Gear Rising or Bayonetta or what have you…but it’s more like the bonuses in Classic/Adventure mode in Smash Bros. Melee. You know, where you get points for just sort of…doing things.
In this case, we get a flat 30 DP for winning a duel, plus DP based on the level of our opponent. The two actual bonuses we got (No Damage Bonus and No Limited/Semi-Limited Cards Deck) only award 10 DP each, so the bulk of your DP is just from winning. The exception is the New Bonus: for every bonus you get that you’ve never gotten before, you get an extra 100 DP.
A single pack costs 150 DP and contains five cards: four common and one rare. So without the New Bonus, we wouldn’t even be able to buy one pack for dueling Rally.
You just suck, my dude.
“It’s been a long time since I had such a fun Duel. Thanks a lot! That was cool! So, anyway, did you remember anything?”
There’s a guy on YouTube with a Game Maker tutorial for how to make a message box script that accepts strings of any length and automatically puts in linebreaks to fit them in the box. Just something to think about every time you see a game linebreak for your name, just to be safe.
“If you go to the south, you’ll find a subway. That’s where we always meet up. I wish I could show you myself, but I got something to do now… But don’t worry about it, OK?”
“I’m sure they’ll let you in. They’re all good guys, you know? You just need to say my name. I’ll be back soon anyway, so I’ll introduce you to everyone at that time.”
If a child every tells you they’ll “introduce you to everyone at that time”, they’re either possessed by a demon or they’re from an old money family and you’ve become trapped in a low-tier comedy movie. Either way, you’ve met with a terrible fate.
“And maybe you should Duel a little while you’re waiting for me. Well, Ok then! See you later!”
Rally runs off again.
The game starts narrating to itself. I assume this is supposed to be read in one of those manly voices that’s equal parts contrabass, vocal fry, and the dust of the Old West.
If you say no, the game will tell you that hey, maybe playing the tutorial would be a good idea.
Okay! That’s what we’ll do…next time!
Also next time: We edit our deck and don’t progress the story!