- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 2, 2003

Double delight

Here are two multimedia or entertainment items to try:

•Yu-Gi-Oh: The Eternal Duelist Soul, by Konami, for GameBoy Advance, $29.99. If the words “I now possess a Gemini Elf and Goblin's Secret Remedy” cause your child to salivate, do not fear. Yu-Gi-Oh has infected his brain. The most recent pop-culture explosion brought to American shores from Japan continues its assault on parents' checkbooks with a video game guaranteed to hook the Yugi fan in the family. Based on the trading-card and television series, the challenge combines the two brilliantly with more than 800 virtual cards at a player's disposal as he battles friends and characters from the cartoon.

The nuances and intelligence of the Duel Monsters trading-card game have been transferred completely to Nintendo's hand-held system. A player painstakingly builds a deck, incorporating enough spells, creatures and traps to beat opponents and collect more booster packs, all in a 2-inch-wide, non-backlighted screen arena.

•Nickelodeon Party Blast, by Infogrames, for GameCube, $29.99. Join characters ripped from the popular children's cable channel in a modern-day video-game equivalent of “Scooby-Doo's Laugh Olympics.” Up to four players choose from cartoon friends, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Jimmy Neutron, Invader Zim, Otto and Reggie Rocket, Angelica and Tommy Pickles and Eliza Thornberry, as they compete in wacky events in wildly roaming 3-D environments.

Because of puny visuals, children will need to use at least a 52-inch television screen to see the shenanigans as they squint through competitive food fights, in-line skating, basketball, pipe connecting and water battles to try to win the coveted smelly-sneaker cup. Parents blindly buying this game will feel that they have been gooozed because the excruciating load times and hard-to-enjoy action will appeal only to fanatic Nickelodeon fans.

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