5/6  – Yu Yu Hakusho: Dark Tournament

Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Today’s game is a fighting game based on one of my favorite childhood anime series. Let’s talk about Yu Yu Hakusho: Dark Tournament for the Playstation 2.

For those not familiar with the series, Yu Yu Hakusho is about a delinquent, Yusuke, who jumps in front of a car to save a kid and dies. Due to the unexpected nature of his actions, the Spirit World brings him back to life as a Spirit Detective, a person who keeps the world safe from spirits and demons. Yu Yu Hakusho Dark Tournament follows the famous Dark Tournament arc, likely the most well remembered story arc from the show which sees Yusuke and friends join forces to survive a tournament where demons battle to the death for the chance at a single wish of their choice.

The game features a 2D fighting system on 3D arenas. Players are able to dodge in a 3D space but they otherwise move in a straight-line towards or away from opponents. Each player has punches, kicks, blocks and throws which can be combined into unique combo moves, as well as unique special attacks based on their character’s abilities. Special attacks cost spirit energy, however, which must be built up by either attacking or being attacked by opponents.

Yu Yu Hakusho: Dark Tournament starts with 5 playable characters, the five main characters of the show: Yusuke, Kuwabara, Hiei, Kurama and the Masked Fighter. As the player progresses through the story mode, a series of fights leading players through the story of the Dark Tournament, more characters are unlocked up to a total of 25 playable characters. Aside from the story, there are multiplayer skirmishes, an arcade mode and a token mini-game with collectable character tokens.

Yu Yu Hakusho: Dark Tournament is the 17th video game made based on the series but only the second to be released in English, after Yu Yu Hakusho: Spirit Detective on the Game Boy Advance. Despite the series’ huge popularity in Japan, both Spirit Detective and Dark Tournament were only ever published in the US and PAL regions. These two games, along with Tournament Tactics, released later on the Game Boy Advance, would be the only three games in the franchise ever released in English. Yusuke and pals would not come to western shores again in video game form until the crossover fighting game J-Stars Victory VS in 2015. Yusuke and the villain of Dark Tournament, Toguro, are both playable characters in the 2019 Jump Force fighting game.

Thanks so much for listening to the show. If you want to hear more episodes, check out the archives on videogameoftheday.com and also follow me on Twitter @vg_oftheday for updates and polls and random thoughts about whatever I happen to be playing or watching. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day.

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