this game is a sign of things to come, Naruto fans
have a lot to look foward to. by
can read our other Naruto: Clash Of Ninja review here.
15, 2006 - Having
been a Naruto fan since its debut in 1999 - which
I see nothing wrong with even though I'll be turning
40 this year - I have recently enrolled in a Japanese
Immersion class in hopes that I will be able to read
and write in Japanese and therefore be able to understand
the Naruto anime series, which will then enable me
to create my own fanboy Naruto puppetshows and do
them in their native language. Naruto has become far
more important to me than my own family, as I have
discovered that they are not nearly as interesting
nor as colorful as the awesome Naruto characters.
Actually I'm just yanking your chain. Up until I played
the game I had no interest nor knowledge of the series.
Honestly, my first introduction to Naruto was via
a member of the CCC forums named Abb who had Naruto
as his signature image. But since then I was tasked
with reviewing the only console Naruto game released
in North America and thought, "What the heck?",
so I brushed up on my Naruto and went to work.
those who aren't familiar with Naruto (say those over
18 years of age), the series originally began as a
manga by Masashi Kishimoto which began in 1999. The
stories revolve around a hyperactive, slightly obnoxious
and cocky 12-year old ninja named Uzumaki Naruto who
wants nothing more out of life than approval and recognition.
Sounds like most 12-year olds that I know, so it's
no wonder why the anime series is gaining popularity
daily and is seen as the main competition to the ever
popular Dragon Ball Z.
knowledge of Naruto isn't necessarily required to
enjoy Naruto: Clash Of Ninja the game, but you'll
obviously get far more out of it if you know who the
characters are. The game is a fighter, much in the
same vein as previous Dragon Ball Z games who have
had varying levels of success ranging from absolutely
terrible to excellent. Naruto: Clash Of Ninja falls
somewhere in between, resting comfortably in the range
of "good, but could have been better". It's
safe to say that rabid Naruto fans aching to get their
mitts on anything related to their favorite series
will ignore the weakspots that those of us without
emotional vested interested in the subject matter
will spotlight, but that's just the way she goes.
Eighting, who cut their teeth on the slightly popular
Bloody Roar series of fighting games has managed to
create a fighter on the GameCube that controls well,
in spite of the GC's awkward controller. It's not
the deepest fighting game, nor is it as deep as some
of the Bloody Roar games (which weren't known for
their depth in the first place) but there is more
to the game than originally meets the eye - but be
warned: Button mashers will blow through this game
quickly on the easier difficulties.
like other fighting games, the Story mode doesn't
do much in the way of fleshing out the motivation
for all of that kicking and punching and you'll actually
be at the end before you know it. Story mode advances
the plot through static text which isn't exciting
but before every main battle the characters from the
show will appear and are voiced by the actors from
the hit show. Along with Story mode, Eighting has
provided the following modes: Arcade, Survival, and
Two-Player Vs. Playing the Arcade and Survival modes
will provide one with a whack of Naruto fan-service
unlockables while Versus mode will allow you to slug
it out with a friend.
the game is geared towards appreciative fans, Eighting
pulled out all of the stops and provides an anime
packed presentation throughout every facet of the
game. Menu's, loading screens and of course unlockable
art galleries are jammed with colorful images of the
characters and as mentioned the voice actors from
the show add some authenticity to the product.
terms of the fighting, you'll have to come to terms
with the sad fact that in Japan, Naruto games are
already into #4, so it stands to reason that this
game isn't quite as refined as what they're playing
overseas. That being said, Eighting has provided a
pick up and play control scheme which does work surprisingly
well on the Cube controller, even though it's lack
of serious depth may hurt the play value in the long
run. The game is essentially centered around the A
(special attacks) and B (basic attacks) buttons, while
the X and Y buttons are configured for special moves
and throws respectively. Much like Ultimate Muscle,
the special moves trigger an animated sequence and
since the characters only have one of these moves
each, sitting through it becomes an exercise in patience.
What saves the game from falling into drab repetition
is the amazingly fast paced fighting that Eighting
has honed since the Bloody Roar days. Since each character
is designed with their strengths and limitations in
mind - close range, strength, projectile etc - you'll
have to adjust your fighting style when playing as
or against certain fighters.
a presentation point of view, Naruto can't be beat.
The animation, levels and characters are excellent
while the music, voice overs and sound effects are
equally as impressive. Fans will love the attention
to detail in terms of costumes and special moves,
ripped direct from the manga and animated series.
The downside in this first game is the weak roster
which only features a handful of characters - Naruto,
Sakura, Sasuke, Iruka, Kakashi, Haku, and Zabuza.
Rock Lee, Sharingan Kakashi and Kyuubi Naruto.
you find enough here to warrant a purchase? That depends
on your level of loyalty to Naruto. I'm betting most
fans wouldn't hesitate to plunk down $39.99 US to
play the game as it's the only Naruto game in town,
so to speak. As more Naruto games are released stateside,
gamers may become a little more discerning of the
end result, as the inconsistent Dragon Ball Z games
have experienced. Bottom line: A three day rental
would definitely give you an insight into how much
longevity you'll wring out of Naruto: Clash Of Ninja
in the long run.