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Title:
  Naruto: Clash Of Ninja

Japanese Title: Naruto Gekitou Ninja Taisen

Platform:  Nintendo Gamecube

Distributed by:  Tomy

UK Distributor:  N/A (import review)

ESRB rating:  Teen

Suggested Retail Price (SRP): $39.99 (21.72)

Reviewer:  Tom (Webmaster)

 

Naruto has finally been announced for the UK! Although so far only the anime and manga have been announced I am certain it will only be a matter of time we see one of the many Naruto games gets a release here in old Blighty.  So I decided to take a look at the very first of the Naruto console beat 'em up - Clash of The Ninja on the Gamecube. 
 

Like everyone else I'm a big Naruto fan so my expectations were high for this game and when it booted up I was not disappointed.  The intro was typical in your face Naruto and the option screen had a wealth of modes to choose from - arcade, vs. player, vs. com, survival, story, time trial and training.  I went straight into arcade and was disappointed to find only seven characters to choose from (Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke, Kakashi, Haku, Zabuza and Iruka).  Never mind though, as once I started the lack of choice did not matter as this game manages to capture the essence of the show spectacularly. 


Hundred hand rip-off!!
 


For the first hour of play, I was in Naruto heaven.  The bright, sharp graphics matched that of the show perfectly, the music was spot-on and the straightforward control system meant that I could execute signature moves no problem.  As I pummelled my way through the characters I was having a great time.  I was able to recreate fights from the early part of the series and enjoy watching visually stunning moves.  The controls allow for combos from the outset as there are only the following buttons - slash, punch, throw and special move.  Yep, the special ultimate 'oh my GOD!' move is executed by just pressing one button.  To begin with this is great as you get to see the best of what the game has to offer, but after you've seen them all the novelty wears off very quickly.  The controls do not offer a varied enough range of combos either, so it is not long before you realise you have pulled off every move in the game. 


The latest boy band play Mt. Rushmore....

 
The lack of moves is a shame, because it is clear that this game is not a simple cash-in.  Too much effort has gone into the presentation for this to be true and, despite the lack of characters, this is still more fun then the Dragonball Z Budokai games.  This is down to the simple controls offering a more fluid and less frustrating style of gameplay, as well as having more varied characters then it's Dragonball counterpart.  The moves for each character are at least very different from each other, unlike the Budokai games. 
 

Despite being above-average though, the game simply does not have enough longevity to keep you playing past a week.  Even in 2 player mode the fun doesn't last long as you just throw another person getting quickly bored into the mix. 

The game is a good starting point for the Naruto beat 'em up series however and four sequels have since been released in Japan.  Each version has seen the inclusion of more characters, more moves, more modes and even slicker presentation.  Hopefully it will be one of the sequels that will see a release in the UK rather then the original, the UK fans will deserve it after such a long wait. 

Extras

There a few unlockables to be found, including playing as Kyuubi Naruto, Sharingan Kakashi and the excellent Rock Lee.  It is a shame that Naruto & Kakashi need alternative versions of themselves to accommodate their extra moves, but this was changed in future games to allow the selectable version of the character to have all the abilities, rather then alternative versions.  A sound test and extra difficultly and extra attack power options are also unlockable. 

Product: Extras:
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