By Levi . April 9, 2008 . 2:04pm
In my last article, I took all you Siliconera fans out there along on the beginning of my journey through Konoha in Ultimate Ninja 3's Ultimate Contest mode. This time, I'm going to give those of you who have never played the Ultimate Ninja series an insight into how a normal battle flows. One thing's for sure. This isn't a slow paced game by any means. The action is fast and furious from beginning to end. So with that said, let's get to it!
After choosing the VS Duel selection from the main menu, I land at the character selection screen. After a bit of contemplation, I choose Gaara. The game asks me if I want to customize him, and I say yes (more on that in a minute). I think a while about who I want to face, but unable to come to a decision I just pick random select. And random select decides that my opponent is going to be…
…Itachi. Oh boy.
Well, no backing down, I suppose. After this, I go to the customization screen. Ultimate Ninja 3 allows you to customize your fighter's Jutsus, as well as their Ultimate Jutsu. Ultimate Jutsus are limited to skills your character actually has in the anime/manga, but normal Jutsus are far more customizable. For instance, I changed Gaara's to Chidori and Dynamic Entry. That's right, you can give your characters moves that you'd never in a million years see them do in the series. Awesome, isn't it? And for my Ultimate Jutsu, it's Giant Sand Burial. After choosing Hidden Leaf Forest as the site for my battle, it's time to start.
As the battle starts, I run up to Itachi, but this turns out to be a foolish move as he knocks me backwards immediately. As I get up, he nails me with a combo that launches me high into the air. I manage to hit him as I get up from this, knocking him backwards a little bit and giving me some breathing room. I nail him with a fully charged Chidori, somewhat surprised that he did nothing to try to avoid it. After he gets up, I hit him with a combo, and start to hit him with another when he uses a substitution jutsu to get behind me. He follows up on this by punishing me with a combo of his own. I try to run up the tree behind me, but I soon pay for this as Itachi lands an aerial combo on me. I recover and land behind him, and soon the sand is flying as I get a few hits in on him. He runs across the stage, but I follow and get in several hits. His life is well into the yellow by now. I attempt a Dynamic Entry, but Itachi dodges. Not only does he dodge, but he also hits me with a Clone Great Explosion.
Ouch. That hurt. Badly.
I'm losing now, so I decide to pull out all the stops. After I get up, I go into Ultimate Jutsu mode. I try to hit him, but the Giant Sand Burial's "trigger" hit is so close range that I can't hit it. I get slammed with a combo in return. It takes a couple more tries, but finally Itachi is close enough for my Ultimate Jutsu to connect. After I successfully input the button command, the Jutsu goes into full swing. Gaara hits Itachi with a Sand Tsunami, burying him. "Not yet", Gaara says. "Giant Sand Burial!". The sea of sand seems to explode, as Itachi's fate is sealed. That was enough. I've won. A tough match indeed, as Gaara's slow movement speed didn't mesh well with Itachi's ability to teleport around the stage. Still, I came out of it the victor, and that's what really matters.
This, of course, is just a taste of how fights flow in Ultimate Ninja 3. With the huge cast of characters and tons of Jutsu customization options, the fighter/Jutsu combinations are nearly limitless. I've said it before, but I think it merits saying again. This is really one of the most fun anime-licensed fighters I've ever played. This is something even non-fans of Naruto could enjoy. When I first discovered the Narutimate Hero/Ultimate Ninja series, in fact, I knew nothing at all about Naruto. You could say that the series made me a fan. But I'm getting a bit off-subject here. To sum it up, this game is great. There's tons to do, and the fights never seem to get old. So all you Naruto fans out there, have no worries. This one's great.
Images courtesy of Namco Bandai Games.