By Spencer . October 31, 2008 . 1:19am
Every year, right around the holidays, Tomy releases a new and improved Naruto game for a Nintendo console. Naruto: Clash of Ninja has been the base of all the games in the series and it’s still the foundation for Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2. Each yearly update usually comes with a few new characters and a story line following the current anime arc. However, Eighting modified the core and added a tag team system for Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2. In this mode you can hot swap between two partner characters similar to Tekken Tag Tournament. Tag team fights add a layer of complexity since you can mix characters better with ranged attacks like Kurenai and in your face characters like Asuma. Unfortunately, four player fights and tag team mode don’t mix. You can’t have eight different characters facing off in the same ring.
The tag team mode is something Tomy introduced in North America first. Naruto Shippuuden: Gekitou Ninja Taisen EX 3 will have it, but that doesn’t come out in Japan until November. Instead of localizing a previously released Naruto game Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 doesn’t really have a counterpart. It shares some features like the hand signs from EX 2, the tag team mode from EX 3, and has a custom storyline. Since we’re in filler mode Tomy made a story about the Anbu which also gave them a chance to create characters specifically for the game.
Bando, one of the newbies, is a strange addition since he feel in place with ninja theme. He has the build of an ox, a mechanical arm, and carries two bazookas on his back. Bando’s gun can shoot a stun shot that sets a rival character up from a combo. Since Bando’s bazooka shots are straight attacks you can dodge them by sidestepping, but he still feels overpowered in one on one fights. In four player fights he isn’t as effective. Bando has to stay in one place when he shoots his gun and that makes him vulnerable to the other two players he isn’t aiming for. Kagura is the new character you have to watch out for in four player mode. One of her super moves sends a shockwave of energy out from her and this blast can hit anyone near her. It’s possible to hit the three other characters with this one move and it’s a great way to turn the tables when players try to gang up on you. Kagura also has a spider web-like zip line so she can escape from danger. This move can also be used to get some distance so you can blast the other characters with a ground explosion. A basic combo with Kagura starts with a flip kick and ends with her yanking a mid-air character to the ground with a string. I think Kaguara is my favorite new character out of the bunch. Baki is pretty neat too with his tornado wave blasts. Baki, Bando, and Kagura are quite different from the other Naruto characters and do a good job of mixing up fights. In addition to these three Yugao, Towa, Komachi, and Kurenai are brand new. Also you’re getting characters like Asuma, Kabuto, Kiba, and Chouji which were left out of Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution. Unfortunately, with all of these new characters the Sound Five are not in this game. This news might be disappointing at first, but in exchange for not getting them you’re getting never before seen characters to play with and features from later games in the Naruto: Clash of Ninja series.
Paper bombs are another brand new feature that revises the fighting system. These moves are designed to thwart turtling players. Before you can use paper bombs you need to switch into paper bomb stance. You automatically face an opponent and right away you can throw an exploding kunai. These projectiles destroy objects and hit players even if they block. The cost? Just a little bit of chakra. You can also throw kunai with exploding tags into the ground and leave them there like land mines. Trap kunai explode when another player walks over them or when you remotely detonate them. I haven’t found manually detonating trap kunai very useful though. You have to use chakra to do this move and while it’s only a tiny bit of chakra the arenas are so small players will walk over them.
Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2, like all fighting games, is best experienced with at least one more person, but Tomy has a solid single player mode too. First you have a new story to follow. Beating it will unlock most of the characters. If you want to get the rest playing mission mode is the easiest way to unlock them. One common mission you’ll see is get X hits with Y character. Some of these are pretty tricky, but surprisingly rewarding. You have to get knee deep into the mechanics to understand how to juggle and time a super move to rack up the required hits. Beyond mission mode there is a battle royale mode similar to the shadow fighting in Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen 3 where one player has to keep fighting an increasing mob of Anbu.
Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 isn’t a “revolution” since Tomy is still utilizing the same base. However, compared to all of the other Naruto fighting games, even the ones currently in Japan only, Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 is the most improved Naruto game in the Clash of Ninja series. Eighting improved their engine and seemingly small additions like paper bombs change how you’ll play the game. Other details that appear even smaller like, giving players the option to turn off background transitions, are huge to tournament players. Tomy wasn’t as heavy with the fan service in Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2. Awakened Hinata is about the extent fan service goes in this game. Instead more time was spent revitalizing the existing system to make Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 a solid fighting game. Well, as solid as a fighting game can be with a character carrying two bazookas can be.
Images courtesy of Tomy.