Pros: Lots of characters to choose from, four player fighting, good
translation to 3D
Cons: Button mashing fighting, shallow story mode
The popularity of the Naruto series has led to a sequel of the
Gamecube Naruto game, Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen. This version goes
deeper into the story than the previous game, offers more characters,
new combos and even a four player mode. In comparison to the Playstation
2 Naruto game, the Gamecube game is a more traditional fighting game.
Which is a good thing since Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen 2 fills the void
for a solid Gamecube fighting game.
If you've been following the
Naruto series at all chances are you'll favorite character will be in
the roster. Of course the stars of the series Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and
Kakashi are in the game. They even have alternate versions that can be
unlocked such as Nine
Tails Naruto and Sharingan Sasuke. Other popular characters such as Rock
Lee, Kiba, Shikamaru, Hinata, and Garra are all playable from the start. You
can unlock many more characters including Haku, Kankuro, Iruka and even
Akimaru (Kiba's dog). For the most part each character plays completely
differently from each other. Naruto is a close fighting character, while
Garra is a ranged fighter. There are one or two clone characters
(characters that have the same moves), but with such a large selection
of characters that's bound to happen.
Controlling your character is simple. The A button is for a weapon
attack, B is for a physical attack, Y is used for throws and X is a
chakra powered special attack. At the start of each match you're granted
a full chakra bar. If you press X you'll unleash your special move,
which drains your chakra meter to zero. The special moves are taken
directly from the series. You can pull off the Naruto Rendon, Kiba's
Piercing Fang and Kakashi's Lightning Fist. To charge up your chakra
again you'll need to attack your enemy with basic moves. Besides doing
your character's special move the chakra meter serves another purpose.
Once your meter is charged up to 70% or more you'll be to pull of the
"replacement technique" to avoid enemy attacks. Doing the replacement
technique will take away 70% of your chakra bar, but you'll avoid an
entire combo. You don't need to rely on your
chakra bar to pull off attacks because you'll have an arsenal of moves
at your disposal. Basic attacks can be done by either attacking with
your weapon of a physical attack. For most characters if you hold down
the weapon attack button you'll throw more kunai or ninja stars that can
even knock enemies back. Combos can be done by alternating between
pressing B and A. Most people will be able to jump right into the game
since you can button mash your way into doing a combo. However, if you
do put the time into it you can actually learn combos.
When playing the game's story mode it will take you through various
episodes and classic battles. For instance one of the earlier battles in
the story mode pits Naruto, Sauske and Sakura against Kakashi to
represent the time when the three students were trying to take the bells
off of Kakashi. While the four player battles are fun when playing
against a friend the computer partners don't really help much in the
single player mode. In the Kakashi versus students battle you'll be
pretty much off on your own. The game does a good job of picking classic
battles, but one problem with the system is that you're forced into
being a certain character. In one battle you'll be Naruto and in the
next one you'll be Kakashi. The problem with this is that you don't get
to master a character by playing the story mode. Instead of having a
general story mode it would be nice to see individual story modes for
the characters like in the Playstation 2 version. Playing through the
game gives you money that you can use to unlock characters and buy other
goodies like handicaps. Just a warning, but the story mode will actually
go beyond the TV series. So if you don't want the series spoiled for you
don't play through it.
One thing Naurto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen 2 does right is it makes good
use of the Gamecube's four controller ports. Of course playing against a
friend is fun, but playing against two other friends is even more fun.
When battling in four player mode there are lines that show which
direction you'll attack in. For the most part you'll be battling in the
direction you're facing. This forces you to side step to change which
character you're fighting against. While this is a little awkward at
first it does a good job of having a fast four player battle. If you
don't have four players to fight against you can play with three or the
standard two players. With the wide roster of characters and four player
support Naurto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen 2 is not only a fighting game, but
a party game too.
If you're watching the game waiting for your turn to play you will
not be disappointed with what you see. The game does a good job of
taking 2D hand drawn characters and putting them into the 3D polygon
world. Each character's animations are well done. You can see the detail
put into the translation with the impressive super moves. For instance
when Garra does his Desert Coffin attack you can see the same
expressions on his face as in the anime. Each of the character models
are excellent. Little details like the tape around Kakashi's leg to Rock
Lee's fuzzy eyebrows are all put in the game. Even with all of this
detail the game has little slowdown and runs at a fluid frame rate.
If you have a Gamecube this a solid game to purchase. It's one of the
few fighting games that dares to use the Gamecube's unique controller.
While not as stylish or original as the Playstation 2 Naruto game,
Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen 2 is a great fighting game and a welcome
addition to anyone's Gamecube collection.
All of the menus, voiceovers and story details are all in Japanese. If
you've been following the series at all you should know what is going on
and the game is simple enough to learn without knowing any Japanese.
Since the series isn't in America don't expect this game to reach
US shores any time soon.
With the lack of Gamecube fighting games, this game is a must have for
any fighting game fan. Even if you don't really like fighting games this
game is so easy to learn and fun to play the average game will still