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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: D3 Publisher / Tomy Corporation
Developed by: Eighting
Genre: Fighting
Players: 2
Rated: E10
Release Date: March 7, 2006
Written by: Matthew Prunty

If you were to ask somebody 10 years ago about a Japanese based anime title coming to North America, They would think you are full of bologna. Over the past few years, developers have been realizing the true potential that these anime titles are having within new regions and have gone the lengths to ensure that their product reach wider audiences through exclusive deals, etc. Franchises like Dragonball Z, Gundam, and even the acclaimed Dragon Quest, have all benefited from this new exposure and now its Narutoís turn.

Naruto saw its growth within the pages of Shonen Jump, which is a magna magazine that can be found in virtually any bookstore and department store within the United States. Even with all the written exposure and acclaimed anime cartoon running rampant on the airways in Japan, Canada and the United States, there are still tons of gamers and readers alike who donít know what this franchise is all about. So this is where publisher, D3, comes in.

It's going...going...gone!!

D3 acquired the rights to the developed Naruto titles for the Nintendo Gamecube and the Game Boy Advance, and unlike some companies that spend countless months deciding on what to do with the franchises, they donít wait any time constructing their idea for the first North American release title. But donít expect this to continue the series. D3 has decided to start at the beginning by bringing over the first title; hopefully to finally have all four current Japan-only releases titles, released within North America.

For those who follow the magna and anime series, which are still taking off here in the stats, you will get an idea of what you can expect from Naruto: Clash of Ninja. The talented team over at Eighting (responsible for Bloody Roar and Zatch Bell) is putting Clash of Ninja together, with an emphasis on positioning. While you will be able to perform super-kill maneuvers, as well as dial-a-combo techniques, you will also need to protect yourself with various defensive and counter-attack moves. And if you have played games like Soul Calibur, Dead or Alive, even Tekken, will have a edge on gamers who are new to the series. How the gameplay mechanics are set up, you can parry and/or counter practically every attack simply by using a counter-attack or simply sidestepping out the way. But even if you sidestep an attack, if you donít immediately attack, your counter and be countered with a parry, thus bringing up the possibility of even more damage being caused to your fighter.

Call the fireman...

Though this title doesnít have an in-depth roster of fighters, the eight fighters you can choose form (one that you will unlock) have a slew of maneuvers to keep the fighting interesting, fast passed, and keep you on your feet throughout the fight. Each fighter has a skill bar, and when you land various blows on your fighter, the bar grows, unlocking special maneuvers to unleash on your opponent. But just like a regular attack, this one can be countered, but if you are in luck and land the attack, your opponent canít block until the maneuver is complete (Marvel Vs. Capcom anyone).

At this point it is hard to say how well the voice-overs will fit into the overall presentation of Clash of Ninja, but I can tell you that the cast that supply the voices for the anime cartoon will be voicing the characters for the North American release. The landscapes arenít as impressive as some of the fighting games you have experienced, but they fit the mood and the feel of the title and they have subtle additions here and there that make them interesting and distinctive.

This is gonna hurt...

Overall, Naruto: Clash of Ninja could be the diamond in the rough when it comes to the lack of fighting support for the Nintendo. With a solid presentation, immersive landscaping and graphics, and a very interesting storyline, you can expect this to be one of many Naruto titles to grace a Nintendo console and North America as a whole.

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