Author Topic: REVIEWS: Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen! 3  (Read 1589 times)

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Offline S-U-P-E-R

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REVIEWS: Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen! 3
« on: March 04, 2005, 07:10:04 PM »
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Between myself and my "fight game" crazy friends, we've been trying entirely too hard to break Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen 3 with some nigh unbeatable crouching-fierce-esque move or other. After a week, it still hasn't happened. It's as if we were trying to prove it bad so we could go back to playing Street Fighter, and in this respect, we failed. Hard. That's not to say the game is good just because it's balanced. Rock-'Em Sock-'Em Robots is balanced, but there aren't people swarming to to read the latest reviews so they can decide whether to "import the new one" or not. It's good because it's balanced and deep. Naruto, I mean. Not the robots.    

As a fighting game, Naruto 3 encourages a lot of thinking. Some attacks are excessively devastating at first, like Zabuza's hugely damaging chain followed up by a largely unavoidable super move, Itachi's duplication shenanigans, or Shikamaru's fast and easy teleportation. However, there's ways to defeat each of these and every other technique in the game with the help of some critical thinking and use of the game's various domination-failsafe features.    

It's easy to defend in Naruto 3; there's no differentiation between high and low blocking, throws are tough to land, and special jutsus (super moves) can usually be jumped away from or sidestepped without much trouble. It's largely a game of looking for holes in the opponents' defense, moreso than most other fighting games. Throwing out random moves is extremely dangerous, though, so the game can get very tense.    

The gameplay seems almost instantly familiar, with its simple chain combo and defense. Special moves and such are done Smash Bros. style, with direction+button commands. 'L' and 'R' do sidesteps and escapes. 'B' is a quick move, 'A' is a strong move, and moves can be chained along the formula of BBBB-AAA. Chains sometimes have gaps slow enough to interrupt with, similar to 10-chains in Tekken. Chains can also have variations and delays, so a bit of anticipation is required. Opponents are always able to be juggled, but combos can also be escaped if the victim has enough chakra meter. Sometimes saving chakra or forcing other players to use theirs is an important strategy. For example, Itachi has a particularly devastating and difficult-to-avoid jutsu, so the remedy is to stay close and try to start a chain, forcing him to use his chakra to escape.    

By the way, there are exactly 29 playable characters, each with his own (sometimes hilarious) jutsus, right from the manga/anime. The prime example, Kakashi, will read his creepy book mid-fight, only as a decoy to land Thousand Years' Pain. He can also pull opponents into the ground or use the Sharingan to power up. All of the other characters follow suit with their own stash of techniques. Essentially, they look and act just like their anime versions thanks to their trademark moves, some detailed cel-shading, and familiar (Japanese) voice acting.    

There are one-player mission, arcade, and survival modes. Translations of pretty much everything are up on GameFAQs, so the mission mode isn't just an exercise in Japanese illiteracy. It's still less fun than the co-op game modes, but it needs to be done to unlock all the characters. Well, that and racking up a ton of money (based on play time) so you can get all the characters and things at the shop. The last character, Itachi, takes 100,000¥ to unlock (which is a terribly large amount). It's easy to get all the money you want, though, with a turbo controller or a buddy to tap the 'A' button repeatedly while he watches TV. There aren't any character endings or many other incentives for playing single player mode beyond getting the unlocks.    

The central aspect is multiplayer battling. Up to four people can beat up on each other in any sort of team arrangement. Targets can be toggled with the 'Z' button, like in most wrestling games. If the teams have unequal numbers, the loners automatically get big defense bonuses. Strategies change a bit, too. You could randomly strike distracted opponents, or run away until there are fewer opponents to worry about. It's still tense, though, and there are moments of pure fear when someone fires up a jutsu and it's impossible to get out of the way. Screaming and crying will ensue. I know, I've seen it. There's one terrible oversight for versus modes, though: no same-character selection. Other than that, it's all ninja-fighting awesomeness.    

Naruto 3 could be the next Smash Bros. or Soul Calibur II in town if you pick it up. It's flashy and fun, but also intricate enough to be fun for a long time. Get it from Lik Sang!


  • Huge yet balanced character selection  
  • Tense, strategic gameplay (for up to four players!)  
  • All the awesome and hilarious jutsu moves

  • It takes an awful long time to access all the characters  
  • No character endings  
  • No same-character selection

                   Graphics:  8.5
           A cel-shaded look helps keep characters easily recognizable at a distance while preserving the detail up close. Jutsu moves also have excessively flashy scenes.

                   Sound:  8.0
           It sounds like the same voice cast from the anime. A couple of cool songs, but most are unmemorable (but still, not bad).

                   Control:  9.0
           Pad or stick controls both work very well, which makes an arcade stick or Hori digital controller very handy for this game. The control layout works very well for the standard GameCube controller, too.

                          Gameplay:  9.0
           Fast-paced but tense works well for a fighting game like this. The characters are balanced well and simple to use, but it takes a bit (a lot) of thinking to penetrate opponents' defenses. Like any good fighting game, mastery comes from prediction and mind games.


           Lastability:  8.5
           Fighting games generally have really high replay value if they're good to begin with. Expect something similar to Smash Bros. Melee or Soul Calibur II. Unlocking characters is a bit of a dull and lengthy process, though.


           Final:  9.0
           You don't have to be a fan of the anime or manga to enjoy this great fighting game, but it doesn't hurt.