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Naruto: Ninja Council 2

Score: 88%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: D3
Developer: Tomy Ltd.
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Action/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

Naruto: Ninja Council 2 takes you through the second part of Naruto's adventure. This game follows the three young ninjas (Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke) as they go through the events that surround their Chunin Exams.

The main characters are easily recognizable by fans of the show. Everyone from Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura to supporting characters like Rock Lee, Orochimaru and Gaara, fit the style they portray in the anime. Unfortunately, the game is also riddled with only a half dozen or so generic grunts, which makes the majority of the game's action quickly feeling repetitious.

The game's soundtrack is okay. The energy found in the music from the show comes off a little in the background tunes, but there were more than a few times where the music looped just a little too tightly and I had to turn down the volume just to concentrate on the game at hand.


Gameplay:

Naruto: Ninja Council 2 starts after Naruto and his team mates' first mission as they start their path to becoming second level ninjas, or Chunin.

Levels are a mix between side-scrolling action, one-on-one fighting and races to the end before a timer ticks off. The changes between the level types are smooth and typically make sense. For instance, a level might start off with your typical action level and in the middle, you will have to face off against one of the series' major enemies (like Orochimaru and Gaara) only to have to rush back through the first part because the cave you were fighting in is collapsing.

Unfortunately, the game rushes through the show's story really quickly. There is one point where a majority of the second Chunin exam is just skipped over with a quick statement about the main characters passing. So this means, if you aren't already familiar with the show's events, you might get a little confused.

Each of the playable characters not only has the standard attacks, but they can also use some of their signature Jutsu in order to attack one or more opponents on the screen. Naruto can pull off his Sexy Jutsu in order to dazzle the opponents or summon Gamabunta. Sasuke can unleash his Sharingan to increase his speed and power or even unleash a massive number of attacks in his Barrage of Lions move. And of course, Sakura's chakra comes out in full force with much stronger attacks.

One odd thing about this game is that even though these moves are fairly simple to pull off, I forgot about them almost immediately (my first time through the game anyway). Because I was able to plow through the game without using the super flashy moves, I had to wonder why they needed to be in there. Of course, the answer to that is it wouldn't be a Naruto game without the special attacks. Either way, it was quite comical to see how the various moves were portrayed in the low-rez GBA graphics.


Difficulty:

Naruto: Ninja Council 2 isn't a hard game. I found that I could go from one end of it to the other in about three and a half hours. Of course, if the gameplay is spread across 15 minute car trips, then it can feel longer. The tale-tale sign that this game wasn't all that tough is the fact that I didn't die until I got to the last mission. Yup, the first time I went through the game (the one where I forgot how to activate my Jutsus) I only died once. My second run through, with my fingers ready to use the special attacks, was even simpler and got to be even more monotonous because of it.

Game Mechanics:

Naruto: Ninja Council 2 does a fairly good job of integrating some of the show's signature moves (Jutsus and substitutions) into the standard gameplay without much trouble. These same mechanics in the console versions of this title require complex button presses and analog stick juking, but this game's simplified control scheme makes the game's flashier moves much more accessible.

Special Jutsus are activated by simple three button combinations involving the up, down and B commands, while teleporting around your opponent involves the A button and up or down.

Though Naruto: Ninja Council 2 isn't a very long and complex game, it does provide enough entertainment to keep your little one distracted on a car or plane trip. Fans of Naruto will want to pick up this title, but because the game doesn't go to deep into the show's story, if you haven't already seen the show, you will get lost quickly.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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