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Naruto: Ninja Destiny

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: D3
Developer: Tomy Ltd.
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 2 (Multicard)
Genre: Fighting/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

Naruto: Ninja Destiny is the first 3D fighter to make its way onto the DS, and over to America. Considering the system's graphical capabilities, it is a damn good looking game. Even though the game features a low polygon count, all of the fighters are easily recognizable. Each character's outfit and hairstyle make them enough like their TV counterparts to get the job done, and the various visual effects used while each character does their particular special Jutsu are also very fitting.

The bottom screen has spaces for six items that can be used during battle. Each button and the item it displays are large and easy to identify while in the heat of a battle, making them very effective.

Audio is a mixed bag. While the music and sound effects are good, the vocal aspects of the game are severely lacking. All story progression is done via screen text and even the vocals done during fights seem somewhat lackluster.


Gameplay:

Naruto: Ninja Destiny will take players from the beginning of the Chunin Finals all the way to the end of the search for Tsunade and her rise as Hokage, so you can expect to see a lot of good, high-energy fights. The game's Story Mode is a series of the fights portrayed in the series interspersed with story segments consisting of still images with scrolling text. By the end of the story, you will have unlocked 13 characters, including One-Tailed Naruto, Orochimaru, Tsunade and Jiraiya (those last three being exclusive for the American release).

The other two modes, Battle Mode and Wireless Battle Mode, are all about taking the characters you've unlocked and going up against either CPU-controlled opponents or friends in the same area as you.

Fights are interesting because characters can perform not only their heavy and light attacks and combos, but also, given enough chakra, Jutsu's that are specific to their character (like Shikamaru's Shadow Possession Jutsu or Naruto's Shadow Clone). But what makes the fighting system for Ninja Destiny is the collection of items you have available to you. On the bottom screen, there are six boxes, each one displaying a different item you can use. These items are everything from throwing weapons to life recovery, armor or Jutsu Locks (which keeps your opponent from using their skills).

The use of items in this fashion is really different from most fighting games in general, and Naruto games specifically. While a lot of the game felt very standard as far as 3D fighters are concerned, the items give the game a slightly different feel and keep the game interesting.


Difficulty:

I found Naruto: Ninja Destiny's difficulty to be a bit unbalanced at times. I would go through several fairly quick and easy fights in a row, only to be suddenly hit by a real tough battle that would take me several attempts to actually get past. Then that hard fight would be followed by a few easy wins, and then yet another tough fight. Seeing as there are no RPG elements to this game, no way to level up or improve your character, it makes sense that some enemies would be tougher than others and the only way to get past them is to work on your fighting strategies. What bothered me was which fights I found tough. Big battles from the show against some of the tougher characters were nowhere near as hard as some of the quicker fights. I really expected the fights against Orochimaru to be some of the toughest battles in the game, seeing as he is the series' main villain, but instead I was able to plow through those fights easier than the first couple during the Chunin Exams. Like I said, the fights themselves felt inconsistent as far as difficulty is concerned, and I just didn't know what to expect from one battle to the next.

Game Mechanics:

Naruto: Ninja Destiny's controls are fairly straightforward and easy to grasp. The (A) button activates your fighter's Jutsu, while (Y) and (B) are your weak and strong attacks respectively. (X) is your jump and (R) blocks while the (L) activates your Substitution Jutsu. Like I said, standard, and after the first couple of fights, you should have a solid grasp of things. As far as the item buttons are concerned, they are all large and responsive making your ability to use them in an instant really easy.

While Ninja Destiny isn't the greatest game out there, it still has enough benefits to be worth looking into, but really only for the Naruto fans who have been looking forward to this game's translation. But as far as fighting genre fans, unless you are already dedicated to the Naruto line, it should probably be passed up.


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

Sony PlayStation Portable God of War: Chains of Olympus Nintendo DS New Zealand Story Revolution

 
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