Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution Review

As I said in my review for Naruto: Path of the Ninja for Nintendo DS, Christmas ’07 belongs to the little ninja that could. He has no less than three games bearing his name on shelves this shopping season, so needless to say, he’ll probably be fighting to become the Hokage in more than a few homes the morning of December 25. Here’s hoping no one is subjected to the previously mentioned DS game (it received my lowest score ever – 5 percent… out of 100), but anyone who opens up a copy of Naruto Clash of the Ninja Revolution for Nintendo Wii has reason to be excited. This fighting game is not only the best Naruto fighting game ever, but ties last year’s fabulous Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 for the best fighting game available for the Wii. Not bad for an orphan with a fox made of fire living inside him, if I do say so myself.

Naruto Clash of the Ninja Revolution, like nearly every single Naruto title available in the U.S., follows the titular hero Naruto as he goes from obnoxious street kid to obnoxious ninja. If you’ve seen the show or played any other Naruto game, you know the story. If not, what I just told you should be enough; this is a fighting game, not a novel. Being so, you won’t actually get much storyline in this game unless you are playing Mission Mode, but we’ll talk about that in a minute.

When it comes to gameplay and the controls, Naruto Clash of the Ninja Revolution is second to none. The fighting, though not as deep as, say, Bleach DS, is simple and fun. Each of the characters has a good set of moves, and they’re offset with some fun to watch and perform specials. Naruto, for example, can either clone himself many times over and send enemies careening between himselves with a whole bunch of attacks or let loose a giant devastating fireball. As cool as everything looks, Wii-mote and nunchuk movements make your specials even more powerful, so you’ll be actively engaged rather than just watching the action.

The variety of control options and how well they all work is really the high point of the game. If the Wii-mote/nunchuk combo isn’t your thing, you can play with the Wii-mote held sideways. Or with your Wii Classic Controller. Or with your original Gamecube controller. The developers really went the extra mile to make sure that no matter how you like to play your games, you are covered. My personal favorite scheme is the Wii-mote/nunchuk, but fans of the previous GCN titles will be most comfortable with what they are used to. No matter how you play, the controls are tight and responsive. It is often hard to believe that the crazy ninja action onscreen is controlled so effortlessly. I’ve always thought that the hallmark of a great fighting game was the ability to both pick up and play and cater to hardcore fighting game fans. Naruto isn’t Virtua Fighter, but fighting game fans of all kinds will be pleased as punch.