Review: Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution

Wii Review

We rate the new Naruto title for the Wii. Believe it?

"This time, however, instead of just porting Gekitou Ninja Taisen! 3, this title is a new game. Sort of."

The game's title Naruto: Clash of the Ninja Revolution is a bit misleading, as this sequel to GameCube's Naruto: Clash of the Ninja 2 doesn't aim high as to revolutionize anything, but will fans of the previous instalments of the game care?

Japanese Wii owners already have two Naruto fighting games based on Naruto Shippuden, currently airing in Japan, while so far, Europeans have had to stick with Western versions of the Gekitou Ninja Taisen! games released for the GameCube, due to the animé not being as far ahead in the west. This time, however, instead of just porting Gekitou Ninja Taisen! 3, this title is a new game. Sort of.

The gameplay is mostly the same as the previous incarnations of the game, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Clash of the Ninja features a pretty solid fighting system that allows brutal and fun fights without the need to spend hours mastering loads of moves. The mechanics are easy to understand; the player can string together weak and strong attacks to form combos, grab the opponents and fill up a chakra (spiritual energy) bar to perform special attacks.

The counter system is a little more unique- pressing the evade button right before being attacked makes use of the replacement technique (Kawarimi), making the characters disappear in a cloud of smoke and appearing behind the attacker, who can in turn use the same technique. However, this technique uses chakra, so you can't use it infinitely, making room for some pretty intense fights relying on quick reflexes. New to European players is the possibility of some characters to power up, like Kakashi using his Sharingan and Rock Lee opening the Gates (which admittedly all sounds a bit silly, if you don't follow the anime/manga). This not only makes the characters stronger, but also allows them to use a second special attack, while characters that don't have these secondary modes also have two special attacks to level the playing field.

This title introduces two features that aren't present in the Gekitou Ninja Taisen! games; first is the fact that you can now hide behind objects to guard against and attack and then surprise the enemy, which is a pretty much useless addition asides from the fact that occasionally you can make your enemy drop on a rock or some other object for some extra damage. The other new feature, however is pretty significant, you can now throw the enemy out of one part of the level into a new one, triggering a short transition cutscene, where the attacker can get an extra hit on the enemy by timing the attack right, although this attack is possible to evade. This adds variety to the game and makes the fighting even more dynamic.

Team fights are still available, but they can be confusing and frustrating at times and unfortunately the 3 on 3 Tag Team mode present on Gekitou Ninja Taisen! 3 and the later games didn't make the cut, which is a shame, because it was a great addition to the series. The character roster is very nicely balanced with every character feeling very different from one another and while some fighters from Clash of the Ninja 2 didn't make the cut, new ones like Itachi and Kisame don't disappoint. The power up system mentioned above also eliminates the need to have "duplicate" characters like Kakashi and his Sharingan version.

Control wise, the game doesn't benefit a lot from the Wii motion-sensing capabilities, as using the Nunchuck + Remote control style, every action is mapped to buttons except the light attacks which are done by flicking the remote. When a special attack hits, an image appears on screen prompting you to do certain simple motions that match the attack to do some extra damage, which is somewhat entertaining and immersive. For those who don't want to "waggle" or are too used to the classic control styles, there's always the option of using the GameCube controller, the classic controller and the remote sideways. All these control methods work well, with the remote method obviously involving a bit more finger stretching. In an attempt to make further use of the Wii Remote, some mini games were thrown in, like pointing and shooting at cardboard cut-outs or throwing shuriken at the real Naruto among his shadow clones. These are pretty bland and won't keep you interested for very long though.

The other modes are the standard in fighting games, like Survival, VS, Arcade and Story Mode. The latter presents the player with objectives during the battle, but a lot of times objectives get in the way of the fight, forcing the player to hold out on attacking because they have to finish the opponent with a specific attack, that is if they can understand the objective at all. Between fights, the story, which covers the "Chuunin Exam" and the "Search For Tsunade" arcs, is told with a few stills of the characters and with full voice acting featuring the American voice actors from the animé.

It's unfortunate that there isn't an option to switch to Japanese voices, because despite the fact that there is a lot of voice acting, which is to be commended, the English voices are very annoying. The music is passable, with some generic rock tracks to light up the fighting mood and one or two nice tracks with a more traditional Japanese vibe, with lots of sound effects straight from the animé still marking their presence.

Graphically, there aren't that many differences either, but the models are still good-looking and colourful, faithful to their animé counterparts and the battle animations are very well done. The battle effects look considerably better than in the previous games and together with the scenario transitions and a steady framerate, the game holds its ground graphically, although it's a shame it doesn't have 16:9 support and easier-on-the-eyes menus.

When all said and done, Naruto Clash of the Ninja Revolution is just a small step up from the previous iterations, but it's still a damn good fighter, whether you like Naruto or not. While the motion controls aren't exactly great, they don't ruin the game, especially with the option to use other control methods. With lots of modes, characters, multiplayer and a great fighting engine, if you're a fan of the genre, this is a game to look out for.

Scores as always are just below...

N-Europe Final Verdict

Despite the lack of ambition, with a great fighting system that never gets boring, Naruto provides fast and furious fights, making it one of the best fighters available for the Wii, even if you're not a Naruto fan.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals3
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Fast, brutal and fun fighting
Easy to pick up, yet somewhat deep
Good roster
Cool arena transitions


Not much different from before
No 16:9
Annoying English voices
Poor use of Wii's controllers

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