You guys have all heard about Naruto, right? It’s one of those manga/anime series that has transcended fandoms and is now widely recognized all over the world, like Astro Boy, Dragon Ball, Yu-Gi-Oh, Sailor Moon, and probably Ranma ½ and One Piece.
|The start of an adventure... and I missed|
the whole second half.
The series, both pre- and post-time skip, suffers from multiple problems, including but not limited to continuity issues (though a story this big can’t easily avoid those), superfluous characters, enemies that just get more and more powerful to the point that it becomes ridiculous (Dragon Ball Z called, they wanted their concept back), a bit of character derailment, the attention going away from Naruto and the focus going towards his rival Sasuke Uchiha’s family clan for way too long… Some of those problems turned up late into the series, but some hints of it could be seen early on, especially before the time skip. Anyway, I know I’m making jokes, but if this interests you in the slightest, I invite you to look up more info on the series, or better even, seek out the manga. I haven’t read all of it, I only have the books pre-time skip, but I know enough about what happens in the Shippuden part. You could also look up the sequel film following the children of the younger generation from the original series.
|THIS! IS! KONOHA!|
Let’s start with the Single Player mode, which includes these options: Single Player, Versus CPU, Survival and Time Attack. Each mode of the Single Player section is a series of (at least) ten fights pitting the character you selected against ten characters, including some you may not have unlocked yet. Each fight is a match, and the winner of two fights out of three moves on to the next opponent.
|I would say that Orochimaru is whipping out his snake,|
but it's wrong on so many levels.
|Ah, Hinata. Such an adorable girl among the cast... one of my favorite|
among the young ninjas. Probably because she's the nicest.
Back to the Single-Player Modes, here’s a quick explanation of each.
-Single Player: Similar to the Classic Mode, you are facing 10 opponents in a row, among the characters that have been unlocked so far. At the start of the game, you only have seven or eight characters available, so some of them might reappear (and you may also face a clone of your own character with a different color palette; it’s so weird to see Naruto wearing purple!). You have a number of chances to continue even after you’ve lost a match against an opponent. The tenth opponent will always be your current character's rival, which means you can encounter here opponents that are still locked. After this tenth battle is won, you get the credits.
|Some of the modes show us these pre-battle animations.|
Well, can't say they don't look like in the anime!
-Survival: This mode switches things around a little; instead of matches, you encounter every opponent in a single fight, though you need to defeat a maximum number of opponents, while not recovering between fights. When you win a battle, you move on to the next. And so on and so forth, until one opponent defeats you. It’s a pretty cool idea, I reached the 15th fight. See how far you can go!
-Versus CPU: You select your character, then you select another. The basic 1-VS-1 fight.
There’s also a Multiplayer mode if you wish to play with friends. It offers three interesting options:
-A 2-Player Versus mode;
-A 2-Player cooperative mode against CPU opponents;
-A 4-Player Versus mode, with possibility to have anywhere from 1 to 4 human players.
|Let's play Guess Who! Is your character white? No? Alright!|
*takes down everyone except Orochimaru and Kisame*
At the start of the game, there are only eight characters unlocked: Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, their sensei Kakashi, Neji Hyuga, Rock Lee, Shikamaru Nara and Jiraiya. Anyone who knows the series would know that the actual power levels of the characters have been scaled to be approximately on equal footing, or Jiraiya and Kakashi would wipe the floor with everyone else at the start of the game. And that's saying nothing of the uber-powerful ninja who join the roster as you progress through the game, like Itachi or Orochimaru. There are 12 more characters to unlock, for a total of 20.
|Jiraiya, even Sakura can beat you! You're getting weak!|
|Every generation has its types of ninjas. The loud one with|
hidden talents, the quiet and dangerous one, the physical
guy, and the one who gives no damns.
Am I doing that recap thing right? There is so much to keep track of in that damn manga that I’m sure I’m forgetting something.
The third part takes place between the ninja teams who reached the center of the forest, and it’s a series of fights. The winners of those fights are then given a month to train until the final part of the exam, a second tournament. The ninjas who fare well enough in those battles, or show good skills both in-battle and outside of it, will then be promoted. And this is where we are; Naruto has won his battle in the third part of the exam (with a fart; don’t ask) and is training to gain better control of his abilities. That’s when he meets Jiraiya, the old and not-always-wise man also affectionately nicknamed the Pervy Sage… who agrees to take Naruto under his wing after seeing the infamous Sexy Jutsu in action. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, there’s a lot of perverted humor in the Naruto series. I have this impression that Japan really does enjoy perverted comedy, since I see it pop up in so many works. Now, we’re at that point where Jiraiya has helped Naruto quite a bit when it comes to controlling his chakra better, and the old man is now about to teach him an important technique.
The cutscenes here are really basic, with 2D pictures of the characters standing still and not changing stance much, only changing facial expressions and gaining little symbols of the anime iconography (like the veins shaped like a cross on the forehead, or the sweat drop) to show what they feel. There’s a lot of story to go through (they skim all the details that I explained here), but the game is fully voiced, so you don’t even have to read what the characters are saying.
|Do we still need to respect our elders by not hitting them|
when they're the ones asking to be hit?
|Hm. Now that is some strong protection.|
|Gaara showing the dangers of the sand.|
"Ack! I got sand in my... everything!"
Further away, Kakashi is willing to teach Sasuke a new technique, only if Sasuke proves that he’s talented at Taijutsu (the basic fighting skills, minus the chakra-powered techniques). You need to get Kakashi’s HP down to half only with regular Taijutsu attacks. When that’s done, Kakashi proceeds to teach Sasuke the new technique, which will no doubt be badass and epic to see at work... So I suppose the One Thousand Years of Death jutsu is out of the question. After this training, we skip to the final part of the Chunin exam, the tournament.
|Contact between a foot and a smartass face in 3... 2...|
|In the Naruto 'verse, fire apparently beats fire. Nothing|
speciak, apparently lightning beats sand.
Don't ask me how.
…what? We don’t get our fight between giant tailed beasts? What a load of BS! The Kyuubi versus the Shukaku, it would have been amazing! But… no? We don’t get that? Alright then, let’s settle this with the good old fisticuffs and the occasional substitution. And skip one of the best fights of the pre-Shippuden era of Naruto! That’s cheap, game.
|And yet he's still able to use any of his awesome jutsu from|
the series! This one was an instant kill, by the way. Here?
It does normal jutsu damage like any other powerful move.
Oh sure, I would also make the remark about Gaara’s increasing insanity as this sequence goes, always trying to kill others to make himself feel alive – which I would happily retort to in a thesis of multiple paragraphs if I had the time here, but I don’t.
|The horrible fight where a student kills his master.|
Not the first one, far from the last one...
And I’ll get to the next section of the story in Part 2 if you don’t mind, there’s been enough to explain here today. See you Monday.