Naruto is one of those Japanese phenomena that managed to make the leap to the United States successfully. While a blond ninja with bright orange clothing is hardly capable of stealth, he has regardless found enough of a following in America to warrant the localization of all his games.
However, in Japan, the series’ story has progressed years beyond the U.S., and developer Tomy didn’t want to spoil the plot. So, with Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution, the team took out the Japanese versions of the characters and slipped in the ones from the GameCube Clash of Ninja titles. This is done well, as it feels like a cohesive whole, but it also feels too recycled to be the true sequel the Japanese version was.
Revolution has four different control schemes. Though it presses the remote/nunchuk motion controls on the player as a way to deal more damage during special attacks, it still feels most comfortable when using the GameCube controller. Shaking the remote to attack seems cool at first, but ultimately is imprecise and tiring.
The roster of characters, even if it is transplanted from previous titles, is impressive. Most need to be unlocked, but that makes for a long and productive single-player experience. Usually such large rosters suffer from little differentiation, but Clash of Ninja manages to keep moves fresh.
The Clash of Ninja titles have frustrating two-player play, and Revolution is no different. However, it still shines when playing with four combatants. Besides Smash Bros., Clash of Ninja is as compelling a party fighting game as there is.
The presentation is a bit lacking. There is no widescreen support, and players are stuck with only the obnoxious English voices for the characters and menus. There are extra motion-controlled minigames, but these are hardly worth playing. As a result, the only polished parts of the game are the ones that existed in the GameCube games, and it’s hard to recommend a game that’s been mostly released before.
Clash of Ninja Revolution will appeal to fans of the anime, as well as party-starved fighting game lovers. For most, though, it really just serves as a stopgap solution until Super Smash Bros. Brawl hits.