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JadeDragon's game reviews: Nintendo DS games

Naruto: Ninja Council 3

Review posted November 2007 by Edwin Kee

Publisher: Tomy Corporation and D3Publisher of America
Developer: Aspect
Release Date: May, 2007
ESRB: “E-10+” for Everyone 10 and older
Genre: Fighting
Price: $29.99

Anime fans would definitely have heard about Naruto and his exploits, so it is without surprise that this little ninja that could already have a number of titles under his belt in the world of gaming. While the DS platform has a multitude of gaming titles that cater across different genres, the beat 'em up section is sorely lacking in terms of quality games and Naruto: Ninja Council 3 aims to up the ante - it is not perfect, but at the very least it paves the way for something better in the future. 

Gameplay

Naruto: Ninja Council 3 is a hybrid of the first two titles in the Ninja Council series, bringing together a mix of one-on-one matches and level-based adventure segments, resulting in a game that adds an extra layer of challenge that could be challenging to the first-timers of the series. There are over 20 characters from the show you can choose from, and you don't need to have prior knowledge of the anime in order to play this game. Though for fans of the anime series, the game provides more familiarity.

The game is mission-based, where the single player mode will pit you against a huge number of missions (60+ missions), where you must win in order to unlock new missions. As with any other game, your progress is marked with the availability of new fighters as well as acquiring the ability to share super powered attacks between them, making you a more effective fighting machine than ever before. The sheer number of fighter combinations is mind boggling, but you can choose to stick with a couple of favorite moves or experiment with the large number of combos (good luck with remembering what you did). Apart from the single player mode, you also get a multiplayer mode that allows players to fight man-to-man style, in a free for all frenzy or team fights. Unfortunately, single cart play is not supported here so you'll have to make sure your opponent has a copy of the game before getting started. Pity the DS version of the Ninja Council 3 does not support Nintendo's WiFi feature like Custom Robo Arena does - now that would've surely increased the longevity of this title.

One thing to watch out for in the game is the vast fighting arenas that could get too big for its own good sometimes, but thankfully there is the inclusion of a mini map at the bottom to help you maintain your bearings.

Controls

You don't really need an innate sense of timing with Ninja Council 3 as a fair bit of button mashing could do the trick, but as with any other fighting game, true masters don't rely on such a cheesy trick, instead they take pride in their split second timing as well as ability to read into their opponents' minds in an almost telepathic manner. I do find the physics in the game a bit tricky to master - it sticks out like a sore thumb especially in levels that come with a whole lot of platforming involved. The double jump isn't all that impressive, while you lose whatever little forward momentum you have previously gained each time you fall. Strangely enough, there is no option to perform super jumps at an angle, leaving you with a guessing game whenever you try to land on a small ledge.

Graphics

Graphically, everything runs just fine on the DS. You won't experience any slowdown of sorts no matter how intense the action gets, which is essential in a fighting game since your sense of timing is essential when you try to execute moves. The sprites are also pretty well detailed, so you won't have any problem telling the difference when the action in game gets hot and heavy.

Sound

Audio wise, there really isn't anything much to complain about. Not only do you get to hear all bone crunching punches as they land along with a complete set of sound effects for each physical movement, the screams and shouts play back just fine at the right moment. The background music draws you into the game subtly, although it won't leave a lasting impact like other more legendary game titles.

Conclusion

The Ninja Council 3 is a fairly solid title where fighting genre games on the DS are concerned, although it could do better with a more fluid physics engine and button placement (the latter gets fairly hard to master whenever you try to execute complex moves). What it does do is bring the entire anime to life on the handheld, and on that point alone it is good enough to warrant a purchase. I would limit this title to those who are fans of the anime and love having some bone crunching battles. For those who don’t know about the anime series but want to give the game a try, this is definitely a worthy rental. While the folks in Asia can obsess on Jump Ultimate Stars (an awesome Japanese fighting game), the US gamers who don’t like to buy imports can feed their fighting hunger on the Ninja Council 3.

 

Screen shots:

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Tips & Tricks

In order to unlock the following fighters, finish the respective mission accordingly.
Gaara - Beat "Secret Technque" With Chidori
Gallary 2 - Beat all Missions
Gallery 1 - Beat the three rows of missions
Itachi - Beat "Revenge!" with Sasuke
Jiraiya - Beat "Teach him a lesson"
Jirobo - Beat "Chubby's Pride"
Kabuto - Beat "The Way of the Ninja" with anybody
Kakashi - Beat "Secret Technique Training"
Kankuro  -Beat "I'll Handle This" with Paeasitic Insect Justu
Kidomaru - Beat "Pinpoint Blindspot!"
Kisame - Beat "Kisame's Counterattack"
Migh Guy - Beat Taijutsu Training" with no Techniques
Orcohimaru - Beat the all missions
Sakon - Beat "Combo!"
Tayuya - Beat "Calculated"
Temari - Beat "What a Drag..." with Shadow Possesion Jutsu
The Third Hokage - Beat "Find the Glowing Scroll" Note: The Thrid Hokage is ONLY a support character
Tsunade - Beat "The Famous Kunoichi!"

 

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics

Well-drawn sprites are easy on the eyes. You could have many characters on the screen simultaneously and not experience any slowdown in gameplay. Not only that, they are well differentiated in order not to confuse you during a melee.

Sound

Tons of great audio that really brings out the anime's atmosphere. I love the Japanese-themed audio effects and soundtrack which enhance the gameplay experience. Kudos to the sound engineers on a job well done.

Fun Meter

Different gamers might have different experience with the game: the hardcore fans of the anime and Ninja Council game series will fall in love with the large number of playable characters and the 60+ missions. The game controls are responsive and the graphics are easy to see the actions. It might take a bit of time for the novice players to get deep into the missions and learn everything from scratch.

Addictivity

While the single player missions are plenty, one might breeze through it with a couple of moves. If you are one who likes to dabble in multiplayer mode with friends, then it might force you to learn different attacking combos. This game gives you plenty of opportunities to do that.

Total Score= 4 Dragons, 80%



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