Naruto Ultimate Ninja Heroes
At last, players can scream "Believe it!" at the PSP and not look too much like idiots.
Naruto has set the world ablaze as the hottest anime show in the US since the old Dragon Ball Z series rampaged on Cartoon Network, so it should be no surprise that Namco Bandai has been feverishly pumping out games left and right for the PlayStation 2. However, they haven't really done anything yet with the PlayStation Portable -- until now, that is. Naruto Ultimate Ninja Heroes brings the spiky haired ninja wannabe and all his friends to the system in fine fashion, at least from this early standpoint in the game's development.
Ultimate Ninja Heroes works in the same climate as the PS2 games of the same name, pitting character against character in a series of superbrawls. Players can initiate a series of jumping and punching attacks, along with being able to throw projectiles at their enemies from afar. They can jump between planes on each stage, starting off on the ground level and eventually reaching new heights in the upper tiers. Along the way, players can grab additional items and charge up their Chakra magic for a full-blown super attack, knocking their opponents somewhere into the middle of next Wednesday. Nah, make that August.
Along the way, players have the ability of powering up one of twenty selectable characters with certain Parameter Power-Up points. These can be issued through a number of areas following each match. Want to earn better Chakra charging abilities? Fill up the bar. Maybe speed is more your thing. Fire away. Special abilities, attack, and defense can be upgraded as well, turning your ninja into a super-ninja in a matter of plays. Let's see a karate dojo do THAT, kids.
Six types of intense battles can be chosen, with multiple players jumping in via Ad-Hoc to take each other on. Different options are available, ranging from the one-on-one encounters to full-throttle three versus three contests. Friends can also trade their profiles with each other, and those stuck without a copy of the game (or without a taste of the Naruto legacy) can take part in a game sharing session with one of the lucky owners. Multiple team configurations can also be put together, as players can work together to unleash devastating attacks.
Last but not least, the presentation appears to be right on target with the anime show. The graphics look great at this point, with excellent animation and a few backdrops ripped right from the comic books. The voice cast for the TV show should be on hand to quote a few lines, including the awesome lady that voices Naruto himself. Yeah, that's right, it's a woman. What, did you think Bart Simpson was the only one? The dialogue may get old ("NINJA!" "Believe it!") but it'll still be a kick to hear.
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Heroes plays great thus far, and should have enough Chakra magic to keep fans enthused. Check back for the review and remember to not laze off on that ninja training. You'll need every ounce of it.
"Believe it!" (Gah, something's wrong with me. I need more beer.)