Franchise Player: Naruto

If you don't know Naruto, you should. Find out why in our new feature.

by

By: Joe Dodson   posted 10/13/2007

You glimpse the commercials on Cartoon Network, and the reviews on the GameSpot front page, but each time you see Naruto your eyes go to that orange jumpsuit and eccentric headband and you think to yourself, "That's supposed to be a ninja? And the way he talks, with the screaming! They sure don't make ninjas like they used to."

And you're right. Naruto isn't like the mild-mannered Joe Musashi, the mature Ryu Hayabusa, or the schizophrenic Grey Fox, but whether you like it or not, he's quickly becoming one of the most important ninjas in video games. You can shun his spiky hair, whiskers, and all-caps way of speaking if you want, but you'll be missing out on great ninja action.

That's why we've started a new feature called Franchise Player. The point is to fill you in on shows, books, or movies that are spawning lots of video games. In turn, you'll have a better idea what's going on if you decide to pick one up, and you might also feel compelled to discover something cool outside the realm of gaming--in this case, a popular anime.

It's also worth mentioning that Naruto deals with adolescent themes and might be too extreme for small children. Watchful parents should note that the series contains cartoon violence and death--in the most dramatic ninja battles, characters frequently get stabbed, occasionally puke blood and rarely get ripped to tiny, bloody chunks. The series also has mild sexual content; the main character has the ability to transform himself into a near-naked girl, but there's no explicit nudity--just plenty of adolescent gags. For more information on the Naruto TV series, you can also visit TV.com.

Background

So, what's the deal with Naruto? Well, it began as a manga (or Japanese comic book) about three kids growing up in ninja school. From there, it has spawned a popular anime, movies, and several video games. There are three friends: one booksmart girl, one quiet type whose parents were killed, and one loudmouthed bozo. There's also a reptilian villain and enough crazy magi-logical explanations to make your head eat itself. And through it all, the three heroes learn lessons about life, death, and coming of age. So it has a lot in common with another popular license: Harry Potter.

But Naruto is grounded in traditional Japanese story elements, with its chivalrous ninja masters, as well as the existential quandaries faced by heroes and villains alike. Beneath it all, there's the allegory for Japan's complicated relationship with Western culture. For instance, the main character is brash, arrogant, loud, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and he's the embodiment of a destructive force that nearly wiped out civilization. Oh say can you see, who Naruto's supposed to be?

No? How about specifics then?

Characters


Naruto Uzumaki

Naruto Uzumaki

Likes:

Cup ramen.  

Dislikes:

The three minutes they take to cook.  

Hobbies:

Ingestion and comparison of cup ramens.

In many ways, Naruto leads the ideal teenage life. He eats all the time, he's a ninja, and no one seems to mind that he's constantly yelling. But ninja life isn't as idyllic as it seems. In the beginning, he's shunned by nearly everyone in his village, he has no parents to comfort him, and he has no idea why. Ramen is his only friend. Later, he comes to grips with the fact that he's a walking bomb (there's literally a nine-tailed demon fox in his stomach that wants to destroy the world), and gains the respect of other ninjas.

If you're playing a Naruto fighting game, there's absolutely no shame in choosing Naruto, just like there's no shame in ordering steak at a restaurant called "Steaks and Stuff." Bonus points for talking smack in all caps.

Sasuke Uchiha

Sasuke Uchiha

Likes:

Nothing.  

Dislikes:

Stuff.  

Emo:

Very.

Sasuke is the ninja-school teen heartthrob, and even though he doesn't say much, his ninja skills practically scream "badass." When he, Naruto, and Sakura are tasked with stealing bells from their ninja master, only Sasuke's attempt forces their teacher to momentarily put down his favorite romance novel, Make-Out Paradise. But Sasuke conceals a dark secret, and is constantly torn between guilt, shame, and rage. He is so alone. No, wait, he is so utterly alone.

Anyone who chooses to fight as Sasuke in a Naruto game should act despondent, and upon either winning or losing utter "Whatever. Stupid game."

Sakura Haruno

Sakura Haruno

Name translation:

The spring field of cherry blossoms.  

Likes:

Sasuke.  

Forehead:

Expansive.

Outwardly, Sakura admires Sasuke for the teen heartthrob he is, and shuns Naruto for being immature and annoying. But she has another side, known as Inner Sakura, that occasionally rears its head and has a lot in common with Naruto, especially in the screaming department. For most of the early going, she's used either as comic relief or to point out the obvious for younger viewers ("That wasn't him, it was a clone!").

But her talents, or lack thereof, make her the best character to choose in any match of any Naruto game. If you beat someone with Sakura, either you're a true ninja master, or they're a worthless grasshopper. Or both.

Terms

Now that you're familiar with the backstory and characters, here are a few words you're likely to hear a lot of when either watching the show or playing the games.

Chakra
The combination of body and spirit energies that, when combined with fancy hand signals, creates ninja magic.
Sexy Jutsu
A technique Naruto employs whereby he transforms into a naked girl, which causes his enemies to backflip, fire blood out of both nostrils, and pass out. (Cultural Note: In Japan, a nosebleed is a sign of arousal.)
Replacement Technique
One quickly changes places with an object or animal and then lures the enemy into attacking it. Useful in combat as well as blind dates.
Kunai
A distant cousin to the Hollywood bullet, these ninja throwing knives are seemingly unlimited in supply and only ever graze heroes, yet always strike bad guys in major internal organs or pressure points.
Hidden Leaf Village
Also known as Konoha for short. This is the hidden village full of ninjas where Naruto grows up. Instead of standing armies, all the states in Naruto's Japan have similar hidden villages bursting with superstealthy assassins.
Hokage
The Hokage is the boss ninja of Hidden Leaf Village. He or she delegates contracts to his subordinate assassins, wears the fanciest clothes, and has to be respected by everyone. This is who Naruto wants to be. Capisce?

Games

Now that you know the backstory, characters, and some of the terms, here are a few of the Naruto games that either have shipped recently or will hit stores soon. Be sure to check out the video in this feature for a more in-depth look at these games, and thanks for reading!

Naruto: Rise of a Ninja
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: Adventure/Fighting
Ships: October 30, 2007
Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution
Platform: Wii
Genre: Fighting
Ships: October 23, 2007
Naruto: Path of the Ninja
Platform: DS
Genre: RPG
Ships: October 23, 2007
Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles 2
Platform: PS2
Genre: Adventure
Ships: September 4, 2007
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes
Platform: PSP
Genre: Fighting
Ships: August 28, 2007
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2
Platform: PS2
Genre: Fighting
Ships: June 12, 2007

Is there something you think Naruto neophytes should know about? Or do you just want to represent for pirates? Don't be shy; do be clear and concise.

Discussion

383 comments
Lazy94Genius
Lazy94Genius

Naruto = AWESOMENESS!!!! 8D Call me crazy but I don't care, Naruto Shippuden is the best anime and these animes are rare! xD

supertom221
supertom221

Narutimate Accel 2 and Narutimate/ Ultimate Ninja 3 were the best Naruto games. Accel 3 is one Bigass dissapointment... Makes you wonder why they didn't make it for PS2? it started the franchise there, and it should die there too. I guess if they really decided to move it to the PSP, even thou it already had it's spin-offs on the PSP and the main games on PS2, then truly developers gave up on PS2. sad, really.

Sparkhy
Sparkhy

A little bit of help, Rise of a Ninja sucks. Path 1 is too stinks, but the second rocks! Same with Ultimate Ninja Heros. All of the Ultimate Ninjas rock. Clash of Ninja is the best. Keep all that in mind, I think it help.

Sparkhy
Sparkhy

Sasuke's not emo! He's just... emotionally scarred.

Luiz_AF
Luiz_AF

I enjoyed reading Sasuke's profile. " Likes: Nothing. Dislikes: Stuff. Emo: Very. " lol.

inderrocks
inderrocks

naruto rox my fav characters r naruto shippedon,sasuke shippedon,red haired sasori,sakura shippedon,and ino shippedon Fav of all time:naruto shippedon,sasuke shippedon,and sakura shippedon

Gamer-Xpert
Gamer-Xpert

the list of games is sooooo old!!!!!!

Gamer-Xpert
Gamer-Xpert

My top 5 1-Naruto Ultimate ninja 4 2-Naruto Ultimate ninja storm 3-Naruto The broken bond 4-Naruto Clash of ninja revolution 2 5-Naruto Rise of ninja And coming soon Naruto clash of ninja revolution 3 ^^

evil_code
evil_code

ultomate Ninga 4 was agreat game

magdoo1
magdoo1

i wanna know something ???????? it ganna be anther part for Naruto strom or shuppuden on ps3 this year or what, can any one answer me plz??

shadyvillian
shadyvillian

i'm waiting for another release on the xbox 360.

shadyvillian
shadyvillian

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

REU-NINJA
REU-NINJA

THIS IS THE BEST GAME AND THE BEST ANIME IN THE WHOLE WORLD:)

SyedMoeed
SyedMoeed

Naruto is sooo awsom, the anime that is.and as for the character Kakashi....is THE BEST

Semaj62
Semaj62

They missed to much of the story in storm.

Semaj62
Semaj62

Storm wasnt that good...Ultimate ninja 4 will be sooooo much better

CrypticalVader
CrypticalVader

oh sorry just wanted to add that I know , Purplezoni, kinda touched on this subject already, but I felt a need to post anyways, and plus I don't totaly agree with him about the anime, Only about the article. Since "beleive it!" is based off of the japanese version, its their way of covering for "dattebayo" which from what I heard can mean anything almost its just a way of putting emphasis into the meaning of whatever he just said, so it comes kinda close... anywho, like he said just read/watch/play, its an anime definitly worth trying!?

CrypticalVader
CrypticalVader

Ok I can't hold back, but is Joe Dodson making fun of naruto?-- "Kunai A distant cousin to the Hollywood bullet, these ninja throwing knives are seemingly unlimited in supply and only ever graze heroes, yet always strike bad guys in major internal organs or pressure points. " With comments like this, for one a lot of Heros have bad stuff happen to them...Plus btw why is so much stuff mentioned in this article, should it not say SPOILER ALERT?? Ive seen the anime so it doesn't bother me but it kinda gives away the story. Anyhow, some things in this article were funny and cool, but as I read on i was rather disappointed that it seemed like it was making fun of it, maybe im just reading into things. BTW most of the Naruto games are fun (Uzamaki chronicles is ok not great though), i.e. Ultimate ninja 1-3 (Storm looks to be freakin awsome). Anyways ive said my peace im sure ill either get agreements and disagreements by haters out there, Dattebayo!!!

sakaiXxX
sakaiXxX

come on !!!...we want naruto shipuden accel 2!!!!!english version please!!!

zako94
zako94

brawlman777 some of them are good but the rest is nothing but a wasting time

sakaiXxX
sakaiXxX

When is naruto:shipuden accel 1 and 2 come to ntsc/uc version anyways?

brawlman777
brawlman777

are the naruto games any fun? i like naruto, but never tried the games. wat do u basically do in the wii games?

Valentine_8
Valentine_8

'-' I prefer English Naruto. But the original is awsome '-'

dj_c4
dj_c4

English Naruto is horrible. Thank god producers have included a language option.

Skyreal
Skyreal

I think that maybe American producers just don't "get" Japanese anime. If you want to be fair, get Naruto Japanese or be prepared for disappointment. I daresay if Masashi Kishimoto had any say in the matter, quality would be much higher.

dragosito
dragosito

I have a question .... when you search gamespot for naruto you find a game called naruto rise of a ninja for psp ? :| TBA Any news a picture ..... something ? when it will release.........

eddyissa
eddyissa

im not going to complain about it... looking from a new cmer(completely new) it would actually be a bit of information.. though some stuff on kakashi should hav been included. hehe lol at sakuras information.. "that was a clone" (lol lol lol) :P just a complaint about the page.. geez.. GS.. dudes did some colorblind dude put this up/?? seriously what happened here. :S ps... naruto...... like harry potter???????????? @#!#$!$!!!!

fir5
fir5

i cant read a thing its so small and blends in with the background.

Little_Socrates
Little_Socrates

There's really a lot missing here...there are far more than three characters you need to know about to pick up the majority of the good games (Ultimate Ninja series, for one; Clash of Ninja 2, for another) and frankly, I feel like they put less effort into the Naruto Franchise Player than they have with others (*cough cough* Metal Gear Solid *cough cough*).

cristhiansj_1
cristhiansj_1

The Best: Naruto Shippuuden Narutimate Accel 2

ultima_weapon21
ultima_weapon21

i think this is some good info on the anime due to the fact that shippuden wont be coming to us any time soon.this info is for ppl who DONT KNOW about the games or series.And for the Bleach guys GS said "That's why we've started a new feature called Franchise Player. The point is to fill you in on shows, books, or movies that are spawning lots of video games." so IS bleach coming out with as much games as naruto............NO thats why they havent done one on bleach.I think that bleach has what 2 games so unless they're gonna come out with like 3 in the next year or so we WONT get this on bleach sorry fanboys.OH and Naruto is great but shippuden IS WAY BETTER.go SNAKE!...............(only fans would know what that means and NO ITS NOT for metal gear)

stefanlek
stefanlek

Jeez relax. Most gaming sites wouldn't even do a basic explanation for Naruto. I know everything there is to know about Naruto and this was still enjoyable to read.

TrueIori
TrueIori

This article is not for hardcore fans is to get those who are on the fence about Naruto games to get a understanding of the series and games. It funny how fanboys just think anything for Naruto is just for the Hardcore jeez. I am not a big Naruto fan, more of a Bleach man myself, but Rise of the Ninja is a great game the online was awesome. Looking forward for the Ps3 game. chire Senbonzakura Kageyoshi

nintendoboy16
nintendoboy16

Naruto is a great series and all, but I really don't like the fact that they added on after the final Manga chapter in the anime t.v. series. :(

ocdog45
ocdog45

this is horrible info. they are so far back

Flamingthief
Flamingthief

UN3 is out in the US pain4ever it came out here last month>.>

pain4ever
pain4ever

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Purplezoni
Purplezoni

Ok, honestly, this is a horrible review of the Naruto genre as a whole. First of all, this review seems to only focus on the flaws of the three main characters, as well as give nothing but sarcastic references to try and explain them as well as some of the elements within the genre. Knowing more of the Naruto series than this guy it seems, this review seems like more of a turn off than a promotion to Naruto. Second, this review just seems to cover only about the first 50 or so episodes of the anime, mainly on just the English dubbed version. See here's the thing about the English version; it is a complete watered down branch from the Japanese release. For example, that stupid catch phrase of Naruto's "believe it!!" doesn't even exist in the Japanese version. It's just there as a filler to match the mouth movements the English version can't translate, plus the English tv stations can make a good profit by using such a lame catch phrase to begin with, especially with younger viewers, so why not? Also, about the anime being as this guy describes it as " too extreme for small children". Yeah, see, this is not the case. If he was talking about the Japanese version then maybe yes, but that would be only if he was talking about episode 40 or higher. As for the English version, most of the blood shown is usually edited out in order to appeal to the younger fans. Overall, there is really not that much blood, only when it makes sense to the current incident. Now as for the games, I can't say much on that because I haven't played them, but if you had watched up to episode 70 or so, your not really missing much since a good portion of the games are mostly a branch off of the anime. And what of the shippuden series? You know, the part of the anime and manga series in which takes place 3 years after episode 220(Ch.245 in the manga)? Wheres the mention of that? If this guy was commenting about the usage of blood from that part of the series, then I would pretty much agree with him, since that part of the genre takes more of a serious tone than the parts this guy's explaining. But since he isn't then there is no need to say it's too extreme for younger viewers. I would rant more, but I'm pretty sure I've already bored whoever reads this to this point, so I'll just end with this: Don't just read this guys review and judge the series from this; there is more to the Naruto genre than even I can fit into this. Basically, whether Naruto is a good genre or not really depends on the viewer. I personally love the genre as a whole, but you don't see me with Naruto underwear eh? P.S Latest chapter of the manga.... O_o

LunarEclipz
LunarEclipz

How come theres no metion of the Uzumaki Chronicles Special coming out when Ultimate Ninja 3 Comes out? Uzumaki Chronicles 1 was horribly edited due to story elements the american audiance wasnt aware of yet and also blood, battles, and different partners were changed.

chad28_69
chad28_69

Shippuden is so awesome. But I think gamesopt should do a franchise player of bleach too.

Iu_uI
Iu_uI

Yea I Couldn't watch it in English dub, it made me cringe, up to episode 10 with Japanese audio and English subs ^^, brap