E3 06: Naruto Clash of Ninja 2 Hands-On

Dude, ninjas? They clash again in Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2.

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LOS ANGELES--At D3's booth here at E3, Naruto Clash of Ninja 2 is fully playable for the Nintendo GameCube. The original game came out just a couple of months ago and was a strong seller on the GameCube platform, possibly because that's the only console it was released on. The Cartoon Network anime of the same name is obviously super-popular, so D3 hasn't wasted any time preparing the follow-up to the game.

Right off the bat, it's obvious that the game's focus isn't on reinventing the quick-fighting action of Clash of Ninja, but rather in supplying lots more of it. Instead of having two players, you can have four-player battles this time around; instead of eight selectable characters, you'll be able to access double that number. So yeah, bigger is better, or at least that's what D3 is betting on.

If you played Clash of Ninja, then you should be immediately comfortable with the mechanics of CON2. The A and B buttons perform basically all of the attacks, the shoulder buttons lets you make quick dodges, the Y button performs a throw, and the X button lets you unload a chakra power, a super attack that can be performed only when you're in grapple range of your foe and when you have a full chakra meter, which fills as you engage in normal fighting. The chakra powers are unique for each character and involve some impressive-looking special animations. The character we were using paused the fight for a few seconds, raised two large stones in the center of the ring, then engaged in a duel with his opponent, flinging a large shuriken, which struck his opponent in the head, knocking off a good amount of his health.

It's apparent that the game is targeted toward younger gamers, at least in the ways in which it plays; it doesn't pack in a hardcore Virtua Fighter experience, but it's really easy to pick up and play, and you feel like you're accomplishing something. The animations are quite good, and the punches and throws all have a good feeling of weight behind them.

Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2 is currently set to release in the US market in September, so stay tuned to GameSpot for more details as they become available.

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