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Naruto: Clash of Ninja (series)

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The Naruto: Clash of Ninja series, known in Japan as Naruto: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! (ナルト-激闘忍者大戦) is a series of 3D cel-shaded fighting games of the Naruto franchise. They are developed by Eighting and published by D3 Publisher and Tomy. Various instalments of the series have appeared on both Nintendo's GameCube and Wii. Four games are available for the GameCube and seven are available for the Wii. The first two GameCube instalments and the three games of the Revolution sub-series are available in the United States and in PAL regions. All other instalments have been released exclusively in Japan.

Each instalment of the series has had numerous methods of play with varying types of modes. New games have introduced additional modes that generally appear in subsequent games. The player directly controls a character taken from the Naruto series, and uses their unique abilities to battle and defeat an opponent. New games in the series include more of the Naruto plotline in a "story mode," and it generally stays true to the source material. As a result, the character selection increases with each instalment due to the inclusion of more of the Naruto plotline. With the newer games incorporating Naruto: Shippūden, the second part of the Naruto series, many of the characters have been substantially redesigned, and the playable cast has been correspondingly limited and increased depending on the story. Reactions to each instalment have been mixed, with many praising the simple and easy-to-learn fighting system, with others lambasting the fighting system and the lack of significant unlockable content.

The series' soundtrack is composed by Shinji Hosoe.

Gameplay

For the most part, the series is mainly focused on 2D plane combat with the ability to move back and forth, double jump, run (which will automatically brake upon reaching the opponent), backflip and to perform basic attacks and combos. There is also the ability to sidestep left and right, either into the foreground and/or background (placement of side of screen is not relevant to change in dodging direction). Because of this, characters can end up facing the wrong way from their opponent at times, leading to exploits in movement.

Basic moves involve weak attacks, strong attacks, throws and special techniques. Weak Attacks are often quick moves that sport sets of combos, with backward weak attacks being chargeable with guard points during their animations, allowing autoguard.

Strong Attacks are often projectile moves and special ninjutsu characters tend to have, and most projectiles that are ninja tools like with backward weak/autoguard attacks, can be charged up (while some characters can throw ninja tools upward). Both weak and strong attacks can be done either neutral or in fourth different directions (including up; just before the character jumps into the air in that case) for several different moves and branching combos.

Running attacks and midair attacks are also available, where midair weak attacks are often diving attacks for most characters. Characters can also block attacks by holding back or standing still. The guard in the game is infinite and can guard anything except throws and specials, but they can take "chip damage" (small amounts of damage from blocking) if they block weapon or strong attacks. A guard gauge system however, was added in Gekitō Ninja Taisen 4 where once emptied would cause a guard break and chakra to be lost for the victim affected by it.

The chakra gauge at the bottom of the screen fills up via attacking, taking damage or blocking attacks. Once at a certain point, players can press the dodge buttons while getting hit to use the Body Replacement Technique, to either teleport out of harm's way or counter-attack from another direction depending on the dodge button used. This costs 75% chakra however, save for in Gekitō Ninja Taisen! Special where a separate chakra gauge is used. Recovering/teching from a knockdown of any sort by pressing either attack button upon landing not only gives a small amount of chakra, but also helps mitigate a small amount of damage taken upon falling down normally.

If the chakra gauge full, characters can perform secret special attacks (known as Ōgi in the Japanese scripts) that use up all chakra. Most of them are cinematic moves that require an initial blow to initiate, such as the Naruto Uzumaki Combo and Lion Combo. However, as of Gekitō Ninja Taisen 3, there exist specials that cost 75% chakra instead.

Chakra can also be used to extend most characters' strong attacks, for example, some strong attacks can be weapon attacks, though examples such as Naruto's down strong attack (where he teleports out of sight then uppercuts from underground), Kakashi's down strong attack (Earth Release: Double Suicide Decapitation Technique) and Sasuke's forward strong attack (Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique) can all be held down to extend their duration at the cost of chakra, though they can mainly be performed regardless of chakra amount. Most backward strong attacks that act as reversals can also be held down for chakra cost as well.

Games

  Game system Japanese release English release
Naruto Shippūden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 Wii 17 November 2009
Naruto Shippūden: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! EX Wii 22 February 2007
Naruto Shippūden: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! EX 2 Wii 29 November 2007
Naruto Shippūden: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! EX 3 Wii 27 November 2008
Naruto Shippūden: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! Special Wii 2 December 2010
Naruto: Clash of Ninja GameCube 11 April 2003 7 March 2006
Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2 GameCube 4 December 2003 26 September 2006
Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution Wii 23 October 2007
Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 Wii 21 October 2008
Naruto: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! 3 GameCube 20 November 2004
Naruto: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! 4 GameCube 21 November 2005

Trivia

  • This is one of the few series notable to be heavily taijutsu-based in its animations; characters such as Gaara (who makes use of the standard jab combos, elbow strikes, sliding kicks flip-kicks and various lunging attacks in tandem with his ninjutsu via exaggerated movements), Kankurō (basic hand-to-hand combat with a few hay-makers) and Sasori have used taijutsu for the first time in this series. Others such as Itachi (who fights with his left-arm resting at his mid-unbuttoned cloak), Shino and Deidara have a more clear emphasis on it outside of the usual media.
    • However, the most notable exceptions to this are Chiyo (save for her connected neutral special) and Sasori in Hiruko form.
  • Only a few select characters in the series are able to teleport in the series:
    • Naruto in his demon fox form (for his down strong attack). This was originally used for his normal form until he gained a new clone-based down strong attack as of Clash of Ninja 2. The Sexy Technique via his back strong prior to Gekitō Ninja Taisen 3 also applies, along with his One-Tailed Form's running strong.
      • In the Shippūden games, this applies to his midair strong attack in the same concept.
    • Rock Lee in his Eight Gates form after activating the Life Gate (he does so during his Reverse Lotus to connect with his initial blow easier).
    • Might Guy for his up and back strong attacks.
    • Kakashi's down strong attack, which is like Naruto's (which for him is the Earth Release: Double Suicide Decapitation Technique), and for his Thousand Years of Death (back strong). Kabuto's own version of the technique also applies as well.
      • This also applies to Kakashi and Sasuke in their Sharingan modes; Sasuke has his back strong in normal mode and up/running strong with Sharingan active, while Kakashi's his down strong attack is the same as normal, with the back strong attack being the famous copying technique.
      • In Sasuke's case, this also applies to his Cursed Seal Second State version.
    • Orochimaru and Itachi for their back strong attack (which is a mere Body Flicker Technique). Itachi can also do so for his running strong attack, and several other of his attacks as well.
    • Iruka and Mizuki can also employ the Body Flicker Technique for their down and back strong attacks, as well as for several of their combos. Sakura also has the same concept as well.
    • Shikamaru can teleport into different combos off of his back strong, which is his famous "thinking stance".
    • Shino instead wraps somewhere else via usage of the Insect Clone Technique for some of his combo strings, while his back strong is a typical teleport counter in the same vein.
    • Sakura, Haku, Kiba, The Third Hokage, Temari and several other back strong attacks on a successful counter.
    • Zabuza during one of his strong attack combo finishers.
    • Part II Sasuke via his midair strong attack as of Clash of Ninja Revolution 3, which is yet another Body Flicker Technique. Itachi in Part II also has a crow-based variation of it as well with the same input.
  • Characters with a certain element attached to them that only orients towards one direction (such as Zabuza and Kisame's swords, Itachi's left arm, Part II Sasuke's sword, and Bando's cannons) are prevented from flipping their basic stances. One of the few exceptions is Gaara, as his sand gourd is not a true part of his attack-set.
  • Several characters have the same one-two punch combination as a base animation for their neutral weak attack animations, with some flipping stances on their second punch; exceptions for this are Sakura, Gaara, Jiraiya, Part II Naruto, Part II Sasuke, Chiyo and Hidan.
  • Zabuza, Kisame, Hiruko, Hidan and Bando are the only characters who have different throw animations compared to all the other characters.
    • Sakura also has a unique throw in the series where she mainly shoves her opponent back for a free attack; Part I Sakura shoves them normally, while Part II Sakura strangles them a bit prior.
  • Hidan, along with Chōji and Jirōbō, are the only characters who do not backflip with their backdashes. In Hidan's case, this is due to him dual-wielding his scythe and pike in tandem, causing his hands to be preoccupied (explaining his different throw animation).
  • Much like in other video games such as the Ultimate Ninja series, Kakashi with his back strong in his Sharingan mode in the whole series can have two functions as a counter: the first is being able to teleport away should any type of attack connect on his stance, the second is that should a special attack hit him instead, he can counter with a copied version of it, though some techniques like Haku's, Nine-Tailed Naruto's, Gaara's, Kankurō's, Temari's, the Sound Five's and Bando's cannot be copied via this method where he'll teleport away as usual (he also cannot copy alternate and/or crisis specials). The"copying" function of that attack was scrapped in the Naruto: Shippūden-sub series for both Kakashi and Anbu Kakashi.
    • When he copies techniques, Kakashi often has his own personal touches to them; for example:
      • Copying Zabuza's Hiding in Mist Technique has Kakashi utilise his Lightning Cutter with a kunai instead.
      • Kakashi also shows his own "Inner Kakashi" when copying Inner Sakura.
      • When copying the Fang Passing Fang, a shadow clone appears above Kakashi in place of the Beast Human Clone.
      • If Kakashi counters Sasuke's Chidori or his own Lightning Cutter, then he'll perform his own usual version of the said techniques instead. He will also copy the Lightning Cutter Combo from another Kakashi, only he'll omit his basic starting quote.
      • Originally, Kakashi could copy the Air Lightning Strike done by Iruka and Mizuki; due to the attack's re-allocated command in Gekitō Ninja Taisen 3 and 4 however, Kakashi in those two games only copies the Air Lightning Bullet instead.
      • Kakashi always spouts his own personal quotes upon copying techniques, save for a special quote during the Hiding in Mist Technique.
  • Kakashi's Lightning Cutter (pre-timeskip), Sasuke's Chidori (pre-timeskip), Sasuke and Itachi's Amaterasu (Part II/timeskip; in Gekitō Ninja Taisen Special) are the only specials that can be charged up.
  • In Gekitō Ninja Taisen 3 and 4, Itachi's Tsukuyomi can have their negative colour effects reverted to normal colours for a brief while if the game is paused and exited.
    • Also in the series, Itachi's quotes during a connected Tsukuyomi are considered as part of the soundtrack as opposed to actual voice clips/files. As a result, muting the music will also mute the said quotes.
  • In the series, Neji and Hinata's Gentle Fist strikes, Shino's kikaichū, Kisame's sword slashes and Itachi's Tsukuyomi are the only attacks that drain chakra from their opponent. Orochimaru's Five Elements Seal prior to Special however, is also able to disable chakra gain as well as locking characters out of alternate states (as of Gekitō Ninja Taisen 3).
  • The Nine-Tailed Naruto Wild Attack and Snake Wild Strike are the only two neutral specials in the series (barring down specials in Gekitō Ninja Taisen! EX 2 and 3) that have no special cinematic. Due to this nature, outside forces (such as during 4-player battles) and proper orientation towards walls can easily force their target out of the attacks.

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