previews\ Feb 24, 2008 at 7:00 pm

NARUTO: Ninja Destiny - NDS - Preview

Tomorrow, February 26, marks the release of Naruto: Ninja Destiny, the long-awaited fighting game for Nintendo DS. GameZone will have a full review of the game to commemorate its launch, but that doesn't mean we're going to leave you in the cold until then. Today we're examining Ninja Destiny's speedy combo system. From Naruto and Sasuke to Neji and Jiraiya, find out how this 3D fighter will play and feel when it's released.


Naruto Uzumaki, the young warrior leading this franchise, has a multitude of speed-driven moves that translate well in the world of combos. His most basic is executed with just two button taps: Y and Y. First Naruto spins around with a backhand punch, catching the opponent off guard. When the second Y is tapped, he jumps into the air and slams the bottom of both fists into the face of his vulnerable opponent.

Before combining that attack with others, you should notice that the B button is also functional on its own and can be used as a combo catalyst. Without any other buttons involved, players can achieve a five-hit combo. The first move is a low-striking punch. Press the B button again and he'll follow up with another hit; same low stance, opposite fist. Tap it again for the final hit before Naruto repositions himself. Being the agile ninja that he is, Naruto thrusts a jump kick into the chin of his enemy.

Though that could be a solid finisher to any combo, he's not done yet. Before the battered warrior has a chance to fall, Naruto adds one last attack: an uppercut that knocks the receiver into the air and pushes him or her back several feet. It's an extremely cool and satisfying combo to execute, and is a blast to watch (so long as you're the one performing it).

You can change this combo by replacing the second B button with two taps of the Y button. Just after the second Y, follow up with the B button for a four-hit combo. This move has Naruto start with a low punch and quickly adjust for a higher assault. He throws another punch, unleashes a spin kick, and ends with a lunging blow that'll push back intruders.

Choose your destiny.

Naruto's first combo (the one with just two hits) can be extended to five hits with the B button. After the second Y button is through, press B for an uppercut. Tap it again and Naruto will lunge forward, differently from the previous lunge, and bash adversaries with his head. Hit the B button one final time and Naruto will perform one of his coolest moves: a forward flip that ends with his heel diving into the opponent.

The other characters follow a similar combo theme. Sasuke's single-button combos include a three-hit high punch, high kick, low punch assault, and a five hit multi-punch, triple-kick whirlwind that'll make the receiver cringe. Those combos may be changed and/or expanded by replacing consecutive Y and B button taps with executions that go back and forth.

Aesthetics, animations, and move performance helps differentiate each character, carving nooks of individuality in a game that was designed for mainstream appeal (and thus cannot be too difficult). As such, you'll notice that Jiraiya's moves are stricter, and perhaps stiffer, than the smaller, more agile fighters. He hits slower and harder, which looks interesting but doesn't mean you'll inflict more damage.

Neji, a warrior less likely to copy others, is a little different with his move and combo execution. He has just one single-button combo – a four-hit beast that starts with a single punch, pauses briefly, unleashes two quick punches, throws a kick to the opponent's ankle, and concludes with a double jump kick that'll remind hardcore fighting fans of Tekken's finest moments. That move is executed with the B button – pressing the Y button alone unleashes just one attack: a double-fisted body bash.


That's all we've got today, Naruto enthusiasts. Come back tomorrow for our full review to find out if Naruto: Ninja Destiny lives up to the high standards of this beloved anime series.

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