| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Fighting; loc=JPN] |
|More of an action fighting game than a regular tournament-style fighter. While your goal is the usual beat-opponent's-lifebar-down, most opponents will force you to throw a little navigation and strategy in to the mix in order to come out on top.|
The large multilevel stages, in 3D but in which the characters move left and right in 2D, like a 2D fighter, play host to numerous sprite characters who pop, literally, out of the woodwork to offer up a tantalizing item--or maybe something bad. You can switch through your items and fling them out in battle, achieving various effects such as hitting your opponent with a massive throwing star, calling in a "striker" type hit on them, or giving them the smoking purple "stink touch." You can also just hit them, and even though there are a few moves per fighter as well as chain combos, there's only one attack button, so as you can see the emphasis ain't just on punching and kicking.
The nastiest thing you can do is mash this other key to cycle through your sort of colored power burst things, assuming you've built up enough energy. You'll glow for a few seconds and if you hit the opponent in that time, you're switched out to a Slap Happy Rhythm Busters (entry 251) style button-matching contest--if the attacker matches their buttons correctly first, they may (depending on what power level they were at when they hit the victim) continue the super-move beat-down on to the next stage of hurtfulness. These super attacks are quite ornate and painful looking, though most in a rather humorous way (except for the massive dog with the two-bladed sword in his mouth... ouch).
Bandai have outdone the production values on the first GC Naruto (entry 183) with superbly stylish menus, music, voice acting, transitions, and overall graphic design. The characters have a unique "pencil shaded" effect on them, making them look like characters in comic books--and indeed the level transitions in the "Scenario" (story) put the 3D characters in comic-book style 2D panels. There's a ton of speech, all Japanese of course, but it's darn impressive--heck, there are even characters who narrate all the menu options for you as you flip through them. During a fight there's so much going on with manga-style shouting letters overlaid above the characters, fancy charge attacks, smoke from ninja teleports, speed lines, background people offering items, and so forth all at once that it can be a little overwhelming at first. But stay the course and it becomes understandable and yes, quite enjoyable. With all the powerups, reversals and charge attacks battles between clever opponents can last for quite some time as they constantly switch tactics to try to gain the upper hand. Heck, at certain points you can even switch the background out to a new stage--that saved my butt once.
Characters to unlock, cards to collect, other things to collect, mission modes and other goodies round out this very thorough package. I'm still not sure what to call it... Fighting Action? Crazy Ninja Battles? Anime Fights? Well, whatever it is, it's the coolest one I have.