Oct 29, 2007
Every gamer knows that the path of the ninja is tread quietly, strewn with sliced-off heads and populated by dark, silent killers. Unless you're talking about the anime/manga/videogame juggernaut Naruto, in which case that same ninja path is tread clumsily, strewn with preteen hijinks and walked by a hero who dresses like a traffic cone and sounds like Bart Simpson. Path of the Ninja, the new DS Naruto RPG, will accordingly play - for the Naruto-ignorant - like a kind of Before They Were Ninjas TV special: a chronicle of the time lil’ ninjas spend trying to impress the older, cooler ninjas and getting their shit rocked before they become the agile death machines we know them to be.
In fact, you’ll feel like a lil’ gamer as you play Path of the Ninja, which treats you much like a patronizing sensei would. It’s remarkably simple: for much of the game, you control the same party of three (Naruto, brooding lil’ hunk Sasuke, and smitten do-gooder Sakura) as they accept missions from the sort of old ninjas who like to dole out portentous advice with their missions. Few of these missions take more than 30 minutes to complete, although all of them come with a bowl of ramen, and more portentous advice, at the end.