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Naruto: Ultimate Ninja - hands on

With the GameCube's Naruto: Clash of Ninja, anime fanatics could choose their favorite ninja kids and pound each other into the next decade. That's very much the case with the PS2-exclusive Ultimate Ninja, but our extended hands-on time with the title helped distance it from its Nintendo-bound cousin.

While Clash of Ninja was anything but tame, the constant wall-running, teleporting and counterattacking of Ultimate Ninja makes even the most peaceful match hard to follow if you're not keeping a razor-sharp focus. By stringing together successful combos with the circle button (the only attack button, by the way), you build up your chakra meter - each of its three power levels lets you unleash bigger, deadlier moves that flatten your opponent.

Landing one of those mega moves is what makes the battles so intense. Once you see the other guy's meter start filling up, you know that an attack could come at any moment. Pushing triangle charges up your super attack, which you can then unload - into someone's face. If it connect, you're treated to a crazy long cutscene of that move slapping your foe around the battleground.

But that's no time to rest. The move may already be happening, but if you can tap the right buttons, the move can continue with yet another cinema that does even more damage. Your opponent, on the other hand, can also hit the buttons to reduce the damage.

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