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23. Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2
8ing | D3 Publisher | 2006
The one good game in a year filled with third-rate ports and halfhearted attempts at keeping the system alive
What made it so great?
Super-fast, bouncy anime action. CoN2 may not sport the most robust fighting in the world, but it totally succeeds when it comes to pure fun. The game takes a team of scrappy ninjas-in-training and lets 'em loose on each other with sharp graphics and an overall presentation that feels just like the top-rated anime it's based on.
Most battles can be won with simple button mashing (B-B-B-B is a combo, after all), but expert use of the Chakra meter will have your little ninja teleporting out of harm's way with the push of a button. When both players' meters are full, either one is capable of teleporting away or unleashing a powerful finishing move, making each match a blustery whirlwind of fake-outs and sucker punches. The colorful, eclectic cast of characters helps make the action all the more charming - at the end of the day, it's the second-best one-one fighting game on the system.
But was it really that important? We say yes. It sold well, proving there was still an audience on the GameCube, provided publishers released the right kinds of games. And here sat a wholly competent fighter, written off by many just because of the console it appeared on. Well guess what? You're missing out.
Get ready to play
If the constant back-and-forth action of the Chakra meter wasn't enough, you can also completely cancel out the other player's attacks by unleashing the exact same type of move (sort of like Soul Calibur). It rarely happens, but when it does, and you get three or four parries in a row, the echoing sound effects and negative-color shockwave that flies out of your fist makes it worth the effort.
Been there, done that?
One Piece may not be as cool as Naruto, but it's spawned a solid game. One Piece: Grand Battle features large levels to run around (and strange things interact with) as you beat each other up. You'll be surprised by its quality, even if you don't dig the show.