Naruto: Ninja Council 3

Ourlast look at Ninja Council 3 covered pretty much everything you needed to know about the game. It's a run left and right kind of affair that covers all sorts of aspects from the Naruto universe. These types of games are fairly common, where you punch a bunch of things in the face, get some points and move on to the next area, but we can at the very least say Council 3 strives to offer a little more than other titles in its neighborhood.

Rather than play the game level by level, you have a whole boatload of missions to choose from right from the start. Each takes place on one giant screen with diverse (but also repetitive) goals to achieve - one mission you're collecting 10 medicine bottles, another you're beating 30 wolves and another asks you to find a lost dog. Thing is, most of them do devolve into breaking rocks open or mashing on the attack button. Then again, part of the appeal here is the cast and the license, and in that respect Council doesn't disappoint.

You'll be able to play as 27 different characters (up from three in the last Council game) and best of all, mix and match their unique jutsu powers. Let's say you decide to take Tsunade on a mission to steal a glowing scroll from the Uchuha clan, for example. You can use her jutsu skills, plus select up to four others from any other character. Thus, you can take Naruto's Uzimaki Barrage, Sasuke's fire jutsu and Sakura's healing powers and put them all into one person. You'll be able to do this in the game's multiplayer modes as well.

These modes are for four players and require everyone to have their own copy of the game. There's the obvious free-for-all mode that plays a lot like Super Smash Bros. or a watered down version ofNaruto: Ultimate Ninja. The solo game feels like filler material at times, but we'll confess to having a good bit of fun with the multiplayer jutsu-off.

Two other versus modes, Timed and Scroll Collection, combine the four-player excitement with the goal-oriented gameplay of the solo missions. You'll each have a certain objective to accomplish, though you can also spend your time smacking your friends around and prevent them from achieving their goals.

Ninja Council 3 hits stores on May 22, just in time for the big Memorial Day weekend. Just try to squeeze yourself away from Spider-Man 3 and the new Pirates movie long enough to pick up some new games, eh?