Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles - hands-on

The Naruto TV series descended onto the gaming masses as a flashy and frantic tweaked-up fighting romp. It was solid drive-by fun, yet it lacked the deep meat that keeps hardcore gamers chewing.

Maybe that's why the next in the Naruto lineage, Uzumaki Chronicles, is a thicker beast, still centered on frenzied brawls, but with a few slabs of role-playing steak stapled to the sides. We've just played through the game's early stages, and we're not yet sure if this is real beef, or just another TV-to-game marketing-burger being shoved into our faces.

It's a quest to become the "Hokage" - the strongest ninja of the village - and faithful consumers of the cartoon may drool to live that fantasy. You play as Naruto, the lowly (but powerful) ninja in the orange jumpsuit, with a few flamboyant attack moves.

You saunter across the world finding brawls, growing stronger and learning more fanciness, until you become the stylish assault king. The game's RPG twist is really just a backdrop for constant fighting.

The adventure starts in your hometown, Hidden Leaf Village, where you're assigned important missions of trademark Japanese quirkiness. Like when there's a drought of highly-coveted candy, and one your friends goes into shock, you've got to hunt for a piece to bring him out of it.