Game analysis: Naruto:Rise of a ninja

November 12th, 2008

How is a story from an anime turned into a video game.

Naruto is a manga (Japanese comic book) made by Masashi Kishimoto

Due to its popularity, an animation was created from the original story. A lot of Naruto fans follow these episodes that are now numbered to 220 and is still ongoing. The story talks about Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja that lives in Konoha, who wants to become the next “Hokage”, the strongest ninja and leader of his village. We then follow his adventures as Naruto grows and becomes stronger, nearer to the achievement of is dream. The video game Naruto: Rise of a Ninja made by Ubisoft follows this story line from the episodes 1 to 80 very closely and differs in that way from the previous games created.

As an introduction to the game, the essential information from the very beginning of the story is shown rapidly as an interlace of 3D and anime sequences. We are then led into the second part of the first episode, when Mizuki tricks Naruto into stealing a special and forbidden scroll. As a player, we have to get the scroll and learn a technique from it. Then, once we find out we did something bad and Mizuki actually wants to steal the scroll from us, we have to beat him using the technique we just learned. All of these actions happen exactly the same way in the anime, and the game only added interactivity as much as possible.

The story line is then divided into small pieces called missions. We walk through the village and get missions to accomplish. These important missions unlock other missions and new skills needed for further missions. In that way, the storyline stays linear. We can get missions from our sensei (teacher) or from the “Hokage” of the village. These two may or may not have a mission for you. If they do not, then, you need to do some side quests.

These quests are actually the filler episodes (episodes that do not get the story forward) from the anime transformed into interaction. These increase your energy and “chakra” points as well as, among other things, give you money to buy scroll with new abilities or ramens that can give you energy between fights. These can also make you gain respect from he villagers.

In the story, the nine-tailed demon fox who ravaged Konoha the day of Naruto’s birth is one with his spirit since then. Because of that, Naruto is an orphan rejected by the village people. To represent that aspect, the game has a popularity system. Each villager has a smiley icon on the top of his or her head that indicates whether they like you or not. If the smiley is yellow and you talk to the person, he or she will help you to find what you are currently looking for. However, if the smiley is purple, the person will tell you to go away or not to bother them. We can change these smiley’ color by doing social quests like finding money pieces for a villager or delivering ramens for the ramen cook in time. You can also try to find Konohamaru that hides in the village. Many of these side quests let you discover the beautiful Konoha village as reproduced in 3D on a next generation machine.

The popularity system in Naruto: Rise of a Ninja.

One thing to notice is that Naruto’ anime is renowned to have too many flashbacks. Nevertheless, the game used that fact and created a memory bank where we can accumulate souvenirs (flashbacks) and use them to regain energy and “chakra” (magical power) when we fight against someone and lose.

Naruto: Rise of a Ninja also has a VS game integrated. You can challenge your team mates (Sakura and Sasuke) in a fight to train yourself as a game in the game. This system is also reused throughout the whole game when we have to fight opponents. We can fight only one at a time and use the techniques learned through the missions.

Categories: Reading Room |