Review by shiva

"Revolutionary"

In a world of so called ''3D'' fighters, where you only walk back and forth, Power Stone, by Capcom, easily wins the title of king of the 3D fighting genre. Onto what it's all about:

Power Stone is a revolutionary 1-on-1 fighting game. You can go wherever you want, with total liberty, in a totally interactive stage (everything you see can, in one way or another, be used in the fight). From picking up items, boxes, hanging on the ceiling and performing attacks with a help of the wall, everything's possible. Gone is the enigma present in almost all fantasy fighters: ''How come he blocks hadoukens with his hands without getting all burned up?'' Simply put, because there's NO blocking in this game. You have to use strategy, the stage and your fighter's powers if you want to stay alive. With this, I would have already WOWed!!, but Capcom went even further: by possessing the 3 gems that name this game, your character will morph into his powered up form. These alter egos are so powerful they can kill the enemy in seconds. And speaking of the characters, I must say that this game's roster is the most vibrant and varied I've ever seen: there's Falcon, the adventurer from Londo, who transforms into a Power Ranger-like robotic being that uses missiles and explosions: Wangtang, the agile dragon from Tong An, whose powers recall memories of the DBZ saga; Ryoma, the wandering samurai from Mutsu, who morphs into an armored version of himself with shocking powers; from Manches, Jack the Slayer, the “oddball” that after transformation grows blades all over his body (guess what he uses them for); Rouge, the hot gipsy from Mahdad, who turns into a wild dream girl with fiery powers (she´s hot in all the senses of the word); Ayame, the circus and ninja girl of Oedo, who turns into a pink warrior that uses mainly shurikens to attack; Galuda, Dullstown's (lol) proud eagle, that turns into an alive totem with the powers of the phoenix, and Gunrock, the fat miner of Dawnvolta, that becomes a rocky being (he seems 'The Thing' from Fantastic Four) with a passion for wiping the floor with the enemy, which he will if you make a single mistake. Then, there are the (unlockable) bosses: Kraken, the pirate with a gun he never uses and turns into an alive bomb-throwing skull, and Valgas, the final boss, starving for power, muscles everywhere, which morphs into a devil like warrior with deadly lasers and electric balls that kill you instantly if you aren't careful. If you beat him, he'll become the result of his mad quest for power: a giant monster with some cheap moves. As you can see, the character cast is very varied, each member has advantages over the others, and all are totally different. Without such charismatic characters, this game wouldn't exist.

STORY - 10/10 - This game's story is very imaginative: we're in the 19th century, and all sorts of adventurers seek the legendary Power Stones to satisfy their wishes. Each has a wish they'd like to see realized, but I'm not gonna reveal anything. I'll only say that some endings are completely humorous, while others are more on the ''serious'' side.

GAMEPLAY - 10/10 - Nothing can beat this: a button for attacking, other for grabbing and other for jumping, and that's all. In this game, your true enemy is the opponent, not the fact that you can't recall hundreds of pad inputs, 90% of which being useless (coughcoughTekkencoughSoulCaliburcoughcough). Aside from the simple controls which put every player on the same level, the game can be described as I've claimed before: you are on a totally 3D arena, you can go wherever you want, you can use the whole stage to help you defeat the opponent, you can pick up items to steal stones… It's this total lack of rules to follow that make Power Stone the most revolutionary fighter to date: your goal is not to remember a stupid combo that removes 90% of your opponent's health gauge, and use it ‘ad infinitum' whenever you manage to hit him/her. Here, you'll learn to fight strategically, and you can be sure every hit counts.

GRAPHICS - 10/10 - Can graphics get any better than this? All the characters are created marvelously in an exagerated anime style and show a lot of detail, the stages are perfectly rendered and are truly distinct (each character has his/her own). The camera is great, it zooms in and out while perfectly following the match, and you can also use it to zoom in on the characters after winning a fight.

AUDIO - 10/10 - Will Capcom release an audio disc with these tunes? The music, besides being fast-paced in most cases, fits the character perfectly, whether it is Falcon's adventurous music or Jack's eerie tune. The sound effects are varied, and the voices seem to have been chosen after thorough casts, since they fit the character's personality so well. No English-3-hour-dubs here…

CHALLENGE – 5/10 (‘maximum difficulty' setting) – I reckon the difficulty in programming AI for a free-roaming fighting game, and Capcom was partially successful in doing it, being that the cpu-controlled opponents having some surprises in store for you. Sadly, the more you play, the more inept the AI gets. Soon it won't even be able to transform. The bosses pose quite a challenge if you're new to the game, but after a while those apparently ‘cheap' tactics won't work anymore.

LASTABILITY - 10/10 - This game isn't full of modes, but the arcade mode is mildly challenging, the vs mode has infinite replay value, and there's a collection mode where, between other goodies, you can unlock the bosses, games for the vmu and new items. I will never stop playing this game while I'm alive.

Now, the serious question: BUY or BUY? That's the only chance you'll have after playing this. Leave the world of the false 3D fighters, and enter the future of fighting. You don't know how strategic a fighting game can get 'till you play this. Capcom's most innovative and revolutionary work until now.

It gets 10 out of 10, because I can't give more. This game's programmers and the minds behind the concept understood, better than everyone, what ‘fighting' truly means. Too bad most of the gaming world didn't.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/23/02, Updated 03/21/05


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