Review by Will Smith
"Another Capcom classic. A Masterpiece."
Power Stone is a arcade action /fighting game that was released for the Dreamcast on February 25, 1999 (Japan).
The minute you hear the name Capcom, three things immediately come to mind for the average gamer: Street Fighter, Biohazard (Resident Evil), and on a few occassions, Rockman (Megaman). When Capcom announced that they would be developing a 3D fighting game on the Naomi arcade hardware and porting it to the Dreamcast, a lot of uninformed people made the assumption that this new game would be yet another Street Fighter clone, that it would rehash Capcom's generic fighting formula, and be nothing more than mundane. And Capcom proved all the critics, haters, and cynics WRONG.
The graphics in this game are absolutely breathtaking. For an early Dreamcast title, Power Stone really demonstrates the power of Sega's excellent console. The characters are intricately detailed and designed in a vibrant anime style. The background arenas and stages are magnificent, both in look and design. The visual effects are truly a sight to behold. Upon the first time in seeing this game in operation, you will gasp at how amazing the graphics look. This is truly a highlight of the game, and Power Stone's graphics are a lot better than the current PS2 graphics. The fact that Power Stone's visuals holds it's own against the current software on Sony's overrated black box truly says something. The people at Capcom definitely know what they are doing.
The music in Power Stone is truly unique. It's not the generic wannabe rock or pathetic jazz/techno that run rampant in other fighting games. Power Stone's music can best be described as ..........fantasy. It immerses you into the atmosphere that you are playing in. It's like ''adventure'' music. Each character has their own unique stage and BGM, and it fits them approriately. The music goes well with everything in the game.
The sound effects and voice samples are on point. Absolutely nothing disappointing here. The punches, kicks, throws, weapon noises, etc are all high clarity and perfect. The voice acting for the individual character endings and the character's uttering yelps and phrases during battle are a nice touch. Good job, Capcom.
As in most Capcom games, the control is absolutely PERFECT. It may take some time adjusting if you are more familiar with playing 2D fighters like Street Fighter and such, but within a couple of minutes the control will be silky smooth. The Punch, Kick, and Throw buttons are as basic as it gets. Using the L and R triggers for Super attacks is a nice touch.
In addition to superb graphics and sound, what really makes Power Stone is unique and engaging is it's extremely fun gameplay. It's basically you and your opponent in an arena, engaging in a free-for-all using anything that you can get your hands on. There are treasure chests abound, and within them you'll find various weapons to aid you in battle, such as Revolvers, Bazookas, Swords, Bombs (of different sizes), Shields, Lasers, etc. You can also pick up and toss furniture at your opponent (and catch it to defend yourself). And if you are using a powerful character like Gunrock or Galuda (or when you have possesion of three Power Stones), you can uproot wooden beams and use it to smack the living crap out of your opponents. There is even total interaction with your enviroments, as in certain stages you can hang from the ceiling, jump up to hidden areas of a stage, set barrels loose, destroy a shelf containing pots, and much more. But the best feature are the Power Stone themselves. When your character gains possesion of three of these multi colored stones (red, yellow, and blue), your character will transform into a superpowered alter ego of sorts, and they will temporarily have increased attributes. During transformation, you have much more strength, stamina, speed, and your life slowly regenerates. You can also fire projectiles and immensely powerful special attacks, and you also now have access to two extremely powerful Super attacks (which drain your Transformation gauge completely and reduces your character back to normal). This all leads to incredibly fun, incredibly frantic gameplay as you and your opponent beat the bejeezus out of each other to see who can obtain the Power stones first.
For those who think that this game is in the same vein as Street Fighter, it's DEFINITELY NOT. There are no quarter-circle-forward firball motions, charging back then forward motions, no dragon punch commands, hell you can't even Guard (unless you have a Shield). If you read the above paragraph (or anyone else's Power Stone review) you would know that this game is the furthest thing from Street Fighter, and it's in a league of it's own. So all you haters and critics that say all Capcom fighting games are the same, this game is here to shut you up.
Character Design: 10
The characters in this game have truly wonderful and original design. With characters like Fokker, Wang Tang, Ryoma (my favorite), Ayame, Gunrock, Rouge, and Galuda, it's hard to not like a character in this game. The characters are really ''fresh'', and there is nothing stale about them. The stages were given the same high degree of quality as the character designs, and they are spectacular. Major props to Capcom for having the insight to create such an original game.
There is TONS of replay value in Power Stone. If you are playing solo against the CPU, the CPU gives a serious challenge, especially on Level 8 difficulty. Not only that, but there are lots of secrets to unlock. In the Secrets menu, you can unlock various weapons, unlock fun mini-games to download to your VMU, unlock the bosses (Kracken, Valgas, and Final Valgas) to play as, unlock a first person mode, unlock an Ending, Voice Sample, Character Sketch, and Music Gallery (whew!). And there are a couple more that I can't remember right now. There is also an Extra Options menu that you can use to modify specific aspects of the gameplay (such as the number of Power Stones in a stage, damage dealt out while tranformed, and you can stay in Transformation mode indefinitely).
Two player versus games are definitely fun. You will spend hours fighting against your friends battling on all the different stages and using all the characters. There is a lot of humorous stuff in Power Stone, so you may want to play to see how many goofy animations and slapstick actions are in there. The bottom line is that whether you're playing solo or with a friend, Power Stone provides hours of entertainment.
Power Stone is a true classic. It's like one of those rare games that comes along every few years (or once in a lifetime) and reminds you of why started playing video games in the first place: TO HAVE FUN. Power Stone gets you hooked from the beginning to end, and is fun from the first time you play it. Trust me, it's that good. Someone at Capcom had a brilliant idea for a wonderful game with unique characters and enviroments, and fortunately for the gamers, that idea came to fruition. Sure, Power Stone may be dismissed by fighting game elitists and snobs as not being a ''serious'' fighter. So what? It's not trying to be! Nowadays people get so caught up in jumping on the bandwagon and playing whatever the ''in-crowd'' plays, like The King Of Fighters 2060 and Guilty Gear XXXX, that they will pass on a simple yet fun game because it isn't popular. Capcom created a masterpiece with this game, and it's gameplay is proof of that. If you like frantic, maniacal 3D gameplay, or you want an alternative to the more serious 2D and 3D fighters out there, or you don't care what the snotty elitist posers think, and most important, if you want to have FUN, then I highly reccomend that you purchase Power Stone. Games this fun only show up once in a lifetime.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/27/03, Updated 03/27/03
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