Review by Tenshi No Shi

"A new breed of brawler from the masters of fighting games."

Woohoo! My first Capcom Dreamcast game :-) If you haven't noticed yet, I am a H-U-G-E fan of Capcom. Almost everyone who plays video games has a favorite company, and this one happens to be mine. So it goes without saying that I have watched Capcom's development on Sega's new system with unabashed eagerness. So far, at least ten titles have been announced as coming to the Dreamcast. This list includes Power Stone, Marvel vs. Capcom, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Star Gladiator 2, Strider 2, Tech Romancer, Street Fighter III: W Impact, Street Fighter EX 2, and possibly SNK vs. Capcom. Power Stone marks the first in a long line of releases...

Power Stone's plot revolves around treasure hunters in the nineteenth century looking for special jewels called power stones. According to legend, power stones are supposed to grant the possessor anything they desire. Some are looking for profit, others seek power, but a couple have only revenge in mind. Whatever the reason, ten warriors enter battle hoping to win the ultimate prize. Granted, this isn't one of the greatest stories ever written, but it does have some originality to it. Too bad the plot is pretty much meaningless as every stage has power stones in it. Capcom doesn't do a good job of explaining that the power stone at the end of the game is a larger, more powerful version of the stones scattered throughout each stage. Once you beat the game with a few of the characters, you begin to understand a little more of the overall power stone plot.

While not nearly as beautiful as Soul Caliber, Power Stone's graphics are nothing to scoff at. Adopting an almost Dragon Ball Z-ish style to both the look and feel of the game, Capcom gave Power Stone a decidedly unique appearance with heavy anime overtures. Animation is fast fluid, complimented by the bright and colorful textures of both the characters and the backgrounds. In fact, newbies to the game might discover there is too much scenery to look at and become confused with the onslaught of objects and multiple-levels to each stage. When it's all said and done, Power Stone can definitely hold its own in the graphics department.

Aside from the ever-present typical set sound effects we've all grown accustomed to in Capcom fighting games, there's a whole other aspect of Power Stone's sound that really needs to be addressed; that of the music. At first, I wasn't sure how much (if at all) I liked the Power Stone's tunes. It reminded me a little too much of Indiana Jones. But after I warmed up to the feel of the game, I began to appreciate the game's music much more. It kind of grows on you after a while, which is almost scary considering how cheesy and out of place some of it sounds. The music, as well as the sound effects, are extremely character oriented and go well with the design of Power Stone.

Without a doubt, Power Stone has the most simplistic controls ever conceived for a game of this genre. There are only three buttons and three button combinations for you to remember in this game. That's it! They are punch, kick, jump, punch+kick, jump+punch, and jump+kick. You use punch+kick to grab objects or your opponent, then punch to use or throw them. While in possession of all three power stones, pressing jump+punch or jump+kick will perform an all-powerful super move that could very well finish off your opponent if timed properly. Roaming around the 3D stages is a breeze thanks to the wonderfully precise control of the analog stick. It's apparent that Capcom designed the control of this game with but two things in mind: ease of use for novices and to turn Power Stone into an action-packed brawl-fest. Capcom, mission accomplished!

Design is what Power Stone is all about. Breaking the mold of the accepted 'norm' for fighting games, Capcom decides to do something a little different in this game. Okay, something a lot different. The first thing that you'll notice about this game is you can't guard. Instead, you avoid attacks by either dodging them or countering them. Another difference between Power Stone and every other fighting game is you can go anywhere and grab anything in the stage. And I do mean anything. Seemingly simple and innocent objects are transformed into lethal missiles or become springboards for assault. Of course, the most innovative feature of Power Stone is the power stones themselves. If you can grab all three (red, yellow, and blue) during a match, your character will morph into a super-being of unparalleled power. After you use the power stones (they have limited power), they scatter across the stage to be collected again. It may take a while to get use to, but Capcom really went to the next level with Power Stone's design.

Power Stone has a more organized way of bestowing bonuses upon players than most fighting games. You are rewarded for your gaming efforts by receiving 'pages' in a Power Stone collection book. These pages give you various options like the ability to watch a character's ending again, an array of new weapons, different game options, and, of course, hidden characters. The hidden characters aren't really anything to get excited about, as they are nothing more than the three bosses. However, some of the extra options are pretty cool, especially the new weapons. A few other far more interesting secrets await the diligent Power Stone players out there...

Power Stone will end up being one of those games you either love or hate. Most hard-core fans of the genre will probably ignore this game because of its simple nature and pretend it doesn't exist. On the other hand, anyone looking for something unique that is a blast to play will embrace this game for the ingenious piece of work that it is. I suggest that everyone gives it a chance before passing judgement on it, it at least deserves that much

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 08/10/09

Game Release: Power Stone (US, 08/31/99)

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