Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 02/11/00 | Updated: 11/20/01

Even after playing this again, I have to say it's a jewel in the Dreamcast crown.

There are some shining points in the Dreamcast gaming line up that really stand out when you fall into the story line and then into the simple yet intricate game play. Power Stone happens to fall into that category without really doing anything that would constitute going overboard with a game in terms of how it is played and how it looks as well as controlled. It all takes place in the 19th century, a band of people seeking high adventure through out the world of Power Stone! It's a good story line that goes great with a fighting game, making it more a quest than a smash-em-up type of game. You'll be drawn into the lines that you see with each character's bio, and be willing to play over and over until you uncover the mysteries of the Power Stone and its characters. Set in a constantly moving environment, you’re no longer looking at a game that retains the mold of traditional fighters with two-dimensional visuals and excessive combination moves!

It's a fighting game. Based in a world where your level is also your weapon. You can pick up objects, and throw them at your opponents much like a Play Station game called Ehrgeiz. The combo system is very simple to pull off, and you'll hit everytime unless you're not doing something right. However, there is no block and you’ll have to constantly keep moving to keep from getting nailed. Once you're getting nailed, you're getting nailed. A power move can also kill because of not being able to block it. Only by jumping can you completely avoid an assault like that, but that isn't nearly effective enough. The computer can also get real cheap, real fast. You get nailed, and then transform, and then get nailed again. That is probably one of the best features, being able to collect gems to turn you into a super-powered being capable of amazing feats of action! It all runs off of a power bar and you'll be able to pull off a few basic moves, before initiating a giant power move that can, in some cases, kill your opponent outright. This game, is a far cry from Mortal Kombat of the Street Fighter games of old.

Once you really dive into the game, you’ll find that the better you do, the more secrets and items you can unlock for later use. This only adds to the overall game play and it can create several hours of replay value to get more bang for your buck. The items that you find and use will vary depending on what it is that you’re trying to accomplish through the various battles that you’ll fight in several different stages. Keep in mind that the Transformation can only be done once you’ve collected enough gems, so keep roving through the stage and look for them while fending off the attacks of your opponent!

First thing is first with the control setup and my personal beef with it: You roll too much. When knocked down, you go to get up, and roll all the way across the screen. A problem at times but can be overlooked. The fact that there is no block is also another hit in the control setup, but it does force you to keep moving away or towards your opponent and seek battle! You get hit, and try to escape, but can't. Moves come off clean, although at is basically a punch and a kick, then a grab button for pulling up objects, spinning on railings, and throwing your opponent with a combo. Jumping can be a little testy, never really knowing where you're going to land until you do. A definite complaint for people, who like a straight up fist brawl, this is a far cry from the Mortal Kombat controls of punch, kick, and block.

Great looking, and smooth. Everything flows together nicely throughout a full three dimensional environment, no slow down, no color block out, nothing! Each fighter is well drawn and put together, each looking original and unique. Although a little cartoony, you'll overlook this. A secondary animation, is the power-up version of your character, they look crisp and clean, and the power moves are made to dazzle visually. The battlegrounds are put together using background items that can be picked up and thrown, casting the shadow across the floor smoothly. All of the moves flow off cleanly, and are unique to this game and their respective characters, no palette swapped people with unoriginal moves. A definite show of what the Dreamcast is capable of when the programmers want to show something right in the visual department of a hybrid fighting game!

The music is adventurous, but the voice-overs are a little tinny, and most you can't understand. The announcer sounds like he's on crack, talking a million miles a minute. The background noise does come off great, making a stereo system work for its money. You'll be amazed at how chairs really sound crashing into the walls with this, if you've never been in a bar fight. The music is fast paced, and fits each stage like a glove, you'll get into the background music, and the battlegrounds as much as you will with the fighting upfront. With enough of the game music, you’ll find that it doesn’t really clash or repeat, but more or less loops gently and keep your interest in the game instead of keeping it out. Matching the music and the sound effects to a fighting game is one of the key elements of having a successful game. Another instance of Dreamcast at it's best!

Good graphics, good sound, and a great story. It all rolls up into a good Dreamcast game, which, lately, is a rarity, it seems. You'll play it, and replay it a few times to gain the collections, much like Soul Caliber. It's got promise, and, if Sega can see that this is one of the ways to go, and make games like this, PSX, and Nintendo, might just have a run for their money. You'll have to make the choice of renting or owning this game on your own as it can really be a toss into the air on what it is that you like and dislike. Not everyone will like this; not everyone will play this. I plan on bought it myself to add to the shelf of games that line my study and quite honestly, I haven’t had a problem picking up this title and playing just to do so. A rental will get you far into the game, but perhaps not enough to get you all the treasures this game has to offer!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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