Review by coffee_gum

"A very fun fighting game with some of the best graphics to date."

This game makes me proud to have purchased the Dreamcast. I'm a fighting game freak, and most of the time I don't enjoy 3-D fighting games as much as I like SNK's or Capcom's 2-D brawlers. But Power Stone is definitely not your typical 3-D fighting game (it doesn't even have a button or direction to block attacks). The reasons I like this game so much have to do with how fun it is.

First off, this game is gorgeous. The character animation is great, the effects from explosions are spectacular, and the backgrounds are amazingly detailed. Stages range from the deck of a pirate ship passing through a storm to a scenic town square complete with an outdoor restaurant and fountain. Explosions are nice with the combination of 2-D and 3-D to give a dramatic effect. Everything in the game looks great. It's not very realistic looking, but it's not supposed to be. The game looks and feels like your playing an anime, very dramatic supers and somewhat humorous animations. All of the chaos is going on at 60 frames per second.

The gameplay is about as unique as it gets in fighting games. Borrowing from Tobal and Ehrgeiz, you have full 3-D movement of your character. Your character can run, jump and hang on a pole then launch onto the ceiling. From the ceiling you can leep at the opponent for a throw or try dropping items at your foe. There are three buttons: punch, kick, and jump. By pressing punch and kick together (or just press the "B" button, it's default for P+K), you can pick up objects in the room. This button is also used to catch objects thrown at you. Most of the objects are just chairs and crates, but randomly treasure chests are dropped which contain flamethrowers and handguns. Weapons in a fighting game would seem unfair, but when you pick up a rocket launcher your character's agility is restrained. The handgun is fast and powerful, but only fires in a straight line and is easily avoidable. Rocket launchers make your character a sitting duck to attacks (good thing you become a powerful sitting duck).

The characters don't really look like they belong in a Capcom fighting game. Gone are the standard Ryu/Ken lookalikes, now you have an odd-looking pirate, a fighter ace, a Jack the Ripper clone, and an Egyptian princess. After the character collects the three power stones they become whatever form they dream of becoming. The fighter pilot takes on the form of a power ranger-looking jet man, the once goofy looking pirate becomes more menacing when he powers up to a cannon ball-throwing skeleton. The power stones don't last very long before they scatter throughout the room again (usually they land close to your opponent to give him/her a fair chance).

The game is packed with extras such as more weapons to win out, three VMS games, a third-person view mode (hard), and hidden artwork/music collection. Unfortunately the VMS games are not very exciting, but at least they look good! The Puru Puru Pack feedback, like House of the Dead 2, is a little bit of a let down. It seems with how much chaos that's going on in the game, the feedback should be just as violent. But Capcom chose only to give slight feedback when you change into your "Dream" form. It does rumble with random hits here and there, but no where near as good as Marvel vs. Capcom.

Overall this is an excellent purchase. Even people who don't normally like fighting games seem to have an interest in it as well. A lot of people will write this off as a Toshinden of the Dreamcast, but it has more depth to it than it first appears. The game plays like Ehrgeiz, but more fast-paced, better looking and not as boring. Definitely pick this title up if you plan on buying a Dreamcast.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 07/01/02

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