Review by Arrawnt

"The most enjoyable multiplayer fighter yet"

Since the release of Sega’s Dreamcast, Capcom has released a steady stream of fighters. There’s been a little something for everyone, Tech Romancer for the mecha fans, Street Fighter Alpha 3 for the fans of one-on-one Street Fighter, and several Vs. games that appealed to fans of tag team battling. Much of Power Stone’s charm came from its simple-minded fun; there were no complex combos or true mastery involved. Power Stone 2 takes this to another level and will leave you with fond memories at your Dreamcast.

The controls in Power Stone are rather simple for a Capcom fighter, instead of multiple punch and kick buttons of varying strength you have a jump, attack, and two buttons for items (pick up, use). The triggers also control your special attacks. At the start of battles, each character will possess a Power Stone. Throughout the duration of battle, more Power Stones will appear and you can collect these. Taking damage leads to loss of the Power Stones currently obtained, at which point you’ll have to try and recover it before your opponent. Failure to salvage your lost stones does not mean all hope is lost, you can beat your stones out of your rival. Collecting three Power Stones transforms your player into a stronger form. These new forms typically have powerful projectile attacks and two special moves that can be utilized with their respective trigger button.

Battles are carried out in a fully three-dimensional battlefield. You can freely roam around and interact with your surroundings. Examples are climbing a lamppost or lifting a bench and hurling it at your foe. Breaking the various containers often leads to a discovery of items. Among the hundred-plus items are swords, machine guns, and various silly things like parasols and skateboards. Pick these up and you can take advantage of their superior power and proceed to waste your poor adversary.

Solo players will find some computer competition in the game’s Arcade Mode. Here the player will face opponents, defeating the final character will result in an ending sequence. A somewhat more interesting mode for the lone player is the Adventure. During the adventure you proceed as you normally would in Arcade mode, except the items you find are recorded and you earn money as you play. This money can then be used in the item shop to purchase more items. Mixing specific combinations of items leads to more advanced objects that can be used in the various modes.

The typical vs. mode is present for you and a friend to duke it out, but where Power Stone 2 really shines is its four player battle. Up to four of your friends can engage in an all-out melee here. During battle players can bring fallen comrades back to life or let their timer run out and watch them die. For those without three other people to compete with, you can substitute computer controlled opponents to fill the vacant positions. Two players can also engage in a cooperative romp through the game’s arcade mode, as in the four player battle, your partner can be revived if you get to him before his countdown expires.

The character designs are rather detailed with a certain cartoonish look that serves as a complement to the simple-minded fun. The original cast of Power Stone returns and some new fighters join the fray. The returning characters are virtually unchanged, the new characters are some of the strangest to be found in a Capcom fighter. Among the new cast are Gourmand, a chef who transforms into a Godzilla-esque monster, and Pete, a small engineer who turns into an odd robot that resembles the machine from the original Lost in Space.

The challenge is relatively easy until you reach the final enemy, at which point you’ll need to spend long sessions learning his patterns and weaknesses. The adventure mode and item shop challenge is determined solely by how much you care. Money is easily earned in Adventure, and the final enemy does not need to be defeated to earn objects. Mixing objects will really test your patience as many combinations fail and you need to re-obtain the lost items. Factor in over one hundred items and you have your work cut out for you.

The graphics are bright and colorful and create a pleasant atmosphere. The characters animate smoothly with no slowdown. Some very nice lighting effects are used for the special attacks and the power-up. Backgrounds are highly detailed and chances are if you see something, you can interact with it. The music is done on a remarkably positive scale. There are no bleak and depressing tunes here, instead your ears can partake of a lighthearted melody that suits the nature of Power Stone 2 perfectly.

Power Stone 2 is the ideal game for when you have a large gathering of friends freeloading off of your stuff. The four player battles are unparalleled when compared to other games in the genre. It’s a shame this was lost amongst the Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 hype and didn’t receive the credit it deserves, pick a copy of this up and call your friends over, a good time will be had by all.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/14/01, Updated 01/14/01

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