Review by NeoGeo

"Powerstone improves on the original game, shame about the visuals."

The first Powerstone game appeared at the Dreamcast’s launch and provided gamers with unparalleled levels of comedy beat-em-up action. Power stone 2 the much anticipated sequel goes even further by showing off a great four player mode, new characters and some great new levels. It could be best described as the most entertaining multiplayer experience in any beat-em-up game on the Dreamcast. Like other games of the genre you find your self immediately at the character select screen where you can choose from a crew of wacky dressed maniacs from which you will combat your way through a number of arenas and boss stages.

Gameplay: 9/10
You’ll laugh your head off when playing the fantastic multiplayer mode with a couple of friends. To actually win your way through the stages you must dodge your enemies attacks, whilst attacking with a range of weapons and blunt implements. In the single player mode you usually fight against one enemy only but there are two boss fights: one a giant sphinx and the other a weird, green witch type creature. They are not too difficult to dispatch, the latter being slightly harder though. If you have the controllers you can fire up a four player match, choosing the level and players. Unfortunately there are precious few levels to play on and they soon become tiresome, this is even after you have completed the game and unlocked everything.

Graphics: 7/10
I couldn’t really give this section a high score. All the textures for the character models are bland and flat. The levels show no sighs of smoothing and are very blocky. Also the water effects are below average and the game doesn’t do as much as it could on the Dreamcast. Your chosen character displays a smooth animation when fighting but no real detail on clothing and their face. However you can excuse this slightly because the character models are drawn in a high resolution and the average graphics help speed up the gameplay making it a fun and frantic party game. In style with the cartoonish, unrealistic characters are the bright, contrasting colours, which line the game. Add to this many power stones that can be collected to unleash special attacks and you have a game that all ages can enjoy.

Sound: 7/10
Those same damn tracks are repeated as you play making playing that bit more annoying. I suggest turn up the sound effects volume but mute the music then play some other CDs on a near-by hi-fi. You will then get more variation and the music you want to hear whilst playing. There are no cutscenes and hardly any dialogue, which surprise surprise is in Japanese. Voice over quality is average and you shouldn’t really pay any attention to it, you would only regret it.

Replay Value: 9/10
Despite the lack of multiplayer modes and levels in which to do combat you will find that there is a lot of fun to be had here against some human opponents. I would say that the single player mode was a lot shallower than some good four player madness. Once you have completed the main game a few times then there really is not point in playing through again. Added in Power stone 2 is the item collection mode which is like the normal game but you can keep the weapons you used in the stages, sell, buy or smelt them to produce more items. This adds the always used collection formula which would provide a little more to do, but then who cares? You would probably give this part of the game a miss anyway.

Overall: 8/10
It doesn’t have the best graphics or sound of any other game but it’s easy to get into, simple gameplay does beg to be looked at and can compete with the likes of DOA 2 or Soul Calibur. The range of weapons on offer is amazing, each having their own effects and damage upon your foes. With plenty of play you can master all the weapons and levels ready to whoop anyone who dare challenge you.

Get it or Leave it?
You would have to buy it whatever. The gameplay is simple and easy to master, controlling your character really couldn’t be that much easier. The game however isn’t that plentiful in some places but it is easily found in some specialist video game stockists or you can always try the Ebay website for your country.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 12/16/02, Updated 12/16/02

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