- Original release year: 1999
- Consoles: Arcade, Dreamcast (later: PSP)
Power Stone is a game that I have a lot of strong memories attached to. I actually remember the day I bought it. I was in Electronic Boutique (now known as GAME) and as I was waiting in the queue (that’s what we call a ‘line’ here, for the Americans), I saw my best buddy just ahead. I was buying Power Stone and he was buying WCW Mayhem. We agreed we’d head over to each other’s houses to try out our new games.
Now, I’d love to share a great story about how we played each other’s games and spent hours enjoying Power Stone together, but as it happens, I didn’t like WCW Mayhem (WCW NWO Revenge, it was not) and he didn’t like Power Stone, so that was that.
That story did have a point to it though and that point is that Power Stone and WCW Mayhem aren’t too dissimilar. Whilst both are fighting games I guess, no one would normally really compare wrestling games with traditional fighting games. Street Fighter, for example, controls very differently to a grappling, wrestling game like No Mercy for example. But the thing with Power Stone, is it’s what happens if you take the Capcom’s over-the-top fighting style and mixed it with the fully 3D arenas, weapons and grappling of wrestling games, and then upped everything by 100.
Gameplay in Power Stone is really good. Back in 1999, the fighting genre needed something different, it needed something a bit more ‘casual’, ‘accessible’ and ‘sociable’ and since Soul Calibur had essentially perfected the 3D fighting genre and there were already a billion 2D fighters that were awesome, Power Stone was a breath of fresh air.
Gameplay offers fully three-dimensional movement and involves taking your chosen warrior (the cast of characters on offer are amazing) and then battling other characters, one at a time (4 character battles aren’t available until the sequel), in various locations across the world. Each characters have their own moves and special attacks and also have the ability to pick up and fight with objects like tables, chairs, rocks and bombs. There’s also various guns and rocket launchers to make use of. The match ends once one character’s life bar depletes to the point of being empty.
But every fighting game has its gimmick and USP though, right? And Power Stones is, funnily enough, what the game calls the “Power Stones”. During battles, Power Stones of different colours, appear in the arena. If a character collects three Power Stones, they transform into a more powerful version of themselves, with the ability to pull off more powerful attacks for a short while, or just blow it all on one of two ultimate, deadly special moves.
Power Stone can either be played 2 player or 1 player. There’s an Arcade mode, where you must beat every character in the game, including 3 end bosses, all of which can be unlocked as characters (although the very final boss can only be used in… 2 player, I think?). There’s a whole host of unlockables to get, which adds a bit of depth and longevity to the game.
Other than gameplay, it’s also worth mentioning the sound and music in Power Stone is also pretty funky, although thanks to the game coming out in 1999, I have the sounds of Limp Bizkit’s Significant Other album (you know, Break Stuff, Nookie, Re-arranged etc.) permanently etched into my mind whenever I think about, or play, Power Stone (I think I played that album a lot whilst playing Power Stone). Ahh, sweet nostalgia.
So overall, I’m going to close this feature by saying that although I mentioned earlier in this review that Power Stone was a more ‘accessible’ take on the fighting genre, it is by no means shallow. Power Stone provides players with a variety of ways of dealing damage to your opponent and there is a degree of strategy needed to survive and beat your opponent, but how you go about it, is mostly down to the player. I used to love using one of the really big, strong characters who could break a pillar off and swing it to smack your opponent with a great deal of force. Of course, though, the more agile, smaller characters were much quicker and you could, instead, swing around pillars, fly off and drop kick your opponent and then take them down whilst they’re grounded. Power Stone is a really well refined game, with a lot of new mechanics and variety that made it stand out back in 1999. I still love playing it on the Dreamcast, but it’s also fun to play on the go, on my Vita.