Welcome to the Power Stone world!
Way back in 1999 the 2D era of gaming had faded away but that didn’t stop Capcom from continuing to flood the market with 2D fighters. As much as I enjoyed all of Capcom’s classic 2D fighters such as Street Fighter and the VS. series, I was always hoping that the company would get with the times and embrace 3D gaming for it’s fighters. Rivals Schools was great but it still played like a 2D fighter and Street Fighter EX was just plain old trash. I’m NOT hating on Skullomania, he was awesome.
Capcom for whatever reason decided to give the whole “3D fighter” thing a try with a game called Power Stone. It was developed for the arcades and ran on Sega’s NAOMI system which was basically a Dreamcast. Porting Power Stone from the NAOMI arcade system to the Dreamcast was a walk in the park, so much so that the game arrived on Dreamcast little over a week after it debuted in the arcades. By the time the Dreamcast made it’s way over to North America and Europe, Power Stone was one of it’s launch titles and what a launch title it was.
Power Stone is a 3D fighting game by Capcom, when I say it’s 3D I really do mean it. Unlike other fighting games where it feels like you’re playing on a 2D plane with the ability to sidestep, in Power Stone you’re free to run around the level to your heart’s content. Levels shouldn’t even be called levels in all honesty, these are PURE video game arenas and not some stupid pretty backdrop that serves no purpose to the fighting itself.
The original Power Stone is a one on one fighter , it consist of basic punch, kick and throw attacks. In this regard Power Stone isn’t the most in depth fighter around but that isn’t what Capcom were going for, it’s all about the items and Power Stones. I could be here all day explaining to you all the different weapons you’ll encounter in the game, from miniguns to bombs, it’s all here. They all randomly spawn across the stage and it’s up to you to decide which one you’d like to use, you can even throw them at the opponent and even better, they can catch it and throw it right back.
It’s called Power Stone so you better believe they play an important part in the game and they obviously do, collecting three Power Stones transforms your character into a more powerful version of themselves and you’ll gain two super moves that can be executed by tapping one of the triggers. It’s amusing watching two players fight for the Power Stones and then watch one of them run away in fear once the other has managed to successfully collect three Power Stones.
All in all Power Stone was a great launch title for the Dreamcast, it was vibrant, colourful, charming and loads of fun. Once you’ve seen it all it does lose some of it’s appeal but whilst it lasts, Power Stone is definitely a good time. If you still have a copy, be sure to pop it in and give it a try.
Power Stone 2
After the release of the Dreamcast, Power Stone ended up becoming a firm favourite amongst gamers so Capcom decided to follow it up with a sequel. For better or worse, Power Stone 2 is basically the original game turned up to eleven across all areas. Additional characters were added, the number of players was increased to four and the stages were no longer stationary as sometimes you’re fighting to stay alive just as much as you are fighting your opponent.
The following sums up Power Stone 2 nicely…
Four players start fighting on top of an airship, you can throw opponents off the stage, man a gun turret and even ride a bird flying up in the sky. Soon enough the airships breaks away and players find themselves in a free fall down to earth, of course this is Power Stone so you’ll be attacking each other as you fall because screw reality. On the right hand side of the screen you’ll see a meter count which shows how close you are to performing the world’s biggest faceplant. The goal is to not only fight on your way down but to also collect an umbrella so you can safely land on the ground, you can even be an ass and attack a player who already has an umbrella.
So you finally land on earth, some players will hit the floor harder and faster than a bullet shot downwards whilst the others will glide down gently. For no reason whatsoever a small tank shows up and it’s yours for the taking, don’t worry if someone else beats you to the tank because you can just use your UMBRELLA to attack it. Seriously, you attack a tank with an umbrella and best of all, IT WORKS. That’s basically Power Stone 2 for you, ZERO F**CKS GIVEN!
Power Stone 2 is one of the most randomly awesome games ever created, it simply REFUSES to take itself seriously and is ALWAYS putting the fun above everything else. It’s not the most balanced fighter out there and it doesn’t care, Power Stone 2 doesn’t want you to learn it’s mechanics, Power Stone 2 just wants you run away from a giant boulder in a scooter whilst fireworks are going off.
Power Stone 3
After the release of Power Stone 2 the series went dead for a while until 2006, Capcom released Power Stone Collection for the PSP which combined the first two games in one UMD. Sadly long load times destroyed the game’s pick up and play nature plus Power Stone works better when four players gathered around the screen for some multiplayer madness. Playing on a tiny screen didn’t help either so in reality it’s better sticking to the Dreamcast originals, they look amazing on a VGA box considering they’re games from 1999/2000.
With the exception of a wonky port in 2006, it’s fair to say that the series hasn’t done anything since Power Stone 2′s release in 2000. That’s over thirteen years in which Capcom has not revisited this amazingly fun series which is a terrible shame as I’d take a Power Stone 3 over another silly Street Fighter IV upgrade anytime. What we have to consider is if a Power Stone 3 would be viable in this day and age?
In my opinion the answer is YES, I don’t think a £40 retail game is a good idea as it would basically be sent to die. I think Xbox Live Arcade, PSN and Nintendo’s eShop would be the perfect place to bring back PowerStone. It doesn’t have to be the biggest budget game Capcom releases all year, I believe Power Stone fans across the world would be pretty content with something that didn’t look all that different from Power Stone 1/2 running in widescreen HD.
Nintendo’s Smash Bros is super popular and there’s definitely room for another “party” fighter out there, fighting games made a bit of a comeback in recent years and online play is now fairly lag free so the timing seems just right to bring back something like Power Stone. I think Nintendo fans at the very least would be most welcoming to a possible Power Stone 3, it just seems like the type of game that fanbase would embrace.
Capcom have hinted at the possibility of bringing back Power Stone amongst other titles via an online survey a while back but more recently has suggested not to expect more updated versions of classic games. It certainly shoots down the chances of a Power Stone 1/2 HD Collection which isn’t good but never say never in the games industry.
These days too many people spend way too much time on the internet complaining and over analyzing things, it feels like we’ve almost forgotten why we play games in the first place. Power Stone isn’t a graphically amazing game that that beneath the exterior is actually pretty strict about what the player can and can’t do , Power Stone by comparison is the game that just lets you do whatever the hell you want and isn’t shy about encouraging it.
The purity of getting together with friends to play a game in which everyone has a good time is non existent in 2013, it’s now all about playing online military shooters with a bunch of racist kids over a headset. Back in my day, rematch meant “that was fun, let’s do it again and see what happens this time” and not “let’s play again, I need to grind a little more to unlock x item“. It’s an artificial way of keeping the player engaged and hooked as far as I’m concerned.
If you’re out there reading this whilst thinking “Power Stone sucks, this guy is way too nostalgic” then piss off, this post is between me and the Power Stone fans across the world. Imagine a Power Stone 3 on Wii U where four players duke it out whilst the fifth plays the role of “director” on the GamePad, you could choose what items spawn, where they spawn, move a power stone away as a player gets close to grabbing it or activate stage hazards just to see how the players on screen manage to cope with your mischief.
The Power Stone series was one of my favourites growing up, I couldn’t care less about how much RAM the PlayStation 4 has. Just give me Power Stone 3 and I’ll be a happy gamer.
My favourite character was Wang Tang.
DragonBall Z spirit bomb FTW!