Retro Revisit: Power Stone - one of the Dreamcast's best games
The Dreamcast, even now, makes me sad - such a brilliant console with brilliant games that was cruelly ignored by too many people and canned before it could fulfil it's huge promise. Its influence is still felt now and it was home to such amazing games as Crazy Taxi, Shenmue, Jet Grind Radio, Metropolis Street Racer and, the focus of this article, Power Stone.
Much like the Dreamcast itself, Power Stone, was a game ahead of its time. Originally released on the arcade on SEGA's NAOMI board, it was quickly adapted for home users by Capcom to SEGA's best console. It was a 3D beat-em-up that shared more DNA with the likes of Super Smash Bros than SEGA's own Virtual Fighter. The graphical style was dripping in charm and the cutesy exterior hid beneath it a rock hard multiplayer gem.
Set in 19th Century Japan, the game let you play one of ten characters up against three challengers in partially destructible 3D environments. The scenery was as important as your fists and magical powers when it came to beating your opponents. Items could be picked up and used as weapons in their own right. During each fight various coloured 'Power Stones' appear and if you manage to collect three you're transformed into a souped up extra-powerful version of your character with additional abilities.
Not only was the game a joy to look at, it played beautifully. Silky smooth with graphics as sharp as hardware of the time would allow. It allowed two players (human or AI) to compete to become the champion. It was a time when beat-em-ups were in their prime with the likes of Soul Calibur and Tekken gaining huge followings, but Power Stone's wonderful charm and humour made it by far the most appealing and least poe-faced games of the genre. The sequel upped the player count to four which brought with it even more fun and mayhem.
The last we saw of the Power Stone franchise was a PSP re-release in 2006 - so we're pretty far past being due a remaster. Come on Capcom! What are you waiting for?!