Powerstone (パワーストーン)

This weekend my wife's brother came over and we decided to play a little Dreamcast. Now, the problem was what to play. We were torn between loading up Marvel Vs. Capcom and Powerstone, and in the end we decided to go with Capcom's Smash Bros type fighter.

Why didn't they keep this cover for the Western release?

It has been a while since I have played the game and it was the first time for my brother-in-law, but what is so awesome about Powerstone is just how simple it is to get into the game.  Bash your opponent until they drop their coloured gem, before racing to the final third gem to transfer your character into  its super powered alter ego. Only three buttons are needed - punch, kick, and a button combining the two.  Yet, the game is surprisingly deep with a variety of combinations available for each character to batter your enemy with. If plain old fisticuffs aren't enough you can always choose to barrage your opponent with what ever is lying around in the stage. Weapons range from boxes, swords to flame-throwers, and grenade launchers.

The stages themselves are also full of colour and charm, and the London pub and Kyoto gardens are as striking as ever. The art style of the game is also perfect and all the characters look great portrayed in their anime style, while their alter egos look like they belong in an episode of the Power Rangers. Each are all quite different though and there's no Ryu clone type problems.  Running in 60 frames per second the game still looks just as good as a lot of modern games these days, and the music is also great, with some toe-tapping tunes for each stage.

Stages are rich in detail and charm.
This stage is home to
the amusingly named "Fokker"
In fact the only criticism I could level at the game is that compared to other fighting games on the system, the number of characters in Powerstone is rather on the short side, with only 8 available at the start and a further 2 once you clear the game a certain number of times. Regardless, the game is a great deal of fun to play and the variety of ways to defeat your opponent ensures that no two battles are the same.
Coincidentally, I was having drinks with friends from Capcom on Friday and we were all in agreement that these are types of games they should be making and not endless clones of Street Fighter IV.  Powerstone would be an ideal Live or PSN  title with online play, but for now Dreamcast owners can take pride in the fact that such a *ahem* gem, was made for their system.