Welcome to Power Stone World
20 years later it's still Falcon good
Capcom's flawless Power Stone is a vivid, striking fever dream. Brash sounds and colours, flamboyant characters with over-the-top moves, it's the Dreamcast's "arcade at home" ethos writ large.
Essentially knockabout, I'm sure that Power Stone has some hidden depths, but that's not how I remember it. That's not how I play it. Run around the condensed 3D environments throwing furniture at your opponent and grabbing the titular stones, hoping you don't get them knocked out of you by an errant grenade or plume of fire. Get three, go super, hit the shoulder buttons to trap your enemy in a private dance before rhythmically kicking seven shades out of them. Turn into a whirling dervish of blades and bandages. Roll over your opponent in the form of a giant golem. It's absolute madness and it's wonderful.
The cast of characters is small, but memorable. Jack. Ayame. Gunrock. Rouge. Every character is totally distinct and they're all fun to control. The stages are tight and iconic, with plentiful gimmicks and items to interact with while being so compact that you're never truly safe from Player 2. And, of course, multiplayer is where it's at. Playing the computer is fun, but nothing compared to the experience of sitting beside your friend, yelling at them to get away from the blue stone, panicking when they transform.
It's content light, to an extent. What's there is enough. There are plenty of unlockables - secret characters, new weapons, etc. It has delightful minigames downloadable to the Dreamcast's truly insane Visual Memory Unit. There's not an enormous amount to it, but everything that's there is in direct service to the superb gameplay.
There's a sequel, but in my view it over-eggs the pudding with way too many gimmicks and far lesser stage design. It does, however, have multiplayer for four. This may be enough for it to excel in some peoples' eyes. I'll just stick with the original.
Power Stone. So good, I played it with the Sega Get Bass Fishing Controller.