Powerstone, Capcom, 1999
Powerstone is a fighting game by Capcom that was released in the arcades and for the Sega Dreamcast. While technically a fighting game, the play style is very different from most contemporary games attributed to the genre. Instead of focusing on combos, strikes, and defense, the focus in Powerstone is on mobility and using the terrain to your advantage.

Fights can take place in bars with balconies, Japanese rock gardens, and metal foundries, for example, and players must take advantage of the tables/chairs/girders/crushers/walls and everything else in sight to defeat their opponent. In each level appear three glowing gems, the Power Stones, and if a player can collect all three they are transformed for a short time into a powerful avatar of their character. Also appearing are various weapons such as flamethrowers, swords, and guns. Though the gameplay seems simple to one accustomed to fighting games such as Soul Calibur and Virtua Fighter, there is a depth to this game that is not immediately obvious on first play.

A very fun game and well worth the learning curve, Powerstone was succesful enough to spawn a sequel, which hit arcades and was released to the Dreamcast in 2000. The game was transformed somewhat into a four player game which is chaotic and insanely fun when you have a full complement of people to play with. The terrain is much more active, changing over the course of the fight. For example, players may be battling in an old tomb, when suddenly the floor will drop out from underneath the combatants placing them in the path of a rolling boulder, which everyone must stay ahead of while still dealing punishment to their enemies.

As fun as the multiplayer is in Powerstone 2, the single player game is sorely lacking, as tends to be the case in party games. Unfortunately, the two player gameplay seems less entertaining than the original's as well, but this may purely be this reviewers slant on this. Overall, both are tremendous games well worth checking out.

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