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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Capcom

Ups: Insane new levels; cool characters; great graphics; super-fast action; cool item mixing system; four-player support. 

Downs:  May induce seizures of joy.

System Reqs:
Sega Dreamcast

10-01.jpg (4521 bytes)Power Stone 2 is a scavenger hunt, third-person shooter, fashion guide, mini-casino, mini-rpg, platformer, anime x-sport, party game, and 3D fighter. To call this a revolutionary fighting game is to only touch on the surface of what Power Stone 2 is. Power Stone was a revolutionary fighting game; Power Stone 2 is simply a revolutionary video game. There are so many elements to this game that actual hand to hand fighting will take a relatively small amount of your time.

4-01.jpg (5962 bytes)The story makes as little sense as the last one. A magical castle appears in the sky out of nowhere, you get trapped inside, and you have to fight your way out. Don’t look for any deeper meanings; it’s all on the surface where you can appreciate it more easily. You start the game with 12 characters to choose from and three levels that you can start with. All of the original characters are back with the addition of a victorian lady, a lone-ranger, Cowboy Be-Bop, type, a kid genius, and a psycho chef. Half the fun in the game is watching the various moves that these guys can do.

14-01.jpg (5750 bytes)The most discussed aspect of this game is the level depth. My only real complaint about PS is how small the fighting levels are. In PS2 (ya gotta love that acronym) the levels open up sky high. In one level you start out on a flying ship of some type, but soon into the fray the ship starts falling apart. Before you know it you're duking it out in free-fall. Finally you land on a multi-level floating platform with an abandoned tank at your disposal. In another level you're chased down by an Indiana Jones-style boulder, and in my favorite level you are hopping between the decks of three submarines while they submerge and surface on the water until one of them goes Titanic into an iceberg.

The items at you disposal range from simple swords and bombs to homing missiles and skateboards. The animation for each weapon is more elaborate than you see in most first person shooter games. You can still pick up just about anything on the level and there are even some vehicles that you can hop in.

15-01.jpg (4911 bytes)The controls follow the same basic format of PS. You do not have to master insane button combos to enjoy this game. One of the great things about it is its accessibility to novice gamers while giving the expert gamers enough to do without getting bored. There are complaints about its lack of a blocking option, but what other fighting game lets you run and hide or catch a boulder that's been thrown at you? I personally think that having to worry about blocking would have been one too many things to keep track of in an already overactive game.

3-01.jpg (5053 bytes)The adventure mode is what kept me coming back to this game. This plays more like a scavenger hunt where the number of items you pick up is more important than how quickly you defeat your opponent. You’re also awarded money for completing the levels. The money and items go into your inventory at the shop where you can buy new items, mix and match the ones you have, and flirt with the sales girl. By combining various weapons, food stuffs, and elements, you’re able to discover new items that will open up in the game. Arguably I have spent more time mixing items than actually fighting. It is addictive in the same way that mixing chemicals in chemistry class can be. The game promises over a hundred items, and I've only been able to access a portion of that.

It is relatively easy to get through the levels, much easier than the original, and the bosses only take a minimal amount of strategy to defeat. The greatness of this game lies in the shear number of items you can acquire and the the seemingly infinite options you have to defeat and humiliate your opponents. And the cooperative modes for two-player action are pretty sweet, too.

11-01.jpg (4367 bytes)I really love the graphics in this game. It is the closest thing you will find to 3D interactive anime. It is just like you’re in your very own incomprehensible plot with second rate translations. Sure, it lacks the realism of Soul Caliber, but there is a style and level of fun to this game that gives it a little more... well... soul than its Namco counterparts.

The game really soars with the four player option. The ability to team up on that roommate who refuses to do his dishes is worth the price of admission. It can be a bit distracting at times when playing with three other people. There is so much going on that it can be easy to lose track of where your character is in the melee, but that is a very minor complaint. I really hope that they're able to incorporate online play in the next version, and maybe sneak a couple of Marvel characters into the PS world.

7-01.jpg (4424 bytes)There are very few games I go back to after I've played through them once or twice. PS2 is the exception. For such a seemingly simple game there are limitless ways to entertain yourself. As a reviewer I need to maintain some distance, some objectivity with any game I play. I do not write catchy slogans for a fee--I am not a quote whore. It is not my job to sell product. Taking all of that into consideration, I can say without reservation that you must buy this game! I repeat, buy this game! Pawn family heirlooms, sell blood, get back your deposit for your PlayStation 2, do whatever you can to get this game in your library. You won't be disappointed.

--Jason Frank