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Nov. 1 2006
PowerStone Collection - PSP Review
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Multi-level action.
As many of you know, started life as Dreamcast Australia many moons ago. Sega's system was sadly history well before its time, however some games are still fondly remembered. One such title is Capcom's PowerStone and it's sequel, PowerStone 2. The games were a highlight on the system, but like so many others failed to sell in decent numbers. Now PSP owners will be able to get a taste of the frantic beat 'em up gameplay with Capcom's PowerStone Collection.

Power Stone Collection is a compilation of Power Stone and Power Stone 2. The big difference with this game and other 3D brawlers is that the environments are fully interactive. Not only can you use punches and kicks to defeat your opponents, but by collecting gems littered around the levels players can transform into more powerful fighters and perform super moves. As well as the super moves, weapons can be used throughout the game with Capcom adding several new ones to this title.

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The first PowerStone title.
As you can see this is essentially a beat 'em up which takes place in a 3D world. It's possible to pick up weapons to use against enemies as well as "Power Stones" which give you additional powers and can even transform your character into a more powerful being with weapons. The gameplay is fast and frantic, and the levels quite varied. One level sees you on the deck of a submarine, and it's a deck with a gun turret which you can mount and use. Another levels sees all the combatants running away from a boulder Indiana Jones style while still fighting the enemies.

One of the main differences between PowerStone and PowerStone 2 is that while the original supported two players, the sequel allows up to four gamers to battle it out. In single player it is possible to fight in 3- on-1 matches. I guess what made this game do so well on the Dreamcast was that the system had four ports so, assuming you have enough controllers, it turned out to be a wonderful party game. Naturally the PSP doesn't have four different controllers, but it does have Wireless networking capability and Capcom have put it to good use.

Two of the new additions to this PSP version of the game include a training mode where newcomers can get accustomed to the smaller details of battle in this game. The second major addition is that of a screenshot mode where you can pause the game and capture an image of the action on screen.

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Capcom's presentation is stellar.
The biggest issue we have with this title is that, much like the Dreamcast version, while the single player is good this is very much a multi-player focused title. Not in terms of game modes mind you, but the actual gameplay. With 4-players playing at once this game certainly moves up a few notches in the gameplay stakes. Sadly the big disappointment is that the developers have only included Wi-Fi Ad Hoc mode, with not the smallest hint of online gameplay. Making up for that it is possible to Gameshare the title with up to four players to battle it out - nice.

Graphically PowerStone Collection is a very impressive title. The developers give you the option of playing in either the original 4:3 mode, a stretched mode so the image fills the 16:9 screen or, as most would want it a true 16:9 mode so more of the battlefield is viewable. It's also possible to zoom in or out from the main action. Whichever options you choose the results are impressive with a very solid frame rate, interesting characters and locations and some wonderful effects. If there is one complaint it's that when zoomed out the screen can look a little too busy, and the characters a little small on the PSP's LCD screen.

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Go on, spot the 4th fighter...
Audio in this title is fairly generic beat 'em up fare. There's nothing offensive here, but it's certainly not up to the quality of Namco's Soul Calibur or Tekken titles. I guess part of the blame for that may be due to the age of these games. They were, after all, first developed some six and seven years ago now.

If you're a beat 'em up fan then this effort from the Capcom will certainly keep you pretty happy. I would have liked to see some more extras, and hell, even a new 'PSP' exclusive game would have been nice, but we can't complain. Given the limited sales on Dreamcast this is still a new title to so many people. Worth a look at the very least.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSEvery bit as impressive as the Dreamcast title - quite impressive..
SOUNDNothing overly outstanding, but it gets the job done well enough.
GAMEPLAYQuite a good beat 'em up which is handled well on the PSP's controls.
VALUETwo games in one package with extras. Much better in multi-player.
OVERALLPowerStone Collection is a decent compilation from Capcom. I would have hoped they could/would have added in some major new features, but it wasn't to be. Beat 'em up fans should check this out.

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