To call Power Stone 2 a fighting game would be a very limiting evaluation. Fighting each other is only a part of the make-up of the game. There are so many other items and weapons to interact with in the environment. What is more is that each environment is specific and different from all of the others. This is the main difference from the first installment. Instead of jumping around like leapfrogs on speed, trying desperately to get the gems in small locations, you have to be more calculating and use the locations to your best advantage. All this makes for some great fun that will put your fingers through a seriously grueling test. Oh, and did I mention that it is 4 player compatible?
When people will talk about this game they will surely mention the flying fortress that explodes and leaves you fighting as you fall to the ground, or the turrets on the rising and sinking submarines. But there is so much more. Take the Dojo scene where you have to fight around a pool and then up a fire escape-like mechanism to the top floor. There are also elevators to deal with along with an Indiana Jones style boulder aiming to crush you and your opponents. If the complex levels are not enough, there are also complex bosses. There are 2 different bosses who are not fighters, but rather huge mechanisms that require a pattern-like strategy, similar to defeating the bosses on a platform game.
All this adds to a style of gameplay that feels more like a platform game than a fighting game. You are constantly dodging objects swinging from poles and ceilings, and trying to acquire as many gems and weapons as possible. It would be impossible to compare this to any fighting game on the market since it has so many options that really set it apart. The closest cousin would be Super Smash Bothers for N64 but Power Stone 2 puts everything in 3D and has tons more moves and pick-ups.
All of the fighters in the first game are back with 4 new fighters including a Mario look-alike Italian chef who fights with a frying pan. (He sucks though, probably as a snub to Nintendo). This is the first game I have played where it is irrelevant who you pick since special moves and fighting style is not the only important aspect. What will win or lose the game for you is the skills you posses as a platform gamer. Strategically placing yourself, watching for hazards, getting to the power-ups and to the gems are all just as important as knowing the combos. Therefore, each character is pretty evenly matched (except the Italian) and for the first time you can pick the guy you think is the coolest looking and actually have a chance. (If only this were the case with Zangief).
To keep the game interesting the designers have added more that just cool levels. There are many different modes that focus on collection and points, which can be traded in for prizes and cheats. Since this version is all in Japanese you will probably have to get a translation. There are also versus modes that are customizable and survival modes to test your skills.
Power Stone 2 is worth getting if for no other reason than it is like no other multi-player game on any system. It is fast and furious without compromising its depth and strategic elements. For the first few levels you will constantly here yourself saying, “Wow check that out!” even if you are playing by yourself.
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