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Power Stone is an action 3-d fighting game developed by Capcom for the arcade and Sega Dreamcast. Released in the US on the Dreamcast's launch date (9.9.99), the game was generally overlooked by gamers who were more interested in high-profile titles like Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure, and Marvel vs. Capcom.

As you may have guessed, obtaining the "power stones" is the key to victory in Power Stone. Each player starts with one stone, and a third appears in the arena after a short time. Belting your adversary with a strong attack will cause him/her to lose their power stone, which you can then grab.

Once you have all three power stones, you transform into a super-powerful version of your character, where you can inflict massive damage with your "Power Fusion" (super combo-like) attacks. But the powered-up state only lasts a short time, and when the time is up, two power stones will re-appear in the arena, with the third one following quickly behind.

The most compelling feature of Power Stone is its interactive arenas. Toss a box at a shelf, and watch its contents spill onto the floor. Those ceiling fans aren't just for circulating air-you can swing off them and perform devastating attacks on your opponent. You can also punish your opponent with more traditional weapons like swords and flame throwers, which are scattered throughout all the arenas.

Power Stone isn't without its problems, though. There's only eight characters selectable from the start, and only two hidden. Also, the balance is very off on some characters. Wang-tang seems to be much more powerful than any of the other characters, while Jack seems all but useless. Also, when your opponent has all three power stones, it is virtually impossible to launch an attack against them. The powered-up mode is so much stronger than normal mode, that the game can often seem like a case of "Gather the Stones" rather than a fight.

Still, the innovative game mechanics of Power Stone make it well worth a look for both Capcom fans and people looking for a new angle on the 3-d fighting world. The character designs are gorgeous, and the fluid and interactive arenas make it among the best 3-d fighters available for Dreamcast, although its sequel Power Stone 2, offers several key improvements.

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