Power Stone Collection PSP Review

It's not every day you see a chef get in a fight with a kid, unless it's a lunch room mishap that gets completely out of control. ("What's with the damn meat loaf, old man?!") But Power Stone Collection offers up this kind of scenario, as well as many others. It's got a fighting spirit similar to that of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. games, where up to four players can grab weapons, use items around the level, and beat the crap out of each other grabbing glowing gems known as the Power Stones. Once three are acquired, the fighters can gain a Super Saiyan-like ability and pummel their foes to no end as they get to the end of the Power Stone adventure.

The name should sound familiar to the hardcore gaming freaks out there- this series first emerged back on the Sega Dreamcast upon its release in 1999. You remember the Sega Dreamcast, right? Sega's last piece of gaming hardware before they stepped into third-party land. The original Power Stone still remains a lot of fun, introducing players to free-flowing environments filled with weapons and danger galore. The second game, Power Stone 2, is even better, with twelve fighters to choose from (including the chef and the school kid mentioned above) and more multi-tiered environments.

Power Stone is best played with multiple players, and that's where the tricky part comes in. To really engage in Power Stone Collection in its best environment, three other players with PSP's and copies of the game must be tracked down. You'd have better luck trying to find three girls that have an interest in you and then having them fight in a pool of corn to see who deserves you the most. The game unfortunately doesn't support any kind of game sharing, meaning that the only way a player can get involved on a single PSP is if they're peering over your shoulder. And that's all you need, heavy breathing in your ear while trying to find power stones.

The single player game is also present and accounted for with a smattering of modes, but it's nowhere near as entertaining as multiplayer. There are AI bots to fight against, items to collect, and bosses to take on, including a weird four-legged Egyptian God that looks like the Mummy's loyal pet, but the game just isn't the same when friends aren't involved.

The graphics look acceptable, but most players will notice that the screen has been cramped up to fit accordingly on the PSP. What this means is that players will have to struggle at some points to locate their fighter on the screen. It's not horrible, but more could have been done to make the Power Stone experience more accommodating on the handheld. The music and sound effects are still good, although the announcer's attempts to inject excitement come across as flat. "Oh, nooooo!" It sounds like he's watching a Cleveland Browns game when they're losing. (Apologies to our Cleveland reading audience in advance- if you're reading this, we meant the Houston Texans. For those in Houston, you read it right the first time.)

The game still plays wonderfully, however, and fans who enjoyed the Power Stone games in any capacity will still find stuff to like in Power Stone Collection. But Capcom should have tweaked a few things to make this more of an ideal get-together, namely the graphic presentation and the multiplayer options. As is, it's still not bad, and it makes us yearn for a third chapter. We even have an ideal character to put in Power Stone 3- the mighty game journalist. Feel the thrust of our almighty pen, suckers!

What's Hot: Fun in multiplayer; just as much fun to play as it always was; new mini-games rock.

What's Not: Single player isn't as much fun as multiplayer; the game's resolution suffers due to a shrunken screen.

3/5