Technically speaking, Smash Bros. predates Power Stone 2. While the original Power Stone made its debut in 1999, the sequel wasn’t released until 2000, one year after the first Smash Bros. title. They were two similar games that happened to come out around the same time, and it’s unlikely that either title influenced the other in any way.
Still, I can’t help but feel that Smash Bros. could learn a few things from Power Stone. I love every game in the Smash franchise, but none of them have ever compared to the feeling of four-player Power Stone 2. It doesn’t matter that you can’t play as beloved characters and are stuck using the clunky Dreamcast controller. Everything about it is magical.
See, Power Stone 2 is about so much more than beating up your friends. One of the game’s primary mechanics involves the titular Power Stones. If players collect three, they can transform into a more powerful form, but collecting those stones is much harder than it seems. Even if you manage to grab a few, players can easily steal them away from you by using an item or kicking your ass.
Of course, stones aren’t the only thing you’ll be desperately fighting over. Some of Power Stone 2‘s levels begin in the sky and have you falling through the air halfway through. The only item that can protect you from massive fall damage is an umbrella, and the game never hands out enough for everyone. As you plunge towards the ground, you’ll constantly fight for those precious umbrellas.
Yes, Smash Bros. has awesome items, and yes, players fight to get them, but those fights never feel as important as they do in Power Stone 2. When you don’t get a cool weapon, it doesn’t feel like a big deal, and your focus is always on the main battle. I want Smash Bros. to send me into the same frantic frenzy Power Stone can. I’ve never had a multiplayer experience half as intense as a great game of Power Stone 2, and I want to have that experience again.
The Smash Bros. games are fantastic, but they could be so much more than what they are. If they managed to capture even a little of that Power Stone magic, they’d have everything I ever wanted in a multiplayer game.