Game Info
Playstation 2
Official Website
ESRB Rating
The Good

• Excellent, challenging action
• Wonderful environments and ambiance
• Strong platforming gameplay

The Bad

• Story and gameplay don't seem too well linked
• Save system is not well thought out


Maximo is the spiritual (no pun intended) successor to Ghosts 'n Goblins and Ghouls 'n Ghosts, both classic platforming games by Capcom. Maximo returns from war to find his advisor Achille has taken over his kingdom and taken Princess Sophia as his bride. Achille banishes Maximo to the realm of the dead, where the hero makes a deal with Death to free the four imprisoned Sorceresses to set things right. While not a direct sequel, you can easily tell that Capcom wanted to make a game with the same sense of character and style. Gamers must lead Maximo through levels of fighting and exploration, working their way through graveyards and swamps, among other locales, to find their way to the end of each level.

is put together excellently. The characters and monsters are designed with a sense of charm that balances style and character excellently. Animations are well-done and the level designs are quite remarkable. In fact, often when moving through a level, the path will alter, as in the first level where earthquakes make an easy path more treacherous. Each level is littered with hidden areas, some of which are not so easy to find without the player "messing around". Lighting effects are well done and the overall visual look of the game is structurally solid. There is only the occasional rough edge here and there, but it's obvious that Capcom has spent some time on making this game look good.

Maximo takes the concept of action-based platforming and utilizes it well. Each area is broken up into an intro level leading to a "Hub" level, where the player can save and access the other levels. Once all of the levels are completed, access to the area boss is available. Even in the "Hub" level, players need to be weary of enemy monsters and hidden items. While in each level, the path is often right in front of you, unlike the more open world of Jak and Daxter, but that doesn't mean you have to just keep going forward. A lot of items can be found behind locked doors or through smashed windows. Almost everything in the game, be it tombstones or enemies, yields something that Maximo can collect for bigger things, like another Continue coin or gold coins to spend on health or even saving the game. Fighting enemies is more than just hack and slashing your way. Some enemies are tough and will block your attacks. The shield you have will be important, as you will need it to block certain enemy attacks. And blocking isn't as easy as just hitting a button - if Maximo is facing the wrong way, he'll still get hacked from behind. Moving through each level, you will find the path is often treacherous. Certain areas have skeletal hands reaching out of the ground to grab you, while in other areas, the ground can give out from under you. Another aspect is the fact that enemies drop all sorts of power ups, allowing your attack strategy to change. With the power ups, your sword can become longer, empowered to shoot fireballs or the player can throw the shield for more damage or collect items from afar. As in the previous titles, the character's armor shows how much damage he's taken, ranging from full armor to just a pair of boxers. While running around in your boxers is funny, it's not recommended for a length of gameplay.

Both the sound effects and music are superbly done. Neither seem to get monotonous. Musically, you can get a feeling of nostalgia from the older platformers by the way the music is done. The voice overs in the cut-scenes are decent, even if a little cheesy. To be honest, a story like this needs a little cheese to keep it from being too serious for itself.

The Bad:
For the most part, I find Maximo to be a high quality game that can stand on it's own, but I do seem to have issues with a few of Capcom's decisions in making the game. It's not that these choices ruin the game, but they do seem to detract from the overall enjoyment. First, the CG story sequences, while well done (even if the lip synch is off), feel rather disjointed from the rest of the game. It's almost as if the story and the rest of the game are two separate things. I wish they would have at least told some of the story with the in-game graphics engine to link the story and gameplay together. My other complaint has to do with the save system. While the limited places to save (one in each area and it costs you 100 coins) does add a level of difficulty to the game, it does seem rather constricting. This choice will often force gamers to finish levels just to be able to save.

Casual gamers will easily find this game challenging. In fact, it's nice to have a platformer with some challenge and a reason to play it over and over again (especially if you want unlock some of the hidden specials, like game art). Hardcore platforming fans should pick up Maximo. It is well worth the effort and money. It's nice to see that Capcom is able to make more that Street Fighter and Resident Evil games after all this time. Now, all we need is an equally successful sequel to be on the way...

- - Kinderfeld

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