You are currently viewing an archival version of GF!

Click here to return to the current GamesFirst! website.

Questions? Suggestions? Comments?
Contact us at:

title.jpg (13625 bytes)

star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)

by Capcom

2-01.jpg (7184 bytes)For nostalgic reasons, we all maintain an internal list of games we’d love to see revisited. I know I have my own list: Bionic Commando, Ninja Gaiden, and Ghosts & Goblins. And with these lists comes rumor-mongering of the worst kind. We latch onto each tidbit of news from the game developers who’ve been with us since the old school. So, when news of Maximo: Ghosts to Glory started to speckle the websites and magazines, and eventually Capcom’s site, I couldn’t help but pick the damn thing up and give it the once over, a kick of the tires so to speak.

3-01.jpg (6371 bytes)I imagine the meeting rooms, the flurries of late-night emails, phone calls, conference calls, the works, when it comes to taking another look at a formerly by-gone legacy; however, Capcom has done an excellent job with its return by bringing the same feel and environment that Ghosts & Goblins and Ghouls & Ghosts had without really catering to the older games. A complete overhaul has been done—and, let me tell you, there was no skimming. It’s all here: the feel, the look, and the steep increase in difficulty as you blow through the levels.

5-01.jpg (7225 bytes)King Maximo returns from war to find his kingdom beneath the hand of his trusted advisor, Achilles whom maintains an undead grip on the people. This isn’t the worst of Maximo’s problems; Achilles has also abducted the lovely Sophia and imprisoned the four sorceresses—one for each level Maximo must conquer. Death is also a friend you make in the game. He’ll visit you on occasion.

6-01.jpg (7933 bytes)Maximo possesses the basic skill-set you’d imagine in a knight: sword, shield, and power-ups for both. And, like his predecessor, Maximo can be reduced to battling it out in his boxers, which themselves are upgradeable, if you take too much damage. I wouldn’t recommend fighting in the partial nude as armor can be scarce on some stages. As you move through the levels you’re able to retain more power-ups. These can range from granting you the ability to spin-attack to giving your sword or shield a special ability, i.e. freeze your enemies, fire upon them from a distance, or dispel mist. Overall I found the combat fluid and easy to get in tune with. No menus, nothing to hinder you.

10-01.jpg (8018 bytes)Enemies can come from every direction, so it’s important to get used to forcing your camera to jump in behind you so you can see what’s ahead. Most of the time the camera AI can keep you from dying, but occasionally it tweaks out, leaving you exposed. Each level has its own set of baddies, while some stay with you through most of the game. The range goes from the very undead, zombies, skeletons, ghosts, to snow monsters and hammer wielding pigs (well, these guys inhabit the undead world, so I guess they’re dead, too). Each can be beat in a variety of ways. The best attack I found was to stun them with a downward strike and then jump in for the attack when they’re knocked to the ground. Shields also become handy in this game. Depending upon the power-up you get, you can retrieve treasure, force the shield to hover and wipe out multiple enemies, or zip in for a long-range attack -- handy when you’re almost dead at the end of a stage.

7-01.jpg (8252 bytes)Throughout each stage you encounter check-points, but the only save points are in the limbo select area, and they’re not free. Each save will cost you 100 coins, so be aware of this when you enter a new level. Mostly it works out nicely, forcing you to pick and choose what you purchase in the game. Purchasable items include upgrades to your boxers, shield, armor, health, etc. At times I found you need to make that sacrifice, especially at the higher levels, to regain some life if you want to make it through the level.

8-01.jpg (8347 bytes)Once all of your lives have been lost, Death will visit you and ask for a sum of Death Coins to continue. If you lack sufficient funds: game over. Now, this may sound harsh, but it’s pretty easy to get these coins during gameplay. All levels have statues scattered throughout which contain trapped spirits. By demolishing these statues, you release the spirits. Once you’ve collected fifty of them you get a Death Coin. But be careful -- the more often you continue the higher the asking price goes: one coin, two coins, three coins, you get the point.

9-01.jpg (8502 bytes)One must also make mention of the tremendous amount of work that went into this game’s design. The FMVs are wonderful, very much a cartoon and on par with the best FMVs I’ve seen on the PS2. Additionally, Capcom didn’t lose much by approaching the level design in a pretty traditional way. In fact a majority of this game borrows from the traditional elements you’d find in the old school side-scrolling adventures. Each level has a limbo area where you can run around and select the next stage you want to play. By completing all of the stages you unlock the tower in which the sorceress is guarded by a boss character; however, Capcom hasn’t left this area enemy free. Nope, you have the undead running around trying to knock you out before you make it to the next stage marker.

4-01.jpg (8563 bytes)One of the more surprising features of the game, which isn’t necessarily a downer, is that it’s relatively easier to beat the boss characters than make it through some of the stages. Maximo keeps you challenged throughout the game. At the end you’ve again become a master at precise and timed jumps, thoughtful attacks, because sometimes you just can’t go in there swinging.

1-01.jpg (10624 bytes)From the music down to the gameplay, Maximo stands out in my mind as one of the finest games this year on the PS2. The game is both nostalgic and new at the same time, catering to neither in particular. A fine mesh, and one which you need to experience for yourself. Out of any of the series Capcom should continue this should be one of them—oh and when they have time Bionic Commando. This game is great for people who enjoy a good-ol’ adventure. Highly recommended.

Matt Baldwin   (04/03/2002)


Ups: Great gameplay; action-packed; nice visuals; a lot of fun.

Downs: None to report, sir.

Platform: PlayStation 2