Maximo harkens back to the early days of gaming, a time when the gameplay experience was THE most important thing. There wasn’t much if anything to collect. Online gaming did not exist. And there was no such thing as three-dimensional games. But the gameplay — the thing that made us gamers in the first place — was perfect. And, unlike the platformers and action/adventure games of the current generation, it was not possible to beat every game in a day. It wasn’t because they were longer — length didn’t become a major issue until the late 90s — it was because they were harder. Most of the new titles released these days have an emphasis on large worlds that have hundreds of items to collect, but very few enemies to fight. This worked well in Mario 64 because the gameplay was so balanced. But every other game I’ve played in the past six years (excluding Jak and Daxter) had a dummied-down feel. A lot of developers (including Shigeru Miyamoto and Yuji Naka) have said that they make their games easier so that everyone can enjoy them. “Everyone” is loosely translated into little kids, leaving the older, more experienced gamers in the dust. That’s to say that kids are bad players, because most of them are actually better than the adults! But for some strange reason, developers still feel the need to make their games easier.
Not Capcom though. Maximo: Ghosts to Glory is one of the most difficult games that I have ever played. I honestly hadn’t screamed a game so much since Donkey Kong Country. And I loved every minute of it. Hordes of enemies will prevent you from succeeding, which makes the game a frustrating joy. How can a game be frustrating and enjoyable at the same time? Because the gameplay is beyond excellent and there is a never-ending amount of ghosts and goblins just waiting to kill you. You’ll scream, you’ll yell and you’ll repeatedly ask the game, “Why?” But no matter how many times you die, you are guaranteed to come back for more. Maximo is the quintessential game of replay value, and is proof that when done properly, a game can be extremely difficult without losing any of its long-lasting appeal. To give you an idea of how challenging Maximo is, I died more times trying to beat its first three worlds than I did throughout all of Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3, as well as Onimusha and Dino Crisis 2. Intimidated? Inexperienced gamers need not apply, unless you’re manly enough to face death a few hundred times.
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory is the 3D follow-up to one of the greatest game series of all time: Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins. There were times when I thought I’d never see Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins in the third dimension. But now, after many years of hints and rumors, Capcom has released the game we’ve all been waiting for. Maximo is so good that it gives me hope for other games. Maybe Namco can develop a 3D Klonoa game after all. Maybe they can do what Capcom did and improve on the game so much that it’s actually better than the 2D original. At first, I wasn’t exactly sure what I thought of Maximo. But after I got the hang of the controls and came to terms with the fact that no matter what I did, I was still going to die, I fell in love with Maximo. This game is worth every penny spent on it. Not just the $50 you spend to buy it, but also the millions of dollars Capcom spent to develop, market and promote this masterpiece. One of the best games of the year has already landed on store shelves and we’re not even in March yet! 2001 had a big affect on the gaming industry and I hope that its effects last for a very long time.
The bosses in Maximo are just as outrageous as the ones from Super Ghouls ‘N’ Ghosts. They’re bigger than you, stronger than you, and they pack a more powerful punch than you. The only way to beat them is to outsmart them. The first boss is a grave-digging zombie. His enormous size is intimidating, and his powerful attacks make him appear to be invincible. You can’t hit him in the head or the chest, and if you stand near him for too long, he’ll bash you with the side of his shovel. You can’t attack him from the rear either! Fortunately, the big ox made the mistake of wearing shoes that have holes in them. And — would you look at that — Maximo just happens to be holding a nice, long sword. Put two and two together and what do you get? A boss that can’t walk. Now you can attack his head and take away some health from his meter. There are many enemies in the game that require some thinking to beat, not just the bosses. This is such a nice change of pace from the usual hit-the-glowing-part-of-the-body type of enemies.
#Reviewer’s Scoring Details
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory proves once and for all that any 2D game can be recreated in the third dimension (so long as the company developing the game is as talented as Capcom). I hope that this game breaths new life into the genre and that it encourages other game developers to take the 3D plunge. Some gamers believe that not all games belong in the third dimension. Play Ghouls ‘N’ Ghosts for ten minutes, and then play Maximo for a while. Maximo will make you wonder why all 3D games aren’t this good.
When playing Maximo, it’s important to remember that it originally started development on the Nintendo 64. Later on, the developers moved the project to Sega’s Dreamcast in hopes of reaching a larger audience. I think you can figure out what happened next. That’s why Maximo looks like a souped-up Dreamcast game. Rather than waste valuable time trying to make the game look as good as Devil May Cry, Capcom decided to concentrate on the gameplay aspect of Maximo.
The sound isn’t one of Maximo’s strong points, but that’s only because the game plays so well. If it were any other game, the sound would really stand out. Maximo has a decent soundtrack, but it isn’t as mesmerizing as Onimusha or Resident Evil.
If you can’t tell that this is a game in the Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins series, you’ll quickly figure it out once you start dying.
Like Mario 64, Maximo perfectly emulates the classic 2D gameplay of its predecessors. It’s a 3D game with new worlds to explore and many new tasks to accomplish, but the 2D qualities are still present.
If you were alive during the 16-bit era, then chances are you’ve played one or all of the Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins games. There must be a law that prevents 2D games from being successfully converted to the third dimension in less than a decade. As much as I hate waiting, I can’t argue with the results. Maximo: Ghosts to Glory is everything I hoped for and a whole lot more.