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Maximo: Ghosts to Glory (PlayStation 2) artwork

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory (PlayStation 2) review

"Capcom’s latest may be just what you need if you are a platforming or nostalgia freak, but be wary; underneath the near-perfect graphics and pick up and play game mechanics lurks something much more sinister."

I’ll admit to pumping plenty of quarters into Ghosts ‘n Goblins when the old man at the stationary store around the corner put it in his gameroom. I even used to dream about it at night. When the game was resurrected on the NES and later on the Saturn, I was guilty of having spent way too much time in front of the TV. When I heard my PS2 was getting an all-new GNG my heart went all aflutter. The gold armor…the shield upgrades…ALL NEW ATTACKS?! I must’ve been dreaming. Unfortunately, I think I was-at least in part.

Maximo’s story, while trite, works well enough. As Maximo the player must slash their way through hoards of undead beasties, collecting treasures and upgrades, leaping from unstable stone to unstable stone, all in an effort to reach the end of 5 worlds to rescue his beloved princess, the hostage of an evil no-good-nik named Achilles. When you first fire up Maximo, prepare a place for your draw to drop to. The graphics are easy on the eyes, and by that I mean we haven’t seen much better on the PS2. Clean animation, detailed backgrounds, and incredible lighting effects prove that Capcom was pushing all the right buttons on the PS2 to make us stare in amazement.

The weapons and armor system is quite surprising, offering a bit of customization and a bevy of special moves to master. Whirlwind attacks, floor spikes, and the ability to shoot fiery projectiles are a welcome enhancement to the GNG formula. The game’s controls are split between super responsive and push “x” and get a sword slash next week. While you’ll have no problem traipsing around and double jumping all over the place, Maximo suffers in the same way that Jedi Power Battles suffered; you can’t just keep thwacking enemies no matter what. If you get knocked back, Maximo needs a nano-second to “collect” himself before he can strike again, and that just ain’t right. Some of the game’s frustration stems from this glitch, as you’ll no doubt be heard screaming from around the corner as you are mercilessly handed your butt-cheeks over and over again.

The other 90% of the game’s frustrations come from cheap shots and just plain difficulty. The hordes of undead you’ll do battle with just love to sucker punch you while you desperately try to reach a safe spot to unleash some much needed skull-crackin’, and sometimes a rather tricky camera can really interfere with your jumping skills. You’ll no doubt be stuck on one level for a long time, and this is where Maximo ever so slightly falls from grace. You have to complete each level in order to save, and you must collect Death Coins in order to continue. While innovative and kinda fun for a while, it’s not easy, and may just have you believing the antichrist works at Capcom.

The game’s sound effects are superb. From the clank of your sword to the scatter of bones, the game is strikingly realistic. It does suffer in the music department though, opting for more of a background feel to the soundtrack rather than real up-front, drivin’-the-action tunes that pull you into the game just that much more. Fans of GNG will notice some familiarities between this game and the older ones, but it really could’ve benefited from more music.

Amid all this frustration, gamers must remember where Maximo comes from. The original GNG was infamous for it’s difficulty. I broke two controllers trying to guide ol’ Arthur through this mess years ago. Is it fun? You bet. Is it insanely hard in some parts? Incredibly so. Still, Maximo is a fine example of a well-designed platformer and a great addition to a classic series. Although it stumbles in some places, it is solid, but may not be a game for everybody. Whatever you do, do not let the game’s tough exterior stop you from taking this ride. It’s well worth it.

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Community review by matsuko (Date unavailable)

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