March 20, 2002
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory - Review
Release Date Publisher Developer Players Rating Price
Online Gameplay Difficulty Save Size Vibration 60Hz 50Hz Border

Click To Enlarge Image
A soldier your mother would love.
When Maximo: Ghosts to Glory was first announced at the E3 show way back in May 2001 it received a huge amount of buzz. Although not an official sequel to the 16-bit Ghouls and Ghosts, this game is as close as can be. Developed at Capcom Digital Studios in America this update is very much a return to the old school style of gaming. To begin with Maximo is pretty damn tough, and you will certainly die a few times before the end. It's not impossible however, and more often then not your demise is made by your own mistake rather then some cheating AI routines found in so many games today.

The storyline of Maximo: Ghosts to Glory sees you control the fate of the gallant Maximo, who returns home after heading off to war to find his kingdom in shambles. Your once trusted advisor, Achille has wrought evil on the land. Not only is the countryside filled with hoards of the roaming undead, but the four wise Sorceresses have been imprisoned at the four corners of the Kingdom, and to make matters worse, your girlfriend, Princess Sophia has been forced to marry the scoundrel Achille. Talk about your bad days! Maximo must rescue the Sorceresses, restore good to the kingdom, defeat Achille's, and while you're at it, get your girl back!

Click To Enlarge Image
These guards are tough, for a while.
Maximo is very much a platform game in the classic sense of the word, and has made the transition from 2D to 3D in magnificent style. The world is stunningly detailed, and is populated with cartoon styled graphics and action. Maximo: Ghosts to Glory contains five main hub areas with several levels in each hub each of which is populated with many enemies. Upon completion of all the levels the Hub boss is unlocked for battle. Through these levels Maximo can collect a variety of spells, weapons, keys and Koins (like money) that will help throughout the game. Most of these are obtained by defeating enemies or finding treasure chests. The Koins can also be used to buy items to help you on your quest.

As with the original Ghouls and Ghosts this game has absolutely precise controls with pixel perfect collision detection. This is quite a feat considering the move to 3D and the problems which it can create. Maximo has quite a wealth of moves available including double jumps, blocking enemy attacks and using magic and spells while your sword is your main weapon through the game. You will need to master every trick in the book as you progress through the levels with each containing checkpoints to save your level progress. For 100 Koins you can save your progress to memory card in the level hubs. The bosses will also take some beating with each one having a different weak point and strategy to be employed. Strangely, the bosses seem to get easier as you get further into the game although that may be due to your increasing skill levels.

Click To Enlarge Image
Some of the lighting is stunning.
It's the level design, however, that really stands out in this game. The first level alone will see Maximo avoiding natural disasters such as the earth collapsing into lava pits, or sections of the levels being thrust up into the air. It's and exciting ride that only gets better as the game progresses. The levels are also structured in a rather non-linear way. It's possible to jump forward several levels and then go back and complete earlier ones that you missed at a later time.

Problems are few and far between with the only problem with the gameplay being the camera angle, which can at times go a little astray and takes too long to lock behind the player. It's easily fixed however with the tap of the L1 button. The camera also has a nasty habit of being too close to Maximo with little warning of enemies approaching from either side or behind. During the game it's also possible to have a look around pressing the R1 button will give you a first person perspective so you can look up and down.

The graphics in Maximo also manage to impress. Beside the camera angles, which are mentioned above, everything else is damn near spot on. The game runs at a constant 50fps with plenty of visual effects throughout the game. Some of the lighting is quite spectacular while the game will have many obstacles such as fire and lava fumes throughout. The variety in the levels is also quite impressive. Nothing too extravagant, ice levels, swamp levels, fire levels etc, but it's the quality that impresses. The animation on the enemies is also extremely well done, especially on Maximo who has a fairly wide range of moves to use through the game. Maximo: Ghosts to Glory is very impressive visually, and you won't have too many complaints here that's for sure.

Click To Enlarge Image
Yet more slashing action.
Just listening to this music in this game should give you links back to the 16-bit era with many of the great tunes of the original games making a return, albeit updated to make use of today's technology. The sound effects are also very well done with the sword thudding into a tree, bones of the skeletons clattering on the ground and earth movements having an awesome wall damaging rumble. Speech, which is pretty much restricted to the cut scenes, is also very well done. The voice of the Reaper is particularly well done as he has a menacing voice. It's obvious that no expense has been spared in this department.

What can I say about Maximo: Ghosts to Glory that hasn't already been said? This is a great title that should have gamers from the 16-bit days drooling to play. This is quite possibly the best update to a classic title in the last five years. Some people may find the game a little on the tough side, but that's what makes older games so great. You won't breeze through this in a couple of hours, I guarantee it. The only real disappointment is that this game was released the same week as the Microsoft XBox and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and may get lost in the shuffle. It certainly shouldn't though, as Maximo: Ghosts to Glory is just as impressive as anything else. This game is deserving of any collection. Classic.

GRAPHICSThe graphics do impress throughout, the camera could be improved.
SOUNDThe classic music is still evident and the sound effects are wonderful.
GAMEPLAYThis is retro gaming at it's best. You are rewarded for a tough game.
VALUEAbout 15-20 hours of gameplay which will have you back for more.
OVERALLMaximo is simply the most impressive update to a classic game ever. From start to finish you will be engrossed and challenged.

Talk about Maximo: Ghosts to Glory in this forum topic now.