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Maximo: Ghosts to Glory Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 64%
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory
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  • B-
Since the 8-bit era, Capcom has had the reputation of making hardcore games for hardcore gamers. Though they've had plenty of exceptionally hard games over the years, the one series that has demanded gaming godhood the most was the Ghosts and Goblins series. Every game in that series demanded outright masochism from players thanks to elements ranging from Red Devils that chase you through the whole level to the infamous ending that forces a second playthrough. That level of insanity would be virtually impossible to transfer into a 3D world, but Capcom gave it a good try with Maximo: Ghosts to Glory.

For the record, Maximo is a spin-off from the Ghosts and Goblins series, not a sequel. Rather than just rescuing one princess from the Devil like Arthur did, Maximo has to rescue four sorceresses in addition to his queen from the evil King Achille. The very appropriate catch is that Maximo starts the game dead; a deal with the Grim Reaper to save souls Achille is trying to steal brings Maximo back to life. The plot just serves to get the game going and, like its progenitors, can safely be ignored. Players will have enough to worry about without worrying about the story.

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory (PlayStation 2)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The gameplay adapted reasonably well to three dimensions. Rather than throwing javelins like Arthur, Maximo has a sword as well as a shield that can be thrown like a boomerang. Enemies have different AI routines that require different moves and tactics to defeat. It reminds me a lot of Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden reboot that hit the Xbox the following year, and that's a good thing. The game is actually a bit easier than the earlier ones. It definitely helps that Maximo can take a few hits before he's in his boxer shorts. The level design is very challenging but quite reasonable; instant death traps are minimal. The visuals are colorful and varied, and the game runs perfectly. It still looks good even on my HDTV. The music is okay, but it sounds like leftovers from The Nightmare Before Christmas, not really memorable.

Unfortunately, Maximo has more than a few skeletons in its closet. The camera is terrible. It stays too close to your character, making it very easy for enemies to ambush you. The only controls available for the camera are pressing the L1 button to reset it behind Maximo's back and holding the R1 button to look around while standing still. Would it have killed Capcom to put camera control on the right thumbstick? Those camera controls artificially inflate the difficulty as far as I'm concerned, and there are other things that do that, too. Needing to spend 100 koins to save each time is a pain in the wallet. The hub worlds linking the stages aren't even safe; I've actually been killed by skeleton ambushes in the hubs.

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory may not be as insane or memorable as its Ghosts and Goblins ancestors, but it is still a decent game. It took what it could from the previous games, added its own twists, and put it in a world that still looks impressive today. While not as infuriatingly difficult as the older games, it is still a very hard game meant only for hardcore players. If that's you, grab your sword and jump in.
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