Maximo vs. Army of Zin
Game Info
Platform(s)
Playstation 2
Publisher
Capcom
Developer
Capcom
Genre
Platformer
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Animated Blood, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Better swordplay
• More weapons and moves
• No money required to save
• Nifty “save the innocents” feature

The Bad

• Short length
• Toned down difficulty

 
Grade
A

When the classic Ghosts And Goblins series made it's next-gen debut on the PS2 as Maximo, it was received with mixed reactions. Some people loved the game for its intense challenge and great gameplay, while some were pushed away by the same. Now, Capcom has almost reworked the original game to give us something that is both new and nostalgic.

Graphics - The original game looked extremely good for its time and still is great to look at. MvAoZ retains the graphical style of Maximo. It features nice lighting effects and quite good textures. The game now sports a more diverse landscape. The first few levels take place in a village and they are very nicely done. You fight in burning village, a church, a field and later on even on a flying ship. Maximo himself has changed a little in terms of physique and facial detail. He looks less cartoony now, which supports the overall epic feel of the game. The enemies, clockwork monsters, are beautifully rendered. But they are rendered with a limited color palette to a limit. The bosses too look as good and sport nifty character design. The game isn't as astounding as Jak II or Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando, but is still quite good.

Sound and Music - Again, the sequel opts for a less cartoony feel. The musical score and voice-acting change in the same way. Maximo sounds like a serious hero now, and even Grim sounds like he has a job to do. Not to say that the comic feel has been dumped completely. But it has been toned down considerably. The music in the game is like it should be in a platformer, supportive of the atmosphere and unobtrusive in the action, MvAoZ's music is perfect for the job.

Story - The story works quite well in MvAoZ. It isn't very strong but it gets the job done. It only kicks in once about every five levels or so. It never puts breaks in the action, which is the prime priority in this game. The story still has a few twists and is fun to play through. You, as Maximo, are still searching for your beloved Sophia and now have to save the world from the clockwork Army of Zin, which had once been sealed in a Vault but now has been freed. Grim too wants the destruction of this army as they have absorbed all the new dead souls so that there are no souls left for the underworld. Together they must defeat the Army of Zin and maybe Maximo will find his love on the way.

Gameplay - This is where a game should really show it's true colors to become great. And MvAoZ does that. To really visualize this game, think of Devil May Cry. Now put in platform gameplay and the free roaming feature seen in new age platformers, and a few of the legacy features of Maximo. That's MvAoZ. The sequel sees many changes brought about in the main features of the original game. It builds upon the original to provide a wholesome action platforming experience.

1. Firstly, you no longer choose levels through a central hub. Rather this game opts for the original classic's approach of sequential progress. But you can backtrack to play the levels as much as you want to achieve mastery in them to unlock bonuses.
2. You no longer require money to save. You can save in game and on the map screen.
3. The levels now feature resident characters who, if you save them, give you money/keys/hints and sell you stuff.
4. Now you don't have to find moves and keep them locked to retain them. You simply buy them for permanence. This works extremely well, and makes the game easier. The buyable items in the game are bought from soldiers and people who you save in each level. They can only be accessed in the level after saving them. Not to worry though, almost each level features these ''shops''.
5. The game now features a simple yet effective combo system. In addition to your bought moves, you have a simple arsenal of moves that can be easily combo'd. You can use simple combinations of horizontal and vertical strikes. And like DMC you have the upper cut combo, the pierce combo and the basic ground and aerial combos. You can also upgrade your basic moves. And you will need these moves because Maximo now has to do more fighting than jumping around.
6. Like DMC you have a second weapon, a hammer, which you find pretty early in the game. Again, like DMC's gauntlets the second weapon is more powerful but slower. This weapon has an analogous yet slightly different move set with similar buyable moves.
7. Like DMC, you also obtain more powerful variations of you weapons, shields and... shorts/armor.
8. The game features a super meter and a reaper meter, which fill by killing enemies and collecting souls. The super meter allow you to perform certain moves like shield throw etc. The reaper meter when full, can be used to summon Grim who is very powerful, but only remains for a small time.

This game borrows a lot from DMC, and that isn't a bad thing. It retains it's original features, adds a few and takes away those which made the original game annoying like the money bird, which does significantly less damage to your financial savings now. The only thing this game lacks is minigames.

Difficulty - The first game was quite difficult and yet manageable. MvAoZ is relatively very easy as compared to Maximo. The Normal mode is very easy and Maximo veterans should opt for the Hard difficulty. Removal of the quirky save feature and temporary moves makes this game much easier. But Mastery of the levels still requires some skill. The boss battles too are relatively easier.

Replay Value - For the people who want to unlock bonuses this game will last them a long while and they will enjoy it. While those who just want a run-through will need a max of 7-10 hours. And they too will have fun during the playthrough.

Overall - MvAoZ is an excellent sequel that brings as many new things as it retains. It lies somewhere in between Ratchet And Clank: Going Commando and Jak II in terms of innovations and changes over the original. It's still as fun as the original and not as annoying. A perfect mix of platforming and action. I recommend this to both types of gamers, those who like action and those who like platforming. I also recommend buying this if you're a fan, though a rental will be enough for a single run-through.

- - Rise of the Phoenix

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