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Maximo vs Army of Zin PlayStation 2

Published by Capcom Europe
Developed by Capcom Co. Ltd.
Released - 13th February 2004
Price : £39.99

Maximo saw the rebirth of the Capcom classic Ghosts 'n' Goblins and was a classic in it's own right. The move to 3D proved to be very successful and Maximo was certainly one of the most enjoyable games I've played on the PlayStation 2 to date. Of course with Maximo being such an accomplished game, a sequel was pretty much demanded and thankfully we have one in the shape of Maximo vs Army of Zin. The sequel promises to have more attacks and weapons, be more heroic and have more boxer shorts. It can't fail to be a hit can it?

Maximo vs Army of Zin begins with us searching for his true love, Sophia. Once again Maximo is accompanied by Grim. In their search for Sophia they encounter new enemies; clockwork monsters that Grim discovers are powered by stolen spirits. It appears that these monsters could be the Army of Zin that was supposed to have been locked away forever in the Great Vault of Hawkmoor. The Army of Zin are led by the evil Lord Bane and they seem hellbent on destroying everything. Can Maximo and Grim destroy these evil opponents?

If you are new to the series then you'll be wandering what the game is all about. Well essentially it's a fun-filled hack 'n' slash with the odd puzzle here and there. Like most hack 'n' slash games there is a certain degree of repetition but the game play is so free flowing and entertaining that it never becomes boring. Maximo begins with a basic suit of armour and throughout the game you'll be able to collect Koins (the currency in the Maximo games) that will enable you to purchase armour upgrades, hint scrolls, health, boxer shorts (there are various pairs with their own special abilities), sword and hammer attack combos from the peddlers and old guards that you'll encounter. You'll also get weapon upgrades throughout the game. As you can imagine then collecting Koins is of primary importance. Should Maximo take damage you'll see his armour disintegrate until he's finally just left in his boxer shorts, which is rather comical.

It's not just a question of button bashing though and there is more to collect than Koins. Collecting the spirits from slain enemies will eventually fill your Grim meter, which will in turn enable you to call on Grim who can be extremely useful at dispatching certain enemies. There are some platform game elements here which require good timing and the occasional double jump but none of it is too difficult and it never gets frustrating. Whilst combat is a major part of the game though it's undoubtedly enjoyable and the rewards for stringing successful combos together (which results in more Koins from your defeated enemies) encourage you to actually use the combos and not just give the buttons a random mashing.

Graphically Maximo vs Army of Zin is very similar to the original Maximo and once again it's ultra smooth frame rate is impressive and you can even play in NTSC 60Hz mode if your TV supports it. The animations of the characters and the presentation as a whole is simply first class. The cutscenes are also remarkably polished and look excellent. Whilst it wouldn't be correct to say that Maximo vs Army of Zin has the finest graphics on the console to date, they do look good and they have style which is something you can't say for a majority of the games out there today.

The only real blot on Maximo's classic gameplay was the lack of subtitles. The same cannot be said for Maximo vs Army of Zin though as it's fully subtitled, which is excellent. You'll be able to fully enjoy the cutscenes and follow the games story. You'll also be able to know exactly what's going on during the game, which is essential as you have to converse with the local inhabitants and various traders that you will encounter. All the game information, such as your scores and ranking (at the end of the level) etc., is all given in text.

Maximo vs Army of Zin can be considered a successful sequel to Maximo. Not only does the game have subtitles this time around but almost every aspect of the game has been polished and we have a very classy game indeed. One of the big differences this time around is the difficulty level, which is easier than the original Maximo. This is a double edged sword as it opens the game up to the more casual gamer but those of you who loved the challenge of Maximo might be surprised at the speed with which you progress through this game as you'll complete it in no more than eight hours. The bottom line though is that everyone will enjoy the game and once again Capcom have left us asking (Oliver Twist style) 'please sir can we have some more?'

Overall Game Rating: 9.0/10
More accessible and less frustrating, Maximo vs Army of Zin is a successful sequel to Maximo that both fans and newcomers will both thoroughly enjoy even if it is a little short.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No problems this time around as the game is subtitled.