Maximo Vs. Army of Zin
The original Maximo took a brave stab at bringing the classic 2D run 'n' jump gameplay of Capcom's spooktacular Ghouls 'n' Ghosts series into the modern age. It garnered fantastic reviews, but if you ask me, critics were overly kind to its faults--all that pinpoint platforming didn't translate well to the third dimension, the difficulty curve spiked erratically, and some levels were just plain dull. So, you'd think that Army ofZin would address all of these quibbles and perfect the formula, right? Wrong. Zin is actually a small step back for the franchise. Uninspired visuals provide the first clue that something is amiss: Nearly all of the stages bore with drab colors and lifeless backgrounds, and odd bouts of choppiness slow down the action. Plus, the characters look extremely simplistic and blocky, especially in close-up cut-scenes. Gameplay is much the same as in the first game-- you run around thwacking enemies, collecting goodies, and rescuing damsels in distress. Most levels are linear treks from point A to point B, so the occasional creative diversion really stands out: More stages akin to those in which you fight alongside A.I. comrades or bring down an iron airship would have infused some much-needed freshness. As it stands, you're basically beating up the same five enemies over and over, collecting money to buy a handful of new moves, and repeatedly dying during incredibly frustrating jumping bits. (Hey Capcom, what happened to toning down the platforming?) Rent it and get your fill.
Call me nutty, but I thought sequels were supposed to improve on the games that preceded them: you know, offer souped-up weapons, tweaked gameplay, new moves, yada, yada, yada. Army ofZin just doesn't do the job. Killing enemies--mostly a motley crew of brain-dead robots--doesn't require any figuring out like in the prequel (one of that game's most endearing points). The levels aren't as interesting, either (although they sprawl toward the end and pack plenty of secrets), and you're forced to replay previous stages just to build up your arsenal of attacks for the trickier later levels and bosses. The game does keep up the original's compelling pace, with enemies swarming you nearly every step of the way. I never got bored--I just never got all that excited, either.
I think Shane and Crispin forget just how annoying and numerous the tricky jumping bits were in the original Maximo. Zin's platforming bits represent a huge improvement--they're challenging but not sadistic. And while I agree combat could've used more strategy (you'll forget you even have a block move), the new attacks and weapons you can earn kept me happily mashing buttons. Zin is old school in many ways, and it lacks a feature or gimmick that really stands out, but this is a solid entry to the genre that action-platform fans will definitely find worth checking out.
Download Maximo Vs. Army of Zin
Maximo is back with his buddy the Grim Reaper ' this time to defeat an army of mechanical demons bent on taking over the world. Although this latest Maximo game does a lot to pump up the action and improve gameplay, in the end it's still a hack and slash that's repetitive nature will eventual began to grate.
The game plays much like , although the game does pack a lot more whollop in the same basic moves and weapons. You still have to fight your way through horde after horde of bad guy, hack and slashing with two basic button pushes. Army of Zin does boast more than 30 new combat motions and combos, so the hacking and slashing looks a bit cooler.
There are also a bevy of new weapons and armor, like the battle hammer and golden armor, and of course the collective boxers are back as well, but this time the undies do more than look purdy. Now you can collect such classics as the Treasure seeking boxers or Boxers of burning vigor.
You also get to play as Grim for brief robot crushing moments as you eat through a power-up timer. Maximo's movements and response is fairly precise, laying down double swings and overhead smashes in a tattoo of steel on steel pings ' but no amount of fine tuning can make a hack and slash be something other than repetitive.
Maximo's superb graphics and robust sound do manage to delay the inevitable but about halfway through the game I started finding myself a little bored with the slash, dodge, slash, dodge dance I had perfected to take out the goons. The game uses a pretty brutal continue system to eek a little more gameplay time out of Maximo, but forcing a player to continue after a set number of failed attempts will only keep them coming back for so long. Eventually I died one too many times and realized I wasn't really interested in the game enough to invest the amount of time I would have needed to go back through it and beat the game's 21 levels ' even with the promise of a revealing plot.
Maximo is a fun game to play, a great reminder of what made Ghosts 'N Goblins such a blast at arcades ' but it's repetition can't help but place it firmly in the realm of rental.