Forgotten Games: Maximo vs. the Army of Zin (PS2)

I’ve picked this up from a bargain bin because it was bestickered with good review ratings. It seems rather short (I’m 76% through the game after three not-so-long sessions), but I’m having a huge amount of fun.

It’s the successor to the spiritual successor to the successor to Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins. Everyone complained that the first part was too hard, so this sequel has a save function that’s accessible rather freely, more lives and less frustrating platform passages.

In essence, it’s like God of War, but with some substance instead of just graphics, and with less silly puzzles and dumb collision detection. You swing your sword, do your combos, slice through different enemy types and feel sort of oldschooly. Also, the music is surprisingly well made in some levels (am I hearing half an orchestra? Why, I am!) The story is totally forgettable, but that’s to be forgiven. At least you won’t have to endure hours of unskippable dialog.

Replay value? Not much, unless you want to get 100% on all items and all secrets in all levels.

I saw this on the American eBay site for USD 5 and on Germany’s for EUR 9, and it’s still in bargain bins here around that price. It’s an action-platformer that won’t require your undivided attention for several weeks but is still wholly satisfying. If you remember how games used to be and feel an urge to say “that, please, just more prettier”, give this one a spin.

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5 thoughts on “Forgotten Games: Maximo vs. the Army of Zin (PS2)”

  1. Did you play the first Maximo? The first turned me off with seemingly sluggish controls and “unavoidable unless you know it’s coming” deaths. Does the second have any of that?


  2. Yes, and I got very frustrated for the same reasons in Maximo 1 — didn’t even finish that game. Maximo 2 feels like a completely different game. They got rid of the unforeseeable dangers almost completely, and the second improvement is in the platforming part. In Maximo 1, if you didn’t hit a platform or ledge exactly, you would fall. And die. In Maximo 2, you’ll automatically drive your sword into the wall to cling to the platform. Then you can press jump to swing yourself up, sort of like the ledge-grabbing in other platformers. It’s very well-meaning towards the player, you can miss the platform by quite a margin and Maximo will still perform the move. The only problem with it is that the “up-swinging” doesn’t always work on the first try, but for EUR 5 that’s no biggie.

    The controls I found *very* tight, not sluggish at all this time. After about 10 minutes of getting used to how things work, I could aim my jumps with near total confidence. If I did miss a hop, it was usually because of my own having misjudged something, or wrong timing. Just as it should be in a platformer.

    Also, the camera seems excellent. It rarely ever points at the wrong place, and if it does wander off it’s intuitively adjustable with the right analog stick. Much better than in e.g. Shadow of the Colossus, where I always had to poke the cam. But Maximo’s engine doesn’t have to cope with wide open landscapes, so we can’t compare those two directly.


  3. I finished it this weekend. Yes, it is quite short if you don’t go back to replay the levels, but I still stand by my verdict 🙂

    There are a few nuggets in the ending that anyone who’s ever played Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins will find cute. And the characters are quite fleshed out for an action-platformer like this. I’ve only noticed this in the last two levels and three cutscenes, really, but it’s there throughout the game. Just don’t be too critical of the voice acting.


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