E3 2001 Hands-on: Maximo

We play Capcom's upcoming Maximo and chat with one of the game's designers.


At Capcom's E3 booth this morning, we got to spend a bit of time with Maximo, an upcoming slash-'em-up that is inspired by the classic Ghouls 'N Ghosts series. We also got to speak at length with Capcom Digital Studios' William Anderson, one of the game's designers.

In essence, Maximo is a fast-paced 3D action game with light platform elements. The game's world gives off a tone of explosive chaos--just as in the more recent Ghouls 'N Ghosts games, whole parts of the world's surface elevate randomly, often requiring quite a bit of impromptu platform jumping. The control scheme allows you to deal with the fast pace very adequately, however--Maximo is equipped with your standard double jump, so traversing some of the crazier gaps is never more problematic than it should be. Hordes of monsters populate the game's dreary environments, and you must dispatch them with Maximo's powerful attacks. You start the game with access to two different sword strokes: a horizontal swing and a vertical swing. You can perform jumping versions of both of these, and you eventually come across power-ups that enhance their effects. One power-up, for instance, allows you to perform two-hit horizontal combos, while another allows you to perform a powerful dash pierce, Devil May Cry-style. Also, if you've collected the proper power-up, you can block attacks with your shield and hurl it at enemies. The enemies we've encountered ranged from weak, unarmed skeletons to powerful, heavily armored ones. Zombies also occasionally appeared, as did small floating specters. Most enemies die with a few quick blows, but others weren't so easy--one type of skeleton, for instance, wore heavy armor. The only effective way of defeating him was to repeatedly hit him in the head with a vertical slash in an effort to smash his helmet. After his skull was exposed, he fell relatively easily.

Anderson explained the game's power-up system to us in great detail. The game's power-ups serve as permanent enhancements to Maximo, and their effects vary. One, as mentioned before, allows him to hurl his shield at enemies, while another swathes his sword in flames. At the outset, Maximo can only have three power-ups equipped, though he can carry a great deal more. You can swap these power-ups in and out at your leisure, allowing you to, in a sense, customize your character. Anderson also explained that Maximo will gain "slots" for power-ups as he defeats the game's bosses, meaning that, in the later parts of the game, you'll be able to have five or six power-ups in effect. Maximo will also gain different swords as the game progresses, the most powerful of which Anderson called the "armageddon sword." Each sword will eventually gain projectile attacks, inspired, in part, by the special armors Arthur gained in the later Ghouls 'N Ghosts games.

While it's a wholly original game, Maximo's subtle use of Ghouls 'N Ghosts references will serve as a treat to anyone who's a fan of the venerable series. When his life meter is sufficiently depleted, Maximo is forced to romp through the worlds in nothing but patterned boxers. Additionally, phantom energy-spewing towers with evil faces dot the game's stages, and their designs will seem very familiar to fans of the series. Finally, the game's classic musical theme will bring tears and goose bumps to any seasoned side-scroller veteran.

According to Anderson, Capcom is shooting for a holiday release for Maximo. The game is looking great, and it's been in development for roughly two years, so it's pretty far along. We've no doubt that both fans of the old series and new gamers alike will be very interested in this one. Keep your eyes here for the latest.

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