|Box art scan shamelessly stolen from GameFAQs.
Someone at Capcom USA should have been sacked for turning
Firebrand into a green gargoyle instead of his signature crimson.
From time to time, video game companies see fit to tinker with their intellectual properties. This may be due to creative surges within the development teams wanting to try something new. Sometimes a dev team knows the formula within a given series has become stale or rote, and they feel the need to mix things up. There are examples where changing the formula has had resounding success, such as Konami's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, as well as instances where this approach completely flopped, as was the case with Accolade's Bubsy 3D. Whatever the reason, creative minds generally need to branch out to do different things to keep things fresh and flex their creative muscle.
Such is the case with Gargoyle's Quest from Capcom. It's sort of an off-shoot of the Makai-Mura series, better known as Ghosts 'n Goblins, or Ghouls 'n Ghosts. In Japan, the game is known as Reddo Arima: Makai-Mura Gaiden, which can be roughly translated as Red Arremer: Demon World Village Side-Story. Rather than starring the main protagonist of the Ghosts/Ghouls series, Arthur, it actually stars the "red arremer" enemy from the original game known as Firebrand. Based on the game's plot, it could be seen as a prequel to the original game, which you find out at the end.
Continue reading Gargoyles Quest, 1990
It's been on hiatus for a bit, but welcome back to the RFGeneration Community Viewing of GameCenter CX!
This week's episode will be Arino's hardest challenge yet - Makaimura, also known as Ghosts 'n Goblins outside the US. For those that have played this game, you'll get to relive all of those frustrating moments, including watching Arino's first encounter with Red Arremer, the red flying demon. Will Arino be able to defeat him, and what will Arino's response be when he realizes the true ending of Ghosts 'n Goblins?
Also on tap for this episode will be the second part of the Try Amusement Tower TamaGe, and interview with Sega's Yu Suzuki, and the first Sega SG Series / Mark III collection.
I hope everyone enjoys! I'll get back to posting these on a regular schedule now.
Maximo: Ghosts To Glory (2002) is Capcom's effort in trying to create a modern platform game with the classic Ghosts 'N Goblins feel to it. The game was originally planned for release on the Nintendo 64, but after being delayed a couple of years it found itself on the PS2 instead.
When starting a new game you'll see Maximo returning home after war in a nice CGI cutscene. Things aren't exactly as he had hoped because Achille has taken over his kingdom and opened the door to the underworld. To make matters worse, Achille has captured four princesses aswell as Maximo's wife, Sophia. With a devastation spell, Achille sends Maximo to the underworld where he's given a chance by the Grim Reaper to resque the princesses and regain control over his kingdom.
Despite being a difficult game, the gameplay of Maximo isn't complicated at all. Maximo is restricted to four moves: a basic swing of his sword, a power strike, a downward strike after double-jumping and throwing his shield. When venturing through the five worlds of the game you'll encounter different enemies that each require a unique combination of moves to defeat.
Knowing how to defeat each enemy is critical for your success, because just like in games of the past, Maximo dies after only a couple of hits. Furthermore, you need 100 coins each time you want to save; which is only possible in the central hub-level of each world. If Maximo happens to loose all his lives he'll return to the underworld where the Grim Reaper will ask for a Death Coin to revive the fallen hero. A Death Coins is obtained by collecting 50 Blue Spirits. If you die without any Death Coins, it's game over for good. All of this results in a game that's far more difficult than other platform games on the PS2, or even modern games in general.
Needless to say, Maximo will require a lot of trial & error, figuring out how to defeat certain enemies or remembering where the next armor chest is located.
To make things less repetitive, Maximo will find abilities along the way aswell as power-ups for his sword and shield. Some abilities are almost vital to survive (like the double swing or throw shield abilities) while others aren't of much use throughout most of the game (like Thunderbolt) The sword power-ups however always come in handy, as they make Maximo's sword stronger and are needed for certain abilities. To get the most out of these abilities it's best not to die, because Maximo looses all but a few "locked" ones when faced with death.
Each world features five levels that are to be completed to gain access to the world's boss and the next world eventually. Each level has its own difficult moments but luckily a couple of checkpoints can be activated, so death doesn't necessarily mean starting all the way from the beginning of the level. After clearing a level you'll get a great feeling of success that is hardly present anymore in most modern games.
Maximo's graphics match its old-school gameplay in a sense that everything (except the character models) looks a bit blocked and flat. Often, walls or floors aren't more than a single huge polygon with a texture slapped onto it, clearly showing Maximo's history on the N64. This never bothers me because Maximo is intended to feel like a 16-bit era game. On the other hand, character models are detailed and animations are fast and smooth.
The sound of the game does the job well, with nice sound effects and good voice-acting for the (scarce) CGI cutscenes. I especially like the the game's music that enhances its classic mood aswell as each world at the same time. A couple more songs would have been nice though.
Overall, Maximo is a double-edged sword. Novice gamers will be frustrated with the game's trial & error gameplay and cumbersome save system while old-school gamers will love the game's nostalgic feel. If you're up for a challenge, like platform games or like 16-bit games, be sure to check out Maximo: Ghosts To Glory. 8.6/10