Maximo: Army of Zin - PS2

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Maximo: Army of Zin (PS2)
Viewed: 3D Combination Genre:
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Capcom Soft. Co.: Capcom
Publishers: Capcom (GB)
Released: 13 Feb 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+
Accessories: Memory Card
Features: Vibration Function Compatible


Those familiar with Capcom's Ghouls 'n' Ghosts classics are probably also familiar with the company's more recent PS2 offering, Maximo: Ghosts to Glory. The 3D revival of the 1980's series was very well received. It brought back a much forgotten approach to game design, whereby gameplay is given precedence over graphics. That was 2002, and now Capcom is revisiting the world of Ghouls 'n' Ghosts yet again with a second 3D offering on PlayStation 2.

The story here, as with all others in the series, is a simple one. Eight months have passed since Maximo began his search for his true love Sophia, but so far his efforts have been in vain. And to make matters worse, the 500-year old Army of Zin has escaped its prison and is wreaking havoc wherever it goes. Your task is to help Maximo defeat the Army of Zin and continue his search for Sophia.

And that's about it. But what we really want to see is how well the sequel plays. Has Capcom taken note of the criticism of its last offering? In a word, yes. Where Ghosts to Glory was unforgiving and frustrating at times, Army of Zin does show some mercy. The platforming element of the game is less awkward, and the infamous double-jump move has been refined. Maximo has also been blessed with several new and powerful attacks, and there is a greater choice of moves available to Maximo from the outset.

In addition, Army of Zin now boasts a set of non-playable characters (NPCs) littered around the game's cartoon-like environments, which reward players when saved from certain death. Some offer money and armour, whilst others serve as a means to purchase valuable weapons and armour upgrades.

But the most significant addition comes in Maximo's ability to summon and play as the Grim Reaper. When the action starts to get a little hairy, players can give Maximo a breather by calling in his undead friend for a short period of time. It's an extremely useful ability, and by sacrificing additional coins, players are able summon him for greater lengths of time.

The rest of the game remains pretty much the same as its predecessor. Each of the stages remain linear and to an extent, dynamic, and the visuals are still gorgeous. However, end-of-level bosses have become more challenging and the area-hub has been ditched in favour of a straightforward map system.

Army of Zin improves on the first Maximo outing in many respects and is well worth a few hours of your time. But will our protagonist find his true love? You'll just have to play it to find out.