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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

Yes
No
Maybe
Hope to Receive it as a Gift


Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
8.0
Visuals
6.0
Audio
9.0
Gameplay
7.0
Features
7.0
Replay
10
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Dreamcast
PUBLISHER:
Sega
DEVELOPER:
Atlus Software
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
April 26, 2000
ESRB RATING:
Mature
 Written by Thomas Wilde  on August 31, 2001

Review: We have a lot of killing, a confusing story, and stupid looking outfits, what more could a gamer ask for?


If you have the means, construct a Quake mod where you have no other weapons save the axe. Were you to then add distinctly odd character designs, and an intricately ridiculous Japanese plot, you'd get Maken X, a "first-person slasher" that is, if nothing else, unique.

At the beginning of the game, we meet Dr. Hiro Sagami, a world-renowned expert on "psi," the energy of the human spirit. Sagami has constructed Maken, an artificial life, which just so happens to look kind of like a sword. Maken has the ability to extract and modify psi, which in turn allows it to "brainjack" people, possessing them. Suddenly, after Maken's awakening, Sagami's laboratory is attacked by what would appear to be a traveling freakshow. To try and save him, Sagami's daughter Kay grabs Maken and goes after his attackers. Kay is thus swept up in a plot to take over the world, masterminded by the mysterious Geist. Only Maken, who you control, and Kay, who shares a strange bond with the sword, can stop Geist, and in so doing, save Dr. Sagami.

Clearly, this will involve dicing a great many people. It always does. Maken X, as I said at the beginning of the review, is a first-person action game. In gameplay sequences, you'll jump about a bit and solve the occasional puzzle, but most of your time will be spent hitting other people (if strange bondage ninjas can be called "people") with melee weapons. This part of the game is fluidly animated, expertly programmed, and has a very good learning curve; the first couple of levels are easy, thus allowing you to get a feel for the play control, but starting with the third level, an abandoned temple in India, the game will begin attempting to cave in your face for you.

The "hook" here, so to speak, besides first-person swordplay, is that Maken can possess certain people. As the manual explains, Maken does so by modifying the psi of a given target, so the target retains his or her abilities and memories; hence, each character you control has different abilities and specialties. Kay, for example, is a straight and unimaginative swordfighter, while Haken Audrey, who Kay eviscerates at the end of the first level and Maken subsequently brainjacks, is a polearm-wielding freak with some kind of missile weapon in his tongue. This adds a bit of strategy and variety to the game, which would otherwise become a bit monotonous.

Speaking of monotony, each level is broken up by a long series of story sequences, each of which is, by my watch, five hundred years long. Fortunately, you can skip through them with the B button, as well you should, or you will probably grow old and die in front of your Dreamcast. That and the utterly horrible character designs in Maken X are my only two real criticisms of the game.

Everyone in Maken X, with the exceptions of Kay, Anne, her father, and Kou, looks utterly, mystifyingly, brain-meltingly stupid. It's like the guy who made the last Fatal Fury movie got turned loose on a video game; it's like having to sit through one of those Parisian fashion shows where the models are wearing clothing no non-model in their right mind would ever wear. "Asinine" comes close, but the English language is almost insufficient to convey the horror which the Maken X character design instills in me. It makes Vagrant Story look like Final Fantasy 8. It makes Yoshitaka Amano look like John Cassaday. Maken X is the standard-bearer for the horrible marching armies of Fruity Character Design, and there can be no excuse.

Bottom Line
Maken X is a decent game with some interesting twists to it. The story's sort of weird, yes, but you can fast-forward through it if you like. Even the voice acting's okay, except for Kao's. If you don't mind how the character design will attempt to make your eyes melt, Maken X can be a pretty good time.


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