- Xbox Game Reviews Previews Mod-Chips Accessories

Buy XBOX Mod-Chips and Accessories at:
Xbox360, XBox, Wii Chips
NDS, X-Box Accessories



To be accepted as an affiliate you have to place a link to us on your website and e-mail us your URL - ModChips - Mods
Xbox HDD mods
  XboxWeb >> Xbox Game Reviews


Circis Maximus




1 - 4


Videogame adaptations of movies don't always work well, but an adaptation of a historical culture? That's something different.

Do you like Gladiator movies?

I loved the movie Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. The action sequences were killer, and the sound track was a work of art. It took the video game world almost 2 years before capitalizing on the popularity of the film - the result is a game based on a specific part of the Roman Empire. Sure a few years ago, Sierra released Caesar 3, for the PC but that really wasn't an action/adventure title and really didn't do the era justice. Circus Maximus is a chariot racing "slash" fighting game based on the Roman era. Circus Maximus does a great job of capturing all of the excitement of the classic movie Ben Hur while fusing it with the same game play mechanics of such racing games as EA's outstanding Road Rash series.

Graphics wise, Circus Maximus does not use the Xbox superior hardware to its full advantage. There are other graphically superior titles on the market than Circus Maximus. Another thing that I found a problem is this. Circus Maximus just does not capture the sense of speed that comes with careening down a stone hobble road attached to 2 thoroughbred horses. The frame rate does stay at a solid 30 Frames per second with no pop up what so ever. But with the power of the Xbox, it could easily do 60FPS with much better graphic resolution. The colors do not stand out and it looks almost washed out. This game didn't take full use of the Xbox graphics chip, and it shows.

Sound wise, Circus Maximus is done very well. From the sounds of the horses, to the cries of the warriors as you attempt to impale him (or her) with your spear or trident (or other destructive device) it all comes out very clear. The soundtrack also fits the game very well and is done quite well. It really captures the mood excellently and makes for a very exciting experience. The taunts of the individual warriors however do seem to be a bit out of place considering the time period the game takes place. The taunts sound like they come from a extreme sports competition then a chariot race that took place during the time of the roman empire. Gamers who play their Xbox with 5.1 and surround sound are in for a treat. The beating of the pavement by the horse's hooves never sounded better.

Circus Maximus uses the entire controller and unless you are double jointed you may have a problem reaching and utilizing all of the buttons that the game requires. The left analog stick controls the direction of the horses is steered to by pressing either left or right. By pressing down on the right analog stick you can have the driver lean down which is perfect when you come across a low lying branch. Pressing the right analog stick down quickly whips the horses making them go faster. Pressing down on the d pad allows the player to view his chariot from a front view allowing seeing how close his opponents are behind him. Pressing up on the D pad switches to auto driving. Perfect when you have to take out some sucker who drives along side you and you want 100% of your attention to doing just that. The A button is used to accelerate. The left trigger and right trigger allows players to perform a hard turn perfect when you are teetering close to the cliff edge and don't want to fall off [As opposed to the times when you would want to fall off—Ed.]. By pressing both triggers you can brake. By pressing the left analog stick down, the warrior can duck, and by pressing the left analog stick button you can perform your warriors taunt. The B button is used to perform a low attack, X button is used to block and the Y button is used for the high attack. The white button performs your warriors finisher attack and the black button performs your warriors double attack. As you can see, the Xbox controller (and your thumbs) gets a full workout. The inclusion of the auto drive is a welcome addition.

Scattered through out the games courses and tracks are several nice touches that are worth mentioning. For example, while you race you will visit both rural and urban(well urban considering the time period) areas. You also have a opportunity to race on a variety of road surfaces. You will race on Hobble stone roads, to dirt paths and each has a unique sound of the hoofs beating the pavement. It’s a small detail, but its impressive none the less. Also, you will have to deal with the environments as well as your opponents. For example, you may have to duck as you come across a low lying tree. Or to swerve as you make a last ditch attempt to dodge a bolder that just rolled directly into your path.

Circus Maximus features several modes to keep the discriminating player busy for a long while. In arcade mode, you can choose a chariot team and a track to compete in a single race. In empire mode, you can play with up to 4 other players. I have to admit, this is a huge selling point for me, and it did not disappoint. With four players this game is easily one of the best titles available for Xbox. It's almost on the same level of Halo when it comes to the co-op mode. There is something very satisfying watching 2 of your buddies take a spill down a cliff just because you nudged them a little bit. When racing as a cooperative team, one player controls the driver and the other controls the warrior.

The Career and Tournament mode is the bread and butter and heart and soul (or blood and guts) of Circus Maximus. In this mode, players can earn Dinari (the currency that was used back then and is still used today in Italy) that will allow you to progress to new courses, which you can then unlock for the other modes in the game. Occasionally you may have to fight in a brutal death match to prove your worthiness to unlock the next track. Players can also unlock other modes and chariot teams to use as well.

In the training challenges, players can learn basic and advanced techniques to help you in the games career mode. The Hall of Heros lists the best achievements for all to see. The top scores for each track are listed as well as the ranking of the top 5 charioteers in dinari earned. Also tracked are the most kills, fastest lap time, and fastest race time. I wish more games would have this feature.

Overall, I had fun with Circus Maximus and while I would recommend on that aspect alone I can not recommend it to players who think Graphics are the end all-be all when it comes to videogames. If I were to judge Circus Maximus solely on the games graphics then I would have to recommend players to look elsewhere. But in every other category that matters Circus Maximus either does very well or excels.

Mike-amus maxi-Regan-amus
Did the "Carpe Diem" thing and got arrested for shoplifting.

Circus Maximus: The Scores













The Final Word:  Players who are able to overlook the games graphical problems will be well awarded with a deep and satisfying game. If you have friends that enjoy multiplayer co-op games, Circus Maximus is simply a must buy.

gamerweb reviews policy  

Related Links

  • Xbox Features

  • Backtrack

  • Back to Main

  • Back to Reviews

  • Back to Top

  • - Buy Video Games for Consoles and PC - From Japan, Korea and other Regions!