Maximo takes place in a dynamic, fully 3D world. The character can move freely by running, jumping, crouching, and performing other various motions. Gameplay revolves around defeating large numbers of enemies, which can be accomplished by attacking with a sword and shield, and using different combos and special moves. Like Arthur, Maximo fights wearing armor, but if he is hit, he will lose it and must continue fighting wearing only his boxer shorts. The ultimate object of the game is to rescue five damsels in distress. The first four sorceresses will bestow one of three gifts upon their rescue: armor, a chance to save the game, or a kiss. The player can pick only one of these gifts. If four kisses are collected before taking on King Achille and the rescue of Sophia, an art gallery is unlocked for viewing. The reason that "saving the game" is one of the gift options is that it would otherwise cost 100 Koins to accomplish this, and money is not easy to come by.
When the player runs out of lives, Grim allows Maximo to return from the dead at the cost of Death Koins. The price is one Death Koin the first time, but rises exponentially the more Grim is called upon (two Death Koins the second time, etc.). Death Koins are earned whenever 50 spirits are collected. This will satisfy Grim enough to give Maximo another Death Koin. However, spirits are even harder to find than regular Koins, which are needed to save the game or buy more armor. This is one of the biggest complaints against the game, with most people arguing that this brought the difficulty level up tremendously, rendering the game not nearly as enjoyable as it otherwise could have been.
Maximo, a brave knight, thinking he’d found a trustworthy assistant in the likes of Achille, decided to leave his apprentice behind and go out into the world. Achille turned out to be an evil super-villain, and now the land is in trouble. Four princesses have been captured, and the dastardly Achille has spread them across the world, stashing them away in four separate towers. To make matters even worse, Achille has taken Maximo’s main squeeze as a bride. The knight must now battle fierce creatures and explore dark lands, in the name of peace and love.
- King Achille - A once trusted advisor and friend to Maximo who was driven power-mad. He used Maximo's absence to his advantage, capturing the kingdom with his army of the undead. He now probes the underworld for more spirits to add to his powerful armies. He also appears in the sequel Army of Zin under the guise of Lord Bane behind the Zin forces.
- Sophia - Known in court circles as the "lovely Sophia," Maximo's betrothed was once a princess. She is now being forced into matrimony by the evil King Achille. Maximo's quest is focused on his one true love. Sophia resides at the top of the Keep in Castle Maximo.
- The Four Sorceresses - Lenore, Aurora Lee, Mamba Marie and Sephonie are the four magical maidens who must be rescued before Maximo can regain his precious Sophia.
- Ghastly Gus - The boss of the Boneyard, Gus is holding Lenore captive. He is a massive ogre with pallid skin, torn clothing and a hunched gait. He moves ponderously and slowly, but carries a large shovel that he can use to pound Maximo. He is digging a grave at the top of his lava-encircled castle when players encounter him. His weaknesses are his two big toes, which stick out from his shoes. They must be struck with a downward strike of Maximo's sword to fell him.
- Bokor La Bas - The boss of the Great Dank, Bokor is holding Mamba Marie captive. This grisly witch doctor can shrink Maximo down to the size of a mouse, after which he attempts to squish him underfoot. He also carries a voodoo doll of Maximo, which he uses to great effect.
- Captain Cadaver - The boss of the Frozen Wastes, Cadaver is holding Aurora Lee captive. He is an undead pirate with a skeletal parrot on his bony shoulder. His vulnerable point is his peg leg, which can get stuck in one of three floor grates in his undersea base. He alternates between shooting Maximo with his pistol, and swiping him off his feet with a giant anchor.
- Lord Gutterscum - The boss of the Realm of Spirits, Gutterscum is holding Sephonie captive. He is a giant, bloated demon, hovering under the power of a pair of tiny, magical wings. Speckled with red spots, Gutterscum's fat, flatulent form is tough as old boots, with only a rear end to aim at. He hovers above a circular mesh floor within a huge metal cylinder. Beneath that are four more floors of mesh, but each of decreasing size. A vat of molten lava lies bubbling at the bottom. He showers Maximo with alternate blasts of fire and bile, and then slams straight down, sending the rivals down to the floor below. If Maximo does not destroy him before they reach the bottom floor, Maximo is killed in the fiery lava.
In 1999, Capcom introduced the Maximo manga to video games, in an attempt to merge the Ghosts 'n Goblins universe with Matsushita's work. The title was originally planned for the Nintendo 64, but was delayed for several years and transferred for the PlayStation 2. Maximo was presented in E3 2001, and released at the end of the same year in Japan and in early 2002 in the United States and Europe.
The concept was created by Capcom Digital Studio head David Siller who wanted to bring back "old school" game play. The game was produced by Mark Rogers and designed by David Siller, Bill Anderson and Scott Rogers. Jonathan Casco was the art director.
The artistic team placed special emphasis on the design and rendering of the characters, as well as putting a great deal of work into the environmental effects. The game's music, which varies from stage to stage, includes orchestrated remixes of the tracks found in Ghouls 'n Ghosts and Ghosts 'n Goblins, composed by Tommy Tallarico.