Circus Maximus: Chariot Wars (Original Xbox) by Encore Software

Circus Maximus: Chariot Wars (Xbox) by Encore Software Box Art

Xbox 360 backwards Compatible

North Amercian Release Date: February 26, 2002.

Region(s) Released: North America, Europe

High Definition Resolutions Supported: 480p
Widescreen Supported (16:9): No
System Link Support: No

Average Overall Score:
7.69 / 10

You're a charioteer in Roman times trying to win the championship and the love of all the people. It's nothing special."

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Circus Maximus is the first game to capture the power and the glory that was chariot racing of ancient Rome. Think of “Ben Hur like” racing action combining the challenge of steering your team of horses, which are truly alive, with cracking the whip to control speed and stamina. Sprinkle a fighting twist, spectacular crashes, immersive racing environments and you have the essence of Circus Maximus.


Wednesday, January 16, 2002
Friday, November 2, 2001
Thursday, November 1, 2001
Wednesday, October 10, 2001
Tuesday, June 5, 2001
Thursday, May 17, 2001

User Reviews

Score: 77
Overall User Average: 7.92 / 10 (76.9%)
Gameplay User Average: 7.75 / 10
Graphics User Average: 7.33 / 10
Sound User Average: 7.42 / 10
Date reviewed: December 5, 2002.

Overall: This game was very immpressive. Much better then I thought it would be. Very fun,but the game could get a little repetitive but would take you a long time to get completely bored of it. Plenty of game modes and multiplayer options to choose from. There are many different teams to choose from such as the Romans, Gladiators, Aztechs and much others. The fighting is great and there is an instant reaplay feature that would let you see you crash into or fall off a cliff several times over and oer again. The characters are detailed and cool. A minor problem is that the people of this roman empire talk like it is in the present. They say stuff that only people from 2002 and the 90's would say. They should of mad it more realistic. Some things they say are enjoyable. The enviroments give you the roman empire time feeling. They did a great job on that. A surprisingly solid game that you should definatly check out for a unique chariot racing adventure.
Gameplay: The controls are perfect for this game and made perfectly well. Easy to drive the chariots and fighting on it also. Each chariot is equipped to ride in different ways. Each of the teams are different in many ways. If you have a heavy guy you won't bump around as much. If you have a strong warrior they will take a lot of damage off there opponent. Gameplay is 5.0 quality.
Graphics: Visual appeal doesn't show 100% of the xbox's capability of the graphics. The models of the people are slighty plain and not that well detailed. Some are but not all. The envuroments are plain at some parts but through the level they could inhance. When a rock or tree falls down it looks a little poorly done. Not enough pixels.
Sound: The cries of pain and the yells of defeat and the chariots and the burds cheerping is very solid and enjoyable. The music in the game gets you in to the BC feeling. Definatly fit for the game and all of the sounds and music in the game are excactly what the should be.
Suggestions: Make a sequal and improve the minor problems that have occured.

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 80 %
Sound: 90 %

Date reviewed: November 18, 2002.

Overall: Great game to play with friends...gets kinda boring after awhile tho. Like a couple of hours:P:P:P:P
Gameplay: Great multiplayer fun. Single player isnt that fun. This game had fun fighting, and a very unique idea, but i believe ill try out gladius when it come out.
Graphics: Very good graphics, they could always use improvement, but i dont really think graphical perfection is a "must-have" on this game.
Sound: Pretty good sound. Lol i dont have that much to say about it.
Suggestions: Make a better single player system. Make it less arcadish.

Overall: 70 %
Gameplay: 70 %
Graphics: 80 %
Sound: 80 %

Date reviewed: September 8, 2002.

Overall: Its an ok game...doesnt have too much fun to it, I mean you always do the same thing over and overwhich lacks...good graphics and sound though!
Gameplay: There is pretty good modes just I thought there were aquard controls it has somewhat replay value which isnt that bad ;)
Graphics: The visuals are great for this type of game...I know how hard it is to make superb graphics (well maybe I dont) but this was a well done job.
Sound: Good sound the osunds of grunts and all the attacks and horses and junk. Overall great sound for the game but not truly taking advantage of the xboxes potential power.
Suggestions: Just make it better

Overall: 70 %
Gameplay: 70 %
Graphics: 90 %
Sound: 80 %

Date reviewed: August 29, 2002.

Overall: There are not enough games that take place in ancient settings. Chariot racing seems like a refreshing change of pace from sports cars.
Gameplay: Controls are complex and challenging at first, but ultimately the game does not offer enough features to entice players to keep playing. Most fun for 4 players, 1 or 2 gets a little boring.
Graphics: Graphics are not great, but not bad. Game is cartoony, but done to represent realism which isn't really a good idea. Fairly drab overall.
Sound: Ok? I don't pay much attention to sound in some games. Didn't notice anything horrible or great.
Suggestions: You seem willing to embrace a modi !&%$@#* of fantasy amidst the realism of your game. I suggest you delve a little further and up the arcade action a notch. Better power-ups, crazier environments/tracks would benefit gameplay greatly.

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 70 %
Graphics: 70 %
Sound: 70 %

Date reviewed: August 13, 2002.

Overall: Look only a goofy loon would turn their nose up to such a super title. What? Did you not see Gladiators? I originally got this title for the 2 player version. One of us could drive the chariot and the other person could arm themselves and battle it out with other warriors as we drove and fought like mad through all the twist and turns of the race. And thats just what we did! In my opinion this is one of those titles that you have to look past poor reviews. I have no idea why this awesome game would not get an awesome score. I am as critical as they come. I hate weak games that are worthless, and I promise you. This is not one of those games. It has loads of replay value. Something that is super important to me. If I had one shot at guessing why this game gets sour reviews. I would have to guess the lack of depth. I agree the game would be one of the best titles on the xbox with more depth, but as it stands it is easily a B or B- video game.
But appeal, sure I could not wait to war it out with all kinds of warriors and not only that but race for victory in a chariot. I will never part with this game. And take it from me. If you ever hear Circus Maximus 2 is coming out and its really improved. It will be an out of this world title. The bottom line here is that this game is so much fun !
Gameplay: The game is incredibly awesome IMHO. The music, the awesome intense battles and races. If this game had more depth it would be a classic and a huge success on the xbox. Do not get me wrong. The game is superb but with a bit of fine tuning and adding a larger world with gladitor style fighting along with the chariot races. This game would blow all other games away. Adding a bit of character development. I tell you I love racing titles and have lots of them and this game was a huge success with me because of the excellent fun factor. The tracks are awesome, each race is filled with excitement and nail biting action. Hey, you may love the NBA but as for me. I LOVE THIS GAME.. Hey why not make a part 2 and then start working on a spanish bullfighting title !!!
Graphics: Visually I was very surprised. I had read that the games graphics were nothing to slap grandma about and cry out laughing in joy. So I kinda just sat there thinking...."if this is lame graphics on the xbox, I cant wait to see what is good graphics." I mean come on. The graphics here are super. This title blows away the clanky PS2. Yeah, whatever, I sold my PS2 and dreamcast when I experienced the mean green machine. ! What more do you want, graphics = awesome !!!!!
Sound: Out of all the games I own for the Xbox. This title easily wins the crown. Yes over Morrowind and anything else ! With the sound quality and the tunes of ancient roman opera and fight songs. Nothing can touch Circus Maximus as for as songs and sound. And thats a fact !!
Suggestions: Hello, developers if you are reading this , take a listen...! Try exploring ideas on how to make this title have more depth. Make a larger world in which characters can race and fight in the chariot races, plus add combat 1 0n 1, or more style fighting in the big arenas. Like the movie Gladiator. If you took this concept where players could use the same character in a variety of different ways the game would explode into a huge hit. Where fighters can fight one on one without racing all the time. Gamers need more options and a larger world and more things to do. Freedom is the key... like morrowind sorta !

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 80 %
Graphics: 90 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: May 22, 2002.

Overall: The overall game was not that great. The best thing about the game, is trying to knock each other of the horses.
Gameplay: The gameplay is not to bad. The handling of the chariots isn't to hard. So it makes it a little easier to manuever.
Graphics: The graphics are not there either. It looks like a playstation 2 game. I thought the xbox was suppose to blow it away visualy.
Sound: The sound all you hear is clashing of swords and the horses making noises. The best sound is when the wheel falls off.
Suggestions: My suggestion is to make it a little easier to see where your going. Cause most of the time you can't.

Overall: 60 %
Gameplay: 70 %
Graphics: 40 %
Sound: 50 %

Date reviewed: May 5, 2002.

Overall: If anyone out there is tired of the same old racing car game and a fan of the movie Ben Hur they should definetly consider Circus Maximus for your Xbox collection. This is a well composed chariot racing game that is very very very original and its good for a change. You can choose your chariot, your driver, your fighter and of course your horse to race threw different race tracks around Rome and the Coloseus to compete against other chariot drivers and win the respect of Cesar. Everything that you choose has an impact on your game, with extremely long tracks (which is good). You can play against the computer or against a friend or a co-operative with a friend against the computer (while one controls the chariot and the other controls the fighter). This is a must have and is very recommended.
Gameplay: I have to admit the controls for Circus Maximus is difficult to pick up because you have to use the two analog joysticks but after you get the hang of it you will master the game and be sure to receive the respect of Cesar. There is a training area for your benefit where you are asked to do tasks to learn and understand the game. I, personally would strongly suggest that you do that before you start playing the game, if you have the new Controller S for the for Xbox you might find it a bit better to play with, but there wasn't too much difficulties with the original controller.
Graphics: The graphics are pretty good but could of been a bit more better along with better texture. Even though the tracks are very long and well detailed the Xbox is capable of more than that. The drivers, horses and chariots were well designed. It's good that the developers got the real feeling of the old roman times in this game, you feel part of the whole thing, the gladiator chariot war games that were held during that time.
Sound: The sound is very very good. They did catch the music of that time but it would have been the nice also to have the option of playing your own music during the game. The sound effects were right on, and the comments from the fighters when you drive are pretty far fetch but they make you laugh...always good. All in all its a pretty good.
Suggestions: It would be nice to listen to your own music and probebly have the option of creating your own fighter and driver for the game.

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 70 %
Sound: 90 %

Suicidal Bunny
Date reviewed: April 16, 2002.

Overall: The game is appealing, hands
down. There is NO other game on
the market like it. The idea behind
it is original and innovative, and
the means they used to pull it off,
while slightly flawed in some
areas, are excellent.
Gameplay: The game is addicting. I thought
the controls were easy to learn
and operate. In a lot of the
reviews I've read, people are
whining about how you have to hit
"all the buttons at the same time!"
I don't know where they got that
from. I have had to hold, at most,
4 buttons at once. I'm sorry if that
is a strain for some of you.
Needless to say, the gameplay is
smooth and will bring you back for
Graphics: Visually, the game could have
been better. I was a little
disappointed to see the
developers did not use the XBox
for it's full potential. The game
had the same graphic quality as a
PS2 game. This is the major
weak spot of the game. But the
fluidity of the game makes up for
90% of the graphic insufficience,
so the game still comes off
looking beautiful.
Sound: The music is perfectly matched to
the game. While it is a little
repetitive at times, it is still
attractive to the ears, and it
sounds pretty true to the era the
game is set in.
Suggestions: Add more options for gameplay,
allow four chariots in multiplayer
mode, use the XBox for it's full
graphic potential, and keep
pumping out awesome games.

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 70 %
Sound: 90 %

Date reviewed: April 14, 2002.

Overall: ugg!! what a brutal game. It is interesting for about the first 10 minutes u play it then it justs repetative.
Gameplay: the gameplay is a new and unique concept but it could have been so much better like better multiplayer modes.
Graphics: the graphics are quite good! this is the one good part of this game. this graphics look very nice.
Sound: the sound is brutal like most of the game with the exception of graphics. the sounds to go along with the weapons are awful.
Suggestions: get better ideas

Overall: 30 %
Gameplay: 20 %
Graphics: 80 %
Sound: 20 %

Date reviewed: April 5, 2002.

Overall: This is a pretty good game, but it
has got a few flaws that arent too
big. Overall, i would say its good,
but too short.
Gameplay: Gameplay is pretty cool, but as i
said earlier, its tooooooo short.
Multiplayer is still fun though, but
you can only have two chariots, not four
Graphics: The gameplay is pretty good graphics,
except for the water and dust
effects. Also, the Cutscenes are the
same as gameplay, which isn't good
for a cutscene but it is for gameplay
(confusing, isn't it?)
Sound: the sound was pretty good, except
sometimes it gets a bit repetitive,
but it still fits the game perfectly.
Suggestions: Multiple saves and four chartiots in

Overall: 80 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 90 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: April 4, 2002.

Overall: Wow, here is a fun game that takes you out of the norm. What a great idea to race chariots in the ancient Roman Empire. You won't master this game in five minutes but, when you do, you're in for the ride of your life! You control both the driver and the warrior as you race through some truly beautiful courses.
Gameplay: Gameplay can be quite challenging as, you must control both of your chariots occupants. One steering and one fighting with the other chariots. Two player can be more fun as, you can split up these tasks and have one player drive while the other fights! Unfortunatly you can not play two players in the tournament mode. Tournament mode must be played in order to unlock new characters, equiptment and tracks! Including the Minoraur that they so proudly display on the box cover!
Graphics: Visually the game looks impressive. The environment feels authentic to the time period. The actions and reactions of the characters look and feel smooth.
Sound: No real compaints with the sound. It's ancient Rome so you won't hear Matchbox 20 jammin' in the background, the music is that of the era and fits well. Most people are sure to become addicted to the taunt button.
Suggestions: This is no easy game, allow multiplayer in the tournament mode! Maybe add more tracks. A more indepth background of the charaters and thier individual talents could be cool. Also have weapon choices available for each warrior.

Overall: 80 %
Gameplay: 60 %
Graphics: 80 %
Sound: 70 %

Date reviewed: March 24, 2002.

Overall: Nice game, fun to play, a little annoying at times. The menu sucks. I am glad i didn't pay 50 bucks for it, thats for sure!
Gameplay: A nice idea for a game. Original. Don't like how you have to play a level over and over and the only thing they do is switch the direction of motion for the level. They could have made more levels for each region.
Graphics: so so graphics, doesn't push the capabilities of the xbox at all. I think they could have made them more detailed.
Sound: Some good sounds in it, music wasn't all that great. Not something you should make a sound track out of.
Suggestions: Do better!

Overall: 80 %
Gameplay: 60 %
Graphics: 60 %
Sound: 50 %

Date reviewed: March 24, 2002.

Overall: I read the reviews on this site and decided to rent this game. Unfortunately my bro and I aren't that impressed. It just doesn't have a high enough exitement level, despite the rad idea of having a game based on chariot fights.
Gameplay: Gameplay wasn't bad. You do have prett good control of the chariot and can force people of the road here and there. The fighting got tiring real quick. block attack, attack block...whatever
Graphics: Graphics were pretty cool. players weren't too cartoony and the scenery was pretty good too. Nothing ground breaking.
Sound: Not too impressed by the sound. It was if anything below average. I'd think someone would make some kind of loud noise when getting run over, I was wrong.
Suggestions: NO CLUE

Overall: 60 %
Gameplay: 60 %
Graphics: 70 %
Sound: 40 %

Date reviewed: March 24, 2002.

Overall: I think that Circus Maximus Chariot Wars is an awesome game. The graphics and colors are superb. I'm a graphics freak so Circus Maximus is the game for me. You get to ride around in a chariot killing people. It's great and I reccomend it for anyone!
Gameplay: One word... It kicks ---. As I said before you get to kill people in chariots. Now i dont like racing games but i was amaized how much i liked it. You can choose your driver, chariot, warrior and evn horses. it's a marvelous game,
Graphics: Graphics are great and so are colors. In my opinion this game almost surpasses Halo! I said almost! Still very good.
Sound: kinda scratchy. nice effects but their voices are pretty bad. nevertheless you can still hear the creak of the wheels and the clink oftheir blades very well!
Suggestions: Why dont you make it alittle eaiser to win races.

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 90 %
Sound: 80 %

Date reviewed: March 17, 2002.

Overall: While the game is just racing and fighting combined into one. It's funfactor is very high on my list.
I would rent this title if you get the chance.

Gameplay: This is where the game shines. Racing and fighting are balanced pretty well but the computer is kind of easy to beat when you find the shortcuts and are able to use them. Bashing the computer players is a lot of fun and your guy gets kind of funky sometimes. My brother liked the finishing move for the Greek player and said he looks like a bronze age poser. It got a few laughs everytime I did the fighting move. The racing or fighting is not very hard when set to normal mode but you do have to learn the controls to get the sharp turns down without flipping your chariot. The computer can control the chariot when your fighting but the computer will never drive as good as a human can. In deathmatch play it is a good idea to mix driving with computer driving.

Graphics: The Xbox can pull off some cool graphics but they are not exploited to the max here. I would say they are as good as any PS2 title. Some of the areas are massive in size. If you are looking for next generation graphics look elsewhere. This game is for people that like gameplay.

Sound: Good sound. I like the taunting the enemy and the sound of the chariots.
I need to hook up a cool sound system to my Xbox.
Suggestions: Instead of tracks lets do some point to point racing. Internet multiplayer would be cool. More fighting moves for sure.

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 80 %
Sound: 80 %

Date reviewed: March 15, 2002.

Overall: Circus Maximus: Chariot Wars is a unique game with an original concept. Most opinions about this game are a little mixed. Ranging from that it failed to meet my expectations of its originality in gameplay, to one of the most fun multiplayer games released lately. With various modes of play, a so-so stats tracker, and a short career type mode. Circus Maximus is an overall average game that suceeded in some departments while lacking in a few others.
Gameplay: The game consists of a few options of gameplay. Circus Maximus has your 'Circus Mode' which is like a Arcade mode. 'Empire Mode' is your Multiplayer option for all your friends to rumble throughout the battle arenas. Next is the 'Academy mode' where you train to become one of the best players in Rome. Lastly 'Tournament Mode' is where you guide your team of charioteers and warriors through a career trying to win races and accumulate Dinari. Dinari is the point system in the game. While playing you can run over pedestrians which will allow you to earn more Dinari. Dinari can earned by collecting more power-ups and saving your chariot from tipping over. Either way, Dinari earn you points to advance to the next arena for you to compete in. The controls are quite confusing at times but they seem adequate and nothing too extreme in terms in which people have expressed lately. You might want to become really good on single player mode before you go into multiplayer, since becoming good at both warrior and driver are a must. If you think its too hard to drive, then put it on "auto drive" and concentrate on using the warrior the rest of the race.
Graphics: Since not much here can be bragged about to other fanboys, the graphics in my opignion are the best aspects of this game. The warriors move very fluidly and are motion-captured to perfection. The obese driver's gut jiggles when they hit big bumps and that looks pretty cool. The horses move in perfect motion together and look realistic. The attacking animation and fighting look okay but seems to lack overall. They either hit up, straight forward, double attack or do their special attack which all range. The environment is alright, even though after about six feet outward it doesn't have much variety. The chariots look okay, but when they move they appear quickly modeled, even though the effects are showing a little of potential. Sparks are also shown when two chariots collide. Water effects are kind of bland since you run through it seems to fizzle and splash very little. Overall the visuals are cool.
Sound: The sound is one of the better features along with the visual impressions. The sound of clanging chariots, and horses thumping their feet against the ground, and who can't forget the taunting of the warriors. The fighting is okay with the collision of the metal. The taunts are too modern. They sound like people on Jerry Springer arguing. The sound may be alright for people bored and need to be entertained by some ridiculous voices yelling back and forth, but they are like this new millenium's "catchphrases" being shouted back at each other. The music is somewhat likeable, but at other times it has you questioning if its back in the times of the Roman Empire. It won't make you have an headache, but also it certainly won't make you want to play the game any more then after you beat it once and unlock everything.

Suggestions: First off, work on the taunts and sounds. In the sequel it might be wise to make it more of the past and not too modern. Add the option of having all 4 players having their own chariots. Graphics improvements are a must since they aren't that beautiful. Next, you should create a more diverse set of levels and teams. Maybe add some mini-games to spruce up the gameplay that was sort of lacking on options. Keep up to good work.

Overall: 80 %
Gameplay: 80 %
Graphics: 70 %
Sound: 60 %

Date reviewed: March 8, 2002.

Overall: This is a great 2 vs 2 game! The single player game is loads of fun as well. I was impressed with the amount of control they give to the player in controlling all aspects of the chariot from the driving to the attacking - really great stuff, and not confusing or frustrating to control!
Gameplay: This the controls are the best part of the game, and really make the game. The elements of; tipping your charriot, ducking under obstacles, running over people for more money, leaning to prevent your charriot from overturning, the powerups, attack moves and blocking, pacing your horses, damaging your charriot, and yes - even hanging on for dear life when your charriot looses one wheel but staying in the race with good balance from the warrior!!! ... i'm sure i missed a couple - they all combine to make this game very intense. This game requires concentration and skill, and allows you to employ a large number of strategies to win.
Graphics: For me, this was the weakest part of the game - though the graphics are above average. There were some levels where i felt the art team was WAY too conservative - or the programmers had no clue how to give the artists more polygons to work with.
First the animation was really really good.
The actual charriots, drivers, warriors and horses were well modeled and had generous textures.

I felt that they should have simply used more polygons on the environments especially the oval tracks and larger textures, or more textures on the larger tracks. There was never a time when i though that the graphics presented could only be done on the Xbox. The trees in the Cypress level had no effort put into them.
I think the lack of casted shadows jumped out at me the most, which led me to realise that there was hardly any committed direction of light in the levels (no sun). Sorry, but the simple 12 noon shadow under the cart wasn't convincing enough and looks strange at night.
Sound: The sound is sweet in this game. From the voices, to the charriot effects and the music it is great and fits the game.
Suggestions: Everything else about the game rocks to the limit except the graphics. A lot of missed opportunities in the graphics which can be improved upon next time around for sure and will add much atmosphere to the game. CASTED SHADOWS!!! Display more polygons on the screen. there was no excuse for making low polygon columns in the oval track. :D
Larger textures or more than just 2-3 mip map levels.
Animated environments! animals grazing near trackside! tress that sway in the hills!!!

A system link multiplayer would be nice.

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 70 %
Sound: 90 %

Date reviewed: March 4, 2002.

Overall: The overall appeal of this game is great. You get a very visually stunning game with a lot of challenging driving and fighting scenerios.
Gameplay: The gameplay is great. You use every button on your controller and trying to get your hands to go along with your mind is quite a challenge. Once you get the hang of controlling the chariot, (this took my about 45 minutes), it becomes second nature and you *should* be able to drive and fight simultaneously WITHOUT having to switch over to the auto-drive mode. You should never have to use to auto-drive mode... those of you that do, will get killed a LOT. The auto-driver is too easy to predict and offers no help in the process of trying to gain position/cut someone off or slam them into a wall. he/she simply drives at an even pace down the middle of the track.
Graphics: Visually, this game kicks butt! The tracks are very original and HUGE! the detail is nice and the pixel rate is very fast. Sometimes, it seems like you're going really slow... until you try to turn and then you flip your chariot. The characters are well defined and smooth. The menu systems are a little confusing at first but you will get over that... (see my suggestions for more on this).
Sound: The sound is pretty good. It kinda reminds me of an old Star Trek episode with the cheesy 'intensity' music. Other than that it is very fitting for the game and gets you pumped up as you hack and slash the other players. The "taunts" are especially funny... but can get annoying if you have a heavy thumb and keep pressing down on left analog stick. Some of the fighting sounds are pretty gross sounding as you hear a "SQUISH!" as your trident hits your opponents chest or the nice "DINK!" sound you hear when you smash someone in the head who has a helmet on.
Suggestions: Where do i begin?! They stand at the edge of greatness... but they never jumped in. when it comes to the menu system, make it a bit easier to control the positions of each player when 4 people are trying to fight in a multiplayer race.

and when it comes to a multiplayer race FOR ALL DRIVING GAMES, it should let you pick the COURSE YOU WANT TO RACE ON FIRST, -THEN- it should let you select your player(s) and then your chariot (car). HOW ELSE ARE YOU SUPPOSE TO KNOW WHICH CHARIOT IS BEST FOR THE TRACK... USE YOUR HEADS!!

and this brings me to the chariot itself... why not put a damage meter on the chariot?! why not put a damage meter for the horses?! it would add a lot more to the dynamic of the game and open up a few more strategies.

also, from the time you open the package and first put the game in your x-box you automatically get to pick the best horses, best chariot and a few of the best drivers/fighters... why? don't you think it would be more effective to have to earn those players/items throughout the course of playing? it would be a lot more challenging that way... and might get your game a little more playtime.

It was because of that that your game was a bit too easy.

Overall: 80 %
Gameplay: 80 %
Graphics: 80 %
Sound: 90 %

Date reviewed: March 3, 2002.

Overall: Circus Maximus is the most original game to come out so far this year. The chariots and horses provide for a brand new racing experience. However, the originality serves as its best feature. The game is fun, no doubt, but considering all the hype for it, I didn't think it broke new ground for gameplay, graphics, or sound. But you'll still have a fun time playing, whether its in the tournament mode (single), or with some friends in the empire mode. I recommend renting this title for anybody who is looking for an original and fun game to play.
Gameplay: The game flows nicely for the most part. One aspect I didn't like is how the character completely crashes when just bumping slightly into the wall. However, that does make the game much more challenging. You can take sharp turns and lean back and forth to balance the chariot. It is a little challenging to drive the chariot and fight with the warrior at the same time, but after you play for awhile you get the hang of it. It also contains other unique aspects, such as the taunting, and how you must duck sometimes underneath logs and navigate around the surroundings. These features all contribute to make this title an extremely original and fun game.
Graphics: The introductions to the arenas are fabulous. There are several different venues for which to race, and its cool to explore all of them. During actual gameplay, the graphics are still very good, although at some venues it gets hard to see through the darkest points. The replay feature is very detailed as well. Overall, the graphics aren't groundbreaking by any means, but they are certainly up to date with most other Xbox titles thus far.
Sound: They did a good job of capturing some of the raw sounds of the battle. You are able to hear the driver whip the horses crisply, and the warrior's enthusiastic screams. Once again, the taunting feature is one of my favorites. The rumbling of the horses and chariots also adds to the feel. Overall, the sound is better than average, though not spectacular.

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 80 %
Graphics: 90 %
Sound: 80 %

Date reviewed: March 2, 2002.

Overall: This game is hands down, one of the most innovative, entertaining, and refreshing games to come along in a long time. I have wholeheartedly given this game a 10, an accolade I rarely bestow upon anything. The review is as follows!

Controls- 10- In the professional reviews posted, this has been the major complaint against the game. This complaint, however, is unfounded. It is true, that the game requires the use of all buttons, however not at the same time. As well, the game offers an in-depth tutorial mode, which is almost like a separate game. In it, you are guided by Sallus through a series of challenges that gradually acclimate you to each and every button, and how to use them. The controls have been well thought out, and will cause you no problems or feelings of discomfort while playing. They are as follows: all the face buttons (except a) control blocking and the numerous attacks at your disposal, while the triggers are leaning, the left thumbstick moves, and the right one shifts your fighter. The a button and click of the right thumbstick serve the same purpose, and can accelerate and whip your horses. Now, had the controls been set up so you had to control movement, acceleration, and fighting at the same time, with all buttons used, maybe it could get confusing. However, Circus allows you to whip your horse to a certain pace, at which point you can lean off with enough time to fight enemies and not have to worry about acceleration. The timing is well done, and often, when you are not thinking about acceleration, you don?t need to, because the other chariots are not racing past you, but often fighting beside you. As well, for those who feel fit (though I never use this) Circus even allows you to have the computer Ai focus on controlling your chariot, if you would like to focus on the fighting for a minute. This is not done by entering a menu, but just simply tapping up on the dpad to enable/disable. Overall, the controls are extremely enjoyable, and Kodiak has put a lot of time into making them plausible. 10/10

Gameplay: Gameplay- This game just keeps on shining. The game is designed to be fun. I have not fiddled with the multiplayer, but the one player modes are super satisfying and entertaining. Even the practice mode (which is really like a separate game) is replayable, with awesome missions like ?collecting 500 dinari in one lap by running over as many volunteers as possible.? Very fun. The career mode, however, is what will ultimately hook people, so I will tell you. I have completed the game once on novice, and am three quarters of the way through on moderate. The story is basically the same for everyone, though the game does offer you snippets of background on your character ambitions during loading screens. You are fighting to reach the circus maximus, and get there by paying your way with dinari. Now, the developers could have gone the ?come in first place route,? but they instead opted to allow you to progress by getting dinari. Ultimately, I feel this decision tremendously adds to the fun of the game, since your dinari total is calculated not just from what place you came in, but also; how many volunteers you killed, how much you attacked (and which attacks), and how many charioteers you killed. Now, seeing as how it could be slightly redundant to just get money and progress, kodiak went even further by adding awesome death levels, where the emphasis is not at all on dinari, but instead (in special little ?rings?) fighting other charioteers to the death to prove you have what it takes to continue. The blend of these two modes makes for a highly enjoyable career mode. In addition, as you play and unlock new characters and chariots (and, by the way, they all have their own cool little bios), you can change your team at any team and fight with the new characters. I cannot describe how fun this game can be. It also reminds you why replays exist, as Circus has some of the coolest replays I have ever seen. Seeing your character die is always shown in a quick replay, that must be seen to be believed. The game also have a manual replay mode allowing you to replay snippets of game and single frame them if you like. I had fun just flying off of cliffs and watching the gruesome animations as my horses died, sometimes even smacking into walls! As for replay, I have no doubts that I will still pick this game up in a few years, especially after watching a movie like Sparcticus. The career mode is set up leisurely enough that it will be fun to just play and save,and the aracade mode is perfect for quick melee battles. And for those with friends (unlike myself), there is even the multiplayer mode, though I can?t really comment on it because I have not played it. The bottom line is this; This game is nothing like you have ever seen, and (especially with kodiak going under), probably like nothing you will ever see again. It is the rare anomaly in videogames that attempts in this sequel-laden decade to do something new.
Graphics- 10/10 I am honestly blown away by these graphics. The attention to detail is astounding. Beginning with the chariots and their fighters, the animation is topnotch, and the movements are often fierce and violent, as they should be. The game even allows you to put together a custom chariot, deciding on horses, fighter, driver, and chariot type. The environments are an even better story. Kodiak continuously touted in previews that the producer had a history degree in roman culture. Well, now we see why. Each environment is teeming with aesthetic touches that really make you feel like you are racing a stretch of path on the way to Rome. Boundaries are not the invisible walls of many games, but instead high cliffs that allow for death to all should your unlucky chariot misteer or be pushed off by an enemy (which by the way, is immensely enjoyable to do to someone else). As you proceed though the career mode, you will actually feel like you are taking the hard road to the Circus Maximus, as the environments proceed from more rural to urban. The game also glides at a speedy frame rate, and these chariots move fast. What is so breathtaking, however, is the attention to detail. ?Volunteers? inhabit the tracks, and happen to be the pedestrians that you are urged to mow over with your chariot. Wipeouts are simply breathtaking, and the detail is astounding. Say you drive your chariot straight into a tree that is in the middle of the track. Watch as your fighter gets knocked out, and your driver gets pummeled in the face, only to be caught in the reins and dragged face first down the track by the empty chariot. Watch as you go off the cliff edge (overlooking another cliff wall in several meters ahead), your horses and fighter all separately die (in their own morbid animations), and your driver is forced forward, causing him to smack into the next cliff wall, with a painful bashing sound and an animation that screams pain. Overall, this game reeks of atmosphere, and is like nothing you have played before. As well, unlike many games, the camera here is a blessing and has never once been a problem. 10/10

Sound: Sound- The sound is incredible as well. However, the default balance is rather odd, and does not allow you to really hear the incredible soundtrack composed for this game (you can adjust it with the lever bar-just lower sound effects and leave music at the peak). The music is downright awesome, and kicks in whenever you enter an especially tough battle or tense part of the race. It is Gladiator, Sparcticus type music, and it is amazing. When the music is not playing, the sound is filled by ambient sound effects (water running, birds, your horses, the sound of the chariot on the ground), and the sounds of fighting, which are satisfying and differ from fighter to fighter. The game also features taunts. There are many taunts, about five or six for each character, and they are performed simply by tapping the left thumbstick in. The game repeats some taunts from character to character, though the developers have taken the time to still record the taunt in that individual characters voice. The one complaint I have, however, is that while the game features many excellent taunts, there are a few such as ?I?m gonna kick your **s, that just do not fit in this otherwise excellent game. To hear something like that when you are in the heat of battle, temporarily reminds you that you are just playing some game. Though a small gripe, I can?t understand why Kodiak would include that, when this game feels like so much effort went into developing its authenticity. Great music and sounds overall though. 8/10

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %

Date reviewed: February 27, 2002.

Overall: An original idea that comes at you fast and furious. The game takes you on a non stop ride of brains and brawn. Not as much a fighter as it is a racer but blended together it makes one fun ride. There is some deep gameplay here as well. It will take some good gaming skillz to open all of the tracks and unlock all of the bonus items. I don't see this one being beat too quickly since you need to play on the advanced skill level if you want to unlock them all.
Gameplay: The racing aspect will have you gritting your teeth through some long, obstacle laden tracks. Misjudge a turn or side swipe an obstacle and your chariot leans on one wheel as you struggle to get it back on two. In the same breath you're hoping another rider is not close behind ready to lay down the smack or force you off the course. The actual fighting can be tactical. If your warriors health is low it's best to rely on your block to avoid further damage. If you get sandwiched between 2 chariots you have to fight your way clear. Using forceful persuasion, blocking and tactical driving to get clear is the only way to avoid becoming a roman skid mark. Keeping an eye on your warriors position during the race will clue you in to which side other chariots may be coming up on you. It's a battle to the finish line as the computer will not let up till the very end.
Graphics: The chariots, horses, and riders are all detailed nicely and animate smoothly. The action moves fast (60 fps with a speed boost) and fluidly. The lighting and particle effects are nicely implemented. The enviornments will give you the feel of wide open dirt roads to close quarter street fighting. The large sructures on the tracks look nice, conveying the sense that you are racing through those areas of that time. Smaller details have been left out of the trackside details but who will notice when you're fighting off a crazed Hun at 60MPH on one wheel?
Sound: From the chariot creaking as it sways back and forth, to the galloping horses and the pitch of battle, the sound does a nice job of completing the package. The stadium seemed a bit quiet but that was in training mode. Perhaps they will liven up when the tournament comes. The music is gothic and sets the mood nicely as it plays in the background. The taunts are fun to hear as the teams talk trash. Unfortunately they left in one taunt that seems more suited to a saturday night bar fight where one of the female characters threatens "I'm gonna kick your a$$".
Suggestions: Keep up with the originality in which this fun title was developed. I look forward to future titles with this much effort put into it. I'm sure it will only get better as development improves on this system.

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 80 %
Sound: 80 %

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