"The 'Image', existing in an unknown dimension, is a spiritual object. The real nature of oneself. We can also call it the soul. Now is the time to face this inner space with a pure mind. The image world is supported by rich spiritual activities that could lead us to a wonderful future. But some deny us that. The decline of the European Union... The overwhelmingly deteriorating relations between China and the US... All part of this new path of chaos... But soon Maken will help us. Deus Ex Machina is coming..."
Maken X is a first person Hack and Slash game developed by Atlus and released for the Dreamcast.
Maken X was Atlus's first fully 3D title and the first game to be directed by Katsura Hashino. Many of the staff that created Maken X, such as artist Kazuma Kaneko and composer Shoji Meguro, also worked on previous entries in the Megami Tensei and Persona series.
Maken X is considered a spiritual successor to the Megami Tensei series, sharing several similarities such as a branching narrative featuring a conflict between order and freedom, questions with themes of morality and references to mythology. Artwork of the game is included in several Megami Tensei artbooks such as Kazuma Kaneko Graphics: Digital Devil Apocalypse (金子一馬グラフィックス—女神転生黙示録*)? and Kazuma Kaneko Graphics: Pandemonium Character Hen (金子一馬グラフィックス万魔殿—キャラクター編*)?.
A third person re-release titled Maken Shao (魔剣爻) was released for the PlayStation 2 on June 7, 2001 in Japan and was later released in Europe as Maken Shao: Demon Sword on July 23, 2003. It was later rereleased on the PlayStation 3 as a downloadable game exclusively in Europe on February 27, 2013 but was delisted in 2016 for unknown reasons.
Maken X begins in the Kanazawa Research Institute where J.J Jones, Anne Miller and Hiromitsu Sagami are overseeing the awakening of the Maken, an artificial demon. Kei Sagami and Kou Yamashiro arrive after the Maken decides on a name for itself to watch the awakening. During the event, the Research Institute is attacked by the Sangyokai, lead by Hakke Andrey, who kidnaps Hiromitsu and kills Fei Chao Lee, the intended wielder of the Maken before fleeing. In his dying words, Fei Chao urges Kei to take the Maken and save the world, upon touching the sword, Kei is Brainjacked and her Image is absorbed by the Maken.
After fending off the Sangyokai and subduing Hakke Andrey, Lee Fu Sho calls the laboratory to discover that the Maken has awakened and that the Chief was kidnapped. He instructs the Maken to Brainjack the captured Andrey to gain his intel on the Sangyokai and Mr. Meteor, and requests that the Maken helps the Fukenshi to defeat the Hakke and rid the world of Mr. Meteor's influence. The Maken, now in Hakke Andrey's body, departs the Institute and boards a plane heading to Moscow to meet with the Fukenshi's second in command, Fukenshi Kati.
- Maken: The main character, also known as "Deus Ex Machina". an artificial demon created as a medical tool to treat disorders. It can use its Brainjack ability to overwrite the Image of its host and take control of their body, with the Maken's physical self becoming a weapon for its host to wield.
- Kei Sagami: Heroine. Her Image is absorbed by the Maken after she impusively takes the sword to rescue her father and avenge Fei Chao Lee. The Maken's choices throughout the game decide whether or not her conciousness is saved from being assimilated into the Maken.
- Fei Shan Lee: A Fukenshi in training who lives in Hong Kong, tasked with taking out Hakke Shaja. She is Fei Chao Lee's sister.
- Fukenshi Badelaire: Half brother of Kei's mother. Fukenshi who works as a journalist attempting to find the whereabouts of Malukala's hideout. Known as Blademaster Tyrus in the English version of Maken X.
- Fukenshi Acinaces: Fukenshi working as a musuem curator in Athens. She is investigating the Petrification Illness. Known as Blademaster Alys in the English version of Maken X.
- Fukenshi Rumrod: Fukenshi who works as a DJ in Amsterdam. Tasked with taking out his former lover Hakke Marguerite. Known as Blademaster Devon in the English version of Maken X.
- Fukenshi Kati: Head of the Nine-Sky Circus and second-in command of the Fukenshi. Known as Blademaster Kitty in the English version of Maken X.
- Hakke Andrey: Russian soldier who serves as a hitman for the Sangyokai. He invades the Kanazawa Research Institute at the beginning of the game and is the second character to be Brainjacked by the Maken.
- Hakke Shaja: A famous Indian film star and singer who uses his songs to brainwash the Indian population into lethargy.
- Hakke Marguerite: Current leader of the European Union and leader of the B.S. Reconstruction Soldiers.
- Hakke Daru: A world-renowned scientist responsible for the Petrification Illness crisis in Europe.
- Hakke Malukala: Head of the global mafia. Deals drugs and helped spread the Petrification Illness through Europe. Known as Hakke Don Regalia in the English version of Maken X.
- Hakke Ray: Archbishop who founded a religion that urges its followers to commit suicide.
- Hakke Youthfu: An oil baron restricting the sale of petroleum exclusively to China. Known as Hakke Yusuf in the English version of Maken X.
- Hakke William: The President of the United States who stages the rising tensions between the US and China with Ryu Kashin. Known as Hakke Brown in the English version of Maken X.
- Gou Inaba: An airline pilot flying the ill-fated Rhincodon.
- Samuel Smith: Hakke Marguerite's husband and former leader of the European Union. He was usurped by his wife and is currently imprisoned in the Tower of London.
- Bahlinka: Hakke Daru's daughter. She tried to flee her father after stealing the Petrifying Illness vaccine but ended up infected herself and detained in an isolation ward in Istanbul. Known as Bianca in the English version of Maken X.
- Kou Yamashiro: Kei's best friend. Only playable on a certain story route.
- Hiromitsu Sagami: Kei's father and Image researcher. He is kidnapped by the Sangyokai at the beginning of the game and his Image is stolen by Mr. Meteor.
- Fei Chao Lee: An elite Fukenshi from Hong Kong tasked with awakening the Maken. Ends up being killed by Hakke Andrey at the beginning of the game while protecting Kei.
- Anne Miller: American scientist who helped create the Maken. Her and J.J Jones go a long way back.
- J.J Jones: Rude and self-centered American scientist who helped create the Maken. Known as Peter Jones in the English version of Maken X.
- Lee Fu Sho: Head of the Fukenshi and father of Fei Chao Lee and Fei Shan Lee.
- Dr. David Guiness: Scientist who fled to the Amazon after objecting to Plan X.
- Ryu Kashin: The Chairman of China who serves as Mr. Meteor's current host.
- Mr. Meteor: The brain of Pan-Gu. Main antagonist. Known as Geist in the English version of Maken X.
- Sangyokai 64 KE Sword Breaker
- Sangyokai 32 KE Bazooka
- Sangyokai 32 KE Claw
- Sangyokai 64 KE Roller Blade
- Sangyokai 32 KE Cannon
- Sangyokai 32 KE Grenade
- Sangyokai 16 KE Amazon
- Sangyokai 16 KE Dancer
- Imperial Guard Shiva Infantry
- Petrifying Illness Golem
- Petrifying Illness Iron Maiden
- B.S. Reconstruction Soldier Vulcan
- B.S. Reconstruction Soldier Arms
- B.S. Reconstruction Dog
- Euro Mafia Moss Gang
- Messianic Believer
- Palace Security System Motor-Buraq
- Presidential Escort System X66
- Fukenshi Soldier Iron Bow
- Fukenshi Soldier Shadow Leg
Differences between the original Dreamcast release and Maken Shao.
- The perspective is changed from first person to third person due to a recurring issue with Japanese gamers where they experience motion sickness when playing games with a first-person camera.
- As a result of the perspective change, it is no longer possible to jump over enemies to dodge attacks.
- Upon encountering certain enemies for the first time, a small introductory scene with a name card will play. Enemies have also been strengthened, with some attacks now being unblockable which is indicated by the enemy briefly flashing white before attacking.
- Several stages, such as the Rhincodon, have new events and all stages have had the placement of enemies altered, with some enemy types being absent from stages they were present on in Maken X
- Power-ups and health pickups can now be stored one at a time and used with the Triangle button instead of being automatically consumed. Pickups are now stored in crates instead of being out in the open.
- The Brainjacking system has been reworked. Instead of the RPG styled Brainjack Rank, characters must be "bought" with Image collected from defeating enemies before they can be Brainjacked.
- The Synchro meter mechanic was added, allowing Brainjacked characters to learn new moves and reducing their Brainjack cost as they defeat enemies.
- Many characters movesets were reworked to accomodate the Synchro meter.
- Gou Inaba, Bahlinka and Samuel Smith are given EX Specials like the other playable characters, unlocked after their Synchro rating reaches 100%.
- Hakke Daru and Bahlinka are no longer immune to projectile attacks. Their immunity to the petrification effect of the Petrifying Illness Golem's darts remains, although they still take damage from the attack.
- Two new modes and a Sound Test were added, unlocked after receiving specific endings.
- The game's cutscenes were overhauled. Cutscenes that consisted of still images are now fully animated and characters now move their mouths when speaking. As part of this change, all cutscenes are now prerendered instead of being animated in-game, with the exceptions being cutscenes that happen during the stage and the post-stage cutscene of Kei talking to the Maken in the Image world.
- The presense of swastikas in the game, such as those seen on Hakke Marguerite and the B.S. Reconstruction Soldiers, are replaced with the kanji 無 (mu) as seen in the English release of Maken X. This is the only change to be kept from the English version of Maken X and affects both versions of Maken Shao.
- According to an interview with Cozy Okada there were potential plans to create a sequel to Maken X. While no sequel games for Maken X have ever been announced, the novel Maken X: After Strange Days is a continuation of the game's story.
- The song Sicily ~Shao ver~ from Maken Shao was later rearranged into the song Blade for the Digital Devil Saga series.
|Playable||Maken - Kei Sagami - Gou Inaba - Bahlinka - Samuel Smith - Fei Shan Lee - Fukenshi Rumrod - Fukenshi Acinaces - Fukenshi Badelaire - Fukenshi Kati - Hakke Andrey - Hakke Shaja - Hakke Marguerite - Hakke Daru - Hakke Malukala - Hakke Ray - Hakke Youthfu - Hakke William - Kou Yamashiro|
|Non-playable||Hiromitsu Sagami - Fei Chao Lee - Anne Miller - J.J Jones - Lee Fu Sho - Dr. David Guiness - Ryu Kashin - Mr. Meteor - Pan-Gu|
|Locations||Kanazawa Research Institute - Rhincodon - Hong Kong - Taj Mahal - Moscow - Istanbul - Athens - Transylvania - London - Amsterdam - Vienna - Lyon - Vatican City - Sicily - Lisbon - Mecca - Amazon - Washington - The Forbidden City - Kun Lun|
|Terminology||Plan X - Image - Brainjack - Fukenshi - Sangyokai - Hakke - B.S. Reconstruction Soldiers - Petrifying Illness|
|Other Media||Maken X Original Sound Tracks - Maken X Remix Soundtrack L'Image - Maken X Another - Maken X: After Strange Days|