When you have an assembled object made up of many smaller objects and want to explode it outwards then MaxScript is a good solution. I could of course used Particle Flow and geometry for the effect but you lose fine control. The studio wanted to have one object explode into another object and then another and another etc, a tricky challenge when you cannot actually break apart the model into fractured pieces.
My solution (and I tried several) was to create a 3DSMax plugin that creates a very configurable explosion that works on the selection center of any group of objects. They explode outwards and animate into a tornado spinning effect at which point a different object can blend in without the viewer knowing, the other object then reforms from the tornado into the assembled model creating the effect of one object becoming another. My goal is to always give the client as much control as possible. The explosion speed and spread, the axis that the explosions happen on, spins, bouncing up into the air etc are all user configurable. It also separated the animation into helpers so after the plugin has done its magic the user can then tweak curves and key frames for different results.
Client was happy as this saved them days of manual work and they also get a reusable tool too.