MediEvil Review

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Graphics: 8.0
Sound : 8.5
Gameplay : 7.5
Multiplayer : 7.0
Overall : 7.8
Review by Andy Levine
Back in 1998, MediEvil proved a memorable game for the PlayStation thanks to its goofy sense of humor and spooky horror feel. Now, the beloved Sir Daniel Fortesque is making his way to the PSP in an action adventure game entitled MediEvil Resurrection. After the evil Lord Zarok has blocked off the sun and summoned an undead army, Dan is awakened from his slumber in order to stop the evildoer and bring peace to the land. While MediEvil Resurrection sports occasionally bothersome camera movement and awkward gameplay mechanics, it’s still a worthy title for any self-respecting PSP owner to take a look at.

MediEvil Resurrection is a traditional hack-and-slash affair where the main character, Dan, runs around killing everything in sight. However, to help diversify the gameplay, MediEvil attempts to add a deep sense of user involvement into the whole slaying experience. Dan can perform a weak yet fast attack, as well as a strong and slow attack, and even special combo attacks can be carried out—depending on your arsenal. While Dan starts off with only a small wooden sword and shield, he earns new weapons by collecting gold chalices and fulfilling his enemy quota in each level. If both of these objectives are completed, Dan is then allowed to enter the Hall of Heroes, whereupon he pays homage to a hero in return for swords, spears, bows, shields, and a whole bunch of other weaponry.

Generally speaking, the two main weaponry classes exist as short-range melee weapons, and long-range projectile launchers. Aiming an effective long-range attack can be exceedingly difficult thanks to the sporadically shoddy camera system, which seems to have a mind of its own. The green lock-on reticule turns red once it focuses on an enemy so Dan can fire away, but instead of maintaining this lock it is likely that the crosshair will constantly jump from enemy to enemy amid the turmoil of battle. To make matters worse, the camera loves to spin around Dan during action, which also makes it tough to focus on a specific group of enemies. Luckily, tapping the right shoulder button centers the camera directly behind our bony hero, which often comes in handy. It can be somewhat tricky to land a melee attack on an opponent if the perspective is a little off, and occasionally you’ll have to center the camera before taking on some baddies. Each piece of weaponry retains its own special aesthetic and—impressively—you can almost feel the bones of a skeleton crush beneath a giant hammer, or the limbs of an undead zombie rip apart when they meet against an unforgiving steel blade. Dan’s final attack method has him charge headfirst into a baddie, and although it can be hard to charge directly into an opponent, the end result is certainly comical if landed correctly. Overall, MediEvil Resurrection is definitely one of the most developed third-person action games available for the PSP, but sadly it is still plagued with the same camera issues as most other games in this genre.

MediEvil Resurrection also has a strong foundation, so there are plenty of differing gameplay features to hold the experience away from the borders of monotony. As mentioned earlier, weapons are constantly unlocked to help fight new foes, and although it can be troublesome to constantly navigate through menus to switch weapons, rest assured that MediEvil won’t leave you stuck mindlessly pressing ‘X’ the entire time. Aside from his arsenal, Dan also carries special runes and event-specific items that can be used to solve some of the game’s puzzles. Gargoyles are placed sporadically throughout the environments as well; some of them offering advice about the levels while others act as a shop. At these shops, you can purchase potions, repair your shields, and stock up on ammunition for your long-range attacks. Instead of making the game entirely about simply killing stuff, after completing the first few stages the Gallowmere Plains carnival is unlocked, which unleashes a whole slew of intuitive mini-games. Mini-games such as herding animals, practicing archery at a shooting gallery, and even slaying enemies to protect a predetermined point can be played on the go if you only have a few minutes to spare—making for some quick fun.

The cleverly designed levels are filled with an assortment of different enemies, ranging from the traditional skeleton to ogres, bats, bugs, pumpkins, and pretty much anything else that fits into the horror genre. Obviously each enemy has its own strengths and weaknesses, but the levels also contain powerful bosses that will take more than just focused button mashing to defeat. One level, for instance, requires Dan to use his long-ranged attacks to destroy the heart of an enemy, while another level has him dashing wildly after a pack of wolves. Platformer elements also show up sparsely and, fortunately enough, the D-pad can be used instead of the crummy analog stick to garner a better sense of control. Still, hopping onto a coffin that’s floating downstream, or merely jumping from one platform to another can be a burden due to the mindless camera. Nonetheless, MediEvil Resurrection is filled with plenty of features that will keep the game feeling fresh throughout.

The multiplayer aspect of MediEvil Resurrection arrives as nothing spectacular, but if you happen to have a friend with this title then it might be of some value to fool around for a little bit—with the multiplayer that is. The first mode is simply a single-player level where the two assigned gamers attempt to complete the level faster than the other. You’ll never see the opposing character on screen, but there is a meter that monitors your enemy’s progress. While this mode doesn’t differ a whole lot from the single-player campaign, players also have the ability to compete together in the Gallowmere Plains mini-games. Again, there is nothing especially innovative in terms of gameplay in this respect, but the ad hoc multiplayer experience is still worth trying out.

Probably the most notable feature in MediEvil Resurrection is its stunning presentation value. The visuals are some of the best to hit the PSP; the environments are teeming with live and vivid colors, and the levels constantly express a spooky tone from the haunting graveyard scenes to the intimidating catacombs chamber. The voice acting is astonishingly well done, and each character truly expresses his or her emotions in a humorous fashion. The grim reaper constantly whines about how much work he has to do, while the champions in the Hall of Heroes come across as nothing short of narcissistic. The soundtrack also works great to accompany the spooky feel with its grim organs and screeching violins. Aside from some rough edges, dimly lit environments, and sadly repetitive sound effects, the overall presentation in MediEvil Resurrection is continually impressive.

MediEvil Resurrection is definitely a worthy title for any PSP gamer to add to their collection. While the flawed camera system and occasionally awkward attack mechanics can make the gameplay a little troublesome at times, on the whole MediEvil is a thoroughly fun title that will surely provide many hours of entertainment. Whether you’re a fan of action adventure titles or are just in the mood for a game with genuine humor, MediEvil Resurrection delivers the goods.