Does a game ever make a lasting impression on you that you still look forward to a similar title ten years down the road? Luckily, that’s exactly how we felt about MediEvil Resurrection.
MediEvil is a series which started up on the original PlayStation console. Over 10 years ago, a sword wielding maniac dressed in nothing but his skeletal remains took on a horde of witless zombies. Now he’s back and better than ever on the PSP.
The game opens up with a beautiful story-book telling of the past events in the country of Gallowmere. The story is told through a dramatic reading that is very well done and involves text for the hearing impaired. Following this, you’re brought to the main menu, which gives you a solid set of options such as starting your game, playing online, or even enjoying some mini-games. Only a couple of mini-games are available from the get go; however, as you travel through the world in campaign mode, you’ll eventually reach Gallowmere Plains, which is like a carnival in itself that features the remainder of the mini-games in playable format. We’ll discuss this later on, as it’s time to delve into the single-player world.
This rendition of MediEvil starts up with a beautifully rendered CG movie that displays our villain, Zarok, transporting himself to Gallowmere. Once Zarok arrives, he begins taking the souls of all the villagers in order to build the evil Zarok Army which seeks to take over the world. Following this, you’re introduced to Sir Daniel Fortesque and his witty repartee-filled sidekick, Al-Zalam, who has taken up occupancy inside Dan’s skull. Al-Zalam is supposed to be a powerful genie that was stripped of his powers by Zarok, thus why he has a chip on his shoulder.
It’s no surprise that you start out as Sir Daniel Fortesque. He’s a big time coward, big time war hero, and a big time opportunist, searching to prove himself worthy of the Hall of Heroes. You see, our guy Dan ended up dying in a war against the evil Sorcerer Zarok. He took an arrow to the eye before the battle even had the chance to start and that was it. The people of Gallowmere told tales of this great warrior, but the men with whom he fought alongside knew the truth behind those fabled stories.
That was hundreds of years ago, but the evil Zarok has returned to life in resurrected form in order to once more try to conquer the world. The only problem is the same power that brought him back has revived our dear friend and hapless hero, Dan. Given this new chance to prove himself, Dan has decided to step up to the proverbial plate and try to stop the sorcerer. Zarok’s return to Gallowmere has been a nasty one, as he has started his mindless zombie army all over again. We all know what that means – it’s go time.
You begin in Dan’s Crypt. It is a place befit for a hero, yet no hero lies here. As you move room to room, you’ll find books scattered about. If you decide to check them out, they’ll give you a glimpse into the game’s various mechanics. Make sure to explore the area because you will be able to pick-up your first real weapon (as your left arm is hardly a real weapon), which happens to be a wooden short-sword. There are dummy units placed about so you can get some much needed practice in after your long-uninterrupted rest.
Following Dan’s Crypt you’re thrown right into the Graveyard – fitting right? You’ll traverse this area several times before you ultimately complete the game. Here Dan is given his first steel short-sword and is expected to fight his way to the end. The zombies are obviously no match for our strapping hero, but that’s part of the enjoyment of the game itself. In the Graveyard, you’ll pick up a lot of new weapons such as throwing knives and a spiked club. Your journey to reach heroic proportions starts here and will inevitably end here. After all, you’re still a skeleton.
One of the key components of the game itself lies around the Hall of Heroes. This hall is filled with past heroes that have fought alongside Dan. They’ve decided to take notice of Dan’s recent actions and to follow him throughout the story. In order for the Hall of Heroes to serve any purpose though, you’ll have to collect the golden chalice in each level as well as fill it with the souls of your enemies. This will awaken one hero at a time, who will then proceed to offer you an item of value. Simply listening to the Heroes talk is quite entertaining. Their witty dialogue had us smiling and even chuckling at times.
This brings us to one of the title’s obvious strengths, the voice acting and dialogue. From talking gargoyles to the voice of Death himself, the game has perfected voice acting for a portable title. You never have to withstand tons of text in the game and we find this makes for a far more immersive world. The voice acting is simply superb, with a great cast of people taking part in it. You’d be hard pressed to find a game that does it better than this one.
Now onto the meat of the game – how does MediEvil Resurrection play? If you’ve been a longstanding fan of this series, you know what you’re getting into; however, if this series is new to you, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. The mechanics behind it are almost flawless, though they do have a few minor issues. We’ll cover these first.
As you’re playing, you’ll notice that sometimes your accuracy isn’t always dead on regarding where you’re pointing. It might have a small delay when you hit the button, at times causing you to miss to the right or left a tad. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s usually when you don’t need it to the most. While this element is somewhat frustrating, it barely detracts from the overall appeal of the game. Also, sometimes the camera does tend to give you an awkward angle; fortunately, a skilled player can usually fight their way through it.
The controls are mapped to the PSP surprisingly well. The camera control is done mainly with the triggers, while you’re given the ability to move your character with either the D-pad or the analogue nub. Therefore, this control scheme offers the key ability to use the camera to your advantage while on the run.
The fighting system is a giant piece of this title, as it’s the core part of the gameplay after all. The button system is flawless. You’ll use the X for quick, swift attacks, while the Square button offers longer, stronger maneuvers. Some weapons will enable you to throw them, which can be done with the X button as well. You can use a combo such as X, X, Square to perform different styles of attacks. Almost every weapon is given its own set of combo moves, usually four to six a piece.
Several of the weapons you’ll see featured are the long-sword, the short-sword, the crossbow, throwing knives, and the war-hammer. Each weapon has its obvious strengths and weaknesses. The short sword has rapid, but seriously weak attacks; the long sword will provide massive damage, but at a slow rate, and so on. Ranged weapons like the crossbow will give you distance from your enemy but then accuracy becomes an issue. How you choose to rotate through these weapons is up to you, but the strategy behind them does come into play. Changing your weapons out is an easy task. You just click select, scroll through them and choose your desired deadly device. This changes your weapon and throws you back into the battlefield without any delay, so prepare to keep button mashing those combos out.
The world provides you with a handful of mini-puzzles for you to figure out in order to advance. None of them are terribly difficult, but some of them may force you to get your gears turning a tad. The great thing about these semi-difficult puzzles are that they’re simple enough for a kid, yet they’ll often force an adult to think.
You’ll come to find that MediEvil Resurrection is a particularly linear title; however, this doesn’t particularly damage its fun factor. It’s comparable to a Ratchet & Clank title in this regard; even though you know you’re going to be forced to press forward, it’ll be quite enjoyable to do so.
One thing you’ll notice right away is the graphical detail in the game itself. The textures are done perfectly for a handheld console. You’ll see the poor foundation or the cracks in the wall just fine and the game doesn’t give you a “flat-wall” feeling. In fact, quite the contrary is the case. It feels alive, simple as that. There is also no visual tearing as the game runs smoothly no matter what is happening on the screen. As for the character detail and design, it’s incredible. This title is on par with Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops graphically, with a complete absence of any tearing whatsoever. The world is dark, gloomy, and oozing with brilliant detail. Gallowmere is the place to be.
Another thing we always like to bring up is the musical score, because it’s a key component on if you’ll be annoyed throughout the entirety of the title or not. Luckily, you’ll be tapping your feet to the tunes instead of smashing your head on a wall in frustration, as the music in MediEvil Resurrection fits the bill.
In regards to the multiplayer functions of this neat little masterpiece, they’re simply just ports of the single-player mini-games. Online you’ll be able to go toe to toe with other skeletal heroes as you battle it out for the higher score or to last the longest amount of time. Descriptions of these mini-games that are offered will be given below.
One thing that we genuinely appreciated were all the mini-games within MediEvil Resurrection. Though most of these are available within Gallowmere Plain and through online play, the ones which we enjoyed the most are playable directly from the start menu. Our favorites include Arrow of Fate, Vermin Control, Trebuchet O’ Terror and Guardian O’ The Bell.
Here’s our breakdown of all eight.
Arrow of Fate: There’s a small grey cardboard castle with pop-up targets that you have to shoot with a crossbow, kind of like at a carnival. This one’s a really fun and addictive game.
Vermin Control: You’re placed in a large farm that’s fenced in when a bunch of rats are released. You’re holding a huge sledge hammer and you have to crush as many rats as are required for each level – another fun mini-game.
Shepherd’s Delight: This game is placed in a farm similar to that of Vermin Control. The object here is to round up the live-stock for a shepherd. It’s not nearly as fun as the previous two mentioned – not even close.
Trebuchet O’ Terror: Works in a similar manner to the Arrow of Fate mini-game, but this time ships are involved and you’re using boulders instead. Boulders are aimed with accuracy and power-leveling, so it keeps it interesting. It’s just as fun as the Arrow game.
Whack-A-Zarok: Think Whack-A-Mole but with our zany evil sorcerer as the mole. This game is played on a life-size whack-a-mole invention, meaning the Zaroks are life-size as well. You have to run around the platform hitting each one. Another fun game to just pass the time.
Pit O’ Death: This one’s in a Brawl-for-All type setting. The game field has pitfalls to fall into while a boatload of enemies come running out of the walls, you have to fend them off without dying to become the lone survivor. The game is decently done, but it’s not nearly as addicting as some of the others.
Guardian O’ The Bell: You’re given a bell to protect in the middle of an enclosed field while enemies come from all sides. This game gets progressively harder as you complete the challenges. This one is an awesome time-waster.
Weapon’s Master: You’re given a weapon and have to defeat all monsters to progress to the next challenge. It’s a lot harder than you’d think, and ends up being fairly mind-aggravating.
Overall, MediEvil Resurrection is a great game offered to PSP fans amidst somewhat of a drought. Even though the fighting mechanics are sometimes sloppy and the camera gives you a bad angle every now and then, this game has the ability to keep you playing whether on-the-run or chilling on your couch. You definitely can’t go wrong by picking this one up.