Thursday, 24 November 2011

Retro Review: MediEvil

Originally released near Halloween in October 1998 (a rather fitting date for the games subject matter), MediEvil tells the tale of of a deceased knight (the noble Sir Dan) as he fights to rid the land of Gallowmere of the evil Zarok and his undead army. 


Sir Dan is definitely a hero gamers can root for. He's the underdog-the knight who dreamed of being regarded as a hero by his peers. Unfortunately though, Sir Dan fell in the line of duty at the beginning of the battle against the evil wizard Zarok. Thankfully, MediEvil allows Sir Dan to have another chance at gaining this renown, after Sir Dan is resurrected to battle Zarok, who has returned once again. As a player, you can definitely feel the excitement as you inch Sir Dan ever-closer to being regarded as a true hero. As a consequence, the storyline is one of the strongest parts of the game. 
To me, MediEvil is a cross between the gameplay of Ghosts 'N Goblins, and the gothic but fun aesthetics adopted in Tim Burton films, most notably The Nightmare Before Christmas. Being a huge fan of Tim Burton's work, I feel that this is why the game has stuck by me for so many years, and why I also have such fond memories of playing through it. 


The game involves collecting and using a variety of weapons to hack through a hoard of creatures. Although hacking and slashing makes up a large amount of the game, MediEvil is punctuated with puzzle sections, each unique to the last. It makes for a nice change, and stops the game from becoming too repetitive and as a consequence, boring. There is also a chance to upgrade weapons by visiting gargoyles or opening treasure chests, and collecting items throughout the levels. Once a certain number of enemies are obliterated, a chalice can be gained which gives you access to the Hall of Heroes, a place where heroic ghosts give Sir Dan special weapons or items on each visit, which is a nice incentive to keep playing. 
Unfortunately every game, even the supposed "perfect" ones, suffer from a flaw or two, no matter how great or small it may be. In MediEvil, it is firstly, the camera positioning. This is a common problem in this genre, and in this game, the perspective has to be shifted regularly in order to get a better view of the surroundings. Secondly, some may find the idea of repeatedly hacking and slashing through levels little tiresome, but if you're after a light-hearted, no-brainer hack and slash game, then look no further than MediEvil


On face value, MediEvil lacks innovation, as it adopts the straight forward hack and slash platformer that we have seen many times before. However, the puzzles are a joy to complete, and the cartoon-gothic style is a pleasure to look at. MediEvil triumphs the most in it's goofy, humorous and engaging story and great, spooky looking visuals. The mix of unique levels and puzzles also add a substantial amount of diversity to the proceedings. The game is let down somewhat by the frustrating camera controls, but on the whole, this platformer is great fun. 

3 comments:

  1. Oh, this is a game of my childhood .... I liked the level of scarecrows ... The game has a lot of excellent humor .... But in the second part it will be more .... For example hairy fat women.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Used to love this game but I think it is the nostalgia rather the game play that draws me to it. Wouldn't mind playing it again though :)

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