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Retro Recap – MediEvil

A Gothic tale straight from the grave

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After a brief hiatus, Retro Recap has returned! Today, we’re joined by our good friend Sir Dan Fortesque to present MediEvil!

Developed by the Cambridge branch of Sony Entertainment Europe, MediEvil pits undead hero Sir Dan Fortesque against his former nemesis Zorak as he attempts to seize control on Sir Dan’s homeland of Gallowmere. Based around the medieval era (duh) and ancient British Legends such as King Arthur, MediEvil was very much well received by fans and critics alike, citing its unique humor, coupled with its vague attempts at historic accuracy.

As with all old PSOne games, MediEvil suffered from the curse of a terrible camera. I mean, remembering a time when the camera wasn’t controlled via the right analogue stick is painful enough (here’s looking at you, Too Human. The camera controls work, don’t try to make them back into L and R2, it doesn’t work). However, once you get past this annoyance and actually get into the game, Sir Dan and his plethora of weapons enjoy a good time smashing the life (or lack of) out of his enemies. It’s easy to see why Sir Dan was the Kings first choice of Knight, as most enemies are taken down in one or two swipes of the hammer, and only bosses seem to pose a real threat, but the joy does tend to come from the satisfaction of killing enough enemies to get the coveted Chalice from each level.

MediEvilTEHCHALICE
Of course where would an old school title such as this be without a secret ending? Collecting all of the Chalices from Gallowmere unlocks the real ending, albeit, not too different from the fake, non-rewarding one. I say non-rewarding, it’s the completionist in me that, once knowing there is an additional ending, anything other than that isn’t worth my time. And what is the best thing about MediEvil? The health bar! I miss games that contain health bars. Nearly all titles have this stupid idea that we like red screen blurring indicators that we’re dying. We don’t. We like a bar that determines how long until we actually perish. Realistic? Not a chance. More intuitive? Most definitely. Bring back health bars!
Some facts about MediEvil? Yeah I have some of those! They’re pretty cool too:

  • MediEvil was one of the very first PSOne games to support the DualShock controller
  • The game is actually set in the year 1386, as revealed in the games sequel MediEvil II
  • In the Japanese version of the game, Sir Dan wears a helmet. This was due to the developers thinking that the skeleton head of Sir Dan wouldn’t appeal to the Asian audience

MediEvilZombehzz

I only had the pleasure of playing this game via the old school demos you got with the PlayStation magasines. It was only until my adult years (specifically, within the last month…) that I actually picked up a full copy from the PlayStation Store. Despite the PS Vita’s lack of L2 , R2, L3 and L3 buttons, MediEvil holds up pretty well. More of a casual game now, rather than the action / adventure experience it once provided, MediEvil still gives the same sense of satisfaction and amusement it always did. Whether you play 5 or 6 levels at once, or pick up the odd level here and there, Sir Dan and his skeletal charm can still entertain, even amongst the more recent and immersive titles of the current generation.

What were your thoughts on MediEvil? Did you enjoy playing it when it came out? Or were you in the same boat as me and picked it up more recently? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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