The PS1 had a lot of classics, a lot of games that I look back at fondly. Every so often I will pick them back up, blow the dust & cobwebs off them & set about reminding myself why I love them. Nostalgia can be a funny thing…sometimes the games I loved pale by today’s standards but some stand up tall no matter how many years later & no matter how many times I play them. One of these games is Medievil…
The evil sorcerer known as Zarok has returned & is attempting to take over the kingdom of Gallowmere with an army of the undead. 100 years earlier he was forced into hiding after suffering defeat at the hands of King’s champion, Sir Daniel Fortesque who then died from his wounds. At least that is what the legend says. In truth Sir Dan was struck by the first arrow fired & died instantly, the king choosing to use him as a symbol instead.
When Zarok reappears he casts a spell over Gallowmere that steals peoples souls & raises the dead, he also inadvertently brings Dan back as well who is but a skeleton missing his jaw & the eye he was shot in. Sir Dan is given a 2nd chance to right the wrongs of the past, defeat Zarok & take his rightful place in the hall of heroes.
Medievil is an adventure game where you take on the role of Sir Dan. The game is spread across a huge amount of levels ranging from graveyards to possessed villages to pirate ghost ships. Most levels have an objective to complete sometimes as simple as collecting something & finishing the level or beating a boss. The variety in the levels are one of the games highlights, they look amazing & have a real gothic style to them. The sleeping village level deserves a special mention as it could have been lifted directly from a Tim Burton movie.
Most levels are filled with wacky & cleverly designed enemies. You start of dealing with basic zombies & before you know it you are dealing with armoured knights & demons.
Sir Dan starts off with a basic sword but can utilise a huge number of collectible weapons throughout the game. Clubs, bows, enchanted swords etc. as well as shields that can block damage although for a limited time as they will break. Certain weapons once collected are infinitely superior to others so you might find you stick to them mostly. However some enemies require you to mix it up such as flying enemies needing to shot with arrows or armoured guards who can only be knocked into water to kill them. It’s clever & forces you to get used to a range of different weapons.
What is also clever is that you may not see more then half of these weapons unless you collect the chalices available per level. In each level there will be a hidden chalice (some very well hidden – see my chalice guide for help) which you must fill. You do this by killing an enemy…their soul adds to a total percentage & once it reaches 100% its all yours. With the chalice collected at the end of the level Sir Dan will be transported to the hall of heroes where one of the heroes there will gift him with a new weapon or health or sometimes money.
Money is spent at 1 of 2 gargoyles where you can buy arrows for your bows, re-enchant your magic swords & repair your shields. The other gargoyle will offer advice, conversation & often insults. The interaction between Dan & them is very funny. As is Dan’s interaction with the heroes in the halls. Some are sympathetic to Dan’s plight while others see him as nothing more then a fake hero. It makes for some funny lines & the voice acting is top notch.
The games conclusion is satisfying & should you collect every chalice in the game you will be rewarded with an additional ending that sweetens the deal.
My one criticism for the game comes with the controls. They are fiddly especially when trying to run & some later levels require pretty precise movements on tight ledges. You can very easily lose all your levels very quickly in a short amount of time just by falling off a ledge repeatedly.
It would have got a perfect 10 had it not been for the dodgy running controls. Beyond that I find it hard to fault the game, its gothic colourful world is beautiful to look at & the variety is amazing. The many different enemies force you to think & act differently per level & the puzzles are taxing without bringing frustration. A gem of a game.