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In Memory
Sean Pettibone

Medievil Resurrection (PSP)


By Michael Palisano

The legendary zombie hero Sir Daniel Fortesque returns to battle once more in SCEA's excellent Medievil Resurrection for the PSP. The game brings back the long running PS1 franchise and mixes traditional platforming with mini-games and multiplayer modes. It has a darkly gothic atmosphere as you follow Dan's return to Gallowmere to battle Zarok and his evil minions once again. In addition to these battles, players will also have to solve numerous puzzles. There are also online modes, mini games and, dozens of weapons to unlock. Read our review and find out how Medievil Resurrection effectively brings the long running franchise back to life.

Many centuries ago, the legendary Knight Sir Daniel Fortesque was killed while battling the evil wizard Zarok. However, the truth wasn't quite as the legend had it, since Sir Dan wasn't quickly dispatched with a sword in the eye, making his death less than noble. Zarok's return sees the tranquil world of Gallowmere once again shrouded in darkness. To make matters worse, Zarok has cast a spell and reanimated the dead, creating an evil army of ghosts and skeletons who've begun to terrorize the world. Unfortunately for Zarok, his evil spell has also brought his arch nemesis, Sir Dan back to life along with the other zombies. While his death the first time around wasn't noble, Dan now has the chance to redeem himself and battle Zarok all over again. Taking place one hundred years after the previous installment, Medievel Resurrection once again sees our hero reanimated from the halls of the dead to battle an undead army who's been terrorizing the citizens. Dan will travel and find danger and secrets as he explores the many different areas of Gallowmere. He'll start at his own where he'll begin his journey to the Wizard's castle and many areas in between including graveyards, a surreal carnival and many other areas. Medievil's structure is somewhat traditional for the genre and doesn't stray too far from the conventions seen in the PS1 titles, making it easy to get into and understand. However, there are a few interesting twists that gives the game a unique feel all its own.

During his quest, Sir Dan will face off against a range of baddies such as skeletons, zombies, and other foes. He can slice through them in a number of ways and techniques, using his melee weapons (such as swords) for either slow or quick attacks. He can also chain his attacks together to create combos that can effectively kill large groups of combos in a hurry. You can attack these foes at close range, or use the long-range weapons to attack from a distance to eliminate them. You can also switch your weapons in each level, which comes in handy since some areas require you to have a specific weapon in order to progress. To help him along the way, Dan has a new companion named Al-Zalam, a sarcastic Genie locked inside his head who gives him advice and tells him where to go next. While the comic relief is welcome, there are certain points in the game where it seems out of place, and becomes a little bit grating.

Medievel Resurrection also allows players to purchase additional items by collecting the gold coins scattered around each level. In addition to this standard method, Dan can search certain levels for a golden chalice, which collects the souls of his vanquished enemies. If he collects enough of these, he is then allowed to enter the Hall of Heroes, where Gallowmere's fallen idols will help in out in the quest. The single player mode unfolds at a good pace, and offers a good variety of combat and puzzle solving areas. The game's controls are straightforward and responsive, though the battle system takes some getting used to. Navigating the menus and options screens during the game can also get annoying because it causes the action to stop, hurting the game's otherwise solid momentum. Still, the game is loads of fun, and its simple premise and accessible gameplay shouls make for an enjoyable romp for most players. It's not the hardest game you'll ever play, most enemies can be dispatched with a few simple moves, which becomes repetitive after awhile, but its still enjoyable.

The single player experience is quite enjoyable, but Medievil adds a number of mini-games and online modes to extend the replayability. There are 8 differen mini-games to unlock, which can then be accessed at the carnival area. These are all relatively simple and range from simple shooting games, to some unqiue driving areas. You don't have access to all of them initially, and you need to unlock them. Successfully completing these mini-games earns you coins which you can use at the shops to buy additional items and weapons that will help Dan in his quest. There's a good range of mini-games, and you can access them from the main menu to practice and sharpen up your skills as well. This definitely adds a new dimension to Medievil Resurrection, giving it a bit more depth and variety than most traditional platform titles offer. An entirely new experience awaits players in the Wi-Fi mode, where they can compete against up to eight other players in the mini-games, or try completing the levels head to head or cooperatively. As in the main game, these online games feature the same great visuals and production values as you'd expect, but the competitive aspect brings new life to the gameplay. These extras almost constitute a solid game in and of themselves, adding a great deal of value to an already excellent title.

Medievil Resurrection should please fans of the original PS1 series since they offer a significant upgrade in the visuals, allowing the series' unique personality to fully emerge on current generation technology for the first time. While the original games always had a strange, off-kilter design, the increased power of the PSP allows the humor and aesthetics to truly shine. Resurrection's environments are large and expansive, with a darkly gothic, yet humorous undercurrent that makes the experience feel more like a Tim Burton cartoon than a videogame. The characters are rendered beautifully, with silky animation and movement that gives the game a distinct feel all its own. The plot itself is told humorously through a series of cut-scenes and expository interludes that brings Medievel's plot up to date. Medievel Resurrection's camera system is adequete for a 3D platformer, though we experienced a few glitches. The most annoying problem was the lack of a lock on for enemies, which made combat difficult. However, these problems are fairly minor and the quality in other areas of the game more than compensates for these issues. Excellent art direction and technical know-how are evident throughout the game, with an epic score, great special effects such as water and light sourcing giving things a professional, polished appearance throughout. Medievil Resurrection's imaginative world is smartly designed with fully realized characters make for an entertaining game that offers immersive environments and an interesting storyline that keeps your interest throughout.

Despite a few rough areas and some awkward control problems, Medievil Resurrection is a solidly produced platform title that offers plenty of solid play mechanics, challenging puzzles and an interesting array of mini-games that should keep you occupied for some time. Medievil's level designs are clever with plenty of combat and traditional platforming mixed with puzzles and other obstacles to keep you challenged throughout. The mini-games in particular are notable for their accessible qualities that make them quite accessible. Additionally, Medievil's online mode allows head-to-head action for the first time. This is a solid game that successfully brings the long-running cult franchise back to life with a solid installment that gives you all the things that made the first games so successful while adding a few new elements to keep things lively. Despite a few minor shortcomings, Medievil Resurrection is still a solid title that should please fans with by staying true to its roots while adding some new elements. Medievil Resurrection is an entertaining, challenging action title that should please fans of the long running franchise.

Grade: B

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