SONY PSP REVIEW: MEDIEVIL RESURRECTION

Halloween is just around the corner - and so is a convenient store that's run by immigrants. Just try asking the owners a question and you'll experience a nightmare unlike anything Halloween can throw at you.

In the spirit of Tim Burton, MediEvil Resurrection is a campy, horror-inspired, hack and slash game that incorporates elements of platforming, puzzles and tons of combat with a cartoon-style cast. It's a great looking game with top-shelf cutscenes, voiceacting and writing. The gameplay itself is just slightly above average but it's plenty challenging enough for gamers of all levels.

Back in the day, a great battle took place in which legend has it that Sir Daniel Fortesque had slain the evil sorcerer Zarok and paid for it with his life. Nothing could be further from the truth as old Dan was just a bumbling coward that was killed on the first attack all those years ago. Now Zarok has returned from the dead and in the process of resurrecting an army of the undead he has unwittingly brought Dan back to life. This would explain his macabre, skeletal appearance. Given a second chance to live up to his undeserved reputation, Dan takes up arms and vows to destroy Zarok once and for all - unlike the first time.

This game is an updated version of the original which appeared on the PSX in 1998. The graphics are updated and upgraded, as is evidenced in the cutscenes which are extremely well produced. They maintain a consistent atmosphere commensurate with the storyline and characters' appearances. If I may be so bold to say (and who's going to stop me?) the cutscenes are the best part of the game.

Dan isn't the easiest character to control and that's a problem not so much with the game as it is with the PSP control system. That little analog nub is a pain in the ass as anyone with an IBM Thinkpad will attest. It takes some getting used to but thankfully you can use the D-pad to steer old Dan around with. It's easier but it's not the optimum solution.

Hacking and slashing is an activity that will hog most of your time so it's very convenient that the game includes a lock-on targeting system. A green dot will float in front of Dan and will turn red when it settles on an enemy. Push the shoulder button and you will be locked on, allowing you to move around freely while dodging projectiles and preparing for your next attack.

The camera doesn't always give you the best perspectives especially in later levels where the enemies are more aggressive and prone to launch projectiles at you from off-screen. I hate when that situation happens. It then becomes more about luck than skill. All you can do is try to outrun them and circumvent the enemy and take him out. There are other times when the enemies will be incredibly aggressive and rush at you in large numbers. This isn't a fault with the camera but once again your moves are limited to running away or using your special spin attack in which you rotate like a top with deadly blades sticking out. It's not the most accurate way to destroy your enemies so you will still have to rely on an element of luck.

There are some great mini-games offered that are just as much fun to play as the main story mode. These games aren't unique but they are presented in such a way that they seem totally original. The two-player, wi-fi mode consists of racing through previous levels to see who can make it to the end first. Big deal, says I. And you will probably too since I control your every thought and every move and every whim and all the bad things you say to your parents, teachers and game programmers.

It's unfortunate that the control system and the camera erode the fun potential of what could have been the best PSP game thus far. It's still one of the better PSP games and should be looked over instead of overlooked.

PReview by Vaughn

Everything that was old is new again! Thanks to Nintendo's penchant for using their handheld systems as a way to regurgitate old games into slightly new carcasses, Sony feels they can get away with the same nonsense. The first MediEvil game wasn't that much to write home about when it debuted on the PSone years ago, but since the PSP is capable of PS2 level visuals it only makes sense to reanimate these old characters onto the PSP and hope that sparks some kind of interest in gamers. Wait...that doesn't make any sense at all!! Meh. Such is life in the game industry.

Developed by Cambridge Studios, MediEvil Resurrection is inspired by the myths, characters, and environments of the popular PS one franchise, exclusively to PlayStation Portable. MediEvil Resurrection provides players with an enchanting storyline filled with numerous levels and gameplay locations, supported with various characters, including numerous enemies, weapons, and mini-games that take place in the realm of Gallowmere. In single-player mode, players follow the role of Sir Daniel Fortesque and embark on a series of events to defeat the evil Sorcerer Zarok. During Wi-Fi gameplay via ad-hoc mode, players can compete head-to-head in various arcade-style mini games.

Story:

One hundred years have passed since the evil Sorcerer Zarok was defeated at the Battle of Gallowmere when he was heroically cut down by a mortally wounded Sir Daniel Fortesque. Or at least, that's what the people were told; in fact, poor Sir Daniel Fortesque was a bit of a coward, falling in the very first wave of arrows. Now Zarok has returned, turning day into night, and raising an undead army to conquer the land. As a side effect, Sir Daniel Fortesque also has been resurrected…now, he has the chance to defeat Zarok and in death become the hero he never was in life.

Features:

  • Levels: In MediEvil Resurrection, there are 19 levels and gameplay locations that take place in Gallowmere.
    - - A fully functional Carnival zone featuring oodles of multi-level fairground style mini-games, offering hours of gameplay, and opportunities to earn gold to fund Dan's core quest.
    - - A multifunctional crypt room where Dan can learn new combat moves. The crypt features a gameplay manual, journal, a bestiary book and an artifact book, all of which are automatically updated with information as Dan's quest evolves.
  • Mini-Games: More than 70 mini-games divided among single-player gameplay and wireless multi-player connectivity via ad-hoc mode.
  • Combat Moves / Weapons: During gameplay, players have access to 20 weapons and an enriched combat/shielding system complete with over 200 moves and multiple combos that can be used.
  • Enemies: More than 30 enemies that the player will encounter during gameplay.
  • Wireless connectivity: A plethora of Wi-Fi multiplayer games via Ad Hoc mode that include mini-games encompassing the innovative race mode among others, which allows participants to compete simultaneously across their favorite in-game levels.
  • Characters: Players take the role of Sir Daniel Fortesque.
    o In addition, the re-appearance of many well loved characters and places from the original MediEvil world are included - all updated graphically, mechanically, and vocally, as well as the inclusion of new characters, locations, play mechanics and story plots.
    - - A new sidekick for Dan in the guise of Al Zalam, a streetwise sarcastic genie who is locked inside Daniel Fortesque's hollow head. Al Zalam offers timely commentary on Dan's successes and failures.
  • Innovative in-game help feature: In the form of the mysterious Voodoo Witch who can tell Dan's fortune, and offer up cryptic clues for each of the locations that Dan will visit.
  • Over 100 humorous film-quality cut scenes: introducing characters such as the pedantic Harbor Master of Scurvy docks and the new-age hippy nightmare, Forrest Witch.
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System: PSP
Dev: Cambridge Studio
Pub: Sony
Release: Sept 2005
Players: 1
Review by Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
3.0
MUSIC/FX
4.5
VALUE
3.0