Aug 30, 2018

MediEvil 1 & 2 (PlayStation)

MediEvil is allegedly getting a PS4 remake - maybe even with a sequel remake packed in - but we haven't heard anything about it for awhile and it currently has a non-specific 2018 release date. I don't even own a PS4, but I still hope Sir Daniel makes his reappearance soon; it would allow many to conveniently enjoy a solid, sometimes forgotten PS1 experience (or two). While you await this modern opportunity, allow me to regale you with the exciting tales of my first encounters with the PS1 originals, which just so happen to be two of my favorite gaming memories.


MediEvil (PlayStation, 1998)

In the summer of 2015 my wife and I were doing some garage sale-ing (sailing?) in the unique town of Montara, KS. Originally meant to provide convenient housing across the road from Forbes Air Force Base, these days it's a quiet community just outside of Topeka. We didn't have a ton of luck in such a small place, but did meet quite a few adorable dogs, and eventually found a small box of PS1 and PS2 games for $20. We wasted a few more minutes before giving up and going to Banjo's Cafe in nearby Pauline, KS for lunch, and to crack open our box of goodies.

It wasn't quality or rarity that made it memorable; there were just a lot of interesting games I'd never heard of before. Failed mascot Punky Skunk, the very weird Psybadek, Plucky's Big Adventure from my childhood favorite Tiny Toons, Looney Toon's Sheep Raider, the terrible-but-still-awesome Kiss Pinball, an obscure puzzler called Spin Jam, and a handful of forgettable PS2 racing games (clearly, because I've long since forgotten them). It's not a great list, in hindsight; I only have a few of them still today. But seeing MediEvil gave me quick confidence; I'd never played it, but knew it was a somewhat uncommon cult-classic and Sony gem.

Today this dynamic hack-and-slash/action-adventure combo gets its fair share of internet love for its quirky humor and gothic style that shine through the issues plaguing most early 3D games. For an expert review, I recommend Hardcore Gaming 101's clean-cut written take, or the Caddicarus YouTube review below.

My own much shorter, less sophisticated review is that this game is good. Connecting weapons with enemies can be frustrating, and the early 3D problems like camera-control and blockiness seem to bother me more than Caddicarus or HG101. However, the pairing of awesome soundtrack and style overshadows the system's aesthetic limitations, the gameplay effectively blends a few genres at a time before it was expected of 3D adventures, and I love Sir Daniel's ludicrous quest to join the Hall of Heroes. If you have the patience for early 3D, you'll probably like this game.



MediEvil 2 (PlayStation, 2000)

My story of finding the sequel isn't as thrilling, but represents something more important to me. Not so long ago, my wife and I moved, downsized, switched jobs, changed lifestyles, and generally turned our life on its head In concordance with these changes, I did some minor trimming to my video game collection for the sake of space prior to the move. I didn't get rid of anything important, just a group of games I'd never remember owning in the first place. I took it all to my favorite game store, Gamer's HQ, and one of the two solid games I managed to afford (a driving force behind the decision to trim down in the first place) was the same copy of MediEvil 2 in the glass case at the center of the store that I'd seen there on every visit since buying the original. I'm not exactly a completionist - I don't even own Resurrection, and it's fairly common - but something about completing the PS1 MediEvil pair appealed to me as a means of some closure.

MediEvil 2 was received similarly well to its predecessor, though as a late-life release received less attention originally. There are plenty of tradeoffs; it seems more functionally sound and graphically detailed than the first, but also ditches the gothic style so beloved in the first, and the levels don't feel as well-designed. Here's Hardcore Gaming 101's written review, but Caddicarus never covers this sequel so for video I recommend Harvesquire's straightforward-but-entertaining take below.

My review is particularly uninteresting. Having only just begun to recover from the hectic past few months, I haven't even played it yet. Most signs suggest I'll enjoy it, particularly because of function-and-format improvements to the problems that nagged me throughout the original. It's currently the top game in my backlog because I look forward to cashing in on the personal sentiment I have for the game already... and it looks pretty funny, too.



In conclusion, MediEvil 1 & 2 are probably not games I'll pull down to play often; I didn't grow up playing early 3D titles so it's hard for me to look past those issues, and they're not completely outstanding regardless. Without a PS4 or even the promise of the remake's release date, I don't currently have much interest in playing that either. However, uniqueness and fond memories make these the type of game I hope to keep forever.