As dismal as the collection of PSP titles are these day, there are a few amongst them that are worth checking out. Anyone who appreciates a Tim Burton-esque haunting tale can appreciate the charm of MediEvil Resurrection, a ghoulish hack and slash that does a solid job of entertaining the handheld gamer. Outside of looking good, this game has some of the best voice acting ever. Unfortunately the gameplay itself isn't especially innovative. There are a few mini-games here that lend well to gamers on the go, but that's about it.
The original MediEvil game came out on Playstation back in 1998. That was the first time that Sir Dan stepped on the seen. With all the haunting beauty of a Tim Burton fantasy, players guide the gangly skeleton through Gallowmere, that site of a historical battle that ended the life of the evil Sorcerer Zarok. The legend in the story explained that Sir Dan was the fateful warrior that took out Zarok, but in reality, he was one of the first soldiers to fall. Zarok has found away to "resurrect" himself as it were, along with an entire army ... and the unsuspecting Sir Dan! Now, it's on and poppin,' and hopefully this time Sir Dan will really destroy the enemy he grew to fame for supposedly killing.
For the most part, you're playing the exact same game that came out in 1998, except smaller of course. There are a few extra tweaks to the main single player campaign, like added levels for instance. Pumpkin Gorge is an entire level this time around. Considering the fact that players are going to view all the action on a small screen, Sir Dan has an auto-target this time around. There's a little green dot that floats in front of you that shows which way you're facing. When you run up on an enemy and the green cursor floats over him, it will turn red. To lock-on to an enemy, you hold down the right shoulder button. This will get Sir Dan to strafe around and keep a single enemy in front him while he attacks. The X and square buttons are used for hacking and slashing, the circle button is for jumping. The triangle button will send him charging forward with a sprint. It's look vicious, like he's ready to deal a devastating blow, but it's hard to land it accurately. But this isn't much of a surprise, considering the fact that controlling Sir Dan in general is kind of rough.
Steering Sir Dan may not make you as frustrated as it was to control the old Resident Evil characters of yesteryear, but it's slippery nevertheless. The analog nub here isn't as bad as we found in other games prior to this, but is doesn't feel as tight as it should be. Fortunately, the D-pad can also be used to control Dan which is a little better. The camera is also a bit wonky. It's not so bad when fighting in large spaces, where you can easily run around and avoid danger not matter what direction it's coming from. But getting in a tight and small space makes it hard to see what's coming at Sir Dan off-screen. If the threats are coming from the slow and dumb zombies that simply like to take swipes at Sir Dan, then it's easy to manage the conflict. But when Dan gets to Sleeping Village, he'll face-off against enemies that like to use projectiles. And these aren't just little daggers or spears, they're cannons. In this particular part of Sleeping Village, Sir Dan is overwhelmed with this one kind of enemy, and they're tough as hell to kill with range or melee weapons. So all He can do is run around frantically and try to isolate one of them in hopes of not getting hit in the back by someone in the distance. Players can adjust the camera to face straight ahead by tapping that right shoulder trigger, but it gets rather clumsy in the middle of a heated battle.
The toughest example of the uncooperative camera making life hard was in the asylum. In on circular room, a ton of armless munching creatures are coming at Dan, plus these really mean zombies whose heads and arms are perpetually trapped in stocks. They're very aggressive and they rush at Dan in packs. All he can do to survive an initial rush is to run away. The only thing is that all the enemies he's running away from end-up off screen and if he turns to fight them all, they all rush up on him at once. It doesn't help that his fighting mechanics are kind of clumsy. His slashes are kind of wild and inaccurate, which fits the character rather well, but makes it hard to effectively compete in the game. I managed to get fend them all off by charging Dan's super attack by holding down the square button and immediately turning around at the right moment to unleash it. It's an attack that spins him around and sends his sword flailing about. I'll catch a few of them, but the other would still get a hit in on me.
One of the coolest aspects here are the mini games you can play in Gallowmere Plains. They're PSP exclusive and they're addicting. The Guardian O' The Bell is my favorite. There's a simply a bell in the middle of an arena, and Dan stands by it. Enemies start coming out of doors all over the place and you have to fight them off with Dan before they get to the bell. You have to hold them all of for a certain amount of time. If the enemies reach the bell and ring it three times, the game is over. Of course, the first few levels of this are pretty easy. But when you get into the higher levels, it gets hard as hell. Luckily, the camera is overhead and you can pretty much see all the enemies that come at you. Sometimes you can't see who's coming, and at those times, little white arrows will point to the enemies you can't see off-screen. They all creep toward the bell pretty slow, so you have time to run up on them and hack away, but some enemies are harder to kill than other, and if you spend too much time trying to take out one of those harder enemies, an easy one will walk right-up and get those three rings in. It's challenging and worth tons of replay value.
Competing over wi-fi isn't that cool. All you do is race opponents through levels just like the one in story mode. The two races happen independently on the two separate screens, and you don't see the opponent on your screen. There's just meter on side helps you see if you're winning or not. But the goal is to finish the level before your opponent does.
The overwhelming best feature of this game is the voice acting. It's just great. It gives the game so much personality and wit, that I found myself wanting to play the game for laughing experience alone. Its Monty Python meets Nightmare Before Christmas. There are some real "laugh out loud" moments here worth noting. Like when Sir Dan meets the Grim Reaper, and the Grim Reaper is just going on and on about how stressed out he is with all the new deaths happening as a result of Zarok's evil deeds. He remarks, "I might have to take on an intern." That one caught me off guard and I laughed about it for a several minutes. The cool thing is that there are tons of little moments like that through-out the game. I found myself looking forward to cutscenes just to get a laugh. The characterization here is awesome.
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