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MIA - MediEvil

A fantastic franchise in dire need of another good ole' resurrection.

It’s Friday and that means that it’s time for another installment of Missing in Action!  For those of you that missed out on previous installments, MIA is a bi-weekly column where we highlight a game or franchise of old that could use a little dusting and a current generation update. 

To qualify for the MIA treatment a game must not be on any current generation console or currently in development (unconfirmed rumors and speculation of a new entry are okay) and must also be well served by a current generation entry – some games should stay in the past; I’m looking at you Duke.

This week I present for your consideration, MediEvil!

MediEvil first found its way into our hearts and homes back in 1998 on the Sony Playstation with a sequel arriving two years later in the year 2000.

The game puts us in the role of Sir Daniel Fortesque, the skeletal remains of what history has said to be a great and heroic knight that slew the evil sorcerer Zarok.  It would be revealed to the player that the legend of Sir Daniel, Hero of Gallowmere, was based on a lie.  In reality, Zarok was never killed but went into hiding. Sir Daniel was killed at the outset of the battle via an arrow to the eye, which explains why our hero’s skeleton form is short one eyeball.

In terms of gameplay, MediEvil takes a lot from the seminal title Ghost ‘n Goblins.  Each level has a particular end point that you must advance to by slaying enemies and solving puzzles.  You start the game out with nothing but your detachable arm as a weapon, but as the game progresses Dan will be able to employ various swords, projectiles and other items in his quest to find and slay Zarok.

There is a myriad of collectibles and goal orientated challenges throughout the game that add to the bizarre fun. 

The sequel finds our hero, now having accomplished his goal of slaying Zarok, resurrected yet again 500 years later by another sorcerer named Lord Palethorn, who had found Zarok’s book of spells.  While gameplay remained mostly unchanged there were a few enhancements to gameplay including being able to toggle through different weapons and Dan-hand – an ability that allows you to send off your hand to accomplish certain puzzles.

Both titles were critical and commercial hits, which makes it kind of surprising that a new title hasn’t been produced in all these years.  There is hope that the series may find life again, as both titles were ported to the PSP and PSN in 2007.

What really makes this title stand out, even today, is the unique aesthetic of the game; it has disproportionate character designs and an almost cheerful presentation of the macabre.  With current generation machines, developers could create huge, lively levels with a myriad of character models and a cornucopia of gothic inspired characters.

While gameplay wouldn’t have to be modified all that much in the translation to the current generation, there are certain features that could be added to enhance the gameplay like Co-op or Level Creation. Little Big Planet has really shown us what user generated content can add to a gaming community.  If you add a simple level creation tool, players could upload custom maps to a server for the whole community to play.  To keep it simple, we’ll call it Graveyard Mode, where you can take graveyard templates and modify them with tombstones, crypts, trees, enemies, etc… and then challenge the community to complete them.  Best completion times and level ratings could be posted, adding a level of competition between users.

As far as story goes, we’d want to stay linear.  Dan was last seen in the Victorian age, but could be brought back anytime between then and now.  Personally, I’d like to see Zarok himself resurrected as well -- every good skeleton needs a nemesis.

Though a LEGO game would also be cool…

Please feel free to share any stories and memories you have on the franchise, as well as any ideas on how this could be updated for today’s platforms by sounding off in the comments section below!


 

Comments

Julian Titus Senior Editor

12/23/2011 at 05:38 PM

I don't know if this a big enough franchise to support a PS3 release, but I'm surprised that it never found new unlife on the PSP. Maybe the Vita will give us a resurrection?

Anonymous

12/24/2011 at 08:46 PM

Couldn't find anything about the sales for the PSOne games but the PSP remake sold 760,000 copies...pretttty damn good for a PSP game and verrrry impressive for a remake...I remember there was a contest sponsored by Sony for this game that the winner would get a trip to a Scottish castle or something...any game big enough for a contest like that is definitely deserving for at least some recognition and personally I would love to see a HD Medievil 3...pretty much all my friends with a PS1 had it and Im sure it would succeed just on the nostalgia level alone...sony should release a Parappa, a Medievil and a new Ape Escape game to this generation.

Lukasz Balicki Staff Alumnus

12/26/2011 at 10:25 AM

"To qualify for the MIA treatment a game must not be on any current generation console or currently in development"

Sorry but according to that sentence, this article shouldn't exist then. Sony did release 2 Medieval games this generation. Medieval Resurrection on PSP back in 2006 and Medieval Moves: Deadmunds Quest for PS3/PS Move one month ago.

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

12/26/2011 at 10:57 AM

MediEvil Resurrection is a straight up port of the original titles to the PSP and thus isn't a new entry in the series. And Medievil Moves is not a MediEvil game - which is why there is a difference in spelling. So this article can and should exist.

Kathrine Theidy Staff Alumnus

12/26/2011 at 12:46 PM

This game sounds familiar, I think I rented this back in the day.

Nick DiMola Director

12/27/2011 at 10:37 AM

I want to say I originally played this game in demo form. I never actually owned a PlayStation as a kid, but my cousin had one and since she spent a bunch of time at my house, she just left it there. I really enjoyed what I played in the demo and badly wanted the game. Never did wind up getting it as a kid, but I picked it up with the sequel years down the line in college.

Both are really great titles and we'd be well served by a new iteration on current generation hardware. Even if we just saw a sequel on PSN, I'd be pretty happy. This MIA is inspiring me to bust out the original and try and make my way all the way through it (never did actually finish the game).

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

12/27/2011 at 11:56 AM

I played the original and really enjoyed it. It completely fell out of my mind until this article though. It's like they threw the franchise into the cornfield and just let it vanish.

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