|Developer(s)||SCE Cambridge Studio|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, hack and slash|
MediEvil: Resurrection is a 2005 gothic action-adventure video game developed by SCE Cambridge Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation Portable. It is a re-imagining of the first installment in the series, MediEvil. It was first released as a launch title on 1 September 2005 in Europe and 13 September 2005 in North America. The game is set in the medieval Kingdom of Gallowmere and centres around the charlatan protagonist, Sir Daniel Fortesque, as he makes an attempt to stop antagonist Zarok's invasion of the kingdom whilst simultaneously redeeming himself. The game also features a variety of voice talents, including Tom Baker as the narrator and the Grim Reaper.
Development of the game began in 2003 with the original intention of releasing the game for the PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe commissioned SCE Cambridge Studio to develop a launch title for the PlayStation Portable. Due to time constraints, the Cambridge studio was given only a year to develop the game, thus they decided to remake the original MediEvil. The game was met with mixed reviews upon release, with critics mainly praising the game's humor, voice talent and graphics but was criticized for lack of innovation and cumbersome camera controls.
Gameplay is similar to that of the original game in which players control Sir Daniel Fortesque as he travels through Gallowmere to stop the evil Zarok. Dan can utilize a variety of weapons, including close range weapons such as swords and axes to long ranged weapons such as throwing knives and crossbows. If Dan defeats enough enemies to collect the Chalice of Souls hidden throughout each level, he will be able to travel to the Hall of Heroes, where a legendary hero rewards him by giving him a new weapon or other helpful items. Dan possesses a single life bar throughout the game, which can be sustained by collecting Life Bottles throughout the game which can be replenished by energy vials and Life Fountains. The remastered version also includes some exclusive arcade-style minigames which can also be played over online multiplayer.
MediEvil: Resurrection features many alterations to the original structure and content, such as the addition of the "Anubis Stone" sub-plot which has never appeared in the original. Various levels and characters designs are altered drastically from the original, with some levels removed altogether. Resurrection's altered plot is given a much more humorous and light-hearted setting as opposed to the Gothic horror-comedy of the first installment. Unlike the original, there is no alternate ending; Dan still ascends to the Hall of Heroes regardless of whether he collects all of the chalices or not.
In the year 1286, an evil sorcerer named Zarok plotted to take over the kingdom of Gallowmere with his undead army. It is told in legend that the King of Gallowmere's champion, Sir Daniel Fortesque, led his army to victory and managed to kill Zarok before succumbing to his mortal wounds. In reality however, Dan was in fact struck down by the first arrow fired in the battle, with the king choosing to cover it up and declare Dan the "Hero of Gallowmere". Zarok, meanwhile, was forced into hiding and was presumed dead. 100 years later, in 1386, Zarok reappears, casting a spell over Gallowmere to awake his undead army and steal the souls of the living. However, in the process, he unwittingly revives the corpse of Dan, who has over time become a skeletal corpse, missing his jaw and the eye he lost in the battle of Gallowmere. Shortly after waking up, Dan is accompanied by Al-Zalam, a genie whose powers were robbed by Zarok. Having been unable to ascend to the Hall of Heroes due to his failures in life, Dan uses this opportunity to defeat Zarok, save Gallowmere and earn his place as a true hero.
As Dan travels across Gallowmere, collecting pieces of an artifact called the 'Anubis Stone' along the way, fighting his way through Zarok's hordes and confronting all manners of beasts, he soon arrives at Zarok's lair, fighting off Zarok's skeletal warriors using the souls of his old allies retrieved by collecting the Chalices. After also managing to defeat Zarok's champion, Lord Kardok, Zarok turns into a powerful monster, but Dan manages to defeat him. As Zarok sets his lair to self-destruct, Dan is rescued by Al-Zalam and the two escape, leaving Zarok's magical influence over the land thwarted. With the magic cast on him also wearing off as a result, Dan returns to his burial chamber where he once again enters eternal slumber and ascends to the Hall of Heroes, where he is hailed as the rightful Hero of Gallowmere.
Development of MediEvil: Resurrection began in 2003 at SCE Cambridge Studio. The senior management team of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe wanted a launch game for the PlayStation Portable console and ordered the studio to develop the game in time for the console's release. Due to the short notice, the studio was given only a year to develop a game, thus it was decided that a remake of the original MediEvil would be suitable as developing an original title would take more time to develop.
Despite the success of the previous games in the MediEvil series, only three original team members were involved in the making of MediEvil: Resurrection. Chris Sorrell, the creator of MediEvil, stressed in a retrospective interview that he would have preferred to direct Resurrection if he was not at the time instructed to direct the video-game adaptation of 24. Since the release of Resurrection, Sorrell expressed disappointment with the changes made to the game and the fact that his superiors did not allow him to direct it, but praised the team's ability for working under a time constraint. Piers Jackson was instead appointed as the producer for Resurrection. He directed the overall development of the title, working closely with a new design team led by Dominic Cahalin. Mitch Phillips, who was the character animator for the previous two installments, was appointed as lead artist for the game. Phillips, along with Paul Arnold and Andrew Barnabas, the musical duo more commonly known as "Bob & Barn", who composed the original soundtrack for MediEvil, were the only people from the original team to return.
According to Piers Jackson, the thrust of the design was to produce a title that could showcase the full abilities of the PlayStation Portable, including its built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. Jackson also asserted that Resurrection was an entirely different game from the original; whilst the studio had taken the basic story and some of the locations from the original game, all the code, graphics and voice actors were changed. New additions to Resurrection included an expanded plot, added mini-games, multiplayer facilities and a cloud save function. During late stages of development, the studio attempted to preserve ideas that they thought worked well in the original, though their uses were altered or repositioned to keep the game fresh even to those who had played the original. The addition of the 'Anubis Stone' sub-plot was to strengthen the story arc and the creation of Al-Zalam was to act as Dan's internal monologue as well as the player's guide.
The soundtrack in Resurrection is orchestrated, unlike the first installment. Approximately half of the themes from the original were removed while new themes were created to fit with the new levels. The music is split into two halves; the cues from the first half are largely reminiscent of a select number of cues from the original game with the addition of extra thematic elements to strengthen them. The other half of the music is original and composed exclusively for Resurrection. The new soundtrack was composed by Bob & Barn and features performances from members of the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra that was recorded in the Czech Republic. The orchestra, headed by Nic Raine, consisted of approximately 80 performers and in addition benefits from a 32 piece choir, also recorded in the same venue. This follows the tradition of SCE Cambridge Studio's previous orchestral game Primal, which was also recorded in Prague by the same performers.
MediEvil: Resurrection received mixed reviews upon release. It received an aggregate score of 69% from GameRankings and a score of 66 from Metacritic. General criticisms from reviewers were directed at the camera controls, which was cited as being particularly poor during combat sequences, and occasionally being the cause for frame rate drops. Jason Allen of IGN noted that the camera angles were "not as bad" during open areas of the game, but became "rather clumsy in the middle of a heated battle". Kristan Reed of Eurogamer expressed similar concerns with the camera work, stating that the camera was "sloppy" and that it proved particularly difficult during combat, when enemies were to suddenly appear off screen.
The combat was also criticized for its poor hit detection. Greg Mueller of GameSpot noted that the poor collision detection turned most of the combat sequences to a "frustrating and tedious" experience. Reed similarly criticized the combat system, citing that the system is "unremarkable on the basic level" and was disappointed with the lack of technical additions to the game. Allen also expressed concern with the fighting mechanics, stating that every melee attack was inaccurate and "clumsy", combined with cumbersome camera work.
The graphics and voice talent were the most praised aspects of the game, especially Tom Baker's role as the narrator and Grim Reaper. Mueller praised the soundtrack and dialogue, stating that the best part of the game "is easily the sound", and that the voice of any character fits their role "perfectly", making them more interesting than "the average voice-over". Reed also praised Baker's role in the game, stating that voice-overs and audio were the most enjoyable experiences in Resurrection, also citing that Baker's voice performance was "majestic" and "eccentric". Chris Scantleberry of GameSpy felt that the overall dialogue was heavy on the stereotypical accent, but was assured that players would enjoy the "electric atmosphere" of MediEvil, which he often compared to that of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Chris Sorrell and Jason Wilson, co-creators of MediEvil, had also expressed disappointment with the game. Neither of them had any involvement with MediEvil: Resurrection, and when they were asked about the game during a retrospective interview with RetroGamer, Wilson felt disheartened with having to watch something he "cherished" to be altered with decisions he thought were "questionable". Sorrell felt similar disappointment in the redesign of the game and there were a number of aspects of it that he disagreed with. He did, however, praise the development team of Resurrection, stating that they did "an awesome job" considering the time constraints they were up against.
- Allen, Jason (12 September 2005). "MediEvil Resurrection - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "MediEvil Resurrection - PSP". GameTrailers. Defy Media. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- Reed, Kristan (11 August 2005). "MediEvil: Resurrection review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
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- "The Making of MediEvil" (PDF). Retro Gamer. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- Ball, Ryan (October 2005). "MediEvil Never Dies: Cambridge Studios revives a ghastly Gothic favorite for Sony's PSP". EBSCO Library. EBSCO Publishing. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "MediEvil Resurrection Soundtrack Coming". IGN. 31 January 2006. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- Sorrell, Chris (27 February 2012). "Primal: PS2 Cult Classic Comes to PSN Tuesday". PlayStation Blog. PlayStation US. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "MediEvil: Resurrection GameRankings score". GameRankings. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "Aggregate score (Metacritic)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Mueller, Greg (12 September 2005). "MediEvil: Resurrection review". GameSpot. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Scantleberry, Chris (29 September 2005). "MediEvil: Resurrection (PSP) review". GameSpy. Retrieved 7 July 2015.