European cover art
|Developer(s)||SCE Cambridge Studio|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, hack and slash|
MediEvil 2, stylised as MediEvil II in North America, is an action-adventure hack and slash video game developed by SCE Cambridge Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation. It is the second instalment in the MediEvil series and a sequel to MediEvil. It was first released on 19 April 2000 in Europe and 30 April 2000 in North America. Taking place 500 years after the events of the first game, it follows series' protagonist Sir Daniel Fortesque's revival in Victorian era London as he attempts to stop sorcerer Lord Palethorn and Jack the Ripper's plans to terrorise the city by raising the dead.
Following the positive reception of the first game, Sony Computer Entertainment commissioned SCE Cambridge Studio to make a sequel to MediEvil before the end of the PlayStation's lifespan. The original concepts for MediEvil 2 went through many transformations during development before the Cambridge team finally settled on making a sequel set during the Victorian Gothic revival, largely reminiscent of its predecessor. The game received mostly positive reviews from critics upon release, with praise including slight improvements over its predecessor such as artificial intelligence and graphical enhancements, but was criticised for lack of innovation from the original.
The interface and gameplay style do not differ much from the previous title. MediEvil 2 sees the player once again in control of Sir Daniel Fortesque, who can use various forms of weaponry, such as close range swords and clubs to long-range crossbows or catapults. The game contains several of the original forms of gameplay, weaponry, and graphics that were present in the first instalment of the series. Similar to its predecessor, Dan is able to tear off his skeletal arm and use it as a club to fight off enemies during the early levels. Whilst featuring many of the classic swords and other medieval weaponry, new weapons featured in MediEvil 2 include pistols, shotguns and Gatling guns.
Dan can visit merchants known as 'Spivs' to buy additional ammunition and services. He can also get advice from his ghost sidekick named Winston to learn new moves or to save the player's game between longer levels. Similar to the previous game, Dan's health is determined by a single health bar, which reduces when Dan is hit. It also depletes completely if he drowns or falls from a great height. If Dan completely runs out of health, the game restarts from the last known save point. Dan can refill his maximum health by collecting Life Bottles, which automatically refill his health if it is depleted. Whilst defeating enemies, Dan's Chalice of Souls will gradually fill up, which can then be collected and traded with Professor Kift to unlock new weapons and items.
The game begins 500 years after Sir Daniel Fortesque's battle against the evil sorcerer Zarok in events from the previous game. In Kensington in the year 1886, a sorcerer named Lord Palethorn discovers Zarok's spellbook and casts its spell of raising the dead over the city of London. However, the pages of the book soon scatter across London and Palethorn gains a demon-like appearance as a result. The spell Palethorn casts once again brings Sir Daniel Fortesque, who was resting at a nearby museum, back to life. He is recruited by a professor named Hamilton Kift and his ghostly sidekick Winston (a play on Winston Churchill) to recover the pages of Zarok's spellbook and put a stop to Palethorn's plans. Along the way, they end up being joined by an ancient mummy princess named Kiya, Dan's future love interest.
During an incident in which Kiya goes off on her own, she is killed by Jack the Ripper, much to Dan's shock. Having discovered a time machine, Dan travels back in time to save Kiya in Whitechapel, merging with his past self to gain golden armour. As Dan finally confronts Palethorn, he steals the pages from him and uses them to summon a large blue demon. Dan manages to turn the demon against Palethorn, putting a stop to both of them. As Palethorn blows up his lair with his last breath, Dan decides to join Kiya in the afterlife as they return to their eternal rest. If the player has collected all the Chalices, Dan and Kiya go for a ride on the time machine which takes them back to the time of the first MediEvil instead.
After the success of the first MediEvil, Sony Computer Entertainment commissioned SCE Cambridge to develop a sequel that would be released before the end of the PlayStation's lifespan. Chris Sorrell, who previously served as director of the first game, was not involved in development so the project was handed over to James Shepherd instead. According to Shepherd, the original plot for MediEvil 2 had previous antagonist Zarok being held prisoner in the Tower of London and Sir Daniel Fortesque's objective would be to free him, but this idea was eventually dropped due it being considered identical to a "B-movie twist ending".
The Cambridge studio decided it would not be difficult to make a sequel to the first MediEvil, considering that the ending of its predecessor would give the team an opportunity to set the next game in a different time period. Shepherd settled on MediEvil 2 being set in the Victorian era, the birthplace of the Neo-Gothic revival. Shepherd considered the hardest part of the development was deciding how to make the game better than its predecessor through making certain aspects of the game humorous. To achieve this end, the Cambridge studio recoded a lot of core technology, which Shepherd considered was arguably similar to "starting from scratch". Various features cut from the previous game were added into MediEvil 2, such as playable characters and levels that featured puzzles. By the time the game reached beta status the game offered larger levels, improved NPC logic, and more moves for the protagonist.
MediEvil 2 received mostly positive reviews from critics upon release. The game was mostly praised for its rich, detailed graphics but was criticised by many reviewers for its bad camera angles, easy difficulty and for being too similar to the first game. The game received an aggregate score of 79% from GameRankings, slightly lower than its predecessor. At the 2000 BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Awards, MediEvil 2 won the best console game category.
IGN's Doug Perry praised the graphical advancements of the game, noticing that the sharper detail brings out a more "sophisticated feel" to the story and the new addition of cutscenes create a better sense of continuity and story to help break up the game into a more controlled broader world. Shawn Sparks of Game Revolution similarly praised the improved graphics, noting that smooth frame rate and sharper graphics brought out the original PlayStation's power despite nearing the end of its lifespan. Sparks hailed the graphics as "eye candy" and said that the levels are "a joy to explore".
Despite the graphical achievements of the game, the level layouts and camera work were among the main criticisms. Perry noted the game's "plain wide confusion" in level layouts would cause frustration for players, and was several times found without direction in the larger levels. Sparks also noted similar concerns with confusing level layout. Perry disliked the fixed camera positioning throughout the game, saying that at least 20% of the camera angles could have been tuned or changed to provide better views for the player, outlining that the camera was "good, not great" and a small improvement to its predecessor. Daily Radar's Stephen Frost praised the game's improved artificial intelligence and harder difficulty in comparison to the first game, summarising that MediEvil 2 was "better, not perfect" although he thought that the game was still lacking in innovation.
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- "MediEvil II aggregate score". GameRankings. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
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- "Interactive - Games - Console in 2000". bafta.org. British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.