As has become tradition at Sony’s gaming conferences, CEO Shawn Layden presented 2017’s PlayStation Experience in a novelty shirt. While the design was kept hidden until the final moments of the presentation, the reveal brought with it a spectacular surprise – the return of Sir Daniel Fortesque, and the ‘re-resurrection’ of the beloved MediEvil franchise. For those who grew up with the title, this writer included, it was a gratifying announcement.
The last time anyone had seen the MediEvil franchise was Sir Dan’s appearance in 2012’s PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and before then, an abysmal reboot known as MediEvil: Resurrection released in 2005 for PSP. While little is known about the upcoming remaster, the short teaser presented at PlayStation Experience was enough to pique our interest. Here’s a few things that we’re excited to see in all their shiny, 4K glory.
The Hall of Heroes
The Hall of Heroes is where all valiant souls go to rest, and it’s a location that features heavily throughout MediEvil. Even limited by the graphics of the PSOne era it’s a sight to behold, and a facelift should elevate the Hall to glorious new heights.
The Enchanted Earth
The Enchanted Earth is one of the stranger levels of MediEvil, featuring a giant Dragon Bird, acid-spitting frogs and a host of Shadow Demons newly released from their prison. The strange beauty of the forest should pop in the remaster, making for a weird and wonderful exploration through nature (and the realm of the Shadow Demons).
The Sleeping Village
Is there anything creepier than an evil child? Perhaps not, if the Sleeping Village is anything to go by. This level was heavily inspired by German Expressionism, and sees Sir Dan making his way through a cursed village to retrieve the Shadow Artefact and free the village of its curse. Plagued by evil villagers, yet unable to hurt them, this level should prove a challenge to any trigger-happy players.
The Ghost Ship
If there’s one thing that every game could use, it’s a pirate ship captained by skeletons. Before Pirates of the Caribbean made it fashionable, MediEvil featured this harrowing level which saw Sir Dan traversing a dangerous, floating ship on his journey to defeat Zarok. Featuring spinning platforms, haphazard netting and a horde of angry pirates, this level would be a spectacular high def romp.
Fire-Breathing Dragon Armour
The fire-breathing Dragon Armour is by no means the most powerful weapon in the game, but damn if it isn’t the coolest. Equipping this bad boy gives Sir Dan the ability to breathe fire and resist flames, as well as giving him a nifty dragon-themed reskin. In order to gain this armour, players must defeat the Dragon in the Crystal Caves, another location we’re looking forward to battling our way through.
The Crystal Caves
As the name would suggest, the Crystal Caves are beautiful, glittering caves covered in sparkling jewels. Or they would be, free of the rudimentary graphics of the PSOne era. This level has the potential to be the crowning glory of the MediEvil remaster, if only tweaks can be made to its layout and overall presentation.
Beneath The Lake
The Lake was unfairly removed from MediEvil: Resurrection, as it’s one of the most rewarding levels. Avoiding a variety of deadly fish and lake monsters, Sir Dan must activate several machines in order to freeze the eponymous Lake and journey beneath it. What follows is an otherworldly jaunt beneath the parted lake, like a modern day Moses. This set piece would be brilliantly enhanced by improved graphics, and should prove a standout moment in the game.
MediEvil‘s soundtrack is iconic and distinctive, aiding the atmosphere and presence of the game greatly. Taking inspiration from classic horror soundtracks, but with its own distinct flair, the tracks composed by Andrew Barnabas and Paul Arnold are an essential piece of the MediEvil puzzle. Remastered with a good polish and surround sound should only elevate and enhance what is already a solidly spectacular score.
The Puzzles of The Asylum Grounds
3D platformers have always had a solid relationship with puzzles, but none have pulled it off as brilliantly as MediEvil. The Asylum Grounds is a level designed solely around puzzle solving, as Sir Dan is trapped within a large hedge maze by the dastardly Jack of the Green. Solving each riddle will allow you to progress further in the stage, and it represents a welcome break from the hack’n’slash leanings of previous levels. Much like The Lake, The Aslyum Grounds was also left out of MediEvil: Resurrection, creating the perfect opportunity to reimagine and rework the original level.
Hilltop Mausoleum is the fourth, and best level of the entire MediEvil franchise. While it may be a bold claim to make, it’s a level with so many moving parts and iconic moments that it’s a statement that’s hard to dispute. Avoiding thieving imps and collapsing floors, Sir Dan must fight his way through the Mausoleum in order to retrieve sheet museum that will release the soul of the Phantom of the Opera. It’s a harrowing journey, and one aided by clever level design and a fantastic score.
Hilltop Mausoleum is also home to the iconic Stained Glass Demon, the first true boss of MediEvil. Catching the player almost completely unaware, the Stained Glass Demon bursts out of the Mausoleum window in the final stages of the level to commence a frantic, fast-paced fight. The design and execution of the Demon is spectacular, and it would be a sight to behold on next gen technology.
And 1 Thing We’re Not Excited For: Al-Zalam
While the PSX announcement played its cards close to its chest, one thing that stuck out in the teaser was the overlapping voices heard during its introduction. Among them featured the voice of the Forest Witch, and, forebodingly, the voice of Al-Zalam. For those who only played the original game, they would be unaware of Al-Zalam’s inclusion in the franchise, as he appeared only in the disappointing MediEvil: Resurrection.
Al-Zalam, to describe him as best I can, is the Jar-Jar Binks of MediEvil: Resurrection. He’s a decidedly racist caricature – an annoying, over-acted genie included as a kid-friendly sidekick to provide comic relief in ‘darker’ moments. To put it plainly, he has no place in the MediEvil franchise, and if Al-Zalam features in Dan’s re-resurrection, fans of the franchise are going to be sorely disappointed.