Preview:PlayStation Plus, July 1997

From Gallowpedia, the MediEvil Wiki. You'll be dying to read!
PlayStation Plus, January 1998
Cover of PlayStation Plus Volume 2 Issue 10.
Issue No. 10 (Volume 2)
Page(s) 44-45
Preview Subject MediEvil
Language English
On Internet Archive? Yes

A preview of MediEvil from July 1997 published in PlayStation Plus magazine Volume 2 Issue 10.


Sir Dan Fortesque is MediEvil's unlikely hero. Being a reanimated corpse does have its advantages, since while you can be destroyed, you're already dead, so what do you have to lose?


  • Release: Autumn
  • Company: SCEE
  • Price: TBA
  • Players: 1
  • Genre: Arcade

There have been a lot of strange videogame heroes throughout the years, but a controllable corpse has to be one of the weirdest. Now, thanks to developer Millennium, an undead character is yours to command in the forthcoming game Medievil, set in a medieval land which has been locked in perpetual night by the evil sorcerer Zarok. After sending the innocent populace to sleep, he stalks across the land, stealing magical energy from the minds of his slumbering victims. With all this powerful magic flying around though, Zarok starts leaving a trail, which seeps into the ground and starts reanimating the dead. One such corpse is Sir Daniel Fortesque, a heroic knight who has decayed to a skeleton inside his suit of armour. Wishing to return to his eternal rest, Dan takes up his sword and follows the trail of magic in order to catch and defeat the evil wizard. But first, being in a graveyard, there are numerous zombies who have to be dealt with, since they've also been resurrected by the magic. And they aren't as nice as Dan...

Ghouls, ghosts, zombies and more.

Medievil is essentially an action adventure which owes more than a passing debt to Capcom's classic 2D platformer Ghouls and Ghosts. Both games have a hero running and jumping through a fantasy land, taking on a wide variety of monsters with a selection of weapons. This being the PlayStation, Medievil is in glorious 3D, with atmospheric lighting all over the place, and graphics so good that you won't believe someone other than Namco has managed to do them. Dan can move in any direction through the 30 levels, some of which are so massive that it's a wonder they managed to fit into the PlayStation.

Unlike Tomb Raider or Resident Evil, the view isn't fixed behind the character or even made up of multiple fixed cameras. Instead there are multiple moving cameras which follow Dan's movements as he travels through the game, so the player needn't worry about controlling the camera himself or whether the character is going to suddenly disappear from view. This camera system also makes the game a very cinematic experience, with the cameras set at atmospheric angles or swooping down and following Dan as he walks through a door or archway. It also shows off the graphics brilliantly, with the scenery looking quite superb as Dan goes on his travels through a wide variety of locations. They include the graveyard, a spooky village, an (almost) deserted battleground, an asylum, a forest and even a flying ghost ship before Dan can reach his destination, Zorak's[sic] stronghold. Each of these levels have incredible amounts of detail, including weather effects and great lighting, little touches which show just what a high-quality product this is going to be once it's finished, and it should play well too. While the game is easy to pick up and play and requires Dan doing a lot of running and fighting, there are puzzle elements demanding a fair bit of brainwork in order to proceed through the game. That said, as with all games of this ilk, the weapons are always important.

Eat my blade you undead scum.

Dan might start the game with a big sword, but there are many other ways to skin a zombie. Weapons abound throughout the game, and are found either by smashing open chests or by fulfilling special tasks. There are 13 to be found in all, some common to all areas, others only found in specific locations. They range from melee weapons in the form of swords (including a glowing magical blade) and an axe, to various types of projectile weapons. The dagger and axe will be familiar to Ghosts and Ghouls fans, being thrown in a quick straight line and a curving arc respectively.

More original (and deadly) are the other missile weapons such as the crossbow and longbow, which leave arrows sticking out of their victims, leading to chuckles galore when the enemy is running away with a few arrows sticking out of his behind. While the crossbow fires three shot bursts, the longbow manages to home in on its target and has flaming arrows. But at the very top end of the offensive spectrum are the lightning bolts, trident and shield. Lightning is built up by pressing the attack button, and once released fires three bolts of doom which home in on the enemy. Care must be taken however since if the energy is built up for too long it will fire automatically, and if there are no foes around the bolts will home in on Dan.

The lightning bolt is an excellent weapon that requires little in the way of aiming thanks to its homing capabilities. Below you can see that the multiple cameras add tension to Dan's trip through the Sleeping Village.

The trident is a very powerful weapon, and as such it's immensely difficult to get hold of. This is worth it though because it fires guided bolts of energy, and can be charged up to fire an immensely powerful but unguided blast. These prized weapons can be stolen by Imps, little sneaky demons who run around making Dan's life a misery. If one manages to nick his weapon, Dan is reduced to ripping his arm off and using it to beat the little blighters to death in order to retrieve his stolen property. Potions can also be picked up and have a variety of effects, including turning Dan into a fire-breathing dragon for a short time.

Surf's up

The levels are just as varied as the weapons. Two in particular stand out, featuring Dan in forced scrolling stages similar in concept to the 'hog ride' in Crash Bandicoot. One has Dan surfing down a muddy hill on the back of a shield, pulling off some great looking jumps and turns. The other is a touch more tense, with the knight having to run from a huge, deadly creature called a Jabberwocky, avoiding trees and other obstacles. Other stages have yet to be confirmed but may include controlling Dan's sidekick Morten the earthworm.

What this all adds up to is a game which, on the basis of its great graphics alone, could be up there with the Christmas big boys. If the gameplay can match up to the looks though, we could be looking at a real classic.


There's a definite Tim Burton feel to Medievil. Developer Millennium has admitted that Burton's animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas was one of the main influences for the game. It can definitely be seen in the looks department, with the monsters in particular having that ghoulishly funny quality which can be seen in Nightmare, as well as Burton's other work such as Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.

The black humour owes much to Burton as well. There's a living gallows which uses the man hanging from it to hit Dan, a headless torso that rolls across the ground, and a boss made of living glass which bursts from a window. In conjunction with the thrilling and enthralling music, the feel is definitely like being inside an animated film peopled with Burton creations.