Medievil is an ancient PS1 game about a hapless skeleton called Daniel Fortesque. There was also a sequel, (predictably) called Medievil 2. More recently, the original game was made from the ground up for the Playstation 4. I happen to have played all three of these games and they’re really very good so I’d like to talk about them.

The Original

The original PS1 game was of course, quite low resolution and had some jankiness associated with games of that era. Dan is strangely difficult to control and it’s kind of hard to see what you’re doing at times. It also becomes a platformer in places and with the poor control and instant-death pits, this can lead to some frustration. It really sounds like I didn’t like this game, but it’s a product of it’s time and I grew up with these kinds of games. Put those frustrations aside and it’s a fun experience: running around, hacking, slashing and shooting bad guys.

The Graveyard

Daniel Fortesque gets to visit a variety of levels: from the graveyard where he lives, to a pumpkin field, to a ghost ship amongst other things. Dan is a bit of an anti-hero, with everyone constantly poking fun at him for being pretty useless in battle amongst other things. He’s also missing his lower jaw, so he doesn’t really speak, he just makes undiscernable noises. These are, thankfully, subtitled, but often misunderstood by other characters with humerous results.

Puzzles and Chalices

Throughout the game, you can collect Chalices to unlock new weapons and other good stuff. Collecting the Chalice comes in two parts – you have to kill enough enemies to “fill” the Chalice with souls and then you have to actually find the Chalice to collect it. You’ll then be transported to the hall of heroes to meet a few other heroes who will give you some gear to help you. There’s some twists in this though, such as a village where all the townsfolk have been put under a spell and will attack you. These are good souls, and you do not want to dispatch these characters as it will take away from the Chalice.

Where I think this game really shines is it’s interwoven levels and fantastic puzzles. All levels are distinct areas, however there are some collectibles you can take from one level and then use in another. I really enjoyed this because little things you notice become relevant later and the levels you’ve already beaten have whole new areas hidden within them There’s even a level-within-a-level in which Dan gets shrunken down and sent into an ant colony!

There’s plenty of clues to help you with puzzles, it really seems that nothing is out of place. If you’re stuck for what to do, just talking to someone or something might give you the subtle hint that you need.

The Remake

This game isn’t without problems, but I think it’s more a sign of it’s age than design flaws. This game is not really a platformer, but there are moments where you have to do some platforming and it doesn’t feel that good to play. There’s plenty of moments where you just have to hold your breath and hope for the best. I can forgive it though, because this game is well balanced, well paced and packed full of cool and interesting puzzles to accompany the manic hack n slash action.

Pools of the Ancient Dead – full of pools of water to kill you

There has been a PS4 remake recently (Also: I got a PS4 about a month ago) and the remake is an absolute joy to play. This game basically fixes everything from the original game, changes a few things, makes it look absolutely incredible and adds a little “NG+” style thing where you have to recover lost souls from the levels you’ve already beaten.

I really like the lost souls quests. Each level has a lost soul to find. When you find the soul, they give you a short line of dialogue. This gives you a clue on where you must lay them to rest. If you think you’ve found the location the clue talks about, you can release the lost soul. Sometimes there’s an extra challenge or occasionally the soul will help you out.

The Lost Souls quests involve beating levels 2 or 3 times or even more sometimes (I swear I’ve done The Sleeping Village 6 times). When you’re geared up with everything it doesn’t really matter because Dan becomes a slaughtering machine who enemies can barely touch.

I really can’t recommend this remake enough, I’ve been working my way through a few remakes recently and Medievil just blows all the rest away. It even has the full PS1 game hidden within the game for 100% completion. You get both the original and the remake all in one package!