The humour has improved with age, as well. Post-Little Britain, the oblique Tom Baker voiceover couldn’t be more timely, and the game resounds with touches of personality. From the braggarts and flirts of the Hall of Heroes, where new weapons are doled out to our skull-headed champ, to the imps, phantom organists and weird demons that people the levels, the game is full of good voicework and funny scripting. Even Dan, a cheap coward with a poor reputation, seems to have a little charm this time around.
But that’s pretty much it for the good stuff. The problem with Medievil Resurrection is that it kicks off with a mildly interesting opening act, then just settles down to provide a lot more of the same. There’s just no getting around the fact that the basic gameplay is pretty dull. For the most part, it involves trundling through each level, whacking enemies with a choice of melee and missile weapons, while trying to uncover runes. Runes unlock gates, and therefore new parts of the level or, eventually, the exit. After a few levels, a boss battle might appear, and there are occasional puzzles to spice things up, but generally that’s your lot.
In itself, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the problem is that the actual beating things up bit isn’t all that much fun. Your monstrous opponents are either stupid and essentially harmless, or stupid but with an annoying method of hitting you and draining half your energy when you least expect it. The most annoying ones require several hits to dismiss – and by that I mean a lot of hits. At one point in the game I spent five solid minutes poking some git with a spear every time he wandered around a corner, at which point he would fly backwards, right himself, then amble round for another go. It was so dull that I found myself looking up and watching…the horror….Diagnosis Murder instead! Believe me, when a woefully poor doctor goes detective show starring Dick Van Dyke looks exciting, I know that I’m not playing the right game.
The puzzles, meanwhile, are a mixed bag; either reliant on the classic trudge-around-the-level-to-find-an-item-then-bring-it-to-a-certain-spot school of vintage puzzling, or even less trendy “set fire to club and burn flammable parts of scenery” set. Neither branch is particularly interesting, some puzzles prove tediously time-consuming, and Dan’s tendency to set fire to himself while setting the club alight is really just adding insult to injury.