Games time forgot: Get Medieval


Last week’s forgotten game, Kingdom O’ Magic, was a fun-filled adventure game that lovingly parodied the Lord of the Rings series and other swords-n-spells type epics.

This week’s, Get Medieval, uses pretty much the same subject matter but with completely different gameplay — where Kingdom was clever, Get Medieval is violent.

If you haven’t played a truly old-school game in a long time, or if you long for the days when the Gauntlet franchise was worth a damn, then Get Medieval may interest you.

Hit the jump for the lowdown on this forgotten game.

 get medieval2


An evil dragon burns a village and retreats into a dungeon. Four heroes (a latently homosexual archer, a mildly retarded Conan-wannabe, a slut sorceress, and an amazon warrioress who wishes she had a penis) arrive at the dungeon, hoping to slay the dragon and achieve universal fame and fortune.

It’s a typical BS fantasy plot, but what makes it so special is the amount of humor injected into the game. The entire opening cinematic is narrated, MST3K style, by the four main characters who mock everything the game has to offer. When the evil dragon shows up in the FMV, the barbarian character (doing his best Ahnuld impression) scoffs, “He is a meyah chihuahua to me. I could crush heem weeth my fingah.” 

Their dialogue, which consistently breaks the fourth wall and acknowledges the ridiculousness of their situation (“Who the hell would put all these switches here,” the archer asks when a level gets too puzzle-oriented) goes on throughout the entire forty levels of the main campaign. Each of the characters has a few hundred things to say, and (surprisingly) they don’t repeat themselves as often as characters normally do in games like this. There’s always the option to turn off the dialogue, too, but why you’d ever want to is beyond me. It’s what gives the game it’s character. 



Graphics-wise, Get Medieval is pseudo-3D. The characters may look pretty snazzy at times, but they’re basically just gussied-up 2D sprites.

If you’ve played Gauntlet, you’ve played Get Medieval. Not the crappy, 3D, arcade sequels to Gauntlet, mind you, but the original 2D ones. The awesomely hard ones. The “warrior needs food…BADLY” ones. Get Medieval is part a loving tribute to, and part a complete ripoff of, the original Gauntlet games.

As mentioned earlier, there are four characters with different skills and personalities — an archer, a sorceress, a female warrior, and a barbarian. There are forty levels with a boss fight every five, culminating in the fight with the big-ass dragon.

You can play through the entire game with up to three other people, and it’s a hell of a lot more fun that way. The internet service that provided online multiplayer is all but dead, though, so you’ll have to have your friends right next to you, on the same keyboard. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however: old-school gaming like this is best enjoyed with a few close friends, and large amounts of alcohol. You can get through the entire game in one sitting, so if you’re out of multiplayer games Get Medieval makes a hell of a nice diversion. Even if it’s only for a couple of nights, GM offers the kind of old-school gameplay that simply doesn’t exist anymore.


Why you probably haven’t played it:

Even when it came out, people didn’t want to play it. The print ads were horrendous — apparently drawn by a six year old with a box of crayons and a Ritalin deficiency, they portrayed the four main characters arguing on a Jerry Springer-esque talk show.

And that was it. That one ad, to the best of my knowledge, was the only print ad released by Monolith. I could be wrong, of course, but that turns out to be irrelevant: even ignoring the ads, the box art, game title, and subject matter all made Get Medieval seem like a horrendous one-note parody game, a la Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire or Deer Avenger

It’s not like the game’s lack of success really hurt the company, though. Monolith is still making some of the best games in the business — only nowadays, they’re focusing more on demon children and sexy spies than retarded barbarians and anthropomorphic pirate cats.

So, should you get it? Monolith’s official store doesn’t sell it anymore, I can’t find a place to pirate it easily, and eBay has it going for a minimum of twelve dollars. Considering a mere game rental costs around nine bucks these days, twelve doesn’t seem like much for an awesomely old-school romp. But no matter where you buy it, Monolith won’t be getting the profits: this may or may not totally simplify your decision of whether or not to just pirate it.

Either way, it’s fun. And definitely worth playing if you’re into this kind of game.

Anthony Burch