Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth Review for Nintendo Wii

Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth Review for Nintendo Wii

Konami continues its ReBirth series on WiiWare with a chapter from one of the most beloved franchises in gaming. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth is a reimaging of an old Gameboy game, and though it might seem an odd choice to build upon, this latest adventure is sure to satisfy longtime fans.

Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth screenshot

You’ll take up the whip of one Christopher Belmont, running through six stages of Dracula’s castle. A short introduction gives you all the thrust you’ll need to dispatch baddies, and a short but sweet epilogue caps the other end. ReBirth, however, is not about storytelling; it’s a throwback to old-school action platforming, and it’s one of the best entries in the series for quite some time.

If you haven’t played a Castlevania game before or are only used to the more modern installments of the franchise, ReBirth is straight-up action. It’s everything before Symphony of the Night – no leveling up, no save points, no armor – none of that stuff. As great as games like Dawn of Sorrows and Portrait of Ruin on the DS are, ReBirth offers an utterly refreshing blast from the past. Don’t even expect the multi-directional whip of Super Castlevania IV, because it ain’t here.

What Castlevania ReBirth does give players is tight, responsive controls, minus any extraneous additions that would unnecessarily complicate gameplay. Developer M2 has also given players lots of options. You can use the Gamecube controller, Classic Controller, Wii Remote and Nunchuck (which gives you the ability to attack by waggling the Wii Remote – not recommended), or just the Wii Remote turned sideways, which is what I personally opted for. With this set-up, the D-pad controls your character, the 1 button is your whip attack, 2 lets you jump, and you press up on the D-pad and 1 to use special items. It’s a simple approach that’s fun and feels great.

As a default, the game is set on the Normal difficulty, though you can also choose either Easy or Hard. You’re given three lives, and you can jack that number up to nine. Each stage has checkpoints scattered about, but there is no save option.

Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth screenshot

That’s probably our only real complaint with the game. We understand what Konami was likely going for – a really authentic trip down nostalgia lane – but considering they lightened the load significantly in other respects, we don’t see the sense in omitting a simple save function. On the Normal setting, ReBirth can take somewhere in the neighborhood of three hours to complete your first time through, and not having the ability to pick up where you left off, should you have to leave the game for whatever reason, is one of those irksome bits of game design we hate to see tarnish an otherwise joyful romp.

Nevertheless, making your way through the entire adventure is made fairly easy, as losing all your lives simply means starting back from the beginning of the current stage. On the Hard difficulty, however, completing a straight run will likely prove quite time consuming.

Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth screenshot

I dabbled with each of the difficulty settings during my multiple trips through the game, and even on Easy the game presents a healthy challenge. Enemies each have unique attacks and patrol patterns, and they’re all the favorite foes fans have come to know and love (and hate) over the years. Bats and Medusa heads are as annoying as ever, but really clever uses of various environmental elements make the game’s platforming loads of fun. Most stages have both a mid-level boss and end boss, and they all present an entertaining challenge.

Ten dollars might seem a hefty price tag for a game with only six arcade-style stages, but there are tons of goodies hidden throughout the castle. Secret passages, healing meat and 1-Ups tucked away within walls, and the level design was custom made for speed runs. I played through the entire game three times in a row my first day with it, and I’ve yet to discover everything Castlevania ReBirth has to offer. Extras notwithstanding, it’s just one of those titles you’ll enjoy revisiting again and again – that is, if old-school Castlevania is your thing. Again, the Metroidvania elements are kept to a minimum, and the focus here is on action platforming.

Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth screenshot

As you traverse each stage, you’ll find a variety of power-ups. Your whip can be upgraded twice – the first time causing it to do more damage, and the second upgrade adds fireballs to your attacks for a limited time. Special weapons include holy water, a throwing axe, and a cross, as well as a stop watch that makes time stand still. Each item has its pluses and minuses, and you’ll likely find each particularly useful in certain situations.

Konami really have done a bang-up job with Castlevania ReBirth, and the old-style gameplay comes complete with old-style graphics. Though it’s based on a Gameboy game, ReBirth’s visuals are done in more of an SNES style. It’s a great-looking game, one that exudes Castlevania fan service. Stages are varied up nicely, and you’ll never see everything the game has to offer in a single playthrough.

The music and sound effects of the game, though, are, without a doubt, the bee’s knees. Most of the tunes are reworked versions of old Castlevania classics, but it just goes to show how timeless these songs are. If you’d rather not wear these masterpieces out, however, you can always tweak the volume, even cutting the music out completely. This actually gives the game a very unique feel, providing players with yet another excuse to zip through the castle one more time.

The sound effects are equally satisfying. Belmont’s whip lets out a fat, punchy blast each time he whacks a candelabra, and there’s an excellent variety of creature sounds as well. From top to bottom, the game’s production is sure to please.

Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth is just about everything an old-school fan could hope for, and it’s probably the best title in the ReBirth series thus far. The various difficulty settings are balanced really well, and the overall level design is expertly crafted. Tons of options and features make for a great retro package Wii owners really shouldn’t miss out on. All that being said, we’re still a little disappointed by the lack of a save function, and an online leaderboard for high scores and completion times would have been a really sweet cherry on top. Still, don’t let these minor quibbles (or the fact that the game is supposedly based off of the not-so-beloved Castlevania: The Adventure) dissuade you from making this modern classic a part of your collection.

A great retro presentation with tons to see and experience. 4.5 Control
Tight, responsive, satisfying, and there’s a control option to suit just about every taste. 4.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sound effects and music are sure to make any old-school Castlevania fan happy. 4.5

Play Value
Excellent arcade action with many hidden goodies. The lack of a save function and online interactivity are our only (minor) complaints.

4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Revamped graphics for the Wii: Completely new graphical presentation designed for the Wii platform while simultaneously staying true to the original GameBoy version.
  • Quintessential Castlevania Action: Combines fast-paced 2-D side-scroller action/adventure immersing players into the world of Dracula as players assume the role of Christopher Belmont, great-grandfather of Simon.
  • Upgradable Weaponry: Progressively enhanced weapons, most notably the whip and various versions ranging from standard to flame.

  • To top