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Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth Review

Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth LogoSet 100 years after the first Castlevania game, this reimagining of a 1989 Game Boy favourite sees you guiding Christopher Belmont through a treacherous mansion in search of Dracula, who has risen to terrorize humanity once again.

Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth looks, sounds and plays like a souped-up SNES title and most closely resembles Super Castlevania IV. Though the game takes place in six somewhat linear and strictly-timed levels, there are still plenty of secrets to uncover in Dracula’s castle. Read More…

When you start the game you are greeted with a myriad of difficulty and control options that allow you to customize your experience. In addition to standard difficulty settings, you can adjust the amount of lives you start with and toggle whether or not Christopher is knocked back when struck by and enemy.

The SMES Would Have a Hard Time Rendering this SceneYou can play Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth with a Wii Remote on its side or with a Nunchuck attached. You can also use a GameCube controller or a Classic Controller and both action buttons are fully re-mappable in all four control options. Everyone should be able to find a control set and difficulty level that they are comfortable with thanks to the simple, yet often overlooked inclusion of customizable controls and traditional controller support.

Once in the game, you are thrust immediately into action. For the uninitiated, classic Casltlevania gameplay typically has you lumbering through levels with your trusty whip in hand while you are assaulted by otherworldly creatures like zombies, skeletons and, of course, vampire bats. Christopher Belmont controls like a tank wearing lead boots, though his movement is easy to get used to.

Along the way, you will encounter powerful sub-weapons such as axes, knives and holy water. These sub-weapons are fuelled by hearts you collect by destroying candles and other various light sources. You can also collect gold and jewels that add to your score and food items that replenish your health.

Though the game is quite linear compared to open-ended Castlevania titles such as Symphony of the Night or Order of Ecclesia, Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth is full of breakable walls, branching paths and even shortcuts through levels. Exploration is usually rewarded with a powerful weapon or high-scoring items.

You can earn extra lives through score, which can come in quite handy as this game is decidedly old-school in ways beyond the look and gameplay. When you lose a life, you are respawned at the last checkpoint. Should you lose all your lives and need to continue, you will have to start an entire level again and if you turn the game off you will be forced to start from stage one.

Luckily, making your way through the game only takes about two hours, so average players could easily tackle it in an afternoon. Replay value comes from trying to find all the secrets and shortcuts in the castle and maximizing your score, just like it did 20 years ago in many 8 or 16-bit era games.

One of the Boss Fights is Against Death ItselfThough each stage has a strict time limit, I found that there was always plenty of time to explore and dispatch enemies. Each stage has a sub-boss in addition to a boss encounter, but they are generally short so there’s no need to cache time. I found the game much more rewarding when I took the time to thoroughly explore each level.  

Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth
is a great-looking game and surpasses the original SNES offerings in a number of ways thanks to modern processing power. Large on-screen characters, muliple scrolling backgrounds and great lighting and rain effects are punctuated by flawless 60fps performance. The game also features some display options that you can tweak to best suit your television.

The music is also quite well done and sounds like it is straight out of a vintage game. Konami games always had some of the best music on the NES and SNES and the work of Manabu Namiki is easily up to the high standards set more than 20 years ago.

With the possible exception of adding online leaderboards, I can’t think of a single thing  would change about Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth. It finds a great balance between old and new and is scaleable enough to be enjoyed by both casual fans and those looking for a stiff challenge.

If this game was released as a sequel to Super Castlevania IV on the SNES, many of us would have gladly paid full price for it. Any fan with even a passing interest in 2D side-scrolling gameplay would be well-served to spend $10 on and a few hours with Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth because it is a shining example of the genre as well as one of the best retro remakes available on any platform to date.

Positives:

+ Control and Difficulty Options are Highly Customizable
+ Support for Classic Controller and GameCube Controller
+ Excellent SNES-style Graphics and Audio
+ Lots of Secrets to Discover


Negatives:

- Score-Based Game with no Online Leaderboards


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Game Forward Score: 5/5

Brian J. Papineau > Game Forward

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Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare) Quick Facts:

Genre: Action-Adventure
Developer: M2
Publisher: Konami
Release Date: Dec 28, 2009
Price: 1000 Nintendo Points
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)