This review is dedicated to my BFF Colin and his gift of Castlevania Adventure Rebirth. Ours is a bromance so strong not even Dracula could come between us. <3
Remember WiiWare, Nintendo's underappreciated download service for Wii games? Konami put out a short "rebirth" series on WiiWare with remakes of three of entries from their old flagship series - Castlevania, Contra, and Gradius. As the title suggests, this is a remake of the Game Boy title Castlevania Adventure.
With respect to plot, as a remake of Castlevania Adventure, the protagonist is Christopher Belmont, a descendent of Trevor Belmont from Castlevania III and an ancestor of Simon Belmont from the first Castlevania. While it is a remake of the Game Boy title, it's not a straight remaster but rather a full reimagining in the same way that Super Castlevania IV was a complete reimagining of the original Castlevania. Whereas the Game Boy title had four stages, there are six stages in Rebirth (really, though, there are five; stage six is just the Dracula fight), and all of the stages are very much their own thing rather than a copy of the original game's stages. The music is done in a similar way; there are remixes and adaptations of music from previous entries in the Castlevania series, but they all feel fresh, new, and unique. All in all, despite being a remake, this feels like a completely new and unrelated game in the series, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Being on Wii, this game obviously won't give you a high definition picture, but that's not to say that it looks bad as that is far from the case. Castlevania Rebirth is one of the Wii games that proves that there's more to a good looking game than resolution. While a 720p or 1080p image certainly would have improved things, the game looks fantastic, keeping true to its 2D sprite roots while adding the visual effects and smooth gameplay one would expect from a modern game. As was the case with the original Castlevania Adventure, Castlevania Adventure Rebirth doesn't try to do too much. Konami clearly knew the system they were developing for, knew what it could and couldn't do, and made the best product they could with the resources they had. The backgrounds and enemy sprites all look fantastic, the bosses are well designed both visually and mechanically, being challenging but fair and looking great but not taxing enough on the system hardware to cause slowdown.
The only big complaint that I have with the game is that stage 5 felt a bit rushed with regards to QA. In the four previous stages, checkpoints were placed in logical places in roughly equal distances from one another, giving the game a very well paced vibe that gives you the feeling that you're steadily progressing. Stage 5, on the other hand, feels much more hastily done with regards to checkpoints and powerups. The checkpoints are spread far apart and in seemingly haphazard locations, leading to a dramatic spike in difficulty from stage 4. Also during the first four stages, food to restore your health isn't particularly common, but it could still be found in a couple of places through the levels; I didn't find a single piece of food in stage 5. It's one thing if the game is always stingy in that respect or if the difficulty and item scarcity gradually increase, but it's such a sharp spike from stage 4 to stage 5 that it feels like a design flaw rather than a natural progression of difficulty.
The Castlevania Adventure Rebirth is a fantastic Castlevania experience on Nintendo's Wii console and one that probably got overlooked by a lot of fans of the series given the (unfair) negative reputation the Wii and its WiiWare service had, and that's their loss. The inclusion of three different difficulty settings and adjustable life stock (up to 9) as well as unlimited continues and the ability to select any previously cleared level if you need to start again later also make it the most approachable 2D Castlevania game for players of all skill levels. At only 1000 Wii points ($10), it's well worth the price of admission and a great way to kill a few hours vampire hunting. Tight controls, great music, and pleasing visuals make this a must-have for Wii gamers and Castlevania fans like.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm Mr. Deck
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach history at a high school in central North Carolina; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.