Castlevania: the Adventure Rebirth Review (WiiWare)
Posted by Jim Cook, Jan 12, 2010 23:07
Symphony of the Night heralded a major change in the Castlevania series, changing it from a linear platformer to one with a vast world full of secrets to explore. But Konami’s Rebirth series is all about how things were in the old days, so Castlevania: the Adventure Rebirth goes back to the side-scrolling style where it was just you, a whip, a few sub-weapons, and lots of trick jumps and monsters to deal with. It’s a pretty hard game, but that’s the point; aside from updating the visuals a little, this is a very ’retro’ game and does it well.
Your $10/1000 Points gets you six stages of classic action, and they play a lot like the old games did. Yet another member of the Belmont family has come forth to challenge Dracula’s impending reign of terror, and he starts off with just a whip, going from left to right and destroying anything that gets in the way. You have just a short whip at first, but it can become longer with power-ups or even shoot fire for a short time and there are also the usual set of sub-weapons to find: throwing knives, axes, holy water vials, boomerang crosses, and so on, each with their own use. Most stages follow a flow of letting you explore a little until you find the mid-boss, then carry on a little more until you reach the boss.
While I say ’explore’, this is done in a fairly limited way. You’re on a time limit (a little over ten minutes per level in most cases) and your path is fairly linear, but there are a few secret routes to be found. You can often trade in your sub-weapon for a key to carry with you, and if you get it to certain locked doors you can take an alterante path through parts of the stage. Sometimes the difference is minor, but other times the new route lets you completely bypass a very hard or annoying part of the level and is well worth the effort. These alternate paths give a little replay value what is otherwise a very straightforward game, and the trade-off required to access them (not carrying a sub-weapon until you use the key) is interesting.
Konami has done a lot of things to ensure this Rebirth feels like a classic Castlevania, ranging from how the game plays, to the music carrying familiar notes, to the visuals being fairly similar to that of Super Nintendo era games in the series. At the same time, they also made some efforts to make the game accessible to more modern tastes and the best part is you can have it whichever way you like. While the game starts with more modern physics (mid-air jump control for example), you can just lose quickly to unlock Classic mode and while it makes jumping harder, it also enables a few old-school tricks; it’s up to you which one you want. While there is no Save feature per se, there is something that is close enough since if you hold right on your d-pad at the game start screen, you can access a Stage Select menu that lets you pick any level you’ve already been to on your current difficulty setting.
Castlevania Rebirth does many things right, but it does have some modest flaws. The first is that it is admittedly a little short; I think one or two more levels would have been nice. Second, the later stages get pretty hard and include a lot of situations the classic series did to intentionally make things more difficult; your controls while climbing stairs are very stiff and it’s common to be attacked by flying enemies while you’re on them, making it hard to whip them before they hit you. Still, I suppose that last one should be expected since this game is a nod to the old Castlevanias and such tricks were quite common back then... I consider it a flaw, but others probably won’t.
This leaves us with an old-school platformer that can be beaten in about an hour and costs ten bucks, which is a steep price for what you get. But what content is here is excellent; the music feels like classic Castlevania tunes do, the graphics are in about the right style, and the controls handle like either classic Castlevania or an updated version thereof at your preference. Alternate routes give you a little replayability, and overall it’s just a joy to play aside for a few very hard sections. Konami is admittedly milking our nostalgia with these Rebirths, but if they continue to do it to this level of quality then I have no complaints. Whether you yearn for the old days or are a newer gamer interested in how things used to be, this Rebirth is easily worth its ten bucks.
Rating: 0.0, votes: 0