Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare) Review
Title: Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth
After releasing a Contra ReBirth game for the WiiWare a few months ago, Konami has followed that up with a ReBirth of Castlevania: The Adventure. For those that don’t know, Castlevania: The Adventure originally released for the Game Boy with four stages.
That’s right, stages. Unlike many of the entries in the series, Adventure isn’t an exploration type game like Symphony of the Night and others. Instead, players go through individual levels trying to avoid obstacles and kill enemies, all the while progressing towards beating some bosses before the final confrontation with Dracula.
The newest game actually comes with a few more levels, having six in total. The levels each have their distinct feel and really remind me of the earlier games as you walk through the castle and through caves.
Like other games in the series, the game follows a Belmont as he tries to destroy Dracula. In this game, it’s actually Christopher Belmont. The game starts off with a few screens giving a background to the game before finally throwing you into Stage 1.
Before getting into the gameplay, I first want to touch briefly on the control scheme. You are given three options in the game: The Wii Remote/Nunchuk, GameCube controller and Classic controller. I personally used the GameCube controller as it felt most comfortable to me. The Wii Remote combo was good and didn’t use any motion controls, but Castlevania just feels better to me with a controller.
Anyways, once in the game, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia. The graphics and sounds both really reminded me of the early entries in the series and were great to see and hear in the game.
The game doesn’t try anything fancy with the graphics. Instead, it pays tribute to the early days by having basic sprites, but adds a modern polish to it. A comparison would be to the graphics of SOTN. They really do look good and are nice to see throughout the game, whether it’s your own character or the enemies.
The sound is also great. Some of it is remastered from earlier games in the series, while other tracks are completely new to the game. All of the tracks gave it a good feel as you went through the game.
In the game, players get a life bar to advance through a stage in the amount of time given. The time was never really a problem for me, and seemed as if you had more than enough time to complete a level. While you normally don’t find any health help, occasionally you can run across some food that heals you or a 1up to give you another life.
The first change from the older Castlevania games can actually be felt the first time you jump. You can actually change the direction of your jump in mid-air. It’s a nice touch to allow you to finesse around an enemy or obstacle, but a change that old school players may not like. However, a classic mode can be unlocked that allows you to go back to the old style of jump. This mode is unlocked after the first time you play the game, so it’s not like you have to work to get it.
Like in other games, hearts can be picked up, as well as various sub-weapons to throw that use the hearts. The weapons include daggers, crosses, axes and more. Also available for pick up are balls that help increase the damage your whip can do and can also allow it to shoot fireballs. Once you die, however, your whip returns back to normal and needs to be upgraded again. Both the sub-weapons and power ups are different color candles from normal hearts so that you don’t accidentally grab a weapon and lose the one you have.
This actually brings me to a complaint I have. Maybe this is because I’ve gotten a bit used to the newer entries in the series, but why couldn’t sub-weapons drop to the ground when another one is picked up? It would at least give a chance to switch out a weapon if you accidentally pick up another one while taking out enemies. It’s not a big complaint, but something that would have been nice to have in the game.
Also in these candles were keys that unlocked doors that lead to hidden areas or shortcuts. The areas contained things from hearts to cash, which does nothing but raise your score. The shortcuts helped sometime bypass difficult areas. While carrying a key, however, you can’t hold any extra weapons as it takes that slot up.
There’s quite a bit of other things I noticed while playing the game from the original games as well. Water is still an instant death, you can’t jump while moving on stairs and you get launched backwards when you get hit by an enemy.
A lot of enemies are a throwback from previous entries in the series as well. Medusa heads, flea-men and more can be seen as you progress through the game. Some bosses look familiar to, such as the staples of Dracula, with three forms, and the Grim Reaper.
However, there are some changes as well. A difficulty mode has been added to the Option Menu to change from easy, medium and difficult. This allows both veteran players and new entrants into the series to enjoy the game at their own level. The number of lives can also be set in this menu. Also in the game are various checkpoints to start back at before bosses and harder areas so that you don’t have to replay a whole stage over again.
The game seemed to offer some good challenges without seeming cheap like some of the NES games. Still, there seemed to be some parts that threw quite a bit at you at once, and it become a bit hard to dodge everything without taking a bit of damage. You can still make your way through it, but it definitely tests your skills.
A few other points in the game bugged me as well. The game likes to give you a lot of cash and points, but there were never any use for them. Not even a leaderboard was included to compare your score against other players.
Also, unless you would know what to do, you would think that you have to beat this game all in one sitting since the game never mentions a level select at the intro screen. However, by holding right a few seconds over the New Game button, you can go to a level select and choose any level you’ve beaten. I’m not sure why this isn’t just a regular option instead of having to go online and find out about this.
Finally, my last complaint is that there really isn’t much to do after beating the game. No extra playthroughs open up or anything else special to try out. After you beat the game, you can beat it again if you want and that’s about it. A few extra additions after beating the game would have been nice, as the game can be beaten fairly quickly on one sitting if you’re a veteran of the series and a good player.
Still, for $10, Castlevania fans have a great game on their hands here. It’s reminiscent of the early games in the series and just as fun to play. Even without anything extra to do after beating the game, there’s a lot of fun to be had going through the game and remembering the early days of the series.
Once again, Konami has done a good job with their ReBirth series. It would be nice to see some other Castlevania games in the series get this treatment as well, as the updated graphics and sounds really help to add to a Castlevania game many people may have missed. While the game does have a few kinks or things that could have been added, fans of the series or of platforming action games in general should check out this game for a good old school game.