|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: M2||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 28, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
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.
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.
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.
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.