Game Review

Castlevania The Adventure ReBirth Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Vampire killing with a nostalgic twist!

We've already seen Konami resurrect two of their most popular gaming franchises with WiiWare’s Gradius and Contra ReBirth, so it comes as no real surprise to see them giving the same treatment to yet another much-loved classic series: Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth. Despite its title, this actually has very little in common with the original Game Boy release. Other than a couple of gameplay touches here and there, such as the flaming whip upgrade, you wouldn't know that this game even had anything to do with it. Instead ReBirth chooses a hodge-podge of classic 8- and 16-bit Castlevania ideas to form an all-new experience. So how exactly does this title stack up against past Castlevania classics?

The Adventure ReBirth takes many of the key elements from earlier entries and tosses in a few new tweaks here and there. The game allows you to select between Normal and Classic modes that affect the way your character handles in mid-air. Normal mode allows you to maneuver your character while he's airborne, whereas Classic mode allows for no control once off the ground. It's more a matter of personal preference than anything, although Normal does make the game a bit more playable and the control a bit more precise. Of course it wouldn't be a Castlevania game without the whip and special weapons, two elements that are firmly intact here. Take the whip, for example: when upgraded completely, it’ll shoot fireballs off the tip.

ReBirth follows a more traditional approach to level design than the post-Symphony of the Night “Metroidvania” style: traverse levels with optional paths, slay some baddies, find keys and kill a really big baddie at the end. To go down the optional paths, you'll need special keys that demand you drop your special weapon to carry them, which can be a tricky trade-off at times, especially in some of the game's later, more difficult levels. That being said, these optional paths generally feature some very nice goodies if you're willing to take the time to gain access to them and hardcore fans will relish the challenge of locating them all.

There are three levels of difficulty and quite a few controller options too: the Wii Remote on its side, the Classic Controller, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, or even a GameCube controller. Buttons can be remapped as you see fit, and this wide variety of input options is a very nice addition to the game and make the controls even more impressive.

This latest Castlevania installment isn't going to set new standards of originality, but what it does do is take many of the best elements from the classic releases and bundles them together in yet another solid Castlevania experience. Six lengthy levels, unique and challenging boss fights, and added variety with the optional pathways all come together to form a platforming adventure that's as much varied as it is enjoyable. Once again Konami have captured the magic of the Castlevania series and managed to cram it all into one of the more polished WiiWare releases to date.

The visuals tend to remain on a level at or just above that of the 16-bit releases. The color palette seems to be a bit wider, allowing for a more varied level of detail, but for the most part the game looks like it fits into a Super Nintendo. There are quite a few layers of parallax scrolling as well, adding a nice level of depth to the stages. You'll see everything from outdoor scenes to underground caverns, many of which take inspiration from levels seen in earlier entries. There's never a lack of variety in the many areas, and there’s plenty to see throughout its multiple pathways. Character animation is solid, and there are some absolutely enormous bosses that show a lot of visual flair in their level of detail and movements. Things can become a little blocky at times, but this is consistent with the 16-bit theme rather than a deficiency in the visual presentation.

If there's one aspect of this Castlevania reimagining that absolutely reeks of nostalgic value, it's the game's score. Every track in the game is basically a remixed version of a classic tune from the series’ past 8- and 16-bit games. Even the famous Vampire Killer track can be heard on the last stage of the game that should make long-time fans grin from ear to ear. It's also worth mentioning that these remixes are all extremely well done and even in their compressed form sound absolutely phenomenal, especially if you're lucky enough to own a nice sound system. Even the sound effects are all perfectly executed, many of them taken directly from previous Castlevanias for even more nostalgia. Konami have always put a great amount of time and care into creating the soundtracks for their Castlevania titles over the years and this WiiWare release is no exception.


There's certainly no denying that fans of classic Castlevania will find a lot to love about this new ReBirth release. Not only is it chock-full of classic moments, but the remixed soundtrack channeling the best of the series will quickly catch the ear of anyone who's spent time with the Belmonts. Sure, the game is a bit predictable at times and there aren't as many modern Castlevania conveniences as some might hope for, but at its core, this is yet another extremely playable and enjoyable 2D Castlevania experience. And when it comes right down to it, there could never be too much of that for diehard fans of the series, new or old. Priced reasonably at 1000 Nintendo Points, you're getting a lot of vampire-killing bang for your buck.

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User Comments (82)



Dazza said:

Fang-tastic review Corbie! I shall be picking this up ASAP when our friend Belmont whips his way to Europe



i8cookie said:

I only ever played Castlevania 4 on the snes, does this have swinging on rings with the whip like that one?



Corbs said:

No it does not. This game is more like the original NES releases, with a hint of Rondo of Blood tossed in for good measure.



Dazza said:

It's a shame that Belmont can't do the old whip tickle technique from CV4. That's my favourite way to defeat a troublesome skeleton!



Sean_Aaron said:

Great review of a great game, I just don't know when I'll have the time to properly attack it. Level 3 is a mother!

I still think Dracula Legend ReBirth is a better title -- just had to say that.



Porky said:

So many people obsessed with these "rebirths". Still I may reconsider and buy the two remaining rebirths I don't got when I get more points. You can't have just one rebirth without having the rest.



y2josh said:

Thanks for the fairly quick review, Corbie. I'm going to mull it over. I will probably go ahead and get this one though. Looks great.



odd69 said:

Yes!! I'm excited about the "Normal mode" and will buy it now, i was kinda worried about the whole Classic controls but im relieved now. Thanks corb!



jwl said:

I've never played a Castlevania game, but I might get this.



SwerdMurd said:

Done! Hard mode when attempting some of the harder key paths was pretty rough. One of the few games I put directly on the main memory instead of SD...my favorite WiiWare release in forever.



Chunky_Droid said:

Just completed Castlevania Chronicles today so this sounds like a definite to keep me going! Nice review Corbs as always



moroboshi said:

This certainly isn't the best Castlevania (for me that would be Chi no Rondo on the PC Engine Super CD, followed by CV 4 SNES), but it's still a lot of fun. No ability to save your game either = authentic hardcore credentials.



JamieO said:

I downloaded this last night and enjoyed every second of it, especially the boss battles. The variety in the backgrounds is ace and I like the way it has dynamic scenery like whippable staircases, swinging platform balls and clockwork cogs (the NLife screenshots provide a good indication of these). The colours are really vivid too, the use of moonlit pastel coloured skies is striking and the sound is completely superb. A brilliant review @Corbie, just like you said I made the trade off and swapped my blue cross power-up for a key and became a bit stuck on the screen full of fire breathing dragon skulls and the sizable gap on Stage 4.
Konami's ReBirth titles are my favourite games on WiiWare.



Mayhem said:

@JWL - it will certainly be a good introduction into the series. Then get the CV4 on the SNES, the best in the series imo.



John3714 said:

Fun game, but being an old man like me who doesn't have a whole lot of time to sit and play in large chunks, I wish they had a save feature, or better yet, a suspend feature like they have with the VC titles. I did make it to level 5, though, before I had to shut it off. I agree Sean, level 3 is a tough mother!

I never thought that bats would be my least favorite enemy in the game. I got knocked off of so many platforms from random flying bats.



JamieO said:

@John3714 Man, that is a shame that you made it all the way to the fifth level and had to turn it off, there are only six stages in total and the final one is really short, because it is set up as a boss fight. You must have been really close to completing it.



blackknight77 said:

Just another note about classic mode, you lose your fireball whip upgrade after one hit by an enemy. This is similar to the original GB version where you would lose your fireball whip after getting hit. In normal mode the fireball whip is on a timer and getting hit by an enemy will allow you to keep it. Another side note, many of the enemies from the original GB version are present in this game.



JakobG said:

Makes me think of those horrible videogame-interpretations in Captain N: The Game Master.
That guy was Dig-Dug, not Megman.
And Belmont looked more like an Arctic Explorer.



Giggsy said:

I don't really like the idea of no saving, then again Castlevania always was a hardcore affair. Konami the European release date better be soon, I'm hungry for more!



motang said:

Bought it when it came out and enjoying since then. Lack of save feature is a bit bothering for me as I don't have the luxury of playing video games for hours but that's ok just need to buck up and finish it over the weekend or something.




Good news even though I'm not that into Castlevania. A bit too hardcore for me. Though I'd like to know how "easy" the bottom level of difficulty is?

Fantastic review btw, wow!



FuzzyYellowBalls said:

when are they going to start making abortion series for games?
not that i mind the rebirths just trying to balance it out.

Road Rash: Abortion... errr, Rebirth
Seriously, we need a new Road Rash! Come on, EA!



Stargazer said:

I am old also, and would appreciate a suspend feature. It's not like it would make the game easier...just less annoying.



Digiki said:

I don't see why everyone is praising the music, sadly I found it to be lacking. I was expecting to be in ear heaven, but I never was

I've never played a Castlevania game, but I might get this.

Don't, Super Castlevania IV is several times better than this, so get it instead. Then after that you should get Castlevania 1 and 3 since they're also much better. Then get this.



moomoo said:

The lack of a save/suspend/sleep feature alone means I won't get this game. I have a hard time beating a game in one sitting. It makes the game feel more outdated then it should be. Rondo of Blood had a save feature, so I'll just beat that and be happy.



Sean_Aaron said:

I find it much easier/fairer than Super Castlevania IV, so if you're afraid because of past experience with that game, then have no fear!



CanisWolfred said:

Actually, considering how easy this game is compared to other games in the series, plus it has an easy mode, I could see Castlevania ReBirth as being a good starting point for newcomers to the series.



chris3116 said:

The no save feature equals to me it is hardcore. I got the game and it's very awesome.



ShadowFlame76 said:

This was my first WiiWare purchase........ awesome game!

Am i the only one that likes "Castlevania 3 Dracula's Curse" the most out of all the 2D Castlevania games?



JamieO said:

@LEGEND_MARIOID I reiterate what Sean and Mickeymac say above; Castlevania The Adventure ReBirth is very approachable, not only with the three difficulty settings (Easy, Medium and Hard), but also because you can set your adventure up starting with from one to nine lives. If you have got approximately a spare hour and a half/ a hour and three quarters, you will be able to complete this one in a sitting.



Mike1 said:

I beat it the first day it came out. Really good game although it's weird that the fifth stage is so long and the sixth stage is so short.



Magicpegasus said:

@shadoflame76: You are not alone I almost wish this game had gotten the 8-bit treatment like Megaman 9. I agree that Rondo of Blood is king of the hill, but not king of my heart. I want 3 rebirthed with more spirit companions. Maybe we can just collect them instead making us choose. It was always a sad moment saying goodbye to Grant!



Zork2 said:

#27: That would be Castlevania Judgement. This is a really good Castlevania game, and well priced at 1000 points.



cheetahman91 said:

Looks like I know what my first Castlevania purchase is going to be. I might get SCIV with it too.



WolfRamHeart said:

This is a really good game. One of the best on WiiWare in my opinion. I guess I came close to beating it since I made it up to the mid boss of stage five on normal difficulty. The graphics are nice but I think that the visuals look better on the DS games. The music is good though. I especially enjoy the tracks from the first and second stages. The gameplay is really solid. Just pure old school Castlevania goodness. The multiple control options and difficulty settings definitely make this game accessible to both new and old players alike. Some people may not like the ommision of a save option or suspend play but it doesn't bother me. It just adds to the hardcore aspect of the game. If you are a Castlevania fan then this game is a must-have. If you are new to the series then this game is a good way to become acquainted with Castlevania.



E-Man said:

Another great WiiWare game for my Wii. It's Castlevania so you can't go wrong with this.



deggs said:

yeah, i admittedly haven't played SotN but i've played the gba castlevanias and the GB castlevanias and the 3 nes and Castlevania4 on snes all as they came out. Super Castlevania 4, C2-Simon's Quest, Castlevania Adventure 2 (gb) and Aria of Sorrow will likely always be my fav of the series but this is def almost of that caliber of game experience. but yeah, when the two Castlevania 2's came out (Simon's Quest and Belmont's Revenge), they were freakin amazing. top of the line releases. the latter of course especially surprising considering the suckfest that was the original Castlevania Adventure for GB...



darklinkinfinite said:

I'm really loving this game. I had a tear in my simply from seeing the classic Castlevania logo instead of the stupid crescent moon logo they use now. The last game to use the classic logo was Circle of the Moon, which was the last game before IGA took over the series and drove it into the ground (as far as I'm concerned), so I was glad to see it back for this return to classic gameplay.

I do miss a save/suspend play feature since I've never been one to finish a game in one sitting, I don't care how much "hardcore" cred it gives a person.

My only other major gripe is that sub-weapons don't fall out when you pick a new one, allowing you to decide which one you want to keep. The fact that keys also use up a sub-weapon slot is a bit annoying as well, but I'd suffer that if I had the option to choose what I wanted to keep when I picked up a new subweapon (on accident for example).



I downloaded the game and is awesome. I was getting tired of the metroidvania gameplay. I just wish it had some sort of save game feature but is a great game.



Ricardo91 said:

I've always much preferred the Metroidvania-style Castlevanias as opposed to the old school ones, but I still cant wait to get this. The easier difficulty is great news, since most of the "Retrovanias" can be quite merciless.



Interfear1 said:

I'm ashamed to say I have not played Castlevania ever so I shall download this one now!



Gizmo said:

I think I'm not going to buy it because it seems to be very, very short =(.



fixjuxa said:

What I want to know is how hard this game is compared to Super Castlevania IV? I ask because I downloaded SCIV some time ago and I still haven't beaten it and almost certainly never would if not for the suspend feature of the VC titles. I've spent probably 7-8 hours to get as far as I have and there's no way I'd ever have reached this far if I wasn't able to stop playing and rejoin my game in progress at a later date.



Xiepher said:

I really like this game. I never got the chance to play the Castlevania The Adventure on the gameboy though, but I definately like this game, especially since it's not like SoTN or the GBA games which I never really cared for much. Really would like to see a remake simular to Castlevania 2 and / or Castlevania 3.



Twilight_Crow said:

, is it really that good Corbie!?I Wow, sounds cool, It also seems like a good practice before harder Castlevanias.



Vinsanity said:

I'm loving this game:) It's far and away the most arcadey, visually popping "straight" sidescroller (i.e. not Metroidvania) in the series since Bloodlines on the Genesis. It's not as...robust(?) or ambitious as Super Castlevania IV, and it's not as "flashy" or content-rich as Dracula X, but for pure old school action this is the best Castlevania I've played in sometime. Very happy to see it released.

...though I'm still gonna complain. Where IS Castlevania Bloodlines for the Genny, Konami/Nintendo? That's gotta be one of the most requested VC games? Maybe 2010 will finally bring it.



blackknight77 said:

I think it is easier than Super CIV as well. And Super CIV is much easier than Castlevania III and Bloodlines. IF you are looking for a easier Castlevania title than this may be a good one to start with. I think its a great and exactly what I want from a retro remake. I love the choice for a soundtrack.



Rerun said:

I'm getting this! It would've been more timely if this was released Halloween of '09.



JaredJ said:

Love playing this game with an NES controller using my nes retroport.



Kirk said:

The no saving is a mistake, both with this and Contra, and it means I will probably never download this game. I hate that I am expected to play through the whole of Contra in one sitting even though I don't have the time, which means I will likely never see the later levels, and it has pretty much put me off ever buying Castlevania.

Catering only to the most dedicated "hardcore" gamers and really no one else was a bad move Konami.



GN0LAUM said:

How do I access the "Classic" vs "Normal" control mode? I see no option for it in the Options menu. Do I have to beat the game first to get the choice?



odd69 said:

After you beat the game you unlock the Classic mode, well atleast that's what happened for me.



Kirk said:


Well that's cool for Contra but I really shouldn't have to find out about this debug mode by pure luck on a message board/comments section of a website.

Now what about something similar for Castlevania...



Ristar42 said:

There's arcade style games for you. I agree that saving progress would be preferable, but it wont stop me from getting this in the end (if NoE ever sort out their poor releases).
Hope Contra is more fun now at least.



fixjuxa said:

Sadly, there's no debug mode in the US version of Contra Rebirth and I doubt it's there for Castlevania either. Why the hell is not included in the US version...or do I have to access it some other way?

No save or password feature is just lame. I still downloaded it, and I like it quite a bit, but it pisses me off that I have to leave my Wii on and I can't play anything else unless I want to start the game over. Getting to Stage 5 on Normal with 3 lives is no walk in the park. Starting over would require hours of replay just to get back to where I am. Seriously, I enjoy old school gaming as much as the next guy but not including a save or password features is inexcusable in 2010.



Ristar42 said:

@fixjuxa No, I remember some discussion at the time, as far as I know its only in the EU and Japanese versions of Contra for some stupid reason. Makes the game a lot better.
Who knows with Castlevania - depends if the Japanese version has anything, hopefully we will get the chance to find out in Europe soon enough.



ShawnAustin said:

Grabbed this last night, and while it's certainly not Super Castlevania IV, the game does have its charm and I agree with many of you, LEVEL 3 IS FREAKIN' HARD!!!! It's got some new twists and revamps the old weapons, but I do miss swinging my whip all over the place and the grappling especially.
Nonetheless, for my first WiiWare d/l, I was quite happy with it and look forward to getting into the game more.



LinktotheFuture said:

I think Classic Mode is even harder than Normal. When you are fighting the bat in level 1, you don't get the Axe in classic mode like you do in normal mode.



TheUrinator said:

Castlevania The Adventure ReBirth DOES have a level select option.

Choose "Game Start" and hold LEFT on the D-pad to unlock the Level Select screen.

However, this only works if you have at least "unlocked" or beaten a level or two (i.e. if you only got to level 4, then when you use the level select cheat you'll only see the 4 levels you beaten but not the ones you have not).

So now you know!



Luigi-la-bouncy said:

Didn't work for me

But hey. This is an awesome game and I don't mind playing through the stages again to get to the end.



Incognito_D said:

I'm totally new to the Castlevania series. Should I go for this or Castlevania IV to begin with? I heard that Castlevania IV is the best.



vio said:

Go with Castlevania IV first. It's my personal favorite of the numerous Castlevania games and one of my favorite games of all time. It's longer and more epic than this game and of course you can save. Not being able to save in this game is it's biggest downfall IMO. But it's a great addition to the series otherwise and is easily one of the best games on WiiWare. Though I'm admittedly not a fan of most of the stuff on WiiWare. The majority of it is just crap shovelware IMO.



Rarewarefan7495 said:

Finally, a true classic sidescrolling linear Castlevania. It's more like the NES and PC engine games but that's fine with me. Hopefully Konami will make another regular classic Castlevania game



Wolfenstein83 said:

Rebirth is awesome but you know what I miss?
Castlevania Bloodlines!
Or "The New Generation" in European markets.
I know some people really dislike that game compared to others in the series but I really wish Konami would put it on the VC.



Collision_Cat said:

The game does save your progress, but for some reason it's hidden away. When you have 'Game Start' highlighted on the title menu, hold right on the d-pad. Now you can choose your level from the ones you've been to!



soma said:

It has to be said again just in case:

Highlight Game Start and hold down Right on the d-pad. You'll be able to play levels you already reached.

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