Castlevania the Adventure ReBirth Review

The Castlevania series is a franchise that has struggled with an identity crisis. The first Castlevania introduced the world to a gothic side-scrolling adventure. The sequel, Simon’s Quest, introduced RPG elements and tried to vary the formula. Simon’s Quest wasn’t as well received at the time (something about having to crouch in front of a random block to progress might have contributed), and Konami went back to the side-scrolling action with Castlevania 3. The series continued this trend until Symphony of the Night, which helped birth the “Metroidvania” genre; every game that followed, aside from the 3D entries, have used this formula, throwing the classic Castlevania style to the curb.

That is why I have to thank Konami’s ReBirth series of downloadable games. While their franchises are becoming big, 3D adventures that lose the original charm, the ReBirth series returns them to their roots to produce beautiful, sprite-based games that evoke the feelings of the original games and make you feel like you’re playing an old-school title again. Castlevania the Adventure ReBirth is the latest entry in the series, following Contra ReBirth, and returns the series to its 16-bit roots, complete with crazy bosses and gothic setting. But is it worth your $10?


Castlevania the Adventure ReBirth is a re-imagining of the original GameBoy title of the same name. I say re-imagining because the only thing returning is protagonist Christopher and one type of enemy. Konami rebuilt the game from the ground up with new levels and enemies, while updating the visuals with colorful sprites and modern visual tricks.

The classic 2D gameplay in this entry is incredibly refined and welcoming. There is an air of familiarity to the platforming and use of subweapons that just feels right. It evokes the older titles such as Super Castlevania IV and Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, but wrapped up in a classic aesthetic. There are no special moves like sliding or running, leaving an incredibly simple and fun game in the wake. They definitely don’t make games like these anymore and I’m glad the ReBirth series is around to accommodate game design such as this.

This doesn’t mean that the game is completely steeped in “old” game design. The game’s level design and enemies are pulled from the entire franchise, so you’ll see enemies like the Red Knights, Medusa Heads, and Floating Skulls. There are also cool obstacles and effects like a platforming sections where spears are constantly jutting from the walls or a bridge starts to crumble as you fight your way across. There is also an unexpected depth to the game’s six levels. The levels are long and have multiple branching pathways for those eager to explore or stick their neck out for that ever-elusive item. Keys litter the stages to open locked doors that take you to new areas or hidden secrets.


That said, I don’t have too many complaints about the game other than its difficulty and the absence of a save function. Some of the game’s later sections can get brutally hard and the bosses become borderline cheap. The game wisely does not send you back to the very beginning when you lose all your lives, though, just to the beginning of the current level. Still, stacked on top of the beefy level length, it can become a bit disheartening. You also can’t save the game and have to beat it in one shot. This was an inconvenience as I would want to take a break while playing, but would just have to leave my system on, paused. Leaving my Wii on all night just like I used to when I was nine years old playing Castlevania 3 was cute back then, but not so when we have modern consoles with hard drives and system memory. A level select or saving at the beginning of a level would have been nice.

Castlevania the Adventure ReBirth is a nice throwback to the 16-bit Castlevania games with a few modern twists thrown in. Aside from a brutal difficulty level late in the game and the absence of a save function, it is well worth the $10 price of admission for Wii owners, with plenty of retro action to be had.


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Author: Matt Erazo View all posts by

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