Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth

Game Overview

In 2009, Konami launched a new (at the time) remake initiative titled "ReBirth". This series of games revisited classic titles from the major Konami franchises, giving them new installments that acted like enhanced remakes of classic titles. These weren't just games with graphical overhauls but completely revamped adventures with new game play, stages, and a ton of additional content drawn from later titles on their respective series. Castlevania, Contra, and Gradius each received a "ReBirth" adventure, with Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth being the third release of this series.

Starring Christopher Belmont, Adventure ReBirth effectively retells the original Castlevania Adventure, chronicling the hero's first encounter with the Dark Lord Dracula. As in the original game, the story is set 100 years after the time of Trevor Belmont, with Dracula having risen from the grave once again, his dark castle returning to the top of the Borgo Pass. That's what Christopher, current possessor off the Vampire Killer is called in to handle the demon and save the lands of Romania once more. In essence the major, salient points of the story have not changed.

What has changes about the game, though, is just about everything else. Unlike the original game, Christopher nows gets full access to his sub-weapons (all the standards, and not just a dagger and an axe as seen in Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge). The levels have been all been completely remixed and rearranged, with new graphics and music across the board (graphics comparable to Symphony of the Night era games). The stages may reference the original levels (such as the Caverns and the Dungeons), but their layouts are completely different, while two new levels have been added to flesh out the castle even further.

Stage length was also increased, making for a very long, but at times also rather difficult, game. Unlike many of the more recent entries to come our around Adventure ReBirth, the game wasn't a Metroidvania adventure. It hewed much closer to the Adventure's root, playing like an old-school platformer, with the crushing difficulty one would expect from classic, "Nintendo Hard" adventures. It did mark Konami's return to their old-school roots, giving players the classic adventure they'd been requesting for years. But the difficulty of the game, and the fact it was released as a WiiWare exclusive, did limit the audience that could (or would) play the title.

Unlike Castlevania Chronicles, which is considered by some as the "definitive" version of the original Castlevania, Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth holds no such place with fans. While an obvious love-letter to the classic Castlevania games, and it's an odd blend of classic style and elements from later games in the series. Plus, the difficulty in finding and playing the game now, especially via legal means, makes Adventure ReBirth one of the more curious oddities in the series. Perhaps if it had been given a wide release across all the consoles of the era, along with physical distribution for the title, then maybe ReBirth would have supplanted Adventure in the minds of fans. Instead it's a late-era "lost" title that likely will never see re-release from Konami again (since that company has all but abandoned the Castlevania series altogether.