Today's destination on our super happy fun time full of adventure Wayback Machine is 1989. With video games an actual thing again thanks to the NES, several third-party developers signed up for that old toaster and created myriads of games, both good and bad. By far one of the most well-known and influential of these third parties was Konami. Back in the NES days, Konami games were tough as nails, and god damnit we LIKED it like that! Gradius, Castlevania, and Contra among others became instant classics as well as instant exercises in frustration for those who didn't have these games memorized. If you didn't know what to do, Konami games would show no mercy in kicking your sorry ass.
It was at this time that Nintendo unveiled their newest delicious plan to make money; a portable video game system they dubbed the Nintendo Game Boy. Armed with some Soviet puzzle game that nobody had ever heard of, the Game Boy flew off shelves. Puzzle games helped it sell, but the Game Boy needed actual games, too. Enter the third party developers. Enter Konami. Driven by the success of their two NES Castlevania games, they crafted a new adventure full of whipping for the new portable pockets; Castlevania The Adventure.
Rather surprisingly, Castlevania The Adventure was a complete mess of a game, and a rather poor effort from Konami. Two years later there was a much-improved sequel, Belmont's Revenge. Beyond that, almost no mention of protagonist Christopher Belmont could be found. Now we set our magical wayback machine to take us back to present day. 20 years later, Konami and developer M2 have used the Wiiware download service to crank out colorful and hectic original games based on their staple series. By late 2009 they had already revamped Gradius and Contra. For Castlevania, they decided to take a cue from that long-forgotten mess of a Game Boy game, and make it playable. So, Castlevania The Adventure ReBirth was.. born. How is it? It's classy.
Adventure ReBirth has changed so much from the original Game Boy title that it's almost unfair to call it a remake. This is a complete and total revamp to the point that there are only lingering references and callbacks to the original game. Beyond the player character and a small handful of old callback enemies, everything here is either brand new or from some other Castlevania game. Much like the other ReBirth titles for Wiiware, this game takes several great cues from other great Castlevania games, and meshes them all together into what feels like a video game version of a Greatest Hits album.
The opening "cutscene" for this game sets things up well as images of the NES Castlevanias fly by the screen in a very nice touch. You are Christopher Belmont, Dracula is awake again, take up the Vampire Killer and beat his undead ass. So off Chris Belmont goes, across six stages of very pretty 2D sidescrolling action set to remixes of classic Castlevania tunes. It's impressive how obscure some of these get; as a fan of the Game Boy Castlevania 2, I was overjoyed to start stage 3 and hear an incredible revamp of the music from Crystal Castle. Hell, there's even a remix of a track from the Sharp X68000 Castlevania; now that is digging deep into the obscure end.
Chris Belmont controls rather well, too. His jumping isn't set in stone like Simon Belmont's, thank god, and you can control it rather well. Whipping is only straight ahead, unfortunately, but the game does add the one thing the original Game Boy title could have used; subweapons! All the old mainstays are here, from the knife you never really want to pick up to the awesome subweapons like the cross and axe and holy water. Hell, even the control schemes are innovative in a way. You have your standard sideways Wii Remote action, or you can go with a Classic Controller like all the cool kids who buy old games for their Wiis. The neatest but still sort of impractical method is using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck, which lets you attack by making a whipping motion as you move. It's.. interesting.
Six stages of good old-fashioned action platforming await you, and if that seems a little short, do realize that this game is a downloadable and only 10 bucks. It's standard fare for a Konami ReBirth game, and though they're short they have amazing replay value. That isn't said just because the game is fun, either; pretty much every stage has a myriad of alternate paths to take. So long as you make the right jumps and hold onto a key subweapon item, you'll be able to take a different route on your second, hell even your third playthrough. You even get mutiple difficulties and the option to set your lives. You can give yourself one life on hard mode. And so all the masochists of the world cheered in pain and pleasure.
Bottom line, this is simply fantastic. It's hard to believe that this is based off of Castlevania The Adventure; there is almost no resemblance. It sort of begs the question, why make this a remake of that game when everything is changed and it's just a medley of past Castlevania excellence? Who knows, maybe M2 thought that Adventure deserved another shot. With Chris Belmont's rebirth, M2 can be satisfied that they made something good out of that unfortunate mess from 20 years ago. Despite the shortness of the game, this is a must-download if you have a Wii and are any sort of Castlevania fan.