Konami's ReBirth Series

2010-04-22

Many of our beloved classics are coming back in the way they were best remembered. This article takes a look at Konami's ReBirth series, in which many classic Konami franchises are being reborn. The rebirth series features new Gradius, Contra, and Castlevania games created with old school graphics and gameplay.

All 3 games are available on WiiWare and were developed by M2. M2 is a Japanese developer who are best know for their Sega Ages collections in Japan, and handling the emulation for re-releasing classic games on newer consoles. Also the soundtrack for all 3 games was created by Manabu Namiki.

Gradius ReBirth

Gradius ReBirth is the first title to be released under the ReBirth brand. It was released in North America on March 9th 2009.

Like other titles in the Gradius series, Gradius ReBirth is a horizontal shoot 'em up. ReBirth offers 5 ships to pilot, and features 5 levels.

Rather than being a complete new entry in the series, Gradius ReBirth is treated as more of a "best of" Gradius game. The gameplay is identical to previous titles, and the levels and audio and remixed versions of the stages and tracks from previous games.

The game features two play modes. A standard mode with infinite credits and a score attack mode, which tests players to gain as high a score as possible on a single credit.

Contra ReBirth

Contra was a series that was loved, but had trouble finding a life after ditching its 2d roots. The 3d PS1 and 2 titles ranged in quality, but none lived up to the original 8 and 16bit titles. Contra ReBirth (along with Contra 4 for DS) sought to rectify that.

Contra ReBirth is a throwback to Contra 3: The Alien Wars, which many fans consider to be the best of the series. The game features graphics and gameplay that closely resemble that title. It plays like a classic 2d Contra games, features the same power ups from the rest of the series and allows for 2 player co-op play.

The game features Bill Rizer (who is in many Contra games as "the blue guy"), and Genbei Yagyu (who was introduced in Neo Contra for the PS2). With much more emphasis on story, which is not really necessary or welcome, the two battle the Neo Salamander Army led by Colonel Salamander.

Castlevania ReBirth

Castlevania ReBirth was billed as a re-imagining of The Castlevania Adventure which was the first Castlevania title for Gameboy. Re-imagining is a good descriptor because everything other than the story and some mechanics were built from the ground up. The gameplay closely resembles the series' 16bit titles.

The original Castlevania Adventure games are not as fondly remembered by gamers as the rest of the series. The games were early Gameboy titles that lacked many of the features that made the Castlevania games memorable. So it's a good fit to take this part of the franchise to rework.

In Castlevania Adventure ReBirth the player controls Christopher Belmont on his quest to invade Castlevania and defeat Dracula. The game takes place 100 years prior to Castlevania 1.

The game features 6 stages which are completely new and end in a boss battle. The stages also feature: vertical sections, stairs (instead of ropes), secret areas, and multiple paths through the levels. Five sub Weapons are also added.

One feature that did make it over from the original title is the Whip upgrade mechanic in which after collecting a second upgrade orb, the players whip will shoot out fireballs for a set period of time.

There is no save or password feature as well, so the game has to be completed in one sitting.