As you might have seen from the news posted yesterday, the Wii Shop Channel will officially shut down in early 2019. Now, this isn’t really big news to some, as a lot of players have moved on from the Wii and Wii U in favor of the Nintendo Switch, but the Shop Channel was actually home to a number of great games, including various Virtual Console classics (like games from the Turbo-Grafx era – Gate of Thunder!) and a few original WiiWare games.
And amongst the WiiWare library that’s available, Konami actually made quite an impact, releasing three sequels to hit franchises that were labeled the ReBirth series, as a way to pay tribute to these games while offering up some new features that players could enjoy. Most of these games were an afterthought at first, but, upon second glance, they’re really quite incredible – even after all these years.
Although there’s a slim chance in hell we’ll see these games again – especially with Konami and its current “not-so-much-into-gaming” stance, we couldn’t help but pay tribute to the three ReBirth games that came out and wonder, “Hey, why can’t these games be given a second chance on Nintendo Switch?” To quote the classic SNL Celebrity Jeopardy sketch, “You’re sitting on a gold mine, Trebek!”
Let’s look at each of the games and see what made them so special. (You can still get them on the Wii Shop Channel for Wii and Wii U right now, but come late March, you won’t be able to buy them anymore.)
First up is the remix of Gradius, the classic side-scrolling shooter series that got its start on the NES before spinning out a number of memorable sequels, most notably the hard-to-find Gradius V on PlayStation 2. Released in 2009, this shooter is frenetically difficult, with a number of punishing challenges and boss battles that will keep you on your toes as you attempt to get powered up.
Konami did a very respectable job with this game, bumping up the visuals to very good heights and producing a soundtrack with a number of classic melodies. Plus, the leaderboards still allow you to challenge players for bragging rights, as you can work your way up the rankings and try to become the elite at the world of Gradius.
This game was a lot of fun – although it’s custom-built for those that can appreciate a good, challenging shooter.
For those wondering why they don’t make good ol’ Castlevania games anymore, well, you’ll be able to enjoy Igarashi-san’s Bloodstained next year, so you have that. In the meantime, though, Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth is well worth a look, packing a number of classic memories from the series in a side-scrolling adventure that doesn’t let up.
Although the game is a little more on the bright side than most dark Castlevania adventures, it still looks great, and the music is nostalgic, stirring up memories of older games in the series. And it’s pretty challenging, especially when you get to the later boss encounters.
We’ll probably never see a 2D Castlevania game again, so enjoy the ones that came out – including this classic you might have missed.
For a while there, Contra games were greatly appreciated, with fans digging in to challenging affairs like Super C, Contra Hard Corps and, of course, Contra III: The Alien Wars. But we haven’t seen too much of the series lately, outside the interesting anime spin-off Hard Corps: Uprising.
With that, Contra ReBirth deserves a revisit. It definitely takes a few notes from the Contra III design school, with a number of weapons to switch to. It also features some crazy boss battles, including an underground tussle with a rock statue, as well as a full-blown assault with a robotic freak, while surrounded by what appears to be mechanized…camels?
It’s a bit on the crazy side, but that’s really what makes Contra so special – it’s a run-and-gun treat that deserves a second look, especially if you’ve been looking to play something from the old-school side of things.
Again, a re-release of these games seems a bit on the iffy side, mainly because of Konami’s current logic with the gaming market. But, seriously, if these games were re-released for another platform – either separately or as part of a ReBirth trilogy package – it’d make the company some serious money, and remind players that, yes, they care about the old-school beyond slapping licenses onto a pachinko machine.
For that matter, the games look custom-built with the Nintendo Switch in mind. Being able to play classic Konami games on the go or on your TV? Who wouldn’t want that? We sure do.