Pharaoh Rebirth+ gives me heavy reminders of Cave Story. Likely due to the art style. But they're by 2 totally different companies. This game is described to be a Metroid-vania style game (Castlevania with Metroid style exploration). I guess that's one way to look at it. But to me it's a stretch. This is more like Castlevania 3 or any of the level based Castlevania games. Not like that of our current Castlevania where you explore one huge castle, temple, or whatever. You find treasures that power you up. And you fight a boss at the end. This game does have it's issues. I think the main one seems to be on my end. More on that later.
You start out as Jonathan. An archaeologist/adventurer exploring some random ruins in Egypt related to some guy called Sehur I. Oh yeah I should mention, Johnathan's a rabbit????? As you're exploring you're introduced to Jack. Your partner who gives me heavy reminders of Otacon from MGS. He's your support but he's very clumsy. So clumsy that he spilled coffee on the computer. Not too long after you meet your rival. A turtle-man????? Eh it's a videogame. At least that's the general reasoning you give seeing these 2 characters. Anyway this guy's name is Andre. He comes flying in on his obviously expensive military armed chopper to shoot you down and take whatever treasure there is before you get to it.
After your skirmish. Andre's knocked out on the ground. I decided to hit him for fun thinking it wouldn't do anything. The minute I do. Jack calls me to scold me for beating up on a man while he's down. So I stop and move on (Big mistake Much later on). So entering the ruins. Jonathan finds a coffin and at a very convenient time Jack's computer goes on the fritz due this coffee spill earlier. The most you can make out over the communications is that you shouldn't open it. But Andre rushes and does that very thing. Cursing the both of you with a 7 day curse.
Now the real story begins. After fussing with Jack about his clumsy coffee drinking he explains that Jonathan and Andre both have 7 days to live. Once those 7 days pass Sehur I will awaken to kill them both as a sacrifice. The only way to break such a curse is to find the 7 Holy Chalices. These Chalices once gathered, have the ability to grant eternal life. This is said to be the only way to counter Sehur I as a resurrected Pharaoh can't kill an immortal. Now can he?
Well the story from here get's interesting. As it turns out that it's not only a race against time and your rival Andre to gather these 7 Chalices. But you also end up involved in an ancient war, and tied up in someone else's greedy scheme. Even the US Government gets involved.
The rest of the story plays out like a typical Castlevania game. You randomly meet people in hallways who give out some exposition. Or contribute to the plot. But to keep you from being bored during your travels. The game loves to mix in comedy as well. Such as when Jonathan finds a Lint Roller and Jack insists he takes it with him. Cause Jonathan leaves rabbit fur all over the van. I welcome the comedy especially in certain stages that overstay there welcome.
Well if you wanted Castlevania. You got it here. Jonathan plays an awful lot like a typical Belmont from Castlevania. He uses his ears as a whip and pretty much copies the classic moves of the Belmont clan. Even his subweapons function the same as a classic Castlevania game. Whip swing across platforms via an obvious looking post. Checking for foot holds and secret areas using holy ash.
While the weapon names are different you can easily relate these subweapons to anything in Castlevania. I almost want to say that this game is one huge reference to Castlevania tropes. There's even a secret move that you can input (which strangely represent Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu/Raging Demon) to annihilate everyone on screen.
The gameplay is pretty simple. Explore ruins looking for a new power-up to progress and eventually if you feel like it go back to previous stages and explore with your new power-ups. Bosses are not that difficult once you learn there patterns (except the secret boss). In fact the game can be pretty much on the easy side of things especially after you collected every item in the game to boost your stats.
The game does love it's instant death spikes. A lot of people in today's time would probably complain about this saying the game's too hard. It's not. Pretty much once you figure out what to do the game is pretty easy to finish.
My only problem was the driving stage. I feel this stage overstayed it's welcome. While you have a jeep that has hydraulics and shocks any person with a lowrider would pay there life to own. You have to react with some rather precise timing jumps or instantly die. Not to mention shooting down enemies. This stage is way too long IMO. I'm reminded heavily of Megaman 8's auto-slider segments but take that and make it 10 times as long. It's worse cause there's collectables on the way that make you go, "Welp guess I better die to get this." I honestly wouldn't be surprised if people quit the game because of this stage. While it's not too hard it's too long with it being unforgiving for making a mistake.
The One MISSABLE ITEMIf you're one of those completionist. I'll tell you right now. There is ONE miss-able item in the game. And I actually fault the game for this one cause it's stupid. After you defeat Andre in the prologue stage you're supposed to continuously hit him to make him drop an item. What? This is stupid cause the game actually tries to stop you by having Jack call you telling you to stop hitting him. If you don't make him drop the item your inventory will never be complete cause you won't get another chance to pick up this item.
Well the game's looks give me a heavy remind of Cave Story. Now I never played Cave Story but what I saw was generally interesting. Pharaoh Rebirth+ uses the same graphic styles as that game. As for enemies some are rather unique. I honestly would never think I'd see an Anteater wearing a leotard. Boss fights and there animations are pretty good as well.
My Own Framerate IssuesMy one problem which I believe this to be a fault on my end is that when I was recording the frame rate dropped considerably. I didn't notice this at first cause I thought this was the game's original frame rate. Then I played without recording and found it to run much faster at 60FPS. I tried multiple settings to fix this problem but found no working solution. Maybe I should have V-Sync off? I don't know. But it's a nice reminder that the graphics card in my PC sucks compared to today's standards.
I do find it strange however. Some games run perfectly fine I mean Freedom Planet never chugs for me. Yet Sonic 4 does???? And I can't run Rocket Knight on fullscreen 1440 x 1080p without it slowing down and have to reduce the resolution to get it to play? Ugh I don't know Graphics Cards. I hate this....