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Pharaoh Rebirth+ Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . By mixing Indiana Jones with Castlevania and Metal Gear, Pharaoh Rebirth+ offers an action packed platformer with stylish enemies and lots of treasure to discover. Unfortunately, easy boss fights and a frustrating racing stage mar an otherwise stellar start to a brand new franchise. Rating: 78%
Pharaoh Rebirth+
Pharaoh Rebirth+ Pharaoh Rebirth+ Pharaoh Rebirth+ Pharaoh Rebirth+
  • Review Score:

  • B+
With Hideo Kojima off Metal Gear, Konami no longer interested in 2D Castlevania games and the days of good Indiana Jones movies long behind us, Dr. Jonathan Banfield has been forced to step-up and fill the void. The result is Pharaoh Rebirth+, an adorable new platformer that mixes some truly disparate elements to create one of the year's most memorable mascot games.

The truth is, Dr. Banfield would be horrified if he knew he was part of a mascot game. As it turns out, the good doctor was cursed and turned into a treasure-hunting rabbit. The same thing happened to his arch-nemesis, Andre Betancourt, who was transformed into a well-dressed turtle. This has led the two rivals to Amshear, the legendary oasis of Egypt, where they discover an ancient sarcophagus holding in a deep, dark secret. By opening the seal, a great evil has been unleashed, giving the unlikely duo only seven days to collect a whole bunch of Holy Grails and break the curse.

The good news is that Dr. Banfield is a nimble rabbit, able to whip his ears around with the best of them. Even before he finds the typical upgrades and sub-weapons, he's able to attack enemies in all directions and unleash a powerful spin jump. He's also capable of learning new tricks, like using those long ears to glide through the air or finding a chain to swing over large pits. Locating these items will unlock new areas to explore, as well as treasure to collect.

Fans of Castlevania already know this formula well. This is the kind of game where you'll want to go back through all of the areas once you have the upgrades and accessories. But instead of offering one large location to explore, Pharaoh Rebirth sets itself apart from the typical clone by splitting itself into eight smaller stages. The Castlevania-style treasure hunting still remains, but this gives the game the freedom to mix up the look and feel of each location.

Pharaoh Rebirth+ (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

At first it seems like we're going to be stuck raiding tombs deep inside Egyptian pyramids, but the game quickly transitions into more colorful island settings, an exciting chase on a train and even Las Vegas. There's a nice variety of stages, and it always feels like the story is propelling us forward into new and exciting scenarios.

It helps that Pharaoh Rebirth spends so much time developing the small cast of characters. Dr. Banfield has his own Otacon, a nerdy helper in his ear always at the ready to answer questions and fill in the story. But even beyond the hero, the three or four other side characters are also given interesting motives and quirks. We learn all this through lengthy conversations, the type of thing normally reserved for Metal Gear.

For all its charm, Pharaoh Rebirth still suffers from a lot of the problems that plague this style of game. For one thing, it's disappointing that the developers weren't able to come up with more creative upgrades and skills to master. Most of the moves are slight variations on what we've already seen in countless other Castlevania-style action games. I was also disappointed by the ease of most boss fights. They'll seem menacing at first, but the patterns are simple and won't take more than a minute or two to memorize.

Pharaoh Rebirth+ (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The game's worst moments seem to come when Pharaoh Rebirth takes us out of the standard action/adventure formula. There's a driving section that is every bit as long as it is tedious. I see what they were going for with this lengthy mini-game, but it brings the good times to a grinding halt. It's the type of thing that still would have been too long at half the length.

Despite a few stumbles, I had a great time using my bunny abilities to track down the Holy Grails and undo the curse. With great looks and quick pacing, I'm a fan of the way this game is always moving and changing. Best of all, it's a lot of fun. I loved using Dr. Banfield's powerful ears to smack enemies around, and I couldn't wait to see where this thirst for adventure would take him next. On the Indiana Jones scale, Pharaoh Rebirth+ is a lot closer to Raiders of the Lost Ark than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
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