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Video Game / Pharaoh Rebirth

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Dr. Jonathan Banfield is an archaeologist who looks like a fluffy white humanoid rabbit: he Was Once a Man, but an ancient curse has inflicted this status on him. However at the moment he has much bigger problems: thanks to his rival, treasure hunter Andre Betancourt (who was turned into an anthropomorphic animal - a turtle - as well), now they've been struck by the curse of pharaoh Sehur I, that will kill them in seven days. Their only hope appears to be going around Egypt to collect the seven Holy Grails, mystical artifacts that grant their owner immortality. Of course there are also other people interested in having the Grails at all costs, and at one point even the American government and other ancient beings will be involved in their adventures... Will Jonathan lift the curse with the help of his friend Jack Davis and avoid Sehur I's wrath?


Pharaoh Rebirth is a Metroidvania game developed by Krobon Station (which actually is a mostly lone Japanese developer) for Windows and later ported to Steam, where it was released note  on March 17, 2016. This version, called Pharaoh Rebirth+, adds a whole new stage, a Boss Rush mode and achievements.

It's also more or less the sequel to Return of Egypt, another Metroidvania made by the same developer (under another name) way back in 2003.

The plot contains several twists, so beware of the spoilered tropes.


Pharaoh Rebirth contains examples of the following:

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: It goes without saying.
  • Afterlife Express: Of sorts. The train Jonathan boards at the start of stage 2 is actually a decommissioned ghost train (a steam train, in fact) full of spirits, and Jonathan has to fight the ghostly conductor as a mid-boss. It takes them to an abandoned station.
  • Animorphism: Jonathan and Andre were cursed into becoming humanoid animals that retain all of their human intelligence and qualities. Among the enemies there are also several more, and thanks to a line said in the bonus level it's implied that they're all under the effect of Egyptian curses.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: When Jonathan faces the god Medjed, that looks like a goofy Bedsheet Ghost with eyeliner, he openly belittles him and assumes that the battle will be easy. However Medjed means "The Smiter" and he really should have known better...
    • On the good guys' side we have Dent, who looks like a harmless crazy old man, but is actually a legendary treasure hunter who is more than 100 years old and also the son of the legendary Egyptian hero Rania Qadesh.
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  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Just before the final boss battle Jonathan has to fight Andre, who was brainwashed by Sehur. Luckily, even if he's immortal by that point, that doesn't mean he can't be defeated.
  • Broken Pedestal: Jonathan and Jack are happy when their idol, Spanish archaeologist Sir Fernando Belmonte, accepts to help them in the search for the Grails. This changes totally when they discover he's a greedy, power-hungry madman who is not above killing in order to obtain what he wants.
  • Building Swing: One of the treasures gives Jonathan the ability to turn his ears into a chain and grapple certain rings to pass over gaps and such.
  • Cigar Chomper: Andre is always seen with a cigar in his mouth. It adds to his "cultured badass" image.
  • The Cracker: Jack Davis, Jonathan's Mission Control, was one according to what little we know about his backstory. When the USA Secretary of Defense enlists Jonathan's help, Jack takes advantage of this to get his record cleaned.
  • Cursed With Awesome: If Johathan and Andre hadn't been trasformed into humanoid animals before this adventure, they most likely couldn't traverse the hazardous temples and areas where the Grails are located.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: From the third stage on, the bosses are several Egyptian deities and beings of comparable power. The boss of the bonus level is none other than Anubis himself.
  • Enemy Roll Call: During the end credits' song. Interestingly, since in the Steam version the bonus level is unlocked when you finish the game (and even then only when you have found a certain item), the enemies appearing in that level are listed but with their pictures replaced by a "?".
  • Everything Is Online: Spoofed when Jonathan asks Jack to hack an ancient out-of-order elevator. And outright mocked when later on Jonathan asks Jack to hack a gap in the floor.
  • Evil Counterpart: The grey bunnymen in the Nile temple (stage 3) are listed in the ending roll call as "False Jonathan".
  • Eye Beams: Medjed's primary form of attack. Interestingly they come from the actual myth, and are one of the very few things historians know about this very mysterious god.
  • Full Moon Silhouette: Stage 5, the Sinai Mines, is almost entirely comprised of a segment where Jonathan and Jack are driving a jeep and have to jump over chasms/obstacles and shoot enemies. At the end of the first part they make a huge jump and suddenly the mountain background is replaced with a night sky with a big full moon, and the jeep for a moment is right in front of it. There are even fireworks! (But be careful of the small chasm just after, right before the segment's end)
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Andre becomes an immortal at the end of the game. However, he's playable in the added bonus level that is set 3 months after the end of the story, and he still loses his life if defeated. Sure, it would have made the game too easy, but it directly contradicts the game's ending. Then again this particular level is under the domain of Anubis and he's in charge of life and death, so it kind of makes sense.
  • Golem: The first boss is a sand golem that looks goofy but will become a Wake-Up Call Boss if you're not careful.
  • Guide Dang It!: It's not always easy to figure out where the collectible items could be or how to make them appear. For example, beating bosses without getting hit grants an item, but nobody tells you this.
  • Hacking Minigame: There's a couple of very simple ones when Jack and Jonathan try to restore the power in the abandoned train station in stage 2.
  • Heart Container: Green and purple heart powerups raise HP and MP by 20, respectively.
  • Hell Hotel: Stage 6, the Cairo-Stewart Hotel. There are lots of spikes, falling chandeliers, a haunted elevator and Sir Fernando has turned everyone inside against you. Oh, and he's also using a Kill Sat to blow you up before you can get inside!
    • The bonus stage exclusive to the Steam version, Las Vegas' Luxor Hotel, counts as well.
  • Honor Before Reason: Jonathan absolutely refuses to give up the grails he and Andre collected to the saboteur who has them at gunpoint, and yet due to Cutscene Incompetence doesn't try fighting back and Andre ends up taking a bullet to protect him. Thankfully, Dent arrives to bail them out by effortlessly deflecting every gunshot from the villain.
  • 100% Completion: Finishing the game is actually not too difficult, but recovering all the myriad of treasures scattered everywhere is significantly harder. Only some of these are actually useful (for example by raising the defense, attack or MP regeneration stats), but most of them do nothing.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Andre is somehow able to throw his own shell as if it were a boomerang flying disc! And one of Jonathan's subweapons is a gun that shoots tennis balls (baseballs if you pick up a certain item).
  • Informed Species: Andre was turned into a humanoid turtle, but to be honest he resembles more a lizardman of sorts.
    • He's very likely supposed to be a snapping turtle.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Mummies can't be destroyed, they always reform themselves.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: This seems to be Andre's opinion.
  • Metroidvania: of the split-level variety.
  • Mission Control: Jack acts as this for Jonathan and, as such, he's always in his van (that also acts as a save point between stages) and communicates with video messages. Sometimes his hacking abilities are needed and once flies a drone to provide Jonathan with an useful tool.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In order to stop the Fist of Village Destruction, a sort of subweapon only available after gathering all puzzle pieces, from being completely gamebreaking in the finishing stretches of the game, it has special properties in two specific situations:
    • When fighting the Bonus Boss Anubis, its damage is cut in half. That doesn't make the move completely useless, but in terms of dealing damage quickly, there's better options in that fight.
    • You can only use it a set number of times across the entire Boss Rush, meaning you can't just spam in every fight and get an easy S Rank.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Literally. When you get to Sehur the First he is sitting on a throne; justified since he's waiting to recover completely.
  • Parts Unknown: Andre is French, Jack is American, Sir Fernando Belmonte is Spanish, Dr. Mahone and Dent are Egyptian being respectively the legendary hero Rania Qadesh and his son, but Jonathan's nationality is never stated. He's probably British.
  • Permanently Missable Content: One of the items is Andre's shell, obtained by continuously whaling on him after the first boss fight when he's defeated. If you want to get 100% of items and missed it, you might as well restart the game.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The Holy Grail (only this time it's in Egypt and there's seven of them, most likely as a Dragon Ball homage) and the Egyptian Book of the Dead, that here acts as an Auto-Revive that resurrects Jonathan with 50 HP and looks like an actual book, so not at all like the actual artifact (scrolls with a series of spells that helped the soul through its voyage in the afterlife). Then again it's not like this is an educational game.
  • Scary Scorpions: The second boss is a GIANT scorpion, actually a regular one that was turned huge by magic powers.
  • Selfless Wish: Andre is shot and killed by Sir Fernando while trying to protect Jonathan (see Taking the Bullet below) and Jonathan, who wanted to become immortal to escape Sehur's curse, decides to use the wish granted by the Grails to make his Arch-Enemy Andre immortal and thus cancel his own death. What makes it even more selfless is that not even the will of the Grails knew if the wish could be applied to a dead body, meaning that Doctor Banfield could have given away the only way to overcome the curse for nothing. The wish works and Andre is resurrected as an immortal, but now the only way to remove the curse is go to Sehur himself and kick his undead ass before the end of the seventh day!
  • Shout-Out: Many, to video games, anime and movies.
    • There are a few references to the "Vania" part of the Metroidvanias, such as the bats that act like the Medusa Heads and one character named Sir Belmonte. A more precise reference would be Dr. Mahone who looks just like Genya Arikado from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and acts like him too, being actually the Big Bad's son who works undercover with the good guys to defeat his father. The final boss has an attack phase involving repeatedly teleporting then attacking, and indeed starts off sitting on a chair in the middle of a room. And like Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, you can get prizes for beating bosses (with a couple exceptions) without taking a hit. And the game's overall structure as a split-level Metroidvania is similar to Ecclesia's structure.
    • Jonathan is an Adventurer Archaeologist whose rival is a French Jerk who hunts artifacts for profit. Can you say Raiders of the Lost Ark? What's better, the Ark itself appears, encased in a barrier, in a hidden part of stage 1!
    • The Egyptian Book of the Dead as depicted in the game is similar to the depiction used in The Mummy (1999). Speaking of the Mummy franchise, the lost oasis of Amshear is likely a reference to the lost oasis of Ahm Shere featured in The Mummy Returns.
    • The Full Moon Silhouette mentioned above is of course a reference to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
    • A curse that kills in seven days.
    • To counter said curse's effect, Jonathan and Andre try to catch all the seven Holy Grails to become immortal. Seven magic artifacts that grant a wish when put together... Nope, never heard of that.
    • One artifact summons a spirit that attacks enemies; it attacks and behaves just like a Stand.
    • The conductor of the ghost train looks like the alien conductor from Galaxy Express 999.
    • One boss is only seen as a half-trasparent silhouette, similar to Predator's use of the cloaking device.
    • Two homages to Noitu Love 2: Devolution. The beginning of the game with Andre attacking Jonathan with a fighter jet is very similar to the beginning of Konjak's game, also the haunted elevator sequence in the Cairo hotel stage is modeled upon the elevator part at the start of level 5 in that game. Krobon knows about Konjak and follows him on Twitter, so it's definitely a conscious homage.
    • The fight against Sir Fernando on an excavator has shades of the fight against Monster X in Cave Story.
    • Krobon himself says that the idea of people turning into humanoid animals comes from Porco Rosso and Jonathan's morphs when he uses his abilities are a T-1000 reference.
    • Andre's Sniper Mode works more or less the same as throwing eggs in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.
    • Dr. Mahone resembles Hieda Reijirou, the archaeologist protagonist of Daigoro Morohoshi's Yokai Hunter.
  • Sinister Scythe: The subweapon Anubis is this. The actual god Anubis carries one too.
  • Standard Status Effects: There's just one, Petrified, that works like in the Castlevania games. But there's quite a lot of enemies that cause it.
  • Stealth Sequel: As mentioned above, the game is one to Return of Egypt.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Jonathan can't swim and will drown until he is given the breathing apparatus by Jack.
  • Taking the Bullet: Sir Belmonte reveals himself as a bad guy obsessed with immortality and shoots Jonathan to take away the Grails he previously discovered. However Andre jumps in front of his rival and shields him. Only Dent's intervention ensures that Belmonte escapes without hurting anyone else.
  • Too Awesome to Use: There are a limited amount of usable powerups in the game. One in particular grants invincibility for a long while while also boosting attack power, and naturally you'll want to stock them for the final and bonus bosses.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Subverted, Even if Jonathan turned into a rabbit, he hates carrots. He still eats them, however, because they in-game make him stronger and invincible for a while.
  • Turns Red: Some bosses gain new attack patterns when their life bar drops below 50%.
  • The Unreveal: At no point we see Andre's former human appearance. As for Jonathan, though, completing the bonus stage gives a new ending sequence where we see, among other things, him looking at a mirror and seeing his former face: some guy with a Porn Stache.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The second set of ending credits, shown when the bonus stage is completed, shows several humorous images of protagonists and enemies alike, among which some that show what happened to some of them. For example, Jonathan and Jack were decorated by the US government, Sehur is seen groveling at Anubis' feet and Sir Fernando is surrounded by hulking inmates in prison.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The fate of some characters is directly linked to the previous game, Return of Egypt. It turns out that Rania Qadesh, the hero of that game, was cursed by Sehur I to become immortal just before the pharaoh was defeated. This was part of the pharaoh's plan: keeping Qadesh alive and waiting until someone discovered his resting place again, in order to face a still alive but depowered Qadesh and finally get his revenge. He is not happy about being immortal, especially since when he saw all the people he knew grow old and die, but Qadesh, under the guise of archaeologist Dr. Mahone, helped Jonathan to ensure Sehur I wouldn't have turned back to full power.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: The ending credits song is sung by a couple of Western artists, and the male one starts rapping at one point!
  • Your Days Are Numbered: This is what Sehur's curse does. In-game, time advances only when you complete a new stage, so you can revisit a previous stage as many times as you want.


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