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Playing the Zelda CD-i games reborn!
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Someone recently remade two of the infamous CD-i Zelda games in Game Maker Studio. Now you can "enjoy" Link: Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon in all their glory, even if you lack a way to the play the originals!

Download them here... if you dare.

Normally I wouldn't encourage 1:1 remakes of commercial games, but this is a unique case. The odds of these games getting re-released are about nil, for obvious reasons. It's difficult to find the original physical media and a working CD-i to play them on, and my understanding is CD-i emulation is quite an iffy proposition. The remake also offers some optional features that aim to improve upon the original games. So yeah, this is quite a remarkable project.

I haven't played them very long, but I can definitely see why the original games have gone down in infamy! The cutscenes of YTP fame are ripe fodder for parody - and the quality doesn't get better after the legendary opening cutscene. ("My cakes will burn!")

The in-game graphics are actually a lot better than the cutscenes. Some of the backgrounds, especially the world map, are nice. The animations are a little shaky, but there is some charm to the graphics. Sadly, it's often hard to tell where platforms begin and end, which makes a lot of the platforming sections needlessly confusing and frustrating.

The gameplay takes a lot of inspiration from Zelda II. That's not a bad thing - Zelda II certainly isn't my favorite entry in the Zelda series, but it has a lot of interesting ideas that really haven't been explored since then. Unfortunately, the CD-i games borrow the Zelda II format and generally make things a lot worse.

Boss fights are kind of boring. Most of them require you to use a special weapon - and unlike regular Zelda games, this probably isn't something you recently acquired. In fact, it's likely a weapon that comes from another level. So it's easy to trek through a dungeon and find you're unable to beat the boss because you don't have the weapon you need. Fortunately, once you have said weapon, the boss goes down very easily.

The soundtrack is better than you'd expect. The super-80's soundtrack feels very different from the "real" Zelda games, but there are some catchy tunes in this game. (It's possible that a couple of them got lodged in my head this week.)

It's nice that Princess Zelda enjoys a starring role in Wand of Gamelon - there weren't too many adventure game heroines in that era. Zelda's controls are exactly the same as Link's, though, and they each get many of the same items and fight the same regular enemies. It might've been more interesting if Zelda had gotten a unique move or something.

(I also like how Link is informed at the beginning of Faces of Evil that he doesn't have time to grab his stuff... yet you spend an awful lot of time early in the game trying to gather basic items essential to advancing in the game.)

In short, the CD-i Zelda games are an "interesting" experience - and not necessarily a good kind of interesting! They're worth checking out if you're curious, but you might get more enjoyment out of watching someone else play them - or scrubbing all the floors in Hyrule.

(Also, the remakes themselves are amazing.)
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Those games had some legendary in-game graphics, and some of the music wasn't bad either... sadly they were overshadowed by the game's overall poor quality...

These games could have been amazing, but somewhere, somehow, they destroyed it.

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@Nite Yep! The original games had a lot of potential, but the execution was severely lacking.

I'd still love to see an official Zelda game revisit the Zelda II format.
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These "remasters" are very, very impressive work. I've played a bit of the CD-i games in an emulator and these seem to capture them very well!
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