Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon are two action-adventure games developed by Animation Magic and published by Philips Media for the CD-i video game console. The two games were released at the same time on October 10, 1993, and look and play similarly due to their simultaneous development cycle and low budget. In the words of The Nerd: "these games are notorious for their legendary ass-suckage." These two games are considered the best games for the CD-i even though they are commonly considered to be horrible.
Link: The Faces of Evil
The story begins in Hyrule Castle, where a bored Link discusses with King Harkinian the prospects of new adventure. Soon Link's hopes are fulfilled, as a wizard named Gwonam arrives on a magic carpet, telling them that Ganon and his minions have taken over the island of Koridai and, according to a prophecy, only Link can stop them. Link is transported to Koridai and the wizard shows him the fabled island's giant stone statues known as the Faces of Evil which Link must conquer. During Link's time in Koridai, Princess Zelda is kidnapped by Ganon and imprisoned in his lair.
Questing to rescue the Princess and to liberate Koridai, Link is sent by the Ice Queen to Fortress Centrum to retrieve the Treasure of Deah. At the fortress, Link finds what appears to be a sleeping Zelda. Once awakened, however, the figure transforms into Goronu, a shapeshifting necromancer who works for Ganon. After defeating Goronu, Link retrieves the Crystal of Reflection, which allows his shield to reflect curses.
Link then proceeds to defeat Ganon's minions, which include the revived Goronu, the anthropomorphic pig Harlequin, the armored pyrokinetic Militron, the three-eyed wolfgirl Lupay, and the gluttonous cyclops Glutko, the last from which the Book of Koridai is retrieved. A translator named Ipo reveals that the book itself is enough to defeat Ganon.
After trekking through Ganon's Lair, Link finally reaches Ganon, who attempts to recruit Link with the promise of great power and the threat of death. After the ensuing climactic battle, Link imprisons him in the Book of Koridai and then awakens the sleeping princess Zelda. Gwonam appears and congratulates Link on imprisoning Ganon. He shows the two a recovering Koridai and declares Link the island's hero. However, Zelda refuses to kiss him as a reward.
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
King Harkinian announces his plan to aid Duke Onkled of Gamelon when the latter falls under attack by Ganon, and orders Zelda to send Link for backup in case that he does not return from his mission within a month. A month passes without word from the King, so Zelda sends Link to find him.
When he too goes missing, Zelda ventures off to Gamelon to find both Link and the King. During Zelda's time in Gamelon, Impa discovers that King Harkinian has been captured, and that Link has engaged in a battle, the outcome of which is unclear. As she adventures across the island, Zelda meets many friendly characters and battles with many monsters and enemies including the villains Gibdo and Iron Knuckle. Along her travels Zelda battles the sorcerer, Wizzrobe, to free Lady Alma, who gives Zelda a canteen that she claims Link gave her in exchange for a kiss.
On reaching Duke Onkled's palace, Domodai Palace, it is revealed that Duke Onkled has betrayed the King and is working for Ganon. Zelda storms the palace, kills Ganon's minion Hectan, and saves an imprisoned Spaniard named Fari who used to work for the King. Fari reveals the secret entrance to Onkled's chamber, and when they confront him he reveals the entrance to Reesong Palace, where Ganon has taken residence.
Zelda travels to the Shrine of Gamelon to defeating the head-switching chimera Omfak and obtain the Wand needed to defeat Ganon, and she also visits Nokani Forest to obtain the magic lantern needed to clear the darkness around Ganon. Finally at Reesong Palace, Zelda fights Ganon, incapacitates him with the Wand, and rescues her father. Back at Hyrule Castle, Duke Onkled is turned over to the king, begging for mercy. He is arrested and punished by becoming a lowly drudge for the King. Although Link's whereabouts are still unknown, a comment by Lady Alma prompts Zelda to throw her mirror against the wall, and as it smashes, Link magically materializes, seemingly having been trapped in the mirror. They then start laughing because they're happy that all is well again.
Why Both of These Games Suck
- Some of the worst animated cut-scenes ever seen in gaming, which became huge memes like "Mah Boi".
- The instruction manual is barely helpful, only 6 pages spread out with other languages.
- Poor and messy controls, with only two buttons used for the games and button three not being used for anything. The first button is used to attack while the second button is used to enter building/dungeons, open the menu (see #4) and use items as in The Angry Video Game Nerd's review of the games.
- A big problem is to access the menu, you have to press down and the second button simultaneously, but only when away from the front doors.
- The shield's mechanic is also rather poorly designed, instead of having a button to raise it and block attacks, Link/Zelda raises the shield automatically when they remain stationary. The problem is that the shield has a slight delay in raising, meaning that you have to time your walking pace very carefully in order not to get hit.
- The only way to get rupees is to use the sword attack on them, which slows you down, and due to the bad collision detection, it can be hard to collect them. In regular Zelda games, you can just walk over them to collect them, as simple as that.
- There are only three items you really need in both games: lamp oil, ropes and bombs and they cost a lot of Rupees, forcing you to farm enemies to get rupees. (These are the 3 items Morshu lists in his introduction cutscene)
- While on the topic of rupees, the characters call them rubies instead.
- If you use any lantern oil, it only lasts for a few seconds and if your timing is off-key, you'll be stuck in the dark with no clue of how to continue the game.
- Background structures can block your path. Add that with the fact it is hard to tell what is what, makes the game even more agitating and frustrating than it already is.
- You can't jump down. Also, if you're to close to the top of of the screen you can barely jump at all.
- You have to buy multiple ropes to get through each level since Link/Zelda doesn't just re-use the same rope again and again. This means if you run out of ropes halfway through a level you have to die on purpose and restart the whole level again. In AVGN's words, if it wasn't for dying, you'd have to reset the game and lose all your data.
- When fighting enemies, you have to avoid the nearby characters or you'll end up talking to them (since the talk button is mapped to the attack button).
- There are multiple dark areas in the game, in which you have to use the lamp oil to light up these certain areas, otherwise you will get lost easily. In fact, it doesn't even make any sense for there to be darkness in some levels - for instance, an area high up in some trees at daytime.
- Collision detection is so bad that enemies have to be hit in the dead center of their sprite in order to damage them. Some enemies immediately spawn near you, giving you cheap hits on the way.
- The backgrounds, while decent looking, can be a bit confusing at times as the player may have a hard time telling where can Link/Zelda land on and where can't. Made worst by the game's horrendous hit detection.
- One section in the Wand of Gamelon requires you to use ten bombs to destroy a simple rock blocking the skeleton of the fish head a fisherman is trapped in, and if you didn't know that, you will have to go back to get more bombs and do the thing again. Plus, bombs are very expensive in the game, as they cost 20 rupees to get one.
- As hard as it is to defeat the standard enemies, the boss battles are so easy, you can defeat them with just one hit using the correct item (Example: Ganon can be defeated with with the Book of Koridai in The Faces of Evil and the titular Wand of Gamelon in The Wand of Gamelon.).
- No recovery time after taking a hit.
- Good soundtrack.
- Wand of Gamelon is the first Zelda game where you actually control Zelda.
- These games caused the YouTube Poop videos to go viral on YouTube.
Another Legend of Zelda game was released for the CD-i, titled Zelda's Adventure, which featured a different developer and perspective than its predecessors.
- The awful yet funny-looking cutscenes of these games were rushed by a small team of four Russian animators who were flown to the United States exclusively for this project, working in a very small apartment in which they had to live for six months.