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Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon

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Link: The Faces of Evil
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
Link-The-Faces-of-Evil.jpg
Zelda-The-Wand-of-Gamelon.jpg
"Oh my goodness, this is awful!"
— Militron
Protagonist(s): Link
Zelda
Genre(s): Action-adventure
Platform(s): CD-i
Release: NA: October 10, 1993
EU: December 25, 1993
Developer(s): Animation Magic
Publisher(s): Philips Interactive Media
Country: United States
Russia
Series: The Legend of Zelda
"That’s it, that’s all I can take. How could they fuck up Zelda this bad?! I-it’s not a Zelda game, I wouldn’t call it that. "Oh, but it is. It has Zelda in it, it has Link..." Yeah, y'know what, that’s a pointless argument right there. That’s like if your dad says "I fucked your mom." It’s like... like "I can’t argue with that!"
You know, playing these games is as worthwhile as melting a dog turd in a frying pan! Yeah, put some buffalo puke and some cat piss all over it, and you have a shit sandwich that is Zelda CD-i.
"
The Angry Video Game Nerd, [src]

Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon are action-adventure games based on the Legend of Zelda franchise owned by Nintendo. They were developed by Animation Magic and published by Philips Interactive Media for the CD-i in 1993. Both games were released on the same date and look and play pretty similar due to their simultaneous development cycle. They are two of the three Zelda CD-i games, along with the third one, Zelda's Adventure, which was released in a following year.

When the games were released, they were flooded with negative reactions, calling them the worst games in The Legend of Zelda series, and even two of the worst video games of all time. Their legacy went on to become two of the most used sources for YouTube Poops, along with Hotel Mario, another Nintendo game on CD-i.

Plot

Link: The Faces of Evil

The story begins in Hyrule Castle, where a bored Link discusses the prospects of a new adventure with King Harkinian. 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 that, according to a prophecy, only Link can stop them. The wizard then takes Link to Koridai and 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 liberate Koridai, Link is sent by the Ice Queen to Fortress Centrum to retrieve the Treasure of Death. 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.

Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon

King Harkinian announces his plan to aid Duke Onkled of Gamelon when the latter falls under attack by Ganon. A month passes without a word from the King so Zelda sends out Link for backup, following the order the King gave before he left.

When Link goes missing, Zelda ventures off to Gamelon on her own to find the two. 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 an Iron Knuckle. Along the 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.

Why They Aren't What Gamers Strive For

  1. The animated cutscenes, while fluently moving, are rather poorly drawn, looking like they were made in Microsoft Paint. This likely stems from the games having tight completion deadlines. Also, when the cutscenes zoom in or out, it's only the characters that are affected by it, and not the background, like if the characters were actually wearing roller skates and slid on the floor to approach or move away from the camera.
    • The character designs of Link and Zelda are also oftentimes inconsistent between cutscenes, one egregious example being Zelda's outfit inexplicably becoming remarkably similar to the outfit worn by Zelda from the 1989 cartoon once she gets the Shroud in The Wand of Gamelon. In The Faces of Evil
  2. Barely helpful instruction manuals for both games, containing only six pages that are spread out in different languages.
  3. Absolutely messy controls, because you only get two out of the five available buttons to control Link/Zelda. The first button makes the character attack, and the second button is used to enter building/dungeons, open up the menu while ducking, and use items. What's worse is that entering dungeons takes priority over opening the menu, so if you try to bring up the menu by ducking and pressing the second button while you're in front of a door, it will instead make you enter the dungeon, forcing you to actually step away from it to open the menu.
  4. Poor voice acting and dialogue. Particularly, Link's and Zelda's voices sound nothing like the Legend of Zelda animated series, despite that there is a probability that the animated cutscenes may be based on the latter or not. Link's voice is also stupid and sounds like a generic teenager.
  5. Some of the characters from the Zelda franchise don't act like their mainstream counterparts:
    • Link is a stubborn and bored warrior who has no adventure experience and still wants to be heroic.
    • Zelda is just a generic "independent woman" character, who was once captured by Ganon and kept as a prisoner in "The Faces of Evil".
    • Ganon is a robe-wearing tyrannical wizard whose evil plans are very generic and wants Link to join him for his cause or die so. Not to mention that he is way too goofy, ridiculous, hammy, and over-the-top for anyone to take him seriously as a hegemonic tyrant.
    • King Harkinian is a greedy hungry king who barely does anything.
  6. Awful physics for Link and Zelda. Both are slow and their jumps are extremely heavy.
  7. You cannot jump down. Also, if you're too close to the top of the screen, you can barely jump at all since you actually touch the invisible ceiling, which pushes you down thereafter.
  8. The game's backgrounds, while decent-looking, can be confusing at times as you can have a hard time telling where Link/Zelda can and can't land on. They look like still images with poorly made invisible platforms slapped on them.
  9. Awful collision detection for enemies; they have to be hit in the dead center of their sprite to get damaged. You also have to avoid any nearby NPC or you'll end up accidentally talking to them (since that is done by touching them with the sword).
  10. There is zero recovery time after getting hit. This, coupled with enemies just suddenly spawning on-screen at times, makes for many cheap deaths.
  11. The soundtrack, while good and catchy, is absolutely out of place for a game in the Zelda series.
  12. Instead of having a button to raise it and block attacks, Link/Zelda raises the shield automatically when they remain stationary. The problem with this is a slight delay in raising the shield, which means that you have to time your walking pace very carefully, and if you don't, the character will be too late to raise up its shield and eventually get damaged.
  13. Rupees are collected by touching them with the sword, which slows you down immensely. You also cannot even pick several rubies at a time, even if they are situated right in the same hitbox of the sword. In regular Zelda games, you can just walk over them too and they are automatically picked up, as simple as that.
    • While on the topic of rupees, the characters call them rubies instead.
  14. Only three items are really required throughout the game; lamp oil, ropes, and bombs (those, listed by Morshu in his introduction scene). You are often forced to farm Rupees by killing enemies since they cost a lot; for example, one bomb costs 20 rupees.
    • One section in WoG requires you to use ten bombs to destroy a rock that is blocking the skeleton of a fish head, under which a fisherman is trapped. If you did not know that, you will have to go back to get more bombs and repeat the process until you used them enough times.
  15. The games have areas covered entirely in the darkness that require the use of lamp oil to lighten them up, otherwise, you will get lost easily. Some of those places don't even make sense at all — for instance, it even gets dark at an area high up in some trees at daytime. Trying to turn on the lights also is an absolute pain in the dark because it's entirely black in those areas making you unable to see any door, which you want to step away from them to open the menu turn on the lantern (see more in WTS#3).
    • Trying to get away from the door can sometimes even get you killed. There are areas that make you fall into crevices if you do so, even though they're dark, making you unable to see any pits at all when you enter said areas.
  16. Speaking of using the lamp oil, it's just as bad as getting stuck in the dark, because it only lasts for a few seconds. If your timing is off-key, you will be stuck in the dark.
  17. Link and Zelda do not just re-use the same rope again and again. You have to buy multiple ropes to get through each level, meaning if you run out of ropes halfway, you have to die on purpose and restart the whole level again. In AVGN's words, if it was not for dying, you would have to reset the game and lose all your data.
  18. As mentioned above, the saving feature is actually fake. If you try to "save your game data" and then restart the game, you will actually lose all of your data, meaning you have to play through the whole game to beat it in one sit.
  19. As hard as it is to defeat the standard enemies, the boss battles can barely be considered bosses, because you can actually defeat them with just one hit using the correct item (Example: Even Ganon, the final boss in both games, can be defeated in one hit with the Book of Koridai in The Faces of Evil and the titular Wand of Gamelon in The Wand of Gamelon.).
  20. Both games have weak and unsatisfying endings. (undetailed)
  21. In the French versions, "Ganon" is mispronounced. They pronounced it [ganõ] instead of [ganɔn].
  22. False advertising: in Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon Zelda's outfit is completely different than the outfit on the cover, which resembles her dress from A Link To the Past.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The Wand of Gamelon is the first Zelda game where you actually play as Zelda.
  2. The soundtrack, despite having nothing to do with Zelda, is good and catchy.
  3. The part when Zelda replies "Good!" after killing Hektan, who then says "You've killed me!" as his last words, is unintentionally funny because of how the designers of the game seemed to have runned out of ideas for messages after killing bosses, and just thought of one very simple word because of that. These quotes are quite possibly one of the most infamous parts of dialogue of video games of all time.
  4. The in-game graphics are also good.
  5. Morshu: "Lamp oil, rope, bombs – you want it? It's yours, my friend, as long as you have enough rubies."
    • "Sorry, Link, I can't give credit! Come back when you're a little – mmmm – richer."

Reception

AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
Games that are debatably bad High level of shit contamination The very high category The severe zone Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Major code red
👆
This game/console belongs to the "Very High Category" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.

These two games (including Zelda's Adventure) received mixed reviews from critics, but negative reviews from fans due to various issues such as the boring and confusing gameplay and the cutscenes (which have been used in lots of YTP's), these games are included in the Wikipedia article "List of video games notable for negative reception". Nintendo has since ignored their existence altogether and written off from the official Zelda timeline immediately after they were released.

Videos

Angry Video Game Nerd review of all Zelda CD-i games.

Joueur Du Grenier's review of Link: The Faces of Evil (shown on left) - Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon was ranked at Number 34 (shown on right)

Game Grumps' Link: The Faces of Evil Playthrough playlist

Game Grumps' Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon Playthrough playlist

Trivia

  • 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 where they had to live for six months.
  • Another The Legend of Zelda game, titled Zelda's Adventure, was also released for the CD-i, which featured a different developer and play style than its predecessors.
  • These games were instrumental in launching the YouTube Poop genre, and the cutscenes have spawned legendary memes such as "Mah boi!", "You must die!", "I wonder what's for DINNER..." "Great! I can't wait to bomb some Dodongos!", "No! Not into the pit! IT BURNS!!!", and "Sorry link, I can't give credit! Come back when you're a little, MMM, richer!"
    • Returning to the topic of memes, user Hoolopee uploaded a video on YouTube on January 22, 2021, where the author presented two Morshu-related cutscenes in the RTX version, also became an Internet meme.

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