Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon are action-adventure games released in 1993. Developed by Animation Magic and published by Philips Interactive Media for the Philips CD-i. Both games were released on the same date and look and play pretty similar due to their simultaneous development cycle. When the games were released, they were flooded with negative reaction, calling them the worst games in The Legend of Zelda series, and even two of the worst video games of all time.
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 to 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 too 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 and 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 Suck
- 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.
- The character designs of Link and Zelda are also often times 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.
- Barely helpful instruction manuals for both games, containing only six pages which are spread out in different languages.
- Poor and messy controls; only two of the five available buttons are actually used. The first button is the attack button while the second button is used to enter building/dungeons, open up the menu while ducking, and use items.
- Entering a hole/door takes priority over the menu, so be sure to not stand near one.
- Awful physics for Link and Zelda. Both are slow and their jumps are extremely heavy.
- You can't jump down. Also, if you're too close to the top of the screen, you can barely jump at all.
- 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.
- 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).
- There's no recovery time after getting hit. This, coupled with enemies just suddenly spawning on-screen at times, makes for many cheap deaths.
- The rather poorly designed shield mechanic; 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.
- Rupees are collected by touching them with the sword, which slows you down immensely. In regular Zelda games, you can just walk over them to and they are automatically picked up, as simple as that.
- While on the topic of rupees, the characters call them rubies instead.
- 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.
- The games have areas covered entirely in 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 — for instance, an area high up in some trees at daytime.
- The lamp oil only lasts for a few seconds. If your timing is off-key, you will be stuck in the dark.
- 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.
- 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 the Book of Koridai in The Faces of Evil and the titular Wand of Gamelon in The Wand of Gamelon.).
- 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 in. 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.
- The cutscenes and dialogue are so cheesy and awful, that they have spawned numerous YouTube poops and internet memes. (See in Trivia below)
- Both games have weak and unsatisfying endings.
- The soundtrack is surprisingly good and even catchy.
- Wand of Gamelon is the first Zelda game where you actually play as Zelda.
The three Zelda CD-i games, particularly The Faces of Evil and The Wand of Gamelon, were subject to much criticism from reviewers and series fans alike.The games sold poorly and suffered from critical reception,with key complaints regarding the confusing and unresponsive controls, dull and repetitive gameplay, and poor animation and voice acting used in the game's cutscenes.
Both games were frequently used to create "YouTube Poop" (YTP) videos, which added to their reputation among series fans.
- 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.
- Another 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!", and "No! Not into the pit! IT BURNS!!!"
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)