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Link: Faces of Evil & Zelda: Wand of Gamelon Review

(Image from Wikipedia)
(Image from Wikipedia)

Every video game company makes blunders. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a major corporation or a tiny independent gaming studio, an established company or a market newcomer. Even again, it should come as no surprise that even a juggernaut like Nintendo has made mistakes in the past, such as the disastrous Virtual Boy handheld device, which was neither portable nor “virtual.” While these tiny blunders are normally remembered with a grin on the face, there have been those in Nintendo’s history that the Kyoto business would rather forget.

And it was like this: in the late 1980s, Nintendo planned to build and sell the world’s first CD-ROM device. It was planned to be an overlay for the 16-bit SNES that would allow you to play CDs. Initially, the business collaborated with Sony on the project to deliver the drive. After several years of collaboration, Nintendo discovered a clause in Sony’s contract that stated that the firm would profit handsomely from each game released on CD, including those distributed by Nintendo. Nintendo immediately abandoned Sony, which quickly began developing its own system and made an offer to Dutch Philips. This time, Nintendo attempted to safeguard its interests by stating clearly in the contract that Philips was working on hardware and Nintendo was meant to offer software for it. I’ll skip future experiences with the Philips CD-i multimedia platform in order to focus on the most essential outcomes of our collaboration. Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon were produced as a consequence of an unusual collaboration between Nintendo and Philips.

(Image from Reddit)

Due to the incredibly low budget and contract limits, the producer, Animation Magic, did not have much space to show off. However, as a result of this, the world received the worst Zelda installments in history. It’s difficult to catch them off guard. After all, they are dubbed the “worst” games in the Legend of Zelda series for a reason, despite the fact that no one, including Nintendo, considers them to be part of the main canon. And everything went wrong. The narrative is childish and foolish in sections, as are the caricatured appearances of the characters, the imprecise controls, and the concomitant absence of a sensation that you are playing something related to the world of Hyrule. Despite this, Zelda fans (including the undersigned) continue to love both Animation Magic games. It is regarded as the most powerful aspect of both titles. The soundtrack is that ingredient. Looking for information regarding the composers, Tony Trippi and William Havlicek, is futile. Regardless of what happened following Zelda on CD-i, both gentlemen contributed to what is perhaps the finest music in the whole Philips CD-i game library.

(Image from Reddit)

The soundtracks to Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, as well as the games themselves, stand out from their actual Nintendo console counterparts. What’s more, they’re remarkably good at setting the scene for excursions while still being catchy. It’s difficult to determine if it’s because of the huge diversity of songs on it and the quick tempo, or because they employ instruments unheard of in previous Zeldas, such as synthesizers from the 1980s, electric guitars, and marimba. Listen to Nortnik, Goronu, Firestone Lake, or Fortress Centrum, as well as Aru Ainu, Kobitan, Sakado, Dordung Cave, and Gobiyan Ship, to see it. I’ve just listed the most well-known, as well as my personal favorites. However, with over 2.5 hours of music on both soundtracks, everyone will be able to find something for themselves. That’s the variety I’m referring about. It’s difficult to pull yourself away after the first listen, and with successive tracks, the listener can only get taken away by the vibrations. It’s a shame that these exquisite songs aren’t accompanied with similarly wonderful images, but rather by nightmarish monsters. Nonetheless, if someone wants to relive the mood of the early 1990s, I can wholeheartedly recommend the soundtracks of Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, as well as various remixes and remasters on YouTube done by Trippie and Havlicek fans. You can also attempt to play both games, but do so at your own peril.

P.S. I purposefully left out Zelda’s Adventure from this text. It was for two reasons that I did it. To begin, it may be difficult to believe, but this is the worst of the three Philips CD-i games featuring Link and Zelda in the title. Second, the game is not as well-known or popular as the other two. In other words, these games are just a mess.

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