Squadala! The Awful Zelda CD-i Games Have Been Remastered

Squadala! The Awful Zelda CD-i Games Have Been Remastered

Nintendo may deny the CD-i Zelda games' existence, but fans never forget.

Gee! It sure is boring around here. I just wonder what the Legend of Zelda fandom is up to. Oh. It's gone ahead and remastered the infamously bad CD-i Zelda games, eh? I have to see this to believe it. Squadala! We're off!

Over the weekend, hobbyist game developer "Dopply" released remastered versions of 1993's The Legend of Zelda: Faces of Evil, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon. New features include widescreen mode, touched-up sprites, and a general clean-up of the games' mechanics, which are legendary for being terrible and frustrating.

"I developed these over the course of 4 years in Game Maker as an exercise to teach myself game development and fulfill an in-joke between friends," Dopply tweets. "As an amateur effort, the programming got a little rough, but hey, it works, and I learned a ton in the process."

Dopply is beginning to pull down public links to the games' downloads, likely to escape Nintendo's litigious wrath. I wonder if Nintendo wouldn't still its hand in this instance, though. Would it want to bring attention to the CD-i atrocities that legally bear the name of its most beloved franchise?

There's a complicated reason why three Zelda games (and a Mario game) wound up on Phillips' widely ignored CD-based console. To make a long story of corporate betrayal as short as possible, Nintendo teamed up with Sony to make a CD add-on for the SNES. The deal fizzled because Nintendo was unhappy with the contract, and it turned to Phillips instead. The add-on never emerged (though one of its Sony-developed prototypes did), but Phillips retained the Mario and Zelda licenses that came with its Nintendo deal. Unfortunately, Phillips made use of the licenses when it developed its CD-i multimedia console.

Faces of Evil and The Wand of Gamelon play poorly, but they've achieved legendary meme status thanks to their hauntingly bad animated cutscenes. When YouTube launched, its early library was at least 50% Zelda cutscene "YouTube Poops." OK, maybe not that much. But there was a lot.

Fun trivia: The CD-i Zelda games' animations were outsourced to a Russian-American company called "Animation Magic." It was formed in 1992, making it one of the earliest Russian-American joint companies to form up after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

The more you know. Now I'm off to scrub every floor in Hyrule.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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