Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Zelda's Adventure are three action-adventure game produced by Philips for the CD-i as part of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda video game series. Not designed for Nintendo platforms, the games owe their existence to negotiations related to Nintendo's decision not to have Philips create a CD add-on to the Super NES. During these negotiations Philips secured the rights to use five Nintendo characters in their games for the CD-i, and the development of these games was achieved through the hiring of third party developers. The Faces of Evil and The Wand of Gamelon were developed by Animation Magic and were both released on October 10, 1993 and Zelda's Adventure was developed by Viridis and was released on June 5, 1994. The games were given little funding or time for completion, and Nintendo provided only cursory input.
The Philips CD-i did not sell well and the games saw relatively small sales figures. Critical reception for all three Zelda CD-i titles is unusual in that while largely positive at the time of the games' release, they have seen nearly universal negative criticism since the mid-2000s. This is attributable to the reaction of many gamers to the obscure games' full motion video cutscene when they first became widely available through video-sharing websites like YouTube. Because the aging early 1990s visual effects of the titles failed to live up to the graphic effects of the 2000s, and because for many fans this was their first experience of the games, the CD-i Zelda titles have developed a critical reputation as particularly poor members of the Zelda franchise based largely on animation quality and to an extent on awkward controls. In the eyes of devout hardcore gamers, according to Edge magazine, these games are now considered "tantamount to blasphemy."
Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon are played using the side-scrolling view introduced in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, while Zelda's Adventure has a top-down view reminiscent of the original The Legend of Zelda. All the CD-i Zelda games begin with animated FMVs to illustrate the capabilities of the CD-ROM format, save Zelda’s Adventure, which begins with live action video.
In 1989, Nintendo signed a deal with Sony to begin development of a CD-ROM-based system known as the "Nintendo PlayStation" or the SNES CD to be an add-on to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System that would allow for FMV and larger games. However, Nintendo broke the agreement and instead signed with Philips to make the add-on, which caused Sony to spin off their add-on into its own console called the PlayStation. Witnessing the poor reception of the Sega Mega-CD, Nintendo scrapped the idea of making an add-on entirely.
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Official Site: Philips
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