Zelda's Adventure Game Sample 1/2 -- Philips CD-iVysethedetermined2
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One thing most people don't understand regarding the CD-i Zelda titles as well as the CD-i Mario game(s) is just how they came to be in the first place; they ask themselves "why would Nintendo allow them to do this?" Well, the answer is quite simple. Once upon a time when 16-bit home consoles battled for supremacy and CD add-ons to gaming machines were all the rage, Nintendo signed a deal with Sony to begin development of a CD-based system. Nintendo broke the agreement when they noticed the market for add-ons was not very strong (Sega CD, 32X, and later Nintendo's own N64DD), which caused Sony to create their own system (the PlayStation, easily one of the greatest systems of all time) and Nintendo to sign an agreement with Philips instead... until they broke that agreement too and scrapped the idea for an add-on entirely.
As part of dissolving the agreement and wasting their time however, Nintendo gave Philips the license to use several of their signature characters for their CD-i platform with Nintendo providing minimal input. As such, Philips did not waste much time in trying to make a quick buck with their newly-acquired license. Actually, the games had relatively small budgets, didn't spend much time in development, and fell victim to several of the system's limitations or hurdles, which resulted in awkward game interfaces, laggy play control, frequent load times, and a host of other issues as a result. Additionally, "Link: Faces of Evil" and "Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon" shared the same graphics engine and interface to cut costs and were released at the same time.
In Zelda's Adventure, you play the role of Zelda in a top-down adventure similar to the original NES LoZ and SNES LoZ:LttP with overworld exploration and various dungeons, with the game using "Live Action" and digitized graphics as opposed to sprites, hand-drawn elements and animated cartoony FMVs. Gannon has disrupted the "Age of Lightness" by kidnapping Link and stealing the seven celestial signs in the uncharted southeastern region of Hyrule, the "Land of Tolemac" (Tolemac being a Semordnilap of sorts as it is backwards for "Camelot"), once again bringing about the "Age of Darkness". Now Zelda is the only one who can stop him using her courage, wisdom, and wand, and she must get many items and spells as well as the aid of others if she's to defeat him at the game's end. The problem is that while the game plays enough like Nintendo's aforementioned games on the surface (right down to character growth, key items, and the ability to "Save and Quit"), it lacks the fine programming of those games. What this basically means is that the controls aren't as tight, the scrolling is slower, the audio/visuals are not as charming, and the dialogue and puzzles aren't as inventive.
Even when not compared to Nintendo's titles, the game is still pretty mediocre in its own right with pretty boring characters and designs. In fact, the game's world was created from videos of scenery near "Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles" and many of the characters were Viridis employees (the receptionist was Zelda)... seriously. What bothers me more than that is that the game is not well-defined, as the visuals of characters are blurry and environments are so bland that some passageways blend seamlessly with the digitized backgrounds, so you'll just be rubbing up against objects half the time hoping they lead to new areas. The audio is also unremarkable, with background music being almost non-existent and the voice acting is fairly amateurish.
Even in spite of all the things that are said about this game, its notoriety, brand recognition, and relative rarity have driven the price up to well over $200 these days and is one of the most valuable individual games in my collection... and the only reason I have it is because I found it at a thrift store years before I had a CD-i for two bucks. Nintendo themselves even refuse to acknowledge games like this using their license exist unless they're utterly bombarded by journalists to spill the beans. In any event, it's not SOO bad, but I wouldn't recommend it. These game samples go from the intro to clearing the first dungeon. Enjoy.
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