"I am a scary mountain, not to be confused with Death Mountain!"

What? There was actual design involved? That’s right, kids!

Whether you love to hate them (or just plain hate them) it turns out the two Zelda CD-i games developed in tandem (Link: Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon) did actually involve developing like any other game.

And also just like any other game, this development involved concept art, which was only recently made available!

Our friends over at Hardcore Gaming 101 interviewed Dale DeSharone (the man behind these games) and were provided with some of the early concept art for Link: Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon.

The interview in and of itself reveals some interesting tidbits about these two infamous games.

Sidescrolling

Many of us have wondered why sidescrolling was chosen rather than the overhead perspective. It turns out that this is directly related to Philips’ preference for revolutionary (at the time) graphics over gameplay. Philips wanted the CD-i games to show off their graphical capabilities versus the competition and felt an overhead style would not showcase that as effectively. Also, one must remember that at the time only The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link had been released, so there had been no “Zelda overhead style” yet established.

Animation

We’ve also wondered how the awful animation came about, and here we get our answer: a very limited budget caused the animation to be outsourced to a team of Russian computer animation amateurs (many of them were untrained in computer animation) with very limited time.

Voice Acting

And the oft-criticized voice acting? That is explained by way of having to audition AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) actors from their local area.

Concept Art

But the real gems, I think, are these pieces of concept art.

Epona, I don't think we're in Hyrule anymore!

From the concept art we can see that just like any other Zelda game, the best intentions existed for a truly unique Zelda experience, especially when you take into consideration that only The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link had been released before development began on the CD-i games. Alas, A Link to the Past had been released just before these, however, setting the bar impossibly high and setting these games up for failure.

Regardless, it is still interesting to look at the concept art and see what a step up (if only visually) these CD-i games were from the first two entries in the Zelda series, and to wonder what could have been.

Source: Hardcore Gaming 101
  • Valdek

    epic

  • ChainofTermina

    mmmmmm, fascinating. they're still shitty though, regardless of the reason.

  • GenoKID

    Though I don't consider them REAL Zelda games, it's piqued my curiosity. More of us should at least look at the CD-i games. They weren't A Link to the Past, anyway, but maybe learning more couldn't hurt. I mean, MAYBE.

  • bastian

    @Mattex66: Because the interview is sort of old-ish news. The concept art reveal is brand-spankin' new. 😀

    • Okedokey. Love the tattoo lol.

  • veeronic

    eh, what the hell, I’ll try an emulator, I have time on my hands.

  • EDracon

    against the interview.. I have played the CDi zelda games… they were crap.

  • Thareous33

    Intriguing… I never knew there to be such things as CD-i games. Truth be told, I am not sure what they are. Even more alluring are the two concept art images; I have never come across something so bizarre in any Zeldaesque discussion. I mean, every section of the maps having faces…really peculiar.

  • bastian

    @EDracon: I also played them (well, only Link: Faces of Evil) as a demo in-store thing when it first came out. The controls were super annoying. And besides, I couldn't convince my mom to fork out the $500 or however much the CD-i cost. And I'm glad I couldn't! 😛

  • Great interview the person did. Why didn't Bastian make the post about the interview, as the interview was more interesting that the concept art I think?

  • LoZyMugglegater

    Wow,I agree with Thareous33, all those faces are weird. I was wondering about the CD-I games until a friend showed me the "Link sings numa numa" video.P.S I for one, love to hate them.Just so you know.

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  • dominique

    No overhead since? What about four sw. OoS ooA links awak. On and on …

    • EDracon

      Dominique. If you were talking about the interview, they meant that there were only two zelda games at the time. the first one, and the second one. The first one was overhead, and the second side-scrolling. Since the second one was side-scrolling they assumed the rest would be too, so they made the CDi games side-scrolling. So, at the time that they made the cdi games, there was no overhead zelda game since the first one. Now, the games are terrible (cdi) but it's mostly the controls (if you ignore the voice acting and animation) The CDi controller only had a D-Pad, and two buttons…. no select or start button. This made it rather difficult to play a game with an inventory system, and with a few menus you need to access, also, hit detection and platforms did not match up to their images, which is frustrating.

  • veeronic

    dear lord… I just played wand of gamelon on an emulator…
    if your thinking of doing it; don’t.

    sure you can block projectiles if you stand still, NOT ENEMIES; when they hit you, you can’t stop them and it takes about a second to lose 3 hearts and jumping away or over enemies; forget it.

    and the in-game animation… pure garbage, its like frankenstein in fastforward.

  • You have beautiful waterfalls, trees, sand, clouds, and of course the humongous egg sitting on top of the mountain. Simply gorgeous!