Despite their ridiculed reputation, the CD-i Zelda games have some very interesting cultural references within them, and a fascinating history surrounding them. I discovered this after some extensive research of these three infamous titles, in a quest to compile a list of my favourite facts and trivia.
The results are actually more compelling than expected, with backgrounds of the people associated with the games, intriguing tidbits on the development, and some unexpected cultural and media influences.
Link: The Faces of Evil
- There is a boss named Goronu, which bears a striking resemblance to “Goron”. However, the Gorons as a species were not introduced until Ocarina of Time, which released years after Faces of Evil.
- The Acheman enemy is possibly a reference to the Devil from Devil World (a popular recent appearance being an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl) a 1984 NES game designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takeshi Tezuka. In addition to similarities in the appearance of both sprites, the same fireball sound effect was reused.
- The Deadite enemy shares the same name as the demonic zombies in the Evil Dead series.
- Benoît Allemane, voice of King Harkinian, is the official French dub-over voice of Morgan Freeman.
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
- In The Wand of Gamelon, currency is known as “Rubies” instead of the traditional Rupees. The colour of “Rubies” also determine different values than the ones used in the mainline Zelda games: red Rubies are worth one, green are worth five, and blue are worth 10.
- The Wand of Gamelon had a budget of $500,000 to $600,000; very low compared to the average video game development cost (at least in 2010) of $18-$28 million.
- The name of “Hectan”, a boss most famous for his “You’ve killed me!” line, may have been inspired by Hecate, the Greco-Roman goddess of witchcraft. Hectan is a wizard with powerful magic and fire abilities, much like the goddess.
- The cutscenes were outsourced to a small group of Russian animators, who were flown to the US to draw them in a small apartment for six months.
- In the scroll seen in the opening cutscene of Zelda’s Adventure, Ganon’s name is misspelled as “Gannon”.
- The game’s test period took almost two years — which was longer than the time spent developing it. This was due to the numerous bugs present in the game.
- Almost all of the scenery used in the game were actually photographs taken in the Los Angeles area. One of the developers had taken photos from a helicopter in Hawaii before game development had even started, which were then used as background terrain textures. The large file sizes of these images resulted were largely responsible for the slow speed of the scrolling backgrounds.
- The game does not take place in Hyrule, but rather in a land known as “Tolemac”. If you reverse the word Tolemac, it spells out “Camelot”, the name of the castle and court associated with King Arthur. Similarly, the “Llort” boss is “troll” spelled backwards.
- Despite the significance of treasure chests in the Zelda series, there is only one in Zelda’s Adventure. It talks, and gives Zelda the Jade Ring.
- The boss Ursore appears to be a portmanteau of “Ursa” (meaning bear) and “sore”.
- Bago-Bago are skeletal fish-like enemies that behave similarly to Cheep-Cheep from the Mario series. Bago-Bago will fly towards Zelda to attack, just as Cheep-Cheep jump out of water to attack Mario. The double-barrelled-style name is likely a reference to Cheep-Cheep.
While the CD-i games are usually responsible for eradicating brain cells through their hilariously bad cutscenes and cringe-worthy dialogue, for once you hopefully learned something new from them! Whatever your opinion on the games, there is certainly fascination to be found in them beyond goofy YouTube clips. If you happen to know any outrageous facts on any of these titles, we’d love to hear from you!