Zelda: Wand of Gamelon cover

The oft-maligned (with good reason) Phillips CD-i Zelda games are a bad dream Nintendo would like to forget. What was originally meant to be an agreement between Nintendo and Phillips to co-develop a CD-ROM enhancement for the Super Nintendo morphed instead into an agreement to license out some specific Nintendo characters, Link and Zelda being two. The games were not only not developed by Nintendo, but by teams without much experience in game development at all. The result, as you’ve surely heard, was abysmal.  Having played (or attempting to) two of the three resulting games, I can attest to their horrendous design.

However, Hyrule Historia, that treasure trove of Zelda facts, indirectly reveals that one of the CD-i Zelda games got one thing right.

Early A Link to the Past character design for Zelda as seen in Hyrule Historia

Hyrule Historia shows an early character design for Princess Zelda that had gone unused by Nintendo–or so we thought. It turns out that Phillips used that same design for the cover of their Wand of Gamelon. Unfortunately, only the cover, and the game itself featured a character design for the princess much closer to the 80s cartoon.

Truth be told, I noticed back then how the art on the cover looked so close to A Link to the Past and thought that it was indicative of the game’s quality. How wrong I was. How wrong we all were.

Have you given the Phillips Zelda games a shot? What did you think? Are you surprised they managed to get at least the cover art right? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: GoNintendo

  • robotortoise

    There's one good quality about the CD-i games….

    ONE good quality.
    ….that said, it's surprising there's ANYTHING good about those excuses for games…

  • I think the case is CD-i just used a concept art by Nintendo. The quality is too different even from the other characters featured in the game's cover.

  • Jarkes

    I've heard that the in-game graphics of the games aren't THAT bad… but when anyone thinks of how bad the CDi games look, they think of the abysmal cutscenes now only seen on Youtube Poop. And I also heard the gameplay's not THAT bad either… if you're playing it on an emulator (which I hear is hard to do). If you were playing it on the actual system, the ridiculous controller design (I hear it had TEN face buttons…) made them nearly impossible to play.

    Speaking of which, I've heard that Zelda's Adventure (the last of the Cdi games) used live actors in front of bad (naturally) bluescreen. However, this had made the game nearly impossible to emulate, hence why one never sees footage of THAT on Youtube Poop (or Youtube itself, for that matter).

    • heroofmasks

      dude the gameplay sucks it sucks so bad that mosty of the time you cant even jump onto a platform right and you die go watch the games on jamesnintendonerd theres 3 part

  • Apollo

    GASP!!!! They actually got SOMETHING right!

  • I've seen the CD-i games played at a Zeldathon, and of course the heinous cutscenes on Youtube. But this tidbit is a light in the darkness compared to that.

  • Emicon

    I thought that we'd seen this design before. In the Hyrule Symphony booklet, there is art of Zelda wearing this dress on the LttP page (pg. 23).

  • bastian

    The in-game graphics (not the cut scenes) are actually really good for the time. But the terrible gameplay design for Link: Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon make the games not fun. I've tried both, and I couldn't stomach much of it.

  • TTL

    Say what you will about them (and I'd probably agree) but I intend to own them one day with a working Phillips CDi system. The entire history of Zelda fascinates me, even what's considered the "low" spots of the franchise.

    And for the record, the 80's cartoon gets a bum rap. See ya'!

  • David

    I'm sorry, but I fail to see how this is considered "right". I mean yes, they used a prototype for Zelda's outfit but I don't really see how that's a good thing. The game still sucks completely. I thought the only things they got right were supposed the music and the graphics…

  • occultfan

    I own all three of these. They are funny to look at, watch, just like the youtubepoop versions, but a little more plain since they aren't mashed-up to exploit the meaning. But still, the graphics are pretty good, but the gameplay is just so frustrating that I turned it off immediately. Now I'm just holding on to them as a treasured part of my Zelda collection.

  • I've never played the games (and, honestly, probably never will), but I LOVE watching the cutscenes from Wand of Gamelon. They're so poorly written and badly drawn that it actually makes them really fun to watch!