Even the worst games have fans. Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon, those infamous Legend of Zelda platform games for the CD-i, have some true believers, and one such dedicated individual has remade them so they’re actually passable experiences.
The remakes are the work of Dopply, a developer who taught himself Game Maker over the course of four years using the project. In a twitter thread providing download links, and some information, he lists what’s been fixed and added, such as widescreen mode, subtitles, touched up sprites, and unlockables. They aren’t 1:1 remakes, he says, but they “capture the spirit”.
These two, and a third called Zelda’s Adventure, were the result of negotiations between Philips and Nintendo for a disc-based add-on to the SNES. The hardware never happened, but Philips secured the rights to make third-party games based on Nintendo properties, and so developed this trilogy of Legend of Zelda projects for the CD-i. Developer Animation Magic was underfunded, and working to a tight turnaround, and the results are three broken, borderline unplayable spinoffs that are rarely acknowledged outside enthusiast circles.
All cynicism aside, if Dopply’s work here invigorates some interest into this strange part of Nintendo’s history, all the better for cultural understanding of one of gaming’s biggest franchises. His efforts join the Zelda CD-i Reanimated Collab, where hundreds of artists redid the cartoon cutscenes from the adventure games. Together, they make these much-maligned slivers of gaming’s history more playable than they’ve ever been.