Link: The Faces of Evil
|Designer(s)||Dale DeSharone (producer)|
William Havlicek (music composition)
Tony Trippi (music composition)
Igor Razboff (lead of animation)
October 10, 1993
Link: The Faces of Evil is a video game developed by Animation Magic and released for the Philips CD-i in 1993. It was developed in tandem with, and released on the same day as Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, and followed up a year later by Zelda's Adventure, which was developed separately by Viridis Corporation.
A product of a compromise between Nintendo and Philips due to their failure to release a CD-ROM based add-on to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, The Faces of Evil, alongside the other two, are the only licensed The Legend of Zelda games developed for and released on a non-Nintendo system. The games have been subject to much criticism, and Nintendo does not recognize them as canon to the Zelda series.
In the now-peaceful land of Hyrule, Link is feeling increasingly useless and bored with no adventures to go on. Suddenly, a wizard named Gwonam arrives on the balcony of Hyrule Castle, informing the King that Ganon and his minions have seized the island of Koridai. According to a written prophecy, only Link can defeat him. After being refused a kiss "for luck" from Princess Zelda, Link goes with Gwonam on his magic carpet to Koridai. Gwonam tells him about the island's "Faces of Evil"; giant stone structures and mountains in the shape of heads, each one controlled by a minion of Ganon and in their likeness. Ganon's minions have also been turning many of Koridai's citizens into monsters and enslaving them within these regions. Link must conquer each of the Faces of Evil before facing Ganon himself, who has his own Face of Evil.
While adventuring through Koridai, meeting numerous characters and fighting monsters, Link learns from Gwonam that Zelda has been captured by Ganon and put under a sleeping spell since he left the castle, and is imprisoned in his lair. As Link proceeds on his adventure, he fights and defeats each of the masters of the Faces of Evil: Goronu, Harlequin, Militron, Glutko, and Lupay. He also retrieves the Book of Koridai after defeating Glutko, which after bringing to Aypo the reader, learns that it is the only item that can defeat Ganon. Link also finds Gwonam's house, and is given the Lantern of Vision to help him see and fight the Sancromies that swarm Ganon's Lair.
After all other obstacles have been cleared, Link arrives at Ganon's Lair, where he confronts the villain and defeats him by throwing the Book of Koridai at him and magically imprisoning him inside. Ganon drops the key to Zelda's prison chamber, where Link finds her asleep. He rings a giant gong and wakes her up, exclaiming that he just saved her, though she teasingly does not believe him. Gwonam then appears and takes them back to Hyrule on his flying carpet, and proclaims Link as the Hero of Koridai.
The Faces of Evil is different from most conventional Zelda games in that it is played using a side-scrolling view, similar to that in The Adventure of Link. Stages are accessed from a world map which are selected with a cursor, with more areas becoming available as Link progresses through the game. Stages consist of several sectioned areas within them, usually with multiple enemies in each section. If Link loses all of his Life Hearts and perishes, a Continue screen with a counter will be displayed, allowing Link to restart at the entrance of the area he was last in. If Link however dies three times, he will be sent back to the world map and be forced to start over. Each stage has two Triforce Maps that serve as exits; one at the beginning and one at the end. In addition to simply reaching the second Triforce Map in each stage, some stages also have special items and power-ups in them that are necessary to progress through later areas. Link encounters several NPC characters in certain stages who provide Link with essential equipment and information, often requiring a specific item in return found somewhere else in the game.
Link also collects "Rubies" dropped by defeated enemies, which are used to buy extra equipment from Morshu's shop in the Goronu area. Some items in the game also require Rubies to use, and will use up a certain amount each time they are used.
Character interactions are achieved through the use of full motion video cutscenes, which are activated when Link approaches a character and touches them with his sword. The game explains this by referring to Link's sword as the "Smart Sword"; a sword Link uses that cannot hurt friendly characters and instead encourages them to talk. The cutscenes use voice acting to provide Link with instructions and story. Very little in-game text is encountered otherwise.
Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, and later Zelda's Adventure, were the result of a compromise between Nintendo and Philips. After an attempt to produce to CD-ROM based add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with Philips failed, Nintendo reached a compromise and gave Philips the license to five of their franchises' characters for use in the Philips CD-i. Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon were developed by Animation Magic, then known as Dale Disharoon, Inc. early in development. The developers settled on making two separate games featuring Link and Zelda. Due to the small development budget and time restraints, the developers resolved to combine the funding to produce a single game engine that would be used by both games. The development team consisted of four programmers, one audio engineer and composer, four artists, a producer, and a freelance writer who would help to design both games. As Philips were expecting full-motion video animation in the games, the games' cutscenes were outsourced to a new animation company in St. Petersburg, Russia, founded by games' creator Dale DeSharone and Igor Razboff. Animators were flown over to work on the game cutscenes. The two companies would eventually combine and become known as Animation Magic.
Very little input was given by Nintendo during the development of the games, who were mostly concerned with the designs and sketches of Link and Zelda. Philips also gave very little input, but Dale DeSharone expressed in an interview that he believed Philips would not have approved of a top-down view for the games, as it would have "looked old, and (would not) make use of the CD-i capabilities." The lack of input from both companies allowed the developers room for creative development.
The three Zelda CD-i games, particularly The Faces of Evil and The Wand of Gamelon, were subject to much criticism from reviewers and series fans alike. The game sold poorly and suffered from critical reception, with key complaints regarding the confusing and unresponsive controls, dull and repetitive gameplay, and poor animation and voice acting used in the game's cutscenes.
This game, along with The Wand of Gamelon, were frequently used to create "YouTube Poop" remix videos, which added to their reputation among series fans. Characters such as King Harkinian, Gwonam and Morshu were particularly popular.
- Review and developer interview at Hardcore Gaming 101
- Interview with Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon creator (Zelda Universe)
- Interview with Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon creator (CD-i blog)
- "The U.S. company was Dale Disharoon, Inc. and the joint company we started in St. Petersburg, Russia was Animation Magic. We eventually rolled it all into Animation Magic (including the U.S. opearations). I would prefer that you just called it Animation Magic. That would also present less confusion about Disharoon/DeSharone." — Dale DeSharone, Dale DeSharone: an unspoken legend, Hardcore Gaming 101, retrieved April 5, 2015.
- "Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon was developed at the same time as Link: Faces of Evil by Animation Magic, Inc. and Philips Interactive Media and was released internationally in 1993." — Peer Schneider, Hyrule Times Vol. 12: Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, IGN, published December 8, 2001, retrieved April 6, 2015.
- An interview with the creator of the CD-i Zelda games | Zelda Universe
- Nintendo-Philips Deal Is a Slap at Sony - NYTimes.com
- "Yeah, we had been aware of criticism following the release of the games. I can understand that people were disappointed, I think probably in terms of… I guess they made comments about animation, but also in terms of gameplay and design." — An interview with the creator of the CD-i Zelda games, Zelda Universe, published March 28, 2013, retrieved April 6, 2015.
- Eiji Aonuma Addresses Those Horrible 'Zelda' CD-i Games | MTV Multiplayer
- "Koridai has fallen to Ganon and his evil friends! The gentle islanders are being transformed into blood-thirty warriors." (Link: The Faces of Evil manual, pg. 2)
- "Luckily, I brought my Smart Sword. It won't hurt anyone friendly. In fact, it makes them talk!" — Link (Link: The Faces of Evil)
- "In a tribute to Nintendo's drawing power, Philips N.V. of the Netherlands has reached an agreement for Nintendo to provide its games for Philips's new interactive compact disk player, which lets users manipulate characters on a television screen. The arrangement is expected to give the Philips machine an edge over competing products." — Eben Shapiro, Nintendo Goal: Bigger-Game Hunters, NYTimes.com, published June 1, 1991, retrieved April 5, 2015.
- "Zelda fans almost universally despise these games, and it's easy to understand why after watching the animated sequences in either title. The animation is fluid, but freakishly so. The characters will often pantomime what they're saying for some bizarre reason, and facial expressions are often exaggerated to an unintentionally hilarious degree. The less said about the voice acting, the better. These games make Link sound like a jerk." — Danny Cowan, CDi: The Ugly Duckling, 1UP.com (Archive), published April 25, 2006, retrieved April 6, 2015.
- "Like Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon didn't exactly sell like hotcakes when it was released, which means it isn't exactly a rare game." — Peer Schneider, Hyrule Times Vol. 12: Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, IGN, published December 8, 2001, retrieved April 6, 2015.
- Zelda CD-i | Know Your Meme