Link: The Faces of Evil
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|Link: The Faces of Evil|
The game that put Zelda on the map.
|Release date||October 10, 1993|
Link: The Faces of Evil is a 1993 action-adventure video game developed by Animation Magic and published by Philips Media for the CD-i. It is the first game in The Legend of Zelda CD-i series, and the brother game of blockbuster Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon. It is a side-scroller in the vein of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Its animated FMVs, adapted to the CD-ROM format, show that Russian animators had nearly all the skill and foresight of Russian economic planners.
Faces of Evil was conceived by Philips during a messy divorce with Nintendo. Initial plans fell through for Philips to create a CD add-on to the SNES and, to compensate, Nintendo gave Philips visitation rights to the characters from the Zelda games. Of note is that this is the only game in the series not to have the word "Zelda" in the title. You'd expect noobs to stop calling Link "Zelda," but they continue to do so anyway.
Faces of Evil was released to near-universal acclaim. Its unprecedented use of full motion video and deep characters revolutionized the way videos games were produced in the 1990s. Critics and fans alike have held this game as the standard for all future Zelda games, citing its use of complex characters, gripping swordplay, and realistic animation.
In Link: The Faces of Evil, players play as Link, who must save Koridai from the "Ganon and his minions". The player uses Link's trusty sword and shield to defend himself. The sword has all the usual uses, such as opening doors, talking to people, picking up things, murdering chickens, and murdering evil wizards.
Link, despite being a hardened veteran and head of Hyrule's Cheka, starts the game unable to do just about anything. The player must explore dungeons, collect trinkets, and go on numerous wild-goose chases. Link can obtain several different power-ups in the game, such as the Book of Koridai, which can defeat Ganon in a single hit. Along the way, the player must conquer bosses; these range from naked old men in mech-suits to inflatable furries.
Link (Jeffrey Rath) is the bloodthirsty protagonist of the game. While appearing innocent, sweet, and demure, he is actually an unstoppable killing machine as well as the head of Hyrule's secret police. Skilled in many forms of swordplay and weaponry, Link's horribly efficient killing moves have been known to completely obliterate his enemies, leaving behind nothing more than a ruby or the victim's still-beating heart, which Link may devour for sustenance.
Princess Zelda (Bonnie Jean Wilbur) is Link's love interest and the princess of Hyrule. Constantly at the mercy of Link's advances, she is not fooled by his imitations of gallantry and bravery. Knowing that it's only a matter of time until her father forces her into marriage with Link, she continues to hold off Link's requests for just a kiss...for luck.
Ganon (Mark Berry) is the villain of the game. If anything, he's actually more fucked up this time around than in any other Zelda game; quite a feat, as his original designers were Japanese. Going far beyond sulking in a cave, taking over Hyrule castle and leaving Hyrule's towns untouched, and drowning an abandoned kingdom that's already underwater, CD-i Ganon tortures a woman by freezing her alive, turns townspeople into sexy beasts, and executes people for simply bringing light to his lair.
King Harkinian (Colin Fox) is the sovereign leader of Hyrule. Despite Ganon's repeated invasions, monsters roaming the lands, and massive inflation due to naturally occurring rupees, the King's reign is secure thanks to his loyal army and secret police, headed by Link. He has a very limited role in this game, because his voice actor, Colin Fox, had some grocery shopping he had to do and thus was unwilling to commit his time to voicing the King.
Gwonam (Paul Wann) is Link's advisor who gives him hints throughout the game. In order to make his character as genuine as possible, Animation Magic sent some of its staff to India to learn about Indian food, culture, and religious traditions. After spending two weeks living in a small village south of Calcutta, the staff felt that they had enough anthropologic information to make a character that would factually represent Indians. Gwonam is named after Gwonam Patel, the president of the Indian Cultural Society, who praised the character's "true depth in its portrayal of the Indian people...[and] its educational value about Indian life to those who play this game."
Morshu (Jeffrey Nelson) is an obese, greedy shopkeeper in Goronu, known for selling only three things (lamp oil, rope and bombs) in exchange for large amounts of rubies. He is unable to give credit, not even to his most frequent customer Link. He has a tendency to punctuate his "m"s when speaking, which annoys his customers. Unfortunately, he is the only shopkeeper in Koridai, meaning people who live there have no choice but to buy from his shop if they ever wish to obtain goods. His arch-enemy is Ushrom, a fellow shopkeeper in Gamelon who surprisingly sells the exact same items to Zelda.
The story begins with Link complaining that there have not been any rebellions against the kingdom for some time and that "it sure is boring around here." The King reprimands him, reminding him that the peace caused by a population utterly terrified of its ruler is "what all true warriors strive for." Suddenly, Gwonam arrives on his magic carpet and warns the King that Ganon has captured the faraway island of Koridai. Somehow sensing a threat to his own kingdom, the King agrees to send Link to fight Ganon in Koridai. Link begins to fetch his supplies of lamp oil, rope, and bombs, but Gwonam insists that there is no time, and that his wooden sword and shield are enough. Link tries to sneak a quickie from Zelda before he leaves, but Gwonam insists that there really is no time.
Flying high over Koridai, Gwonam explains to Link that Ganon has transformed all the island's mountains into Faces of Evil in his attempt to drive down property values. After stopping at Morshu's shop and buying lamp oil, rope, and bombs, Link embarks on his quest to defeat Ganon, using his trusty sword to slice enemies in half, stab doors, accidentally injure people, and pick up chorizo.
After defeating an anthropomorphic pig, countless sorcerers, and a hobo asking for some change, Link faces the gluttonous Glutko. Using the hint that Glutko can be defeated by something spicy, Link buys a Chipotle burrito, and throws it in the beast's mouth, defeating him and retrieving the Book of Koridai, Ganon's least favorite book.
Link then finds the Crystal of Reflection, which allows his shield to reflect Ganon's curse. He also visits the blacksmith to reforge his sword so that it can defeat Ganon, something Link wouldn't have to do if somebody hadn't told him there was no time. While completing these time-consuming tasks, Link finds out that Zelda has been kidnapped by Ganon "in the darkest nightmare hour, when not moon nor sun has risen". The reason for doing so is unclear, as Link was already going to kill Ganon and did not need Zelda's capture as an additional incentive.
Nevertheless, Link sets out to find Ganon. After defeating more enemies and completing some mini-games, he finally obtains the vision to find Gwonam's house. Gwonam shows Link the way to Ganon's lair, and provides him with a magic lantern that can see in the dark—though it runs out after ten seconds of usage. Crap. After trekking through Ganon's lair, Link encounters the Prince of Darkness himself. Ganon gives Link two options: join him and rule Koridai, and he will give Link an elaborate plastic surgery so he can have a more handsome face to recognized by, and he will be the GREATEST womanslayer in Koridai, or else he will die. This decision actually puts Link in a tough situation: had Ganon not kidnapped Zelda, Link would have joined Ganon in a heartbeat to fulfill his bloodlust. However, Link realizes that his lust for Zelda is stronger and imprisons Ganon in the book, ignoring his pleas not to go into the pit.
Link goes up the stairs to see Zelda sleeping. He decides to fool around with her before she wakes up, but unfortunately he trips and bangs a gong, waking her up and denying him the opportunity. Gwonam appears and takes them all back home to Hyrule, where they celebrate with roast Octorok.
- See also: Philips CD-i#History
In 1989, Nintendo and Sony teamed up to create the "SNES CD" (or "Nintendo PlayStation"), an add-on to the SNES. However, before production could begin, Nintendo backstabbed Sony and instead teamed up with electronics company Philips to produce the add-on. After witnessing the failure of the Sega Micro CD, plans for the SNES CD were dropped altogether. As part of its alimony, Nintendo gave Philips the rights to characters from their The Legend of Zelda series, and signed an agreement that allowed Philips to give all control of game development, beta testing, marketing, coding, and writing to third-party developers. Nintendo's responsibility in this deal was to politely suggest how the characters should look.
Philips hired Animation Magic to develop two Zelda games (Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon) on a very small budget. Both games were completed on a very rushed schedule of five days; programmed in three days, cutscenes animated in two, and voice acting performed by parking garage attendants on the way back from work. This gave the games a more epic feel, rather than the cheesy, campy feel previous Zelda games had suffered from.
Link: The Faces of Evil along with the other two CD-i games, was widely praised for its innovative gameplay and quality control when compared to other Zelda games. However, certain Zelda purists griped about "bad animation quality" and "awkward controls", naming it the "worst game" of the franchise rather than best.
Faces of Evil enjoys world renown, especially on the Internet. This began in 2006, when a phenomenon known as YouTube Poop emerged and seized YouTube by the balls. YTP involves taking the cutscenes from the CD-i games and reconstructing them, giving these once-silly European cartoons a sparse, hip, almost avant-garde aura. Within one year, this phenomenon created an entire sub-culture known as YouTube Poopers.
Jan Timmer, former CEO of Philips, was reportedly thrilled that "YouTube is bulging with videos of the great games we made." While sales of the games were lower than expected, they were more than made up for by the amount of tributes online. Kaz Hirai, CEO of Sony, told the Wall Street Journal: "I really regret losing that deal with Nintendo." Nintendo could not be reached for comment.