by Bob Reinhard
There have been very few video game franchises that have left an impact that’s lasted as long as the Legend of Zelda series. Over the last 25+ years, the Legend of Zelda games have defined adventure and have helped make Nintendo what it is today.
But being such a long-running series with so many games, it’s hard to really choose which one is the best. Fans have argued about it for years, and it’ll always be a hot-button debate among the gaming community.
However, most real Zelda fans know the truth. There is one Legend of Zelda game that stands far above the rest. In fact, some would say this game is in a league all it’s own, and all the other Zelda games have simply been lying in it’s shadow, trying the best they can to recapture that glory.
I’m of course talking about…
Released on Oct. 10th, 1993 on the greatest console of all time, the Philips CD-i, Link: The Faces of Evil was a true masterpiece. People lined up outside of stores for DAYS prior to it’s release, and there was an estimated thirteen deaths related to trampling incidents during the mad rush to snatch up copies.
In an interview with Nintendo Power late last year, Shigeru Miyamoto stated that The Faces of Evil did with the Zelda series what he could not, and he often hangs his head in shame when he thinks of how he was unable to bring to the series what the creative geniuses at Animated Magic did. Miyamoto even attempted suicide after a depressed few weeks following the games release. In his now-legendary suicide letter, he wrote “I just don’t want to live in a world where everything I do will always be second to The Faces of Evil.”. He was unsuccessful. He later dreamed up motion controls and found a new reason to live.
But what makes The Faces of Evil so much better than every other Zelda game… no, every other video game… NO EVERY OTHER THING in the world?
There are many reasons, perhaps it’s the fact that this is the only game that’s ever given Link a personality and character, and is the perfect example of how game developers should do narratives and storytelling in games even today. Of course, all the Mass Effect’s in the world can’t touch the amazing cut scenes and dialogue of The Faces of Evil.
Shivers. Every time…
The hilarious humor, the unique and interesting cast, and the well-written dialogue make even these short scenes incredible to watch even today. With animation that puts Disney to shame, and voice acting that even the great voice actors of today study for technique, the game truly set a bar that even today hasn’t truly been reached.
The gameplay itself is fairly standard Zelda style. But it’s the intuitive controls of the CD-i that make the game.
And will you look at how beautiful and detailed the environments and character models are?! Imagine an HD port on Wii U! It would be glorious to see the amazing crouch and sword-slash animations with even more pop! I could watch gameplay videos of this game all day, and I wouldn’t get bored.
Unfortunately, this masterpiece essentially ruined all Zelda games for me. And perhaps for everyone. The game may very well be TOO good. Nintendo as a company has pretty much gone to shit solely because of this game. Nintendo once asked Rare Ltd. to make a remake of Faces of Evil for the Nintendo 64, and Rare was so afraid of it that they left for Microsoft! They knew deep down that no gaming developer on the planet would be able to touch a masterpiece like that.
And let’s face it, this is easily the only Link in the series worth a damn:
So, there you have it. An age-old argument that was actually settled before it was started! I wish Nintendo would at least TRY to recapture the glory of this game, instead of pumping out empty, voice-actingless crap like Skyward Sword. I mean, really? Link doesn’t even TALK let alone rock the awesome voice he was given in FoE.
My one regret is that I cannot go back in time and experience this game for the first time again… my life has been empty ever sense…