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Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon - Surprisingly adequate side-scrolling adventure

>> Saturday, October 27, 2007

OK, first things first -- it's a side-scroller, not a top-view game. Deal with it. If you're still with me, you're not such a Zelda purist that you prefer to see Zelda as the sky-cam view of a poofy round dress and a lock of hair. Good. "Zelda: the Wand of Gamelon" is a side-scroller game, also known as a "platform" game. That means we see the character from a side perspective, as she walks along the ground, walls, tree branches, etc. and jumps over obstacles or enemies. She can also climb ladders or ropes to change levels, and can deliberately fall to move down. It's a simple, familiar system, and that's an advantage in this adventure game. Worth mentioning is the beautiful art by Rob Dunlavey. The options in this game are kept to a minimum, allowing the player to focus on exploration, fighting, and searching.

The game opens with an animated sequence setting up the story: the King, Zelda's father, has travelled to the land of Gamelon to join forces with Duke Onkled against the evil Gannon. A month goes by with no word, so the heroic Link goes after the king... and also disappears. Zelda sets off to find both of them.

The animation is charming and gives the game much more character than the text boxes of the Nintendo versions. Appropriate voice acting helps -- the king's regal, Zelda's innocent but determined, and Link is a complete jerk.



One effect that doesn't work, however, are some zoom-to-close-ups in the animation. The animation is pasted on top of a static background, so the background doesn't move even when the ''camera'' does. The effect is a little disorienting.

The player then gets a map of the land of Gamelon. He or she can move the "triforce" around to select an area of the country to start in. At first, only three will be available, although good play will open up more of the map for exploration.

PROS: Easy to learn, good music and graphics, will keep players interested for a long time.A good place to start (aside from the handy "help" feature, in which Zelda tells you how to move her around) is "Sakado". The enemies on the street of this town are pretty easy to kill with your sword, and the rubies they yield can be used as money at the local shop. It's the first house in Sakado -- simply stand in front of the door and press button 2. Once inside, you can buy lamp oil, ropes, and bombs, for 5, 10, and 20 rubies each.

Hit the shopkeeper with your sword for more info -- hitting friendly characters brings up an animation in which they talk to you, give you information, etc. It's another welcome improvement over the text of the Nintendo versions. As with the other games, you learn more about the story with each person you meet, and it's not as straightforward as you'd initially think (there's a particularly nice twist in the ending!).



To use items bought or found in your quest, crouch and hit button 2 for a display of your posessions. Select the item you want to use. Next time you hit button 2, that item will be used -- meaning you'll throw a bomb, hoist a rope, drop the bread, etc.

There are two ways to get out of a land in Zelda. You can hit the "triforce" parchment with your sword -- there are two in each land, one where you started and one hidden somewhere within, usually after you've found a major treasure or defeated a major villain.

You can also bail out when you die -- Zelda has a series of hearts at the upper left representing her strength (the old "hit points" idea from Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games). She starts with 3 hearts, but can gain more as the game goes on. A minor hit will cost half a heart, while some monsters can wipe them all out in one shot. When all the hearts are gone, you get the option to ''continue'' from a nearby point in this land... but you only get three chances in any one land before you're sent back to the map of Gamelon.





Fighting in Zelda is hampered only by somewhat sluggish response from the controls -- the scrolling and movement can be a little choppy, probably because of the CPU firepower required to move the colorful and detailed backgrounds. Fortunately, discovery of a "power sword" early in the game gives Zelda a decided advantage.

Most of the gameplay involves meeting people and finding stuff that'll help you in your quest. For example, one woman wants an Arpagos Egg... find it later in the game, go back and talk to her, and she'll trade you for some object that'll help you open up new areas of the map or fight the nastier bad guys.

CONS: Slightly choppy animation and scrolling, sluggish control. A nice feature of the Zelda games is its non-linearity. You don't just automatically go from a "level one" to a "level two". Instead, you can go anywhere you like in the available regions, any number of times. Sometimes you'll have to, because you're allowed into regions even if you don't yet have all the tools you'll need to prevail in them. Sometimes you'll even find you're absolutely stuck, at which point you need to backtrack through regions you've already traversed to see if you missed something. Here's a tip that would have saved me two hours of hacking and slaying: Sakado has a back street!

The game takes a LONG time to play. Fortunately, there's a save feature which allows up to three players (or three versions of the same quest) to be saved in the CD-i's memory.





While the game isn't gory (bad guys generally just go "poof" and disappear), there are some moments here and there where the animation is thankfully blunt about the violence. One animated evil character, when hit, says "you've killed me!" as he dissolves. Cut to Zelda, who replies "good"!.

In general, the game is a strong mix of arcade hack & slay with just enough searching, second-guessing, experimenting and communicating to keep it interesting. Despite what many people think, this Zelda is a keeper.

Thanks to Chris Adamson, Quebec Games and Rob

6 reacties:

Anonymous,  January 18, 2009 at 4:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous,  June 10, 2009 at 10:38 PM  

thx for ytp

Anonymous,  October 21, 2009 at 11:44 PM  

this game sucks! controls are horrible! id rather have the text boxes of the orignal zelda games avoid this game at all costs!!!!!!

Bas October 22, 2009 at 6:49 AM  

I think Zelda CD-i is a very decent platform adventure to play. If you know the CD-i (do you?) I think the controls are fair enough (not up to current standards, but we're talking 1993 here). I think it was a massive production back in the days and you could easily play for 40 hour before you hit the credits. If you really play the game you'd see the game is actually very good (especially on CD-i!)

Gage March 24, 2010 at 9:06 PM  

From what I've seen the game doesn't look bad. What, would you rather play Effacer!? Still, that doesn't stop fanatics from ripping this game a new one. :/
Frankly, I bet if AVGN gave this game a good review, then we'd be seeing a lot less hate, but oh well, I can't judge as I don't own it (hey, it's $90 dude)

Anonymous,  May 29, 2010 at 1:44 AM  

"I wonder what's for dinner." - King Harkarian

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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
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Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
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Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

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Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
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Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
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Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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