Zelda: Got ‘em!
(The Nerd looks at the screen in utter horror.)
(The Nerd's theme song plays.)
The Nerd: I have been dreading this day for a long time. It’s time to play the Zelda CD-i games. Now, the first two, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, were both released on the same day: October 10, 1993. You can think of them as brother and sister games. I’m gonna try out Wand of Gamelon first.
The Nerd: To begin with, I thought this might’ve been an interesting game, because you actually play as Zelda. You know, the one who’s in the title of every Zelda game? (A selection of "Zelda" games are shown) Also, it’s a sidescroller, much like in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. I’ve always wondered why Nintendo never made any more Zelda games in this style. So going into this game, I couldn’t imagine how bad it would be. Link is seen only in these infamous cartoon cutscenes.
Zelda: Link, go to Gamelon and find my father.
Link: Great! I can’t wait to bomb some Dodongos!
The Nerd: God! Way more corny than the Link from the TV series. (The logo for the "Legend of Zelda" TV series is shown.) But these scenes are only the icing on the shitcake.
Impa: (yawns) Alright, dear.
The Nerd: The first thing I find kinda disappointing is the instruction manual. Counting the English section, it’s only ten pages. All you get is a very brief storyline and bland descriptions. If you look at the original Nintendo manual, look at how elaborate and colorful it is.
The Nerd: Let’s talk about the controls. Regardless of which controller you have, it seems the CD-i only uses two buttons. So to jump, you have to press Up. Being that it’s a platform game and a lot of the jumps have to be done with perfect accuracy, it wears on your thumb real fast. And sometimes when I’m trying to press left or right, I end up jumping by accident.
The Nerd: The first button is the sword. The second button is everything else: opening doors, bringing up the status screen, and using an item. It’s a fucking mess, and it causes nothing but problems. To bring up the status screen, you have to crouch down and hit the button. To begin with, that’s a pain in the ass. But if you’re in front of the door and push the button, you end up going through the door regardless of whether you’re standing or crouching. So if you want to bring up the status screen, you got to stay away from the doors. Also, the status screen is the only way you can pause the game. Sometimes I forget, or don’t realize I’m in front of the door, so I try to bring up the status screen and then I get up to take a piss, only to realize that I’m in another room getting my ass handed to me! (Zelda gets hit by some enemies)
The Nerd: The problem also works the other way around. If you’re trying to go in the door, you have to be certain that you’re standing right in the middle, or else you end up using your item. I’ve wasted so many bombs just trying to go in the damn doors.
The Nerd: And you wanna know what I fucking hate? To collect Rupees or anything, you have to stop and hit ‘em with your sword. And you can’t be standing in front of them either, you have to be in the right position. There’s no other way. You don’t have to do that in any other Zelda game. You see a Rupee, all you need to do is touch it. (Link picks up a Rupee.)
The Nerd: But in this piece of shit, every single Rupee slows you down. Most of the time, I ignore them, but as it turns out, you need Rupees more than ever in this game! Many of the items that you use take Rupees away when you use them, and you constantly need to buy bombs, lantern oil and ropes. The bombs are for killing tough enemies and blowing your way into certain places you need to go. (Zelda repeatedly throws bombs at a rock) Sometimes just to blow up one boulder, it takes ten bombs. You think that’s enough?!
The Nerd: The lanterns are for lighting the dark areas, and let me tell you, this game got really carried away with this. (Shows footage from the original "Zelda" game with Link going through a darkened dungeon.) It’s common in Zelda games that there’s always dark areas, usually in caves or dungeons in which you need to light the way. But in this game, it seems every fucking place you go, it gets dark. Even in the treetops in broad daylight, it happens. And the lantern only lasts for a few seconds and then it goes dark again. Cut me a break! So you’re constantly switching back to the status screen to keep selecting the lantern oil, and when it runs out, being stuck in the dark is absolutely miserable. You can’t even see the fucking door to find your way back out!
The Nerd: So finding the door in the dark is a bitch, but other times the problem is trying to get your ass away from the door. Watch this situation. I go in the door, it’s dark. I need the lantern, so I crouch down and try to bring up the select screen, and I exit the door. What the fuck? So I go back in, this time, I make more of an effort to step away from the door. I try the status screen again, and what happens? I go out the damn door. Again. So this time, I go back in, I walk to the left, and finally I’m able to bring up the status screen and select the lantern.
The Nerd: As the room illuminates, you can see how big that door was. Even if I know I’m about to step into a dark room and I select the lantern in advance, it still doesn’t make a difference because if I try to use the lantern while I’m touching the door, I’ll have the same problem. It would’ve really helped if all that shit didn’t have to be the same button.
The Nerd: I know I’m digging deeper and deeper into the same topic, but it really is a continuous problem. It can even get you killed! Say I go into a dark room, I step away from the door, and I fall. (Zelda dies, and a yellow arrow points to where she fell) HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THERE WAS A CREVICE THERE?! ALL BECAUSE I CAN'T USE THE LANTERN AT THE DOOR! IT’S FUCKING BULLSHIT!
The Nerd: But now that I’ve discussed all the problems with using the lantern and the dark rooms, let’s talk about the ropes. You use them for climbing all those tough-to-reach platforms. But why you can only use a rope one time makes no sense. Why does Zelda have to carry around 20 fucking ropes? Why can’t she use the same one?
The Nerd: And if you die, you go back to the beginning of the stage, so you’re constantly wasting your ropes. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more frustrating than making it to the end of the stage, then realizing you have no more ropes. So, it’s back to the fucking store.
The Nerd: But damn, I haven’t even started talking about how hard it is to maneuver. First of all, you can’t jump straight down. If you want to go down, you have to keep following the walkway until you get to an area where you can drop. This little blue guy, he’s too short to hit and if I try to jump over him, I end up back at the top. So I gotta keep walking side-to-side just to go down.
The Nerd: The graphics are so convoluted, you can’t even tell where you can go. Look at this! What the fuck? I can’t go through! So I gotta go to the right, and then down, and then back to the left again. Just have to jump all around until you find which of the rocks you can land on. Alright, I found one right here, I just gotta-- There we go. It’s hard to jump over gaps, even when it seems plain obvious. (Zelda dies by falling into the crevice) Oh, come ON! You gotta be kidding me!
The Nerd: Sometimes, a moving platform or crocodile will get in your way. (Zelda falls into the river and dies, and a yellow arrow points to the small gap in between the logs) What?! That little gap?! And sometimes if you jump on a platform, you fall through. How in the holy mother of shit did I miss that branch?! It’s also strange to get people to talk, you stab ‘em with your sword.
Hungry Girl: I’d give anything for an Arpogos egg!
Baker: My cakes will burn! (runs away)
The Nerd: Just to hear stupid shit like that. It’s real annoying when you’re trying to fight enemies and there’s someone nearby. You end up hitting them and making them talk!
Impa: Oh, my-
The Nerd: Constantly interrupting your fight.
Impa: Oh, my-
The Nerd: And why is everybody so twisted and scary?
Fairy Dust Lady: Isn't it lovely? Bring some fairy dust and I’ll make it a magic cloak!
(The Nerd flinches back from the screen)
The Nerd: (uneasily) Wh-- Whoa... Whoa...
The Nerd: Attacking is awkward. It seems your sword never hits anything. Even if you just keep swatting at the air, your enemies always seem to hit you first.
The Nerd: You can only hit what’s directly in front of you, but it always seems enemies are coming from high above you or from too low. (He tries to kill ghosts that reach him from under the floor and animals that are in the floor, the latter dying at the same time as him.)
The Nerd: I swear that more than half the enemies in this game are too short to hit. You always have to be at the precise altitude. Look at this! I can’t hit him from below the branch, and I can’t hit him when I’m on the branch!
The Nerd: How do I hit this thing?! (Grunts angrily) Come on, motherfucker, come on! (He finally kills the creature) Oh, man. Seriously, what is it with all these bats? All I’m trying to do is get outta the cave, but the bats keep on coming! (Zelda dies) (Yells) Fuck!
The Nerd: Then there’s this part where you walk into a room and there’s two assholes throwing spears. (Zelda dies) (Grunts) Gonna try again. If only I can get close enough... (Zelda dies again) (Grunts angrily)
The Nerd: As hard as it is to get close to your enemies, sometimes the problem is being too close. (A ghost chases Zelda and stays close to her, making it hard for her to kill it.) C’mon, you fucking piece of shit, GET OFF ME! And there’s no recovery time; they can drain all your energy in a second. (Zelda dies just by trying to escape from a Dodongo)
The Nerd: Come on, jump over-- Fuck, I can’t believe that! And if you’re too close to the top of the screen, you can barely jump at all! (Zelda dies by being unable to jump over the tree creature on the top of the screen)
The Nerd: Oh... my... God. Sometimes enemies don’t appear until you’re right next to them. (A knight suddenly appears and kills Zelda) Where the fuck did he come from?! (A yellow arrow points towards the ceiling) Look, you can clearly see that nobody’s there, but as soon as I go up, BAM! I’m dead.
Baker: It’s awful!
The Nerd: But as difficult as it can be to slay the regular enemies, the boss battles are ridiculously easy if you know what weapon to use. They only take one hit. When you kill them, you get these amusing cutscenes.
(Zelda shoots a boss, Hectan, with her sword)
Hectan: (while melting) You’ve killed me...!
(Hectan exposes his heart)
(The Nerd laughs insanely while looking at the screen.)
The Nerd: Good! (The Nerd laughs more insanely and gasps) You killed me! Good! (The Nerd laughs even more insanely and acts like a chicken, using his middle fingers for the wings) FUCK-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-FUCK-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-FUCK! Phew! Gotta calm down. (The Nerd drinks some Rolling Rock.)
The Nerd: Oh, man, I’m going completely insane. But I can’t quit, because I’m up to Ganon.
Ganon: You dare bring light to my lair?! You must DIE!
The Nerd: He looks like a joke. He makes the Ganon from the cartoon series look badass. And it’s very surreal coming all this way to fight Ganon and then just throwing the Wand of Gamelon at him. That’s it. One hit, he’s dead.
Ganon: The chains! No! You haven’t seen the last of me!
The Nerd: After you’ve killed him, they still have the nerve to have spikes falling from the ceiling. Wouldn’t that be a shame to kill Ganon, only to have a spike drop on your head? Then you rescue the King and Link.
Link: What happened?
Zelda: (chuckles) Nothing, Link. We were just about to have a feast.
(The King and Zelda laugh)
The Nerd: They all yuk it up, and everything’s fine.
The Nerd: Well, in conclusion, some might say that there are redeeming factors to this game. The music’s pretty cool, and the graphics are nice and colorful. Some might call it a mixed bag. But let me tell you what kind of mixed bag. It’s a trash bag that’s had a bad day. Like, say your mom cleans out the cat litter. Fresh and stale doody pebbles go right in the bottom of the bag. And then your sister throws out her used tampons, and where do they go? In the same bag. And then your brother comes home, piss-ass drunk, just upchucks, pukes right into the bag.
The Nerd: Now, I’m not trying to be disgusting, but that is a realistic situation, and what it all comes down to, THAT'S A NASTY BAG. But I’d rather take that shit out to the garbage than deal with this piece of fuck! Fuck this game, get out of my face!
(The Nerd tosses the game case)
The Nerd: And you know what the worst part about it is? (He gets his bottle of Rolling Rock.) I still have two left. (He drinks the Rolling Rock.)