That Awful Zelda CD-i Game Has Been Ported To Game Boy, And It’s Free To Play

That Awful Zelda CD-i Game Has Been Ported To Game Boy, And It’s Free To Play

Zelda’s Adventure, the 1996 Philips CDi game and a rare instance of Nintendo licensing out its IP to another publisher, is now available to play for free. But instead of the awful FMV graphics of the original, it’s been demade into a proper Game Boy game. Best of all, it’s available for free.

For the long and tortured story of Zelda’s Adventure, we have to go all the way back to the early 1990s. At the time, Nintendo was looking to partner with Sony to create a CD add-on device for the SNES called the Nintendo PlayStation. Nintendo axed that idea and instead decided to contract Philips for its nascent CD-i console. Sony would eventually take the technology and develop it into the PlayStation, while Nintendo would cancel plans for the SNES CD add-on entirely after watching the Sega Mega-CD crash and burn.


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Related: Everyone Is Running Scared Of Zelda

However, Nintendo offered Philips access to its Zelda IP as part of its contract for the CD-i. Philips would then subcontract independent developers to create three Zelda games. The first two, called Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, were side-scrollers similar to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The third, developed by Viridis Corporation, returned to the top-down view of the original Zelda.

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It was also the first and only Zelda game to feature FMV cutscenes and sprites that are actually pictures of actors in costumes, Mortal Kombat style. Textures for the terrain were actually based on aerial photographs of Hawaii, and even the interiors of buildings were photographs of scale models.

It was also awful. The problem was the Philips CD-i was built as a personal computer first, game console second, which meant that technical limitations marred Zelda’s Adventure at every turn. The controls were unresponsive, the photographed graphics were blurry and not nearly as interesting as what Sony was producing with the PlayStation 1, and there was virtually no music during gameplay. Zelda’s Adventure also featured a five-minute unskippable tutorial that would explain how to type your name to save your game, but not which items to use on otherwise unkillable monsters.

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The game got terrible reviews from pretty much everyone, but luckily, it’s being redeemed by John Lay on as a made-for-Game Boy demake.

“Zelda’s Adventure looked interesting and I thought it would be fun to play on a portable system,” explains John in the game description. “The game sticks to the aesthetics of Link’s Awakening, but also incorporates some features from Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons.”

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Zelda’s Adventure on “is a complete port of the CD-i original,” but developed in GB Studio. Unlike the original, it actually has music courtesy of Beatscribe, and its controls feel crisp and responsive even if you play online.

However, like the original, there are a few technical issues. If the game suddenly stops and displays a debug screen, that means it’s crashed. Take a screenshot and post it to the game’s page for John to get a handle on what went wrong. It’s still in active development, so expect the game stability to improve over time, but for a first effort from a solo dev, Zelda’s Adventure is truly impressive.

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Head over to to download Zelda’s Adventure and go on your own journey of redemption.

Next: Nobody Does Trailers Quite Like The Legend Of Zelda


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