Hands up if you’ve heard of Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon. If not, it was a game released on the Philips CD-i back in 1993. It is best known for its terrible graphics and gameplay and would go on to be parodied during the 2000s and 2010s in memes and “YouTube poops” (I still reference it to this day).
So why would anyone want to make a game that pays tribute to that? Enter Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore, an upcoming adventure game inspired by those Zelda CD-i games, developed by Seedy Eye Software, and published by Limited Run Games.
Arzette honours much of the weird pixel art graphics and awkward motions but the gameplay is much different, according to Arthur Damian who played the demo at PAX West this year:
Granted, I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore. The demo only lasted 10-15 minutes. What I did play, however, made it abundantly clear the game is only inspired by the Zelda CD-i titles’ aesthetic, not their gameplay. Controls are smooth instead of clunky, with combat and platforming working and feeling responsive. The difficulty seemed fair and not overly punishing. This is a far cry from the CD-i games’ lack of invincibility frames when taking damage. There was a shopkeeper who sold bombs that were a great long-range alternative to my sword slash. I even found a secret room that held a challenge based on the Hotel Mario game. Now THAT’S brilliant.
Meanwhile, Cameron Hawkins interviewed Arzette’s primary developer Seth Fulkerson for Digital Trends and he explained how chose these infamous Zelda games as inspiration:
“[…] There was something to the gameplay loop, which was a very prototypical non-linear/linear action platformer, mixed with a distinctive hand-painted art style and amusing cutscenes […] My development philosophy was, if there was a ‘CD-i II’ that had SEGA Saturn-level visuals, and Animation Magic lost the Zelda license and wanted to make a third game in the ‘series,’ this would be that game.”
Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore is scheduled for release sometime this year on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.