Here it is, ladies and Gentlemen, the fabled Philips CD-i Zelda game you may or may not have ever heard about, let alone experienced. For those of you familiar, this series is the skeleton in Nintendo's proverbial closet. Thank whichever higher power you prefer that Nintendo didn't officially partner with Philips and create the fabled SNES CD-drive, or the majority of you would have stopped playing Zelda games entirely. The Faces of Evil either takes nothing from its wonderful predecessors into consideration, or blatantly omits any and every concept ever employed by successful videogames up to this point. Whatever the case, this game really is as bad as you've heard.
Let's start with what is generously considered a story. Imagine Link as a hip, Gen-X surfer, with long, poofy hair and a California accent to boot. Link is bored, as Ganon hasn't been scheming as of late. Suddenly, a swami on a magic carpet flies in and warns Link and the King that Ganon is scheming hardcore, and "it is written that only Link can defeat Ganon", so the two set off on the flying carpet towards the "Faces of Evil"; a bizarre area of land that resembles non-threatening, "Where The Wild Things Are" inspired monster heads. That's the whole of the story. Link must explore these monster heads and then, apparently, he will defeat Ganon. There you have it; less than five minutes of plot for the entire game.
The Faces of Evil plays almost like The Adventure of Link ... if you were to strip away the tight controls, catchy music, interesting enemies, engaging objectives, exploration factor, and finally, fun. The graphics are alright for a typical side-scroller, but the character model looks as though the animators had never actually SEEN a picture of Link. Perhaps they were police artists, who sketched the hero from accounts by drunken passersby. While the actual game graphics are pretty sorrowful, the opening animated cut-scene is no picnic either. Is this really the best they could do? Have these people ever even watched a cartoon? The whole thing looks like it was produced with Microsoft Paint. Plus, the characters all have weird jagged edges and move in an unpleasant, embarrassing fashion. So, on a whole, there is nothing visually appealing about this game.
Then we have the control issue. Three of the CD-i's weird controller's buttons are used. One is the attack button. Two is used to enter doors, and while pressing down plus Two, the inventory screen is opened. The Third button, left of button One, is uses the selected item. The Up directional button jumps. This awkward combination makes no sense if you're trying to play this as though it were a "normal" Zelda adventure. If you forget everything you've learned about tight controls ... no, it still doesn't work!
Finally, the music has a cheesy "Middle Eastern meets Philip Glass" feeling that is wholly deplorable. I give this game a 10%, but if you are a fan of the actual Zelda series, it should, more properly, read -10%. Words cannot express what a dismal failure this turned out to be. Remember the good times we shared with Link; I'm going to go take another shower.