Arzette: Jewel of Faramore: Review

Developer: Seedy Eye Games
Publisher: Limited Run
Platforms: Switch, Playstation, Xbox, PC

It’s crazy to think we are at a period in gaming where people are looking at the Zelda CDi games with anything other than ridicule, the story about how Nintendo’s celebrated franchises ended up on Phillips Home Entertainment System is well known at this point as well as how poor the games were received, Nintendo has never officially acknowledged the games since their release which makes the fact the spiritual successor is available on the eShop all the more bizarre.

As someone who has actually had the misfortune in playing the CDi games several years ago, I can not understate just how bad these games actually were, even beyond the laughable animation the controls were as stiff as the frame rate with a terrible level design and broken gameplay, it really is no surprise why these titles are continuously seen on “Worst Games Ever” lists

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore attempts to do the impossible by making a good version of these games, paying homage in what could be the most bizarre love letters I have ever seen, embracing the “Animation Magic” style, mechanics like the smart sword, Hotel Mario mini-games and even getting the voice actors of Link and Zelda from the original games.

The story is generic with a lot of characters and town names taken from a JRR Tolkien generator with the evil demon lord Daimur awoken from his prison with the warrior Princess Arzette tasked with recapturing the jewel shards to save the kingdom of Faramore, Arzette looks to be taking the role of the straight character in a world full of bizarre CDi style characters including the obvious Link representation in Dail

At first glance the game looks a lot like its inspiration with the level select map and side-scrolling levels but everything has been fine-tuned, firstly the controls are way more fluid and while combat is still stiff with enemies that just walk in a circle, there are no more lives and you only have to start from the beginning of a screen when you die, the game features both a normal and casual mode when it comes to difficulty but bizarrely enough in the normal mode there are no heart drops, something you’d usually see reserved for a hard mode, meaning you have to be resilient with the hearts that you have or stocking up on magic potion.

Speaking of items, while the game has the same store feature where you are constantly returning to stock up on bombs, lamp oil, and rope it isn’t as frustrating as before, you only need one bomb for blowing up areas and the lantern has a meter showing how long the oil will last.

It’s difficult to be objective with a game inspired with such infamy as Zelda CDi, if there are issues that I have with the game, is that just it keeping with the original design? It’s hard to say if a game like Arzette is even trying to be good considering the situation, I will say that the short time I played through the game was at the very least fun.

Arzette may have come from questionable origins, but it’s the best thing to come out of Zelda CDi since YouTube Poop

Amazing accuracy to the CD-i artwork
Controls that actually work
Easier to navigate inventory
Recovery time is still slow