Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore - More than a CD-i Game

Published: September 6, 2023 10:00 AM /

Previewed By:

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore header image with the title character.

Call it morbid curiosity, but if you're anything like me, you'll gravitate towards the upcoming Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore due to its visual similarity to those weird, clunky, downright notorious The Legend of Zelda CD-i games.

Don't let this old console's reputation fool you into thinking Arzette is similar, though; Seedy Eye Software and Limited Run Games are cooking up a goofy, grand ol' time with this platformer. Indeed, while at PAX West 2023 and talking with developer Seth Fulkerson, it was his goal to pay homage to all the good parts of the Zelda CD-i games, just without the jank.

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore's merchant in a cutscene.
How could you say no to him?

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore is a Time Capsule

Chances are, you've seen a meme or two of the Zelda CD-i games. Most likely, it was a meme of the animated cutscenes, of which these grew much ire from Zelda fans back in the day. From my perspective, it looked to clash in tone with what you'd come to expect from the series, so these cutscenes and detailed animations didn't feel like they belonged in the Zelda world.

Arzette is a completely different game, and it doesn't have an established IP to thematically butcher. So while Arzette features the expressive, silly character dialogue animations, we can fully admire this aspect of the game because it's meant to be, well, silly right from the get-go.

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore screenshot featuring a cutscene with Klive.
No horsing around!

This is all to say, the animations in Arzette are indeed hilarious and faithfully recreate the style from CD-i. I talked to a shopkeeper resembling the one from the Zelda games, leading to some funny moments. The boss at the end of my demo was a horse that'd drop equine puns every sentence; combined with the visual style, it works so well.

Cutscenes aside, the platforming and combat segments of Arzette are pleasing enough to look at. Spritework on the title character and enemies are creative and fit the comical tone. My only complaint is that the background art for levels can get a little muddy sometimes, as it often blended in with platforms I needed to jump on.

A Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore gameplay screenshot showcasing its combat.
The eponymous Arzette's animations are great!

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore's Simple and Smooth Platforming

Fulkerson's goal to create a playable, smooth platforming experience is evident in my PAX West 2023 demo for Arzette. I'll be honest, I never played the Zelda CD-i games (and really, probably only a handful of people actually have), but the reputation surrounding them seems warranted.

Arzette, on the other hand, is a simple but extremely smooth platformer. It's very retro in that there aren't too many mechanics, but being a simple game doesn't necessarily detract from what is a fun experience. Avoiding Arzette's swooping bird enemies and patrolling foes across the stage is just fun.

Though, I'm sure I haven't seen all that Arzette has to offer. A shopkeeper I came across sells bombs, bought with currency dropped from enemies. Later on, I'm sure we'll find more items to make use of. While bombs make combat easier since it does a larger chunk of damage than your typical slash, I also found Arzette's difficulty to be very fair to the player.

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore screenshot showing a boss battle.
The demo was capped off with this boss battle with Klive.

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore PAX West 2023 Preview | Final Thoughts

It was exciting for me to hear from Fulkerson that vocal talent from previous CD-i games return for Arzette. He also utilizes an artist that worked on the Zelda games. Fulkerson really is making Arzette from a place of love for these games. This'll be about the closest thing you can get to playing on the actual console, just without the... you know, flaws.

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore was previewed at PAX West 2023.

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