While the Philips CD-i titles Zelda: Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon are relatively well-known, the third outing on the system – 1996's Zelda's Adventure – is less famous, and some would argue that's for a good reason – it's pretty terrible.
However, that hasn't stopped John Lay from giving the title a new lease of life as a fully-fledged (but obviously unofficial) Game Boy port. "Zelda’s Adventure looked interesting and I thought it would be fun to play on a portable system," he says. "I chose the Game Boy because of the existing Zelda games on the system."
Lay has ported the CD-i title to Nintendo's monochrome portable using GB Studio "with a few modifications." The game adopts the visual style of Link’s Awakening and also "incorporates some features from Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons."
The three Zelda titles on the CD-i happened thanks to Nintendo eventually getting cold feet on the idea of creating a CD drive for the SNES. The deal it signed with Philips (which was inked after Nintendo infamously jilted Sony, which was developing the SNES PlayStation) was dissolved, but not before an agreement was reached where Philips could use select Nintendo IP to create CD-i titles.
Zelda's Adventure – one of the final CD-i releases – was developed by Viridis Corporation, with no input from Nintendo. Zelda was portrayed by office receptionist Diane Burns in the game's opening cutscenes, while many of the buildings and interior scenes were constructed as models by Jason Bakutis, who had previously worked on Hollywood movies such as Critters 3 and Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. "We had, at the time, the biggest budget ever for a video game," Bakutis said in a 2012 interview. "At one point, the owners told me they were talking to this band Echo and the Bunnymen about doing the soundtrack. I heard of them, but never heard them."
You can download Lay's Game Boy port and play it either via emulation or on original Game Boy hardware using a flash cart.