After 30 years, Sega's beloved Zelda clone gets an overdue fan remake treatment, and while there's only "a few minutes of gameplay" I desperately need a full game

Crusader of Centy HD/Soleil HD
(Image credit: Sega/Mr Badger)

Back in 1994, Sega's answer to Zelda launched to poor sales and positive reviews, eventually becoming a cult classic and rare collector's item. Now, 30 years later, one fan is building an HD remake demo that imagines what a proper revival of this action-adventure title might look like.

That game goes by two different titles outside of Japan: Crusader of Centy in North America, where it was published on the Genesis by Atlus, and Soleil in Europe, where it was published for the Mega Drive by Sega. I don't want to start any wars over whether Genesis or Mega Drive is the canonical name of Sega's 16-bit platform, but I am North American, so I will be calling the game Crusader of Centy from here on out.

Whatever name you prefer, Crusader of Centy bears a striking resemblance to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, casting you as a young boy with a sword in a top-down fantasy adventure. The big difference from Zelda is that instead of collecting items, you befriend animals that each grant you unique abilities throughout the game. Despite its derivative nature, players quickly latched onto the game and made it a cult classic - to the point where now, three decades later, authentic US cartridges can go for up to $500.

A game developer who goes by Mr Badger on Twitter (H/T Time Extension) has been teasing an HD fangame based on Crusader of Centy for over a year, and it's finally due to launch on July 30 via Mr Badger quickly notes that this "is a demo with only a few minutes of gameplay to show what a remake could look like today," but what's here already looks lovely. The clean, simplistic visuals remind me a lot of 3D Dot Game Heroes - a PS3-era attempt to HD-ify a bygone era of Zelda-likes.

Whether this remake ever becomes more than a demo remains to be seen - and I certainly won't put too much pressure on what seems to be a side project for Mr Badger - but I'm very much looking forward to this first glimpse. Sega has historically been far more understanding of fan games than other major publishers with beloved classic catalogs, so here's hoping the new Centy can spark a little more interest in the series in general. If you want to play the original today, it's available as part of the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack library.

If you're in a classic Sega mood, check out the best Sonic games of all time.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.