Review by andymancan1
"Great, but not as great as Ocarina of Time"
PROS: New storyline; incredible graphics; cool action scenes; masks add to abilities
CONS: Expansion Pak not included; few dungeons; not as fun as the predecessor
A couple of years after Ocarina of Time, Nintendo decided to release a Zelda sequel for the N64. This was not as incredible as the previous game, but still managed to keep us entertained.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask takes Link to a world parallel to Hyrule, Termina. He somehow gets lost in the Lost Woods and winds up getting attacked by the Skull Kid that he'd previously sold a mask to. Yeah, that bastard. The one that cheated you out of 10 rupees. The Skull Kid has a strange mask on, and Epona is scared off. The Ocarina of Time is stolen, and Link is in trouble. The skull kid curses him with his fairies and turns him into a plantlike creature called a Deku. The loser then abandons one of the fairies for failing to kill him and takes the other one hostage. Link and the first fairy, Tatl, chase him and soon run into the mask shop guy, who also was robbed. The bastard stole his most priceless mask. He says that he remembers Link, and he'll help out if Link returns this mask, Majora's Mask, and the Ocarina of Time. Deku Link investigates Clock Town and finds out that the Skull Kid, who's possessed by the mask, is planning to flatten the city with the moon! He successfully retrieves the ocarina- but not the mask- and returns back to the first day and a very worried mask guy. The mask guy heals Link and tells him to use whatever means necessary to get that mask back before Clock Town becomes a crater. You'll spend the course of the game playing the same three days over and over until you're able to confront the Skull Kid. You and Tatl will find that Termina has a lot of familiar faces, only the people don't know Link because this is a completely different world. Tatl is just like Navi from Ocarina of Time, and will help you by any means. She only knows a couple enemy weaknesses, and is basically just an encyclopedia of enemy data. She's only in this to save her little brother from the Skull Kid. Overall, the story is very good here, but the game itself isn't perfect.
You spend the same three days over and over again. Once you go back in time (you use the Song of Time from Ocarina), everybody resumes the three days the same way they did the last time. However, some actions will result in different happenings later on. Luckily, once you beat this gang of brats at hide and seek, you get a book to keep track of people's schedules. This is handy. One of the hardest three days is to reunite a couple separated by a curse or something. It's really complicated. Other sets of three days will be spent looting a pirate fortress, stopping alien invasions, and investigating dungeons. Sadly, there are only four dungeons here, which are nowhere near as good as some of those in Ocarina of Time. They're still fun, but not the greatest. Each dungeon also has special fairies to collect. If you get them all, go to a great fairy's fountain and use it to summon a great fairy and get something cool from her. This optional quest is worth it- if you want to take the time.
The graphics in this game are incredible. Unfortunately, they're so good that you need the N64 Expansion Pak in order to play this game. Since it isn't included with the game itself, and anything N64 is hard to find these days, good luck if you don't have one. It's worth it, though, because this game is pretty good. The music is classic Zelda, with some new stuff thrown in. Overall, it's impressive.
The controls in this game are the exact same as Ocarina of Time, which is good. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. However, only three C buttons isn't enough here, because there are several masks in addition to the usual arsenal of items (there are fewer items because Link remains the same age). You do have a bow, a hookshot, bombs, and sticks, but several abilities are within your masks (I'll get to those in a little bit).
The action scenes in this game are what set it apart from Ocarina of Time. On one three-day sequence, you have to blow up a rock blocking access to Romani Ranch, plot with Romani (young Malon from Ocarina) to stop an alien invasion that night, practice, and defend the aliens. The next night, Romani's sister asks you to come along with her, delivering milk to Clock Town. What results is a fabulous milk wagon chase down a horse racing track. Obviously, bad guys are trying to put Romani Ranch out of business. Other sequences include a stealth operation in a pirate fortress, attacking a haunted well, and a Goron race. You see, Link can transform into his Deku form at any time, and later a Goron and a Zora. These transformations grant Link different abilities, and using them all is a necessity in getting through specific dungeons. The lightweight Deku can hop across water, even if it's toxic, and use Deku flowers to fly. Darmani, the Goron, can roll into a ball and wreck anything in his path (except walls), and use his heavy weight to press rusty switches. However, being a rock-type, Darmani is weak to water. Zora Link, aka Mikau, can use boomerang-like fins and walk on the bottom of lakes. But for some strange reason, Mikau gets burned by fire. What the hell is going on here? In Pokemon games, fire attacks won't do much of anything to a water-type. In fact, I haven't seen water weak to fire in ANY game. This is one of the things in this game that makes little sense. Each of these forms can be accessed by wearing a mask, but you have to press a button to skip a stupid cutscene that never differs. It just gets old. That's all.
In addition to those three masks, Link can obtain several others that can be of use. Some of them you'll almost never use, and all of them are pretty much optional to get. However, if you get all 20 normal masks, you get a really cool mask at the end. This last mask can only be used in boss fights, and make the final boss a piece of cake. Overall, the bosses here are pretty good. There's a warrior armed with plants, a robotic ram, a giant fish, and two gigantic worm things, as well as the final boss. Most of these bosses require use of a mask, so be sure that you know what you're doing. It just adds to the strategy. The boss battles are all cool, but just aren't as good as those of Ocarina of Time.
Since the game replays the same three-day sequence over and over, you have the option of skipping certain things. You only need six or so three-day sequences in order to finish the game, and if you really try, you can actually complete it in one (that, however, is extremely difficult). You can't go back and continue what you were doing, because everything except your inventory resets when you play the Song of Time. There are other variants of the Song of Time. The Song of Inverted Time will slow the clock down, and the Song of Double Time will forward you to the next 12-hour period. There are other Ocarina tunes, too, but most of them are seldom-used. Zelda's Lullaby doesn't appear at all, which blows. Zelda herself only appears in a couple cutscenes, which is weird because the series is The Legend of Zelda, not The Adventures of Link. At least Nintendo could've included a few bonus scenes with Zelda and Link, but they didn't.
Overall, this is a clearly lacking sequel to Ocarina of Time. It's not as long, it's not as fun (even though it still is fun), and it's not as good. Majora's Mask is a good game, but it's just that its own predecessor, likely the best game of all time, overshadows it. Ocarina of Time still had plenty of side quests (not as many as this one), but its dungeons impressed. Majora's Mask has plenty of side quests, but they seem to be the focus of the game. There are only four main dungeons, and they're not as amazing. Some of your three-day sequences aren't the greatest, but others are amazing. Overall, it's a great game, and totally worth playing if you can find it and an N64 Expansion Pak. It's great, but not as great as the ultra-perfect Ocarina of Time. I give Majora's Mask a 9 out of 10.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/14/06
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