Review by cyberhoodlum
"This would've been better than Ocarina of Time if it wasn't for the glaring flaws"
I remember when I first played this game. I had borrowed Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask from a friend, so I played them in order. I beat Ocarina of Time and then went on to play Majora's Mask, but I got annoyed with it very quickly. Quite a while after I had returned the two games to my friend, I bought Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. I bought Ocarina of Time because I loved it and wanted to have it around just to play it, and my reason for buying Majora's Mask is so I could beat it and prove to myself that I was capable of beating it.
Heck, yeah! The famous Ocarina of Time is getting a sequel! And this time we get to play with masks! And this time we get a time limit! Wait... WHAT?!?! A time limit in a Legend of Zelda game? Say it ain't so! I'll cover the time limit more thoroughly later, but for right now, I'll talk about the gist of the game's storyline.
The basic storyline of this game is that Link has returned to being a child (you played Ocarina of Time, right?) and he goes on a peaceful walk which ends up being a whole other quest when he stumbles into a land called Termina. Link soon finds out that the land of Termina has three days until the Moon crashes into the earth. Now, normally the moon wouldn't really have any desire to crash into the earth, but in this land, the moon has been turned to evil by a demon named Majora! So, Link must awaken the four giants to stop the moon, and while the moon is stopped he will slay Majora!
Oh, one more thing. Ganondorf isn't in this game and Zelda only appears for about a minute or two. You don't mind that, do you?
Wow! The graphics are great. What more can I say? Well, this game requires an expansion pak to run, so just be warned before you go out and buy the game and end up going crazy because you can't play it until you get an expansion pak. Anyway, the graphics in this game have been improved from Ocarina of Time. A nice feature that was added in this game is the motion blur which you will see in a lot of cutscenes. Link also does some cool flips and tricks whenever he jumps. The variety in graphics is also amazing. You'll go to a swamp, a snowy mountain, a beach, a dry valley, and a grassy green field.
I don't really remember most of the tunes in this game... and all I can say about the sound is that it's generally the same thing you heard in Ocarina of Time. I can't really pick anything out that I really liked, but I can definitely talk about the music I hated. I definitely remember the music for the Deku Dungeon, but not because it was good... it is without doubt the most annoying song I've heard in any Legend of Zelda game! There's also the music for the beach which will definitely get on your nerves after you've listened to it for a while.
I'm sorry, but there are just WAY too many flaws in this game. The basic gameplay in this game is similar to the gameplay in Ocarina of Time. You run around, collect stuff, go through dungeons, solve puzzles, defeat big bosses, etc. However, you have a time limit to do so. Now, you don't have a time limit to complete the entire game, but you do have a time limit to complete each dungeon. There is a three-day time limit measured at the bottom of the screen, and you must do the required amount of work to get into the dungeon and then beat the boss and make a happy ending before your three days are up. After that, you must play the song of time to go back to the dawn of the first day, and somehow that dungeon you just went through will still be recorded as "complete." Just repeat that process for the rest of the dungeons, and you will complete the game.
There are only four dungeons in this game, which is just shameful when compared to the eight dungeons you go through in Ocarina of Time. I mean, come on! Ocarina of Time had twice as many dungeons as this game, and this game is the SEQUEL to Ocarina of Time! However, this game somewhat makes up for it by making you go through a big task in order to reach the entrance of each dungeon, and it also gives you a TON of optional sidequests to complete between dungeons. The sidequests are often a pain but also rewarding because you can normally acquire pieces of heart or masks from completing them. And trust me, you will NEED the pieces of heart because only four dungeons means that you'll only have seven hearts by the end of the game unless you collect some pieces of heart.
The masks in this game are a very nice feature. The equipment menu from Ocarina of Time has been replaced by a mask menu. There are over 20 masks in this game, and most of them will affect your gameplay. However, there are some masks that can be considered useless because you'll only use them once to acquire one piece of heart. Anyway, the useful masks include but are not limited to the bunny hood which doubles your running speed (DEFINITELY the most useful mask in this game because of the time limit), the stone mask which makes you invisible (good for sneaking around), and the gibdo mask which will make you immune to the gaze of the undead (it will also make redeads dance!)
There are also four masks in the game which will allow you to transform into different things. The Deku Mask transforms you into a Deku Scrub. The Deku Scrub is VERY weak but can glide for short distances and skip on poisonous water. The Goron Mask will transform you into a Goron which is very powerful but very slow. The Goron can walk on lava, use an earthquake attack, and roll VERY fast. The Zora Mask turns you into a Zora, which is probably the coolest transformation in the game. As a Zora, you can swim around underwater, use your fins as two boomerangs, use a powerful energy shield, and even walk around under the water. The fourth transformation mask is the Fierce Deity mask. This mask turns Link into a fierce warrior that greatly resembles his adult self. As Fierce Deity, you can shoot energy beams from your sword which makes the mask VERY useful in boss battles, but boss battles are the only place where you can put on the Fierce Deity mask... and you won't even be able to get the Fierce Deity mask until the final boss battle, and even then you must have acquired ALL of the other masks in the game. It sounds like it's not worth it, but trust me, it really is worth it. The final boss is quite annoying if you don't have the Fierce Deity mask. Also, you're able to challenge bosses again that you have already beaten, and the Fierce Deity mask will give you the perfect chance to laugh at all four of them.
I'm sure this game sounds like fun so far, but there is one flaw that ruins this game so much that it actually causes the game to be frustrating and nearly impossible for even experienced gamers to beat. What is this horrible flaw? The saving system. That's right, the saving system in this game is absolutely abysmal! In Ocarina of Time, you could save anywhere, but in this game there are only certain moments when you can save. The only way you can really truly save your progress is if you play the song of time to go back to the dawn of the first day. This saves your progress, but you can't save like this if you're in the middle of a dungeon or other task. Why not? Well, if you return to the dawn of the first day while you're in the middle of a dungeon, then all of your progress for that dungeon will be erased. You can't return to the dawn of the first day until after you've completed the dungeon or task that you were working on.
Another way you can save is via the owl statues that are scattered throughout Termina. However, these owl statues are NOT a permanent save. If you save at an owl statue, it will send you back to the title screen, and once you go back into your save file, the save you made at the owl statue will be erased. Well, what if the game either freezes or you get trapped in an inescapable glitch when you've gone far into a dungeon? I mean, what if something happens that makes you have to turn your game off? What if the power happens to go out at your house? There is only one answer. Tough luck. You have to start all over from the dawn of the first day. You have to go through both the dungeon AND the huge task that you must complete in order to reach the dungeon all over again. And trust me, it is NOT fun to have to go through the big ordeal in order to reach the dungeon... and then go through the whole dungeon... AGAIN.
Another thing about this game that is incredibly frustrating is the time limit. Normally, Zelda games encourage you to take your time to explore and think about how to solve the puzzles in each dungeon. Well, this game isn't like that. When you play this game, you'd better get off of your butt and kick it into high gear or else you're gonna be finished before you've finished the dungeon! Time is quickly and constantly ticking away in this game. It only stops for cutscenes. Now, I'm perfectly aware that there IS a way to slow time down in this game. There's a certain song that you can learn in this game that will cause time to pass at half the speed it was going before. You can play this song anytime, but you have to think about when this game first came out. Nowadays everybody and his brother know about this song, but when the game first came out, people thought that the only way to play this game was to play it with time going by at a rapid pace.
The time limit and the obnoxious saving feature (or lack thereof) work as a team to frustrate you, and it is made even worse by the intense difficulty of this game. This game is HARD. It's home to some of the most difficult moments I've ever faced in any video game. The Goron race is obnoxious. You have to keep your Goron rolling as fast as you can without crashing into the other racers, but you must also pick up magic bottles along the way because it costs magic to keep yourself going at the top speed... and even if you think you've done it perfectly, one Goron beats you by about two centimeters.
I could go on and on about certain moments in the game that really frustrated me, but I'm not gonna do that because there are just way too many frustrating moments! Sometimes the moments themselves are frustrating, and most of the time it is the time limit that makes the moments frustrating. This game is so hard and almost impossible that I don't know anyone who has actually beaten it. I've beaten it once, but that's not much compared to the many times I've played through Ocarina of Time without breaking a sweat. The one and only time I beat this game was full of screaming, yelling, and having to perform certain tasks countless times because the time limit and save feature either screwed me over or the task was so difficult that it took over 100 tries! Seriously, there was one part of the game that was so difficult for me, I honestly don't think it'd be an exaggeration to say it took me 100 tries to complete it. I also got to where I could memorize the entire Zora Dungeon just because I had been through it four times. The first time I wasn't familiar with the save feature, so I thought I could get away with returning to the dawn of the first day. The second time the game froze on me so I had to start over from the first day again. The third time the boss for the dungeon got stuck in a glitch that wouldn't stop so I couldn't beat the boss... thus meaning that I had to turn the game off and then start over AGAIN.
This is probably the most frustrating game I have ever played. The time limit, the save feature, and the difficulty all come together to just destroy you every time you try to do something. You'll spend the majority of this game retrying something because you either ran out of time, failed at it, or got screwed by the save feature. I DEFINITELY would have said that this game is better than Ocarina of Time if it wasn't for the horrible save feature and time limit.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 07/15/09
Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (Collector's Edition) (US, 10/25/00)
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