Review by Lokoe
"One word - Wow."
The Legend of Zelda series has always been one of my favorites, and easily my favorite from Nintendo. The adventures are all so deep and epic. In fact, I have yet to be disappointed by a Zelda game. So I decided to take a look back on one of these treasures. I decided on Majora's Mask, since it seems to be highly overshadowed by Ocarina of Time.
The Zelda games have easily had some of the most epic stories ever. This one's quite different thatn its predecessors. As you start off in the game, Link is traveling through the forests of Hyrule on his trusty horse, Epona. He's in search of a new fairy now that Navi has left him, since his mission to save Hyrule over. Suddenly, a skull kid comes along and steals Epona and his Ocarina, taking off with them! Link puts up a fight, grabbing onto the side of the horse, but fails and falls off. Link immediately chases Epona and the Skull Kid and soon falls down a hole. Link finds himself in front of the skull kid, who's wearing a weird mask. Majora's Mask, to be precise. He turns you, dazes you, into a Deku Scrub, and runs off with Epona, laughing! As he leaves though, one of his fairies is left behind, named Tatl. She is forced to join up with you, in hope of finding her brother, Tael. As Link comes out of the underground, he finds himself in a town. As he looks up, you see a giant moon with a eerie, weird face on it. It appears that the moon is slowly falling towards the ground, and will crush the town, called Clock Town, the main town of an alternate reality, named Termina. Unfortunately, the townspeople are oblivious (figures) and you must help save Termina from the moon's destruction.
The control is similar to that in Ocarina of Time, so most people should be familiar with it. This game is as easy to control as the last one was, perhaps even more so. You can attack with your sword with B, interact with the environment with A, and you can assign items to the 3 lower C-buttons for ease of use. Although Navi had left your side at the end of Ocarina of Time, a new fairy has come along to help you use Ocarina of Time's most innovative feature, the Z-Targeting System. Remember how annoying Navi was? Well, you've got your wish - a smart-ass fairy who knows practically nothing about hazards and enemies and often talks back to you! By pressing (and perhaps holding down) Z, you can focus on any nearby enemies or objects, for easy aiming when interacting with them. You can use it to talk to people far away, aim arrows at flying bats, throw a boomerang at a faraway switch, and dozens more uses.
You start this game in a different form, as a Deku Scrub, a weird little plant creature with a huge snout and scary, red, glowing eyes. In this form you have different abilities to normal Link, some which give you advantages over Link, and others which deter you. As a Deku Sprout, you can shoot bubbles and you can also use a spinning attack. Once you have escaped from your Deku-like prison, you can use a mask that is created to transform into a Deku Scrub at will. Later in the game, you also find masks to become a Goron, a huge rock-like creature, or a Zora, kind of like an amphibious human. On the subject of masks, there are 24 in this game, all with different uses, such as making you faster, or giving you the ability to dance, which is always fun. A particular favorite is the bomb mask, which lets you blast open certain areas. This is particularly useful if you're out of bombs, but you'll also decrease your health in the progress.
You destroy monsters in many ways, the most of common of which is just a good old slashing from your sword, and you can gain items from the common enemy, such as rupees (the currency of Termina and Hyrule), bombs, arrows, magic potions, etc. You can also take them out with magic or many other useful items.
The Zelda games easily have the best graphics on the N64. They put in the expansion pack for a reason here. Its essentially the same graphics as Ocarina of Time, but brushed up. The main interface has a tiny section at the top where you can see your life meter, current items assigned, etc, as the majority of the screen is the world of Termina. In Majora's Mask, there are no longer any premade backgrounds to make up house interiors, everything inside houses are fully 3-D.
Another strong part of the Zelda franchise. Many of the tunes in Majora's Mask are the same as Ocarina of Time, or remixed versions of earlier Zeldas. Not that thats a bad thing of course. After all, Ocarina of Time had excellent music. (Don't fear, the Lost Woods theme is back!) As for voice-acting, there's a bit of it in this game, and it's not terrible.
Lasting appeal: 7.5/10
This is the one category that prevents this game from receiving a perfect 10 from me. It simply doesn't last as long as Ocarina of Time did. The game only has 4 main dungeons, as opposed to 8. Although there is a lot to do in this game, the replay value is very limited. But enough comparison, it's still more challenging than most other games on the market.
You can't build on perfection, the perfection in this case being Ocarina of Time. You can, however, meet that perfection or come close! That's what Majora's Mask has done. If you can find this game (better luck finding it used), pick it up by all means. This is one that won't disappoint you, unless, of course, your expectations are superior to Ocarina of Time's. Buy this game by all means.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 05/30/04
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