Review by funkedchicken
"One of the best games of all time and my favorite Zelda game"
Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Great game, or an attempt to capitalize off Zelda's name to save the N64?
I know that many people would disagree with this statement, but I believe that Majora's Mask is, up to this date, the best Zelda game to have graced any platform. It took the greatest elements from Ocarina of Time and blended it with a mix of fresh new ideas and concepts, making this game less of a rehash like other Zelda games, and makes you feel like your playing a brand new adventure. To start, you no longer need to save Hyrule, harness the power of the triforce, save Zelda, defeat Ganon, etc. In fact, the storyline here has nothing to do with previous games and could easily serve as the background for a new game series. Link has just defeated Ganon and leaves for a long trip / vacation. Along the way, he is ambushed by a skullkid wearing a strange mask and his two fairies. The skullkid knocks link out and steals his ocarina (the one from Ocarina of Time) and his horse, Epona. Naturally, link follows him. You get cursed by the skullkid and turn into the weakest of the races of this game, the deku scrub. When you enter the local town after this ordeal, a mysterious mask salesman says he will return you to normal if you can retrieve his mask. He informs you that the mask the skullkid is wearing was stolen from him and that you need to get that mask back, but within the next 3 days (roughly 1 hour of game time for three days). The adventure begins here, with you being a weak scrub needing to get the mask back in 1 hour or you will remain a scrub or you'll get crushed by the giant moon that just happens to be crashing into the earth on the day the mask salesman leaves. This idea of three day cycle is the foundation of the story and the key to completing the game and adds depth to the game play.
Majora's Mask came out at a time when the Nintendo 64 was past its prime and competing for players next to the technically superior Playstation 2. To make MM as visually appealing as possible, Nintendo employed the use of the extra 4MB cartridge used in games like Donkey Kong 64 and Perfect Dark. Although by today's standards the graphics look like primitive 3D, they are among the best- if not the best of the N64. The extra 4MB allows for less use of prerendered backgrounds and allows for less need of fogging, allowing a crisp view of faraway objects. The extra memory also allows for more color, as seen through the vibrant array of colors used throughout the game. One flaw that I see in the games graphics, however, is that there were very few original character designs. All of the characters were renamed characters from Ocarina of Time, giving the whole game a strange Deja Vu type of quality. The graphics may not be perfect, but they perfectly suit the game and are good enough for me. You must keep in mind, however, that this game will not play without the expansion pak so you have to pick it up if you plan on buying this game.
Now, in terms of gameplay, MM adds a new level of depth to the Zelda series. You have three game days to complete the game adding to 1 hour. A normal gamer can't beat the game in that time, so the first thing you need to learn is a song that warps you back in time. When you learn this song, called the song of time (also featured in Oot), you can return to the first day and save your game. But beware; going back in time carries some penalties. Any progress in dungeons you have made will be lost, except for the main treasure item you get from the dungeon, any rupees not stored in the bank will disappear, any numeric items (deku sticks, arrows, bombs, etc.) will disappear as well. Basically, stuff goes back the way it was when you started. Many people complain about this because it's irritating to have to lose progress to save. Just hearing that doesn't sound right-losing progress to save progress? However, I think this is a much better way to handle the game because it adds a sense of realism to the game. You warp back in time- wouldn't it be true that things would revert to the way they were on the first day? Luckily, you get to keep key items so the adventure never gets too hard. There is also a song that slows down time, so running out of time is never really an issue. With this new internal clock, new elements are added to gameplay that add an even more in depth sense of realism. Certain events only happen on certain days and at certain times, stores only open at a certain time, optional events you completed cause storyline changes which cause more changes, meaning you'd need to go through a couple of time cycles to collect every item. Besides the obvious new time addition, it would only be fitting that a game centered around a mask should have some sort of an emphasis on masks. In total, you can collect 24 masks-23 normal masks and 1 secret mask. Each mask has a specific effect, such as allowing you to speak to animals, or to converse with the dead and mummified, though some masks don't just go on link's face and have an effect; some masks change your form entirely! Those masks allow you to turn into the familiar races of the Zelda games: the gorons, zoras, deku scrubs, and one other form that is not so much a specific race. To collect all the masks, you'd have to go through the three day cycle many times as things you do in game could cause you to get one mask, but with that event done, you can't get another (example: Bomb mask and Couples mask). Most of these masks are not necessary to complete the game, meaning that the replay factor of MM is high because you are allowed to go back and get every mask you have missed in the game.
But really, this wouldn't be a Zelda game without dungeons and MM sorely lacks in number with only four main dungeons. However, the replayability of each dungeon to get fairies, which will give you a new ability or item for collecting them all, and the ability to redo any dungeon whenever you want by warping back in time makes the gap seem less noticeable. Still, the lack of dungeons hurts the reputation of this game.
With the lack of dungeons in MM, the gap created is filled by many spectacular side quests. Without a guide, it would take even experienced Zelda veteran months to find all the hidden secrets in the game. To help you keep track of your side quests, the game provides you with something called the Bomber's Notebook. This notebook keeps track of all side quests relating to people and marks key points in your quests along the way with stickers. The notebook also provides you with a short synopsis of each of the points in your sidequests.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyede every other Zelda, but this game stands out among the others because of how different it is compared to other Zelda games. Nintendo really took a cnce in deviating from the beaten path with this game and we arer rewarded by seing a creative, fun, and exciting game as a result. With Majora's Mask's wonderful blend of traditional game play mechanics and new ideas, its depth and replayability, and its graphical enhancements over its predecessor, it stands above every other game in the series as the best and most original of all Legend of Zelda games so far. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyede every other Zelda, but this game stands out among the others because of how differ
Rent or Buy? Even if you could manage to find a place that still rents out this game, it would be a waste because you will want to beat the game and get all the secrets, and that would take hours. This game is cheap now on Ebay so pick it up with the expansion pak.
Get this game, you will not regret it. This game along with A Link to the Past are the embodiment of a zelda game: Good dungeons, fun sidequests, life-like characters, and an exceptional stroyline coupled with great gameplay.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/27/06
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